Could Someone Move All These Boxes?
I have trouble defining my religious state, even the word religion makes me cringe just a bit, not because I don’t believe, but because I feel hemmed into a small box with the limits of words these days. And it’s not just words that sometimes feel confining, it’s the growing silence of independent thought. I see the talking points made, echoing the television or the latest gurus, I see the newest approved facts carried like a club of truth, and it appears we have all forgotten there is little truth down here.
Sometimes I want to regret being born again, because it was truly like waking a up a stranger in a strange land, all the things I’d not noticed before, were suddenly glaringly obvious. My experience of re-birth will please none of the box-thought people, my experience was real for me and therefore the proof that is needed to fit into a tidy container that pleases others simply does not exist, but that in no way takes from the truth.
We seem to have a battle of ideas these days, which idea is better than the other, which idea contains truth and which contains lies, but again, we have forgotten there is little truth down here. What there is, that is readily available to each of us, is a path of discovery. This journey is no easy undertaking, though, ripe with challenge, obstacles and fear and it seems as time progresses, fewer are seeking.
I believe we know truth when we hear it and I believe it is scattered all around us, we just have to see it. Sometimes when we are listening to a speaker we will hear a ring of truth and instead of following this speaker as a new guru and buying their products, we should take the nugget for what it is and continue down our own path, adding that solid piece to our collection. There is a reason we are called sheep, we are certainly herd animals, feeling safer as we follow the pack, but if the path is narrow, we must break from the pack.
Long have I lamented the way we are being pressed into one accepted package, our focus has shifted from the inside to the outside, no longer are we comfortable in our silence, simply experiencing our thoughts. Hell, according to many experts, it’s our thoughts that are the problem and we simply accept that as fact and try to align our inner world as much as we do our outer existence. And unfortunately many don’t see the manipulation.
We keep hearing how we are all one, like a single cell, but I believe we are meant to be individuals, different from the other, not just another herd of sheep in a cycle of humanity. I am not saying that we shouldn’t show compassion and empathy to our follow man, I am saying we don’t have to be just like him to express those things.
Back to religion, the word that causes so much angst in our society, the basket overflowing with our accusations of the harm it has caused. The dictionary defines religion as –
a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.
Reading the definition it hardly seems threatening, but perhaps when we attempt to organize such basic concepts and emotions do we run into trouble. If I say I had a personal and unexpected encounter with Jesus, that puts a mental image in the mind, suddenly some reading have either gained or lost respect for me. Suddenly I become the woman in an ugly dress, swaying to in fro in a church, my arms raised above my head with a look of induced serenity on my face. Or I am standing on the street corner pounding my bible and judging all that cross my path. To some, if I say I know Jesus, I either become a threat or an idiot. The box is growing smaller.
When I say the holy spirit came to me, both surprising and terrifying me, again the mental image emerges and the balance of respect shifts. When I state that although I knew Jesus had touched me, I had no desire to attend a church, find a religious leader or settle down to read the bible straight through, I have created yet another image in the mind of the reader. When I state I didn’t just fall in line and do what is typically done, some will believe I turned my back on the call.
Of course, none of these assumptions are truth, they are just a testimony to how we like to stay in the lines. Not only do we like to stay in the lines, we feel safer if everyone else stays in the lines. It’s a sure case of “if you’re not with me, you are against me”. We are threatened by the sheep that wander off to explore on their own, we are threatened when our box of knowledge of the way it is supposed to be is challenged.
I do not believe faith can be managed, controlled or directed by outside parties and I believe by falling into the lines and boxes we are only harming ourselves. I also do not believe that the faithful, humble individual is the cause of any horrors, only those that seek to herd and profit from their beliefs are the perpetrators of violence and deceit.
So here I state, I believe that Christ’s teachings were truth, although easily disguised and hidden, and as I state this I recognize that there is not a handy box for me and all sides of the issue will find something wrong in my way of being and label me accordingly. For myself, I believe the path to what I am seeking is narrow, with no room for cliques, organizations or committees to clear the way before me. I do not believe that I should put another human in charge of my spiritual development and I believe as we grow closer to that which we seek, we will find more and more boxes left discarded along the trail.