The Two Sides of Human Religion

For a long time humans have relied on belief to explain that which was unexplainable. Humans have generously extrapolated that which they perceive and understand into that which they do not perceive or understand. This is a common practice of the ego: we draw conclusions about that which we actually do not understand and proclaim our conclusions as truth.

Yet it would not be accurate to categorize religion strictly as a phenomenon of ego and belief, because in fact religious phenomena also arises from the individual’s very real personal experience with the greater reality and with the divine. God is real (whatever you call God or don’t call God), the spirit is real- in fact, whether they are recognized or not, they are more real than the objects that appear to be around us. And as the individual processes experience, including the very common and natural personal interaction with the spirit, the physically oriented portion of one’s awareness seeks to intellectually and emotionally secure form for that experience. The form that one seeks to secure then is sought within the context and history of what one has experienced in the physical, including what one has learned or been taught, which can include a religious context.

We might say then that our physical religion has two parts to it: first, the human-derived mythology (comprised of ideas, which are a type of form experienced within the physical universe); and second, the individual’s interaction with the transcendent loving substance of the spirit (the divine in and through all of us which transcends the physical universe). (In fact these two elements are intertwined and not ultimately separate, but to the human intellect which seeks to understand reality through dualistic ideas, the distinction may be helpful.) Differentiating the former from the latter has proven to be very challenging for humanity! This is understandable considering that the divine can seem invisible, unless we personally equate it to one or more forms (words, ideas, beliefs, etc.). In truth, the spirit transcends all of the forms of this universe, including our many objects, words, and ideas.

It is natural that we seek answers within the form, for we are indeed immersed in an experience of form. The experience of dualistic form is the very nature of the physical experience. And as experiencers of form, form is often very important to us- sometimes it even seems necessary- as we reach for the divine. For instance, revering a name, book, idea, or any set thereof can in fact be deeply meaningful and genuinely important to the individual along his or her spiritual walk. Yet eventually it can sometimes also benefit one to recognize that the form itself does not hold the answer, because form only exists within and is completely transcended by the realm of the spirit. Put another way: conscious awareness itself exists, and the forms it entertains are secondary, so the forms will never truly hold the answer.

Regardless of the forms (or lack of forms) we utilize to pursue the divine, the spiritual walk of the individual is indeed very important and very real. Your relationship with the divine is real. YOU are real! You are more real than the forms that you are lost within. And that which stirs your soul, your truest self of selves, also dwells and exists beyond the ideas that you have temporarily adopted.

So how can we who are so bound to the experience of duality differentiate between the mythology of form, and the true substance of spirit?

It is important to recognize that the realm of the spirit is not far away. In fact distance itself is not fundamental and exists as an experience only! Spirit is the most real thing you know: your awareness is spirit. YOU are spirit. The awareness of being here now, reading this blog with your intellectual mind of form, is an exercise ultimately being undertaken by spirit (your awareness). You may have gone very deeply into the dream of form, so deep that you don’t remember how you got here- but you still have the ability right now to exercise your most inalienable spiritual power: your power to intend, your power to choose.

What can you intend or choose to help you separate the substance from the illusion? While the answer is complex and cannot truly be articulated with words, and while the path for every individual will most certainly be special and unique, we might say the following: be willing. Your intent is your most fundamental inalienable power. Point it towards LOVE!

Humble yourself. Face your fears. Let go of your power, and choose love. Rather than listening primarily to your rehearsed beliefs, admit to yourself all that which you actually do not know. Intend to open yourself up to what the spirit is saying to you. Intend to let everything fall away that may wish to fall away, even if it causes you fear, even if it be your very life. Listen humbly to your intuition. Be willing to be wrong. Encounter what you feel. Feel what you feel. Feel what you are! Be willing to challenge anything, yet be gentle with yourself, for nothing can ever truly be wrong.

Humanity is ready to grow. We are ready to move away from fear-based dogma, self-righteousness, competition, anger, and the “survival of the fittest” mindset that has dominated much of our collective past for so long. We are ready for a more loving future!

It is time to stop fearing. In order to stop fearing, we need to be individually willing to actually face our pain, and process it. We need to take individual responsibility for all aspects of ourselves. We need to be willing to challenge and change our beliefs as our personal experience, reason, and intuition actually guide us. That path is a very personal path for each individual: it is sacred, and no one can walk it for us. But as you walk your unique path today, please know this: you are LOVED! You are full of light! You are free, and powerful, and good! And the power of our incomprehensibly loving Source is always with you, no matter what metaphor set you may use to seek or serve it.

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