Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tools and Intent vs Blind Dogma

The value of religion and spiritual traditions is in the contemplative tools that they provide us, and the 'calls to action' in the realms of morality and ethics.
Of course there are justifications found in scripture for abhorrent actions too, and so that must be taken with a grain of salt and we must with our own judgement separate the wheat from the chaff. The danger of being a zealot is that you take the words of men as a literal interpretation of the word of God and apply no reason or rationality to your actions. Blind faith is the very worst kind.

In my humble opinion 'God' has no words, for God is the superconscious, the divine, or perhaps with even less religiosity that energy or connection that we all share. What has been wrapped around the concept is superstition and ritual, some bad and good - but only good or useful if it provides for a personal (not transmitted by a priest or guru) experience of the interconnectedness and oneness of all. That direct connection to source is indescribable and so we must use allusion to elucidate. But that allusion will always suffer from being  inescapably indeterminate.

The benefits that I see in having come to my own piece with the idea of religion, is that if you aren't hung up on the idea that 'my religion is the right one', or that 'the way that I believe God is, is the only way' then you can see the benefits for what they are, and take a pragmatic approach to your own spiritual practice.
You recognise that tools such as prayer (which is really just positive affirmation) and meditation as well as more esoteric 'energy balancing' techniques are simply time honoured exercise to allow for greater peace, calm etc. In fact the religion itself become inconsequential as a dogmatic vehicle, but beneficial in that it may have a codified system of contemplative techniques that have been honed over a long period of time.

I see Religion like language. Saying that your religion is better than someone else's is like saying that your language is better. It just doesn't make sense. They both are frames within which we try to elucidate concepts that cannot be adequately explained and may contain elements which are either practicably unprovable or in some cases yet to be proven quantitatively.
Another analogy I am fond of is that religion is like a sport. You may enter a sport to improve your physical health for example. The sport provides for an improvement in health. But to believe that it is the only way to improve health, or the only valid sport is naive and ridiculous (notwithstanding that some in certain circles such as kettlebells, pilates, cross-fit etc may disagree with me!)

One of the biggest problems with some 'religious people' that I see is that they aren't DOING anything. They simply blindly follow the words in a book, or the words coming from their priest, guru, imam or holy man. They spend no time contemplating the nature of life. They spend no time using prayer as it was intended (as a vehicle for eliciting real change in belief structures).
They are simply taking a superior stance by believing (blindly) that there way is the right way and that they will have salvation because of something they believe. Well in my humble opinion it is not that easy.

Forget about salvation, forget about 'enlightenment'.
Instead get on with the work of being a happier, more loving, more connected person. Use tools if you must to help you on your journey but don't get hung up on them. Do you worship a spade when you dig in your garden?

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