By David Matthew Brown, Patheos Spirituality Contributor at Wrestling with Yourself
There is division within us, each of us, we are here to end the division and know ourselves and that will lead to complete freedom. That is true education. We see that division throughout the world in nationalities, most religions, race, traditions, politics, relationships, etc.. So how can one be free if they are attached to an idealogy, concept, or image. Because freedom is not attached to anything, it is free. We have been dialoguing about the minds concept of God. Can we be completely attentive to what is? Most religions are built on concepts, idea’s of what the mind believes is God. With those ideas of the mind, come rules, levels, good/bad, division, yet division can only be found in the thoughts. Where there is division there is conflict, war. So as more and more people are leaving religion, what is the search for, the search can only be that of freedom. Most religions box the idea of God, making the suggestion that God can be boxed in, that God is super human with good/bad people, that God punishes, that this God which created all in its image and likeness as we find in Genesis, “God created all and it was good”, then can exclude different groups. We then pick and we focus on the different passages in the bible to back up this concept of God, image of God, idea of God, which are based on the small intellect (mind based thinking) about the whole.
It would seem much more adventurous to look at the mind and religion. So what is religion? Is religion just another concept of the mind? Lets take a look at the system of the mind. We have a person who is frightened by life, in fear of death, it knows on a physical level everything comes and goes and dies, yet on psychological level it is scared to die. What is scared to die? Just look at it. We seem scared of death in the west, even to look at it. We show violence on TV and movies and yet when soldiers die, we won’t look at it. We deny death constantly. So what is death? Strange to ask when I am speaking about losing my religion. Death is losing what we know, losing everything in an instant that we have spent a lifetime holding on too. So everything goes, including, being right, ideals, values, concepts, bias, judgements, and so on. So rather than being with what is, we escape. Rather than sitting with it,” Okay here I am, so and so has died, but I feel lonely, scared, sorrowful”, and so rather than being with that, we escape and form more turmoil. Rather than admit, okay I am attempting to escape this now, once you see your escaping, then you are able to be with it, be with what is happening, so you discover the lonely feeling, the loss, but what has been lost. This person which you have had in your life, but is the sorrow for them, or is it your own self pity for the loss. What are you going to do? Right. I am not suggesting death and dying shouldn’t be felt, but I am simply asking you to be with the example. Death was coming, no surprise, and yet you wanted to escape it. By not being with your own death, it is difficult not to bring that to another. So they die, and now you have loss. You feel this loss. So you stay with the loss of the person and as you stay with the loss, which is loneliness, you go deeper and you realize that you never knew how to love, that you have never loved, that your love is selfish. That your love for this person, religion, idea of them, memories of them, was really what you were in love with. But that isn’t love, that is really death. You were living to die. You weren’t love, but because of their death, they were able to point you to love, real love, which is acceptance of now.
If you were to cut your arm, you would take action, but if you thought about cutting your arm then it would be different. Most religions sell you on ideas, traditions, rituals, and an idea about a afterlife. Give us money and when you die, after being saved you will meet so and so in heaven. This existence is hell we told on earth, but when you leave all will be well. You will be well. So you feel good for a short time with the idea. Problem solved, no thinking, follow the mind made rules and live a good life, and all the stuff that comes, and then I can get a free ticket to heaven, God loves my group more and so we are chosen. My Jesus did this for me, my Jesus saved me, my Jesus died for me, and yet depending on what you believe the outcome changes, depends on your faith. So we are conditioned to not question the myth, stories, and ask deeper questions. Of course you crave happiness, you crave love, because you might have been baptized as a sinner (mistake), and if that is your start in life then the rest is just trying to survive to get anywhere but here. So you are born powerless. So where do you go? Well you have to go where there is power. Because if they have power out there then they know the way. But you soon learn that they are powerless as well. So you are unsatisfied and you leave the religion. The search for who you are begins, now something knows you are free. But the mind is so conditioned by powerlessness, gripped by fear, worry, confusion on trusting itself, trusting its life, that it searches for anything, like a lost soul. Lost in translation. It continues with what it knows, to survive to keep alive, to work, struggle, live in pain, torture, because that is the images it was sold. Images of a man crucified for you, and a group of people wrote texts on this man being the only sun (son) of God. So what is left for you but to follow the only one. Right? Lets be real now. So here you are lost and confused. Then some lonely traveler suggests that you have power, in you, but like a wounded child, you don’t want to look at it. See it. You start to think, which, got here in the first place, your thinking and not questioning, “How can I have power?” Deep inside you feel wounded, angry, abandoned, hopeless, and astray. You are in life of pain and that is your comfort. You have no idea of love,except the idea and images you were sold in stories, myths, TV, and film. This conditional love. You are even told Jesus loved unconditionally, forgave unconditionally. But if he was chosen then there is no hope for you. God had plans for him and not you. You get mix messages, just like the mind. God is love and created all, but only created one son, what? It sounds like the mind.
So you are weary, tired, alone, and you are yearning for a connection to something bigger. There has to be something bigger here, this can’t be it. I have to save myself from myself. So maybe you come back to religion, or you turn to drugs, food, drama, chaos, fights, not because you really want too, but because your pain is your comfort, loving yourself makes no sense. It makes no sense because you feel abandoned by God. But God never left you.
Maybe you stay there, maybe you crumble, maybe at this point you don’t give a care anymore, it is up too you. Or maybe as you read this, you discover that closing your eyes and breathing gives you comfort. But the noise is so loud and you feel uncomfortable. But in a instant you felt a minute of peace. So the next day, you come back and the discovery gets longer. You continue on, and as you continue on you realize that the silence is the freedom. That Jesus, and Buddha were messengers for all of us. They taught us how to connect to the everything and make it personal. It’s in you. That silence has no dogma, no rules, no levels, no greater than or less than, it simply is profound. And when realized by you, then you can see the real message of Jesus, that he was speaking about the Christ in you, in me, and in everyone. That Buddha was speaking of the Buddha nature in you, and me, and everyone. Call it the witness, call it God-consciousness, call it what you will, the name isn’t important. The experience is. The experience is personal and sacred for each person. Remember you are hu-man which means God-man. Jesus and Buddha just want you to discover the God, to understand the man. When you do, you will discover your spiritual nature. Freedom. True freedom.
When this happens, you will understand the universal laws of love, adjustment, cause, attraction, forgiveness, and celebrate in spiritual centers of Truth not fear. You will explore death and sit with it. Your death. And when you discover what death is, as you live now, you will discover what Jesus meant when he said, “Heaven is at hand.” You can’t see till you stop running from it. Stop running from death, and you will discover God. You are not a mistake, you are made good, all of you, not some of you, all of you. ”God created all and it was good.” So let this be an invitation to re-examine, to question, to look at it the escape, the story, that we are repeating to ourselves and propagating in the ourselves and the world. You may go from religion to religion, but ask yourself, “What am I really scared of finding out? What is this idea of death? Is it real? Is it false? What are my superstitions? What have I been taught about God? What is running from now?” Celebrate your life, not run from it. Celebrate your spirit with a group who includes all, whether that group is religious or spiritual in nature.