The Danger of Religion
Dear Friends, perhaps I am taking the risk of losing some of you as readers with the following words. However, the necessity of the "saying" itself and the possible liberation offered to some because of it, vastly outweighs the probability of many others turning away. One lost sheep found by the shepherd is better than the lost thousands who wander aimlessly following each other. The current global situation is indicative of this, so here goes!
Religion, as a word comes from the Latin re-ligare which means to re-link, or re-ligament. We get our English word ligament from the ligare part. And what is a ligament? It is that strong fibrous material that holds the muscles to the bones and allows our skeletal system to function and move. So religion is supposed to be a way for humankind to relink with its source, joining the soft muscles of our humanity with the skeleton of God. The idea of religion is to offer a way for humanity to rejoin a Divinity from which it has somehow been separated. This is so far from the truth it is abhorrent. It seems to me this idea of religion has been a terrible failure in itself. It has never completely succeeded in bringing humanity back to its root and in fact "Religion" has been the obvious cause of many if not all our personal and global conflicts. This is still occurring in the world as I write these words to you .
If we are speaking of a "re"-linking we are assuming that somehow, somewhere we have been told or led to believe that there is a divide between ourselves and the infinite itself. Many teachers, clerics, ministers and theological interpreters have told us that we must return, repent, follow a ritual or a rule, go to temple or a church, read a holy book, kneel, pray, give alms, beat our breast and follow whatever words a savior or holy person has said, either literally (Fundamentalism) or follow the interpretation of some teachers words as offered by other religious "leaders." (Theology and Dogma)
This is a totally ridiculous and untrue travesty. We are NOT separated from God!
All the greatest teachers from every tradition have said the same simple things: You are already free. You are already joined with the divine. You are already enlightened. Your very being is spirit itself. You are the way, itself. In your realization of your own nothingness, you have realized the nothingness itself. You are the Pure Silence. All you need do is stop everything else for one moment right now and say yes.
A few caring people have done this and in their own realization they have compassionately shared the truth with their neighbors, showing them that the door to freedom is within themselves. Some of those neighbors who heard it have looked and found their own freedom within. Some people have heard this and immediately wanted to follow the teacher and even went to the extent of calling the teacher a god or a great prophet, holy man or saint. This is how religions themselves were created. Instead of following the message of the teacher, followers followed the teacher. None of the true teachers could accept this and I'm sure many were upset about this. Also sadly, many people refused to believe the simple message of truth within themselves offered by these enlightened teachers, and thru their own indomitable beliefs lashed back at any teacher professing that "man is already free." Many ended up killing (crucifying) the teachers.
So that is where we are today. Most religions believe that they have the fullness of truth. Most religions have become political, cultural or economic systems themselves. Most religions have become dependent on the followers themselves for self-preservation. And all this is done in the name of truth, love and brother/sisterhood. This is the horror which has caused nearly every major war in our history. This is the horror which keeps people on their knees psychologically, filled with guilt, unfulfilled prayers, blind faith and the illusion of another and better life after this one. This is the horror which deludes the thinking of an individual, to fly an airliner filled with innocent people into a skyscraper, killing themselves and thousands. And this will be the horror that until we see through it, will destroy the earth.
Dear friends, Karl Marx said that "religion is an opiate confusing the people." As much as I disdain and disagree with the communist ideal, he was quite on target with this sentence. This simple fact that we believe we need something to give us freedom and to fill up the emptiness we experience in our minds and hearts during this short life, is a blockage to freedom itself. There is not much difference between blindly following a religion and taking an illicit drug. Both are ways to somehow fill our emptiness and keep us numb and keep us from facing ourselves and reality as it is.
I want you to try something. This is very important. Ask your self," Is there anything permanent in my life? Is there anything which has never changed, which through all experiences, everything I have done, read, said or thought is always there? Is there something really sacred, really immeasurable, really unchanging?" If you want to find the freedom that you already are that is where you must begin to look. And what you will find (100% guaranteed) is only your simple, choiceless awareness of being itself as pure silent emptiness. There is that space in your brain where there is only silence, between and before and after all thoughts. That is pure consciousness or awareness itself. And there is God, and that is always with you, in you, through you. No one can take it away from you, and no one can give it to you. It is you. It is found in your own mind, unencumbered by thought or belief. And all the great religions point to this within your very self.
I have a challenge for you. For this moment, give up your belief in anything. Have courage and let go all that you have been taught. For one moment let go of your religion with its creeds and gods and sins and saviors. Let go of every thought. Even this one. As hard as it is or appears to be, let go of your religious belief completely. What is a religious belief? It is the thoughts of some other human being written down or followed or theologized by others. Do you want to follow the thoughts of others or do you want to be free? You cannot do both. Do you want to find that to which all true teachers are pointing or do you want to follow the crowds with their traditions, ideologies and demands or the hierarchies with their power, control and wealth? Stop it all right now and see what is left, see what is still in you, independent of any belief and yet encompassing all beliefs. There is something magnificent here, right now. That is what you are, the pure silence of love itself. Realizing this, you have found infinity itself: timeless, nameless, unchanging. From here let your life happen to you and you will see the miracle of Being in ways I cannot begin to describe. Leave religion behind and you may just find God. All I know for sure is that if every one on earth did this right now, there would never be war again.
Peace to you!
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