religions and spirituality: why can't we all just get along?
someone asked in a discussion group online about why religions and spirituality don't seem to get along so well.
these are a few of my thoughts, just off the top of my head:
I think the difference between religions and spirituality comes down to the devolution of real knowledge.
what I mean is this -- every religion we can think of had its origins with an amazing, divine soul (like a Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, various Holy Mothers, etc., whomever you like). these characters were bridges between the human experiences in this world and the Truth-with-a-capital-T, the immortal, unchanging, blissful universal something behind the stage where the human dramas are played out.
because these enlightened few KNEW both realities, the Truth and the illusion of this world, they could operate in both. I think Jesus' comments about 'be in this world but not of it" speak quite clearly to this idea.
however -- the immediate students of these masters didn't realize the innermost truths for themselves, and so were reduced to imitating the masters, or needing lists of rules and regulations about how the Truth might operate.
within one generation or two at the most, the cosmic game of Telephone ensues, the living, breathing, dynamic spiritual knowledge imparted from the bonafide divine characters devolves into dogma, empty ritual, belief systems, moral codes and so on.
and le voila, religions are born -- collections of rules and beliefs that may or may not (mostly not, in my opinion/experience) bear much relationship to the original teachings/messages/modes of the teacher who brought the initial spiritual spark into this world.
and -- added to the spice -- many of the world religions have differing points of view. plus, of course, the human tendency for power struggles, dominance and stature gets overlaid on the original teachings, too.
so, the religions wind up at odds with one another.
and often threatened by the presence of 'spirituality,' which to my understanding really means researching deeply, internally, on these great cosmic questions starting with "who am I, really?" and then restoring something of the dynamism back to the process of spiritual/religious experience. not only accepting the teachings and dogmas at face value, but researching for oneself.
that's my two rupees for today. = )