Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Religion vs Truth

In one of my methaphysical classes, I met someone, let's call him X, who I later hang out with. He eventually told me he was a Born Again Christian, which I had no clue what it meant, except that it made him ... dogmatic, stiff, closed, scared, and rather vicious, to put it mildly. It made him quit talking to me every time I questioned his behavior which was totally not consistent with what I consider true Christianity to be, i.e. really following teachings of Jesus Christ - treating thy neighbor as thysels, walking in other person's shoes, etc. X never did that. In fact, he did some rather mean and violent things that are clearly in opposition to that, and never felt a trace of remorse - because those things weren't in the Bible, so it was ok to do them. Some other things that were in the Bible he wasn't upset at all about, for example being divorced. He was happily divorced although Bible says it's not ok.

So I asked: what kind of God allowed that kind of schizophrenic existance?

X would typically answer by saying something mean, running away and totally quitting talking with me.

I kept on wondering what exactly made him rather cool and cruel, always trying to make himself look good and even lie and hurt others to protect his "good face".

FInally I understood, one day when X did something mean to me and then didn't own it at all, but then shortly turned around to expound with great passion (but in a rather shallow and artificial preachy voice) trying to get me to get into it! about how "Jesus Christ is THE ONLY way to salvation, and nothing else works." I asked: how about Buddha? He said: Buddha cannot save you.

I asked why then millions of people have been and still are finding peace and enlightement through Buddha's teachings. Or sufi teachings, or whatever. There are so many saints out there, of so many religions and beliefs. They all reached God, one way or another. God is One.

X said that they are all wrong.

This concept of dissing other people, putting them down and plain rejecting any evidence that something else is working, and trying to zelously convert to your stuff, is rather ... nazi, isn't it.

We all know that some stuff works and some doesn't. It is obvious for some stuff, like killing people, isn't it. We put murderer's in jail and that's it, we don't feel guilty, it is clear. However, spiritual path is something else, it is a very slippery topic, and there are MANY paths and they all lead to God. Some paths are longer, some are shorter, some are dead ends...

This church stuff is definitely one of the dead ends. How is it possible to reach God when the heart is closed? When the EGO MIND picks what is ok to love and what isn't. When the EGO MIND makes decisions and leads one's life. When the ego mind always turns away from any serious look at oneself and turns around to trying to dole it over others.

X is not being able to move on into living his life from integrity - witnessing and accepting what he truly feels and owning what he does in action - because his heart has this inherent lock. It is not possible to penetrate it. He will never be able to see clearly. Because, some feelings and actions are simply not acceptable to his beliefs, and he will HAVE TO close his eyes to it because he has no mechanism to deal with it. He was never taught that, and furthermore, was taught to sweep it under the rug and pretend it doesn't exist. So he is one of the asleep masses out there, never wishing and never trying to wake up.

It is all church stuff... Church has rigid rules about what is "good" and "acceptable" and what is not, and the punishment for being "bad" is rather severe. So, people try to really fake it being good at any cost.

Also, Church instills this feeling of "being special" and belonging to a very prestigious, powerful group, which is always helped by God and always saved. And the other people who do not beling to this elitist club are simply evil and/or stupid and should be converted and/or destroyed. It gives "the club members" a false sense of importance.

And, finally, what is taught is blind obedience, and literal obedience. Church stuff is all very mental. There is no experiences, there is only dogma. The Bible says ....... and so it is. There is no questioning as to what is really being said, who wrote the stuff there (the Bible was rewritten many times and not every word in it is truth), why do different versions of Bible use different words for the same thing, like "sweetness" vs "goodness", what do those words REALLY mean, are the stories metaphorical and what do they really mean, and so on.

Church followers are like children with very authoritarian parents who they listen to not because they believe in what the parent is saying, and not because of good communications with the parent, but because the parent instills fear in them. So, out of fear, they obey - ON THE SURFACE.

This is very old model. It works for very unaware people, to keep them out of trouble - for example, it prevents some sleeping around, cheating, lieing, stealing, murders, etc - but again, only on surface.

Because, whoever wouldn't do those things anyways because they feel it is not right, would not do them anyways. And whoever would do them because it seems tempting, is going to do them - under the radar. And feel guilty, and make a whole big soap opera thing out of it. There might be a few people who would love to misbehave but the guilt keeps them from doing it, and maybe those are the only ones who benefit, but again - the benefit is doubtful, since it comes from the sense of GUILT and FEAR, not out of sense of Truth and Love.

There is some love in those old fashioned teachings, and church can make it sound good with all the chummy stuff like "love thy neighbor as thyself", "God loves you", etc. but the contradiction and the tragedy is that church misuses it and misinterprets it, and it leads to more problems and closing down of human being. It is like a parent who says nice things and promises a lot, but never really does anything about it, and keeps on punishing you for every little stray. Yes, God loves you, but he will burn you to crisps and send you to hell if you misbehave just once! And he watches! all the time! don't you dare make a wrong move! So here is the book of rules, and make sure you stick to it... And just know that you are bad, bad bad!!! Shame on you!

X very strongly identifies with all these Christian teachings, but I never saw him practice any of it. I never saw him be truly compassionate, love his neighbor as himself, walk in other people's shoes first, turn the other cheek, or whatever. What he was is a highly self protective, cover-his-ass, cold and rather cruel person, always hitting you real hard if he felt even a slightest intent towards his cheek. Always distant and never able to relate. Deep down there was something real and warm, but really burried and never having a chance to come out. Meanwhile, the fake part was in charge, so X felt free to talk about loving thy neighbor as thyself and at the same he didn't walk his talk at all, he didn't even talk with his own children. After pressure from me, he started talking with his own kids, but it never went too far, because there is always that wall.

X just could not relate to anyone, there is always a wall....

So, what became evident from dealing with my church-brainwashed friend is that he was from the old school, and his whole life was based on guilt and fear. He did find his church environment rather stale and did try to find something else outside of the box, and that's how I got to meet him, but his loyalty stayed in the box, because that's what he believes in, deep down. He believes in SEPARATION and walling oneself off.

He wasn't committed to Truth at all. He tried dabbling in it, attended some metaphysical classes, but never really proceeded to practice it in his own life. Because, it is a fork in the road.

It is not possible to follow paths of guilt and Truth at the same time. They completely diverge and lead to totally different directions. It is trying to sit on both chairs at once, have your cake and eat it too, live out of the box but stay in old box. It is impossible.

The path of Truth requires living in the moment, aware in every single moment. There is no dogma there, there are no books to follow, there is nothing to follow except that Moment, crystal clear clarity about the moment. There is no place to hide, everything is exposed in that moment...

The path of Truth requires daily meditation, and constant observing of oneself, with total impartiality and objectivity, in the moment. Whatever we see, we see. We see ourselves as jerks, as goody goodies, as nice, as mean, as tired, as cranky, as glorious, as happy, as ANYTHING.

WE JUST SEE. And we keep on witnessing. No judgements. Just watching.

At the same time, we talk to God. As we are. God doesn't want us to be "nice" or to just be childish and just keep on asking for favors and things. God wants us to really really relate to him, and to love him as we can, in our limited but very precious human ability.

We need to talk with God. Meaning: we need to say things to him, and we need to Listen. Saying things to God is prayer. Listening means meditation.

First, we fake it, then eventually we might understand:


And to treat all Life like that - with Appreciation and Care.

This is a very tall order, because there are too many obstacles on our path, so this path of Truth requires very good support, experienced guides, and daily practice. In short, it is a path of Work, of really really focused, long term, Work. At first, it is rather hard and painful too... Because, there are so many contradictions in ourselves, there are so many negativities, and seeing ourselves as we are is NOT PRETTY at all. Then, we start seeing more and more, and it becomes easier and easier. Eventually, I am told, we simply melt back into God.

This path is the path of Clarity, of true Peace, of true Bliss. It doesn't mean that we never again get tired, angry, etc. It means that we do not get stuck there, we do not dwell there, we keep on coming back to the Path of Clarity and Peace. As soon as we find ourselves off, we come back.

If I am tired, I rest. If I am angry, I deal with it. Anger usually means I feel violated and hurt and am trying to protect myself. I try to find out what made me feel that way, and I deal with it.

One rule is that I ALWAYS LOOK AT MYSELF. No matter how "wrong" other people might seem to be, I always look at myself, honestly and impartially. I don't look at myself to beat myself up or to pat myself on the back. I just look and whatever I see, I see. If it is bad, I have to suffer seeing myself act stupid, and I have to try to behave differently. If it is good, I have to stay calm and humble. That is what means to own it. And I always ask God for help.

This is the path of mysticism, metaphysics, enlightement, waking up, call it whatever you want. Perhaps it is not for everyone and that's why few people will walk it. However, it is the path meant for everyone, for everyone is a child of God and needs to go Back Home. As far as we can travel. Also, our Earth needs people who are conscious enough to take care of our world, so that we have a place to live and live well.

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