I have been spending a lot of time researching, listening, and soul-searching the spiritual journey versus the journey by way of organized religion. Most of what I have learned about the spiritual journey I agree with, some is put on a back burner for now, and some information is just interesting to ponder. The belief is we are eternal beings with unique personalities having a human experience, and in so doing the teachers, practitioners, and novices all have a bit different interpretation of their journey to share with others. Why? Because everyone’s journey is unique to them, plain and simple. Our journeys shouldn’t all look alike. We are all at different levels of spiritual awareness. Naturally, those seeking a higher awareness and deeper relationship with the Divine have greater insight than those beginning their journey. Some of us have no awareness at all and that is okay, too. We aren’t all ready for deeper and higher levels of truth, some will never be in this lifetime.
Organized religion looks at relationship with God differently, at least that has been my experience having been a part of several different denominations, and interacting with many different people over the years, all working their way toward heaven in one way or another. But is that the point? And, it has been my experience, the collective of organized religion expect us all to look and behave very much alike leaving little room for discussion, opinion, or just plain disagreement.
Let’s get real for a moment. Relationship with God, in the Christian paradigm, is centered around acknowledging “sin”, and asking forgiveness for every perceived or actual wrong done to others. Ultimately the belief is that we are committing the act or directing unkind words or deeds toward Jesus, Himself, driving one more nail into His already beaten and broken body. Not to mention we are bereft of any good whatsoever outside of a thorough washing in the blood of Jesus.
In truth, I have absolutely nothing against organized religion. Everyone should be allowed to journey with the Divine as a unique spirit, in the way that most resonates with them, and yet many within organized religion are quite critical of those who chose a different path of love. Church members pray and intercede on behalf of the “lost souls” who will not be welcomed into the pearly gates should they pass on without “asking Jesus into their hearts”. We need to ask ourselves, if God is love, is He so narrow-minded that His philosophy is “my way or the highway”?
Psychology and just plain observation of others tells us that those who need to vehemently defend their territory are in reality feeling threatened. Who is the defensive rhetoric directed toward? If I am comfortable with my journey and don’t feel the need to defend it I have no need to stir myself into a religious frenzy, but I have certainly seen and experienced exactly that from devout followers.
Humanity is expert at drawing the proverbial line in the sand daring any to believe differently lest the other suffer the consequences. I think we see that being played out everyday the world over. This group is opposed to that group, that race against this race, the list is endless, and in the end everyone suffers; no one wins. Organized religion, especially those in predominantly fundamental churches, practice a veiled form of “we are right, you are wrong”. Don’t believe me? Ever been handed a tract with stories of hell fire and brimstone, found a “Jesus loves you” fake dollar bill on the floor of the mall restroom, or been witness to a prayer vigil asking God to save a particular group of lost souls?
And so, here I am navigating unfamiliar, yet strangely familiar waters. I am at peace with my journey after so many years of struggling to sort out the questions, the contradictions, and make sense of the confusing messages. Not all spiritual teachers and seekers share the same mindset, yet are willing to accept what resonates with another, understanding all of our journeys look different. Offense is not taken if one understands the Divine as God, while another the Source, and others still Universal Consciousness. There is acceptance for the nuggets of truth found along the path of love, self-discovery and deeper understanding. We are at peace. I have not found this to be true in the world of organized religion.
Many within the walls of church doctrine become agitated, some outright angry, others move on as if those who ask questions are a heavenly lost cause, all driven by perceived threat to their belief system. Salvation of the lost seems to be a joint effort between God and the devout. What if God really doesn’t need help in relationship with the created?
The spiritual journey focuses on change within. Yeshua (Jesus) taught that very principle however, many of those I have had contact with are focused on changing others. Didn’t Yeshua speak to that when He called the religious of His day whitewashed tombs; appearing clean on the outside yet rotting within? Spirit path focuses on change within self to bring about peace, which makes a lot more sense to me. If I am truly peaceful, resonating positive energy, loving others without judgment the attitude is obvious without a word being spoken. On the flip side if I am judging, listing all the things one must do and cannot do to be saved or otherwise acceptable, others will feel defeated, not empowered.
The more I study, read, listen and seek, the more I am convinced Yeshua was teaching as we are to live; from a spirit-centered base, living, breathing, and demonstrating full awareness of the power of the Creator residing in each of us. He lived the reality of a fully actualized spirit, with a unique soul, living a human existence to show us we have access today to all He embodied. We don’t need to wait until the sweet-by-and-by….