Religion is the expression and formalization of the deep desire to rejoin the innate wholeness of our original being. It is a finger pointing in the direction its adherents should walk. It is not the destination, it is a path to walk, step by step, each in their own way. No way is exclusive, nor proprietary but simply a means to the same end: releasing the structures of conditional identity and assuming the light of our original face before the birth of time.
As a species, we appear to be on the cusp of a great turning, a turning both towards the darkness of fear unleashed and as well, the light unceasing. Many religious leaders all over the globe are calling for tolerance to prevail, for wisdom to trump stupidity, and for the light of truth to reveal the way forward. It is in times of most challenge that the human spirit demonstrates its capacity to transcend differences and to forge forth beyond the reasonable, into the undiscovered country of reasonless love.
I know for myself that the shelter of any of the traditions I have followed (mystic Christianity and Advaita Vedanta) have been essential to any awakening beyond the borders and outlines of belief. Yet to indisputably meet the divine on its own turf – the inscrutable and unknowable Mystery – is to realize the insufficiency of any spiritual and religious technologies when brought to bear upon the quest for “GOD”. For to “know” God by whatever description or name is to admit to having received the blessing of divine ignorance beyond all of the mind’s attempts to catch the uncatchable in the net of words, concepts, and principles.
It is to serenely meet naked Silence with silence.
Christ’s silence before the probing curiosity of Pontius Pilate was the only possible response to the question “What is truth?”
So how to allow religion to fulfill its promise of the “Peace that passeth understanding”?
It is to go beyond the furthest edges of belief and practice, it is to enter the “dark night” and reemerge from the dense darkness of God’s light, utterly stripped of all “knowing” – as fragile as a newborn, yet granted the unearned grace of freedom from all fear. It is to walk back into the light of a mortal day engined by “That which liveth in me”.
“And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:19-20).
It is to ultimately allow the muddiness of our humanity to settle sufficiently so that the clear water of inner stillness provide clarity of vision and purpose, allowing the actions for “change” (of self first, and as a consequence of society second) to arise in their own fullness, and not willed out of the muddied state of anxiety so “normal” to our normal selves!
Lastly, it is my understanding that Religion is inextricably bound in Spirituality and that they are not different in kind, but only in degree. Neither one “better” than the other. Each serving their purpose within the fabric of divine intent, but to be Itself…