Religion and Spirituality
I see people around the world in this age of materialism have many doubts and misunderstandings about religious topics. We see many basic questions:
Are Religions good or evil? Should we believe or follow this or that? Is it Truth or it's not a Truth? Is there a God or there is no God?! May be we should not follow Religion but some Spirituality?!
Some learned people say, it is very important to ask the right questions and do it correctly. And may be questions themselves often implicitly contain the answer itself. And as I see most of those questions are often wrong. If somebody questions me on the street: 'Do you believe in God?' - It's very difficult to answer unless I know what they mean by 'God' and 'to believe'. Right? And not of lesser importance: WHY would I believe or disbelieve?
Let's try to apply some clear thinking, which even a small kid can understand and solve these knots.
And the very first question that comes to my mind is:
What is the world? What is the reality?
- The reality is what I percieve through my senses and think in my mind, Right? It would be strange enough to imagine some reality which is un-thinkable, im-perceptible and may be un-spokable?! May be there is such, may be not - it is beyond my possible reach. Some people may start to guess or argue what is like the 'reality out of our reach' - but I believe we can avoid that. If something is beyond our reach and perception, it doesn't mean we are stupid.
- So, it was said - the world is an image in our consciousness.
And the next question arises - What is TRUTH?! What is Wisdom?
It is clear - the reality can be described in different ways. There are things wich philosophers and scientists understand differently and argue, there are things which ordinary people understand differently and argue. And what are we looking for?! For some highly theoretical truth or truth for particular person in his or her particular circumstances of life, their perception of truth?!
Most philosophers and scientists agree - The TRUTH - is what is beneficial for us, what helps us to live.
If we imagine someone sick - and we give him to drink some herbal tee - and he get's better - we consider it was True and if he gets worse - it's not true, we continue searching....
If something helps us, something works for us, we usually don't bother much, what people say, what scientists say, what say American politicians, what Russian politicians and what Chinese - we decide it is true for us.
Religion. Why do you think it's something very much different? Yes, I am applying the rules mentioned above to Religion as well. I am not going to go deep in argue - whether leaves for my tea are real or unreal, really existing or just my dream. If religious practice is something that helps so many people and to myself - there must be some TRUTH.
I honestly believe - the question whether there is a God or not, whether God is 'Real' or just my perception or thought - is just a wrong question. Instead we must ask - does it work or not?!
For those who want the 'objective' truth - I have to answer, sorry, all this world is a perception and thought, a picture in my mind. God and his attributes are not less or more than that.
If we DO something and it work and we get new unsusual perceptions and development - we say - we BELIEVE. Hurrah! If something appearantly works and we percieve and are confident of that - we Believe and and have a FAITH in it! :)
Now, WHY is very important question. I have answered it in part already above - 'Because it works....' But in the very beginning it's most often a question of MOTIVATION and INCLINATIONS.
- To add a practical significance not only theoretical to the question - we usually have to answer very simple questions -
Do we wish a better world? Are we ready something to do about that or not and how much we would like to dedicate for it? Do we realize, that imperfect beings are spreading imperfections and confusions in the world and people working for perfection are spreading love and wisdom around? Do we have some compassion for our families, people around or not?
Yeah, these are the questions people should always ask and be ready to hosnestly answe to themselves!
Science, as good or bad it would be have not yet answered how to make a love, inner wisdom and brotherhood in the world and it doesn't seem like it will come soon. RELIGIONS instead have the methods, how to Meditate, Pray, think right and feel the blessing and spread it around.
I am myself born in Latvia - a former Soviet state, when I was a kid - we had many of the best ideals - about serving others, brotherhood, love and the best society....It didn't come true in 50 years - because there were no methods how to work with a mind and consciousness. And from bare ideals alone nobody is fed.
Some people may try to deny Religion and God, but it doesn't make them a better, more sincere, lovable persons...And most often they deny, because they don't have compassion and they don't want anything to do about that.
The question about God is not just some theorethical question to be replied with Yes/No , check which applies, it's something which makes great difference in mind and life and the path of life as a whole. It can add some MEANING to your life:) The SENSE that you are not just living some meaningless life to satisfy tour own sense, but you are living to sincerely do your best with this life as much is it is possible, as much the God gives...
Now, WHICH RELIGION? Which Religion out of them is true? - The One which works for you - is a short answer.
I will try to explain more together with a popular modern idea of SPIRITUALITY.
To understand what is Spirituality, we first have to understand what is Religion. Or at least how do I understand what is religion:
Religion is a METHOD to work with one's MIND, CONSCIOUSNESS. And in it's totality - it's a SYSTEM, which includes certain method of thinking, notions, meditations, objects of meditations - deities, etc., etc.
RELIGION -> THIS is the method, according to which during thousands of years innummerable people have received blessings, realizations, have become God- absorbed and fully realised beings.
- The same we can say about other Religions too.
And Here is the Hook - some people say - We will be SPIRITUAL instead, not Religious. And what do they do?! They MIX everything from most different religions together and think - they are the best, and they have taken all the best.
? Is it true? If I have 5 very delicious foods - and each one of them is great - and I mix them all together in one pot and trying to boil as they wish - I hardly doubt about the outcome. Reminds me an anecdote - I wasn't eating, my dog didn't eat, but they are eating! What a wonder!
- The question about Spirituality is not so much about Truth, rather about Efficiency. While I can find some great God-realized men in Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholic monasteries - so I can be confident their Method work - nobody can tell the Method of Spirituality or some New Age sect work. Or may be they work, but very often only for their leader, and not for everyone. - So, I would be very cautious about that.
I would recommend more traditional PATH - chose for yourself some certain Method, Religion, and apply it as good you can.
As for my own religion - I have even 2 Religions - Buddhism and Hinduism. It has been my own path, I have been practicing for long years one and another and again one and another, so - I love both and it would be impossible for me to tell which I love more - Mother or Father, they are both with me. And I know many more....
But even then - my path with several religions CANNOT be recommended for a general public, unless you are a full time Sadhu or Pandit. For most people it's not easy to understand and practice even sole religion. And Even I practice only one religion in time, when I practice it and not mix. However - I believe it has made more easy for me to understand different groups of religious people and more easy to communicate with different people.