Anam Cara - Losing your Religion
I am sitting before a window of morning light "losing my religion."
I feel fine about this. I was not aware that I had a religion. All the better then that I am losing it. I have a deep love for religious teachings. I love the words from the Bible, The Upanishads, The Bhagavad-Gita, the Dhammapada and many other beautiful books of love. All these words are useful. They are like the support wheels on a child's bike. They help. They give confidence. They give re-assurance. They call. They lift the heart. They help us embrace the invisible.
Only to "be religious" you have to let go of all words.
You have to lose "your religion" so that you become "religious." You have to take the risk that without the support you will find balance. Letting go into the heart with trust and faith you will find you can support yourself. Rather than be a "religious person" you become a being of light. You drop belief in order to "be life."
Many of us who profess faith fear loosing it. We fear that one day "our faith" will no longer be there. This is because it is "our faith." We are the ones who cling to it for "dear life." Ask us to give up the support of the wheels on each side of our life and we fear we will fall into and abyss. We might even end up in hell.
When you let go into real faith and trust you fall into balance. You can flow with life. It is already holding you up. You cannot fall out of life no matter how hard you try. With "your faith" you are like a fish in the ocean looking for water. You hold on to the extent that you miss. Many of us who are "religious people" do our religion. We do the practice. We engage with the ritual. We belong to a group. The more people we have in our group the more it seems that the truth of what we "believe in" is manifested. Assuredness in "our faith" becomes a numbers game.
Losing "your religion" is a requirement of the seeker.
This is the one who wishes to know the full experience of love and life eternal. Your religion will eventually have to go. Everything has to go. In the end the very idea of God has to go. In this letting go of all that you think you are "love is." The Beloved is seen and you return to your original face. You and the dance of life are one.
Does the mean we do away with all the Churches, Temples, Mosques and other places of worship. These places are not the issue. It is the attachment to such places and their teachings that are the issue. The teachings are needed. They help take you beyond. Only rather than liberate they themselves often become the prison. We get attached to our "religious" label and then anything can be and is justified in the "name of God."
Losing your religion is a great cause for celebration.
You become an individual. For one moment you are free. You only need one moment. The experience of the Divine opens up to the unidentified heart. The surrendered heart is waiting in the moment to be fulfilled. It is filled with the experience of love eternal. There is only the experience and nothing but the experience. There is no ego getting in the way to step between you and the dance. For one moment you are life and not someone having a life experience.
For one moment you relax into being life.
You are not Tony Cuckson (to use myself as an example) having an experience of life. You are life itself. You are life experiencing the joy of living. Life is only moment-to-moment and you know that life is love. There is no problem. Tony Cuckson is the problem. Our identification with ego is the problem.
To lose your religion you need strong ego boundaries.
You need to be able to stand-alone. You need to be able to be comfortable in your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. You need integrity. You need to be one body. You flow toward discovery that you are integral. Then at one time you are integral. You are certain. Certainty comes. This is not something that is cerebral. It is total. It is whole. It makes you whole and holy.
This is the religious experience.
The religious experience is not dogma. It is not fixed for eternity. It is forever in flow. Dogma is the stagnant pool that too many drink from and espouse as being "the water of life." They live far from the river and even further from the ocean.
In the religious experience one becomes knowing. One goes beyond the issue of believing in God. What to believe when you know. Belief is a hindrance. It holds you back. Belief, as I understand it, is an instruction to "be life." This is the key to the door of the prison of illusion.
Somehow this word "belief" has been devalued. It has come to be understood as an attitude of mind. It has become something that one chooses rather than one becomes. Yet we use the words "beyond belief" to describe the most extra ordinary experience. This is the "religious experience." This experience as we know has and always will be "beyond belief."
The experience of the Beloved is "beyond belief."
Beyond belief you are a life of being. The Beloved comes and dances. You and the dance are forever one. What if you stop believing? What will happen to you? If you are lucky you will begin to disappear. You will feel empty. The wheels supporting "your life" have been removed.
Do not confuse "belief" with "non-belief." Each is the other side of the coin. Each is a choice. " With belief" and "non-belief" there is still the ego. There is still the tension of the ego. The one who knows needs no belief. The one who knows goes beyond the limitation of ego. There is only the knowing. There is the delight of knowing "one is."
So here I am writing in my corner and "losing my religion." These "religious teaching" have been companions and a support along the way. These teachings have been a vehicle for "going beyond." They have been a vehicle to carry "little me" beyond belief. This is so that "little me" disappears into the knowing of love.
This is not such a loss.
For many, religion has become a burden. They carry this burden on their backs much of their lives. I have, as a child, been taught by many who have carried such a burden. I have seen the burden of religion carried by many people in the country of Northern Ireland. This is the country into which I was born. This is a county were religion rather than the religious experience has and still reigns. This is no different to most countries.
Religion for many has become and issue of comfort from the fear of death. It is an issue of security. Many belong to a religious group "just in case." For some this is because of feelings of deep unworthiness and self-doubt. Rather than be lifted up they carry the additional weight of a religious book. This often becomes a prison rather than the key to liberation.
"Religion" as a word means, "to bind. The word "religious" means "reverence." One keeps you tied and the other gives freedom. You are either a "religious person" or you are a "being of love." One can be a satisfactory ego identity and the other is the experience of peace beyond understanding.
Lose your religion.
Become the experience of reverence and surrender. Christ was not a Christian. Buddha was not a Buddhist. Mohammad was not a Muslim. They were all living experiences of Universal love manifesting within time, space and culture. Each is the knower of eternity. Theirs is the living teachings beyond belief.
© Tony Cuckson
Tony Cuckson is an Anam Cara. This Celtic term means "Soul Friend." He specializes in providing insight for the spiritual journey, Blessings for YOU, words of wisdom and finding inner peace. Visitors to Irish Blessings Matter website and Tony's Blog get the opportunity to develop a purpose driven life through articles, newsletters and other programs.
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