I have always been deeply interested and curious about the striking similarities we can find in the teachings of great Spiritual Teachers like Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, and others. These great Spiritual Teachers have embodied proof of the undeniable existence of God (the Divine, the Cosmic Universe, Consciousness, the Creator, etc. )
However, the Spiritual Teachers did not personally start any religion, they simply shared their teachings and hoped that they would spread, so in time, their followers gathered in their name and established institutionalized religions based on their Masters’ teachings. Most institutionalized religions are based on ancient scriptures that are believed to represent the original teachings of the great Masters.
The problem that often arises when following scriptures is the conflicting interpretations of words. Although words and languages are one of our most trusted ways to communicate knowledge, words are limited and can be interpreted differently by different people in different stages of human history and evolution.
Therefore, it is hard to own the truth behind the words, especially if the words are being interpreted solely with our intellect, and in most cases people don’t even seek to interpret the words, they just take the interpretations of those who came before them and make them their own; which is what happens in most religions.
The reason why we can’t rely on our intellect or that of our ancestors is because the truth of God can not really be explained or measured, it can only be experienced. Our reasoning can not possibly grasp the immensity of the Divine, so it is literally impossible to convey it with words.
Another problem with religions is that in most cases they worship their Spiritual Leader and by doing so they often forget about the essence of their message. True Spiritual leaders are not seeking to be worshiped, they are trying to convey a message, the message of their experience of God. I once heard a metaphor that said that Spiritual Teachers are like a teapot containing a delicious magical tea, but religions are focused on worshiping the teapot instead of drinking the tea!
The experience of God or rather the experience of Truth (the truth of our existence) is open to every single human being, regardless of their religion or lack of, their level of education, their culture, their color, etc. there are no conditions to the experience of God, it is accessible to every single one of us. This is because the experience is unique to each of us and the truth is within everyone of us.
Although we can certainly use the wise teachings offered by religions, we need to seek the truth inside ourselves, if we don’t do this, the truth will never be revealed to us. The experience of God (or truth), is the inner knowing that lies dormant within every human being. This is something most great Spiritual Leaders have said, in different ways:
Jesus: “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)
Prophet Muhammad: “There is no intermediary between God and man. By remembering God, a person establishes direct contact with Him.”
“The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to reveal itself.” Thích Nhất Hạnh
The story of Brahma in Hinduism: “Brahma seated himself on the floating Lotus and looked in all directions for any other beings. Not seeing anyone around but feeling a desire for knowledge, he meditated, seeking knowledge within himself. There he found Truth, God himself, in his own heart, and looking around he now saw God everywhere.”
It is by removing the obstacles to our understanding that the truth will reveal itself from within. The problem is that our material existence brings a lot of obstacles to our understanding of the truth. Our judgments and resistance of our surroundings are major obstacles to our connection with our inner wisdom.
It is not easy to let go of these obstacles (distractions) as long as we are in a human body, but if we see our body as the temple that holds our spirit, our soul, our essence and our truth, we can begin to connect with it, even through our body itself. If we let go of our mind reasoning and logic, and our sense-based perceptions and judgments we can begin to connect to our inner knowing, we can allow it to come out, and we can start to feel the truth, to experience it.
The teachings of religions, as much as our everyday life experiences and relationships can be great teachers, because God (Truth) is revealing itself to us everyday and through everything, but it is only until we “take our blinders off” (remove the obstacles) that we can finally see the truth or rather feel it.
I encourage you to find ways in which to quiet your mind and let go of judgments, in order to find that silence within that will help you reveal the inner wisdom that lies beneath you.
Have a good week!
Related Articles and links:
If you are interested in exploring the similarities amongst religions I recommend you look at The Harmony Project Website.
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