(image above – Spirit Within Me, Oleg Zhivetin)
I remember seeing a few seconds on TV once how John Paul II had gotten into his private prayer as he was focused in on the God of his religion. Anybody looking at him might marvel and wonder if his religion is a true way, a one pathway to perfection.
John Paul’s pathway was true to him. He was surrounded by all the symbols and ritual of that religion. I believe that in a lifetime of prayer and meditation John Paul transcended all the worldliness, clutter, dogma, ritual and found his inner spirit, a piece of the universal whole, of God.
I believe that “the found spirit within” leads to rebirth after the physical death to the immortal soul. The physical body is theory on the other side of death, just as the soul is theory looking forward in time, beyond our time here.
I believe that some people can follow John Paul along his path to God and along his or her own religion, ethical and spiritual belief system. When we consciously do what is morally right over what is wrong and in recognition of a greater whole of the community, we are being spiritual, we transcend the body and touch the spirit within.
The pathway to God is a true pathway. There are many, many smaller paths that lead to that one major road to soul.
So too, Protestants, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a hundred other religions and sects are capable of transcending the physical and attain a communion with the spiritual realm of the universe.
People who withdraw from religion do so sometimes because it can become a road block to development of the spirit within.
People who live with the words and ritual of formal religion may also be closer to oneself and one’s inner search and in transcendence to spirit and soul.
There is not one right way to enlightenment. It is an individual choice. Whatever works for you. Because it is right for one, it may not be right for another.
Man is religion. I talk of roadblocks to spiritual development. When a group of individuals believe and follow some social spiritual pathway it might be good for a small group. The individuals involved determine the quality of any quest or its ultimate destination.
Along the timeline of history past in the west, a groupthink, a goal for political oneness has overshadowed or stifled individual effort and energy in many personal spiritual quests.
In one sense the game that came down to us as organized religion was a package deal. You denied yourself the right to individual search and individual achievement. Your reward was a charter bus tour to heaven. Individuality was an unevolved alien concept in the past.
In essence, the teacher Jesus says that salvation is salvation. It has no real sense of measurement. It just is what it is. The laborers in the vineyand getting the same wage at the end of the day is the same no matter what the effort. The important thing is join in the labor of the vineyard. The search.
I have heard of and seen the aspects of Buddhism. The search is one of inwardness to inward calm and peace. While this is not necessarily soul it would appear to be spirit and the goal of an achievement of closeness to an inner self and or inner spark. Is that spark devine?
Buddhism changes from country to country and geography to geography. Buddha as a man is treated with great respect. Only in a few instances is he confused with “God”.
We in the west have confused Jesus with God and or the universal whole. With the collapse of our religious historic base in recent decades, people do not realize how free they are politically and freedom brings responsibility and the tools to be moral and spiritual on an individual basis. To worship the idols of materialism and consumerism would seem to become blind to the pathway to inner peace and inner soul.
This is what is happening in regards to the dying, in a cycle, of organized religion. The one size fits all dogma no longer reaches out and grabs individuals as it did in the dark and medieval ages. Man is lost somehow these days. Free to seek spirit and diverted away to hell so to speak by advertisements from Hell Central ( Madison Avenue ).
Who am I to judge?
I should attempt to understand Islam more considering its vast global reach. I have a classroom textbook view of it. I don’t yet have an inner grip gut feeling for it. The group thing, the charter tour bus to heaven or Paradise is I think a take it or leave it proposition for some? In my ideal global culture everone should have options beyond a local setting. Otherwise how can it be called global?
While there may many similar aspects of Islam with Christianity, there seems to be no option for some of other pathways to seek. In other words it is a crime punishable by death in parts of the Islamic world to part with Islam. That is a concept repugnant to me in the west with our tradition and its centuries old struggle for individualism directly and indirectly since the Protestant Reformation.
The west I believe has evolved passed faith to a secular civil substitute for faith, with no forced entry upon the path to enlightenment. This opportunity for religious freedom or spiritual enrichment is more than likely been vetoed by many with a day at the Mall.
The middle-east seems to be forever locked into no choice but the “only right” choice paradigm game. The “one true religion” path. Have heard that somewhere before, haven’t I?
Seems a bit like medieval Spain and the era of the Inquisition that lasted officially over three centuries to root out Judaism and Islam. The Spanish and the RC church standing by this extreme church/state matter forever killed faith in some ways and built up a permanent roadblock to spirituality amid the increased idol need for outward ritual over inner love.
In any case the yin and the yang, the eternal differences between east and west are no doubt programmed into the genes of the greater matter of all things. Conflict may be at the core of all universal physics as a key to a treasure chest of better understanding.
The global culture at present and its reality and its future shape is way beyond my puny parochial way of seeing or looking at things. That is a good thing.
The Global Culture is. The Global Culture will be. Being part of Global culture is one thing. Being is quite another. Worth repeating - being is quite another.