Sunday, August 13, 2006

Reclaiming Religion

Just like our bodies need food and water, like a child needs nutrition and nurturing, like people need a healthy and balanced diet - similarly, we need various other things. Prayer, worship, adoration, devotion and pilgrimage are the needs of our spiritual self.

Prayer and seeking refuge is about having somewhere to turn to when one is devastated and bereft beyond endurance.

Worship and adoration are about boundless, selfless love, gratitude and delight.

Devotion is an attitude of faith that seeps into every aspect of one's being.

Pilgrimage is like food for the soul, a means for self-renewal.

Our daily food now nourishes other higher faculties. And those faculties also need other forms of nourishment.

All of us have these faculties and needs. We all have a faculty of submission. Our psycho-physico-emotional-muscular well-being requires another kind of nourishment. All these feelings and attitudes do things to us, chemically, transforming us into higher beings.

We have to reclaim and rebuild "Religion" in these fundamental human terms. Rather than let it be defined, oppressively and abhorrently, by the so-called fundamentalists.


Darius said...

Amen to that. Another way that I think along what may be similar lines, is that religion needs to become more about actual lived experience and less about doctrine. I think that's pretty much the opposite of fundamentalism.

sattvicwarrior said...

this is a WONDEFUL and well put post. I really appreciate you asking me into your blog.
and I agree with you immensely about reclaiming religion
MY blog as you have seen is not as eloquent as you are. my aim is to provokes a differnt perspective , not necessary to condemn religion but to show what great degree of kalpana it has sunk to.
you say
We all have a faculty of submission.
I SAY…..

Submission can only be accomplished with faith that is set in truth . and truth is honesty sincerity and directness. not dogma that has been modified to fit the criteria the reigning political forces of religion that is nothing more than a form of suppression in contemporary society.
and it is this FAITH [ in its purest form ] which is derived from the SELF [ non dual state] as opposed to the “ self”[ world of duality] that sets the stage for DEVOTION , which is NOT the same as submission ]. DEVOTION is the HIGHEST act
People here the united states like almost anywhere] have taken the PATH [ religion ] and turned it into a way of life. . they no longer walk the path but become the path and there fore are trodden over with more kalpana to confirm their own duality which by the nature of its transitory state is non existent but are to blinded by their own loneliness and desperation to surrender to the difference
that is neither right nor wrong. it is the way it is. . but in that state of spiraling kalpana it is most damaging to the innocent sadak or sissya who does not have the capacity to make their own decision but rely on modified scripture to carry them because they cant make a decision for themselves
MY best aphorism that I can think of taken from eastern text is
that which you think IS is NOT
and that which you think is NOT actually IS.
Such is the rhapsody of this kalpana we call life's progress. . in the element of time tis called REALITY. [ the ultimate illusion ]\
thanks for your time

Yves said...

I feel I should support you in this movement of reclaiming religion, and yet . . .

I certainly agree with Darius' comment that it needs to become more about actual lived experience.

But I feel that the whole thrust of your drive to reclaim religion is to oppose something else or to rescue humanity from something else. Fundamentalism is certainly one target. Perhaps you also feel a necessity to target "atheism". I put it in quotes because I am not sure if it's a coherent entity.

I have a feeling, which perhaps needs drawing out into written expression, that religion is superseded now. Since all the world talks to one another, and we can connect with all available external wisdom, there is no need to restrict it into particular doctrines and disciplines.

To connect with internal wisdom is the main thing. I'm not sure whether any identifiable religion today helps do this without adding lots of spurious mental clutter at the same time.

I find the ideas of devotion, submission and pilgrimage rather repellent but that may be to do with my own guru-experience. You seem to suggest they are essential elements of religion in which case I am certainly on the other side.

But if I was uninterested in the topic, I would not be bothering to read your excellent blog posts.

What underlies this urge to reclaim religion? Is it not a reaction to the perceived shortcomings of individual and social behaviour? Is it not a search for a dimension in which there is personal fulfilment?

It's a puzzle: I spent my life from the age of 14 looking for a spiritual path that would lead to enlightenment. Now, I feel that I have found it, but it does not correspond to any of those paths, and I have no enthusiasm for them. Instead, I have a faith in human nature unmediated by priesthood or guru or any doctrine whatever. The urge to prayer and worship is within us. It's enough.