Love is true religion
“Your task is not to seek for love
But merely to seek all the barriers within yourself
That you have built against it”—Rumi
In Mark 16:16 we are told: “Whoever believes and has been baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” This single Bible excerpt does many things at once; it instills fear, it teaches us to desire or be greedy for reward, and it teaches us to draw barriers between “us” and “them.”
All religions do the same thing.
It is in this atmosphere fostered by religions that most of us grew up. We feared displeasing our parents on whom we depended for our very survival and from whom we sought love and security. We had to disown many tendencies (voices) and we chose only the ones acceptable (our primary voices). All disowned voices are thrust into our unconscious but they never vanish; they become shadows and sabotage us in our relationships and behavior.
Ken Wilber (one of the century’s best philosophers and arguably the best psychologist) said: “Those items in the environment (people or things) that strongly affect us instead of informing us, are usually our own projections. Items that bother us, upset us, or at the other extreme, attract us, compel us, obsess us, are usually reflections of the shadow.”
With so many disowned voices or shadows trying to come out and assert themselves, we often get feelings of alienation or confusion as to our identity, or we wonder about the reason for our existence. There is a strong need to identify ourselves with something and usually it is a belief system, a religion, that we cling to.
Belief systems, however, because they are external and fueled by fear, deepen the divide between our primary selves and our disowned selves and therefore strengthen our false ego. With fear and a false ego, it is impossible for love to thrive.
Exoteric religions draw boundaries. True religion does not draw boundaries for love, God’s manifestation, is boundless. What assist us in finding our inner and true nature are the esoteric religions: Christian Mysticism, Sufism, Mahayana Buddhism and Vedantic Hinduism. They are contemplative and mystical and experiential and less cognitive and conceptual. Science is actually sympathetic with the contemplative traditions in terms of methodology.
In the West there are a few people who, instead of giving us a set of beliefs, have come up with “maps” to give us an opportunity to discover our inner self. Among those I am presently aware of are Wilber, Peter Ralston, Eckhart Tolle and Hal and Sidra Stone. The Stone couple discovered the “Aware Ego Process.” It is a process of identifying our primary selves and then getting in touch with their opposites, our disowned selves, the selves that we rejected in the course of growing up. We are to stand between opposite voices and embrace them without identifying ourselves with any of the voices.
Simply honoring them by listening to them, Hal Stone says, “the inner teacher, which is waiting to be triggered in all of us, begins to make its appearance. We begin to withdraw all those feelings and projections that we have and the teaching starts to go where it really belongs—on the inner level. Clarification appears as we begin to unhook from various systems of selves that comprise the personality level. We reach inside the core of vulnerable energies we came into this world with, and we also become more open to energies that are transpersonal, experiences that are not part of our personal experience. This creates a revolution in consciousness and we begin to have a map of how to get out of the prison of being identified with selves.”
New Agers believe that reality arises from the mind but it is only ego that exists in the mind. It is with no-mind that reality is experienced, in the mind’s silence, in its stillness. Our task, instead of identifying with some selves and disowning many others, is to stand in between and to listen to what they say. Just being aware and witnessing with no judgement, no identification, will enable us to experience our inner energies that transcend all the selves.
On some rare occasions, when we are still and with no thoughts, without realizing it we get a glimpse, an experience of the divine—such as when we are suddenly struck by creative ideas or while enrapt in creative activity, or simply when a sense of peace and bliss envelops us. Too often, though, we are engulfed by fear, anger, frustration, alienation.
I get a sense that all these experiences are necessary trials, learning opportunities, a process of purification of our energies until this energy is purified enough to unite with divine energy. When this happens, my guess is we will laugh. We will laugh at how silly we were to miss out on the truth because it was within us all the time but we were too busy with our selves.
Philip S. Ycasiano is a retired businessman.
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