Most of my adult life I have studied scripture, attended Bible studies, listened, pondered, asked questions, taught, and spent a lot of time in prayer. All worthy endeavors, but in the past year I made a major shift in philosophy and belief. None of it has been easy. I have struggled to sort through the mire of religious orthodoxy, opened my mind to new ways of thinking, studied some more, and I found ‘me’ in the process.
For a while I tried to stay within the boundaries of organized religion from outside the walls of church however, the questions and contradictions persisted, everything still sounded rote, and I tried, in vain, to quell thoughts that I was still separated from a true relationship with God. I didn’t have issue with others who found fulfillment in organized religion, and I still don’t. There is a path for everyone, in my mind, but organized religion with all the trimmings wasn’t my path, and never would be. A journey of self-discovery and relationship with the Divine was born.
Our understanding of God and the journey we walk are individual; there is no “one size fits all”. And why wouldn’t it be? We are not all alike. Yet, those who find themselves outside the accepted mindset of organized religion are subject to the unspoken truth of many in the church today; any who don’t conform to the doctrinal beliefs are wolves in sheep’s clothing, suspect of blasphemy, are woefully misguided, or declared “anti-Christ”. What if we are none of the above? What if we are just sojourners on a path to relationship with the Divine and a journey of self-discovery? Is there a place for us? I believe there is, and at this point I don’t find the study of awakened spirituality and the teachings of Jesus in opposition. Much of what Jesus said and did as recorded in scripture, and found within texts not included in the Bible, lend credence to beliefs and teachings widely accepted in the study and practice of awakened spirituality. Organized religion and awakened spirituality however, needn’t be at odds with one another. There is room for all who seek to know God.
Many are realizing organized religion doesn’t always make sense. The fire and brimstone of yesteryear repackaged in the more acceptable contemporary church service is no longer enough. It has become painfully obvious in the past few years that church leaders and congregants are subject to the same flaws as the rest of humanity and many either deny allegations, offer flimsy excuses, or just plain ignore the misstep completely as if it never happened. Too many within the walls have set themselves above those of us outside the walls. If we have wronged others it just makes good sense to admit fault, ask forgiveness of those we hurt, and move on That’s not so easy for anyone who believes themselves above the imperfections of man.
A trend within the past several years has not gone unnoticed. People are leaving organized religion. One of our local stations had a special piece on the ten o’clock news one night about this very subject. I tuned in out of curiosity. None of the information was new to me, I have seen and felt the shift coming for a few years now. Empty pews are plentiful in every congregation across the nation. Few new families are joining or attending churches like in past years when people wanted to give their children a “foundation”. There are staunch adherents on both sides of the fence. Many new parents say they want their children to decide for themselves, not force them to join in on church-life alongside their parents. Some people state outright the unruliness of children in this age is a direct result of not attending church, not receiving the “foundation” they did as youngsters. My children were “raised in the church”, immersed in church-life, and all 3 have chosen journeys outside of organized religion as young adults. Sorting through organized religious indoctrination, an unhealthy dose of spiritual abuse compliments of their father, and life in general, has taught them traditional church attendance is not fulfilling, doesn’t answer the tough questions, and exposes them to more hypocrisy than most find in the world outside the church walls. And I can’t say I disagree.
There is spiritual hunger out there in the world. In the course of everyday life people at work, or in my private life, are asking questions, and often the conversations take on a serious tone. Many have been to churches trying to find where they fit in, some have been burned by churches they had joined, and some were raised in the church, but the story is always similar. People want a relationship with God, but they don’t want the hypocrisy of organized religion. At the risk of sounding like an evangelist, we have a God-sized space in us that will only be filled with relationship. We came from Spirit, we will return to Spirit, and our spirits are searching for meaning, for direction, for acceptance and for love. Maybe we cannot accept the whole heaven concept; do good on earth and the pearly gates will open wide. Yet, innate knowledge tells us that life on earth is not all there is. We succeed, we suffer, we get sick, we get better, we work every day to pay our bills and provide for our families, and then we die. Is that it? I believe it is not, but I don’t believe the answers lie within the church.
Science and religion have not been the best of friends, probably since the beginning of time, but within the past several years a meeting of minds has taken shape. Quantum physics has stepped in to say that the concept of “God” may not be so far off; a concept the spiritually aware have known for eons. I believe Jesus taught the basic principles of quantum physics by demonstrating thought becoming matter, and what it means to live from the Divine spirit. The very last thing I would ever attempt is to explain quantum physics to anyone! Math and I are not from the same neighborhood, and likely exist on different planets altogether, but the most basic foundational truth is that all things are energy and consist of wavelengths, frequencies, atoms, particles, and so on. I will gladly leave that entire discussion to Stephen Hawking!
The belief is that the formation of matter is the result of brainwaves; thoughts equal energy; energy equals matter; thoughts equal matter. Communication with the Universal Source, God, to many of us, is done through thought; specifically the frequency of thoughts. Does religion not teach us to pray and “meditate upon the Word”? Prayer and meditation are often done through thought – communication with the Universal Source, or God. We project our thoughts through brainwaves, and these brainwaves represent our consciousness. Brainwaves can be measured, and as a nurse this makes total sense. medical science declares patients brain dead when there is an absence of brainwave activity.
Our consciousness in communication with God tells God what we need, what we want, which in turn creates our reality. Our words and thoughts are often in opposition to one another. Which does God listen and respond to? The thoughts, the language of the universe. God answers our thoughts, our brainwaves, by sending back exactly what we ask for. There is no judgment involved, simply an answer to a need or desire. A gap between science and spirituality still exists, but the chasm is narrowing. At least for many in the scientific field there is now an explanation for what many of us have believed by faith; there is a God in whatever way best fits your definition.
People are searching, and for many the answers organized religion has offered no longer resonate with us. Didn’t Jesus say, “Keep asking, and it will be given to you; keep seeking, and you will find; keep knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps asking receives; he who keeps seeking finds; and to him who keeps knocking, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 The Complete Jewish Bible) The Universal Source, God, answers our thoughts…..