Monday, 7 September 2009
For the majority of people still, religion is synonymous with culture. I make a clean distinction.
Culture is beautiful. It is socially developed, rich and varied in its rightful place. But people take it too far and believe in it, applying it to deeper realms in the absence of deeper experience.
They have not tasted true religion, so they extend their social self to the realm of spirit. Many problems arise as a result.
Spirit is never discovered because they think they know it, so they never enquire and explore sincerely. They accept what they have been taught and defend it against other factions on the same level of form.
They uphold differences in the name of oneness and live in war. They also can't enjoy culture in its rightful way, which is lightly and colourfully as a collective creation.
Culture is a celebration. It is not fundamental, so it is for weaving not believing. It is a fabric, a cloth and covering, not an inner phenomenon.
So the discovery of religion does not imply the loss of culture, just the distinction between the two. What most of us see as religion is simply culture, and what is true religion is on the horizon, what we are beginning to find.
True religion, or religiousness, or spirituality, or spirit, is clear consciousness, no more and no less. It is non-denominational, uncatergorisable, universal and beyond.
Culture is created, it comes and goes, whereas spirit is eternal. If something separates and defines you, it is cultural and superficial, a function of form and diversity.
When something unifies and liberates us, it is spiritual and fundamental, a function of the formless and non-sensory.
When you differentiate between culture and religion, you can enjoy the first for what it is, and truly encounter the second. Your culture is yours, a heritage.
Religion belongs to no-one, we are an extension of it.