When the soul of man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets.
~ James Joyce
A student was curious as to my religion the other day. When I told her I choose not to align to any one religion. She then said...
Oh. So you're still searching?
"Noooo." I said.
"Oh really? You don't believe in God?" She countered.
"Yes. I believe in God." I answered. Always have.
"Then who is your God?" She asked.
I laughed out loud. "My God? Haha. Our God, don't you think?"
Well, needless to say, I didn't go deeper into the conversation. Didn't feel the need to defend anything, or try to challenge someone else's belief system. However, she was being totally harmless in asking.
The your God, my God mentality is perplexing.
Why do I need religion? Why?
I love how Caroline Myss says religion is the politics of God. Seems as though rules and commandments become more important than Love. Seems as if religion rather we experience Oneness through something or someone, instead of we ourselves having the direct experience. Why not look too where the master is pointing, instead of looking to the master for salvation? I don't mean any offense, but these are the questions that linger.
In many ways, this is why I feel drawn to yoga practice. Yoga allows for the direct experience. Of course, it isn't the only way. And honestly, the yoga path has many trappings in itself. Yes. We yogis have tendency toward attachment to the body. I mean, at some point we have to let that one go. Right? However, it's natural in any circumstance, and continuing with the practice allows for a gradual, if not radical, letting go eventually.
Yoga is experiential in nature. You must practice. That's it. Any time I find myself debating things that are transitory I remind myself how it always goes back to the practice. Then soon, I find out why keeping my mouth shut is a good idea in regards to the topic of yoga and or anything looked at as "spiritual".
In the end, there is nothing to debate.
Yoga is not a religion in my opinion. Ultimately, it's about the inner discovery. When feeling one with oneself, I find ease in feeling one with others. Simple.
It seems the direct, ecstatic spiritual experience isn't well received in established religion.
Wasn't Jesus a mystic? I don't recall him wanting to form a religion. Was he not teaching the power of love, and the miraculousness of connecting to a higher power? Did he not express that we too could accomplish all that he had and more? A pretty tall order to say the least. However, I don't think he would have spoken those words if they were not true. No?
We'll hold on to the ideas of God, to the death, and yet ignore Truth and Love. Unified. Those who have tasted the Light, or by grace received a glimpse, have no use for structures, while being fulfilled in the world, as an example. Big difference, versus simply talking and preaching.
Guess what I'm trying to say is I've always felt personally drawn to the mystics of many varying traditions. Those who ignited the fire within, blazing down the trail, of what it means to be, utterly and completely, unbound. Free flowing. Not worrying about what that looks like externally to others. Because once the taste of Truth is known, nothing can extinguish what is known to be True, feeling the utter expanse of passionate existence.
I look to these inspiring masters as examples. As I, in turn, feel deep within. Whether Rumi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, or Hafiz, to name a few, there is a commonality they all share. Dogma is set aside. When I read their works of inspiration only the whispers of Truth are there. Universal. No rules. No good this. No bad that. It becomes about allowing. It becomes about joining. Feeling. The experience. Pure and simple. Eternal. Expansive.
When in the vicinity of a mystic, nothing needs to be said. By their presence alone, all things are known. I've experienced this on several occasions, being in their presence. Because pure being can't hold a candle to words. Which in reality, are only symbols. For, how can one explain, or put into words what a taste of pure existence is? Call it God or whatever you like.
So, I've come to an impasse, where I'd rather not label myself as anything. The more I identify with this world, where illusion is supreme, there seems to be more to loose.
What will I loose, you ask?
Well, from my point of view, I will loose touch with the part of myself that is ultimately real. With that being said, it isn't hard to choose. Even though, that in itself, is a challenging path. At least for me it is. But, I'm gradually learning. Gradually discovering and experiencing what that means.
In truth. What could be better than that?