My frustration with organized religions runs parallel to my pull to the transcendental. Religions attempt to codify what cannot be grasped by ordinary consciousness. These attempts come from the human longing to return into the energy that creates them, to reunite with “home,” to meld into love. We do this not only through organized religion but in our thirst for “soul mates” and meaningful relationships, our quest for resonance within the arts, our love of nature and sports, and our desire to tend others and do good in the world.
Yet, it is within organized religions where humans tend to go a little, or a lot, berserk, i.e., authoritarian, commanding, judging, ranting, “know it all,” harmful, and willing to kill others.
Within relationships, art, sports, nature, or doing good we allow variations, we don’t tell others what relationships they should choose (unless there is an overlap with religion) or what art they should buy, books they must read, or songs they can or cannot sing. Sports would fall apart if people didn’t back different teams, and we know good in the world has many aspects.
But in religion, we are willing to humiliate and attack others to stake our claim to the one true god. Systems of religion become inflexible, and then often corrupt, because they have too much power in the mysteries of greatest importance – how did we get here and how do we live in order to obtain the best option when we die?
People are terrified, we are desperate to know we are not going to disappear at the end of our lives. We want reassurances and protectors, and for them we will cling to our beliefs without questioning.
That is, since we cannot know in the conventional ways – using our brain and senses – where we come from and where we are going, we invent religions with doctrines and creeds to fill the gap between what we can know and what actually is, and we fight to maintain the status quo of our own beliefs.
It is not that there is no universal energy around, through, and in us. Everything is made of energy. It is just that we can only consciously absorb a certain amount of information about that energy at a time. It is as though energy is a polyglot and our brains have only learned the first three letters of any given language.
This polyglot of energy overloading our circuits leads to different experiences, often called religious, when our meager minds run the energy through filters that transform it into the spiritual experiences we expect in our chosen religion.
I am an expert on this. I have been knocked to the floor by a hit behind my knees in a small Christian church and rolled around speaking in tongues (which is a lovely language, by the way, with a seeming syntax though I don’t know what I was saying); awakened from a laser of light that penetrated everything including me to find myself levitating a foot above my bed (and then I fell); been visited in a waking dream by a Hindu guru I had never seen or heard of who told me he was my guru (turns out he had died over a decade earlier and was – is? – one of the powerhouse gurus of India); spoken extensively in mudras, the Hindi hand language (though again I didn’t know what I was saying but others did and translated for me), and given up my local consciousness to enter the pulsing heart of love that pumps through everything that exists (an experience so profound I could not speak of it for months and then only with tears of joy).
Those are just a few of the experiences I’ve had, though it is more that the experiences had me.
I also healed minor injuries and illnesses like headaches, muscle ache, and small burns for friends. I had a fireball explode in mid-air between myself and an elderly Austrian Jewish philosopher across the room, and I’ve sincerely answered questions of people who, it turned out, had not yet said them aloud even though I had heard them crystal clearly.
Now, all of the above are experiences. They are not beyond experiences. They existed in the world of time and space and physicality. Not only did they exist in the realm of time and space and physicality but they could all have been amenable to various organized religions.
The point is, if I ONLY had experiences within Christianity or Hindu or another religion, I likely would believe that to be the true religion. After all, look at the amazing thing that happened within that framework. I would have been so stunned and overwhelmed – believe me I am leaving out a great deal – that I would not have been able to conceive that the experiences were going through humanly-conceived filters inside me of what to expect. I would have believed I was on the inside of what was true.
As it was, I had so many experiences in so many religions that I automatically parse religions for what is of value and what is not. I see how they were constructed and reinforced over millennia, and gained their own energies that are mixtures of both good and bad. Bottom line: love is good. Everything else is negligible, placebo, or crap.
Two things I take as real – the Here Now of physical reality within time and space (a place of definitions) and the What Is that is beyond time, space, and physicality (a place of no definition). If there is something in-between, it seems to be a juicy cocktail of potential possibilities that are, strictly speaking, not provable. I rather like many of them and, wow!, have I experienced them but they could all be by-products of the encompassing collective unconscious processing fantasies agreed upon by humans that are valid only so long as you are in human form. The human mind, individually and collectively, has amazing powers so long as it is alive. I’m not sure that power continues after death. That is, I am a mystic who is skeptical of everything between the Here Now and the What Is beyond time and space.
What I know is the What Is (the place of no definition) is real, more real than the Here Now. I’ve been there twice – though of course language at this point has no meaning because there was no “me” there, only knowledge of everything, and it was home. It is painful to speak of because even attempting to define it is a kind of travesty, a belittling, a hacking at.
In the meantime, you and I live here where my heart breaks – and yours, too, I know – when we harm each other because we do not understand we are on a planet infinitesimally small where we must love each other and tend each other in order to survive as a species.
We each will return “home” to beyond time and space. Whether we return again as the same capsule of energy or a different one or not at all, I do not know. It hardly matters.
What matters is that if we claim our religion is the good one, and true, and others are bad, and false, we have made a foolish mistake. It may feel like psychological safety but it is very dangerous and very wrong. God would not approve. (That was a joke.)