Would you think it odd if a person said:
I am in love with every church
And any kind of shrine
Because I know it is there
That people say the different names
Of the One God.
I grew up in a Christian home, and at that time I attended a Baptist church, prayed before meals and openly discussed Bible scriptures and the teachings of Jesus with my peers.
Today I consider myself a person of faith and choose not to associate or affiliate myself with any religion. Why? I suppose I’ve come to recognize that one does not have to be religious in order to feel connected to God/Universe/Source. Additionally, I don’t believe God expects anything from me, other than to be a compassionate, caring and responsible human being to all, without exception. As the Dalai Lama said, “Religion is not necessary to cultivate compassion.”
Why then do we give so much attention to religious practices instead of investing our time and energy into basic moral ethics and values? Imagine the possibilities for all humanity if we eliminated the divide religion often creates among people and instead, chose to live in harmony.
We are all equal brothers and sisters sharing a space below heaven.
Personally, I believe the real issue isn’t religion and its deferring customs and practices; rather, society’s destructive language and perspective toward the Other about why a specific religious belief and practice is, according to them, ‘wrong’.
Nepal recently declared they are no longer a Hindu nation and of course, this stirred controversy amongst its citizens. But as one man I interviewed for my book project put it, “I am a Hindu, and there is no tangible advantage in declaring Nepal a Hindu nation. It doesn’t benefit or advance us in anyway. And really, what do I care if that man is a Hindu or not… That shouldn’t change the way I treat him.”
As much as we can educate a person’s brain about our belief systems, customs and practices, consider instead educating their heart through your compassionate nature. A human’s natural nature of being is kindness and THIS quality has been present within all of us from the moment we were born into this world – long before we had any understanding or concept of religion.
The most important quality that’s within all of us is compassion.
I think about the number of quarrels, wars, and deaths that have occurred because of the importance people gave to religious practice. Not long ago, I read an article about a mother and son who were trampled to death by a mob of people trying to push their way into a temple to lay their blessings and offerings. I’d like to think God cared more about the souls of those individuals than the flowers and sweets laid on a mantel below him in the temple. As well, I think he (God) would have been much happier and proud if someone dropped their offerings to him in order to assist the two get off the ground…
Consider what God truly wants is for us to choose to be an instrument of peace and love. He longs for his people to more kind and compassionate instead of judgmental and prejudice.
If you wish to share the benefits you’ve attained from your religious practice with others, understand that you may do so but the intention to share should be founded in love. Convincing, pushing, forcing or imposing your views on anyone won’t improve your relationship with them or contribute to their path in a positive way.
CHALLENGE: Whether or not you believe in God or religion, I challenge you to expose the natural and kind nature of being that’s within you. See the uniqueness in everyone you meet today and love them for it.
Unity will only come through the efforts of individuals and as the Hafiz poem said, we’re all saying the same name of the ONE God.
Laska is a Canadian Writer currently living in Nepal. She is working on her book project entitled “The Divine ‘Disaster’” which was inspired by the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. For details about her book project, check out the BOOKS page on her website and scroll to the bottom. Additionally, Laska invites you to join the movement of those choosing to Live PASSIONately OVER their PAST Experiences by hashtagging #PassionOverPast via Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.