The Dark Side of Spirituality
On reading Susan Cato's Time Magazine Canada piece titled, "In Search of the Spiritual," I became increasingly annoyed at the realization that many people keep making the erroneous split between religion and spirituality, when they are one and the same. For example, in the Time Canada piece, Rabbi Leigh Lerner, who leads the Temple Emanu-El?Beth Sholom, a Reform congregation in Montreal, states, "Religiosity may not be increasing, but spirituality is," confirming the notion that 'spirituality is separate and preferable to religion.'
I would have to disagree with this notion. Why do people keep insisting that the ritual and setting of worship is religion? It clearly is not. Religion comes from the Latin root re-ligare which means to re-connect. Re-connect with what? To re-connect with the inner Hero, the Divine, the Sacred. It is the ultimate Grail Quest, the hero's journey, the spiritual journey, that we are all on: the Quest for Truth. Ask any Christian with a true understanding of the teachings of Christ about 'going to church' and they will tell you that the church, the physical church where people go to sing hymns and listen to sermons, is NOT the real Church. The real Church is the spiritual body of Christ where people fellowship in love. And where ritual is concerned, it clearly states in the Bible, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love" (Galatians 5:4, NASB).
Religion is a window unto the unseen and is based on the years of spiritual experience of great teachers, prophets, and seers. It's not some ancient relic, like an old fashion or fad, to be thrown away under the guise of a new word like spirituality. It is a metaphor for life based on eternal principles.
Along a similar vein, I completely disagree with Cato's last statement in her article that "In a skeptical age, religion can't be taken on faith." I would argue the exact opposite: religion can ONLY be taken on faith. Faith is the cornerstone, the foundation, of all religion and spirituality. Faith is the ability to see the unseen; a complete and total surrendering to the majesty of truth. It has nothing to do with believing or not believing, and everything to do with knowing and experiencing for oneself. One can question and seek all they want, and along the way some of their questions will be answered, but ultimately one must take the great leap of faith in order to experience transformation, because there will always be more questions than answers.
I feel the confusion between religion and spirituality is causing a backlash against both the new agey mumbo jumbo of pop spirituality or 'spirituality lite' and the rules, rituals, and restrictions found within traditional institutions that claim to house religion and a move towards a more authentic, plain, honest, and sometimes blunt way of communicating religion and spirituality. I recently took a screen writing course with the legendary Robert Mckee who was talking about searching for the truth by exploring both the light and the darkness, the dual nature in all things (what I call the psychology of the hero and the psychology of the villain in my book). He was talking about what seems pretty also usually has an ugly side and mentioned that the lovely bird songs we hear are about some bird staking out its territory and letting all the other birds in the vicinity know not to dare invade his 'turf.' And all the other birds are just waiting to hear his song weaken and falter with age so they can "peck the mother fucker to death." To me, that was a spiritual statement, because it was the truth.
There is going to be a move away from the crystals, sťances, incarnations, mantras, affirmations, and also a move away from church hymns and sermons towards a quest for truth that involves a very authentic, plain, and direct way of communicating which will not tolerate any bullshit. We can see this already with the popularity, especially among youth, of Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine," and "Farenheit 911" the 'religion' of today's generation.
A blunt and darker expression of truth is underway as people learn not to shun the shit behind the sunshine. Enter a new era: a journey into the heart of darkness.
Sharif Khan is a professional speaker and author of "Psychology of the Hero Soul," an inspirational book on awakening the Hero within and developing people's leadership potential. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting http://www.herosoul.com
Sharif provides inspirational keynotes and leadership development workshops that entertain, educate, and empower. To book Sharif as a speaker for your next event call:(416) 417-1259.
10 Ways Your Dreams Can Enhance Your Life
The ultimate purpose of dreaming is to provide you with daily guidance in your Life Journey ? to help you find the best way to solve problems and open your eyes to new opportunities so that you can be happy and feel complete. In fact, dreams most often relate to your circumstances of the past 24 to 48 hours and can assist you in the immediate future.
Ultimate Truth:The Beginning
You decide! We are often asked to make decisions. Decision is described as, the passing of judgment on an issue under consideration, the act of reaching a conclusion or making up one's mind, a conclusion or judgment reached or pronounced, hence a verdict.
Where Are You Currently Heading?
Do you know where your current path is taking you?
First Things First-- Balancing Your Priorities!
I'm not sure Paul had the Japanese culture in mind at the time when he writes, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all other things will be added unto you." I'm not sure how much popularity the bible has in Japan today either. Yet, it seems as though the Japanese people have at least one biblical principle figured out. In the book, "First Things First", Steven Covey helps us understand how and why the Japanese people think how they do and accomplish so much more than American's in a same twenty-four hour period. Covey explains, that we can divide all our daily tasks into two main areas of our lives. One area is the Important/Urgent-NOT Urgent area and the second consists of tasks in the NOT Important/NOT Urgent area.
Origin of Certain Thoughts (Part II)
Continued from "Origin of Certain Thoughts, Part I"
Sheltered in the Arms of God
"Mama, save me!"
Knowing The Holy Spirit!
"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses?to the ends of the earth." -ACTS 1:8
Karma: Is It Good or is It Bad? You Decide!
We hear this word so often and have one thing stuck in our mind ? it's either a bad thing or a good thing. The other issue is: do we believe in Karma? Regardless of whether we believe in that word or not, it is still there. Karma plays a big part in our experiences and life lessons. Even if the "word" Karma does not exist in your personal vocabulary, karma still exists in your life.
Living The Lords Prayer
Luke 11:1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 11:2 And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven... Our Father which art in heaven Hallowed be Thy name.Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done On Earth as it is in heaven.Give us this day, our daily bread And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evilFor thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, Forever, Amen.I have a special place in my life for this prayer. When I close my eyes in meditation I always begin with this prayer, and when I lay down to go to sleep I usually do the same. Jesus taught his disciples this prayer as a guide to getting in touch with our inner peace, and open the door to communication with God the Father and the Creator. I believe that we should be praying to our Creator all the time, every moment of our lives; it should be a common practice. The Lord's Prayer is short enough to be an affirmation that is easily applied at any time. I have used this prayer when I am afraid or unsure and one thing that always shines through is the Truth. That is what The Lord's Prayer is, how to be the Truth. In the dictionary Truth is also defined as "reality". The Lord's Prayer is a special prayer asking that we may recognize Reality/Truth and eventually be that Truth, just as Jesus was the Way, the Truth and the Life. My interpretation of The Lord's Prayer is not the only one, there are many others, but I am sharing mine with you in the hope that we can experience this prayer rather than just recite it. Our Father who art in Heaven... Where is Heaven? Jesus tells us that The Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and that special place is where we can go to connect with God our Creator. For me it is a wonderful place of peace and silence. Last summer I had a glorious experience; I spent ten days in my trailer parked in my mom's backyard. For those ten days I enjoyed listening to the birds and working in the garden. But most of all I learned how to enjoy the silence within. I discovered for myself how to go to this personal place and listen and feel the intense "peace". There was one moment that I will always remember, it was a feeling of such happiness, so much Joy that I could not contain it all; at that moment I felt the most joy I have ever felt in my life. God is within each and every one of us; He is the Light and the creative and loving urge in us that seeks expression. We only have to be still and know that God is in the silence within. Hallowed be Thy Name...The name of God is sacred. His "Name" is his Essence, it is in us - we are sons of God. What does that mean? That means that his Essence or Spirit is in our DNA, that is what makes us more special, and elevated above all other creatures. God created us in his image; he gave us his Name and that name is in our bodies, right down to the cellular level. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done On Earth as it is in Heaven... God's Kingdom is within each and every one of us. His Will, as Thought (in Heaven), is manifest on Earth (physical form). This verse teaches us that what we think becomes manifest here in this world. With our thoughts we can either make or create. When we use His Will we create; and only creation is real. Jesus taught that sickness and poverty do not have to exist; we make these things and so they are not real; we need only recognize the Truth or reality and look away from the false appearances that this world shows us. It takes great faith to be able to do this, but Jesus assured us that if he could do it, so can we. This line in the prayer is an affirmation of reality. Give us this day, our daily bread..."...this day..." The only time that is real is NOW, there is no other time. The NOW is also Eternity. Eternity is defined as "no beginning, and no ending", "unchanging", and "forever". When you examine all these definitions you begin to see how each of these verses seem to have the same meaning ? Eternity, Truth, Reality, NOW... When we look for evidence of God we have only to look at the trees and the flowers, feel the wind in our hair, and the warmth of the sun on our face. God exists in the Now, and we will only find his presence here. The bread is our daily staple, it is a requirement. The Lord's Prayer is a daily requirement. And the requirement is experiencing the moment, the NOW, because that is all that we really have and that is where God is. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. It is so important to let go of the negative feelings that keep you separated from God. Connected to God we shine, and when we harbor darkness such as thoughts of resentment, anger, and jealousy, we are disconnected. Likewise, we should not worry about others opinions or judgments of us, these are the things that this verse tells us is important to remember. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil... "temptation" is not the urge to eat that whole chocolate cake, but rather it is asking our Father to help us to control our thought. It is our Thought that determines what we make or create in this world, and we have to be very careful what thoughts we focus on. We are continuously hearing our ego talk to us, and our ego has it's own agenda. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory... So true, and so powerful a statement! Only in God do we have a kingdom, it is not here in the material world, it is in the Kingdom of Heaven which is within us. But don't think that the material world is not important! It is very important - we have a Divine Purpose for being here. Forever, Amen... Forever; eternity; NOW and always; Unchanging; No beginning and no ending. Amen means "it is done", "so be it". This is a very powerful word. To affirm that something is already done is to proclaim its power. Pray with reverence and meaning and you shall always be close to our Father. By using this special prayer that Jesus taught us we can learn to connect with the Universe and let our thoughts work for us instead of against us, because it has never been more true that our thoughts have the all the power of God's creation behind them. Amen.
Connecting to Spirit
Every soul that is currently experiencing life on any level begins and ends as a whole. Our essence ? the very core of our spiritual being ? remains One with God. We always have been, and always will be, a part of 'the whole' that is the God-consciousness level.
Developing the Have-ing-ness Consciousness! Divine Prosperity Principles
How a Divine "Dream", gave me a Spiritual Principle for abundance!
What Does Unconditional Love Really Mean?
Unconditional love means unconditional freedom. Love and freedom are two of those words that are interchangeable. Freedom of choice is unconditional love, unconditional freedom. Choice is another of those words that are interchangeable with Love and freedom.
When is it Right to be Angry?
Many of us have been taught that it is wrong to be angry. This thinking weighs heavily in both the sacred and secular domains. Is that thinking right or wrong?
Good News from Mars (Part 2)
Paul is led up a 512 ft. hill, Mars Hill, also known as Areopagus, and there he faces the Epicureans and the Stoics (and others). These intellectual giants represented the philosophical thinking of the day in which Paul lived. And when these PhD's saw Paul, they sneered and considered him a vain babbler (seed picker). They had given Paul audience merely to amuse themselves by listening to what he had to say.
Why Is Your Prayer Of Faith Lacking Results?
About a month ago I opened up my bible in boredom trying to see if the lord had a word for me. Well, it just so happened that I landed in first kings the page with chapter three right there just staring me in the face. So I thought, "Alright God lets see what word you have for me today." and I began to read first kings chapter three. It didn't take long until I got to the part about how God came to King Solomon in a dream and said, "Ask what I shall give thee".
When We See Jesus As He Is
You know that the Bible tells us a lot about Jesus, who he was, who he is, what he did and what he said...
Quick Reference Guide for Tarot Card Meanings
Obviously, if you really want to learn about the meanings of the tarot cards and use them well, you'll spend time studying them and understanding the nuances of each card's interpretation. If, on the other hand, you're looking for a cool party game and want to impress your friends, this "cheat sheet" should provide you enough of a clue about each card's meaning that you can fake your way through a reading. And who knows -- once you loosen up and relax, you may surprise yourself!
Do Feng Shui Remedies Really Work?
Where Do You Cast?
"Cast all your anxiety on Him for He cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7.
"You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. " Psalm 31:8, NIV
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