I drank the silence of God from a spring in the woods. - Georg Trakl
Namaste, fellow Soul Pilgrims. Creation is breathing a sigh of relief, freed from the constraints of winter.
As I am a big fan of springtime, it felt strange to awaken on Easter Sunday feeling blue. I recognized the feeling, as it was present to a lesser degree around Christmas. Christmas and Easter are the two "holiest" days of Christendom, when even nominal believers make their way into the pews, usually under pressure of family. This year I was not in their company, and it made me realize that there is loss that comes with liberation, and vice versa.
I recalled the tangible joy I had previously felt when celebrating Christmas and Easter in the company of others who venerated those days. Easter was especially significant, and it was a very big deal to greet the church family with the traditional Christian greeting: "He (Jesus) is risen!", met with the joyous reply: "He is risen, indeed!"
Those words were so precious to me throughout my life. They encapsulated my raison d'etre: I lived only to reflect God's glory and to draw others to Him - through my particular religion. For me and others who shared my religious persuasion, life revolved around attending Sunday services, weekly Bible studies, spending time with Christian friends listening to Christian music, discussing Christian books (purchased from a Christian store, of course). "Drawing others to Him" meant actively seeking out The Lost to convert from their heathen lifestyles.
I had read many books on how to "witness" to people who were deluded into thinking that their own religion - the one they had either chosen or been raised with - was actually true. I sincerely believed that I alone held the truth, and was charged with trying to "enlighten" others to the fact that they were believing a lie. Forget the fact that they cherished their own religious traditions just as I did, taking solace and comfort from their own beliefs.
The older I get, the more I realize that no one group or philosophy holds the key. As Ram Dass, one of my favorite spiritual teachers, has said: "We're all just walking each other home." Whether our road is that of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or any other "ism," we are all living in borrowed vessels on borrowed time, until our return to Spirit - which is our natural state. The religious or philosophical road we travel during our time here will ultimately lead to the same destination.
I understand if this bugs you and gets under your skin. Pray for my soul if it pleases you. However, a mind expanded can never return to its previous dimensions. While I do miss the feeling of belonging to a club with a special "members only" greeting, it is not enough for me to resume my seat in the pew as if nothing has changed. I feel that, over the past few years, EVERYTHING has changed.
I like the freedom that I now have to listen and think and judge for myself. I like the openness and grace that I now naturally extend to others - not just to those who hold my own views. A friend recently pointed out to me the irony that, once I left the Church, I became a lot more like Jesus.
PRAYER:I celebrate being a part of the Universal Consciousness. I recognize the many truths that are reflected by all members, and give thanks for the Masters who have gone before to show us True Love. I acknowledge that we are all Soul Pilgrims, passing through this life, walking each other home. May love, freedom, and grace be our companions along our chosen roads, and may we gain insight with every step.