Reach for the stars
Religions are maligned and for very good reasons.
In my youth I grew up exposed to many religions including Catholic, Uniting Church, Lutheran, Jehovah’s Witness, Sai Baba, Satyananda Ashram and many more, all with their own different perceptions of God and beliefs about God. I developed this underlying awareness that if there was a God (and, back then, that was a big IF for me), he or she could not possibly create chronic separation in the human race by religion, cultures and nationalism, as is the way of Mankind today. Thus, I became very anti-religious... all that I had experienced from a religious perspective did not make sense to me. I aligned to the belief that there was no God.
Today, two decades further on, now as an experienced mental health professional, I would call myself very religious. So what changed?
Through Universal Medicine and its arm of teachings known as The Way of The Livingness, I came to understand the true meaning of Religion and God. The true meaning of religion is simply to return to that which we were originally, or to return to a certain way of living that allows the divine spark inside all of us to come out.
True religion is found in our inner-heart, the place where we connect directly to our Soul and the Divine we come from and are here to live in full.
Having previously been an anti-religious person, I needed to tackle this concept of 'God'. The image of God that I had assumed was true was this mythical character that people who believed in gave their power away to and were submissive to. For those who believed in God I could see that they blamed God for what went wrong in their lives while they celebrated God for life’s upsides. This interpretation felt irresponsible; a cop-out for the choices we make.
It seemed that most who claimed to know God presented that phenomenon as outside of them, when in truth God is very much inside of us.
Today I look around at nature, observe the ebb and flow of the clouds in the sky, watch the sun rise and set, appreciate the moon, the stars and the amazing beauty of all around us. I observe the animals and I am in absolute awe of all that nature is presenting to us, all day, every day. From this I simply say, "How can I say there is no God?"
I’ve come to understand that God is within us, surrounding us and embracing every single one of us in every moment of every day. We are made of particles that move and mingle as part of the great universal canvas that is of God’s making.
I have since come to realise that we as a human race are living less than the purpose we are made for. Through that reductionism and thereby through living less than our potential, we are less than optimal beings. In all my professional years and after thousands upon thousands of client consultations, there is one seemingly peculiar yet otherwise common-sensible familiar trait that has walked in and out of my clinic, and that is – that no matter the varying degree of behavioural issue and or mental health condition one carries, there is also the notion in us all that we are denying ourselves to live who we truly are – a sense that there is something more that we are not yet grasping in full.
Mental wellness is not solely defined by the absence of a mental health diagnosis. If one can say they are in a relatively consistent state of sound mind and body, producing thoughts of love, joy, equality with others, harmlessness and the ability to appreciate oneself and others, then one could truly say they are in a state of mental wellness.
If we were to adopt this as our foundational understanding and approach to the practice and study of mental health, we would further expand the true advancement of mankind and consider the ‘more’ that is taking place in the lives of many, and in life itself.
My journey through those myriads of ‘religions’ and through my experiences as a therapist has re-formed my views about God, Religion and Mental Wellbeing . In the quest for mental health and the path of evolution, for both myself and my clients, I can best encapsulate this by saying –
“In the next step of life’s journey, start today by accepting that there is something much, much greater on offer than the small picture that Mankind currently has in play”.