The tangible way of Godliness…
In these times we live in a world where the word ‘religion’ is more often than not defined in the ‘negative’. Words like ‘dogma’, ‘rules’, ‘oppression’ and ‘abuse’ are commonly expressed when the question is posed: how do we define religion and what words do we associate with being religious? Only recently in a class of undergraduate students, this very topic area was discussed – with the abovementioned words used among many to describe what the word religion represented to each of the students. The inclination of most in the class was to lean favourably towards the word ‘spirituality’ and place that in the context of ‘connection’ and ‘freedom to be oneself’, and furthermore, that religion and spirituality are two very different things – one deemed to be controlling and subversive, the other located as freeing and subjective.
The students were correct in saying that religion and spirituality are two different things in terms of definition – and its implications for how we live and move in life – just not in the ways they were describing. In its deep essence, being religious simply encompasses living in each moment according to the divine impulse of one’s soul in ways that are tangible, real, and honouring of oneself and all others in the world. It does not in any way mean striving for some unrealistic notion of ‘perfection’ – nor does it involve living according to ‘rules’, ‘dogma’ and ‘judgement’. Living a truly religious life means that one is always deepening their connection with themselves, responsibly so – a connection that is located in the relationship with one’s soul which is ultimately our relationship with God.
God does not punish us, nor does he hold one group of people with more reverence, love and equalness than another group of people. God simply loves us All – holds us All equally for who we really are – which is an equal spark of His divine grace. He judges not, for how can our Heavenly Father cast any level of aspersion on one who is but in essence, a reflection of himself? To live in a truly godly way is to hold oneself in the deep knowing and love of who you truly are – which is that of an equal Son of God. It is also living with the beholdment of all others – knowing and appreciating that every other human being is also an equal Son of God.
Organised assemblies otherwise known as Churches and/or ‘religions’ of the world with their doctrines, scriptures, and practices are removed from living the essence of true religiosity. They are constructed institutions that have been established for the purpose of perpetuating separation between people. This has been the case throughout the ages and is still the way it is today – regardless of the many well-meaning people who align to various organised assemblies. Living a religious life in all its deep fullness never requires one to sit in a building and ‘worship’ God, nor does it encompass any form of ‘confession for our sins’. In truth, there is no sin – because that would mean that we are being judged by God and that we are somehow less than equal to Him – which of course is not the truth of the matter.
As was presented to the cohort of undergraduate students mentioned earlier in this article, there is no greater power than to be connected with and living according to the natural impulses of our soul. The spirit has its rightful place and we cannot be completely removed from it in how we live in this world as a human being. However, it is the soul that is at the foundation of nurturing a lived understanding of what it is to be religious – and therefore, live religiously.
Our natural, steady and deep commitment to living and life in this world alongside our fellow human beings is a key aspect of living religiously in its essence. We are here to develop and live with true equalness with everyone else – we are not here to isolate ourselves and withdraw from life and the responsibility that entails for us All.
This responsibility if truly understood allows us to experience a life that is deeply joyful, where life is not only enriching for us, but others around us can also be offered a reflection of what it is to live claimed in your relationship with your soul – ultimately a relationship with God, which is all one and the same, when all is said and done…