The root meaning for the word “religion” comes from the Latin term relegare; it means to bind together. If there were ever a time for humanity to come together for the common good, it is now. With the continuing pandemic and ongoing political polarization, “True Religion” is needed now more than ever.
This holiday season gives us another reason for hope and an opportunity to focus on what’s good in the world. In addition to Christmas, several other celebrations take place during December: Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and Diwali to name a few. These celebrations seem to lift humanity's collective vibration. During this time of the year, it is as if more people stop for a moment and pull themselves out of their daily habits to see and celebrate Spirit's love and abundant gifts.
While each religious pathway appears to be different, they are celebrating our same essence. It is this essence that binds us together as one. It reminds me of a question one of my spiritual teachers posed – “If Jesus was seated at a table with a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian, and a Shintoist, do you think he would turn to them and say ‘You must all forsake your beliefs and accept Christianity?’ ”
I do not believe Jesus would take such a stance since he came to free humanity from divisiveness and help us realize our commonalities. Jesus taught spiritual principles that anyone can apply in their life regardless of what path they have chosen or if they have no particular spiritual path at all.
There are many paths to understanding this presence we call God, and each path helps us realize our interconnectedness. In fact, I picked up some of my most significant values while traveling to other countries. While I was in Ghana and Nigeria, I appreciated and valued how they use their traditions to deepen their understanding of the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and how the two are bound together. Most people, at the very least, seek to understand their purpose in life, to make a positive difference in their communities, and to be a more loving presence in our world. Indeed, regardless of background, culture, or religion, we actually have more in common than not.
A significant challenge we face in our world is that many have bought into the belief of separation. This belief breeds a sense of isolation and antagonistic posturing that often leads to behavior that reinforces this sense of alienation. As a result, many who do have an active prayer practice tend to only pray for friends. Jesus challenged this when he said, "Pray for your enemies."
Of course, he was not saying to stop praying for our friends. He was suggesting, instead, that we expand our daily prayer practice to include people that we may not like, who may not agree with us, or seem to have an opposite point of view.This practice of expanded prayer is urgently needed in our world today.
As we begin to reach inwardly, we challenge the perception of isolation, and we expand our purview of what a neighbor is. Then we begin to discover, as Jesus said, that the so-called enemy is within us. This consciousness is so needed in our world today.
So, we want to expand our prayer practice and consciously embrace any individual or group of people that we may be at odds with, whether from the past, present, or future. Breaking through any sense of separation, this strategy will help anchor the "Beloved Community" which is a Divine Idea in God's Mind.
When we practice “True Religion” we break down the artificial barriers we have created between people, groups, and nations. We look at one another and see the beauty and not the differences. We’ll not see color. Instead, we’ll see the different shades of the Infinite. When we see how we are bound together, we won't see different cultures, religions, or political parties. We’ll see how Infinite Spirit needs all cultures, religions, and parties to reveal its eternal nature.
In the end, we will see we are all here to glorify the presence of God regardless of the artificial lines of separation. In the Mind of God, none of those made-up lines have any power. When we practice "True Religion," we know that as well.
Peace and Blessings,