Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Only Way – CREDO CXXV
It would seem that each of the three great religions of the Western World, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (in their historical order), have large groups of believers who believe that theirs is the "Only Way" to God or salvation. This has caused centuries of argument, wars, and persecutions. Each developed rules to be followed, guilts for not conforming, and threats. The problem is that the word "way" is always seen as a noun: a single road, a path. Yet, "the way" also has another meaning, as an adverb, or "how to", as in "This is the way to do it!" If you look at it that way, it opens the concept to as many people on earth who are interested in the actual meaning of life!
Furthermore, science tells us that every human being has a unique DNA, fingerprints, etc. Each individual reacts to life according to his own nature. Someone can give a lecture to a hundred people but it will be heard a hundred different ways. Heraclitus, the pre-Socratic philosopher of one-liners, put it this way: With our eyes open, we share the same world but with our eyes closed, each of us enters a private one. True.
Imagine a spiritual baseball park with an entrance for each religion the world over: we would have temples, synagogues, churches of all denominations with rituals and rules to go by. These could be considered exoteric or conventional forms of expression. So a devout Christian or Jew or Hindu could enter and, if truly successful, would exit into the park itself, where there are no divisions whatever! This is the esoteric surprise! Each of the great religions has this mystical dimension: the Jews, for instance, have the followers of the Baal Shem Tov, who, besides great love, had a great sense of humor. The Christians have the Mystics, including one of my favorites, the poet George Herbert; and the Muslims, the Sufis. Few realize that the most popular poet in the USA is Rumi, an irresistible Sufi, and there is also a humorous character who teaches wisdom called Mullah Nasruddin. There is a mystical dimension to Russian and Greek Orthodoxy, and in the East among Hindus, Budddhists, Taoists and followers of Zen, the characteristics are all kindness, love, and joy. Tolerance! In the Old Testament, Holy Wisdom, (Grk. Hagia Sophia) is described as "full of delight"!
This interfaith compassion is being expressed at the moment, in New York City by a Jewish mayor, a Moslem imam, and several Christians in the matter of the placing of a mosque two blocks away from the destroyed World Trade Center, a destruction instigated by a fanatic Muslim, Bin Laden.
By contrast, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is a joyful man, who says, "Really, my only religion is kindness."
Let's try that!
Posted by IonaDove