Memories in the Present Moment
I would love to consider myself a student of religion. I have a degree and everything. I would love to consider myself a student of all religions. It does not compromise my belief. It does not hinder my ability to love and be loved by Christ (cats out of the bag… I am a Christian in most senses of the word). If there is a truth found in Buddhism, it is truth. If there is truth found in Kabbalah, it is truth. If there is a truth found in Hinduism, it is, by all means, truth. To prove I have a degree, I will quote Meister Eckhart.
“If God were anything other than truth, I would flee from God and cling to truth”
That is probably a paraphrase, as my attempt to prove I am educated is halfhearted at best. So where does this leave me? How can I claim a truth found in Southern Baptist doctrine and also in an inexplicable explanation of the Tao? To what do I cling in times of trouble and to whom do I turn with questions of spirituality? And as all Christian denominations would want to ask, how do I get my checks to God? What, in the world, am I left with, when I have no group to affirm my decisions or leave me feeling justified?
May I say, while all of the feel good language I use in my writings and on my social media posts can be tied to experience, either that of my own or others’, most of what I write is recycled. The reason I bring up my being a student, or at least an observer, of religions, is that most of what I write or feel about God can be found both in sacred texts and also in several manifests of late sixties and early seventies cults. Just as most of what is preached in mainstream religions today and what was preached in those aforementioned cults, sound eerily the same.
As a society, I have noticed, we are no longer afraid of “cults”. We think John Travolta and Tom Cruise are just “the berries” because they are involved in Scientology. We assume since the Mormon Church has made it this far, that watching Sister Wives on A&E is just another form of entertainment. There are no Dateline specials on deprogramming and rarely any expose on any group until there is a murder suicide or mass killing. I do not advocate witch hunting, but at least back in the day, there was a debate about such things.
Brainwashing used to be a real concern. Something that was combated. Something to be guarded against. Heaven help us all. Though it was misguided at times (in the early nineties I was told I could not be a Christian and a free mason simultaneously) at least there was a sense that there might be “right thought” and “controlled thought”. Guess what? We are all brainwashed. Like it or not, admit it or not, we allow ourselves to absorb any catchy jingle or song, advertising campaign, or media news of the minute. If you don’t believe me, try putting your cell phone in a drawer for three days without shaking.
I am not talking about thought that is correct or incorrect, left or right, conservative or liberal, I am talking about free thinking. The process of using our own studies and our own experiences to form an opinion. And here is a magnificent notion, what if we all reserved the right to “not have an opinion” on any given topic the busy world throws in our face. What if we simply did not know if Target should let a man use a restroom designated for women. What if we acknowledged that Hirambe may have died justly or unjustly, but that we simply do not have an opinion on his death.
We are cast into a world each day that demands so much of us while guided by a God that demands so little. When faced with a decision we cannot figure out, you know God may not care if we get a large or small Starbucks in the morning, what if we were able to ask ourselves these questions. Is it kind? Is it responsible? Is it going to harm anyone other than myself? Will I worry over it tonight before bed? And lastly ask this. Will it create in me a joy that I might be able to share with others?
If these questions can be answered with satisfactory responses, realize that you have more than one right choice to every situation. Know that you are a gift to God and others. Know that your smile is important to your well being, God and others. Know that if you perceive beauty, at that moment, you become a part of that beauty. At that moment and before, even after, you are a part of beautiful creation.
The point of what Christians call “The Last Supper” or “Eucharist”, was not the sipping of the cup or the digestion of the bread. It was, if you recall, to be done in, remembrance. In an act of defiance against all, and pardon my non religious vernacular, the bullshit that the world wants to cram into our brains, remember him. Worry not for what Jesus would do. Breath deep. Love big. And without a cup or loaf, help others remember him.