Imagine one day waking up and finding out that the foundation of your own very faith, since you were a toddler, is suddenly turned upside down…that someone or circumstance suddenly pulled out the rug you have been standing on for a long time under your feet…that day you realized that there is actually no bearded man with a kind face up in the clouds. Does it matter?
If you were brought up a Christian, maybe facing such possibility will make you indignant and will turn you against the institution or person claiming that the basis of your belief is nothing but a myth. Isn’t it so? But, at this point in our life, we do know that Christmas Day is not the birthday of Jesus; that Thanksgiving Day was actually first celebrated after the butchering/stabbing/shooting/burning alive of 700 men, women and children of an Indian tribe; and that Santa Claus does not ride sleigh drawn by reindeers up in the sky to distribute gifts via chimneys. Yet, despite that knowledge, we still choose to teach our youngsters the same beliefs and traditions we grew up with – perpetuating the stories we already knew as myths but projecting them to be truths. Of course, the kids will grow up one day and it is up to them to find out and deal with it come their maturity. Not our problem. Leave it to circumstances.
Nevertheless, let me consider this…would it be so bad if Jesus Christ was, in reality, a mortal being like the rest of us? I have read books including Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code and watched documentaries relative to theories and researches as to the questionable divinity of Jesus. Does it bother me at the slightest? The answer is no, not at all, not at the least. Why not? Divine or no divine, married or not married, nothing will ever change his message of love…he taught the religion of love and compassion and kindness…much the same way the Dalai Lama is teaching the same tenets in the present day. Look at the message and not the messenger – that is always the principle I follow. What other things colored Jesus’s teachings was not of his own doing but rather the designs of people that wished to control humans. It was the interpretation of the teachings made by other people that resulted to this current divide…that is true even with other religions, I think. The mistake lies in the preachers not in the prophets and saints.
The way I am seeing it, presently, we have three options – the cult of religion (any of the numerous each offering the way to eternal salvation), the cult of science (always logic and reality as object) or the cult of nothingness (transcending the ego/mind). Please take note that by cult here, I only meant great devotion or belief but none of the destructive kind that we normally associate with this term.
The cult of religion promises us utopia…sacrifice now for rewards in the afterlife. But is there an afterlife? Has anyone seen anything conclusive and absolute to support that claim? Nothing, of course. Otherwise, the whole world will be united in just one religion today.
The cult of science is a cult of reason…believe only what you can perceive or extensively applied with logical theories that can be explained. Uncomplicated. No Santa Claus. Yet, despite the advance of technology and the knowledge we have acquired, no one can really claim to indisputably expound the origin of mankind and the universe.
The cult of nothingness is both the easiest to grasp and the most difficult to do much less achieve because of the challenge of dealing with works of the mind. In this case, we are asked to believe and realize truth past our perceptions…beyond the objects we see, feel, hear, taste and smell (contrary to science). It places the responsibility to be happy on us (contrary to religion where there is the Man in the Clouds who can save us) – our own selves, and no one else. It requires absolute believing to the divinity of human…the oneness of all beings…the non-purpose of the mind and all the objects it projects once the person awakens to the illusion. It entails the need to use the heart for seeing what is seemingly evident but we, time and again, fail to realize. There is no creator as we think the creator to be…we are our own creators.
God is us. God is love – the bliss and light. And there is no other way of achieving it but to believe in it. Let me borrow some wisdom from Amma that I stumbled upon the page of Rama Devi Nina Marshall: “Love is a sudden rising in the heart. Love is an unavoidable, unobstructed longing for oneness. There is no logic in this. It is beyond logic. So do not try to be rational about love. It is like trying to give reasons for the river to flow, for the breeze to be cool and gentle, for the moon to glow, for the sky to be expansive, for the ocean to be vast and deep, or for the flower to be fragrant and beautiful.”
Right now, we are like insects entangled in spider’s web. We are pulled two or three ways if we happen to see the path…otherwise, we are just blindly following the cycle of life and death forever seeking pleasure and experiencing discontent and misery once the fleeting happiness goes away. We try to assign meaning to our existence by achieving something tangible; by trying to prove to ourselves that we are better than the rest. Toiling and toiling for nothing because in the end, we will still meet death. We will die and will be eaten by the same kinds of bacteria without prejudice and bias as to who or what once we were. No one ever cheated death…no one can buy their way out of it. Therefore, being somebody in this world is a futile effort.
I, every once in a while, came across quotes about striving for something so that you leave a good memory behind…well, that reminded me of how the Nobel Prize came about…because Alfred Nobel (the Swedish chemist and engineer who invented dynamite) wanted to be remembered in fond memories. Nice sentiments, really. But, tell me, if you are dead and not aware of the love and respect you wish to have when you are gone, then what is the point of it?
Memories, for me, just like funeral wakes serve the living and not the dead person…the living relatives are consoled with the fact that other people see meaning in the existence of their kin who died. Does the dead cares? In heavenly bliss, he/she would not give a heck whether he/she touched your life or not. The curtain already closed. His/her atoms will go back to space probably subject to next recycling or not.
Therefore, I think, it is best to work our own way out of the entanglement…to re-find the truth. Non-attachment to many people and things that make us who and what we are helps in saving us from pain and disappointment. Love for the sake of loving. Give for the sake of giving. Be kind for the sake of kindness. Not because there is eternal salvation or reward for that…but because, in itself, it is already the liberation we are seeking.