There are two weeks left before my world religion curriculum and interfaith devotional are available to read by the general public. Two weeks ago (ish) I began soliciting reviewers around both the curriculum and devotional. At the time, I thought I was just finishing a project I began 10 years ago.
I was so wrong.
As I worked and reworked and tweaked the texts, I found myself getting lost in the play of culture and human intention to connect with the Divine. Meanwhile, I began a regular mediation practice which has transformed into several layers of daily prayer. One might say I’m returning to my ancestral Celtic roots, where every action had a corresponding blessing. In a way this is true, but it is also so much more.
Because of the exposure I’ve had to sacred texts, I find myself seeing the cultural framework within each religion. This is where most people get tripped up. They think these cultural frames are the core of the faith, but that is false. The cultural frame is a way of bridging the gap between the very human experience we have, in a given context, to the Divine. There are limits to what the human mind, in these bodies, can comprehend. So the cultural framework helps take concepts that are bigger than any human mind can hold, and gives them context. Unfortunately, this is also where people get stuck – attracted to the cultural frame, and misinterpreting it as the “important part.”
What then, is the “important part?” This would be the similarities across the faiths. There are differences in the cultural frames, to be sure, but the core intentions of the faiths are the same: be a good person and connect with the Divine, the source of all Creation. Even the notions of what a good person is are similar – to treat everyone the same, to practice love, kindness, and generosity – these concepts are universal.
The way we talk about God is similar – through translation or in the original text, however you look at it, humanity has a way we talk about the Divine. I feel it when I read sacred text, no matter what the faith.
Now when I look at a blade of grass, mountain, or human being, I marvel. I look at the clouds and the sky and I am starstruck. I skip and laugh, and relish the present time. I enjoy the wonders of experience. I bless everything I encounter.
Did you know, blessed water tastes better than unblessed water? I don’t know what it is or why it is, but it does. A blessed bed and pillow feel so much better, more comforting than an unblessed one. A blessed child is more joy-filled and centered than an unblessed one. I’ve been running this experiment for the past day, and honestly, I see a difference. I’ve been blessing my social media feeds. I’ve been blessing events thousands of miles away. I’ve been blessing my day.
In this short time, such a short time, I noticed a difference. In the last few weeks, just deciding to send out more loving thoughts, I’ve noticed a change in everyone I encounter. Even those I don’t specifically interact with have been more positive – more forgiving – more loving.
How did this happen?
I changed, and reality changed with me. The knowledge that God is bigger than a single faith, that humanity is so similar despite context, brought me to a new understanding.
I am still Christian, for all intents and purposes. This is the context that makes the most sense for me to connect with the Divine. Another context no doubt, works better for someone else. I’m comfortable with this. It feels right to me. My only hope is that no matter what a person’s spiritual journey, that they experience this same gift I’ve been given – the ability to see the transcendent beauty of the sacred, the universality of human experience, and it fills their hearts with peace, love, and joy.
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