Most people who are spiritually aware, despite the template they express their spirituality through, seek to know God; Source; the Formless. It doesn’t matter if they’re religious or generally spiritual – we all want to reunite with Source and the heavenly realms of consciousness that exist beyond our physical perception.
People from all walks of life have opened up to spirit, whether their religions have been controlled or not.
I know a few Christians who are more interested in heaven and the afterlife than persecuting people who don’t think the way they do, and even though religion has been used as an excuse for war, persecution and suppression, it doesn’t invalidate one’s spirituality.
I can remember having a conversation with a religious person about life after death. She wasn’t interested in selling her beliefs to me, and instead, she was happy to talk about an interesting subject that she’d studied a lot.
The point I want to make is that every path leads back to the same heaven. There are religious people out there who live in service to humanity and the “Holy Spirit” because of their faith, and they don’t want to fight others because of their different philosophies, lifestyle choices, etc.
There are also religious people who condemn and persecute others, and we don’t want to ignore the unfortunate reality of religious condemnation. But we don’t want to ignore the genuine, good-hearted spiritual people out there who’s religions inspire them to preach love and acceptance either.
Every religion offers a slightly different interpretation of the same Source and the same heaven we’ll experience when we lighten our individual and collective vibration, and instead of killing each other over different spiritual interpretations, I think we should recognize that no path is perfect.
Every path is flawed in its own way, because it’ll be impossible to grasp our own spirituality until we actually embody it. This isn’t just true for religion – those of us who feel spiritually conscious still have a lot to learn before we really understand the truth of our existence.
All of the beliefs we create around spirit can help us reach our destination, but they only point out the way – they can’t get us there.
Most belief systems were originally intended to get us thinking in the right direction, but there’s no way they could solely offer a clear and perfect picture of God – especially with how distorted and suppressive many of them have become.
As we’ll examine here, Source has offered a bounty of ways for us to grasp the truths of our existence, and no one path has all of the answers.
The truth is individually defined, and our ability to come together lies in the extent to which we can accept each other’s unique interpretations of heaven and our creator.
There’s a lot of material out there about the different paths that lead to the same conclusion, and here, I’ll present some of that material and reiterate the importance of respecting everyone’s unique beliefs and philosophies.
Ibn Arabi tells us that every path is a path to Source.
“[Whichever] way you turn your face, there you will find a road which leads to God.” (1)
Paramahansa Ramakrishna reinforces this idea and tells us about the different belief systems he practiced.
“As many faiths, so many paths.” (2)
“I had to practise each religion for a time — Hinduism, Islam, Christianity. Furthermore, I followed the paths of the Saktas, Vaishnavas, and Vedantists. I realized that there is only one God toward whom all are travelling; but the paths are different.” (3)
We can follow every religion in the book if we want to understand all of the different ways we can interpret God, but at the end of the day, our personal truth is always the best guide. The physical temple is the ultimate chapel, and our unique philosophy will guide us into higher dimensions with relative ease if we put in the work to get there.
I think studying different religions and belief systems is actually a good idea. Why not get a feel for how others interpret the Formless? As long as we remember that no truth supersedes what we know and feel within, studying other belief systems could prove lucrative.
A lot of seekers have studied different faiths and widened their grasp on all of the different religious and spiritual interpretations that are out there, and I’d imagine this can bring us closer with our creator if we study them with discernment and common sense.
Ramakrishna tells us that Source has provided us different belief systems, and likens it to a mother offering a diverse array of food for her hungry children.
“God Himself has provided different forms of worship. He who is the Lord of the Universe has arranged all these forms to suit different men in different stages of knowledge.
“The mother cooks different dishes to suit the stomachs of her different children. Suppose she has five children. If there is a fish to cook, she prepares different dishes from it — pilau, pickled fish, fried fish, and so on — to suit their different tastes and powers of digestion.” (4)
We’re all unique, and we’ll all interpret Source differently. Because of this, we’ve been offered a lot of different belief systems (some of which we’ve distorted) so we could pick and choose what works best for us. The problem is that religious “leaders” who’ve wanted to squander free thinking have demanded their religion be law and killed people who didn’t agree.
The problem with all of the different religions doesn’t come from Source, but from man. We’re the ones who decided to kill each other over our differences in belief, and in a lot of cases, we were led into war by self-serving leaders who never cared about their people.
Instead of fighting over the diversity of our belief systems, let’s understand that every interpretation is of the same Source and work together to get a better spiritual grasp than we would’ve gotten before.
While we’ve been killing each other in the name of religion, elites behind the political veil who’ve enforced religious division and war have gotten away with their crimes, time after time. In editing the bible and distorting our understanding of spirit, they’ve suppressed the purer teachings and added in their own doctrines.
We’ve been left to fight over distorted and incomplete belief systems, but as more people awaken to the suppression that’s taken place right under our noses, they’ll seek true spirituality while respecting the interpretations of others.
Even if we don’t share the same beliefs as someone else, nothing stops us from respecting them. We don’t have to agree about everything to prosper as a civilization, but we’ll continue to hurt ourselves if we refuse to accept one another.
According to Ramakrishna, whether we follow someone else’s path or not, we’ll go to the same heavenly place as them.
“You see, the thing is somehow or other to get into the Lake of the Nectar of Immortality. Suppose one person gets into It by propitiating the Deity with hymns and worship, and you are pushed into It. The result will be the same. Both of you will certainly become immortal.” (5)
We can follow someone else’s path if it works for us, and we’ll go to heaven either way as long as we show incentive. However, we’re encouraged to find the path that inspires and excites us the most and work from there to achieve enlightenment.
Suppose one person’s path calls for unbridled, selfless service.
It sounds strict, but can you imagine all of the things they could do in the name of enlightenment? Suppose another person’s path calls for strict yoga and meditation. Again, it might sound a little demanding, but can you imagine how much the planetary vibration would rise from that one person’s actions?
Now, imagine both of those people practicing the requirements of their respective belief systems. One person works away to serve humanity by doing good deeds and helping others become aware, and the other raises the planetary consciousness with hours and hours of meditation and stillness.
Should either one of their belief systems be deemed better or worse than the other? I don’t think so, because in both instances, humanity benefits. With both belief systems, progress is made and the world’s put in a better place.
Paul Reps tells us that the famous religious entities of our past received a taste of the same spiritual existence.
“Surely men as inspiritors, known and unknown to the world, share a common uncommon discovery. The Tao of Lao-Tse, Nirvana of Buddha, Jehovah of Moses, the Father of Jesus, the Allah of Mohammed — all point to the experience.
“No-thing-ness, spirit — once touched, the whole life clears.” (6)
What’s great about spirit is that we can all open up to it, and if I haven’t stressed this enough yet, we’ll all open up in our own ways. Some of the religious entities who are worshipped today glimpsed of spirit and did everything they could to help us become aware of it, and in a lot of cases, their efforts included building belief systems around their discoveries.
Every belief system has its pure and impure doctrines, but by now, I’m sure almost every religion has been intercepted and distorted to a degree by people in powerful political and religious positions. Some religions can help us glimpse spirit despite this, and a lot of people become spiritually aware because of religion.
Religion, however distorted and controlling, still has the potential to create awareness and selfless service.
In our final quote, Paul Ferrini tells us about the two different paths of “observer” and “participant”.
“Much of the frustration you feel on your spiritual path comes from the fact that you cannot experience something and study it at the same time. If you stand back and observe, you will not have the same experience the participant does. And if you participate, you will not have [the] same experience as the observer.
“One spiritual method asks you to become an observer. Another asks you to be a participant. Either method works, but you cannot practice both at the same time. If you want to ‘know,’ you must learn to stand back and observe. If you want to ‘be,’ you must dive into the experience.” (7)
Maybe an equal balance of observation and participation will give us the greatest enlightenment experience. Paul’s right – we can’t experience both at the same time. We can, however, shift back and forth from observer to participant. Why not give it a try?
Of course, this is my opinion and my path. Your path could be entirely different, but I enjoy observing and participating in our spiritual evolution. If I could only do one of them, I’d feel incomplete.
In concluding this, I want to encourage the conscious community not to fall into the traps of judgment and condemnation.
It’s easy to condemn someone because their beliefs are different, and for those of us who consider ourselves conscious, it’s very easy to condemn religious people because they’ve been made to look bad by people who judge and persecute in the name of God.
The Westboro Baptist Church (for example), who publicly and radically discriminates against gay people, doesn’t have to shape our perception of religion. Not every religious person is batty with judgment and discrimination, and those of us who don’t use religion to define our spirituality are no better than anyone else if we condemn religious people as a whole.
In condemning everything that has to do with religion, we do exactly what we speak out against and our message of peace and unity is muddied.
Let’s accept each other and our different viewpoints, because if we’ve learned anything from oppressive leaders and religious persecutors, it’s that we won’t get anywhere if we keep judging and hating one another. This is true for all of us, no matter what beliefs we use to define ourselves.
Love and acceptance can replace judgment and condemnation, and it has to start with our acceptance of one another. It seems simple, but we tend to make things harder than they need to be and subsequently keep ourselves from uniting and collectively exploring our spirituality.
- Muhyideen Ibn Arabi, Kernel of the Kernel. trans. Ismail Hakki Bursevi. Sherborne: Beshara, n.d.
- Swami Chetananda, They Lived with God. Life Stories of Some Devotees of Sri Ramakrishna. St. Louis: Vedanta Society of St. Louis, 1989.
- Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942.
- Loc. cit.
- Loc. cit.
- Paul Reps, comp., Zen Flesh, Zen Bones. A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings. Doubleday: Anchor, n.d.
- Paul Ferrini, Silence of the Heart. South Deerfield, MA: Heartways Press, 1996.
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I’m a twenty-one year old writer, musician and blogger, and I created The Culture of Awareness daily news site.
The Culture of Awareness features daily spiritual and alternative news, as well as articles I’ve written and more. Its purpose is to awaken and uplift by providing material about the fall of the planetary elite and a new paradigm of unity and spirituality.