Spirituality & Religion: many paths, one path

First of all, where have I been? In hospital since last Wed night, with a broken femur. This is to be expected since apparently the top of my femur had turned into kind of spongy rubber, which is what these cancer cells do. It still made one heck of a snap when it broke though. Snappy spongy rubber.  On Sunday I had a half hip replacement & today I can sit up & use my laptop, although there’s no wireless network, so it’ll all be going home to be uploaded tonight. I hope. Depending on our technical expertise.

Of course I have had plenty of time for thinking. Today’s (well, last night’s) reflections:

Some of my friends are confused by my stress on being spiritual, rather than religious.

I’m not just trying to hedge my bets (well, perhaps a little)…. But I see three main trends in human ‘religion’. The original type of religion that occurred in a number of forms all around the world, is part of the other two strands, and is still predominant in some cultures. This is variously described as animism, naturalism, shamanism, druidism, and is characterized by a sense of spirit in everything that is, most particularly the land, the earth itself, and the sun.

Then in Western Asia arose the two other great traditions of religion that now dominate the world, one which spread predominantly west, the other predominantly east.  The western religions I see as Judaeo-Christian-Islamic, the eastern as Hinduism, Buddhism.

The western religions are more insistent, each one, on being the ‘only true path. Generally, God is placed outside of and above the rest of creation.

The eastern religions are more prepared to consider all paths as one path, in the end. And to situate God ‘within’ and subsuming all of creation.

Also, from my limited point of view, it seems that the further the religions spread from Western Asia, in both directions, the more ‘secular’ and ‘rational’ they seem to become, the more even their mysticism becomes more contemplative, less ornate.

Many forms of Buddhism do not require any gods at all, and are not so very different to existentialism.

But my point is that for me, the ‘many paths are one path’ is the thing I feel I have always known.

It is the source of my spirituality and why I explore so much.

Last night I felt the need to explore one of the other traditions and a dialogue with an external God. Check back here for the next exciting instalment.

 

 

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