Religious fundamentalism doesn’t acknowledge nor give permission for the stages of spiritual growth that the Divine Love wishes to take us through.
‘Right belief’ based on doctrinal definitions becomes the base camp where the fundamentalist prefers to remain.
Moving on is the first real step of faith-trust that we are asked to take in the journey of Divine discovery.
Over the last few days I’ve been pondering the role of language in all human life and more particularly the spiritual life! Here are a few thoughts that bubbled up from deep within!
Language and its evolution in our species’ attempt to get beyond the mere animal in all of us. Yet perhaps that’s not entirely true for as we know many animal species have their own primitive, if effective, way of communicating with each other. Our dear dolphin friends may in some respects be a little more together than many of us in the realm of clear-cut vocal connection!
Something within the heart of man wants to touch base with others and all within our Cosmic home. Language with its myriad of defined labels can only take us there in glimpses for what we really crave lies beyond the expression of words and thoughts that accompany them. We are wired for Spirit, that Transcendence which beyond all our futile if well-meaning attempts at trapping its essence by means of linguistic nets.
May I suggest that language and indeed thought lie in the space-time realm of the psyche. They are the stuff of our daily life; means of expressing how we feel in the midst of our illusory human Matrix. In other words they are tools to use as we bump from experience to another in the stuff of life.
As we all know such words are often misread by others. How often have we been misinterpreted by those closest to us, who have their own interpretations for the words we chose to use. Marriage is a great learning curve regarding the nuances that words carry for another. How often has the word ‘sorry’ come to our rescue in such a linguistic and emotional drama? Yes words are great but need an open and flexible heart backing them up if relational harmony is to ensue.
When it comes to the religious and spiritual scheme of things, we tend to be addicted to our words, especially those relating to our psyche’s take on the Divine. God, Father, Mother ( if more rarely), Lord, Spirit, Soul, Grace, Love, Heaven, Hell etc. The list is endless, the Mind, Body, Spirit genre having its own set of hallowed words, mostly taken from Eastern religion and 21st quasi-science. Karma, Energy, Enlightenment, Lightworker, Divine Light, Angels, Auras, Chakras, Meditation, Oneness all attempt, like their religious equivalents, to capture a glimpse of Ultimate Reality and our connection with it.
Now such words are fine as long as we can see their often arbitrary nature and indeed their multitude of meaning for those who use them. I see them as temporary little rope bridges across which we attempt to move on in our Journey into the Mystery of Divine Love. Unfortunately though we seem to have a resident perversity to make gods of our sacred words. We imbue them with a certainty and solidity that they were never meant to have. They morph into the guardians of our perceived truth, little soldiers to call upon when we meet another with a different linguistic take on our Ultimate goal. Words become the creators of division rather than the healers of relational breakdown.
When we capture the Divine and lock Him/Her/It into our linguistic straight-jackets we have become religious or spiritual Fundamentalists, mirror reflections of the other whom we oppose in the name of Truth or even more scarily God! The fear that lurks beneath such a metaphysical mindset loves to attach itself to words, like limpets to a shoreline rock, that stands unmoved by the waves of liberal or progressive turbulence. So deep-rooted is this addiction for security that even the Progressive can subtly and unknowingly transform into a Fundamentalist, albeit one with a cuddly, all-embracing veneer.
Many search for hidden meaning in the original language and context of sacred writings. Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek as well as a plethora of Indian languages are all targets of the Fundamentalist. If only we could understand the ‘original meaning’ of Yeshua’s, Paul’s Buddha’s, Mohammed’s words then we will have captured their experience of the Divine. I’m afraid that such attempts, whilst exciting, will ultimately end in frustration and a new form of Fundamentalism.
Simply because the Divine is to be experienced with a knowing beyond words.
The return to an Awareness of Divine embrace by passes the linguistic centre of our being. It is ‘Spirit’ to ‘spirit’, themselves words with their limitations and own dangers.
So let’s be wary of our word addictions.
Yes, we can gracefully use language to try to describe what we have encountered along the Journey of life, but let’s avoid setting them up as a sacred shrine or temple in which our divinity takes up residence, demanding our rigid devotion. Words that initially channelled Life can become our psycho-spiritual jailer.
Such is the error of all Fundamentalism that will eventually end up in tears and violence to our fellow-man.