Inner Work - Religion

“From the center of the divine, resonating through the community of beings, a note of remembrance is ringing out. It is a call to remember your connection with the divine, to remember that you are rooted in others, and can make your choices and decisions with awareness of their effects on the shared fabric of life you are weaving.

“In response to this call, some of you are seeking to define your values more clearly, some of you are creating new lifestyles and opportunities for exchange, some of you are re-awakening old spiritual techniques and teachings, recognizing the value in ways that had been earlier trampled or ridiculed. And many of you are turning to formalized religions.

“There is a great burgeoning of interest on the planet at this time in religions: you can see great movements of return to Christianity, to Islam, to Hindu practices, as well as the popularity of new churches and belief systems. Cynics say that in times of confusion and economic dissolution people turn to magic, faith, and religion to assuage their fear.

“We are not particularly cynical, so we see the situation somewhat differently. As people turn to religion, even the most rigid of religions, they are seeking meaning in their life. They are seeking security, membership, and participation in efforts to unify their lives with some kind of value-laden lifestyle. They are seeking to align their will with something larger than their own small lives.

“These desires in and of themselves are healthy and good. Most religions and most spiritual practices teach techniques which can help you align with the god force, or the divine force. And they usually have some element of community to help you make connections with the god-force in fellow beings.

“Many of our students are deeply critical of religions, because they see them as rigid institutions, which prescribe behaviors and appear to tamper with the free will of adherents. They see them as corrupt in their powers.

“This is indeed a danger that organized religion courts. However, we feel it is useful to see religion as having great potential to do good in the world, for its followers and for others. We feel it is also good to be aware of the ways in which religions have done harm or been corrupted.

“The danger of corruption and misuse of power affects any institution, any structure in which you seek to codify knowledge or wisdom. As you find yourself condemning a religion, recognize which traits or qualities you object to, and examine the institutions you participate in for the same flaws. Institutions and structures can serve you if you learn to create them wisely and use them as vehicles rather than as homes. Religion reflects the strengths and weaknesses of the community at large.

“What makes a religion, science, or professional practice healthy is whether it enables you to recognize your values, live ethically, and stay connected to your inner guidance and purpose. If it becomes a practice that cuts you off from your three selves or causes you to shut others out, then it is an unhealthy practice for you, even if it is a religion that works for someone else.

“By that criteria, Christianity can be an extremely nourishing and positive force for some people. And for others it can be restrictive and destructive because the rules, precepts or practice don't allow that individual to find her way home to her own spirit. By the same token, the practice of medicine can be a noble and uplifting choice, or an insult to one's values and truth. So there's room for many kinds of spiritual practices and religions, and it is a matter of individual choice and conscience to find the ones which are "true" for you.

“What do psychic exploration and channeling have to do with religion? Some religions condemn these practices as idolatry or heresy. Some allow their members to explore all tools for knowing the divine force and aligning their lives with their values. We encourage you to cultivate an openness to the potentials of developing your own spiritual practice, while being aware that religions are often right about one aspect of psychic exploration and channeling: there is a great tendency on the part of "seekers" to misplace their sense of authority, giving too much power and status to disembodied consciousness, or energetic happenings.

“Your authority, as we have said throughout our writings, comes from within, from your own inner wisdom and the quality of your living. We are here to remind you of that inner knowing. Religions too, are there as vehicles to help you remember your way home to balance and grace. Sports, music, the practice of art, science, each of these realms can also offer you the elements that are most valuable in religion: community, reverence, and techniques for greater awareness. We encourage you to use all your creativity, and all your social and intellectual resources, to create religions which are truly healthy vehicles for your spiritual expression and exchange.”