As a little boy, I was fascinated with Jesus. I imagined walking with Him everywhere I went. I never related to how he was presented in churches, but I always felt Him to be my teacher and friend. I would talk to him throughout every day.
I didn’t see Jesus as the judgemental white supremacist that many Christians make him out to be today. I saw Jesus as a spirit who could embody any physical form. To me, Jesus was everywhere and everything. He was the flowers, sky, refrigerator, postman, and the quiet whisper of love and light in the back of my mind.
I saw Jesus as unconditional Love.
Given how Christianity is often marketed, I was surprised to learn that Jesus never called himself a Christian. It’s now my belief that “Christian” is the last thing He’ll be if he ever comes back, in whatever form. Jesus was a spiritual master. He was beyond any tidy box we might imagine him to occupy.
As a card-carrying member of the forward-thinking, spiritually-inclined, I tend to reduce religious labels and dogma down to suggestions, and spend my time focusing on divine attributes.
Judgmental born-againers (in any religion) seem to be unhappy people trying enroll others in their miseries. They push a spiritual master's biography rather than the tenets of their teachings.
I'm motivated by divine transmissions and holy attributes, not the crafted, edited biographies, written hundreds of years after a master's death.
I remember when I was a born-again Catholic, then a born-again Christian, then a born-again New-Ager, then a born-again Native American shaman, then a born-again Buddhist. And when I was a Sikh, I was fervently born-again, and frankly, a dick. It was all love-focused, but with a stinky layer of ego.
In retrospect, I’m healthily ashamed of how I defended my invisible friends along the way, but this powerful shame is now my master. In pursuit of a purer clarity, I’ve become so lovingly hard on myself that I thoroughly enjoy it.
From what I can tell, rather than enrolling others, the key to a spiritual life is accepting everything. If my goal is to help others along their spiritual paths, it must include accepting each person for who they are in this moment.
In Jungian psychology, there's the concept of matching and leading. The idea is to meet someone where they are at so that you can gently guide them to a deeper understanding and clarity.
Alignment with others invites openness and doorways to transformation. If we can’t see ourselves in another person, we’re missing the point. Truth be told, there is no “other.”
The moment we call ourselves Christians, Sikhs, Jews, Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists or any other “ist,” it's violent.
All religions have been over-marketed and under-researched by mostly uneducated people. Without all the noise and logos, we stand a much better chance of embodying love and its kin. Removing labels, name tags, prejudices, and allegiances, we see ourselves and the divine more clearly.
Our needs to identify as Christian, Hindu, Pagan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jewish, heck even Republican or Democrat, and other group-identifiers born from cultures (not spirit), is about ego, nothing more.
Your self-identity has nothing to do with any of these labels. Ask yourself, “Do I really need to identify with a word, organization, or movement? Or is it more transformative, more inclusive, and less aggressive to identify with an attribute?”
More succinctly, “Can we live without the words Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew, etc, and still be loving, spiritual, powerful, divine, and proactive human beings?
Yes, we can.
Without labels, can we still embody and share the teachings of Muhammad, Buddha, Moses and Joshua?”
If I fully understand that living and past spiritual masters and avatars had no egos, then why do I care about labels or attributing my experience to them or their movements?
Why can’t I just enjoy my culture’s rituals without advertising them and without trying to enroll others? Why can’t I just focus on becoming a better person and serving my fellow living beings?
If a religion needs followers or funding or anything, wouldn't the original master of the religion call these things into being through divine manifestation? That would make sense, right?
The original, big-religion spiritual masters didn’t focus on the organizations they spearheaded. They focused on embodying the universes within them and sharing love with others. As disciples, we are called to do the same.
In order to feel whole, we can identify with whatever lexicon or religion we choose. It’s our right and it can be enjoyable.
But the moment we promote our lexicon and religions to others, and the moment we preach from a religion’s point of view, we disconnect from our spirits and the truth. We become judgmental and nothing short of violent.
Let’s stop calling ourselves Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan and the others. It’s all the same story changed over time to support myths, political movements, and temporary organizational concepts. Also, the original religious manuscripts are largely inconsistent in their interpretations and translations. These narratives distract, control and oppress, more than they liberate. Religious books and labels are secondary to compassion.
We are servants of the divine. Let's embody love and help others to do the same.
Please stop saying these phrases, too: “We are all Jews” and “We are all Christians." These are passive-aggressive, judgmental ways of saying, "Our club is the best, our labels are the best, and today we consider you an honorary member of our exclusive tribe."
Truth be told, phrases like these are insidious ways of telling someone that they are missing something. They're not.
The more we hide under the egoistic shields of religious labels, the less effective we'll be. Live joyfully within the bounds of your religion. Love your religion. But don't pretend that it's special. It's not. It's a story, akin to hundreds of stories that have been birthed over thousands and thousands of years.
Leave the books at home. Stop talking about your invisible friend as if he or she is the only one. Encourage positive, loving attributes in yourself and others. There is how real change occurs.
Start with this: