Friday, March 24, 2006
SPIRITUALITY BEYOND RELIGION
There is a joke that says, God gave us genuine spirituality for all humanity. But then the devil came along and organized it and called it religion. In this way, my point is that spirituality existed before it became codified. So if the major religions we find today are primarily based on the idea of adhering to a codified or organized dogma, and then trying to push it on everyone else as much as possible as if it is the one and only way to some kind of salvation, while taking only a secondary consideration for a personâ€™s genuine spiritual development, then let those religions go back to the devil and let us utilize our right to practice a genuine form of spiritual development that unites us rather than divides us. Those paths that can bring forth genuine spiritual experiences are beyond the limitations of time and space, or the label or name of any one particular religion. Such spiritual paths that can bring a universal spiritual realization of the Absolute Truth also invoke the perception of the same divinity embodied in everyone. This is what the world needs today. Instead of dividing us into various forms of â€œsinnersâ€ or â€œsavedâ€, or various religions, subsects or ethnic groups, we need a spirituality that connects us with each other, with the universe, the world and the environment, and to see that it is all a part of the Divine. This is one of the reasons why there was a recent conference by the name â€œSpirituality Beyond Religionâ€ in Jaipur in February of 2006, by the World Council of the Elders in partnership with the World Council of Ethnic Religions based in Europe. These elders are those who still participate in a variety of the worldâ€™s oldest cultures, traditions and indigenous spiritual paths. There are presently over 750 members of the World Council representing more than 75 different cultures from over 60 countries worldwide. This conference was sponsored by the International Center for Cultural Studies (_www.iccsus.org_ (http://www.iccsus.org)/) ) in India and the U.S. The conference was a grand success with delegates from 33 different countries coming together to share and respect their spiritual and cultural similarities. These countries included: 1. Australia, 2. Bangladesh, 3. Belgium, 4. Bhutan, 5. Canada, 6. Costa Rica, 7. El Salvador, 8. France, 9. Germany, 10. Ghana, 11. Guatemala, 12. Guyana, 13. India, 14. Indonesia, 15. Israel, 16. Kenya, 17. Latvia, 18. Lithuania, 19. Malaysia, 20. Mauritius, 21. Mynmar, 22. Nepal, 23. Poland, 24. Scotland, 25. South Africa, 26. Sri Lanka, 27. St. Lucia, 28. Suriname, 29. Sweden, 30. Switzerland, 31. Trinidad and Tobago, 32. Ukraine, and 33. USA. For a full report on this conference and 15 photos taken of the event, you can read it at:_www.stephen-knapp.com/spirituality_beyond_religion.htm_ (http://www.stephen-knapp.com/spirituality_beyond_religion.htm) .