Surrender and fear

The difficulties I experienced as a child with the strong, Biblically literal, and bigoted opinions of those in my family and community being at odds with my own experiences of living in the world resulted in several things. One was that God, made in my own image, was a heavenly parent with whom to share favours; if I did favours for God and was a ‘good Christian’, God would keep me out of harm’s way and help me survive in an evil world. Another was that God could not be trusted.

Now that my self-made image of God has self-destructed, because nobody is ever safe from harm’s way, I am left not knowing the nature of God. There seems to be a life energy in the Universe. An energy that is life and gives life to everything. And one aspect of that is that the universe wants us all to be well. Beyond that, I do not know if God (if this life energy is God) answers specific verbal prayer requests, or responds better simply to us living in a way which embraces, harnesses, shares, and reflects the life energy that is in us and all things.

But in the absence of a heavenly Parent God, the world is as beautiful as it is vile. There are no crutches, and this mysterious life energy does not seem to intervene in my affairs the way I want it to intervene. My constant experience is that the more I open up to living in tune with Spirit, the more I realise my requests and wants are the wrong requests and wants; I am listening more than I am talking. In fact, in zazen, I am not talking at all. “Just thinking ‘not thinking'”, in the words of Dogen. In the absence of a heavenly Parent God, what has come back to me is this second aspect of my experiences as a child – that God can not be trusted – simply because I could not trust the advice of my elders growing up in a fundamentalist community.

So where I stand today is that I have unearthed another block on the Way. Another piece of duhkha – to use a Buddhist word. Or an illusion, to use a Hindu word. The block is this: I am afraid of fully letting go, and surrendering, and living ever more fully in the harnessing, sharing, and reflecting of Spirit. And I am afraid because I do not trust Spirit, because I did not trust God.

My challenge today is to embrace Spirit fully, and let go my distrust. My distrust, at its root, has nothing to do with Spirit or what I comfortably call the ground of all being. It was a distrust of my elders.

So, perhaps as Muslims might say, mine is to let go fear, and surrender to the will of the divine.

Religions are coming together

At the heart of every world religion rests the same ultimate truth: that it is only in surrendering our minds to the will of the ground of all Being that we are delivered from illusion, pain, and suffering, and help to deliver the world from illusion, pain, and suffering. In that surrender comes a groundswell of wisdom, and we are nolonger hostages to the disease of incessant thinking; the ego’s constant need to differentiate good/bad, like/hate, peace/war, me/you, me/world, me/them.

A different pattern of being starts to emerge; one which does not rely solely on one’s own resources, but on the bringing together of one’s own resources and the source of all life that is the made and unmade cosmos.

No world religion has its summation, epiphany, or climax, alone. As long as the world’s religions remain standing alone then they are not true religion but the outworkings of human ego. No-one would ever want a religious doctrine to be the work of the ego, and yet in isolation from other doctrines, that is exactly what it is.

When all of the world’s religions are standing together in the knowledge of the shared truth they bring to us, then they have truly served their purpose, and human ego has finally learnt its rightful place as a part of us but not as a possessor of us. The lion lays down with the lamb, and we are free.

Standing alone, no religion of the world will save humanity but will only help to drive it to greater insanity. Any religious talk of being right as set against other doctrines being wrong, is the work of the ego.

If religions are not coming together, then they are not doing their job.

The ground of all Being has only ever been loving its made cosmos into an ever greater understanding of itself. Illusion, pain, and suffering are in the time and space required for that greater understanding to develop, but they are not that time and space. Therefore, it is up to us to choose greater understanding, or more illusion, pain, and suffering.

Do you think this dogma is true?