Who knows how many people in the world would now connect with, or relate to, terms such as ‘enlightenment’, or ‘spiritual but not religious’?
Members of a religious community of some kind still to this day tend to have visible buildings to congregate and celebrate within. Masses, services, teachings, rituals are held. And the physical building structures add visibility to the given religion, movement, school, belief system.
But for many of us we have drifted away from “religion”. We might not be affiliated to any one particular tradition or organised structure or we might be infrequent ‘hangers on’ to a community with a physical building for want of ‘a better expression’ of our spirituality. We can often share experiences and insights which resonate with each other; for example how life has taken us to the harder edges, wilderness times, times of great questioning and ultimately to a place of a more mystical and less defined sense of reality seen and unseen. Other than that we are expressing ourselves in as many ways as there are people! Some meditate alone at home, join a traditional wisdom tradition (sometimes with a building, sometimes not), join a ‘group’ of some kind – often meeting in a public hire venue or someone else’s religious building.
We are no religion and any religion. We are young. We are old. We live in cities and hippie camps. We would all agree that ‘We Are One’ (or ‘It Is One’) and yet to anyone apparently uninterested in “religion” or to anyone strongly committed to a religious community we are invisible.
It doesn’t matter. But it’s there. In the background. Humanity is going through a shift. In simplistic flawed terms the wisdom of the East has flowed into the West and changed our colours. Our old hierarchical structures of organised faith cling on like so many fossils to a rock, but we all are changing.
Again simplistically the materialism of the West is exported East. But that belies the continued strength (in some places such as China) of the wisdom traditions in those places.
We may not have buildings of our own, or a name for ourselves which isn’t problematic. (Who likes “enlightened”?) But we are many and growing.
Change can’t always be seen.