If I were to tell you that I have a special inside track on air and that if you want to breathe you have to go through me to get your daily dose of oxygen, you would call me delusional. You would also laugh in my face if I told you you need to read my book on air, the inerrant word of air, to experience the true blessings of air.
To draw an analogy between air and God, one has to define what God is. If God is love, truth, life, or the spiritual essence of the universe, then God is like air, equally accessible to all. If God is an anthropomorphic deity with a penis who chooses sides in conflicts and behaves in capricious (mysterious) ways sparing some and condemning others, then perhaps elaborate rituals and supplications are necessary to court His favor. I simply don’t believe in this latter god.
So if we go with God as spirit, love, and truth, no group or individual has the inside track to God. Like air, God is equally accessible to all. I like to think of God as the ether of life, omnipresent, residing in the hills as surely as it resides in our better natures. Christian mystics such as St. John of the Cross and Meister Eckhart knew this well. They were threatened with excommunication from their Catholic Church because believing that God resides in all of us came too close to believing that we are God, a serious heresy according to the Catholic faith and a threat to the Church’s authority.
On a fundamental level, what religion tries to do is take possession of what belongs to all of us, what belongs to the creatures of the earth and the hills they dwell on. It then tries to repackage it and and sell it back to us. Pick your brand. Some are more organic than others. Some come in fancier wrappings. Church buildings and temples tell us a lot about the nature of a belief system. The ancient Persians and the megalith builders before them built temples open to the stars. Our churches shut out the natural world making it harder, not easier, to breathe.
Ultimately, unless we are willing to shake off the shackles of our belief systems, we will never experience a clean, pure breath of air at it’s source.
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