21st Century Religion?

Religion can be said to be humanity’s attempt to know the unknowable and control the uncontrollable.

Religion also entails a belief that reality is underpinned by some absolute external supernatural unchanging reality, above or beyond laws of mundane physical nature. Religion thus provides a coping mechanism for a changing world where we fear that reality is impermanent, impersonal, and immanent (the divine is seen as existing in all humble things that take shape around us). Through religion we try to perceive (create?) a world that is permanent, personal, and transcendent.

Because people try to impose what they wish to be real instead of understanding the nature of what is real, there is division and conflict. We see wide ranging forms of prejudice and evil acts because each and every person, community, nation, religion, etc. believes they know what is good and evil, what is and what is not, what should be and should not be.

What if there were a religion founded on empirical research (“I have explored and I have found…”), personal interpretation (“I find it prudent to believe…”), and openness to new bigger possibilities that become evident the more we progress (“I now believe, but reserve the right to change and advance my beliefs as I grow…”)?

In a communicating 21st century world where all beliefs from around the world are open and available to all persons (…as opposed to a limited availability of beliefs based on where you are coming from as it would have been in the 1600s or 1700s), what do you think is the most effective, encouraging, meaningful, and satisfying form for religion to take?

Being Aware of the Mind’s Process

Did you ever have a nightmare so real that you actually felt rescued upon awakening? You felt a deep sense of joy and liberation when you realized it was “only a dream”?

A secret truth is that such bad dream experiences very much parallel the experience of obstacles and fears in waking life too.

This realization will empower you. Direct your life so that rather than being overwhelmed by obstacles and fears, you can operate from the liberating realization that the root source of your perceptions is your own mind.

Almost everything we think and feel, and all our interpretations of what we encounter, are rooted in hope and fear, which in turn, bind our minds to turbulent emotions. This constrains our thoughts to the point where we no longer have any control over them. That is why, according to the shravaka teachings, we need to tame the mind. Or from the bodhisattva point of view, train it to become useful. Or from the vajrayana perspective recognize how the mind works.

Where do you fit in the process?