Sinuous Path to Heaven's Gate

It is very good to be born in a church,

but it is very bad to die in a church.

Swami Vivekananda

It may come as a surprise to my readers,  my particular views on these issues, Religion, Atheism, and Buddhism, and other manifestations of the human spirit, I do not expect for my readers to share my views, after all they are mine! And more than mine, it is my experience through years of practice, study, and life acquired knowledge, distilled in to wisdom, or my lack of it, that can be communicated, but not shared in equal degree, because after all as incarnated sentient beings in this realm that we give various names:  The World, Mankind, Life, or even negate as Maya (Illusion) it really come to our own solipsistic nature that we experience the world not through somebody else perceptions, but our own, rendering each experience unique, and limited to our corporeal person, subject to our particular set of circumstances, as our sex, family, language, nation, occupation, historical period we live in, socio-cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds, that define us, including the Religion, or lack off, in to what we are born in, or choose to change it later, as it may be the case.

I am a deeply religious person but do not have a Religion, I am not a Christian, even if I was born and baptized as Catholic, never care too much about the apostolic side of it, that either is missionary in nature, or to ratify hierarchical authority, do not care,  or wish to convert people to my beliefs, and if  believe there are Hierarchical values in Spirituality, I do not like Religion as an institution,  I see Christ more as an example to follow, than a personal savior, I am neither a Jew, if most interested in Kabbalah, I am disqualified by being a Goyim ,  nor a Muslim since I had never embraced totally the five pillars of Islam I do my daily prayers but not always in a ritualistic way,  plus I don’t think I will ever become a Haji, this doesn’t mean I am an Atheist, or even if I respect and admire Buddhism. And at one point in my life, my inclinations was to embrace Buddhism, never did, serious Buddhism it is monastic in nature, and I do not see it as a way for me, or for most part of Mankind as a matter of fact, and no, categorically I am not an Agnostic, I find the term rather lukewarm, From Agnostic to Atheist there is really little difference if you consider it is just a subjective idea of admitting belief, or disbelief, with little relevance one way or another one, to my knowledge there is not such a thing, as  Agnostic activism, like there is some Atheist who are in a crusade to propagate their lack of faith, they believe man will be free if unshackled of belief on a higher power, a rather mystifying belief on itself, since freedom it is such a subjective, and relative word…

Freedom and Awe of Nature

However if I respect their right of disbelief on a personal God, or an Immanent God,  what I find odd , it is  many of the limitations such position entails, it was not until I started to understand how diversely different a concept of God vary from individual to individual, Religion, to Religion, and from sect to sect that realized how complex a subject it is, and how little explored by many who declare himself an atheist on the face of their particular choice, rather than conclusions after a lifetime of study, and experience on the matter, instead than a choice he took after he read the last bestseller book from Richard Dawkins, a popular writer of atheist books, whose lingua franca is arguably the Scientific method of a biologist! With little relation to the study of Ontology, Philosophy, or Theology, and many other branches of knowledge besides biological determinism, and Darwinism.

The late Ronald Dworkin did an essay entitled: Religion without God, Mr. Dworkin a Constitutional lawyer and anti-positivist, no doubt fed up with the idea that the dominion of science, should be applied in to such a subjective Sociological field as Law, but very possible an atheist on the principle of denying a personal God argued for a defending an atheism, that sound now days more like a “Cosmic Force” “Awe of Nature” or some other Euphemism for God, cited Einstein, a favorite undisputed darling of scientific oriented, or not, but of a large section of mankind, believers, or unbelievers alike, whose words are the final verdict of truth, Dworkin quoted Einstein:

“To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong in the ranks of devoutly religious men.”

What do you know? Einstein if alive would be classified as; Spiritual but not Religious, quite a big umbrella for many whose beliefs could be as different as night from day! With that thought in mind, my point is the diversity of personal unbelief can be as baffling, complex,  supercilious, or idiotic, as that of many believers. Dilettantism on almost anything seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

Yes, also I know the History of intolerance by religious authorities, wars, genocide, murder, torture, abuse, and so many other crimes.

However I like to point out there not seem to be a cessation, or decrease of these crimes just because people has abandoned belief. Political, social, economical, racial, family, and so many other issues, seem to be the source of continued unabated violence, and crimes regardless of belief, or unbelief.

The Angel contemplating the works of Man

The Root of anger and Violence

Maybe it has to do more with how we react to  issues, our virtue, wisdom, or lack of it, and not our belief, or unbelief  that is responsible for our bad behavior? What I mean we can believe whatever we may wish to believe but it is the capacity of self restrain, against anger, violence, greed, opposed by the virtues of compassion, love, tolerance, and wisdom of the individual, groups, societies, nations, that will determine their actions, in other words Moral Virtue sorely lacking in most of the leaders of mankind, and people in general around the world at the present moment, otherwise the world wouldn’t be in such a mess, doesn’t it?

Perpetrators of violence exist at all levels of society, and hardly any particular individual is free from it, consciously, or unconsciously we are all perpetrators of violence, male or female. I will not go in to a full study of the causes of anger, fear, and human weakness  that are responsible for it. But we can point out, to countless of historical examples from Hitler, Stalin, Pol-Pot to Attila, Tamerlane, Genghis-Khan. Suffice is to say that religion, or lack of it has little to do with it, more to do with the family structure, and the values, and pressures broth in to such families by an unjust society:

“The violence inflicted by human adults on themselves, each other and the Earth is an outcome of the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence inflicted on them as children.”

Robert J, Burrows

At the time, in the moment, violence makes emotional sense to the perpetrator because it feels “right.” It also feels “free” because social restraints are suspended. And it feels satisfying to let angry impulse rule, anger the most common justification for violence. Why is that?The awareness of anger is usually identified by such thoughts as, “this is wrong,” “this isn’t what I like or want,” “this isn’t fair,” “this shouldn’t be going on,” “This must be stopped.” So the function of anger is to patrol a person’s well being, identify possible violations, and energize some expressive, protective, corrective, or aggressive action in response, regardless of how misguided may be.

Mankind seems to be historically every moment at a crossroads of sorts, driven by our foibles, and weakness, rather than by our wisdom, or good judgment were the future, and our human survival, and that of the world seems to be in question, a estrange and mysterious state of our Human condition…

Sometimes the path ahead can be mysterious


Spiritual but not Religious it is a common expression used now day to denote you believe there is such a thing as Spirit, but you do not conform to the norm of following a established religion, unfortunately the term now days it is so common, that the phrase is used world-wide, but is most prominent in the United States where one study reports that as many as 33% of people identify as spiritual but not religious. On the other side it means little to too many, and I will be the first to admit the bad connotations associated with this term, many serious religious observers claim people who embrace this rubric, are people who lack to avoid commitment, and the sacrifice that making a difference in embracing a religion imply, they say:

“Do you like feeling good without having to act on your feeling? Boosting your self-esteem no matter your competence or behavior? Then I’ve got the religious program for you, Spiritual but not Religious!”

“The thing is, SBNR folks, you may know more about what we’re supposed to be doing than we do. I mean, church — if it’s done right — involves inconveniences like missing brunch with friends on Sunday morning, money that could be spent elsewhere given away, old people calling you by the wrong name and occasionally boring sermons.

Being transformed and transforming the world together takes commitment and hard work. It’s a messy engagement that sometimes hurts. It’s caring and sticking around, changing systems and continuously inviting a world in desperate need to witness communities of transformation and prophetic witness

It’s a fair question to ask why you would add that kind of inconvenience to your life if you didn’t have to.”

My response to these critics, of course it’s they do not understand how fed up we are with dogmas, ossified institutions who are a waste of time, who follow the letter, but the Spirit flew away millennia ago, hierarchical,  authoritarian figures who tell us what to do, how to think, and what to say, when most of the time they do not follow their own rules, and not only that, they claim to be the voice of God, and go on committing  on their sheep flock serious abuse crimes too well known to bother to talk much about it, from the historical Inquisition Auto da Fe, to contemporary now unfortunately common sexual abuse, to monetary exploitation of the believers by leaders, gurus, and all kind of spiritual scoundrels ready to make a buck out of the innocent.

Pedro Berruguete's Saint Dominic Presiding over an Auto da fe (1475)


But above all, that barking at the wrong tree talk, blaming the SBNR for being wishy-washy, the key factor, that most organized religions are missing in their discourse against the SBNR it is not the disappointment of people with religious institutions, or the implied flakiness,  selfishness sunset watching, and lack of seriousness of SBNR, but the lack of direct Spiritual experience that is absent in their own Religious Institutions, or pseudo spiritual communities, and that are unable to provide it, because simply  put; They do not have it!

That is on my view the real culprit why people do not flock in to their churches, temples, synagogues, etc..After all there is religious groups that thrive, when others fail, I used to joke with a friend, when years ago we explored different Spiritual groups on the fringes, who promised an esoteric knowledge of sorts, I remembered a comment the painter Edgar Degas made when visiting the House museum of Gustave Moreau a French symbolist painter, when a friend pull out a cigarette to smoke meanwhile he walked through the house, Degas, said something of the sort: “No smoking allowed here, after all we are in the house of a very sick man.” A harsh criticism from the painter, no doubt on Moreau’s art, but visiting ourselves the temples, or saloons of many of this religious, or quasi religious museums of time past, mockingly I would use the same phrase, or if the group or church were vital, and thriving with plenty of people, I would said admiringly: “You could have a few fat, big cigars here, nobody will die!”

Gustave Moreau museum


However it is true that if serious about your spirituality you will better be an exceptional individual, who apply itself to a Spiritual practice, rather than remain a spiritual dilettante for life, a common case now days, regardless of claims of high spirituality when the only spiritual exercise you do is having a vague idea of a supreme deity, or pagan deities, as a reaction against an unfortunately association between old religions, and patriarchal Monotheism, ignoring Oneness of Being as the essence of it, not the tribal patriarchal context it come from. Or what is very fashionable now days naively become a Buddhist, just because it suit your ideas that Buddhism it is not a religion, a statement that it is half true, to a point, but since most of it is organized as any other religious institution, with it’s rituals, scriptures, chants, temples, rules, and hierarchical, and monastic dogma, and where abuse it is not unheard for those in the know. To our eyes perhaps, a new dish exciting like an exotic, fragrant,  and foreign plate,   but old, agonizing, and decrepit on it’s place of origin, and no less unappetizing than our Judeo-Christian fare, after all fossilized as well.

Once a place of worship...

Since the Renaissance it has been fashionable to revive ancient beliefs,  there was a religious and moral, or, as usually expressed, an irreligious  side to the classical revival in Italy which cannot be passed wholly unnoticed. In the first place, the study of the pagan poets and philosophers produced the exact result predicted by a certain party in the Church. It proved hurtful to religious faith. Men became pagans in their feelings and in their way of thinking, not that Christian in Europe ever abandoned paganism entirely, merely adapted it, like making the pagan gods, in to saints. Italian scholars and Italian society almost ceased to be Christian in any true sense of the word. And although Europe remained Christian the Pagan gods and goddesses of Ancient Greece jostled with the patron saints of Christianity on public monument, and classical philosophy began to change the way people thought about ethics and morality.

I kind of smile when contemporary church leaders complaint at the decline of believers, abandoning the church, in fact the Protestant Reformation, was an effort to bring back the old Spirit of Christianity in what was considered a decadent, immoral, church with obsolete doctrines, rituals, leadership and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, through the centuries since then the germ keep propagating, bringing more enlightenment, humanism, atheism, and rationalism, with the subsequent backlash of more offshoots of more radical Christian fundamentalist, until even those movements loose impetus and embrace modernity, to the point of Nietzsche famous declaration: “God is dead.”

What it seems to be missing it is the understanding that the Christian church in general can’t survive postmodernity if a new Spiritually a live current doesn’t come to revitalize it, not only in the logical, and conceptual side of it, were all the efforts seems to be made, forgetting the most vital, and essential part of it, which it is not the rational part, but the non rational, and emotional side of it, as the Theologian Karl Rahner expressed it:

“The Christian of the future will be a Mystic or not exist at all.”

We can see the light of a new way

The dilemma

Shamanism, Paganism, and a host of Oriental religions and practices, like Vedanta, Yoga, Taoism, Sufism, Gnosticism, not to talk of the revival esoteric traditions like Theosophy, Kabbalah, Hermetic,and now New Pagans like  Druids, Wicca  appear to hold high court for a few years, then to loose their initial impetus to settle down as a small communities, who struggle to survive, and prosper on the fringe of the mainstream religions.

What these groups intent, it is to offer an alternative to the decadent, but still dominant mainstream religions, some with more luck than others, some falling in to what is no different, than a novelty with the lifetime of a short summer that goes in to an early cold Autumn. Some of these groups start with a charismatic leader, or guru, who is able to inspire people to spiritual action, and religious fervor for a while, just to disappoint them after some scandal, or other. Others if better, as soon as the charismatic leader pass away they fall on the hand of uninspiring leaders, who institutionalize the teaching, and set shrines to the memory to the personality of the individual in question, and soon forget the essence of the message to  become death letter, worried with the prosaic practicality of supporting a church, and the memory of the death leader. Many times a struggle for power ensues between the disciples of such leaders, and many followers leave disappointed, usually schism promptly follows, and two, or many other splints of the original group take place, and attack each other from a distance claiming legitimacy over the others.

It seem Human social interaction with our eternal companion, our egos it is at the base of conflict and lack of ecumenical understanding between nations, societies, groups, religious institutions or not. All these are antithesis to Spiritual pursuits, and here is when we come to the dilemma of involving ourselves with a particular religion, or spiritual fringe group, and get bogged down in our search for true Spirit, since not only we have to deal with our inner struggle, weakness, and temptations as limited, and imperfect individuals, but add to our misery the weight of a spiritually death congregation.

Matthias Grunewald's Saint Anthony

The Spirit bloweth where it listeth

The great explorer of Religion an acquaintance of mine, Houston Smith, of who I read some of his books, and listen to his talks when in town, and if too briefly engaged in conversations with. Interviewed about the subject said:

Loudon: I would think that Thomas Merton’s experience might bear out the legitimacy of this gradual independence within an ongoing dialectic between freedom and form.


Smith: It is a dialectic. The Zen tradition, as we know, has many stipulations like “When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha!” or “Tear up the Sutras! Such teachings have their place, but we tend to overgeneralize them, divorcing them from the contexts for which they were intended. Too early in the game, we appropriate to ourselves the right to take the liberties they counsel.

Loudon: Might there be a special temptation for Westerners, with the emphasis on freedom and individuality, to avoid the early stages of
initiation into a teaching?

Smith: Yes. And there is a sizeable streak of counterdependence in our culture. “Don’t tell me what to do!” The Fritz Perls attitude toward life.

Loudon: And if you say that at the start, you may never get off the ground.

Smith: Exactly.

Loudon: Does following a religious way, a path of faith, necessarily involve spiritual disciplines of some sort?

Smith: Yes. Again, we must recognize that “the spirit bloweth where it listeth,” so there may be one in a million who may be the exception.
But overwhelmingly the need is for wisdom and method both; all the traditions so teach. As the saying goes, we need to walk on both
feet: right views and right practice.

Loudon: How can a person understand a religious tradition that he or she does not practice?

Smith: Very imperfectly. There are those who see the promised land, get some intimation of what lies there, but for some quirk within them
just do not take the steps to cross over into it. But the rule in religious matters is that understanding proceeds through living what
one is trying to understand.

Loudon: So it is only by living a tradition that one comes to understand it and gains thereby the resources to understand other traditions?

Smith: That’s true. Noam Chomsky once said that there is a very real sense in which to understand fully how one language functions is to
understand how they all function. The situation with religious traditions is comparable.

Houston Smith Scholar of Religions

Loudon: Is the advanced, scholarly study of the particular traditions a necessary or vital part of the interplay between knowledge and practice?

Smith: One has to ask, “Necessary for what?” You see, I believe that Black Elk [Lakota Sioux medicine man] or an Australian aborigine living the Dreamtime that Eliade talks about had everything“ necessary unto salvation,” as the saying goes. Scholarly equipment would be irrelevant to the depth and quality of their awareness. When it comes to religious living, the kind of information that appears in scholarly journals is quite expendable. Even so, the mind is a part of the human complement, and one can become interested in comparative religions as one can in other things. Lunching with a
colleague, Bertrand Russell listened attentively to his report of a discovery in brain functions that he had made, and then commented quietly “It’s nice to know things.” That holds for religions too. I am constantly grateful for such historians of religion. As you may know, I chanced myself to stumble on one remarkable fact in this area: the capacity of certain specially trained lamas to sing multiple tones simultaneously. Was that discovery important?
Probably not. It was a grace, you might say; a grace, moreover, from which one can learn something beneficial.

Loudon: So it’s not necessary, but such study can be enriching.


Smith: It can also be distracting, because if one isn’t careful one’s attention can get sidetracked into merely collecting information. In
which case living, organic wholes get pulverized and become like dry sand.

Loudon: Regarding the interrelationship of religious traditions, what about the individual traditions’ claims of exclusivity and preeminence?

Smith: It’s totally understandable, because that to which one gives one’s life one must think is ultimate. Otherwise, it doesn’t deserve ultimate allegiance. If one gives one’s life to Christ, exoterically conceived, then it’s almost as though one wouldn’t be wholly committed to Christ unless that Christ were absolute above all other exoterically nameable deities.

Loudon: Otherwise you’d always be on the threshold of commitment and never committing yourself actually.

Smith: That’s why Schuon says that for the exoteric the preeminent, privileged status of one tradition is not only inevitable, but appropriate. Now, such people are going to have problems, because we live in a world where people are aware of other traditions. And how God’s mercy is to be reconciled with his apparent favoritism for one
tradition will probably be a lifelong koan for those people. But whatever one says, this is no problem for the esoteric, because the esoteric core is common to them all.

(From the book The way things are Conversations with Houston Smith)

The Spirit bloweth where it listeth

About theburningheart

This entry was posted in Ancient Religions, Anger and Violence, Atheism, Buddhism, Cosmogony, Crisis of Values, Critical Thinking, Cynicism, Direct Spiritual Experience, Freedom, Future, History, Houston Smith, Human Nature, Inner Journey, Inspiration, Mysticism, New Age, New Values, Personal Story, Religion, Secular Society, Solipsism, Spiritual but not Religious, Spirituality, Subjective, Uncategorized, Western Ideals, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Elliott Teters says:

    You and I share some perspectives, especially about being religious without having “A Religion” Read my latest post on my Secrets to Peace blog.

    I have a question: Are these photo’s on your site pictures of art or are they actual photographs? Just curious because they are quite beautiful.

    Thank you for sharing your views. If I can ever be of service to you, I would be happy to help.

    Elliott Teters

  2. theburningheart says:

    Thank you Elliot!
    On the past I had bad experiences with ping-backs, and links to other sites, therefore delete contact information, I am sorry that is my policy, you can join WordPress and click the like button with the star, and that automatically will send people to your Gravatar with information about your blog, or email address if you do not belong to WordPress, also they can click your comment on Twitter.

    You are free to comment on my blog about the subject in question your contribution will be appreciated, I read your post and I am glad about your views:-)

    Yes some of the pictures are well known works of Art, others are photos, I try to match the picture to the theme something that few people do now days.

    Thank you.

  3. Very thoughtful . I can relate and also love looking at the photos that you use with your writing.

  4. theburningheart says:

    Thank you! 🙂

  5. Mariarita says:

    Very nice article, like all the rest.
    Nice photos, nice atmosphere you create in the articles.

  6. theburningheart says:

    You are very kind, thank you! 🙂

  7. Gator Woman says:

    Your philosophy is quite similar to Native people in this country.
    Spirituality yes, religion no.
    Your writing is so thought provoking, thank you for sharing it.

  8. Indeed, the religion in the sight of Allah is Islam. And those who were given the Scripture did not differ except after knowledge had come to them – out of jealous animosity between themselves. And whoever disbelieves in the verses of Allah , then indeed, Allah is swift in [taking] account.

    And whoever desires other than Islam as religion – never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers.

    The Noble Quran / Surat ‘Ali `Imran [3:19-85]

    I really like your historical blog…ahh i am a history teacher…you are inspired in me 🙂 Thank you !!

  9. Thank you so much for liking several of my posts! I’m grateful to have found yourblog, I can’t wait to read more!

  10. erikleo says:

    Interesting article. You may be interested in my cat blog which is along philosophical lines! What is SBNR?

  11. Sha'Tara says:

    Well, there you go: read it. Long haul, but made it to the end. IMHO, it takes an entire lifetime to work through from being born into a religious world/society, to discover the truth increasingly hidden behind, and buried within, organized religion. On the way to what is called awakening there’s the step which seems the main point of this article: discovering “Spirit.” I don’t think too many people make it past that. Either that works for them, or they turn atheist. The problem I’ve had with Spirit, or spiritism, is the need for a deity sitting at the top of the pyramid. The process on “enlightenment” should then lead on, past the need for any ruling deity, benevolent or otherwise (and according to men’s writings, it is usually otherwise). Past religion, past Spirit, what could there be? I found Life. That’s it. I’ve often not bothered writing it thus, and used the term “spirit” to denote that original life-giving energy, but thanks to your article I can now see it’s time to take that next step and leave the concept of divinely-moved spirit behind. I realized through the reading that my claim to be a spiritual but non-religious person was outdated! I’m not spiritual any longer, I’m now alive. That feels good! Thanks, tbh.

    • theburningheart says:

      A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal: “Water, water. We die of thirst.” The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A second time, the signal, “Water, send us water!” went up from the distressed vessel. And was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” A third and fourth signal for water was answered: “Cast down your bucket where you are.” The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.
      Some rivers have a wide mouth other big rivers like the Nile, the Mekong, or the Mississippi, end in a Delta. Wisdom can be like the sediment at a river delta is a landform that forms from deposition of sediment carried by a river as the flow leaves its mouth and enters slower-moving or standing water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, or (more rarely) another river that cannot transport away the supplied sediment.

      But some choose as the important thing the analogy of a drop of water melding into the Ocean, ignoring the fact the drop of water never has been anything but water, in the Ocean, or far from it, so as well Spirit, in us, never has been anything but SPIRIT, realizing that it’s the key to understand we are not different than God, and we never have been anything but the same thing, even if you choose to use another term as Ishvara.

      The Yogasutras of Patanjali, the foundational text of Yoga school of Hinduism, uses the term Ishvara in 11 verses: I.23 through I.29, II.1, II.2, II.32 and II.45. Ever since the Sutra’s release, Hindu scholars have debated and commented on who or what is Ishvara? These commentaries range from defining Ishvara from a “personal god” to “special self” to “anything that has spiritual significance to the individual”. Which explains that while Patanjali’s terse verses can be interpreted both as theistic or non-theistic, Patanjali’s concept of Ishvara in Yoga philosophy functions as a “transformative catalyst or guide for aiding the yogin on the path to spiritual emancipation”. So God, or no God it’s all fine.

      When we start our search we are in the state of Jivatma, until like the river we reach Paramatma. But the river never has been anything but water, reaching the Ocean or not, it’s just an analogy to describe a process.

      I started my Spiritual wayfaring as a Catholic child studying doctrine, not happy with that I went to study Hindu Mysticism, and Yoga, for ten years, then I went into Aikido and Soto Zen Buddhism, whit my Sensei and was with him for twelve years, ironically at that time my heart was broken by my lady at the middle of my way’s journey, and in breaking my heart provided the necessary opening for me to find Love, and Compassion by following the teaching of a Bulgarian esoteric Master, and a little bit later studying Sufism widening my understanding of my experience, but have not stopped there, went back to Yoga under Muktananda, I study the Philokalia, and also the Teachings of Ramana Maharishi, and Ibn Arabi, Christian Mystics, Muslim Mystics. and the teachings of Dogen, and other Chinese Masters, even the Red road, and Shamanism.
      It’s all good.
      Cast down your bucket where you are, there is wisdom there, and everywhere else, not only at one particular spot. 🙂

  12. ptero9 says:

    “Being transformed and transforming the world together takes commitment and hard work. It’s a messy engagement that sometimes hurts. It’s caring and sticking around, changing systems and continuously inviting a world in desperate need to witness communities of transformation and prophetic witness”

    Yes! It’s inspirational to read your posts and also the comments from so many of us who embrace the importance of consciousness/spirit/soul work and are sharing our experiences with each other. We live in an amazing era where so much is available and we are, generally speaking, much freer to “leave the common temple” and live through experiences of the divine as we are personally able.

    • theburningheart says:

      Sorry Debra, it seems I missed your comments now almost two years!

      Thank you for it, and apologize, it escaped me, about that particular piece it’s the argument many on a religious community, has against those who prefer to not get involved with a Religious church, or a what derisively we name a Cult, there’s a thin edge between, separating Religions from Cults, since both can be abusive, and dependent on individuals, to do the abuse, not on their beliefs, but who wrongly abuse  their authority, for personal selfish reasons.
      I admire people who do not mind the involvement, and getting their hands busy in such communities, as long as they keep it above taking personal advantage of the people who trust them.
      For years I was involved in those types of communities, until I saw so much abuse of authority, and people seeking power on those institutions for the wrong reasons, resulting in me withdrawing actively from any organized church, or cult.
      I do visit places, and churches, for studies, and ceremonies, but no longer participate as an active member, and I classify myself as a SBNR and keep my personal practice private to myself.  
      Sorry again for missing your comment. 😒🤦‍♂️

      • ptero9 says:

        Your experiences with churches echo mine, Brigido. I’ve joined five churches in my life and left them all for similar reasons that you state. Although many people find the church experience to be a great way to participate in community, my interests lie primarily in communing with God, and secondarily with the community. I know longer have the urge to join, or have any interest in formal churches.

        Thanks for the reply. I had not remembered that you didn’t reply! Hope you’re doing well!

  13. theburningheart says:

    Yes, I was baptized as a Catholic, and my faith lasted until I was around twelve years of age, later at nineteen, joined a what today will be described as a New Age cult, I was active there for about seven years, I still have many friends there, and sometimes go to their activities, specially if there is food involved! 😉

    In LA I went to so many churches, and organizations, just as a visitor, never got involved, even if attended services at many of them.
    I practiced Martial Arts with a Sensei, a Soto Zen priest, and used to practice zazen occasionally, I quitted after twelve years, when my new job did not allow me to go to class, too far away to be on time, for the classes. He never spoke to me after, but I attended his funeral.

    I made mine the saying from Swami Vivekananda: “It is good to be born in a church, but it is bad to die there.”
    After retired a few years ago, I am back with my old friends, or better said, the few who remain active, at the cult, just on friendly terms, and as an occasional visitor, on Sunday, and food gatherings! 🤣

    Thank you Debra for your kindness.😊

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