“I’m a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian… I’m whatever you want me to be. It all comes down to the same thing. You’re in a loving place, or you’re in an unloving place.” Jim Carrey
In the mid 80’s, because of some experiences I went through, I gave up on God and my religion. I had a crisis of faith and didn’t want anything more to do with it. In hindsight, I believe that I was being knocked off my holy high horse because I had gotten too high and mighty in my beliefs at the time. I was very judgmental of others who didn’t believe the way I did, of others who were different, of those who were of another religion, and of those who lived a different lifestyle. Even though I totally believed in Jesus, I wasn’t living the teachings of Jesus. I was also believing what everyone else told me to believe rather than going within and listening to that still small voice of Spirit whose words are based solely on unconditional love for not only others, but for myself.
In the early 90’s, I was introduced to Unity and what is called New Thought (even though it is ancient wisdom). The teachings of Jesus are still their foundations, but they’re also open to the teachings and wisdom of other religions. They respect and honor everyone’s right to their own beliefs. I also learned that God (by whatever name you use) can be in all religions and beliefs. Once I opened my heart and mind, I learned to love all people regardless of any perceived differences. I learned to love the diversity, to embrace the wisdom in all religions, as well as to embrace those who have no religion. I also learned that when I’m secure in my own beliefs, there is no need to be threatened by anyone else’s.
I totally believe that we are all connected and that we all come from the same Source. I also believe that we’re all on the same journey except we’re taking different paths to the same destination. Many of us use the Sanskrit term Namaste` which means, “I honor the place in you in which the entire universe dwells. I honor the place in you which is of love, of truth, of light, and of peace. When you are in that place in you and I am in that place in me, we are one.”
Bishop Carlton Pearson wrote, “God is not a Christian, nor a Jew, Muslim, Hindu… God dwells with us, in us, around us, as us.” Sri Chinmoy stated, “If we live in our oneness-heart, we will feel the essence of all religions which is the love of God. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood, and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion.” And Gandhi said, “If you don't find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.”
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper March 7, 2017.