We are now into year 21 of the 21st century. Most of us have been in some form of lockdown for almost ten months. Extraordinary times. Covid-19 has forced the cancelation of many regular religious celebrations. For those who practice a religious faith, this has been a terrible situation. In response, many people, including myself, have developed home-based spiritual and religious practices. Although, to be honest, I was already doing that before this period of lockdowns – I was attending church and temple very irregularly.
A move away from established religious practices began to increase in the latter part of the 20th century – it’s nothing new. Developing personal spiritualities has become a popular way of exploring dimensions of the sacred. Many recognise that taking such a journey of exploration can lead to personal growth and development. Faith is alive and well. But it’s material form has changed.
We have always been individuals living together in a community and in society. Individualism is not a new phenomenon; it has simply found a new and very fertile way of expressing itself. Individualism is now actively promoted. Our thoughts about the nature of the sacred have become personalised based on our own individual experience and has moved away from the collective experience. Many people no longer rely on the established religious leaders and texts to find an understanding of their religious needs. I suppose there are dangers in that approach. Spiritual guides help us differentiate between what is true and what is fiction, what is fancy and what is essential.
The spiritual journey is a real thing, it’s as real as warm sand on a beautiful beach on a hot summer’s afternoon or as real as snow falling on a cold January morning. Real things require the correct provision in order to benefit from them. You wouldn’t go sledging in your swimsuit. Good spiritual communities and guides help individuals recognise the path they are on. It’s not important what scenery decorates your journey, what is important is that the ground remains constant beneath your feet.
Faith requires intelligence. Intelligence requires faith. The two are lovers entwined around each other’s bodies conceiving the path we walk. A path that will lead us to our true-selves and to an experience of the true nature of reality. This is what I believe.
We don’t need the big religions to have a spiritual life, but they help. Relationships with the divine are always personal and individual – there is only one way to God, and that is your own. Why not use lockdown to help you discover your path. True meaning comes from assurances about the true nature of reality beyond scientific understanding. These assurances are gained personally. They are elusive. But once found, not so easily lost.