the sacred and the boundless

Posted on October 31, 2012

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That which is Sacred.

That which is Boundless.Image

Religion… What is this thing we have created all over the world? Where did it all come from? Why is it here? What is it’s purpose? What good does it bring? What destruction?

Well, you are not going to find the answers to these questions here because I have no answers. I’m still asking these same questions in my own life. All of my life I have been quietly asking these questions. Afraid to say them too loud for fear that I might be judged unfaithful, or worse yet, hell-bound. Nevertheless, they keep eating away at my soul. I am a very spiritual person. I always have been. I take these questions very seriously. I was even a religion major and a Greek and Bible minor under my Bachelor of Arts degree at a local Christian college. That’s how serious I have always been. In order to graduate, I had to clearly define my world and life view. I regurgitated what I was taught and received my degree.

I prayed hard… so that I could be sure… so that I could be certain.
I read the Bible earnestly… so that I could be sure… so that I could be certain.
I believed whole heartedly… so that I could be sure… so that I could be certain.
I went to church regularly… so that I could be sure… so that I could be certain.

30 years later, I’m still asking the same questions. The difference is that I have a bit more confidence and dare to ask them out loud and in writing.

Another difference is that I am asking a different sort of question as my eyes have been opened
by life experiences and by listening to the experiences of others:
Why does religion tend to divide us rather than unite us?
Why does religion tend toward hate as much as love?
Why does religion not create peace in our world?
Why are most wars started with those that believe differently than us both religiously and politically?

I am concluding that a relgion that does not create peace among mankind, is simply a human construct with ulterior motives like
… being right
… making others wrong
… forcing others to believe like us
… condemning them to hell when they don’t think right
… obliterating differences and diversity
… giving us the comfort of knowing WE are right and those that are different are nobodies
… giving us the certainty that we KNOW…

What are the answers to these questions? I don’t know. But for myself, I have been on a quest to go deeper and find what unifies the human race and creates peace. What a concept, eh?

But here is one Great Question:
“You will say, Christ saith this, and the apostles say this: but what canst thou say? 
Art thou a child of Light and hast thou walked in the Light, and what thou speakest, 
is it inwardly from God?” —George Fox

What canst I say? Not much. The older I get, the less I know for sure. But after two years of worshiping in silence, listening to the Silence at the heart of things, listening for that Still Small Voice, waiting on God; there are two words that are gaining more and more meaning in my search for understanding, meaning, and truth. Sometimes that which is simple is most profound: Sacred and Boundless.

That which is Sacred.

I believe in the sacred. I believe that all life is sacred. To understand what I mean;
Look into the eyes of a baby… Birth is sacred…
Sit with a dying person… Death is sacred…

It also seems to me that all of earth and the universe is sacred. For me, that means that we must honor and respect what has been given us. I also am coming to understand that often I do not see that which is sacred until I am reminded and the eyes of my heart open. So in this sense we must learn to see the ordinary as sacred. And profanity is when we refuse or are blind to the sacredness of all things. I believe the sacred thread connects all of us as one. This is why war or any form of destruction of the other is profanity beyond all profanities.

As a Quaker, I see violence at a much deeper issue than war or fighting. Violence is anytime we violate the identity and integrity of another person. This too is great profanity in the face of the sacredness of the human heart.

In a deeper sense, the sacred is that which connects all of us and is the creative life force behind all of life. I believe that which is sacred is within each of us. Some call it the soul, some call it the Self, some call it the Image of God, Quakers call it “that of God” or “the Inward Light” or “the Inner Teacher”.

I am coming to believe that it is the human heart that is sacred. There is “that of God” or a sacredness within. Those that open the heart can share that sacred open heart with others and create a sacred union between friends that are open and honest, and that honor and respect the other. That sacred connection is very clear in any group of people that allow themselves to “be with” each other. This is what I see as true community.

What should be our response to that which is sacred? Deep honor, respect, awe, and wonder.

Some believe that this essence of the Sacred is what has caused mankind, throughout the centuries, to create gods; a futile attempt to name and define the Sacred.

Some believe that all is sacred because God created it.

For me, there is no need for argument. Lets come together on the Sacred Common Ground that connects us all, our Sacred Ground of Being.

That which is Boundless.

What is that which is God?
What is that which is the Divine?
What is that which is Holy?
What is that which is eternal?
What is that which is omniscient?
What is that which is omnipresent?
What is that which is…
… beyond definition
… beyond words
… beyond comprehension
… beyond understanding

Throughout wisdom traditions in all cultures, these are named, labeled and definited in a variety of ways. The most common is “God”. But how can we get beyond the pictures that the word “God” conjures up in our heads? We are continually creating God in our image through the human constructs of theology and religion. Words put that which is eternal in a box, so that we can “know” God.

Throughout wisdom traditions there is also a common thread. No matter what we name it, it is Boundless,

Boundless beyond time
Before the begining of all beginnings
Neverending beyond all endings
Boundless beyond space
Boundless in nearness
Boundless in vastness

I think that originally religion was formed as a wordless response to this sense of the sacred and the boundless, But over the centuries, mankind has used religion as a sort of power play to coerce others to be the same, think the same, and divide ourselves into cliques of sameness, as we worship the god of comfort and certainty. We use belief systems and theological systems to “be right” and “make wrong”; destroying peace and making war.

These human constructs based on human belief systems hold very little meaning for me anymore. Labeling things in a certain way, putting God in a box, and feeling superior based on “rightness” has fallen short of religion worthy of the human spirit. It is time to step back and look at what we are doing. Open up and learn what is essential… for ourselves, not second hand, but opening up and learning to See with the heart.

For me, these two words have held up through the flames and stand solid. There is boundlessness and sacredness at the core of each of us that connects us to that boundlessness and sacredness in the very fabric of our universe.

For me, writing has become a way for me to find my voice
and to give voice to my questions;
a journey
from dogmatism and certainty to inquiry and dialogue,
from living with clenched fists to living with open hands.

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