The Subtle Trauma Of Religion
There is no wish to upset anyone, but it’s worth pointing out that religion can traumatise, by creating fear and hope. We can be easily misled into believing that ‘doing something’ will free us from our suffering, when in fact, it is recognition and realisation that will achieve this. This misunderstanding may be unintentional, but that is what we get by being in a dream state, not seeing the actual reality of our being in the now, the non-dual present moment (of course, everyone has the right to their view – if indeed, it is their view!).
On a relative level of samsara – which is our everyday comings and goings, our ups and downs relating to this and that, making judgements, being happy and then unhappy – we also have a belief in a deity/deities, a God, or superior beings. On a relative level, Buddhists are no different.
This deity (or deities) is a mental idea of an absolute quality that we wish to emulate, or be one with; it is a useful approach which helps us to ‘draw near’.
Approach: ecclesiastical Latin appropiare ‘to draw near’.
This would mean that we are near the target, but not on target.
Religion is an approach to our spiritual dimension. The trauma arises when we become attached to the ‘approach’: we are then stuck in the manifestations of dogma and miss the whole point.
Dogma: a set of principles laid down by an authority as incontrovertibly true: from Greek ‘dogma’ – ‘opinion’, from dokein ‘seem good’.
We all fall into the trap of believing in the manifestations and the trappings – the paraphernalia, the language, the terminology, ‘the look’ – and we go no further. We become mentally traumatised and imprisoned, and so fear stepping outside. If we do step out (lose the look) we risk being ostracised, excluded or banished. It makes one wonder what they mean by love and compassion! Certain spiritual leaders do seem to create kingdoms around themselves, with inner and outer circles, and a pervading wish to please. It’s quite traumatic!
The whole point of spiritual awakening is our own realisation that we are actually pure conscious essence, beyond do’s and don’ts. We transcend any ideas both of our own imagined self identity and that of any entity out there.
In the very moment ‘now’, there is no time to relate, and no thing to relate to. There is no relating, relative consciousness. In our relative existence, however, we have to use a little ‘i’ in order to function, but this doesn’t dominate.
By resting in pure, conscious awareness, the spiritual healing can start: ‘pure’ means absolute, uncontaminated purity of consciousness. That is the point to aim at: it is the centre with no circumference. If we miss the point, the trauma just festers; better to be an ordinary human being with a kind heart and ordinary trauma.
If we believe there is a target, an arrow, an archer,
it gives us something to do.
We may become efficient in that,
while missing the whole point.
In reality, there is no target, no arrow, no archer.
There is nothing to do.