The Art of Religion
In the east, one of the many names given to the religious experience is Dharma, which means nothing more than the essence of things. The essence of water is to be wet, and of sugar – to be sweet. My experience of being wet can never affect or taint your experience of wetness. You’ll never hear a religious argument about the amount of sugar you take with your tea. Whether I like two spoons and you just one, we both agree that sugar is sweet and we each have our personal preference of how much of it we like to enjoy. If I start fighting for a doctrine that will enforce a minimum of two spoons of sugar in tea all around the world, I would not only be considered fanatic but completely out of my mind.
There is no “right” way to drink tea and definitely not just one way of taking a shower. When embracing a religious practice, the first question has to be whether it makes us feel more connected, more in harmony, more in flow with nature and the expression of life around us. In a way, all religious practices are meant to remind us of our innate connection to each other, our inherent bond with the earth and the forces of nature all around us.
The old paradigm of religion was of choosing one faith and embracing that faith as the one and only truth. As a form of explaining the world of mysterious phenomena we encounter on a daily basis. Under that concept we also find the formation of scripture and dogma. Supporting a very narrow and specific perspective as to how to understand and look at life as a whole. Sets of rules, of dos and do nots, written as to lead the flock, to offer a unified form of guidance, a cohesive and communal approach to societal living. A bond of ideation and a pattern of logics formed to ensure that the tribe sticks together or worse, that the community is maintained under the rule of a monarch, whether the monarchy is religion based, political or commerce based.
But what if religion is an inherent force and not an idea. What if religion was meant to allow the mystery to further blossom within your heart and not as a means to pacify your logical, calculative mind? What if religion was a musical expression? A form of entertainment meant to take you deeper and further into a sense of awe, a sense of wonder. An invitation to enjoy your short visit here, on this incredibly mysterious journey. What if giving answers to your logical questions was and is never the intention behind religious practices?
The new paradigm of religion is an expression of freedom and not of slavery. Not something you have to nor should be following. No one is forced to listen to music, and it’s not even a matter of “should”. Music is there if you choose to enjoy it or not. The rose always offers its fragrance. When you are there to take in, but also when you choose to simply walk by.
What if religion was nothing more than a form of expressing gratitude? A call to recognize the fleeting nature of life and a way to express our appreciation to every single moment of delight in this magical and mysterious journey we are on.
What if your religious practice has nothing to do with heaven or hell? You won’t be punished for not listening to music, nor would you be awarded for taking the steps to create or listen to it. “So why should I?” says the mind. “What’s in it for me?”
Absolutely nothing more than an artistic expression of life, living, breathing itself through and within you. A form of communication between your inner and outer worlds.
The real power within religion is the poetic invitation for personal interpretation. And so, just like music, the way you sing your special song, the way you dance or share your music is uniquely yours. You are but a note within the symphony we call life.
If we choose to embrace this form of religion, and religious practice, we’ll see that just like music, it might happen that you’ll find others which enjoy similar music and would like to play together as in a band or even an orchestra. Forms of faith are nothing more than genres of music. The fact that I love Brazilian jazz in no way implies I can’t go to a rock concert or enjoy Andean flutes.
The real power within religion is the poetic invitation for personal interpretation. And that’s where religion blossoms the most. In allowing a stage for each of us to sing our song. To shine with our own unique colors. There’s more than enough space for all of us to shine, to sing, to paint, to dance. Our art inspires our brothers and sisters. Our expression invites further beauty. Which under this paradigm is the essence of religion. The essence of what we call the process of life. An eternal spiral into growth and expansion. Into expression and wonder.
And so… my invitation to you is to form your own religion. Practice your own faith. Whether you belong to a certain faith or not, pick up your own instrument and offer your own voice. As part of an orchestra or as a solo musician. Paint and write, glorify and express. Bring forth your passion to life and offer your heart back into spirit. In-spire others to dive as deep as they can and soar higher then ever into the infinite mystery of life itself.