WARNING – I express some pretty strong opinions in this so if you wish to respond and comment please don’t be hateful or mean. But I look forward to some insightful feedback. After all, they are only opinions and ideas.
Since I was very young, I have been exposed to various, Guru’s (saints/sages) who have visited the town where I was living and in many case even my home for lunch or dinner. As a child I was sometimes taken to lectures these Guru’s were giving but even if I managed to avoid that, I would end up with an earful at my own house after the feeding.
As I grew older I did learn to appreciate these encounters and in some cases I even looked forward to the question and answer sessions. I do not remember exactly when I became disillusioned by these sessions. Was it when I noticed that the Guru’s were constantly idolized by my elders and that they seemed to enjoy and eventually demand special treatment, or when was it when I learned that the people who’s houses were visited personally by the guru had made generous donations to the guru’s cause?
I would not attribute my loss of interest/faith to any of that but rather the lack of meaning in the answers I was hearing. Every time I asked about why some people suffer and others prosper they would tell me about Karma and what you sow is what you shall reap. Fair enough. Then I would ask why some people are born with physical or mental handicaps and others seemingly perfect. Why some came into this world with all the opportunity and others came in with not even a pat on the back wishing them good luck. These learned men and women would confidently respond by talking about reincarnation and how the actions of our past lives have affected our presence in this one… What a crock of horse shit. How the hell does that make any sense what so ever? I know a number of people who find the rational of religion and reincarnation in the above argument. They ask me how else I can explain why some people suffer in agony while others bask in happiness and glory. I can’t explain it but that does not prove that there is a god and people are suffering for sins they might have committed in their past lives that they are not even conscious of.
The idea of reincarnation is very romantic to say the least. But it defies all logic. For one thing, the population of the world is forever increasing. Are new souls being somehow created to inhabit the bodies? We might argue that all is one and the souls are united after death and then distributed to the existing vessels. That takes away the whole idea that the soul is something personal and unique. How can we find a soul mate? If we all are part of a larger whole then as we are getting torn into smaller pieces to fill the new vessels, do we not loose a little bit more of ourselves every time? At some point will there be no soul left at all? No, the pool is infinite! Hmmm.
Basically I just find the whole theory very hard to swallow and I am amazed at how many educated people have accepted this as an unquestionable fact. Not because it is the only theory that has been presented to them but because it somehow makes sense to them. Maybe it is only a matter of trusting the elders who have passed down the information, but should we not be asking WHY?
I heard one of these sages recently say that the worst question we can ask is WHY. We must accept our positions and situations without question because by looking for reason we will only find pain and misery. Basically there is no answer. These are the people who believe there is a bigger plan and every situation they fin themselves in is because God put them there to lean something. That there is a reason for everything. I accept this in certain context but defiantly not in all. I can accept that rather than stand still and scream why me we should look for resolution and resolve. It may be a positive attitude thing to look at a problem as an opportunity by saying that there is a greater scheme to things. But would it not be just as sensible to identify a problem as a problem and deal with it as such? To take responsibility where possible and not blame fate? And in situations where there is no one to blame than we can accept that as dumb luck, to be a victim of the odds.
To me WHY is the most important question to ask because that is the birth of thought. Without that we have no direction to move in, whatsoever. I could accept the above theory of reincarnation to be true and then I would be weary of my actions, lest they somehow affect my next life. I could go through life knowing that I am not responsible for where I am and that I am a victim of the system. That dumb bastard who controlled my soul in the last life is responsible for all the shitty things that are keeping me down now. But WHY? It makes no sense to me at all. I am not so stupid to have to accept and believe in hell or reincarnation in order to be a moral human being with a relatively decent value system. No one is perfect mate. Not even yours truly. ;-)
Most spiritual guides I have met talk about letting go of our desires and squashing our egos. The path of abstinence leads to the palace of wisdom? Our ego and our desire is what make us human. If nature is God then we should revel in the idea of being human and of this earth. Our ego’s and desires is what drives us to create and achieve. Where would this world today be if all people spent their days chilling under Banyan trees’ contemplating tangerines? By ridding ourselves of these so called vices, we may be more at peace or seemingly happier, but why is that? It could be indifference. Because we just don’t care anymore. But I want to care, I want to feel, I want to love, and I want to hate. I am a master of my emotions but I enjoy having them and I enjoy expressing them. That is part of what makes me feel human and alive. I want to be held responsible.
Detachment! Do not get too attached to your material possessions, your wealth, or even your loved ones. People in general can not handle loss so THE religion is once again protecting us from ourselves because we are weak. It does not make you a stronger person to let go of material desires or even emotional/psychological ones. It means you have accepted defeat. You have acknowledged that you are week and no longer wish to fight. We should be able to own something and love it. We can create something with all our energy and effort but yet not be afraid to see it fall or be destroyed. That would be to love it so much that it has a life of its own beyond our control. That is strength. That is living. Be it a painting or a child.
We could go on forever about all the various aspects but enough is enough. Life is a gift and it should be enjoyed. By turning off all the things that make us human would be a slap in the face for the force that created this life. And for those who do not believe in a force it would be the most shameful thing to do to your self as an individual with ideas, hopes, and dreams… The road of excess, people, is what shall lead us to the eternal palace of wisdom.