At the core of the existence for human beings, is the concept of life lessons. Atheists may see these as simple ‘common sense’ (if you lie down in the road, people walk over you’). People who follow traditional religions may see that life lessons are to submit to one God (fine) and do everything a powerful church tells you (bad). As an example, the Roman Catholic faith has a wonderful heritage (England was a Catholic country until Henry VIII decided he would ‘invent’ divorce to suit him). Many nuns and monks were murdered and their churches and monasteries/convents destroyed (he was not a very nice man). If you live near a remaining monastery, pop along one evening to Vespers, where elderly monks sing Gregorian chants to take you to another world. See just how beautiful aspects of this faith is. It has many saints (St Francis of Assisi was a former party boy who became patron saint of animals, ecology and simple living).
Yet the reason many people turn away from organised religion is that it smacks of hypocrisy. In the US, we have gun-toting right-wing bigots who kill and hate in the name of Jesus Christ (the most peaceful kind man who ever lived). We have organisations to ‘turn people straight’ when modern science now knows that you are ‘born gay’. Then we have the awful ways that religions treat other species – from ritual sacrifice (not needed, any religion can choose not to eat meat) to holy rivers in India (the most polluted on earth, due to chemicals being thrown in them to dye jeans for western consumers – some street dogs have literally turned blue, from drinking the water).
Truth is, life is about lessons. Whether you like it or not, religion is just created by those who want power over others (Jesus was even crucified for this reason). The Vatican (which now takes $30,000 a month in rent from McDonalds to have a fast food outlet in Vatican City) has a history of covering up abuse and moving priests around, rather than tell the truth. Yet some of the world’s top Catholic advocates and bloggers still revere those who did so, yet you would not do the same to a council who covered up the same kind of scandals. You can’t revere someone with lesser morals than yourself!
The answer is to figure out what you believe to be true, than go with that. The best way to do that is simply to find a ‘faith’ that is comfortable with you, and not be frightened of by tales of damnation and Hell (some even say Reiki Healers are giving out a ‘Satanic dragon breath’ when they attune people to heal others, and others even say you can’t practice yoga to heal an achy back!)
Just like with nutrition not really being confusing (the further up the ladder you go, the more consistent the advice actually is and there are no vested interests – in the words of Michael Pollan, what to cook for dinner can be summed up in six words – ‘eat food, mostly plants, eat less’. So it goes with ‘what’s the truth of which faith to believe?’ It’s always the same. We are souls sent here to learn lessons, to take with us to the next reincarnation (which does exist – scrolls have proven that books were taken out of the Bible and other religious texts, to help retain power for the mainstream church).
If you want to find out more about what your life lessons are and how to apply them (and you don’t have to take expensive courses), it’s pretty easy. Just figure out what situation keeps happening to you again and again, then change the record. Say for instance you keep having other people treat you bad. It’s likely because you have low self-worth (otherwise people would not being able to do that). You may be ‘too nice’ and get frightened of other people thinking you’re nasty, if you stand up to them. But the good news is that firstly, you can still be nice and not be treated like that (just walk away or gently stand your ground). And secondly – once you learn your life lesson, you’ll find situations and circumstances (usually) drop away (if not, just accept you may be working out karma).
Hans Wilhelm is a German truth-seeker and knows a pretty penny on how life works. As a talented artist, he uses fun cartoons to explain spiritual truths to anyone who wants to learn. His father was a fire-breathing atheist (due to seeing horrors in the war, he did not believe there could be a God). On his deathbed, Hans reassured him there was an afterlife, but his father disagreed. And joked he would return to haunt him, if he was wrong. Years later, Hans was in a bookstore when a (geniune) spiritual medium approached him and said ‘I have a message from your father. He said you were right – now go tell the world’. So he did!
Anna Sayce is an English truth-seeker (who now lives in New Zealand) who has spent years studying spiritual truths. Her site is packed with beautifully-written intelligent posts. She says that when you apply your life lessons, you’ll find (most) negative experiences naturally fall away. So rather than let others live your life and dreams, figure out your own life lessons and apply them, as this is more important than conforming to what others want for you. It’s not just your life – it’s your soul journey for all the next lifetimes too!
If you have a life lesson of self-worth, you may find yourself in one-sided relationships where you’ve expected to give, give and give – but there’s not a lot that’s nourishing for you. If you shift your mindset, your life will begin to reflect this. One-sided relationships will fall away. People will treat you better. You will treat yourself better. Anna Sayce
Assume that every problem in your life, is a lesson to make you stronger. Then you never feel like a victim. Andrew Matthews