These thoughts came to me during my last hike in the mountains, when I was well ahead of the group and deep in the solitude of the forest with only the sounds of nature to break the silence.
The words “dirty linen” and their application to what I am about to say came through very clearly, and the rest just flowed from that . My reticence to share it comes from the possibility that it may offend some people, but I can assure you that no offence is intended or GIVEN; it is simply a subjective observation and opinion. However, if offence is TAKEN by anyone, then that is their choice, and perhaps that means that these words have touched a “sore point” that needs to be examined!
So, if you feel like reading on, here goes.......
We often turn to the teachings and guidance of “higher religious authorities” to answer our questions on spirituality and creation, on right and wrong, on how to live our lives in an “acceptable” manner, on how to honour creation, on how to pray, how to connect to source – yes, and even how to dress!
And I ask myself – Why?
Whether it be priests, pastors, gurus, imams, mullahs, rabbis, yogis, or whatever you want to add to that list, they are all human – and therefore all have their own fears, insecurities, ambitions, prejudices, conditioning, opinions, judgements, bias, etc. – what I call, “dirty linen”. Even if they do not acknowledge these consciously, they nevertheless cast their influence from the programming hidden in the depths of their subconscious mind. So whatever “guidance” or “authority” they impart, is given through a veil of their own “dirty linen”!
Religious teachings and guidance from “higher religious authorities” are particularly dangerous because people believe that they have a better spiritual knowledge and wisdom than themselves. Not so. Man-made religion needs its power structure and its “intermediaries”in order to exist, spirituality does not.
The words of the “intermediaries” – the priests, pastors, gurus, imams, mullahs, rabbis, yogis, etc. are filtered through the “dirty linen” wrapped around their minds (as with all of us). In the case of religion it's usually the dirty linen of prejudice, politics, power and personal gain – and has been down through the history of religion. No doubt some will raise their voice and maintain that there are “pure” holy men who seek no gain, and I might agree with you, but I can’t think of any who spread their teachings without the “dirty linen” of one of these aspects influencing them eventually. (Is that harsh?)
So, do I want religious teaching, spiritual guidance, or advice handed to me wrapped in someone’s “dirty linen”? I think not.
The same problem applies to “holy books” (and I make no distinction). These are filtered through the same “dirty linen” by their transcribers, their interpreters, and those who have collaborated over time to manipulate the words to suit their own level of understanding and their own agenda. Additions, omissions, fables and misinterpretations have all added to this muddy mix.
Even if we strive to go back to source and interpret the original words for ourselves, these books are no longer anything like their original writings. The language has been changed perhaps many times, words have dual meanings, or the meaning has been lost or has changed with time. In some instances we no longer know what the original language was, and lack of full comprehension of the original language means that we will never be able to study the original for ourselves.
And even if we find ourselves able to accept that these writings were “channelled” directly from source, weren’t the words written by the hand of man, with a pen guided by his mind and filtered through his “dirty linen” of prejudice, power, politics and personal gain? Ego is difficult to suppress and in many cases rules the mind, and while we can choose to work on our own Ego vs. Spirituality battle, we can never know if others have done the same when they interpret what is presented to them.
Do I want to follow a book wrapped in someone’s (or many people’s) “dirty linen”? Do I want to peer through a dirty veil to seek a truth? I think not.
Interestingly, none of what I write comes from, or with anger. I’m simply interested in the influences we allow into our lives. We cannot completely escape our basic human flaws, the traits we are born with, those we develop in growing and learning, those we unconsciously adopt from our environment. So we are all “flawed” – and yet we are all perfect in our ability to make our own spiritual connections and address our questions direct to whatever source we wish to connect to. Human intermediaries, the intervention of human “religious authorities”, simply adds another layer of dirty linen to our own!
Now, those of you who know me, will agree that I am far from being an atheist, as may be implied by this blog. But I follow no guru, prophet or holy man (and those that are truly holy would not expect me to!) We are all spiritual beings and naturally part of the completeness of creation, part of the Source of creation, without needing to be “plugged in” by others – the so-called “religious authorities”! We can find ways, or be shown how to “plug in”, and then follow our own path and find our own way with the direct guidance that is then available to us, allowing us to develop our own spirituality.
So why are we afraid to do it? Why do we seek the advice, teachings and opinions of human “higher religious authorities” to tell us what spirituality means and how to live our lives, when they themselves are no more qualified to do so than ourselves because they are filtering their words through their own “dirty linen” of prejudice, politics, power and personal gain?
Perhaps this quote attributed to Nelson Mandela but actually written by Marianne Williamson says it all......
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
And now, in closing, let me remind you that this also has been written through a veil of “dirty linen” – my own! It’s inescapable! Maybe there’s not so much politics and power but there has to be a smidgen of prejudice and personal gain in there somewhere – after all, I’m human too! Good job I’m not masquerading as a “higher authority”!