Sunday, November 8, 2015

usefulness of religion

It is entirely conceivable that I am full of shit, but....

I simply cannot think of a greater usefulness to religion than guiding its adherents away from the confines of religion. The intellectually adroit may pose and prance and ask, "Why bother entering in the first place?" but it won't wash: The questions and mysteries are too insistent, too nuanced, too come-hither to elude by intellectually-superior tap-dancing and the question lingers on the tongue like a fart under the covers: "If I'm so smart, how come I'm not happy?"

Nevertheless, the reasons for entering religion's confines, while persuasive, are not persuasive enough to remain and nest and be reassured. The reasons for entering boil down to this: It is time to leave.

Maybe it's a little like marriage, so searing and lovely in its outset and yet evolving out of that excitement into a quiet, ungraspable "OK" that may be warming or perhaps searing with the passage of time. It's another circumstance, another possibility ... and it was a good choice in its time, even if it ended up on the rocks.

After forty-plus years of sometimes scrupulous and sometimes lumpy practice and study -- not very long, I grant -- now I cannot find a greater usefulness in religion than calling it a gentle quits. It may remain a warm memory, but to harry and hoard it, in whatever humble ways, is now too much, too ego trippy, and, in the end, too apostate and cowardly. It's time to cut the crap in much the same way it was once time to cut the crap and dive in and dive deep.

I think of the sheep-herder who speaks a simple line to his Border Collie: "Away to me!" And the dog knows and the dog goes and the sheep are herded expertly by an expert hand ... not perfectly, perhaps, but expertly.

It is time to lay claim to what was always in hand and no religion could hope to touch or improve. Now is the time for religion to do its job without reliance on ... whatever is considered reliable... stuff like religion ... or not.

1 comment:

  1. I see zazen as an exercise for the mind, like a pushup for the body. To call it a spiritual endeavor sully's it in my mind. But to call it a health practice is insufficient to it's value. I can recommend that simple practice of sitting, but would also warn someone away from the rest of it. But we all know i'm full of shit, so i can only say, sit as ol'buddha man sat and see for yourself. I'm still working on it, dragging hope and doubt along for the ride.