Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pray Local, Think Global


As our world gets smaller, our exposure to world spiritualities is rapidly expanding. Whether you are visiting a web site about the Indian chakra system, watching a movie about Norse mythology (thank you Marvel comics), taking a class on the Japanese system of Reiki, or watching a YouTube video on the whirling dervishes of Sufism, global spirituality has never been more accessible. It is truly astounding that I can follow the Facebook feeds of both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and a New Orleans Vodou priestess at the same time.

When confronted with a new spiritual idea, we only have two options…We can embrace it and incorporate it into our existing belief system or we can choose to reject it. I have had contact with people on both sides of the spectrum. Some want to embrace everything, with no discernment and others want to reject all that does not conform to their particular faith.

I think it is up to each individual to choose. I have heard ideas that I embraced wholly and other ideas I rejected because I thought they were crap. Personal prejudices should always be checked.  Just because something is old, doesn’t mean it has value and just because an idea is new, doesn’t mean that idea should be rejected without testing it.

As the Buddhists and many other spiritual thinkers believe, there may be many paths to the divine. All we can hope for is that each of us has a unique piece of the picture and that we can all work together to reach the summit.

As our consciousnesses continue to be expanded by our shrinking world, we will continue to be forced to choose to incorporate or reject the spiritual ideas to which we are exposed. We live in both a wonderful and frightening time. Watching the results of the recent US election, I was struck by a certain political operative that was throwing a tantrum (on national tv) because the results of the election didn’t conform to his world view. It was obvious that rather than accept the premise that he was perhaps (gasp!) wrong, he decided to reject the outcome, even though everyone else could see the answer clearly.

I compare this with some of the self-proclaimed spiritual leaders who have dug in their heels and refuse to hear anything that might involve changing their world-view. While I strongly believe that everyone has a divine given right to believe (or not to believe) whatever they chose, this does not mean I have to join in your belief system.