Sunday, December 20, 2015

When the Shoe No Longer Fits

     What happens when the religious / spiritual group with which you closely identify keeps punching you in the nose with its simplistic immaturity?

    The original founders of most major religions - Taoism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam - were profound mystics who deeply inspired small numbers of followers, AND usually met with violent opposition from orthodox religions, and other established political organizations.
and even today, Judaism, Christianity & Islam continue the violence, even internally - one faction against the other, "orthodox" against "reformers," and the majority against their own, few mystics, who (like their founder) are serious reformers ie 'real shit-disturbers.'
surprisingly, religious orthodoxies are only comfortable with the first 3 of Fowler's 6 stages of faith, deeply troubled by 4&5 (equating these stages with 
psychology, and thus 'anti-religious'), and are dead-set against 6 (calling it 'madness' - which ironically sounds like pop-psychology). .
    For the past 18 years,
important international research is been carried out on well over a thousand "Finders" - people who have stabilized at stages that start at Fowler's level 6. Instead of 'madness,' Finders report experiencing deep, foundational inner peace & joy that far surpasses common experience.
Dr. Jeffery A. Martin. “The Finders.” Integration Press, 2019.

      How strongly one identifies with their particular take on religion / spirituality becomes clear when being questioned in a thoroughly intelligent, reasonable, & well-meaning manner.
     If the best they can do is an emotionally anguished, irrational counterattack, then they're actually defending their EGO (personal ± group). This may be a "shipwreck" moment - a "crisis in faith," when they might realize that the short catchy slogans of their sect are no longer enough.

     Their current worldview / self-concept may now need to be upgraded to a more mature model - one that better matches reality. They may need to go DEEPER in their own religion - membership alone is like being a fan of a sports team instead of engaging as a serious athlete. OR, maybe it's time to find a group that is capable of understanding & nurturing their current & higher levels of psychosocialspiritual development.
     Going deeper & moving on is a normal, recurrent event for normally maturing, healthy human beings, though sadly many of us neglect or even actively resist this process. One reason for remaining stuck is the fear of being shunned by your current group.  
     But perhaps the key aspect of maturation is having the courage to leave behind dogmas (that once seemed to provide certainty, but now feel claustrophobic), and move towards love, freedom & spaciousness.

     "The small man builds cages for everyone he knows. While the sage keeps dropping keys all night long for the beautiful, rowdy prisoners."                   Hafiz

Seaport Market, Halifax, NS


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