Be your own spiritual guru
Are your beliefs really yours? Did you form them independently, after serious thought, or did you accept them from someone else— no questions asked?
Most of us are not comfortable questioning our beliefs. Some of us are even afraid to consider it. That is understandable. After all, we have been threatened that God will punish us with sadistic, unending pain unless we believe what others instructed us to believe.
Odd, since the same people also said that God is Love — and God loves me. That warrants a few questions: Does Love behave sadistically? Does Love threaten to brutalize its Beloved? Should we fear Love or anything Love will do? Does fear give us peace?
When we are in dire need or deep despair, does our common sense direct us to seek out someone who is full of wrath, harshly judgmental and excessively punitive — someone we fear? Do we normally trust our lives to someone who reportedly solves problems by killing innocent humans? Is violent conflict resolution divine or demonic — and why do we worship someone who behaves that way? After all, we cannot worship a violent god without worshiping violence.
An educated mind entertains a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle
If we were not being threatened with severe harm, would we willingly worship a god who acts like a demon? If we had the freedom to choose, would we prefer a close, trusting relationship with a god who loves us as unconditionally as the father in The Prodigal Son parable; a god who does not possess the same characteristics as the most vile humans on the planet; a god who does not hypocritically tell us to forgive 70 times 7, then refuses to forgive unless an innocent son is brutally tortured to death?
How can we find that god? Perhaps a spiritual teacher can lead us. Or maybe we can become our own teacher. We have as much God within us as the world’s most revered spiritual masters. The only real difference is their relentless search for Truth. That is what led them to mastery. You can follow that lead.
One way to search for Truth is to read more than one book. I discovered that years ago, after finding a small collection of books on religion and spirituality in a new apartment — my 19th home. (More enlightening discoveries about these books await you in my metaphysical memoir.) My research has led me to believe there are no accidents in the Universe, so I have concluded the books were left there for me, to help me fulfill my life purpose.
Over the years, that stack of books formed the foundation of an extensive collection of books on religion and spirituality. My collection will continue to grow because I am a lifelong learner, and I want to continue to grow. I have written questions in the margins of some of the books because I spotted inconsistencies or illogical proclamations charading as facts.
Like everyone on a spiritual quest, I question everything and I have but one goal: to seek truth and find God within it. That requires me to be open, objective, discerning and curious. I cannot bring any preconceived notions to a text or filter it through the jaundiced eye of preexisting beliefs. In other words, I do not assume everything I read is true. I demand the text prove itself true or provide citations so I can verify its claims. I suggest you do the same.
Spiritual truth is not mysterious. It is not complicated. If something doesn’t make sense, it probably is not true. Take what makes sense to you; discard anything else from consideration.
If you want a deeper understanding of what God is and what God does, and you want a relationship that is not based on fear of harm but on unconditional love, you can have that. Be your own spiritual guru.
If you do not know where to begin, I have created a list from the delightfully diverse collection of reading material that has informed my common sense spirituality beliefs for the past 40 years. This list will continue to grow, because I want to continuously grow.
Download the list here, and enjoy reading yourself wiser!
If you would like to recommend a book that is not on this list, please share it in the comments section.
Originally published at http://loudmouthblog.com on June 11, 2020.