The other day I found myself in a Little Gallery in Trentham talking to a lovely young woman who called herself, Ruby. After hearing her enthused suggestions on local bushwalks, I left her my number with the invitation to future adventuring together.
Later that evening we got chatting... er, texting :P about the marvellous serenity to be found at Trentham Falls.
Liam: I perched [myself] on a rock for a bit just letting myself find some peace within the place, really listening to the water. Kinda letting my mind wander. The story 'Siddhartha' by Hermann Hesse came to mind as I thought about the flow of the water.'
Ruby then asked,
‘Are you Buddhist?’
I replied, ‘I’m not Buddhist. I am just Liam :D I tend not to hold to any religion though I’ve been told I know the teachings of different religions.’
At this point I took a break, feeling a bit weary and chilly, went and had a shower. How fortunate it is, that while having a shower I do most of my best thinking hahaha…
This question and answer of ‘are you Buddhist?' 'I’m not Buddhist. I am just Liam’ rolled around in my head.
The realisation dawned on me that I AM in fact Buddhist. So to am I Christian, and Doaist. As well as all religions.
At my core, I am a spiritual being, as are all people. By being spiritual, I am in connection with that which all religions hope to bring us closer to and in understanding of. A freedom of self, to live in happiness, that aligns us with the path of inner peace, the megaphone for the yearnings of our heart and soul. To bring us into harmony of all that is in our life. In this, spirituality and religion are suffused in everything around us. Life, religion, spirituality are not separate; they are just another way of describing the same thing. Each breath on our life’s journey, we speak all religions because all religions are one. We are beings on a journey through life, and through spirituality.
For me, this understanding that all are one and the same is very significant. I grew up in a Christian family, though over time I began to distance myself from being closely identified as a Christian. This was without a complete understanding of why I did this or why I felt this way. Intellectually, I have always known and strived for being free from having ill feelings toward those of different religions, and in the same vein, races, genders, sexualities etc. Despite this intellectual acceptance, when I would enter myself into a thought experiment, I’ve never understood why I would feel uncomfortable being in the middle of, say a very orthodox jewish ceremony, or dating someone with strong religious beliefs.
This realisation that it is all one and the same as my spirituality, that it is the same as my feelings of connection with life, grants me an intellectual and emotional sense of relief. I now know that I can be in full acceptance toward all other religions, forms of spirituality, or whatever path people choose to follow in their search for connection with life.
So much of human history is draped in religious wars; killing, murdering, destruction in the name of a religious cause. This sense of connection to life, to spirituality, is not found within that. People choose actions then say it is for religion, for spirituality. However, religion does not choose this. No true spiritual leader, guru, or enlightened being would ever want life to move away from harmony, freedom, happiness, and love. Individuals do these things. This is separate from religion, from spirituality. From the true connection with your life. From finding happiness and love.
I think when someone says, ‘I kill in the name of _____ god or religion, they know not what they say or do.’ And that is why I have been released from any last sense of religious prejudice.
As with everything, it is what it is :D
Thank you, Ruby for sharing with me your inquisitive and open nature.
Search your path, and listen to your heart. Follow the flow of life.
Move into and with whatever teachings bring you peace, love and happiness.
Liam 'Bilbo' Beasley