The multi-stranded rope of religion

Religion is like a rope with interlaced strands of culture, history, tradition, community, theology, mythology and ethics.

Unfortunately, people believe these strands are all one-and-the-same. If they reject one or two strands, they think they’ll be forced to throw away the whole rope.

Or, they’re made to believe if they embrace only a few of the strands, they’ll be identified with the entire rope.

But, this simply isn’t true. All-or-nothing religions and separation theologies aren’t spiritual paths. They’re tyrannies of the mind.

I would prefer someone embrace the community, culture and ethics of a faith tradition without clinging to its theology or mythology, than have them idolize the theology and mythology and skip compassion and ethics.

~ Scott Kinnaird

Effortless equilibrium

Mountains should be climbed with as little effort as possible and without desire. The reality of your own nature should determine the speed. If you become restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness and exhaustion.

~ Robert Pirsig

Like a knife trying to cut itself

But in the sixties, everything blew up. Something almost like a mutation broke out among people from fifteen to twenty-five, to the utter consternation of the adult world. From San Francisco to Katmandu, there suddenly appeared multitudes of hippies with hair, beards, and costumes that disquietingly reminded their elders of Jesus Christ, the prophets, and the apostles—who were all at a safe historical distance.

At the peak of our technological affluence, these young people renounced the cherished values of Western civilization—the values of property and status. Richness of experience, they maintained, was far more important than things and money, in pursuit of which their parents were miserably and dutifully trapped in squirrel cages.

Scandalously, hippies did not adopt the ascetic and celibate ways of traditional holy men. They took drugs, held sexual orgies and substituted free-loving communities for the hallowed family circle. Those who hoped that all this was just an adolescent quest for kicks that would soon fade away were increasingly alarmed, for it appeared to be in lively earnest.

The hippies moved on from marijuana and LSD to Hindu chants and yoga, hardly aware that mysticism, in the form of realizing that one’s true self is the Godhead, is something Western society would not tolerate…

~ Alan Watts