“I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter. Far more important is that they be a good human being. ” – Dalai Lama –
The other day I took a walk up a mountain in the northwestern part of the island of Majorca where the hiker has a panoramic view of the little villages and towns below. On the highest visible points, you can see the convent of Santa Lucia and the monasteries of Santuari de Cura, Randa and Santa Magdalena.
These ancient buildings date back to the early 13th century when the peoples reserved the best and highest places to build their places of worship. The villages, still largely intact and unspoiled by mass tourism, still have a chapel or church as a “central anchor” of harmonious architecture that blends naturally into the landscape.
Architecture as an expression of human consciousness
Architecture is an expression of human consciousness. During the early Middle Ages the external world was aligned with the inner world of consciousness. The concept of a creator of all things was never questioned. Religion was embedded into the concept of church and society that controlled all aspects of life.
The word religion has its origins in the Latin “religio”. St. Augustine followed the interpretation of other scholars who saw the origins in the word “ligo”, meaning to bind or connected to something. Religion is closely associated today with a fixed “belief” in something.
Competing beliefs and religions sowing the seeds of conflict
Religious doctrines of a belief in a God or higher deity, which had a monopoly over thought and belief over centuries, today compete with many other thoughts and beliefs in an age of information overload. Never before has humanity had access to so much information and knowledge. At the same time, humanity is losing its compass with increased access to knowledge going in line with the loss of wisdom.
Our journey as human beings is ultimately like a river flowing into the sea with our path taking us from the body into the spirit, from form into formlessness and from time into timelessness. The disconnect between external material an inner soul need and purpose is one of modern man’s biggest calamities.
The consumerist “God“
The architecture of modern cities are a stark expression of the religion of material and consumerist worship. It is the dominant religion of today. God whispers through nature and nature has been exploited, destroyed and pushed to the outskirts of life.
The difference between religion and spirituality is that religion defines a belief system. The followers of a “belief” have to adhere to a code of conduct in terms of rules, mannerisms, and obligations. Fixed belief has the tendency to exclude, condemn and separate itself from all those who do not share the same belief structure.
Social change and upheaval have the tendency to fan the flames of all the “isms” that we thought we had overcome. Truth is turned into a lie or an illusion. Sound scientific research is labeled as fiction. The validity of democratic institutions and elections are being questioned, especially if those that don’t share the same belief happen to win. As tolerance and acceptance of diversity wanes, the mayhem of chaos and violence increases. Throughout history great suffering has come from narrowminded intolerance.
The worship of personality cult
There is the faint hope that adherence to fixed “belief” is temporary and gradually evolves into something different. During times of uncertainty, the temptation to take refuge in dogmatic belief is great but is ultimately unsatisfying as these beliefs feed on fear, hate, and other toxic emotions. The need “to be right” comes from the insecurity that find expression in the worship of personality cult in political parties, and in the high priests of consumerist culture on Instagram.
In raised spiritual consciousness the belief transcends into tolerance and the constant daily confrontation with the shadow. Who is the “God” that I am attached to? Where do my anger, my jealousy, and my hate come from? If we find realignment with the true self we don’t need to feel small and insecure. We don’t need other people to agree with us in order to feel justified.
The purpose of religion is really to practice our true nature, which according to the Dalai Lama, is simply kindness.
Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker
One more thing…
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