Being human, not being religious, is the way to finding your God

Stop being humanly religious and instead be religiously human.
Religion, at best, is the path, not the destination. If religion could have helped us find God, all of us, you, me, everyone, should have met God and got Her autograph. Why is it that only few have seen God, fewer have experienced God, only a miniscule have KNOWN God and maybe, just a handful, know that THEY ARE God? That’s because, a large mass of humanity is religious, while a minority is spiritual.
To be sure all religions, and there are over 300 of them globally, champion God-realization. And promise the path to God. Not that they are wrong. But we, the followers, have become so obsessed with the path, not even the journey mind you, that we have come to imagine that being religious IS knowing God. To be religious is to be dogmatic, persistently ritualistic, about a faith. The only faith worth being religious about is being human. Most of humanity, however, while obsessing over religion, has completely forgotten what it means to be human. Take the case of Republican Jon Huntsman, who once was in the race for the Amercian Presidential nomination. A principal__political, not principled__charge against him was that he was raising two adopted daughters from other religions: one a Chinese Buddhist and the other an Indian Hindu. Does it really matter? The color of our skin and the nature of a faith that has been__like our birth__thrust upon us, without our asking for it, without choice to us, is not who we are. We are all human. Period. And we are not divided by race, nationality, faith and such as we imagine it to be. We are all one. Period. All of us have the same 5.5 liters of blood. And it is all red in color. All of us breathe the same Life source. What I exhale you breathe. And what you exhale I breathe. When I can breathe in what you breathe out, and live, why can’t I raise a child that happens to have embraced the same faith as you? If I can, why can’t Jon Huntsman? Huntsman and his wife have seven children, including Gracie Mei, 15, who was abandoned at a Chinese vegetable market at two months of age, and Asha Bharati, now 9, who was left to die on an Indian village dirt road the day she was born. A hands-on dad, Huntsman speaks to Mei in Chinese and is encouraging little Asha to learn about and appreciate her Indian culture and Hinduism. Had Huntsman got his party’s nomination and gone on to win the race to the White House, America would sure have shown the world what it means to be human__not just a Democrat or Republican.
Take also the case of a lady who is seeking an alliance for her daughter ‘within the same faith’, despite hating, from the bottom of her heart, the inhuman rituals of her faith that are perpetrated on girl children__a crude form of female circumcision__because she ‘does not know how people outside her faith are’. What would you call people who claim to be upholders of a faith that indulges in an act of violence against girls, and that too innocent children? We could call them terrorists. Terrorism and terrorists don’t belong to one religion. Anyone who kills humanity, kills Life, in physical or spiritual form, is a terrorist. Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), American sci-fi author, puts it so aptly: “If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”

So true. Let me hasten to clarify that I am neither for atheism nor against religion. I am pleading for us all to just be human. And it begins with each one of us. We don’t have to adopt abandoned children, if we don’t want to, to do this. We don’t have to stop practicing our individual faiths to do this. We just have to stop clinging on to anything that divides us__race, nationality, color or religion. Instead, let’s celebrate being human. And let’s do that without fail, every moment of our lives, from here on__religiously! Believe me, that’s when you will find, just as I have, God!

Pause, Listen, Share! Let’s make the world a better place!!!

Each of our stories is so fascinating. If only we pause to listen to them the world will be so much more a better place to be in.
Yesterday I was moderating a Panel Discussion on building Safer Cities at a Business Conclave. One of the speakers I met there is a fine Britisher named Dr.Andrew Hawkins, a senior management team member at Microsoft. Dr.Hawkins has an amazing, almost incredible, story. His great grandfather was lost in the high seas when his ship wrecked while he was on a voyage through the Indian Ocean. But he miraculously swam ashore, landing at an Indian beach. A group of Indian fishermen cared for him for several months, helped him regain his health and he eventually found his way back to Britain. Dr.Hawkins was very emotional when he said: “I am here, able to speak to all of you, only because a few kind Indians, in a coastal village here, many, many years ago took care of my great grandfather!” Dr.Hawkins finds it so overwhelming that, over three generations later, he should be in the same country that helped his great grandfather rebuild his Life. He plans to come back to India on a sabbatical to locate and reconnect with the families of those fishermen that tended for his forefather and express his family’s gratitude to them.
Hearing Dr.Hawkins’ story reminded me of a beautiful expression, a truth, that I had read some years ago. We are all not human beings going through temporary spiritual experiences, we are all spiritual beings going through temporary human experiences. All the strife and disharmony in the world exists because we don’t notice the divinity in each other. We go around seeking God in temples, churches, mosques and gurudwaras, but we fail to see the God within. You and I are alive because of a Life energy that powers us, that thrives in us. And it is the same. The slum dweller in Dharavi in Mumbai, the President in the White House, the hungry child in South Sudan, the Maori aboriginals of New Zealand and each of the seven billion people on the planet – each of us, has the same energy source. What more evidence do we need of the divinity in us? That makes all of us equal and connected. You inhale what I exhale. And I inhale what you exhale. There can’t be a more evident connect, a more deeper bond between us humans.
Yet, however much social media may have transformed the world by shrinking distances, we continue to be divided by race, religion and nationalities. The distances between us are actually no longer just physical. We are distant because we have stopped being human. We are just not available for each other. We are no longer making an effort to reach out, to understand, to appreciate and celebrate each other. We are lost in our own myopic worlds and are consumed by our challenges. We don’t realize that if share, if we listen, we can learn a lot more and feel a lot, lot more happier and secure. The Dalai Lama, someone who I admire greatly for his simplicity and wisdom, has said this so beautifully, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

Here’s hoping you and I make more time for each other and for pausing to share and learn from our stories. That’s the only way we can, together, make this world more caring and leave it better than we found it!
namaste! – The God in me bows to the God in you!