Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stickiness and an Empty Cup

There is a couple I know that are having martial difficulties. One of them believes it to be a "spiritual issue" (i.e. Satan is attacking the other spouse) and doesn't seem to be interested in resolving things until this other person is "right with God."

It's going to be extremely hard for them to get anywhere because the problem that is being painted as a "spiritual issue" is in fact a relational issue.

I guess I'm just seeing (in general, in the world) that religion is sticky and it can really get us "stuck." It also has the ability to justify our behavior. If you say "God is telling me to do this" (even though it's not the most loving, accepting, and open action), how is someone supposed to disagree with you? When we're convinced that we are right... that our actions are justified by God...we become suicide bombers and stubborn asses.

Religion - spirituality - at its best can be about stripping us of what we think and want - as well as liberating us from our preconceived notions and conditioned responses. It has the potential to make us more open and more widely accepting... not more rigid and closed. My hope is that as we all grow spiritually, we are able to say (as my buddy Tommy puts it): "I know nothing."

To slightly tweak a classic story: A young religious type went to visit a famous spiritual teacher. While the master quietly served tea, the young man talked about his own opinions of life and of God. The master poured the visitor's cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The man watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. "It's overfull! No more will go in!" he blurted. "You are like this cup," the master replied, "How will you be open to what God is really like unless you first empty your cup."


Jon said...

Good to see you sharing your insights again, Trev. What you write is quite true. Religion is very often used for the ego's ends in being validated, "right," "smart," "justified," and so on. May the whole diff. between mysticism and religion comes to the difference between the stripping away of defenses vs. having more tools to build them.

Trev Diesel said...

Thanks, Jon!

isaiah said...

In a little experiment of late I have tried to hold my awareness of my opinions and thoughts (of people, of circumstances, of myself) and filter them through the light of “in the final analysis, it is between me and God. It is never between me and another anyway.'

Sometimes the longest journey we can ever undertake is the short distance between head thinking to heart feeling and being. I believe it does, like you say, require us to empty ourselves first and to relax into our whole center, surrender first- then be filled with all manner of blessings.

So much of the ‘stickiness’ of religion comes from expectation and allowing our awareness to slip from “doing unto others as we would have done unto us” and into thoughts of I, Me, Mine. When I am self-centered I become aware of the many times, many occasions where I am offended. It is a painful way to live and what worse way to invite suffering than to seek out being offended.

I hope your friends can open their hearts and see as Rumi saw,
“Lovers don't finally meet somewhere, they're in each other all along.”

Trev Diesel said...

"It is a painful way to live and what worse way to invite suffering than to seek out being offended."

For sure. After all, what else is spirituality about than the "end of suffering."

Thanks Tommy - hope you had a great vacation... looking forward to your reflections.

anonymous julie said...

You rock. I've missed reading you, Trev.

Trev Diesel said...

Thanks Julie...

likewise. ;-)