The business of consciousness is growth and expansion–not maintaining a fixed point of view.
What if everything you thought was true wasn’t–would you want to awaken? Would you rather be asleep and comfortable in your own cozy world as you think it is or kicked to the curb when you discover the amazing disconnect between what is commonly believed is true? Awakening can be very disconcerting. It is similar to learning that your parents aren’t your parents or that the nice woman next door is a secret terrorist! Awakening challenges almost everything about the status quo; and, because most people have so much tied up into it–only a rare person dares question it.
Then there is this, most people do not search for additional meaning when the status quo gives them a reasonable life. They assume the reason things are going so well is because of what they think, say, and do. Philosophies are taught, scriptures are quoted and wisdom is widely dispensed as though they were sure potions for success. Fortunately, Source is always expanding and the status quo will not last–for change is the only status quo there is. At some point, the old ways of doing things fails and life unravels. At this moment, when life is at its worst, a great opportunity appears whereby we may question old beliefs and expand beyond the limited views that hold us back.
Questioning, if done correctly, is the key that opens the door of liberation. We are not speaking about a rude form of questioning that is designed to be oppositional and trip people up; rather, it is the questioning of beliefs and received knowledge in such a way that we transform and form new perspectives that grow us from one level to the next. By definition, spiritual growth is an ongoing expansion of old views into something more spacious and grand. If we are not growing, and life is becoming stale, it is because we are resisting expansion and have stopped asking important questions.
I am a lifelong practicing Christian who was raised to believe that: the Bible was the inerrant word of God, Jesus was the one and only true way, heaven and hell existed to reward and punish us for the way we lived our lives, and a myriad of other beliefs associated with my particular Christian sect. Most importantly, I was taught that if I faithfully practiced all that I had been taught my life would go well. For good measure, I was taught to be suspicious of anyone who did not hold the faith as I did. These principles began my early religious and spiritual training; but, religion works until it doesn’t–and an unexamined life eventually stalls and crashes.
There are many questions that need to be asked of any religion–for it is here that many unquestioningly accept as true any number of specious ideas. It is the nature of religion to encourage its adherents to study its tenets more deeply rather than expanding more broadly–and this creates a tension for the enlarging consciousness. The business of consciousness is growth and expansion–not maintaining a fixed point of view. Expansion pushes us to ask questions about life, death, afterlife, miracles, moral viewpoints, and which words of Jesus were most likely his versus those attributed to him more than a century after his death.
Like a city that expands its limits to include what was once farm land, the expanded consciousness acquires new perspectives, points of view, and understandings about things that were once far from the original received knowledge. Expansion is about inclusion and making connections between seemingly disparate ways of seeing the world. Though one may find comfort within a religious tradition, one may not remain sectarian and expansive at the same time. The two are incompatible. At some point, expansion and transcendence requires that many formerly cherished views of self, others, organizations, life, afterlife, morals and law be thoroughly challenged and set aside if a home is to be made for the ever-expanding Source.
My perspectives of sacred texts and teachings have expanded well beyond the religious studies that launched my journey. Christianity is my lineage–in much the same way that sages of the East pay homage to their guru. It is the place where I learned many foundational matters. At the same time, I would I would not be honoring the expanding Source within me were I not to recognize and honor the great unity of thinking that exists between science, philosophy, world religions, mythology, psychology, and nature. As I read from many of these sources, I quickly recognize the footprints of Source and know that no one path can adequately contain it all.
One’s lineage towards awakening may or may not begin with religion. No matter the path, what is more important is whether or not one will question beliefs that don’t make sense and opt for expansion rather than sectarianism. It takes courage to challenge cherished beliefs and let them fall by the wayside. It takes discipline to admit we have been misguided in our beliefs and weed them out. Expansion almost always leads one away from the group think of any tribe–and that can be scary as well. In the end, liberation comes from a willingness to question accepted beliefs and follow Source as it leads into an expanded territory.