Bringing Our Highest Self ‘Out of the Closet’ with Love
America’s forefathers had the profound wisdom to inculcate a fundamental separation of “church” from matters of “state” into the very fabric of governance. How could the other foundations of freedom, such as of assembly, worship (or not to), and speech (including the press), be ensured if a religion — doesn’t matter which one — dominated governmental thinking? The answer is that it can’t. However, a separation of religion doesn’t mean the separation from spirituality. The two are very different, and it’s time we understood what they are.
Religion and spirituality are often perceived to be synonymous, but they are not. One is a matter of belief, while the other is a matter of Beingness. While they are not arbitrary, beliefs are transient, and are subject to wide and ranging positional shifts over the course of a lifetime. Beingness is implicit, integral, and definitive. We hold and embody beliefs that take form as our religions. On the other hand, we are spiritual beings, irrespective of our beliefs. As such, there should indeed be a separation between “church” and “state”. However, there should be no separation in the governance of state and its embracing the fundamental equality of each citizen.
Our relationship to God is not conferred by religious affiliation, but is confirmed by our inherent and implicit spirituality, which by definition, means we are equal. This may not ring true for some, who want to believe, but may need proof. Fact is, you and I are proof, both of God’s existence, and equality. If one of us doesn’t exist, none of us does. If we can be equal in the eyes of God, then we certainly must be that way in the eyes of human law. Justice does not need to be blind (or dumb) in order to treat each citizen as equals, and weigh any grievance on its own merits.
Agree or disagree, every individual that reads and perceives these thoughts exists, without exception. And since consciousness does not exist in stasis and is subject to change, what may sound absurd to you today, may be the very truth that you recall that appears to save your life tomorrow. But that’s another factor in our spirituality… religions are born, live, and die. Our bodies, which are part of this reality, do the same thing, but we do not. We are immortal, eternal beings.
We don’t require a religion as an arbiter to God, as God is already aware of, and part of our existence, even if we don’t see it, doubt, or deny it. The phrase, “In God We Trust” is neither an endorsement of Christianity nor a smack against any other form of organized religious thought, such as Agnosticism, or Atheism. It demonstrates awareness and appreciation of a common thread shared by all of humanity. Each has his or her way of acknowledging and expressing God-ness. Even denial of God is an expression thereof, and not a smack against.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”– Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776)
Wow! That was a bold statement to make in 1776. Of course, it had been true since the beginning of time (and before). But it was about time that someone had the courage and wisdom to declare it. And since waging war was still part of the way we settled disagreements back then, war was waged, and freedom for all was born.
Oh yes, there was that little thing called slavery. We wanted our freedom, but we didn’t want to give up some of the “perks” of the “superior/inferior” mindset. Then too, the “perk” depended on which side of the equation you were on. No one who feels they are on the short end of equality (injustice) will feel good about it, for on some level, we all know that it is wrong, no matter who is being “unjust.” And yet, some of us are “okay” with it as long as we think we’re beyond being negatively affected by it. As Arnold Schwarzenegger said famously in Terminator 2, “Big mistake.”
Today, slavery has long become part of America’s past. Jim Crow has long become part of America’s past. “Separate but equal” has long become part of America’s past. But the “religion” of racial preference has continued on.
In spite of the abolitionist movement being about ending racial injustice, and in spite of the civil rights movement being about ending racial injustice, racial injustice continued to flourish in our social and political system. The system of slavery was dismantled, but the schism remained, embodied in the idea that we are fundamentally different from each other, based on visible, ethnic, cultural and intellectual factors, and therefore, should be treated differently.
Perceptually, roles appeared to be reversed. After the 1960’s the oppressors became the “protectors,” carving out carefully apportioned and legislated slices from the pie of opportunity to be reserved for the “disadvantaged,” and pushing aside equally qualified others to making spaces in the “elite” schools.
The protectors could then feel good about themselves in their superiority, relative to the “disadvantaged”, while maintaining the idea that their “inferior” economic or social standing, or perhaps even their intelligence was really at fault. While none of this is true, the fact that many who think of themselves as “disadvantaged” and believe that they need the race-based “advantage” adds fuel to this notion.
The disadvantaged” became comfortable believing they should have to work as hard as the next guy, or risk as much in order to be ushered in to positions of responsibility, status, and power. Therefore, they consistently stay behind (or beneath) the protectors, not because they can’t match others achievement for achievement, but because they don’t know that they can. There remain too many people still telling them that they can’t, and that the protections are needed.
They believed that the laws should protect them, must protect their interests and their “kind”, else our society would revert back to its old ways. So in spite of the quest for equal treatment that so many people fought and died for, the recipients often fear and resist it. This flies in the face of the reality of our equality, as a function of our common spiritual nature.
A spirit animates, invigorates, and even inspires every human being. A spirit is involved in the spectrum of human expression. There could be no free will if things were any other way. Every human being is capable of genocide, and genius. Every human being is capable of being the victor or the vanquished. We choose it all, for these powers are present and inherent within all, without exception. God is present in all, whether we know it or not. The real difference is simple; i.e., whether we use our power with awareness and acceptance of our Godness, or not.
The power of God is present and available in real and tangible ways, should we elect to use it consciously. It is the power of love, and through the gifts of acceptance, harmony, beauty, balance, and grace, as applied to one’s self and to others. How do you know love is real? When you can be loving in spite of the unloving behaviors, attitudes, or beliefs or others. Love is the only power that requires conscious activation and commitment. As a reward, it expands our consciousness of our own God-given ability, and it changes the one who chooses the Gift, and those who accept it when given.
Love knows no color, religion, race, culture, or creed. It discriminates against no one, and always rewards both the embracer, and the embraced. Is that not God in action?
Human beings have always been “equal” expressions of God. That doesn’t mean that we would all have great educations, jobs, social status, and money in the bank. It doesn’t mean that there would be no poverty, war, or disease. Yet any one who presently experiences poverty can change their life by changing — and loving — self, just as they are. Anyone who presently experiences disease has the power to change their health by understanding and loving who they are, just as they are.
As we embrace and embody equality as more than a political or intellectual idea, we can even obviate the need to wage war, especially when we realize that giving birth to new wars is itself simply a self-perpetuating pattern. To choose to wage war is to create future wars. To stop waging war now immediately ends the creation of new reasons to continue waging war.
Let us embrace and celebrate the loving human spirit, and the spirit of love, irrespective of the religion the individual stands behind. Let us appreciate our spirituality, bringing it out of the closet, placing it ahead of our politics, race, and gender issues. Through our spirit — of compassion, empathy, ingenuity, tolerance, perserverence, determination, and love — all things are possible. The moment we begin understanding this as individuals is the moment our lives will begin to change to reflect the reality.