An important component of our well-being is to have faith, and or a spiritual or religious practice. Such a practice, whether belonging to a group, attending religious services, practicing dogma, prayer or meditation can provide support in our lives and contribute to a sense of who we are and our purpose. Our faith and related practices can help us through ‘dark nights of the soul’, give us guidance and support. Science apparently is showing that involvement with religion can lead to longer life expectancy, lower unemployment and lower delinquency among youth.
In democratized societies we can take respect for our faith or religious practice for granted. We are protected in law and we are not penalized for what we think. We have no fear of expressing our thoughts or openly engaging in a spiritual practice that uplifts our spirit or our connection to our faith – provided our actions do not harm others or infringe on their rights. However, in many parts of the world and perhaps within parts of our own that is not always the case. Many wars or instances of a lack of peace are due to religious differences (witness the current situation in Syria) where some groups try to exert control over others. For many, intolerance exists if others practice a belief different from their own.
There are many factors involved. What stands out for me is how at no other time in history have we had so much access to the religions and faiths of others. It is possible to live in a community that is strictly of our cultural heritage and or beliefs and yet work, play and interact with people of many other backgrounds. I am not a historian, or a religion specialist, but I have noticed and read about how globalization is creating melting pots of culture throughout the world. We all recognize the Golden Arches and clothing by GAP. So, as our day to day existence becomes more the same around the word, we cling with passion to the remnants of what makes us different and unique, – our food, traditions, clothing, and our religion and our beliefs. It helps us to claim our identity and connect with our clan and who we are. This has presented both positive aspects of global expansion and evolution as well as deadly devastating clashes over thought and dogma.
Mostly we adopt the religious practice or faiths of our family and clan. Most of us don’t really question or think about it. Historically, our faith is a key link in our belonging to a family or clan. However, it is only in the last 30 years or less, particularly in the west, that we have experienced the abandonment of religion, finding it again or creating a smorgasbord of religious practice that suits us and is not dictated by a fixed religious sect. In doing so we may have abandoned our faith for social advantage or prosperity. Intermarriage often asks a partner to decide to leave their faith to join the other. Perhaps in the blending of families a religious path ended. You may ask yourself – Am I resentful? Holding onto regret? Resisting? Do I feel included or rejected because of my faith. How well have I examined the faith that I was born into? A lack of self-inquiry may now have sprouted many unconscious patterns. The dull unaware ache in our hearts is easily reflected in the global conflicts we watch on the news.
The importance of respect for a religious practice and set of beliefs is reflected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations, Article 18 which declares: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
Additionally, in 2010 the United Nations also declared the first week of February to be “The World Interfaith Harmony Week (Feb 1-7th). This declaration recognizes… “the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and religions to enhance mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people…” (Declaration: http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/65/5)
In this Repatterning series we will map the patterns of intolerance each of us is noticing ‘out there’ in the world and we will compare this to the patterns within ourselves, seeking the light of day. Rest assured that as with all repatterning sessions, acceptance and respect for all faiths are a given. We will repattern to be able to understand others, appreciate our differences and not sacrifice who we are. We’ll repattern to resonate with compassionate dialogue, and with key qualities of acting with mercy, kindness, compassion, and understanding for ourselves and all sentient beings . We’ll resonate with the declaration above by the United Nations.
When we resonate with patterns of peace among faiths we’ll be creating a hologram of awareness that everyone is right, and deserves to be respected. We’ll expand the space for dialogue that ‘enhances mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation among people…” We’ll be expanding the World Peace Hologram.
Please join me for the Repatterning series “Resonate with Patterns of Peace Among Faiths.”