One of the world’s major reasons for lack of peace in individual, familial, national, or international settings is the assumption or belief in “specialness.” We were told no two finger prints are the same, just as no two of the zillions of snowflakes are identical. Each one is special, and thus we assume about ourselves.
In the physical world of dualities, win and lose, large and small, male and female, king and servant, governmental and free-market, are ideas we live by. Yet, they are all illusions of reality. Sometimes winning can be losing and vice versa. Rich and poor exist with similar fears. Government and free-market are always meshed. And they all return to nothingness, into a seemingly endless void of emptiness, strutting across the stage of life and then seen no more. Yes, on the plane of bodily existence, we live our time in such a duality. We wouldn’t be here. Yet in what many consider to be our truer selves, our identities, our spirit, we aren’t really there or here. We are “in the world but not of it.” We are everywhere as oneness, if there ever could be such an entity called “God” or “Great Spirit.”
Most religious books, often considered by readers or adherents to be “the special Word of God,” say in some place the One Being, Great Spirit is the All in All. “God is Spirit” and to know God, we thus discover and remember this in truth.
In my life among and within the Christian tradition, I read and heard often how “In baptism, in Christ,” we are all one and there are no special differences such as male, female, rich, poor, servant or king. When a person understands this, or begins to appreciate it, he or she is often described as “not taking him or herself so seriously.” For not to do so, removes our peace, our sense of oneness and trust.
Thus I suggest we remember never to take our beliefs too seriously. Such become easily divisive and bent toward conflict and violence. Beliefs, not recognized as such, lead to decisions of war to defend specialness. As critics of organized religions rightfully recognize, they have planted the seeds to holocaust, pogroms and violent wars. Even countries with similar beliefs divide up into warring parties and persecute those “unbelievers.” During our time of increasing exit from organized religions into groups of “unchurched”, unbelievers, atheists and secularists, these groups likewise develop their little clicks and schisms, often accusing fellow “doubters and atheists” as not pure enough. And on it goes. I like the bumper sticker I once saw on an overloaded little car on the plain s of Kansas: “Since I gave up all hope, I feel so much better!”
When asked what I believe, my best self wants to respond, as Anthony De Mello once said, “Nothing!” God or It is a “no-thing.” It just is. I answered a question like this recently in an open forum and the news later reported, “Presbyterian minister says he believes in nothing, is an atheist.” I enjoyed the notoriety! As again Fr. De Mello once said, “When religious groups think they are special denominations they have become abominations!”
Where do wars and conflicts come from? From within our minds, our narrow selves who tend to think our skin, our nationality, our home, our family, or whatever is somehow more special than “those others.” Work and meditate to get rid of these dangerous and peace killing attitudes and beliefs. Spend time alone or wherever concentrating on being nothing but Spirit, It. At times the experience will become orgasmic as you “wake up” and say, “Wow, I am just so happy with everything the way it is!” And so it is.