Have We Outgrown Religion?

Via on Mar 17, 2011

What purpose does religion serve?

I suppose it sounds far-fetched to say that the air is a crutch on which we depend or that the earth is a lamentable ball on which we have to stand in order to hold ourselves up. But if you explore deeply the doctrines and history of almost any religion, you will find that there is simply no do-it-yourself way. Whatever path you follow, invariably you reach a point at which the efforts of you own will or your own ego have to be abandoned…

In one way or another, all of the religions of the world are concerned with achieving a state of consciousness that is not egocentric, so that we may see through the trick that, during the ego centric state, we always play on ourselves. And the trick that we play on ourselves is that we become unable to be aware of the relativity of opposites. Black and white, light and darkness, good and evil, pleasure and pain, life and death— or even oneself and the external world— in the egocentric state of consciousness seem to be separate and opposed to each other. However, the most elementary logic should tell us that opposites necessarily go together. In other words, if you feel you are a superior person in any way— morally, intellectually, or physically— you have no means of knowing that you’re a superior person, except through the presence of relatively inferior people. Were they to disappear you would be left in limbo, and you wouldn’t know where you were at all. The higher always depends on the lower in the same way that the flower depends on the soil and the rose on manure. So, too, the subjective self goes along with the objective, because thoughts are physical events as well as subjective ideas...

When the egocentric state is surpassed, it becomes apparent that these things all go together, and the curious consequence of this is that you see the unity of all opposites, that the world is a thing of glory…

In other words, everything that you tried formerly to exclude and deny and overcome is seen to be part of a continuous construction, so that the whole world is seen as profoundly harmonious. Everything in it is exactly as it should be.”  ~from The Culture Of Counter-Culture by Alan Watts

Have we out grown egocentric consciousness?

Please share your comments below…

Elephant 365 is an example of Elephant Journal’s commitment to the Mindful Life. Everyday we will offer a new reading regarding meditation practice and the spiritual path, all infused with a fresh perspective on traditional spirituality. If you would like to follow Elephant 365 on FaceBook click here and become a fan of Elephant Meditation by clicking the “Like” tab at the top of the page.

About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist & Christian spirituality and politics for The Good Men Project, Elephant Journal, The Web of Enlightenment, and is the editor & chief for Henry Harbor--an online magazine concerned with art, culture, spirituality, & politics in the deep South. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter. Looking for a real bio? Click here to read my story....

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3 Responses to “Have We Outgrown Religion?”

  1. [...] better accept this, and only if you accept this can you practice. Which is really the approach of religion, that you have to subscribe to some teaching, some dogma a [...]

  2. Just reposted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Braja Sorensen
    Lost & Found in India
    Editor, Elephant Spirituality
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

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