“The truth was a mirror in the hands of God.
It fell, and broke into pieces.
Everybody took a piece of it,
and they looked at it and thought they had the truth.”
Love this poem by Rumi, but then I usually love most of his poems. However this one really struck me after my recent experience with trying to help some friends save a dying church congregation.
Clearly I love my friends and valued our united effort to create a better spiritual environment for all involved, but I did NOT love the scripted “churchiness” requirements of the experience—the dogma, the empty ritual, the traditions of doing something a certain way because it had always been done like that, and the dictatorial manner of the pastor deciding the church’s focus.
That kind of ‘pseudo-spiritual’ experience is definitely not for me—in fact it is the very reason I shunned churches in general for most of my life—because of the phoniness and hypocrisy of the experience.
Even from the start I knew that my participation in the group endeavor would not be easy because of my personal views on organized religions (Religion and spirituality are two very different aspects of believing in something greater than oneself, and while I am deeply spiritual, I am not a fan of the restrictive, entrenched, self-perpetuating structure of religious teachings.).
But again, I love my friends and wanted to help them pull off this effort successfully—to rebuild the dwindling congregation for the small-community betterment.
After sitting with clenched teeth through eight months of services/sermons over what was being said and done at the pulpit and altar, I decided I couldn’t continue what felt to me to be a ridiculous charade and poorly disguised ego-trip for the preacher.
As Rumi said above, my piece of the mirror didn’t reflect what was being said and done there, so to me, it could never be MY truth. And I don’t feel bad about quitting the group endeavor or for leaving my friends there who are still a part of it.
What I would feel guilty about is if I hadn’t quit, because then I would be betraying my own self—my own spiritual connectedness that always feels pure and direct.
A week ago someone said something derogatory to me, and I let it go without responding or feeling ill will toward the person for saying it; and my best friend said to me that I was being a good ‘Christian’ about the situation.
I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying back to her, No, ….that was being a good Muslim, or a good Jew, or a good Buddhist, or a good Jainist, or a good Taoist, or a good Hindi.
What I actually was demonstrating had nothing to do with any religion in particular, but with ALL in general: I was being a good PERSON!
We throw these religious labels around far too easily to separate us from others—to make distinctions between US and THEM—and what THEY believe as opposed to what WE believe.
But the entire point of living this life is to recognize our similarities and our sameness, not accentuate our differences.
So to me, if you want to build a better world and create more loving and peaceful environments for everyone, including yourselves, then be better people, not proselytizers of elite-ness and separation from those who don’t share the same piece of God’s TRUTH mirror that you have in your hand.
Let’s put all those mirror pieces back together and then look within the reconstructed TRUTH mirror because it is only God’s TRUTH when it is in Its wholeness.