Spiritual Awakening, Growth, and Enlightenment/Religion, spirituality, how do they fit?

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Hi Bob, thanks for reading.  I'll try and be as clear as I can with my situation, and hopefully you can give some insight.

I was raised Christian, and was taught religion in school and church.  It always brought me comfort as a child.  As most people do as they grow older, I started to question some things behind the whole Christian values I was taught as a child.  For example, how can the scripture teach love and respect, yet Christians look down on those who drink, or who are gay, or a whole slew of other things?  

I have read quite a bit about the Law of Attraction, metaphysics, etc.  I've drawn a bit of a conclusion between what is written in Psalms, and just overall "positive thinking".  However, I've always somehow tried to come back to religion after going through rough patches, and for some reason beyond me, things have always turned around for the better.

I sometimes join chat rooms online with other Christian women.  I enjoy the comfort it brings.  I find myself kind of drawing a parallel between the Law of Attraction and prayer.  I know a ton of Christians would probably be very against that idea, but for me, it just seems to work.  

I was raised to believe Jesus/God was up in the clouds.  A real figure.  However metaphysics says everything is energy.  Energy exists even when we see nothing.  Therefore, I feel a connection with energy when I pray, and in return, I feel good.

Do I believe or agree with everything Christians say or teach these days?  No.  Do I believe or agree with some aspects.  Absolutely.  

I just get so confused because I'm not all the way on the religious/Christian side, yet I feel as though I am connected to it somehow.  It's hard to explain, so I'm hoping you can give me some insight.

Thanks.

Lin

Answer
Hi Lin - this is the first moment I've had to respond to your question. Thank you for your patience and for contacting me.

First, I'll address our point regarding scriptural and behavioral contradictions in organized religions. As you already know, there's just no logic to be found here. The most common contradiction emanates from the teaching: "Love Thy Neighbor." If everyone could only do only that much; 99% of the world's problems would come to an end. However, as we get older, most of us realize that moral teachings from the world's major religions represent ideals that we aspire to, but constantly need to be practiced in everyday life.

There is an interesting book by Jeffrey Moses entitled "Oneness," which quotes many universal moral and ethical teachings from a wide range of religious texts. It's a wonderful guide that reminds us that all religions contain common threads of wisdom. However, as you've pointed out - understanding these concepts with the analytical mind is one thing; putting them into practice is another.

Your next point about having read books on various spiritual philosophies is quite interesting. In my view, "spirituality" is like a grand buffet; we can pick and choose the particular aspects of religion, metaphysics, and spiritual law that resonates within us. Thus, we can form our own unique, authentic belief system. By doing so, our spiritual constructs will emanate from within ourselves and not from an organization that decides what is right for us [and is usually filled with contradictions!].

Chatting with others about spiritual issues provides an effective type of support, and I would encourage you to continue utilizing online chat rooms as well as attending local spiritual events that attract open-minded individuals. You will meet a cultural diversity of people at such events, and you'll be able to share your experiences, conundrums, and evolving spiritual beliefs. Please understand that it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about your personal associations, spiritual philosophy, and religious choices. Nobody else knows what is best for you, and nobody else is in a position to judge you [lest they be judged] - and so the contradictions go one & on.   

Since you asked about the state of organized religion - I'm inclined to agree with your assessment. The individuals within these groups have given a tremendous amount of love, compassion, kindness, and good will toward others. On the other hand, some of their dogmatic teachings have caused wars, hatred, separation among people, physical and mental abuse, and brainwashing. So, like everything else in this world - organized religions are a mixed-bag of 'the good' and the 'less-than-good.'

I like to think that 80% of the strict adherents of these faiths are kind-hearted and loving, while 20% still have a lot to learn about fairness, equality, and human rights [this may be an overly optimistic viewpoint, but let's give humanity the benefit of the doubt]. As the Dalai Lama has said, "there are over 6 billion people in this world and just a few thousand terrorists." So, I believe that this way of thinking tends to put things in proper perspective and gives us hope for a better world.

Lin - I wish you all the best and hope this information has been helpful to you.  

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Bob Waxman, Ph.D.

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Please ask any question relating to spiritual awakening, personal growth, or the pursuit of enlightenment. If you are having difficulty with a religious or spiritual concept - please feel free to explain your dilemma and ask a question relating to your situation. I have written three books on various on "The Timeless Wisdom of the Ages" and have been teaching classes related to universal spiritual principles for over 15 years. My expertise is in writing, teaching, and explaining the underlying meanings that are found in ancient and modern spiritual/religious traditions.

Experience

Classes, seminars, and workshops over the past 15 years include explorations of: spiritually transformative experiences (STEs), near-death experiences (NDEs), Vedanta & Bhagavad Gita, Kabbalah & Zohar (according to scholars), The Best of Plato, The Taoist Approach to Living, The Dhammapada & Mahayana Buddhism, Cognitive Dissonance, Lost Books of the Bible, Comparative Views on Sufism & Gnosticism, Cutting-Edge Theories in Modern Physics & Metaphysical Frameworks in Ancient Mysticism. Published Books include: "2012: The Meaning and The Message" - Paragon House Publishers,"Kabbalah Simply Stated" - Paragon House Publishers, "The Power of AWE" - Sinclair Publishing, Inc., Not yet released: "By the Waters of Forgetfulness - The Mystical Teachings of Plato."

Organizations
Founding Member and frequent guest speaker at The Open Center (Sarasota, FL) Longboat Key Education Center IANDS (near-death experience organization) Unity Life Enrichment Center American Seminar Leaders Association

Publications
Articles: "Did Freud Accept or Reject Mysticism?" http://ezinearticles.com/?Did-Freud-Accept-Or-Reject-Mysticism?&id=1291492 ## "The Astral Body and After Death Experience" http://www.paratracker.org/files/article-20660.pdf ## "Beyond Madonna" http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_303.shtml ## "Beyond The DaVinci Code" http://www.articlecity.com/articles/religion/article_306.shtml ## "Evolutionary Theism" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id86.html ## "Five Philosophers' Theories on Free Will" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id93.html ## "The Transpersonal Experience" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id77.html ## "John Locke & Deism During The Age of Enlightenment" http://www.robertwaxman.com/id77.html ## "The Nature of the Tzaddik" http://robertwaxman.org/id50.html ## Interview in Spirit Guide Magazine (2009): http://robertwaxman.org/id51.html ## A Theistic View on the Unitary Experience in Shamanism http://www.robertwaxman.com/id92.html

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. in Human Sciences from Saybrook University; Master's Degree with a concentration in Comparative Religion from Skidmore College; (2) B.A.'a from The American University. Additional philosophy courses taken at Columbia University and New York University.

Awards and Honors
many awards received...

Past/Present Clients
Unity of Sarasota JCC of Sarasota, Tampa, Davie, West Palm Beach & Bonyton Beach Center for Positive Living Theosophical Society United Lodge of Theosophists (Sarasota, FL) The Open Center Longboat Key Education Center Hundreds of students over the last 12 years

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