“Anyway, it’s not as contradictory as you might think. Religions are kind of like clothes. There are all sorts of them and some are more fashionable than others, but at the end of the day they all serve the same purpose: They keep you from being naked.”
“Religions keep you from being naked?”
“Spiritually speaking. Most of us seek the divine, and most of us prefer not to be nude in public.”
— Kevin Hearne, Shattered.
The words presented above come by way of Shattered, the seventh novel of the Iron Druid series (which I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a good book series and enjoys learning about multiple belief systems). Upon first reading the passage, I wanted to refute Rebecca Dane, a minor character who owns a bookstore and potentially causes an apocalypse (no spoilers, my lips are sealed). Unfortunately, like most of Mr. Hearne’s books, the logic is based in cold unrequited reality.
Religions aren’t like clothes. Religions are pure and holy and…then I stopped myself and gained a bit of perspective. Bear with me readers, it’ll all be clear soon.
If you read my last article The Tenants of Glass Houses then you would know that I represent myself as a multifaith practitioner. When I reveal this to people, I’m usually bombarded with the questions before I am allowed to finish my sentence, a fact that always makes me smile. The question is generally a resounding, “HOW?” My answer is always simple, and I hope this offers no offense but, “how could you not?”
Belief in something isn’t statistically necessary for a happy life, but I have found that it does make it significantly easier. I’m not sure if it’s the aspect of compartmentalizing one’s problems and foisting them off on some supernatural big brother who will beat up the bully who smashed our sand castle; or if it’s giving your all in a task that seems impossible. Or maybe it’s having some mystical force imbue us with strength allowing us to finish in the nick of time, glorious and victorious. Whatever the reason, belief in something, anything, gives you purpose and when one has purpose, one has direction. Direction brings motion, and motion brings progress trailing swiftly behind it.
This is not to say that one cannot achieve motion without belief in something, but again, it’s easier. Imagine you are running a race naked, for all the world to see behold and maybe even scorn. The scorching sun is beating down on your back, and somehow despite this a cool breeze is rustling past further causing discomfort…as you are still naked. This scene, while a bit dramatic is a metaphor for life. Now imagine running the race with shoes on, and a sleek tracksuit in your favorite color. This is essentially how your belief in things and even people work. Your perception of reality shapes how you interact with it, reality does not shape perception.
So then how can one prevent the proverbial spiritual nakedness? The easiest way I’ve found is to be knocked down, hard. People in hard places and rough sorts gravitate towards things that inspire them. Now hold up Shak, I’m not here for your woo-woo crap. I know you aren’t reader which is why I’m gonna share something groundbreaking with you, especially if you, like Rebecca Dane seek the divine and unlike her have no idea where to start or where to turn. Go to your bathroom and turn on the lights, look in the mirror and smile. This is where your divinity and biggest asset lives, in the mirror. Your happiness, should be proportional to whatever you believe in.
The wonderful thing about belief in something (or faith if you want to use words like that) is that no matter where you are or what you are, you have some measure of strength. In my next piece I plan on taking you through something people in the spirituality world call, “the vortex” and a place I call “the zone”. Happy racing readers, hope you’re days are filled with Harmony, yo.