Pick and Mix religion

foreversearching

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Hey everyone,

If you live in the UK, you might recently have seen a programme on TV called 'spirituality shopper'. They take one person who feels there is something missing in their lives and give them four religious practices to do for a month to see if they feel any better. For example, the woman on the show last week had to do Buddhist meditation, Christian lent, Sufi whirling and Jewish shabbat for one month and it did help her to feel somewhat calmer, and she decided to carry on with the meditation and whirling occasionaly.

My question is, is it ok to pick and mix religion? I personally don't see a problem with it, i'd love to try out all different religious practices, it could potentiallly open up a new path.
Are there any of you that do this already and if so what effect does it have on your life? Do you feel contented or is there still something missing?

Also i'd love to hear any opposing views as I haven't heard the other side to the argument yet.

Lisa x
 

zeekur

 
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Hi Lisa,

foreversearching said:
My question is, is it ok to pick and mix religion? I personally don't see a problem with it, i'd love to try out all different religious practices, it could potentiallly open up a new path.
Are there any of you that do this already and if so what effect does it have on your life? Do you feel contented or is there still something missing?
Well, for me right now, that is what I feel I must do. I'm trying to find a way of spirituality that I will feel at home in practicing. For one, I would like to become good at meditation and I think it will have a good effect on my life should I ever learn to quiet the bubbling of my thoughts. And, there are so many other parts of various religions that are very appealing to me. So in answer to your other question...No, I do not feel contented at the moment.

HTH,
zeekur
 

foreversearching

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I understand what you mean. It is hard, and I too would love to become good at meditation and I will eventually, but its the hardest thing in the world for me to empty my mind and just focus within.

Lent I have tried obviously being raised as a Christian it was a part of my life though I must admit I didn't bother last year. For anybody who isn't familiar Lent is giving something up/doing something poisitive for 40 days in the build up to Easter (when Christians beleive Jesus rose from the dead) Lent is done because according to Christianity, Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and nights where he was tempted by the devil.

What other religious practices would you like to try? I have been giving whirling a go after seeing the programme I mentioned, and thats quite fun, though i'm not sure i'm doing it right
 

Bandit

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i am content with what i have in Jesus & the Bible. I have never felt like anything was missing. I have taken the time to listen & try to understand others, but even in what i have learned I am not persuaded by the winds of doctrine & every new theory that pops up.

I do find truth & error in all religions, but i think some are closer than others & i dont think any one organized religion has it all.

so no, i am not searching, picking & mixing beliefs, like some feel they need to do.
the best to you in your searches.:)
 

path_of_one

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foreversearching said:
My question is, is it ok to pick and mix religion?
No.

Now that everyone who knows my usual responses is thoroughly surprised, I'll explain.

There is a difference between what you described with the month-long whirlwind of "picking and mixing" from the grab-bag of spiritual/religious/mystical experiences offered by all the world's cultures, and serious study and contemplation to find one's right path. I believe that it is disrespectful to the religions and cultures in question to pick and mix without thoroughly studying them, attempting to at least grasp the basics of their belief system and practice, the reasons behind the practices and beliefs, and the traditions therein. I've worked with Native American tribes, for example, who are always dealing with "pick and mix" New-Agers disrespectfully cheapening the shamanic experience, using sweat-lodges without any idea whatsoever of the point or traditions surrounding them, even arguing to use things like peyote to ehance their inner sight- all without the cultural and religious background to integrate these experiences into the mythology and history of a people or to understand their purpose. Complex and deep traditions get lost in a quick-fix marketing ploy to give people some ephemeral sense of peace at best and some illusions of enlightenment or salvation at worst. Often, these poor folks just go round and round, picking up this and then that, never getting truly involved in any tradition or finding any lasting sense of themselves, their place in the world, and their connection to the Divine.

Furthermore, "picking and mixing" can be dangerous, at least in my opinion. If you superficially choose, without any real depth of knowledge or experience in any tradition, you can really mess yourself up. The most dangerous and classic case I know of is people who attempt to use hallucinogens as traditional shamans do to soul-journey. If you're a shaman of an indigenous people, trained for years under the careful guidance of another shaman, you're likely to be OK. If you're some dude from LA that headed down to Brazil for a week-long "spiritual" quest, you're likely to blow a few brain circuits and wind up with some mental problems. Certain types of meditation aren't to be taken lightly either, and I also think dabbling in magic is a problem. The stuff that comes to one during meditation and shamanic type endeavors is not always happy- it can be downright scary. And, if you believe in that sort of thing- there are reports of negative consequences of pushing yourself in awakening energy or power. I've heard a lot of stories about bad "kundalini" experiences, though I personally have no experience with the practice or consequences.

People need to carefully study traditions to understand the context in which they have their experiences before trying out the more experiential parts (except the relatively immune stuff like going to a public service at a place of worship). I suggest reading up on at least the basics of any faith in which one is interested, then meeting with an experienced practioner to ask questions and get some advice- for any faith or practice, Buddhist, Wicca, or Christian. Not only will you be more informed about the meaning and purpose behind the traditions, and the overall integration of them, but in some of the more mystical practices you'll gain a sense of what you're getting into.

Now, most who know me here now know that I am a hybrid of sorts and also study many/most of the world's religions. So I'll get to why that is different from "picking and mixing" like the TV show demonstrates.

Are there any of you that do this already and if so what effect does it have on your life?
My path is primarily based on what resonates with my own experience of God/the Divine. I read from many/most of the world's religions to gain a sense of the different traditions informing people, to gain inspiration from the common quest of humanity's reaching out to the Divine, and to gain concepts and practices that resonate with my own experience.

Before practicing anything, I am careful to study the religious tradition from which it came- in some detail. If at all possible, I either read discussions from long-time practioners about the benefits and any problems or directly discuss. The two traditions I embrace- Christianity and Druidry- I study intensely from a variety of sources and am always careful to pray over my decisions and ask God to lead me. I don't do anything I feel at all compelled by the Spirit to avoid. While I academically study other traditions, I do not take up their practices lightly. Many terms get thrown around, like "meditation." There are different types of meditation, and different ways to meditate, and some are in accordance with my sense of what is right for me and some are not. It is very important to understand the history behind each type and what it is supposed to produce in the practioner before just trying it out. This helps oneself and shows respect to the religious tradition and culture from which it came.

A final thought- the Dalai Lama actually was asked about the pick/mix way of doing religion, and about switching religions in general. He said that for most of the people in the world, it is pointless. One would learn much more by picking one tradition or path, and sticking with it. Generally, the tradition into which one is born is the best. Overcoming the cultural barriers to truly understand another religious tradition is very difficult for most people. I think the Dalai Lama was very wise in such a discussion. The time to search for a right religion for oneself, to me, is if one's personal experience of the Divine doesn't at all resonate with the religion in which one is currently, or if there's a big "something missing," and through study you find another tradition substantially addresses it.

Do you feel contented or is there still something missing?
This finding a big "something missing" in a tradition is what happened when I stumbled through academic study upon modern Druidry (of a particular flavor- there are a few very different kinds of modern Druidry). My own spiritual experience had always been very much oriented toward nature, I felt nature was full of sentient beings, I'd had many mystical experiences involving nature and the nature of Reality. Unfortunately, Christianity doesn't typically do much with this. I had no framework in the tradition of Christianity (at least not in the churches I went to) to understand and relate to this manifestation of God. I had no traditional/cultural guidance on this path. I recognized, even as a child, that the animistic and shamanic Native American religions were similar to what I experience, and I longed for a tradition, a heritage that made sense of this part of myself. I also knew, however, that it would be disrespectful to take bits of Native American traditions when that is not my culture.

I had the Spirit to guide me, but I longed to be able to study a tradition that had a framework of mythology and practice to better understand my own experience. I had built some personal beliefs on my own spiritual experience, and then stumbled upon modern Druidry, the flavor of which embraces the same beliefs I already had. They had a framework that fit with my own heritage and culture, and my own experience, and so I added this tradition to Christianity. Utilizing multiple traditions in this way is not easy like the "pick and mix" version of the reality-show world. Seeking a deep understanding, and an even deeper experience and embracing of the mystery of God, and desiring to be faithful to God and true to the teachings of Christ is hard work. To unify the two traditions requires constant study in both, prayer over what is and is not beneficial to my path, and the willingness to put aside the desires for warm-fuzzies in order to gain greater spiritual growth. It isn't about finding some vague short-term peace for me- it's about a life-long journey to bring me closer to God and nature, and to bring my life in line (as much as I can) with Christ's example. Hard work, but now I am content with the traditions I embrace on my path. I encourage all who are seeking to find the right path for them to not shun the enormous work and responsibility involved, to be careful and honest in study and self reflection, and respectful of the cultures and peoples who have graced us with their collective wisdom and spiritual experience over the course of human history.

In Peace,
Kim
 

juantoo3

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Kindest Regards, Path of One!

Just wanted to say thanks for your insight on this. I find myself in general agreement with you, although I usually say it in a much more clumsy way. :D
 

zeekur

 
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foreversearching said:
What other religious practices would you like to try? I have been giving whirling a go after seeing the programme I mentioned, and thats quite fun, though i'm not sure i'm doing it right
I don't know right now what else I'd definitely like to try. I think I'm too busy reading up on different religions right now.

I've been thinking about this some though and here is some of it. If a person has gone on a show like what you described I would have to guess it was for a reason. If nothing else, they are searching for something to help them in their lives somehow. I could be wrong of course, it would not be the first time. Maybe they just want to be on TV, who knows. But in any event, if they give other practices a try and nothing "speaks" to them, then they have, at least, become aware that there are other religious ways than what they might have known before. Anything that a person becomes aware of has a chance of becoming more. Maybe all it would lead to is the participant and viewers alike being more tolerant and accepting of the mulitude of other ways that people have for being religious and spiritual.
 

foreversearching

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zeekur said:
Maybe all it would lead to is the participant and viewers alike being more tolerant and accepting of the mulitude of other ways that people have for being religious and spiritual.
Yes I agree there, I think the biggest cause of religious hatred and discrimination is ignorance. If people are educated about other cultures and religions then it will lead to more understanding therefore more tolerance.
 

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I don't see the problem with it. In fact it might be more beneficial IMHO. All religions are valid in their own right, so why can't we go through all the worships and rituals of the most high. For example you can be a Christian, that wants to give up worldly pleasures like a Buddhist, that chants "Om" during meditation like a Hindu, that also believes in Mohammed as a prophet. I don't see why, all religions do have a set amount of advantages and special ways on reaching the highest state of exsistence whether it be with God or not.
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,

interesting thread.

there is a First Nations People saying that seems appropos here:

If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.

metta,

~v
 

Ciel

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If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.

metta,


Vaj,

While one hand claps.

What does the other do?

- c -
 

AletheiaRivers

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Vajradhara said:
Namaste all,

interesting thread.

there is a First Nations People saying that seems appropos here:

If you chase two rabbits you will lose them both.

metta,

~v

Because I've personally experienced this a time or two (or three:rolleyes:) in my own life, I'd have to say I agree.
 

wil

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Or as a friend of mine said that Bill Clinton proved to her...you can't have a wife and mistriss....you begin to forget the definition of words...
 

flowperson

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To take a wider view of this, it might be that today's boundaryless world is causing many of us to chase several things at once, and to sample religious principles born out of homoginized cultural roots to see if that might calm our frenetic desires and pace in life. It's sort of a multitasking view I've come up with since I believe that one set of behaviors follows another.

Since we're entering into a "Heinz 57" set of world realities, if not also genetically as individuals as the generations progress, then it seems to be a natural thing to me that we will seek spiritual solace wherever and whenever it might present itself for us. If one can keep their head straight, I really don't see a harm in it over the short term for individuals. But probably lots of harm for societies over the long haul. Hence the rise of fundamentalism.

flow....:)
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste ciel,

thank you for the post.

Ciel said:
Vaj,

While one hand claps.

What does the other do?

- c -

the other is making a peace sign ;)

did you know that there is a difference between a Koan and an Mondo?

metta,

~v
 

Ciel

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the other is making a peace sign ;)

did you know that there is a difference between a Koan and an Mondo?

metta,


Vaj,

Peace.........It is good it is the upper hand.

- c -
 

Dondi

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For a while, I contemplated becoming Jewish, having come from a fundamental Christian background, but briefly unsatisfied with the dogmatic excluvisity implied, especially when I found that same Spirit of God in people in other religions (oddly enough,one was a Muslim girl whom I found had a similiar experience with God as I did). My whole worldview changed dramatically. My re-evaluation of the Christian faith led backwards toward Judiasm. I felt it important to go back to the roots of my faith and see what foundation lay there. After all, Jesus and all the Disciples were Jewish. I have to admit, much of what I learned in Judaism surprised me. They aren't as dogmatic as some Christian denominations, they believe that God includes everyone in His Plan. But what especially intrigued me was the fact that they don't emphasize eternal life, but rather the life lived here and now. They don't seem too worried about the future afterlife.

For a while, I was kinda teetering between becoming Jewish or just staying a Noahide Gentile, which is the default position for non-Jews which if following the Seven Laws for Gentiles, and we can kinda be included with the God of the Jews.

I had two problems. 1) If I were to become Jewish, I'd be going back to the Law...all 613 of them. I had trouble with just the 10. Besides, becoming a Jew is a lengthy process. 2) If I remained a Noahide, I didn't see too many opportunities for fellowship. There aren't too many Noahide churches/synagogues?? And besides that I felt that as a Noahide, I'd always feel outside.

So the only other thing I could see to do is go forward toward Christianity again, only this time with a Jewish mindset. Idecided that it is much more important to live this life according to the teachings of Christ than to emphasize the afterlife. Ifigured that if I do what Jesus saidto do, then I ought not to have too many worries about where I'm going after my time.

To be honest, I found my relationship with God improve so much deeper than in the paradigm of my fundamental upbringing. I discovered that the most important teaching of Christ is embodied in the two greatest commandments, to Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love you neighbor as yourself. All the Law and Prophets hinge on these two.

And I discovered that some form of the Golden Rule is embedded in most every major religion.

Howard Storm, when he had his near-death experience, stated that he asked "what is the best religion?" to the Being he encountered. The reply was, "The best religion is the one that brings you closest to God."

For me, it seems to be the one I am most familiar with.
 

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Dondi said:
And I discovered that some form of the Golden Rule is embedded in most every major religion.

Howard Storm, when he had his near-death experience, stated that he asked "what is the best religion?" to the Being he encountered. The reply was, "The best religion is the one that brings you closest to God."

For me, it seems to be the one I am most familiar with.
Very nice post Dondi. I remember that you used to have a star of David as your avatar and was wondering about that. I agree very much with the above.

luna
 
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