Earlier, while sitting in the church of Triacastela, I mentioned love and this leads me to contemplate about Christian faith, which is based on love and forgiveness – the prodigal son taken in and pardoned by the father is an example.
Christianity also raises another thought: in our religion we take it that God answers our prayers and forgives us. However, He is unreachable and His message is delivered through our subconscious. Maybe this means that the answers we seek in life are already established within us since birth – available to access at any time. It would be as if God has provided us with a kind of blueprint – like a road map or guide book for life.
The word ‘blueprint’ refers to engineering drawings from around 1860 when the background of printed plans was blue and designs were shown in white lines. Around 1940 the printing process improved and now white plans with black lines are now the norm.
To compare our inner blueprint with engineers’ drawings; both illustrate details of what is to be constructed and in my metaphor the blueprint from God provides a construction plan or road map for us to follow. Maybe people of the modern computer age would prefer to compare spiritual road maps to hard drive discs or memory sticks burnt into their minds.
If the blueprint is embedded in our psyche, we need to access the data and learn to follow the wisdom within, and should His wisdom make sense to us at a profound level, the answer will change our life. Only then will individuals have the conviction and confidence to apply what is relevant. It is our obligation to follow the subconscious instructions received, instead of being persuaded differently by reasoning through our mind, which can easily be changed.
We might not understand how God can permit all the horrendous atrocities we see around us and we might blame him for the evil in the world. Maybe we should see this differently. Perhaps we need to accept that He is the all-knowing who has initiated this miraculous world. We are the ones that detrimentally changed it to suit our own desires. He has provided us with the blueprint to live harmoniously with one another like most other creatures do within their groupings and circumstances, but He has also granted us free will, which we have abused. He knows that we experience difficulty appreciating higher awareness, but He nevertheless expects us to pursue this goal and for this purpose we have the book of life. It does not matter if our progress is slow, as long as we can register any gains.
Religious doctrines offer a framework of who to worship and in which form this should be done, and this is in the context of the circumstances in which beliefs and practices had developed. In today’s terms religions might appear archaic, but age-old human desires to address the divine are still strong, especially in times of hardship. Religions point to the direction to follow, but they will not transform us. It is up to each individual to achieve growth.
Religious books most commonly recognized by Westerners are the Bible, the Torah and the Quran, but we know there are many others. Apart from historic and cultural details and implicit stories they contain, the basic message of awareness and preferred human conduct is almost universal in all religions and matches that of the blueprint. There is a ‘common script’, bare of ideology and circumstances, which is applicable to all of humanity. Should all religions make this universal doctrine their prime focus, instead of emphasising their uniqueness with notions of ‘they and us’ and doctrinal rigidity, humane and tolerant unity may eventually evolve. At present strained inter-faith relations divert attention from what really matters. With awareness still at a rudimentary stage, negative forces seek ideological control, be it in religion, in politics, in commerce, in societies and too often even in families. Manipulation tends to have the upper hand and this will unfortunately not change anytime soon.
Maybe religious institutions should use their specific narratives and teachings to spread awareness and the importance of the blueprint, rather than concentrating on historic and ideological differences. Human tolerance and peace rather than insisting on perceived rights and cultural differences, is the common factor and may raise the consciousness level of humanity.
Whether God, the Son and the Holy Ghost are one entity or whether Mary was a virgin, for instance, is irrelevant and so is whether Muhammad or Christ or Vishnu or any other prophet or holy person should be more revered than others. With the blueprint message being universal, it does not really matter which religion to follow. In fact, it does not really matter that we follow a religion at all. All that matters is that we individually develop heartfelt love and grow in awareness. Obviously this is not referring to sexual love, lavished only onto a specific person to the exclusion of everyone else. The subject is about universal love and valuing each individual, irrespective of creed, gender, race, washed or unwashed.
How can God permit the atrocities that happen all around us? It is not a matter of Him permitting, it is a matter of us evolving and in this way resolving hardships.
Returning to our Camino: the parish church with the wooden floor in Triacastela reflects the love God has and which we should emulate and distribute. Many paintings, drawn by children from the community in their child-like manner were attached to walls next to the altar. They indicate that, for this church at least, humanity is more important than strict adherence to norms and the priest put children before neatness and orderliness.
Three ladies were placing small bunches of flowers under statues and pictures and they were chatting away in the process and bantered with the casually dressed priest when he arrived. He approached me with a smile. We could hardly converse on account of our language barriers but he asked whether I was English or German-speaking and returned later with some photocopied notes about the history of the church and the community. Unfortunately I lost these notes and cannot provide more details.
The new timber flooring in this ancient church might have been historically incorrect; but it provided warm feet for the congregation – more important to this parish priest than an authentic building style. If I had the urge to participate in a church service, I probably would choose this one. I had been to some services along the way, they were liturgical and followed a prescribed structure; there was little spontaneity other than greeting one’s neighbour in the pew when asked to do so.
When I sat in churches while writing my diary I appreciated the peace and quiet which probably facilitated my thoughts to rise to the surface. Churches are a place of tranquillity, which worshippers have come to appreciate. The ‘vibes’ are no doubt conducive for our inner God to reveal himself and teach us harmony.