The greatest achievement of humanity is not the works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction and madness. In the distant past recognition came to s few individuals who saw it with absolute clarity. They looked at how we lived and what we are did that created suffering. They then pointed out to the possibility of awakening from the collective nightmare of “normal” human experience. They showed the way. However teachings that pointed the way beyond dysfunction of human mind, the way out of collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of insanity.
And so religions, to a large extent became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an end to violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies and belief systems that people could identify with and use to enhance the false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong” and thus define their identity through their enemies, the others, the “non-believers”, “wrong believers” who they saw themselves justified in killing.
Man made “god” in his own image. The eternal, the infinite, and unameable was reduced to a mental idol that had to believe in and worship as “my god” or “our god”. And yet in spite of all the insane deeds perpetrated in the name of religion, the truth to which it points still shines at their core despite of layers and layers of distortion and misinterpretation. So what is the role of religion in the arising of the new consciousness?
That question can only be answered if one is aware of difference between spirituality and religion. Having a belief system as the absolute truth does not make one spiritual. In fact, the more one makes thoughts (beliefs) into one's identity, the more cut off one is from the spiritual dimension within herself. Many religious people remain in this level. They equate thought with truth and identify themselves with their mind and claim to be in sole possession of the truth in an unconscious attempt to protect their identity. Unless one believes (thinks) exactly as they do, one is wrong in their eyes and probably justified to die!!
The new spirituality, the transformation of consciousness is arising to a large extent outside of the structures of the existing institutionalized religions. This would have been inconceivable in most mind-dominated cultures where traditional religions had a virtual franchise on spirituality. However a growing number of people are letting go of their identification with form, dogma, man-made structures, collective egoic entities, and rigid belief systems and realize that how “spiritual” one is has nothing to do with what one believes but has everything to do with what one's state of consciousness is. This in turn determines how we act in the world and interact with others.
A growing number of people are experiencing within themselves the break up of the old egoic patterns and the emergence of a new dimension of consciousness. What is arising now is not a belief system, ideology or myth. At the heart of the new consciousness lies transcendence of a new dimension of consciousness, a newfound ability of rising above thought, of realizing a dimension within oneself that is infinitely more vast than thought.
The change goes deeper than the content of our mind, deeper than our thoughts. In this realm, one no longer drives one's identity, sense of who she/he is from the incessant stream of thinking that in the old consciousness one took to be oneself. What liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am! Who am I then?? “I” am the awareness that is prior to thought, the observer, the space in which the thought, or the emotion or sense perception happens.
Ego is the identification with form that is thought form, physical form, and emotional form. When we identify ourselves with our ego, we stay in total unawareness of our connectedness with the whole, our intrinsic oneness with every other. This forgetfulness is the origin of suffering, and delusion. When this delusion forms the basis for whatever we think, say, and do what kind of world are we creating?
If the structure of the human mind remains unchanged, we will always end-up re-creating fundamentally the same world, the same mistakes, and the same dysfunction. But if we are willing to change we will experience heaven on earth. Heaven is not a location but is the inner realm of consciousness. The Earth is the outer manifestation in form which is always a reflection of the inner. So when we transform we will have a new Earth. And since human life and human consciousness are intrinsically one with the life of the planet, as the old consciousness dissolves, there are bound to be synchronistic geographic and climatic upheavals as we are witnessing now.