The Way of the Livingness – the Religion I’ve Always Known

By Shannon Everest

RELIGION AT SCHOOL

For all of my schooling life I attended a Catholic school. It was the same school that my mum went to and also the same school that her mother attended.

Religion was a subject taught in different ways over the years as I made my way from Infant School to Primary, and then to High School. It was a compulsory part of the curriculum, the same as Maths, English and Science. We also attended a mass in church once a week, and when we had events like assemblies or graduations, we would do this in the church. We also celebrated all of the normal religious events in church, like Easter and Christmas. 

GOING TO CHURCH

Sitting in the church was never a pleasant experience for me. It felt like time stood still and all I could think about was how long it would be before we could leave. It felt dark and cold in there and devoid of the natural lightness of being and joy I otherwise felt. I would sit and yawn over and over again, and I would look for opportunities to find relief by asking the teacher to go to the toilet as often as was feasible.

Why was it such an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience? Why did I dread going to church so much?

The most interesting part was getting up to receive the communion – a symbolic piece of wafer – only because you got to get up and move your body around and meet eyes with other kids… have a chat and some giggles. Like all children, I loved to sing but the hymns felt tiring, heavy and burdensome.

In High School, we had the opportunity to study all religions – Judaism, Protestantism, Ba’hai, Buddhism, Hinduism and so on. I approached it with eagerness – here was my opportunity to look further afield to find truth and something that resonated with me – but still I found nothing in my studies that made sense.

After leaving school I moved on in my life, with no real focus on religion. It wasn’t until my sister’s Year 12 Graduation 4 years later that I walked back into a church. I was shocked and gobsmacked to sit in the church for this ceremony; to now become aware, as an adult, of what I had learned to tolerate over all those years. In returning, I could now feel the cursing and imprisonment I was under as a student in a Catholic School. My rejection of religion grew stronger.

REJECTING RELIGION

All that I took in over those years left me feeling like I didn’t want to know about God or Jesus. What I had heard didn’t all add up and make sense with what I felt in my body and in my heart. So the easiest solution at the time was to reject it all.

I would question myself too – who was I to question all of this history and ceremony? I was just a child…

After spending all of those years in Catholic School and going to Church, I had come to reject religion and its concepts of God because:

  • The way God was presented felt harsh and very separate to me.
  • I was told that God was judgmental, and that you would go to heaven if you were good, or go to hell if you were bad. It gave a sense that God was someone to be feared. But how could a True and Heavenly Father be judgmental? – This didn’t make sense.
  • I was told that Jesus was God’s only Son… and that Jesus died for our sins. This felt very intense and dark to me as a child, and left me with scarring that needed to be healed. If Jesus was God’s only son, that would mean that there was only one in the whole world who was special and worthy of God’s love, rather than ALL of us.
  • I was taught that Jesus was a martyr: that he died for the sins of humanity. This is symbolism for someone who takes on other people’s issues. It glorifies the taking on, absorbing of and feeling responsible for the choices of another. As a person who has spent a lifetime taking on other people’s issues, I know the end result and devastation that results from this in my own body, so this can’t be a true way of being. I have learnt through trusting myself and feeling what is true based on the body I inhabit that the best thing for all is to not take on the issues of others, or try to fix anything with band-aid solutions, but call others to take full responsibility for themselves.
  • The reason for Jesus being put to death, I was told, was to clear humanity’s sins or wrongdoings, but his death didn’t really change any of that… it all still continues. What I can feel now is that he was a speaker of truth and I have experienced that when I speak the full and whole truth, I can get persecuted for it. This feels more in line with why he died. Through time, there have always been those that fear the truth being exposed and therefore seek to silence that truth being delivered.
  • I was presented a way of ritual, ceremony and devotion that wasn’t in line with the natural way I felt to celebrate. The true essence of celebrating always felt to me to be from a lightness of being – but my being never did feel ‘light’ in church. The light felt crushed.
  • I had rejected many ‘religious’ words such as holy and glory because the way these words were used didn’t translate to the meanings I knew deep within me.

There was always something very wrong with my religious education; it conflicted with what I felt from within. My body would say “no, that just doesn’t sit well with what I feel”. My mind would say “but you must be wrong because this religion has been building its momentum for a couple of thousand years – with so many followers and so much history behind it”.

When I came across a religion called The Way of The Livingness, there was a sad realisation that I had rejected religion and my connection to God because of all that had been imposed on me that didn’t feel true. When I had rejected that version of Religion and God, I had also rejected the possibility of it being a living truth – and in doing so, I had rejected a part of myself.

THE WAY OF THE LIVINGNESS – RETURNING TO WHOLENESS

At presentations of The Way of the Livingness I have been able to re-claim back all that I know in my heart and soul to be true – because finally I am hearing the words that make sense. But not just that, the words are spoken in the quality that goes hand in hand with the sacredness and essence of Religion – a returning to the Glory we come from.

I no longer feel fragmented – like religion and God are separate to me: now we are one and the same.

The Way of the Livingness – the very name captures the truth for me, because it is about living the love in our hearts.

It represents the living truth that is now active again in me – that we all have within us the same and equal opportunity to live in the Glory of Love. There is not a chosen one or few, but there is a spark waiting to be re-ignited in each of us.

Those days in church always felt like I was hearing empty words. Yet in the presentations on The Way of the Livingness I can feel the energy of equal-ness, brotherhood, love and divinity – as the words are being spoken and in the very room where I am sitting. I can feel it in me, in the presenters, in everyone in the room, and in those outside the building too – it is Unifying.

In these presentations, I don’t find myself yawning, or bored or watching the clock, waiting for it to be over. I don’t feel like I am being cursed for being who I am, or imprisoned by being there. I can laugh out loud and have tears of joy in my eyes. I feel free to express the truth and the love in my body, heart and soul as an equal Son of God.

These feelings are not ones that remain in a building and that I can’t take out into my life and apply practically to all I do. I have come to feel a Holy Reverence at work and at home, washing my car, or shopping at the supermarket, talking to my children’s school teachers and paying my bills: and the feelings don’t stay the same, they keep increasing, strengthening and building over time.

So I have finally found the truth I knew was possible in my heart as a child in The Way of the Livingness, because it confirms what I always knew – that the Kingdom of God is inside me. Living this fact in a world that has accepted far less is not always easy, but it is a truth that lives within and I will now never forget.

415 thoughts on “The Way of the Livingness – the Religion I’ve Always Known

  1. Absolutely Shannon, a lesson that I also have had to learn, ‘As a person who has spent a lifetime taking on other people’s issues, I know the end result and devastation that results from this in my own body, so this can’t be a true way of being. I have learnt through trusting myself and feeling what is true based on the body I inhabit that the best thing for all is to not take on the issues of others, or try to fix anything with band-aid solutions, but call others to take full responsibility for themselves.’

  2. “At presentations of The Way of the Livingness I have been able to re-claim back all that I know in my heart and soul to be true” And the beauty and wonder of the truth just keeps on expanding.

  3. I really appreciated reading this. I have heard all the usual sayings about Jesus, and from first hearing it have felt it has not made sense. As a child I thought if that is what happened, that’s not love, it feels warped and I won’t follow what’s being said. I have been ‘… a person who has spent a lifetime taking on other people’s issues, I know the end result and devastation that results from this in my own body, so this can’t be a true way of being.’ I fully agree – it harms everyone when I take on other people’s issues and responsibilities in an attempt to ‘help’ them. That this way of living is encouraged and what responsibility truly is, is veiled beneath a responsibility that seems unfair, heavy and harmful and keeps us from knowing ourselves, the joy and vitality we could be living in connection with divinity.

  4. I don’t know, is it possible to tolerate something without gritting our teeth? When we learn to tolerate, it feels like we learn something else that fundamentally would bury our value.

  5. Reclaiming our essences so we feel the re-connection to the truth that has always been with us, is what is simply felt at The Way of The Livingness presentations. Thank you Shannon, as most, if not all of us have issues around the way the teachings of religion has been bastardised.

  6. That the Kingdom of God lives within us is something I intuitively knew, but it was The Way of the Livingness religion that confirmed this as a truth and offered a way to be godly and loving in life.

  7. The Way of the Livingness…” is about living the Love in our hearts” simply expressed and true.

  8. It doesn’t really matter where you are, if you’re in your room tucked away or surrounded by people who love you – if you are not open you will never feel the love.

  9. To me the Roman Catholic faith is toxic, I was raised as a Roman Catholic and I hated every minute of it. The lies, the deceit and the affected piety were nauseous to my stomach. Thankfully my mother could see how badly affected I was when they tried to send me to the local RC school and so instead I went to an ordinary school. What I have personally found when unpicking all the hurts, ideals and beliefs that I have thrown up as a barrier against the world is just how much I have been influenced by the Roman Catholic faith it is a consciousness that seems to seep into our bodies unawares and I have found it extremely difficult extricate myself from because you think you have got the last thread of it out of the bodily system only to find another thread festering away contaminating the way I move and my thoughts. To me, many of the mainstream religions have been used for thousands of years to subjugate people by crushing them and when crushed we are then easily controlled and easily led.

    1. I too was brought up a Roman Catholic. What really got to me was the hypocrisy… the church said one thing and, as an organisation did something else entirely. Organised religion has been used to dominate and control populations for eons and the catholic church is a good example of this.

    2. Agree Mary, toxic is a great word used to describe Catholic religion, take for instance, ‘how could a True and Heavenly Father be judgmental? – This didn’t make sense.’

  10. I remember the days sitting in a cold uninviting church being made to feel that God was judgemental and aloof, how different my experience of God is now, though The Way of The Livingness I know God to be in my heart and in the heart of us all. God is never ever judgmental and any teachings that hint the other way are a billion miles away from the truth.

  11. Shannon thank you for writing this blog
    I feel the real evil of mainstream Religion is when we reject it as we all will one day the sting in the tail knowing it will be rejected is that we then reject ourselves for living such a lie.

    1. Religion as it stands in the world today has the effect of turning many of us against religion, ‘I had rejected religion and my connection to God because of all that had been imposed on me that didn’t feel true.’

  12. The Way of the Livingness ‘is about living the love in our hearts.’ Beautifully expressed Shannon and so true. A wonderful definition of our religion.

    1. Living the love in our hearts, yes, and, ‘in the presentations on The Way of the Livingness I can feel the energy of equal-ness, brotherhood, love and divinity’.

  13. “I was shocked and gobsmacked to sit in the church for this ceremony; to now become aware, as an adult, of what I had learned to tolerate over all those years”. We are expected to tolerate and not question why most churches feel so horrible to kids. They are often cold, dark places without an ounce of joy as everyone is trying to be ‘good’.

    1. Yes, it’s all about wanting to be ‘good’, which I bought into too. I did attend a Methodist church for a while, which was a modern building that was brighter and warm in winter at least, but the hypocrisy there was equal to the religious hypocrisy I had encountered in other denominations and at school in chapel too. So I walked away from any organised religion.

  14. The Way of the Livingness is unifying unlike most organised religions which separate us. The foundation of equality and that the Kingdom of God resides within us ALL is so unifying.

    1. Yes, yes and yes. Unifying as you say and the feeling and knowing that God is within us , not somewhere out there who we have to pray to, thus giving our power away.

  15. I grew up with the christian religion. It was offered as the truth about God and the presenters in the church where the servers of God. I always saw that how they talked, the energy behind the words did not have love. What was offered to me felt not even close to who God is and where we are from. So I never took on those beliefs. My connection with God always stood strong.

  16. What I find so beautiful about the religion, The Way of The Livingness, is all the stories of so many people who had given up on there ever being a place for their love of God to be expressed, who have now been able to not only let this expression out but also return to a fully committed life in society once again.

  17. ‘I no longer feel fragmented – like religion and God are separate to me’. It is interesting Shannon with all the study that you did on religion and attending church that you still thought God was outside of you.

  18. ‘At presentations of The Way of the Livingness I have been able to re-claim back all that I know in my heart and soul to be true – because finally I am hearing the words that make sense.‘ There is such simplicity in those moments when words match what we feel deep inside; when teachings make sense of all our questions. The Way of the Livingness is the only religion I have experienced that is absolutely inclusive and holds us all as equal.

    1. Absolutely Matilda, it is profound when everything aligns in mind, body and soul, it’s pure harmony and it is what true religion is all about.

  19. Sitting through church sermons was always boring to me as a kid; everything was dreary and the smell of the old buildings used to put me off. It was more like being punished than being loved, and I now know that thanks to Serge Benhayon the religion we are brought up with is a second-hand copy of the real thing.

    1. Totally relate to feeling like church was a punishment. The longest hour of my life, I couldn’t wait to get out of there so it is quite a surprise to feel so aligned to religion today. But that is purely down to the fact that religion is now about my relationship with God and divinity, not doctrine and rules.

      1. I am another person who equally hated been sent to church on Sundays, whilst parents stayed at home! Thank God it was not for too many years!

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