Most of my life I have been averse to the idea of being religious, partly because I was brought up in a family that was not religious and somewhat against religion, and also because of the examples of religion that I saw around me and the effect these groups had on people, communities and countries. For example, my mum comes from Belfast, a place that has been fought over by two religions for a very long time.
But from the word go I always had an interest in religion and even picked it as one of my options to study at GSCE (General Certificate of Secondary Education) level in Secondary school. I always found it fascinating, the ins and outs of these groups and how they worked, even though it was never something that actually appealed to me.
However, in saying all of this, I always knew there was something bigger than us that couldn’t be explained by current science. It was always clear that there was more to this life than what meets the eye and that there were forces at work for which I had no explanation at the time. I often compared this to “The Force” from Star Wars (I am a big Star Wars fan and watched it a lot when I was young) and later on also referred to this unseen ‘something’ as a universal energy.
When I was in my teens, as well as this sense of a greater force at play, I began to realise that coincidences weren’t coincidences at all. They started to become far too frequent and it felt to me more like everything happened for a reason. For example, those moments when you call someone up and they say they were just about to call you that very moment. Or bumping into someone that you hadn’t seen for ages, when not so long before you had been thinking about them for no apparent reason. These coincidences stopped surprising me and started to feel more like a small part of a bigger picture, although I wasn’t sure what that bigger picture was. It was clear to me that everything happened for a reason.
There were many aspects of certain religions that also made a lot of sense to me. For example, the first moment I learned about reincarnation, it felt like I had found part of the missing link. It made so much sense that we would live more than one life. One life would be pointless and I certainly never felt that my life was pointless. I may not have ever remembered past lives, but at times I certainly felt older than my actual age, and had feelings that I’d known someone for ages after only having met them a few hours previously.
So with all these various beliefs, knowings and feelings, when I got to my 20’s I started to refer to myself as being spiritual, because at the time it seemed like the only ‘category’ I could place myself in. I didn’t follow any religion but knew there was definitely more going on in the world than what I had learned at school.
To be completely honest, the word religion actually made me cringe, as the many examples of religions that I saw around me didn’t feel very religious! I couldn’t understand these organisations that had lots of different rules for everyone and that were almost always exclusive and misogynistic in some way. They just seemed to have so many contradictions, like having ‘love thy neighbour’ as one of the core beliefs, but starting a war with another country or group of people for whatever reason anyway.
Religion to me therefore equated power, money and some kind of separation from other people. It certainly never seemed to be all inclusive or about love.
However, that has all changed now. I can fully claim the fact that I am actually religious. Not because I got it wrong about ‘religion’ and decided to sign up to one, but because I had never heard the word ‘religion’ being used with its true intent and meaning.
That was until I heard Serge Benhayon talk about religion and The Way of The Livingness at a Universal Medicine retreat. At first I could feel myself cringe as usual when it was mentioned, but then, when I heard what religion meant to this man, it also made perfect sense to me as well.
A religion is not about an exclusive group of people who see others as different in some way, as it has the foundation of knowing that absolutely everyone in humanity is equal in their essence. There is never any judgement in true religion; nor are there rules or anyone telling you what to do. There is no one person above another and even God sees us as His absolute, equal Sons.
True Religion is not about imposing beliefs on others or trying to convert them, but there is an absolute respect for everyone and anyone, regardless of their age, race, job, gender, sexual orientation or belief system that they follow.
As well as the quality of the relationships I have with people I meet, I feel that being religious is also about my own personal relationship with myself, and with that, developing rhythms in life that are more self-loving and nurturing. Also it is about trying to bring awareness to how I am in what I am doing in every moment to the best of my ability, and taking responsibility for any reactions I have to the outside world, then seeking the cause of those reactions and letting them go.
Being religious is in the way I live and the relationships I have with all around me, knowing that this is forever unfolding and deepening as long as I allow it to. It is simply about being my true self, as much as I can, and knowing there is no perfection in that.
By Eleanor Cooper
Why Serge Benhayon and The Way of The Livingness Makes Sense
The Way of The Livingness is my Religion
What is True Religion?
478 thoughts on “It turns out that I am Religious after all!”
Religion as is conventionally portrayed is something one ‘goes to’ or is imposed upon one. It is external of oneself. True religion, as you share Eleanor, is already within us. It has always been with us – it is living and expressing who we truly are.
It’s interesting how often I write things off as a coincidence even though, I actually don’t believe in coincidences. I think that’s a way for me to not accept that there is a lot more going on in this life for example, when meeting people for the (seemingly) first time and feeling like I’ve known them for ever. There has to be so much more in that, there has to have been another life we shared together, how else can it be explained? Sure, we can say that perhaps we just have a strong connection and that’s that, but that feels obvious to me…it has to be more than just that, where did the connection come from then?
Gorgeous Eleanor and yes me too. I now understand the religion is simply about my relationship with living in connection to who I am, my Soul, as I move through the universe through which I am aware of the interconnectedness, the oneness of God that I and we are all equally part of and held in. This is our natural way of being and the more we surrender to this the deeper our understanding is that true religion is about living in union with the divine love that we truly and Soulfully are, with All.
Recognising that there is more going on in life – like those ‘coincidences’ that happen, and yet feeling a recoil to the word ‘religious’ and anything associated with this word can make one feel at a bit at a loss, but then understanding the true meaning of the word ‘religion’ as that which is re-connecting, re-binding and returning to, you realise that it is about coming home, back to within yourself, to knowing and trusting that feeling and quality of you within. This quality that never leaves you only we have been enticed to look outside of ourselves to find ‘it’ what was always with us.
True meaning of religion is simple and quite gorgeous, ‘ the true meaning of the word ‘religion’ as that which is re-connecting, re-binding and returning to, you realise that it is about coming home, back to within yourself, to knowing and trusting that feeling and quality of you within.’
Thank you Eleanor for these gorgeous words that serve to reinstate the truth about religion. Religion is what reconnects us all in this great jigsaw puzzle of life. It is not owned by anyone nor does it have any creeds or doctrines that seek to isolate one person, ideology or belief from any other. It is re-union in the truest sense. One with All and All with One.
It is so freeing to reclaim the true meaning of religion and to feel the love of God that flows through us all.
It is so true, everything does happen for a reason. We are part of a magnificent order that both science and religion can agree on.
Loved what you have shared Eleanor, with a very clear understanding of what true religion really is. I was so called religious all my life but that religion was a hard taskmaster. Knowing the truth of what true religion really is is so liberating, no rules and regulations no divisions, no one to try to convert, just a simple loving relation with myself from my essence holding others as equal in this quality, realising that all I say and do has an effect on all mankind.
Remembering my experiences of religion at a young age – there were a lot of men in long frocks who seemed kindly but felt lacking in some truth – like they were playing a part in a play, a role that they could perform but somehow even they knew they weren’t quite hitting the mark, but everyone pretended and went along with it – these were not the words I would have used at 5 but nonetheless this was apparent to me. Hence no pull to join these organisations. But yet sometimes in the world you would meet a person who genuinely lived love irrespective of whether they belonged to an organised religion or not – so we know there is a truth that we resonate with, that uplifts and inspires us to connect to that same truth within ourselves. Serge Benhayon is one who lives that steady reflection of truth and love and true service.
He certainly does, ‘Serge Benhayon is one who lives that steady reflection of truth and love and true service.’
I now see that being religious is found in our living way and how we move, express and love is the beating heart that sets true religion on fire.
I think we all know there is some greater power in the Universe, its just that man has done such a good job of forming his own opinions on what this might be and then tries to push this on others to the point of violence and atrocities, without really feeling what the truth of the matter is.
As a child I often pondered on the true meaning of life, asking many questions within and occasionally having the courage to discuss things usually with another my parents had asked to look after me and my brother when we were young. I knew back then and I know today that there was so much more to life than eating pizzas and partying; without true purpose what was the point? It wasn’t until I met Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine reflecting to me what life was truly about did I get the confirmation I had been looking for; that there was another way to be and live and that it was down to me and my relationship to myself to live it, taking responsibility for everything that happened to me to the best of my ability.
Having a true relationship with yourself and with God every second of everyday is one that I continually work on letting in. Breaking down old beliefs that I have held from previous religions that have created him to be this God out side of you that you look up to. Being able to feel the Love that God is inside of me and know that by every movement I am with him or fighting against him I realise it is my responsibility to have this relationship or not.
I also never thought I was religious but that’s mostly because I never saw real role models reflecting what religion is truly about.
Funny how we all actually are religious – some can be religious with chocolate and some can be religious with having a beer…Religion is essentially our relationship with something small…or big…
Interesting comment, I had not thought of what you share before.
The way you have so beautifully and clearly explained the meaning of religion indicates your deep connect and understanding of this word, and it comes from your Livingness.
I love reading your blog again Eleanor. It reminds me of what true religion is and gives me a better understanding as to why I too reacted to the word ‘religion’ prior to hearing Serge Benhayon present what this means to him. You have inspired me to claim that I too I am religious without worrying about other people’s reactions. To be able to now say I am reglious with steadiness and purpose feels amazing.
The word ‘religion’ is now so bastardised that it has come to represent specific pictures and images of ways of being based on doctrines and stipulations that are anything but about holding all in true equality or accepting another’s right to free will and choice. So we have a situation where some people align to one camp or another and point fingers or weapons at each other and where the rest are so disenfranchised with the pictures that they steer well clear of any exploration into the true meaning of the word.
Religion is all about relationship, with myself, with others and with God and lets face it, we all want to be in relationships hence why religion is natural to us. The problem is we have bastardised what religion is so the first step is to understand what true religion is.
So true Elizabeth, prior to Universal Medicine when I heard the word ‘religion’ I immediately have images of separation in people, corruption, greed, murder, domination, and the list goes on. But now I understand its true meaning, I too am religious and like you shared the true meaning of is very natural to us.
Agree Elizabeth and to the extent that it replies many well-meaning people to think they aren’t connected to everything you have written.
Relationship with self, with others, and with God is natural for us, therefor true religion is also natural for us.
I have always been fascinated by religion, how we are with it and how we live with it. I am blown away by the fact that the majority of the people in the world either have a belief or a knowing of God. I have always thought that there must be something in this religion business. I was raised in a family that is Catholic and I know how important this is to parts of my family and this is no different for other people who subscribed to other faiths. But it’s what we do in the name of religion that does not sit comfortably at all. How women are treated, how we may think someone from another religion is less than another, how we think one religion is evil.
Serge Benhayon’s presentation on religion and the Ageless Wisdom has opened that right up for me and brought a great deal of understanding. I love understanding that religion is my relationship to life and the daily life that I live. It’s growing my relationship with God, which opens and deepens the more honest I am with myself and every action with myself is more and more self caring. I love learning that there is no punishment in a religious way. There is the learning from the refection that life brings and this is always constant. But if I go into judgment of this then I have missed the learning. But God is God and will keep showing me what I need to learn. The rest is up to me.
When I was brought up catholic and realised that it wasn’t for me and looked around at what was on offer all religions didn’t feel right for me. I knew that God was in me and that was all that mattered but never really understood the science of it all. Once I met Serge Benhayon and the Ageless Wisdom teachings as presented by Universal Medicine I came to a much deeper understanding and appreciation of my religion and that it is my relationship in feeling and living with my Divine expression as a son of God.
We are all deep down religious beings that respect and love each other as you have described Eleanor, Only through hurt and bigotry could we distort the words of god to be separative, exclusive, controlling, fearful, or being an opponent.
‘I feel that being religious is also about my own personal relationship with myself, and with that, developing rhythms in life that are more self-loving and nurturing.’ I have embraced being religious after a long time denying it and the understandings I’ve received in how being religious, a deep connection back to God, within us have hugely supported me in that. Reading here today Eleanor, you’re added another layer of understanding for me that it’s about about my personal relationship with me, of course, I am from God, of God, so why would I be excluded; I can feel how this supports in taking religiousness deeper in how I am.
I love what you have shared Eleanor in your article, I did belong to a religion one that sets us apart from each other with very little truth in it compared to the true meaning of religion that I have now found as your words here express. “There is never any judgement in true religion; nor are there rules or anyone telling you what to do. There is no one person above another and even God sees us as His absolute, equal Sons. “
This is a beautiful and true way to share what religion now means to you – about deepening relationships – wow what a contrast to how we have put our spin on them today. I suppose for me religion is stronger in my actions than my words – ie because there is such a hazy interpretation of religion, I am more inclined to go out and live The Way of the Livingness and if people notice, cool. If they don’t notice, cool.
I still have a little hesitancy in my saying I am religious to others that have the dictionary meaning of religion, not The Way of The Livingness meaning of the word, but the more I live it the less awkward I feel. I look forward to the day when I share that I am religious with the authority that is possible.
If the true meaning of the word religion is to re-connect, then all we have to do is to choose to do this and we are religious, as in the re-connection we are not just re-connecting with ourselves but also with God.
Absolutely Rebecca, keeps it simple, re-connection; re-connecting with ourselves, and also with God.
No-one ever cringes from religion; it is only what organizations have done in the name of religion that we cringe from. Religion, I have come to see through the teachings of Universal Medicine is just about my relationships – with myself, with others, with nature and with God. I am all for having a relationship with all of those.
I now feel what religion truly means and it is a feeling of living, moving and connecting interconnected to all from our essence within.
UniMed Living is a great place to have the truth of the word ‘Religion’ shared,
It is funny how many of us have a reaction to the word Religion; I did as well when Serge Benhayon first spoke about it because I had been bought up in the Catholic Religion where I could feel there was nothing true or loving about this Religion. The Way of The Livingness completely changed that for me, because this is a true Religion in every way, shape and form, that is based on love, truth and brotherhood. So saying ‘I am Religious’ feels completely different now and has no weirdness about it, and people can feel that as well because you are living it everyday.
There is such a simplicity to The Way of the Livingness. For me it’s not about beliefs but in fact discarding beliefs; we are all equal by virtue of our inner heart so there is no complication from segregation or division; and, it’s not about someone telling you who or what God or religion is (or how to live) because that comes from your own inner stillness. And finally, it’s about love that starts with self love, and eventually becomes the spherical love that beholds all equally with no imposition. The simplicity for me is that there is no outer knowledge or outer human authority, but one’s own inner connection. It’s a religion that is from the inside out, not the outer world back in. It places everyone as equal Sons of God and it absolutely beautiful to live this way.
What you’ve shared resonates completely with me Eleanor and your statement “I can fully claim the fact that I am actually religious” is exactly so for me too. For many of the same reasons I had rejected ‘being religious’ but really all I rejected was what the current accepted forms religion came in. As soon as I heard Serge Benhayon describe what religion actually was, I knew I was already that…. and have been able to embrace it increasingly ever since the more I let go the false ideas I had taken on over the years about what it was not.
I love the title of your blog Eleanor. It has such a ‘welcome home’ sense to it that I really resonate with. Resisting religion based on all you’re offered from what goes on around you seemed like a reasonable choice. And I agree choosing spiritual seemed to be the only other option. However once Serge Benhayon opened up the true meaning of what it means to live a truly religious life, plus the understanding of the origins of the word it opened up the space in me to embrace the quality and essence that has always been there and appreciate that I too am religious and wouldn’t be any other way.
Eleanor, thank you for this frank and simple exploration of religion and what it has meant and means for you. “As well as the quality of the relationships I have with people I meet, I feel that being religious is also about my own personal relationship with myself,” – this is spot on, and amongst many other gems you have said in this blog, this one stands out to me as a the core of our relationships with everyone, including God.
Love how you say ‘Being religious is in the way I live and the relationships I have with all around me’ Eleanor.
It brings religion back to a living connection that we all have .
Reincarnation makes so much sense, responsible recycling. 🙂
Reincarnation was something that I had heard about but came with a lot of confusion because I could not see how someone could come back as a bug or an ant, so it was not until I attended a Universal Medicine courses that things were explained in a way that made sense, and there was no part of me that rejected what was presented.
Hello Eleanor and I wonder if this is what has kept most people away, “I had never heard the word ‘religion’ being used with its true intent and meaning.” From what I see there are those who don’t want anything to do with religion and then there are those that want to be in a religion and have to accept whatever else they dish out. From the media articles I have read of late the catholic religion appears to be a religion where people accept being a part while also having to accept in some way a number of it’s community leaders being charged or embroiled in allegations of pedophilia. What possibly leads many to ‘not believing’ are things like this, where they see a religion not delivering what it’s saying and in fact harming more then healing. What if we don’t and haven’t seen truly what religion is about and now the term is simply being used in relation to things that are almost the opposite of what is true? I know that would turn me off it for sure. It’s great to see a bit a freshness when it comes to religion, to open up to what feels like a great way to approach it. After all religion appears as though it was never meant to be complicated and so simply “being religious is also about my own personal relationship with myself”.
I love how simple and straight forward my sense of religion has become. I love how we are able to feel there is so much more than what we are told, and we are on the way back to living together as one.
This is an amazing testimony that when the truth is placed in front of an open mind, then being truly religious is what all humanity is searching for.
What I love about this blog is that it highlights the fact that we all innately know what true religion is. It is nothing new. It is just that our entire physical experience of it has been anything but what we innately know it to be. And hence the fact that we have settled for re-defining the meaning of it to be in line with our experiences. Serge Benhayon is no one special. He is someone who just has committed in full to honouring the truth of what we all innately know and hence bringing that back to all.
Spot on Joshua – religion is something we all know deep within, and so part of Serge’s ‘job’ so to speak has been to remind us of what we already know but have long forgotten – true aspects of religion, and living this every day. Thank God for Serge Benhayon and his eternal patience in allowing us the time to ‘get it’ and remember again.
I can relate to the mere mention of the word religion or God of any flavour I would also cringe. My only foray into a religious building for years was to photograph weddings. Attending all of the differnet ceremony’s gave me a unique view of lots of different ways of saying ‘I do’. I became cynical about religion as I grew older with the ‘do as I say, not as I do’ dogmas they were presenting. The exposers of religious originations with the paedophile exposers, corrupt management of funds and the list goes on. Finding the true meaning of being religious, now makes sense. God is within all of us all of the time and has always been there!
“There is never any judgement in true religion” – and here endeth all the world’s conflicts.
This blog exposes so simply the madness of the world’s current religions. If any child were to read this blog it would make a zillion times more sense to them than the versions of religion that most are served up by their schools, parents or local religious leaders. It’s impossible to deny the simple truths within this blog.
When I was in school I didn’t need to take religious classes and loved having the time off during the day. I went to one or two classes but did not like what I heard and was glad I had a choice.
I love what you have written about being religious. Everything that I have ever been drawn to in any religion has been when it has inspired living with greater love, harmony, care, appreciation and responsibility. It simply does not make sense to have a whole lot of empty words and doctrines that do not get reflected in people’s lives. True religion is expressed in how we live.
Recently I was invited to a chapel service to mark a special occasion. Sitting in the chapel I noticed some familiar feelings from my childhood returning, getting restless and bored, getting distracted by the intricacies of the building. I could feel myself diminishing in a few ways in this mostly male environment. The service was to mark an occasion and for some it was an emotional time. Rather than being distracted by the ceremony and rituals I looked around me at the people. I could see in that moment that nothing is greater that our light, our ability to connect with another to see the beauty within and the magnificence of their souls.
When I read religion like this it makes sense. It makes sense that religion in its true meaning means relationship with, When I think about my own life I am very religious and yet have shied away from that word. It shouldn’t necessarily be associated with any institution but rather a way of life.
Eleanor, I love what you are sharing here about true religion, ‘It is simply about being my true self, as much as I can, and knowing there is no perfection in that.’ this feels so true and so very different to how other religions that I have experienced in the past seem to be, they never really made sense to me, they always seemed rather complicated and old – they didn’t seem to change, The Way of The Livingness religion evolves and is super simple and makes sense.
“Being religious is in the way I live and the relationships I have with all around me, knowing that this is forever unfolding and deepening as long as I allow it to. It is simply about being my true self, as much as I can, and knowing there is no perfection in that.”
Thanks for presenting the true definition of religion. I am religious after all.