My confusion about religion and God began at a very early age, probably from day one. My father didn’t believe there was a God but that there was a logical explanation for everything in the Universe.
His own father had been raised in the Catholic faith and from very early on was expected to be the priest in the family, but at 17 this pressure turned him away from the Catholic religion and he ran away to sea. He later discovered Rationalism and when he became a father himself he brought his own children up, including my father, in this belief.
I never had really understood what Rationalism was all about, but my readings since have presented that it is a branch of philosophy where an idea is validated by logic rather than religious means such as revelations, meditation or emotions. A Rationalist is said to believe that all knowledge can be understood through a process of reasoning without any external sources, particularly without the need for a God. But the few times my father voiced that there was no God, it didn’t make sense to me as I could feel so clearly inside that there was. My confusion grew even stronger as my father was totally connected to nature and the Universe and their cycles; I felt he loved and honoured people for who they were, never judging anyone and treating everyone as an equal. To me the way he lived felt so aligned to God and in fact as I grew older I used to say that he was living how I felt a true Christian would live. But of course in my mind that clashed with what I came to understand were his beliefs… beliefs that I chose not to question.
Then on the other side, my mother was raised as a Swedish Lutheran; she spoke little about her religious beliefs and she appeared to only go to church when someone had died or for weddings. It took me a while to realise that she had put aside her beliefs and in part aligned herself with my father’s views, although he never forced them on anyone.
So this was the scene that was set for the early years of my life. As a young child I would have unexplained experiences that I would share with my mother; for example, that I knew that there was no real death but that we would ‘wake up’ again just like when we went to sleep, but she would instantly tell me that my father didn’t believe in that, and so I learned to hold back from sharing these inner knowings with him. I chose instead to defer to what I perceived to be his greater wisdom and began to align to his beliefs as my mother had done, shutting down all that I naturally knew and felt. He was such a wonderful and seemingly wise man, so it was obviously very easy to accept that he must be right and what I felt and experienced at times, must be wrong. So onto the pedestal he went and as a result, down went my trust in what I could feel and innately knew. Sadly I never had the conversation with him about religion that I now would dearly like to have, and I know that if he had known how I had shut myself down, he would have been horrified.
My father never pushed his beliefs onto others as he respected their views, so when I decided I wanted to attend Sunday School he did not try to convince me not to go, and off I went for my first ‘religious’ experience. So it was at about age 8 that I slowly began to garner some insight into what religion was about, but interestingly I can’t even remember what religion it was. A year later when I chose to start Bible studies something inside me woke up and I could feel so clearly that what was being presented to me did not feel true, and I left, never to return.
As the years rolled on by and I began to read about certain religions from Catholicism to Buddhism, I began to feel like I did in Bible studies – that there was little or no truth in what I was reading. But when I read about the teachers that these religions were named for, I felt something very different; that these men did bring truth to the world. So the question naturally arose; what happened to their teachings?
I came to the conclusion that they had been bastardised and used simply for power and control of the masses, and in doing so the truth presented by these wonderfully wise men was distorted for the purpose of keeping the people in separation; from themselves, from others, from the truth and from God, and not to bring them together in love, equality and brotherhood as had been presented as the way forward for mankind.
The stories of wars, atrocities and genocide in the name of religion continued to confuse and at times horrified me, and slowly I began to distance myself further and further from religion and God until the point when I could not say the words without squirming, at times avoiding saying them altogether. But when someone asked me what religion I followed I would say that I was an agnostic as claiming to be an atheist just didn’t sit right. It was like there was a part of me that was keeping my religious options open just in case.
And I am so pleased that I did because as a result of leaving that door open, the confusion that I lived with for nearly 60 years is now finally dissipating and my clarity about what religion truly is grows every day. This most welcome change to my understanding of religion has come about as a result of connecting with Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine 12 years ago. When I attended my first ever workshop with Serge, I felt with every part of me that I had finally found what I had been looking for all of my life and that I was finally returning home, even though at that stage I did not know where home was and what was waiting for me there. From the workshops and other presentations by this very wise man I began to reconnect to the real me, who I had buried under the mountain of the many ill ideals and beliefs I had chosen to take on, including my ones about religion.
The day Serge Benhayon first mentioned the word religion I began to squirm once again and all the old religious ideals and beliefs came pouring back in, and there was a voice yelling, “No, this can’t be a religion!” But even though there was a part of me that wanted to run, there was an even stronger part that was saying stop, here is the opportunity you have been waiting for, to finally understand what religion actually is, to get to know the God that you knew as a child and to make sense of a world that most of the time hasn’t made sense.
So stop I did and I began to listen to what Serge was presenting and with the common sense and truth that I knew he was offering, slowly the walls I had built began tumbling down, especially when he presented the true meaning of the word religion. When he shared that the word has its origins in the Latin words, ‘re-ligare’ and ‘re-ligio’, meaning to re-bind, to re-connect, I could feel that this is what I had felt at the first Universal Medicine workshop I attended; that I was re-connecting to something that I had always known but that I had buried for a very long time, probably for many lifetimes.
As Serge Benhayon continues to share this Ageless Wisdom with us I have come to realise that so much of what I had felt and had known was true; that Jesus, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha and the other wise messengers had offered humanity the truth; that their message was bastardised; that they did not ask for buildings to be erected in their name; that they did not want their teachings to be used for power and control and definitely not the reason to go to war; nor for God to be portrayed as a judgmental being totally removed from people’s lives, sitting on his throne in the sky.
They actually shared that it is in connection with our innermost, our inner heart, that we can feel and know God, wherever we are and whatever we are doing; it is in our livingness, and that in coming together to live this way in Brotherhood is a way we have known before and once chosen we will naturally live again. It is in the way we live in every moment as presented by The Way of The Livingness that we can build this connection to ourselves, and from this inner connection we can connect to others, to God, to nature and to the Universe. We are divine beings who are here to once again reclaim the true essence of love and remember that religion is in everything that we do and everything we express.
“If you understand what religion truly is, then everything is religion.”
(Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p. 46)
I have come to know that my religion is the stars in the sky that shine down upon me in the dark of the night; it is in the delicate bud of a flower that gently opens to the warmth of the sun; it is in the voice that whispered to me that what was presented in that Bible Studies class wasn’t the truth and that in connection to myself I will naturally connect to God and come to know him again as I did as the innocent and beautiful Son of God that I was as a child, and that I always have been.
Published with permission of family.
By Ingrid Ward, West Auckland, New Zealand
Images of God
Waiting for God…
World Religion Day – but do we know what Religion is?
413 thoughts on “From Religious Confusion to Religious Truth ”
Our relationship with God is deeply personal and some may refuse to use the word God but we all know Him otherwise how do we know to react when the lies are presented.
I recall for many years calling myself an Atheist yet I also never felt comfortable with the word, I had turned my back on the Catholic religion as I could no longer stand the hypocrisy and lies this religion stood for. I realised that is was not religion I was reacting to but the bastardisation and reinterpretation of God, and the fact no one was living in a truly religious way. Because of my past experiences with religion, at first I was a little cautious when I was introduced to The Way of The Livingness, but this didn’t last long as I could feel the truth of this religion, and this allowed me to deeply heal and be inspired to re-connect back to God and a religious way of life.
I too was never comfortable calling myself an Atheist and now I realise that somewhere inside of me I knew that wasn’t true, that I did know God so therefore I couldn’t deny this knowing. Returning to my relationship with God has been a most profound but also very enjoyable experience, one that I am so delighted that I did not turn away from when The Way of The Livingness was first presented by Serge Benhayon. Yes, I did a lot of squirming and there were times I wanted to run, but the inner knowing was still there, saying ‘stop and feel, you do know the truth, and always have’. So I stopped and there was the truth waiting for me,
I was initially a bit hesitant when the word ‘religion’ and ‘God’ was first introduced to The Way of The Livingness as I have hated what institutionalised religion presents – the lies, the hypocrisy – gradually I have built trust and love for this true religion.
We can take on beliefs from others at a very early age. We have a tendency to take on all that is shown to us and reflected to us about religion and God from our family and culture. This can be very hard to change or move away from, so we have to bring a lot of understanding to where others are at and their choices.
The more I connect with myself, the rhythms and cycles of my body, I can’t help but feel that this is a religious way of living and being and that is what I choose to live, not what anyone else tells me to.
We need to stop feeling, to align ourselves to Rationalism or any other fabricated religion. Is this the purpose of their existence or their consequence? In any case, if we stop feeling we disconnect ourselves from our inner wisdom and our own intimate connection with God.
We cannot use the mind alone to explain the vastness of space that we belong to. To do so in an attempt to ‘shrink’ space (Universal Intelligence) in order to get it to fit into a predefined area that we can then say we own and thus have a hold of. Our innate divinity cannot go away simply because we ignore it. It always remains deep within us unpolluted and untainted while we simply layer over the top of it a lesser way to be and accept such reduction as our seeming norm.
Rationalism was the conceptual foundation of massive experiments that took place during the XX (20th) century to create social/economic/political orders from above in the name of wellbeing and happiness in which individuals entered the equation as mere executors of a precise movement within a more comprehensive one. These experiments and the narratives that supported them were a clear path of competition with religion as provider of the answers and the way. Then we had other kind of experiments in which ‘religion’ operated as the foundation of political/social/economic orders. Either scenario of the attempt to build ‘Heaven on Earth’ shows a clear sub-ordination of the individual to the collective, a very clear mistrust and open war with free will and a clear incapacity to help people to build wellbeing in their bodies.
I am so clear in my knowing and acceptance that there is a God that when another dismisses there is a God I am steady and do not react. Even when I am not myself and disconnected I know there is a God and when I am connected to myself, to who I truly am I know and am aware that everyone else too can feel God in the sense that he is within and within everything too. It is impossible to dismiss God. Dismissing God clearly shows me the ill energies at play that are outside of who we truly are that we can take on.
True religion is our willingness to embrace The Livingness as a daily way of life where the quality of our movements reflect our interconnection with the universe and everything there is.
Thank you Ingrid – a blog that leaves you with a stop – to feel your relationship with religion so far and what you have put aside or between you and the truth.
Agnostics, Lutherans, Catholics, spirtualists… take your pick…. Where there is ignorance, many weeds will grow .
I love this excerpt “If you understand what religion truly is, then everything is religion.”
(Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p. 46)”
It takes away any stigma about what Religion actually means, it invites an open mind and frees up the body as you read it.
I found it so interesting hearing about your upbringing, we all come from such different backgrounds but we seem to all have one thing in common and that is an inner knowing that there is more to this life than meets the eye.
That is so true Sarah that everything is religion, and something that occurred to me after reading that quote is that literally everything that happens to us during the day is an offering for us to learn from and evolve back to our original source (to re-connect). It’s just a matter of staying aware and responding to these things as they arise.
I too can’t “imagine living without this awareness”; it feels so natural in stark contrast to the way I used to live. It is very hard, near impossible, to live in connection to others, to nature and to the Universe when you are living in disconnection from yourself.
I haven’t seen that quote about religion being in everything but, as you have so beautiful illustrated, it is. It is in our connection to each other, to nature, to the unseen. It is in our thoughts and our actions. I cannot imagine living without this awareness now and yet, if I had subscribed to what I took on as religion to be about, I too would have remained an agnostic.
Its so wonderful you have re-connected with your religion . What you have shared in you writing sounds so graceful, thank you.
This proves how damaging ideals, beliefs and pictures can be to our innate and natural sense of knowing.
I love the idea of rationalism – that things should be looked at with discernment and intelligently, but can’t help but think there is an underlying hurt or contraction that stops that person at looking at the unfathomable or unexplainable with the same rational discernment. There is plainly an energy, or a guiding force at play in the world – and that is worth some serious rational consideration!
If we do not understand the true meaning of the word religion how can we ever hope to understand the concept of living religiously and how it supports us in our everyday.
A great start to understand the true meaning of the word religion. This short audio supports more understanding, https://www.unimedliving.com/unimedpedia/word-index/unimedpedia-religion.html
When the true meaning of the word religion is shared and understood as our own re-connection back to ourselves, the word simply settles in my body.
The experience of religion so many of us have had in our younger lives has turned us away from that so called religion, and as we grow into adults with our own choices and thinking, it is very easy to see the corruption, misadventure, abuse and downright lies associated with religion. The real deceit though is that what we were told was religion, is not religion. Thank God for Universal Medicine introducing true religion to the world.
And that deceit is playing out on a world scale currently. We all have a responsibility to claim and live true religion in our everyday to offer another way.
Absolutely Brendan – and that’s the very point of rationalism – to ignore the rest of the universe.
I can understand why someone who has been hurt by the reinterpretation of religion would decide to leave God out of their religious beliefs and practices, however that is really just ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’. God is within us all so to deny this is to turn away from the deep connection we have with ourselves, leaving us at the mercy of whatever is outside of us. Beliefs then become super important because they are the only way in which we can stay relatively steady in the chaos of the world we have all created.
So true Lucy, we need the beliefs to make sense of the chaos, yet when you connect to the All that is within, there is no chaos but a stillness and an understanding of how everything makes sense.
I had a chat with somebody about religion yesterday, they were so certain in their knowledge of everything they had read and everything that has been bastardised that they have completely renounced religion from their life. Even though I know that I haven’t completely embodied the real meaning of the word, I feel absolutely blessed to be open to the possibility of a true religious life.
You can understand why people eliminate religion from their life because of the atrocious behaviors and abuse that has been committed in the past in the name of religion. Also due to this disillusionment and withdrawal from religion it is logical for many to question if God exists or not. But what we must never forget is that we all have free will, a will in which we make all our choices at our own discretion – and free will is something God cannot ever control.
Learning about the different religions and even now interacting with people from many different faiths I am at times asked if I am religious and I say yes without hesitation. Which is beautiful because previously I too would hide away from claiming that I am religious as to associate with something that didn’t make any sense nor did I want to be seen as a looney or as a sheep in the mind of another; judgements I had previously pinned onto those following a religion. The way Serge Benhayon presents religion makes so much sense in that it’s about being in relationships, which we are constantly in and can’t escape from, and there is more to us and life that is physical and we can and do have a relationship with this.
The Way of The Livingness is the living way in connection to the all and so amazing and refreshing to discover in side us and is in marked contrasted to the confusion dogma and imposed beliefs of organised religions of the world. The grace and joy of living who we are in connection with our bodies and all that is around us that we feel and see in the beauty, grace, flow and discipline of God.
“….in connection to myself I will naturally connect to God”. Beautifully and simply expressed, thankyou Ingrid. I love the quote from Serge Benhayon – “if you understand what religion truly is, then everything is religion.” Yes.
We know truth, love and what religion truly means as children yet we are bombarded with so many beliefs and ideals from the outside that it is no surprise that we shut down. My children have been told in school who God is but all three of them have come home and questioned the teachings. I know my kids know God and even though they too are getting different messages about God from the outside I don’t feel the need to preach to them who or what God is. I know through choice it is the way I live that truly inspires them; the way I am with myself that sets the foundation for all my relationships including my relationship with God.
How far have we strayed from the true meaning of the word ‘Religion’ when it simply means to ‘re-connect’? And then you feel something familiar, perhaps there is no words you can find to describe it, but you know this quality… How simple and uncomplicated compared to the confusion, control and fractious nature that has been caused in history by manipulation of this word.
Reconnecting to what is innately within us is a personal journey but none the less we all come from the same divine spark so when all connected to this divine source, God, we will be equal and emanating the Love that we all are.
It’s it interesting how we always know exactly what religion is not. Therefore no matter what we say, we must also know what religion is.
Simply beautiful Gyl and very true.
Connection to God is not about going to a certain building or saying a certain prayer or sitting on your knees for a long time or clearing your mind and saying OMs…
Connection to God happens in our body, though our deepest heart when we let go of all the barriers that we hold as seeming protections from each other, when we allow ourselves to be seen by the world and allow the world to see us completely, openly. As you have so beautifully said Ingrid: “religion is in everything that we do and everything we express”…now this allows us a breather and allows us to see that religion is far more than we realise, that we do not have to be constrained by the current common definitions of religion itself!
“When I attended my first ever workshop with Serge, I felt with every part of me that I had finally found what I had been looking for all of my life and that I was finally returning home, even though at that stage I did not know where home was and what was waiting for me there.” I can relate to this Ingird, and felt the same kind of homecoming when I attended my first workshop with Serge Benhayon. It has and continues to be a revelation to me that everything I have always known is continually being confirmed as I deepen my connection to the divine that has always been within me.
The Ageless Wisdom is not something for the select few, it is available to everyone equally. Question is, do we acknowledge it?
The Ageless Wisdom has been presented through Serge Benhayon in a way that makes sense in the modern world. Mostly the teaching are based on simple and logical principles that it is a reflection of how convoluted and crazy humanity has become so far from accepting responsibility.
When Serge Benhayon first introduced to the Student Body of Universal Medicine that The Way of The Livingness was a religion I was initially reluctant to consider myself religious because of the associations I had gathered over the years regarding religion. However, however much I was reluctant it felt true and as I came to understand and appreciate what religion truly means, so I am now proud to say “I am religious and I practice the religion The Way of The Livingness”.
It seems as though the surest way to dismiss and deny the truth is not to argue or say horrible things, but to put out and promote a slightly altered version of what is really there to distract and discourage people. If every apple you were ever given was rotten, after a while you would surely stop trying. This is how I have felt with traditional Religion and life, so thanks for this reminder Ingrid that our connection to divinity is naturally written in everything.
As a young person growing up I could never understand the contradictions such as, ‘Love thy neighbour as yourself’ and then it was OK to have a war because ‘God was on our side’ but the other side also claimed God was on theirs? And so the contradictions went on. It is such an amazing joy to know The Way of The Livingness and there be no contradictions
Great examples of contradictions jstewart. The other contradiction that really stood out for me was the person that was a ‘church goer’ one day a week and for the rest of the week lived in a way that to me was nothing like what I felt a religious person would live; it always felt so hypocritical. This was really brought home to me a while ago when I met a business man who repeatedly told everyone that he was a Christian but to me some of the business practices that he undertook didn’t have one ounce of what I feel Christianity is, in them; he certainly wasn’t walking his talk – but sadly he is not alone in this.
One of the key insights is that science is a way of accessing truth but science itself knows that its approach can only access a limited amount of truth. Therefore any method or tool or way to access a bigger set of true statements or skills would be very helpful and, if it existed, could well be named ‘true religion’. Would anybody have a better name?
Even after all these years I still can get a sense of the “connection and understanding of life” that I held as child. Having this natural knowing I can now understand why I struggled to make sense of the world I saw around me because it didn’t reflect what I could feel inside. Sadly what I felt on the outside began to burrow its way into the inside burying the truth that I naturally knew underneath it. This is why we as adults have a huge responsibility to support all our children to retain this inner wisdom so that they may carry it with them as they grow – into wise adults
Children hold such a deep connection and understanding of life, as kids we are much more connected to what we feel and there is such a beauty in this yet often we lose sight of this as we grow up and take on pictures, beliefs and get influenced by what is outside of us.
Serge Benhayon offers the world the true understanding of the religious confusion out there by bringing back the simplicity we all know inside us .” it is in connection with our innermost, our inner heart, that we can feel and know God, wherever we are and whatever we are doing;” It brings us back to the knowing and love inside us all and not outside of us unattainable and distant and of many different interpretations. Thank you for a great blog and sharing.
Yes, it is quite a message to say that every human being has themselves access to a much larger volume of truth than they thought and then to show everyone how to access that larger volume.
Re-reading your great blog Ingrid it is very clear that the process of education has not been about accumulating more knowledge and data but rather seeing through our false positions, reconnecting to the truth, letting the walls tumble down and realising that you can trust what you feel and live that. It is a process of letting go all that is not true to find that the shining jewel of wisdom was always there – you and God.
Growing up a Catholic I was under the impression, (hey I might have got this wrong) but I was under the impression that if you weren’t Catholic and went to church on Sunday, well you were going to hell, and this I found weird as I knew some people that felt better than a lot in that church and I couldn’t believe that they would burn for eternity because they didn’t come to a place to worship God when I couldn’t even feel God in that place. Anyway The Way of The Livingness is the only religion that I have come across that has no prejudices or boundaries and recognises that we are all part of the all and definitely no one is to burn for eternity on the Lake of Fire.
Now having a relationship with God that is of equality and having deep appreciation of the divine source I have been created from my understanding of what religion really is has changed dramatically from being brought up catholic. Returning back to my true origins and celebrating this feels amazing.
It’s great you have explored many routes knowing that there was a true religion but then coming to the realisation that religion is actually how we are with everything – it is the connection we have to our bodies and to the all.
“If you understand what religion truly is, then everything is religion.” and this clearly exposes anything that claims itself to be religion whilst causing separation within the everything.
It seems that very many of us have a sense of the discrepancies and falsehood in our current interpretation of religion and that working with the true religion, The Way of The Livingness, is simply a coming home to what we have always known.
Thank you for sharing Ingrid, for me one of the reasons why religion has been used to mean so many different things is because when we use it in its true meaning it is a very powerful and natural word for us all to use and claim. So to change its meaning and then put people off it is a very clever trick to essentially keep us away from connecting to ourselves, to the love that we are.
It is interesting how you describe a pull towards the great world teachers who have graced our earth but not the writings about them. I too remember feeling confused and frustrated because I wanted to learn about these great people and what they truly brought to humanity, but would often find that what was written about them gave me little to no sense of who they really were as people and the lives they lead or the relationships they had, that is, they had become almost fictitious and seemed to disappear in to a state of myth or legend.
Yes Shami, the connection to the world teachers who had been with us in the past was always very strong and could not be ignored, but the confusion began when often what was written about them didn’t make sense; I continually had this feeling that the truth of what I felt was being hidden and in the process the truth of these teachers, as you say, “had become almost fictitious and seemed to disappear into a state of myth or legend.” Now finally we have a world teacher in Serge Benhayon who is definitely not going to disappear without trace as everything he is presenting is being documented in great detail for those to come.
The simple truth of religion is written here for all to read “ it is in connection with our innermost, our inner heart, that we can feel and know God, wherever we are and whatever we are doing; it is in our livingness.” For me there has never been anything more true written.