Religion & Religious Re-Defined 

The last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded once again about the true meaning of the words Religion and Religious. Quite often these words conjure up a lot of thoughts and images for us, but I’d like to share how I’ve come to view the meaning of these words in a different light.

I have never considered myself a religious person, at least not in the most common meaning of that word, as in being a follower of one of the main religions. In fact when my sister and I were little and she said that she was religious, I reacted quite strongly. I questioned her and I also ridiculed her for it. I even felt a bit appalled by her saying such a thing. Being religious! How pathetic was that! Hard words, but that is how I felt at the time. Looking back, I feel this strong reaction came from me observing people who claimed to be religious, but for me I could neither see nor feel that there was anything truly religious in what they were doing, which to me meant that there was no true love present.   

As a matter of fact, my overall feeling with any of the church activities I was involved in back then was that they felt very cold and loveless and did not contain the love and warmth I felt inside of me. Now this might sound as if I’m accusing the outside of being loveless and, back then, I think I actually did. Of course I could have held on to the love I felt inside of me and I did to some degree, but I also know that slowly I allowed the outside to sneak in and over the years I came to feel an aversion to heavenly and true words such as religion, love, god, and being religious. The reason for this was that what I saw on the outside, as in people talking about God, Religion and Love, didn’t match what I knew to be the truth of those words. So you could easily say that I felt hurt by people misusing these words.

Unfortunately this happens way too often. We create a distaste for words and practices that we feel are not honoured for what they truly mean, and in reaction we abandon them, which can also mean we abandon a part of ourselves as we are intertwined with the true meaning of many of these words, such as God, Love, Truth, and Religion.

This in itself is very sad because then we let the words be free prey, so to speak. Anyone can make their own interpretation of these words and if one definition is accepted by many, then it becomes the accepted norm, even though it might not be the true version. Could that be why so many people have issues with the word God and the word Religion? Because when we see and hear people use these words, we feel they are not truly representing what they are talking about.

If we look at the origins of the word Religion for example – its actual and original meaning – it shows us that it means to Re-turn, Re-unite, Re-bond and Re-kindle a connection with a flame that is burning equally inside every person on this planet. But this is not what I was told as I grew up. Then God was something ‘out there’ and something to worship. I never heard that the connection with God was inside of me and that I didn’t have to go to a building to have a connection with him daily. I wasn’t told that it happens just by the way I am with myself and others. What I also didn’t know, nor was told, was that when I have this connection it’s not for me to hold on to and keep to myself, but the whole idea is to share it with other people and to interact from this place.

I realised this when I started to let people in – when I stopped being so stubbornly protective and allowed people to see a little more of me. I allowed for people to see that I’m not perfect, something I have put a lot of effort into, wanting people to think that I’m perfect and have everything worked out. But as we all know, we cannot actually hide what is going on inside of us. People see through you and they can feel it. Also I started to invite people over for dinner. These may seem like little things, but for me they have been very powerful in getting to know the true meaning of life – that we are here to connect with people, to learn how to live side by side, and to help each other to evolve when we might be stuck in old patterns. For what is the best thing to assist you grow and evolve if not having people around you that can remind you if you’ve slipped away from being your natural loving self, the very quality that is godly within us all? By contrast, living isolated gives us free rein to do the same old, over and over. Quite boring, if you ask me.

So my way forward from here, with my re-kindled understanding of what religion and being religious means, will be to keep letting people in. That seems to be the one factor that makes true sense, and the one that really works for me. I’ve been living isolated for quite some time and when you do that, you will eventually feel that something is missing. And that something is other people because we are meant to be together, all of the time. I’m far from perfect in this regard but at least I’ve felt what I know is true and that is to let people in again and let them see who I truly am. With that it also feels like I’m opening the tap of joy flowing in my life again. And perhaps the reason my joy is flowing is because I have re-connected with our true purpose on earth – to return to where we are from originally, re-united and re-bound together.

By Matts Josefsson, Student of Behavioural Science, Stockholm, Sweden

Related Reading:
A True Religion
My True and False Experiences of God
What is true religion?

453 thoughts on “Religion & Religious Re-Defined 

  1. It must have been very confusing as a child Matts to feel the church activities you were involved in as ‘cold and loveless’ not containing the ‘love and warmth’ that you felt inside you.

    1. It sure was. But the great thing was that I held onto my love and saw the outer version as the odd one out.

  2. I simply love that the very basis of a re-turn or a re-connect means that we were once a part of a whole, and that must mean that it is both natural and irresistible to find our way back home.

  3. Great what you share about connection being for all. The message I was picking up from the church and from other religions as I was growing up was that connection to God for them was something not only outside of you but also not for us all, only for a select few “holy ones”… this is total separation if you ask me and not how God would hold His children which is all of us.

    1. Yes it shows how far away the false ones can make us waver away from the truth but as always we will be sling shot right back to the love we are from sooner or later.

  4. ‘I have never considered myself a religious person’ – and neither did I, but when I consider that religion is my relationship with myself and God who lives within me, then I came to realise that I am a deeply religious person who is committed to living God from the inside out.

  5. I love how we can pretend to live a certain way, but if that way is not natural we will be pulled back to live naturally whether we like it or not…

  6. “I never heard that the connection with God was inside of me and that I didn’t have to go to a building to have a connection with him daily.” – How truly freeing it is to recognise that our connection with God is not assigned to any building or monument, ritual or blessing from another but something that is innate within each of us, an immanent presence.

  7. It is true anyone can say the words love, God or truth but what is the energetic integrity expressed in these words and what is the person living? For example recently it was reported in Italy that police bust into an orgy where there were drugs; this was held in the apartment of a priest who serves as secretary to the cardinal so it is no wonder you or many others have felt or feel this: ‘The reason for this was that what I saw on the outside, as in people talking about God, Religion and Love, didn’t match what I knew to be the truth of those words’. Because we can feel the what people are saying and what people are living are many times two entirely different things. Love that you are letting people in and inviting people over for dinner 💕

  8. Without being dogmatic we can claim words back for their true meaning…we often do not realise that words are so often bastardised “This in itself is very sad because then we let the words be free prey, so to speak.” We can claim them back through how we live, so when we speak the words they have the authority of a lived knowing of them, to this I say yes to Religion, God and Love and I do not hold back this truth in how I live.

  9. I tried to be religious when I was younger – but it felt so fake, like I was talking myself into believing something. I was desperate to know there was more to life than I could see – but found nothing in religion to mirror the feeling of expansive intelligence I knew was there. Thank God for the teachings of Universal Medicine – now, I can say I am religious, meaning I am living in a way to return to my Soul.

  10. Religion, rebinding, reconnection with all….”So my way forward from here, with my re-kindled understanding of what religion and being religious means, will be to keep letting people in.” In this rebinding we build a relationship with everyone equally, knowing we are part of the whole. I love that this is part of my life; how can we ever fall into the trap of loneliness or isolation, we are always with the ALL and we are here to live this and connect with everyone.

  11. Beautiful blog to read and be inspired by Matts. I love the message you have presented, that being, if we truly connect to ourselves and one another then we feel and see God in ourselves and in another;
    “Re-turn, Re-unite, Re-bond and Re-kindle a connection with a flame that is burning equally inside every person on this planet”.

  12. When the meaning of words becomes an interpretation instead of a consistent and reliable common understanding we actually don´t know what we are talking about, there is no common truth we can build on and truly meet and connect or not even accurately express what we feel and know. Somehow getting back to the true meaning of words is like learning not a new but the ‘one’ language we all know to be true – true by the resonance of truth in our bodies.

  13. I agree Matts, we have tainted words such as God and religion with of our own fears and insecurities only to result into something further away from the truth and our connection from soul.

  14. Throughout history there have been those who have lived a truly religious life, in other words a truly loving life…and whilst many may not agree with this way there are only a few who seek to attack those who live this way. Those who attack are under their own misguided righteousness which justifies them casting aside all others rights and values as a fellow human being and seek to destroy another at all costs…

  15. The joy that overflows is from uniting with ourselves once again, and the reflection it brings from the outside of others coming close, confirms this joy within. It is very worth it to redefine words in life according to what the heart knows to be true. Be our own authority in this regard, claim that our bodies always feel truth, and live that in our lives. What we have redefined, we can simply live, even though there may not be much resonance in the beginning, but that will not be long. As the reflection offered allows everyone else to feel what they also know too, they may either accept or react, but nonetheless, the reflection and inspiration has been received.

  16. It is perhaps so easy to assume that what we see with our eyes is what is really happening. But the truth is, that no matter what mainstream organised religion a person may belong to, the fact that any one person has a desire to be religious is a beautiful thing.

  17. I have reacted to these words “God” and “Religion” my whole life. I have no real reason for a life of reacting to them. I was not raised Religious but the few experiences I did have, I was like you, in the sense that the actions and words didn’t match and therefore these words felt false to me. I still do react, I can’t lie but this blog I have no reaction to, in fact, I really enjoyed your honest and simple experience. It was a real life and tangible experience that you have had with Religion and it’s almost impossible to react when something is written in this unimposing way.

  18. “And perhaps the reason my joy is flowing is because I have re-connected with our true purpose on earth – to return to where we are from originally, re-united and re-bound together.” I felt the joy yesterday as I connected for a brief moment with someone at the Shopping Centre, I walked away with a smile on my face and a joy in my heart, we are truly so deeply connected by divine love. Thank you Matts for sharing.

  19. And then there is the consideration of the word love… I used to sit in the church week after week listening to people droning on about love… It was fossilized dead and empty… Whereas the love of God is so extraordinarily vibrant that it pulses through your body and wakes up every cell.

    1. And it’s simple.I really need to get that one. So often I go into serious mode and then I can all of a sudden catch myself feeling low because I’m not allowing myself to just be me. Thanks for the reminder cjames2012!

  20. Lovely Matts, there is no greater way to be religious than to let people in. And let’s scrap all we have been told about religion and start again, then we need never be burdened by all the false associations that draw us away from what being religious really means.

  21. This raised such a great point that to live isolated allows us to continue in our old ways whether they support us or not, it shows how shutting ourselves off from life and people does not evolve us.

  22. There is something that cannot be discarded. The person who observes religious people and religious places and who do not feel any true in any of what he/she is observing and therefore decide not to subscribe to religion and even less to be religious. Although may not subscribe to these words, it has to be said, that by doing we say yes to the reduction of the religious field to something it is not. So, it is an acceptance to play in a field that is not true, not different from the one usually offered by any mainstream religion even if the person says no to them.

  23. If I’m honest I’ve held a similar opinion of people who say they are religious, thinking they are blind followers, puppets, not very bright – judging them horribly. Yet we all have the same questions, the same underlying feeling that there is something more which we know for certain. A relationship with God is utterly essential to understanding and deepening that feeling.

  24. When people would ask if I was religious I would scoff and say no way. To now feel and know that to be religious is to live and express in a way that supports who you are and then holds all equally within this quality, feels amazing and that no one is seen as being more or less as all are apart of the whole feels light years away from what I felt religion really was. Thank you Matts.

  25. It’s a great point that we can react to practices that we can see are not true and in that reaction throw out the baby with the bathwater so to speak – by abandoning words like religion when there is a true way of being religious it’s just that there are many harming practices that falsely make claims to it as well…

  26. I too am ‘opening the tap of joy flowing in my life again’ and it is awesome. From entering the world a bundle of joy to completely shutting down and avoiding people never mind letting them in to many moments of enjoying being with people and letting them see me for who I am has been a miracle but a miracle well worth bringing into my life. And the amazing thing is it doesn’t stop here…

  27. How amazing that in every moment we are supported by God, and every movement of struggle and angst comes from the fact that we subscribe to pictures about how life should be and position ourselves to that, rather than simply move in the grace of that natural impulse in our bodies.

  28. This is a really beautiful blog, Matts. It takes me to the point I most need and want to deep in now, which is letting go any idea of perfection and letting people come into my life. It’s true that only when we share openly who we are, we find the purpose of religion, which is re-unite us with all.

    1. You know, isn’t that why we have so much division in the world? We fight being together, we fight the very one thing we need to “get” as a human race. One example in 2017 is Catalonia in Spain wanting to become their own state, independent from Spain. We might herald this for whatever reason, we might muster up, but it’s still a step in the completely wrong direction, coming from a reaction that we need to – I don’t know – become “our own”. We tend to be afraid of letting people in and we can see this at a personal level, but it is also there between nations. It’s just the macro reflecting the micro.

  29. Imagine trying to capture the sun, sub-divide the air or cut up water into separate pieces. This is how crazy it is to think you can keep Love for just some selected people. Feelings don’t work this way but emanate out for everyone to receive. What you show here Matts is that whether we choose individualism or recognise we are part of a bigger whole, is a big deal.

  30. Spot on Matts, we react to words such as God and Love because there are many who use these words without living the true expression of them. To live the truth of these words is very powerful, you only have to watch how the movements of the Benhayon family to feel how deeply inspiring this is.

  31. Growing up religion felt completely empty to me and void of both truth and love. I definitely feel you have a valid point with regards to this ‘Could that be why so many people have issues with the word God and the word Religion? Because when we see and hear people use these words, we feel they are not truly representing what they are talking about.’ I know this was the case for me, in fact I would even go as far to say that I was embarrassed to say the word God feeling that I was stupid or a bit of a wuss/whimp. I love the true meaning of Religion you have expressed here ‘it means to Re-turn, Re-unite, Re-bond and Re-kindle a connection with a flame that is burning equally inside every person on this planet.’ Now that feels true to me ✨

  32. The things that we associate with certain words; images, things we’ve been told and experiences of the way other people have used that word can all add up to what we define as being the meaning of something and that can be very off-putting, such as with religion. But in this case there is underneath a word here that has a very beautiful root meaning and one that has been obscured by it’s mis-use over time. It’s truly enriching to be brought back to being aware of what this word originally meant and to consider afresh what this can mean to us in our daily living.

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