Growing up I have felt a lot of different things in the mainstream institutionalised religions of today – Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism etc. – like the energies and emotions in their buildings, the temperature, the colors, the people, the furniture, which all made me feel quite small and insignificant at that time. When I saw the other people in these religious places, they were seemingly not noticing these things, even though they were so obvious to me. This made me feel like what I felt was not true and confirmed the feelings of being small and alone.
I had the most physical experience with Catholic churches, attending funerals or visiting them whilst being on holiday, and these are some of those things I remember clearly:
• They always felt cold
• They always felt very big and imposing
• The colors were often dark and grey
• The seats would be very hard and uncomfortable
• The place felt sad and heavy
• I did not like the music – the big church organs especially were very imposing and would make me feel sad
• The priest would say very complicated words.
I know now I came to associate the word religion with these experiences of coldness, hardness, piety, contraction, hard work and most of all, feeling unworthy and guilty.
It wasn’t until I listened to a presentation by Serge Benhayon about the religion called The Way of The Livingness that I felt that there was another and true meaning for the word religion. What I formerly took on as religion was not true religion at all.
What I felt when attending these presentations by Serge Benhayon was totally different from my experiences with the Catholic churches.
I observed and felt:
• A warmth in the room physically, but also energetically
• Love and care
• Equality between the presenters and the audience
• Integrity lived in every moment of the day
• Seeing the importance of everything
• A feeling of not being judged and of being equal with everyone in the room – basically a feeling of coming home to myself and my whole family.
I am slowly coming to the understanding that God is in everything, yes in us too, and not above us judging, as I felt from my experiences as a child. I especially see and feel God in nature and the beautiful messages I receive. Now these messages are not letters as such but things like a beautiful leaf just landing before my feet, finding a tiny feather on my shirt, the sun making beautiful patterns and rays of light in the sky, a certain animal crossing my path just when I needed to see it and so on. I can also see God in my eyes when I look in the mirror and other people’s eyes when I meet them because, if I am honest, such beauty can only be divine.
True religion is about reconnecting with our essence, which is pure and divine. Then all the activities which re-connect us to this essence are religious. So this means that many things in our life can be religious and that these activities are not restricted to being in a church or praying.
For me, going for a walk can be religious when I am connecting more with myself, my essence and the beauty around me. Exercise for instance, is a way to connect to my body, to feel my body and how I feel at this time. Am I tired? Do I feel vitality? Do I feel how gorgeous I am? These honest questions support my connection with myself so for me, this is religion. Also a simple loving ritual and a rhythm I have developed that supports a lasting connection with myself, such as lighting a candle in the evening and some incense before going to bed so I can wind down for a goodnight’s sleep, is being religious. And I could go on…
This is what God feels like to me and it makes it clear to me that the mainstream institutionalised religions as mentioned above are not true religion as they did not support me to live in a truthful way with integrity – simply walking my talk, even when nobody is watching – nor did these mainstream religions support me to connect to myself and what I know is truth, love and joy. The only true religion I have found that offers this is The Way of The Livingness.
To me this shows that we should always discern if a word like religion or God is used and lived in its true meaning, or if it has been reinterpreted over time.
So, how does God feel to you?
By Lieke Campbell, Belgium