When I came to the works of Serge Benhayon, I was invited to look at my relationship with religion. At first, all I could do was worry – worry about what would be said about religion and the effect this would be having on the people around me, including myself. I seemed to carry an inner-tension I had built up since I was young that would result in an increasing heartbeat the moment religion was spoken about.
For years it would activate all my past experiences of when religion was being heatedly discussed and fought over. Many of the conversations I would hear from my family members and people around would differ so much. I would be feeling quite uncomfortable as people would be sharing different thoughts, different ideals, which would often bring disharmony and destruction into the group.
When Serge first presented on religion, all I could feel and see were those images, those beliefs, those frightening moments, the feeling of war and absolute separation this subject or ‘word’ is causing currently and has caused in the past. My body shook in reaction to these images I had taken on around this word ‘religion.’ I remember it as clearly as yesterday.
So the moment when Serge introduced the word religion, I was bracing in my chair, my automatic response, waiting for the disharmonious conversations to happen. Yet this time it was not the case at all: instead of disharmony, there was a stillness, a love, a holding that held us together, a union, a space and place where there was understanding of each other and courage to trust.
At first I thought it was the word religion that was the negative one, but in this presentation I made a commitment to truly feel what was going on for me. I could see people around me equally react to this subject/word quite strongly. I was intrigued by the offering now given to us all to ponder on.
What does the word religion mean to us? And does it actually represent the religion that is in truth dear to us? And so, is the word religion used and lived in its true meaning?
I felt a little uncomfortable as those questions popped into my mind. I took the time to just sit still and observe whatever I was feeling around this subject. Even though I felt like running away like I always would do when this subject is raised, this discussion somehow felt true and was one that I wanted and was ready to face.
The presentation continued and I knew we were on a path of true and open discussion.
Having the feeling that all the people around me were quite shaken up through the questions being posed and discussing what religion meant to them, I was feeling truly safe, simply because I felt inside that for the first time in my life, the matter of religion was truly being asked without any demand whatsoever. We were being offered a space to truly ponder with no right or wrong scenario – one I had never been offered before. The nervous tension I had been carrying, including the quickened heartbeat, had eased. The feeling of truth and the purpose of what religion truly meant seemed to rise as my heart expanded.
The thing is, all I can say from my ponderings over what occurred this time is that the questions presented by Serge Benhayon offered me so much to consider. It wasn’t just simply the questions themselves, but the way they were discussed that actually inspired me to be more open again to my relationship with the word religion. Instantly, the false images and ideals I had been running with seemed to stand out naturally, as simply a deception and distraction away from the truth.
What I had found was that I had been living on the interpretations, opinions, judgements and expressions about this word, but never truly made it my own. I did not allow myself to have a relationship with the word religion on my own, nor discern how I felt about it. I became aware of what I felt, and at the same time looked at all these images, beliefs, and thoughts I had about religion. I could feel how many of them weren’t actually true to me. Yet I had lived by them, thinking they were true. No longer did these concepts fit as I became more aware of the truth in my heart.
I could feel how it was easier to go with the ideals, emotions, beliefs and expectations of those around me, or even blame others if it suited. But I always had felt that there was more. I could feel that if I were to stand up to feel my own truth about my personal relationship with religion, I would stand out and have more chance of being disliked. So I continued my reflection and simply observed my ways. I observed the way I looked at religion, and if there was anything to ‘living religiously.’ I can remember finding it almost scary to go there. It made me feel more real, vulnerable and tangible and at the same time I felt visible to people from the outside, as if they could see through me like looking through a glass door.
Was I in any way, shape or form religious? And if I was, was this then a bad thing? Instantly I could feel the flavour of hiding again. As I was being more observant with my own behaviours and old patterns around religion, I started to taste the false beliefs I had been walking in. I started to feel how many of these thoughts and questions pulled me away from the actual religion I was feeling on the inside of my heart’s truth. Oh wait, what did I just say? Could it be that what I had thought, believed, and acted on, even though I made myself a non-Christian, non-Islamic, non-Jew, non-Buddhist, non-Hindu etc, besides the bits of truth I carried from them, was so very different to what I felt religion meant within me?
Yes… it did. And at the same time I could feel how everyone had their own space to choose what it meant to them. All the converting and imposition that I once thought religion was about simply faded away.
Honesty and my observations brought me back closer to the truth I know. And so I allowed my power to come out and stand in the fact that I am a deeply religious person. Even though this means the absolute opposite of what is going on in all the religions in the world today, it is okay.
Even though I was not choosing to conform to the norm, I felt an inner joy and deep inner-strength back again, at the same time feeling One and the same with everyone – I was choosing the truth I felt in my heart. Even though there were some parts in life that did reflect the truth of my heart, it was in that very moment that I felt more universal, more expanded and closer to the All. I brought myself back, my religion back, which was not at all anything outside of me, but an activated connection and confirmation from within me. I felt a love that had no words, simply a connection to God. In this space all I found was what I now call my religion.
It was a moment of realisation. I could no longer put aside the truth I was feeling inside and I had to claim it for myself – as it is who I am. I knew that I would no longer fit into a certain box I had held myself in for so, so long. I was willing to take that step, even though I knew I had to leave behind my old behaviours – being nice to people, giving myself away for recognition or approval and wanting to be liked by people around me.
I also let go of certain needs – needing people to fulfil me, to make me feel good or better about myself. I accepted that people all of a sudden might see me as different, as an outsider. This also meant no longer holding on to relationships that naturally no longer worked and/or felt true or respectful.
All of this brought an enormous strength back in my body. With that there came trust and all I could feel was GOD, Love, People and Brotherhood in action. My true personal relationship with religion became bright and alive again.
All of this was inspired by the teachings of Serge Benhayon: not only on that specific day, but at all the courses, presentations and sessions thereafter. Serge presents a livingness known as The Way of The Livingness, which is based on true religion in our every way –every day.
I came to feel that there is no such thing as having no religion or not being religious, but that we all have a deep knowing of what religion is. It is just a matter of connecting to it again. We are ALL part of it. We know we are all the same and religion binds us All.
Let us all re-awaken to the simple ways of what true religion is. It is within us all.
By Danna Elmalah