Claiming Back Religion

I grew up in a religious family – not what I would call devoutly so but with the focus of attending church each Sunday and having a faith in something; let’s say ‘godly.’ This was a faith that meant little to me at the time as the God that was talked of felt un-relatable – it just didn’t resonate in my body so the teachings had little to no impact on my life.

As a small child I was very loving and caring for others, but I would not attribute my values or my actions to having been influenced in any way by attending church, I would attribute them as being naturally religious. 

I knew that the gentle caring boy I was had nothing to do with church, it was just me.  Just as I knew that the attributes of love and care for their fellow man that I saw in others who attended church were qualities equally held within them, and that their attendance was really about connecting with others in community.

Observe young children and their innate acceptance, care and trust in others will become evident. Could this be a version of being religious we should all seek to master? A religion seen as a connection to our divine qualities and not an outer measure of faith and obedience?

Throughout time, people have been divided and diminished by religion, and violence has often been used to control and to conquer. Therefore I often ask myself, what does this form of religion bring us and why would we need to have faith in something that is external to the everything we already are. This feels like it comes from a lack of trust we have allowed in and a straying from the deep wisdom we all have within, but constantly choose to block – often by giving our power to institutions who claim to have the answer.

I now know without a doubt that religion truly is something that comes from our own connection to ourselves and to God.

Religion for me stems from within and is about acting with integrity, considering everyone in our actions and taking responsibility for our life. If one’s own life blossoms through how we live, then the opportunity to support others by nature becomes that much greater.

If a five-year-old child appreciates their friend, has complete love, care and compassion inbuilt, then what could possibly be a deeper, more meaningful religious experience than this? If we want to thank God for life, what better way than through our connection and acceptance of our self and others as equal ‘Sons of God.’ This acceptance is not found in reading a script and believing it means this or that, but is drawn from a connection to a wisdom that cares deeply and respects the feelings of everyone, whether seemingly the same or vastly different.

Our religious experiences must do more than tolerate other faiths: at the heart of true religion is a deep acceptance firstly of ourselves and from that love a deep acceptance of everyone, no matter what they believe or how they act.

Misinterpretations of age-old teachings may not consider everyone equally, but it is within us each to feel what the truth is and how we wish to be in this world. There need be no clinging to a faith if it does not resonate with the vibration of love we know the world needs.

The Way of the Livingness was gently and slowly introduced by Serge Benhayon as a religion, knowing as he did the negative association many have with that word. But it is far removed from other religions I have seen or experienced; it is in fact a re-claiming of this word that represents us as we truly are, in full technicolour, free of comparison, control, judgement, jealousy and all the other emotional currencies we exchange with in everyday life.

This is religion that stems from within – it is impulsed and drawn out by our own experiences. It is neither from an external concept, nor is it housed in an imposing building or encased by dogma: this makes sense to me – it puts me at ease and it puts us all at the heart of our religion.

I can place trust in something that suggests that I act with more purposeful care, decency and respect for others, more understanding, more commitment to people and to situations. To be more connected and aware of my inner knowing, how to handle situations using deep wisdom I have lived before but disconnected from. This way of living does not have rules and boundaries, just a knowing that we all hold something magical that is there to reignite; an ever-evolving relationship with religion, through oneself, with others, with life itself. This is religion as we can all know it… grounded in intuitive common sense.

By Stephen 

Further Reading:
The Way of The Livingness is my Religion
Are We All Born Religious?
Religion – a separative force or a healing power?

327 thoughts on “Claiming Back Religion

  1. The Joy and appreciation we have for being connected to our Essence, Inner-most / Soul seems so natural as you have shared Stephen, and should be the foundation we have from a young age and then we can live in this religious way until we pass-over, so we can return in the incarnation truly evolved from what has been lived.

  2. “This is religion that stems from within – it is impulsed and drawn out by our own experiences”. The complete opposite to what is institutional religion, governed by rules, dogma and regulations, and for me totally removing me from my own inner self.

  3. Thank you Stephen, it’s an extraordinary read and I feel my understanding of what you have shared has really deepened. Religion is innate, it’s not an outer study, it’s an inward one because the being we are comes from God, so knowing our true selves is the gateway back to God and understanding the grandness we are all equally from.

  4. “intuited common sense”, I love that because if we use our common sense we know exactly what is decent and respectful and what is not. We don’t need commandments or doctrines, we simply need to trust our simple, ordinary, no bells and whistles common sense and to be able to honour that.

  5. To be honest I don’t feel that we as a race of human beings fully realise just how saturated and ingrained the consciousness of religion is in our bodies. This consciousness is held deep within us and not only does it crush our innate sense of being, it colours how we are with ourselves, how we are with other people and the rest of society.

  6. “This way of living does not have rules and boundaries, just a knowing that we all hold something magical that is there to reignite; an ever-evolving relationship with religion, through oneself, with others, with life itself” – this is very beautiful.

  7. Religion can be a way of life that nurtures and develops a stronger connection with our essence which is divine and way grander than just the physical human existence we experience. Super simple and accessible for all.

  8. ‘I now know without a doubt that religion truly is something that comes from our own connection to ourselves and to God’ – I wish someone had presented this when I was growing up. Instead I was polluted with the community I was born into and its religion, which many times, I could feel just didn’t feel right.

    Wouldn’t it have been awesome as a child to be offered this, to connect with ourselves so we could see the God that is within us all – our religion.

    1. Yes, it would. It is hard to undo the parenting we have done, but to understand that we can re-assess in any moment.

  9. I love your expression here Stephen about religion and the way you describe it resonates deeply with me as something that is innate and inbuilt in us and not something we have to subscribe to or join or sign up to.

  10. The Way of the Livingness is a true religion, it doesn’t impose on you in any way and offers a living way that is unifying and embracing of everything and everyone.

  11. Stephen I really enjoy your writing, it has an earthy warmth, clarity and common sense, thank you. This is a great read on religion and claiming back what we all innately know that is decent, respectful, loving and true. And this is a great line too highlighting the difference between honouring that which we know is innately true, and giving our power away to religion, to – “something that is external to the everything we already are.”

  12. Our natural state of being is one that is religious in nature, as through our connection to our Soul our relationship with God and the universe that we are part of is known. And so, the question we should be considering is what it is that we are obedient to? The light we are within where we are at one with God, or the false lights that exists outside of us and lead us away from living in connection to our innate Godliness, where religion is simply an externalisation of our connection to our divinity.

  13. ‘This way of living does not have rules and boundaries, just a knowing that we all hold something magical that is there to reignite’ When we are able to hold and just be that magical quality in our interactions our relationships are forever expanding, deepening and evolving.

  14. To call myself religious was a big step for me. I could feel how much I was put off by the word religion as I was growing up and how capped people felt in their chosen religions. There was a point where the relationship with another would only go to a certain point. There was no true depth to a real truth. When I developed a relationship to my innermost sacredness I could start to feel the qualities of my essence. I remember one day during a healing session I felt something incredible during the session — we both felt it. I said to them that I felt God and the practitioner very joy-fully agreed. I was floating in heaven. It changed my life from then on to know I can call on God to be with me when I needed it. I am claiming back my religion and know my father is there whenever I need him.

    1. It’s a beautiful sharing thank you Rik, and it highlights that religion is our own personal relationship with and connection to God, no intermediary or special person is needed because we are all equally able to be connected to God.

  15. “Observe young children and their innate acceptance, care and trust in others will become evident.” I remember someone saying to me that it is a developmental stage to stop trusting and a sign that the brain is developing well. I find that odd because it is like saying we have to learn to excuse people who choose dishonesty over those who are naturally honest….that sounds the wrong way round to me.

  16. I like this line about an outer faith or obedience not being the marker for the true qualities that person brings. This takes away all of the disempowerment that can come from organised religious faith, and brings back to each person the fact of their soul.

  17. I love that I now know the true meaning to the word religion and that I no longer react to this word because I know what it means and how I am with this in my own life. In fact knowing and being able to live religion in my daily life has been a real blessing.

    1. I am with you Jennifer. It is incredibly joyful to know that being religious is very natural for us, as we are in essence the love of God and as such inescapably part of a greater whole, and living in connection to this innate quality, moved by this quality is what supports us to live our divine sacredness as such enriching our everyday lives.

  18. Religion is by-and-large a matter of faith. In truth it is about movement of a deep beauty and quality by which we cannot but surrender to the deepest of our essence; divinity.

  19. I love here that you say religion is something that comes from our own connection. It is a personal relationship yet on the whole as humanity I would say currently we do not truly have this and instead use religion to not take responsibility for our relationship with ourselves and own innate connection. To my surprise what I discovered the other day was also how people assume someone’s religion. In one of the places I work when having a conversation with first a young person and then a member of staff both assumed I was Christian (which I am not) and would celebrate Easter! This opened my eyes to just how much we assume about another without truly knowing them or speaking with them.

  20. I felt my body breath as I read the last line of this blog ‘grounded in intuitive common sense’. It is a constant unpeeling of the bastardisation of words and their meanings. Religion has such a polarising effect on people that it is often a topic to steer clear of, but then we allow that re-interpretation of a word, then we contribute to the bastardisation. Religion should be about a connection with God through our connection with ourselves and our movements that reflect that relationship with God. It is not about theory, it is felt and lived from the body in our movements, with ourselves and others equally.

  21. “at the heart of true religion is a deep acceptance firstly of ourselves and from that love a deep acceptance of everyone, no matter what they believe or how they act.” true religion is not found in a church or temple or something outside of ourselves, it is within our own temple, our own body, where our divine essence lives.

  22. I agree that there is something deeply beautiful about many people coming together under the one unified purpose of embracing divinity. However, I do find myself asking if this is what happens in church, and if in fact it were possible to live in this embrace instead, so that every moment with every person is under this intent, making life one massive congregation?

  23. I was thinking about how God has been presented to me when I was young and grew up in a family that would go to church every weekend. I remember I was trying to pray to God when I was lying in my bed, but it did not resonate in myself or feel real, but what I do know is when at school we were told about Jesus, something did resonate, a deep love within myself and for all people.

  24. I grew up in Religion and the endless searching to find God, thank Heaven for Serge presenting to us The Way of the Livingness which I have come to understand and know is true Religion. No more outward searching but and inward connection, a returning to the light of my Soul.

  25. Thank you Stephen. As a child I used to go to church, and if I am honest, I could feel then that many people lived a very different life, yet were seen to be good people because they were regular church goers. For me Religion is something we hold from within and we don’t need to go anywhere to worship, because if we allow it, God’s work is being done through every exchange we have in life and everything we do.

  26. “Throughout time, people have been divided and diminished by religion, and violence has often been used to control and to conquer”. Given this its no wonder there is much reaction against religion, including my own. The question I have as a result of this is does our current thinking on religion work? What has it brought us as communities living together?

  27. I love how bringing true understanding of what religion is makes it so simple. It is a movement we express from our bodies in every moment and the quality in which we move can be one of love or one of drive and or push. Showing us just how simple it is to connect to our inner divine in any movement we make everyday.

  28. My religious upbringing was a box-ticking exercise. Learn to tie your shoes, clean up your room, learn to read and write, go to church to get confirmed and learn how to drive a car. These were on the list. As I ventured into the world, religions and their dogmas felt wrong and confining. Why would you willingly join a group that if you were not good, you would go to hell, that’s a bit hard! The Way of The Livingness is what is contained within everyone and has no walls only openness.

  29. There is a beautiful simplicity in The Way of The Livingness, no dogma or beliefs that build walls or create division amongst us, just a livingness of what we know from our inner-most, something that we can continually unfold and learn more about.

  30. “This is religion that stems from within – it is impulsed and drawn out by our own experiences.” How very true it doesn’t come from what we are told or what we read it comes from a natural way of being, when we are young, when we feel everything that is going on around us and haven’t yet come to depend on what others tell have told us. We trust what we feel, not having been influenced into trying to fit in with other peoples traditions, cultures, ideals and beliefs. We innately know the truth and when we don’t live it it causes disturbances in the body, for example we begin to doubt the inner wisdom we all naturally have. Imagine if we weren’t taught to see other people as different, as less or better, with no judgement or comparison, simply accepting and respecting our fellow human beings.

  31. I came from a very religious family and perhaps that is why I grew up so confused. The religion that we were part of made little sense to me and when we find out the truth of its origins and the atrocities throughout history caused by this institution, it is the most refreshing thing to find true religion and find out that I was not odd in what I would think or feel.

  32. So true – we do know how to be loving and caring without church telling us how to do it, it is something we already are. Claiming back the word religion and living its true way is so empowering, and its meaning keeps on deepening as we keep on surrendering to who we truly are.

  33. I know when Serge first started mentioning the word religion there was a lot of tension and some resistance within me. My experiences with the world religions did not leave me with an openness to what religion truly is about. The care, understanding and love with which Serge allowed the healing of the bastardisations and belief and the acceptance of true religion to unfold is a perfect example of how true religion brings one back to the deep connection to God from within.

  34. Stephen I can relate to so much of what you say. I was taught about the ecumenical movement and tolerance yet at the same time was taught if someone did not believe in God or had a different faith (which was a sin) then they were going to be sent to hell – so it was not stacking up. I always knew there was a God but began to test his love for me because of what I saw going on around me that was not love. We are all deeply sensitive and The Way of The Livingness, honours this within us all – not asking us to be anything rather to return to the love that we all are.

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