Religion and spirituality are like ice cream: we all love ice cream (well, most of us), but we all enjoy different flavors. Some people like chocolate, some enjoy vanilla, while others relish rocky road. There’s no right or wrong flavor of ice cream, just different personal preferences.
Here at the Abbey of the Redwoods, we believe that the same holds true for religion and spirituality. We all have a need for a deep, meaningful connection, but we all find connection and meaning in different ways.
The multitude of spiritual and religious traditions in the world all offer different “flavors” of connection. They are all attempts to describe in words that which is inherently indescribable: the fundamental nature of reality and our place in that reality.
This nature of reality is beyond the capacity of our conscious minds to comprehend, which is why religions and spiritual philosophies employ myths and metaphors in an attempt to convey through words some essence of this underlying reality.
They are all true and they are all false. They all accurately portray some aspects of reality and fall short in others.
By studying many different traditions, we can enhance our understanding of reality and deepen our connection to life.
Not every tradition will resonate with us – and that’s ok. The practices of some traditions will speak to us and draw us in, while others will not – and that’s ok.
One particular religion or spiritual path may deeply resonate with us and we may want to focus on that path, perhaps even to the exclusion of others – and that’s ok too.
It’s not ok to insist others share our view, to demand they believe our particular understanding of reality and connection to life. Strife arises when we insist others love our favorite flavor of ice cream as much as we do.
Everyone is unique, everyone’s place in the world is unique, everyone’s connection to the Divine is unique.
By embracing and celebrating everyone’s uniqueness, we can enhance our own understanding of reality and deepen our connection to the Divine.
Watch a video of a discussion on this topic