Just as each religion has its own idea of separation, they also have their own idea of connection. To Hindus, it is called ‘enlightenment’. To Christians, it is called ‘salvation’. To Buddhists, it is called both ‘enlightenment’ and ‘the end of suffering’. Many great teachers have come before us throughout our history and preached these messages, some well known like Buddha, Jesus, and Lao Tzu, and some not as widely recognized. Sometimes the messages have been embraced, oftentimes the messages have been misinterpreted, and many times the messages have been shunned.
Those who have brought the message have run the gamut from being revered, reviled, and murdered. All too often, the message that they brought has been twisted to only strengthen the dysfunction, thereby making religion just as great a conduit for division and strife as for unity and peace.
Religious doctrine has historically served to bolster the egos of its adherents and create an “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality, all the while missing the true heart of the message. Nevertheless, in each of these traditions, the truth still remains at the core and calls out to those souls brave and wise enough to let go of the dogmatic trappings and find the wheat among the chaff.
Though those who sought the greater truths among the complacent traditions bore much fruit in the way of higher consciousness, once an established ‘school’ of thought was formed, the concept was soon snatched up into the identification of ego, and the message was lost again. Like the Gnostics of Christianity, the Kabbalists of Judaism, the Sufis of Islam, Vedanta of Hindu, and Zen of Buddhism, these smaller sects, though striving for the deeper meaning often served to only institute another ‘club’ in which one could join and miss out on what was truly being sought.
In the search for enlightenment or salvation, it is a journey that each man and woman must make alone in order to find that we are all one.