Religion and Philosophy in truth have the same purpose, to try to answer the question of the meaning of life.
In philosophy the question is addressed through the “general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.”
In religion there is usually the discussion of deity or deities and the ways to appease them. Sadly, these ideas are not actually what religion is about when you read most of the founders. They usually refer to the idea of finding deity within ourselves and bringing it into manifestation.
In this context, religion takes on the Latin origin of re-ligare which means to relink or rejoin. I have always found it interesting that this definition for religion is nearly the same as the word “yoga” (Sanskrit, Pāli: योग yóga) which means to rejoin.
To relink or rejoin what?
I have mentioned on many occasions the amazement that I felt when I realized that every Religion agrees on the idea that we are eternal Spiritual or Energy beings that only inhabit these bodies and then continue after wards in some other existence.
Many would call this a return to the Source or, some would call, God (oh no, he used the “G” word). Call this whatever you may.
The Buddha talks about reaching the state of Nirvāna (Sanskrit: निर्वाण) which literally means “blowing out.” It is a state where the metaphorical “fires” of desire, hatred and delusion are blown out or cease to be the controlling forces in life.
In Hinduism the idea is expressed in many ways ranging from the Vedantist’s “neti neti” (Sanskrit: नेति नेति) which is used to separate the real from the illusion and since everything the senses can recognize is illusion the idea is the translation of “Not this, not that.” Many other sects refer to it as rejoining their view of the ultimate aspect of God which can only happen through “Self-Realization” in one form or another.
The Abrahamic traditions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have an often overlooked expression of this in the first book of Moses, Genesis (Greek: Γένεσις, “birth”, “origin,” from Hebrew: בְּרֵאשִׁית, B’reishit, “in the beginning”).
At the end of the second chapter we have a statement “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Gen 2:25). Immediately after this is the famous temptation and fall. The very first thing that happens is that they become aware of their nakedness and were so ashamed they covered themselves and hid from the presence of God when he came to visit. I cannot help giggling at the first question out of God’s mouth after hearing of their awareness of their nakedness; “Who told thee that thou wast naked?” (Gen 3:11)
The Meaning of Life
The underlying idea in all these traditions are the same, restore knowledge of our true selves. This is the Meaning of Life; to reclaim our rightful existences as Spirit, energy beings and place the focus of our Life there.
This is my personal favorite quote about this:
“You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”
Teilhard de Chardin
When we stop looking for happiness in those things we find around us and reacquaint ourselves with this higher nature, my personal experience is that all things become a joy and sadness and hopelessness vanish.
So I place a challenge before you, start to look at your life from the perspective of that Spirit or Energy being and see what it does to your perspectives on Life. If you are anything like I am, in a surprisingly short time you will find those things that were SO important yesterday will make you wonder and laugh at their silliness today.
Try it and tell me what happens, I dare you!