I’d like to start off with a question, if you don’t mind:
Do you believe in God?
I love that question. And I hate it at the same time. It assumes that there is only one definition of God, and of course there is not.
There are as many views of God as there are stars in the sky, and no two are exactly alike. So the question is absurd. And yet we often assume that we are perceiving the same God in the same way.
That’s what religion is supposed to do: tell us what to believe. That way, we can all believe the same thing, worship God in the same way. And on the surface, that seems reasonable. But if you dig deeper, you will find that this is not the case. Far from it, in fact.
Religion as it is practiced today is based as much upon fear as it is upon faith. Many people fear that if they don’t respect and worship God, they or their souls will be in some sort of danger. And where did such an idea come from? Religion. Ah yes, religion.
Now, I am not opposed to religion, so please don’t stop reading for fear that this book is the work of the devil. But I would like to present you with a very different view of what religion actually is, what it has been throughout our history, and what it can be.
Religion is similar, in many ways, to a map. In fact, it is a map. A map to a wider awareness. A map to God.
But for most people, that map has become a substitute for the journey itself. Millions, and perhaps billions of people are holding a map in their hands and thinking that they have found God. Only they haven’t really found anything. Besides a map.
Instead of going on that journey, they are holding tightly to the map in their hands and feeling good about themselves because they think they are doing it right. Worshipping the right way. On their way to heaven. All because they have the right map.
Well, guess what? It’s time to stop this silly obsession with maps. Sure, they are useful. Especially if you’re just starting out. But at some point, you have to put the map away and take a step. A step toward what, you won’t know. But a step. Because the map is not the destination. It’s not even the journey. It’s a map. A collection of ideas, perhaps a starting point. But it’s not the journey.
So let’s put away that map for now, tuck it in our back pocket, and head out. We don’t know where we’re going, and we don’t know how long it will take to get there. Perhaps a few hours. Perhaps eternity. More likely, somewhere in between.
Along the way, we can take out our map from time to time, compare our progress to what the map said it would be like. But chances are the journey will look and feel very different from what we expected. We might even find that the journey itself clarifies that map for us, allows us to see the deeper meaning that was there all the time. We simply had to make the journey ourselves in order for that meaning to become clear.
It is said that the farthest distance in the universe is the fourteen inches from your head to your heart.
This story is about that journey.