I have been fortunate enough in my life to have been exposed to a large variety of religions and philosophies. I was brought up a Catholic, and became an atheist as a consequence of the inconsistencies and incoherences of this particular religion. I then got to know a group of people that held meditation meetings once a week, and I was invited to go along, with the promise that it would help in my studies. I found myself surrounded by a bunch of God botherers, that talked using strange words from an ancient language. Apparently called sanskrit. Even though I was a sceptic at first I did keep going to these meetings, as they made a damn good curry for dinner afterwards. I got to understand some of the concepts they talked about and I was curious to learn more. Still an atheist, I went to a "meditation intensive", which lasted for two days. The first day was all a bit weird, surrounded by trustafarians and ex-hippies, that seemed to be on drugs. They would sway from side to side during meditations, sometimes make noises and shake violently. They got very carried away with the chanting of mantras (that went on for hours). I was bemused to say the least.
The next day I arrived and went through a similar program of talks, chants and meditations. During one of these long meditation sessions I became very aware of an acute pain in my chest, it felt like I was having a heart attack. It lasted for some time and I was unable to come out of meditation. Eventually the pain went. Unfortunately it now seemed to have moved to my forehead between my eyebrows. I honestly thought someone was driving a screw driver into my skull. Wen I thought I couldn't take it anymore, the pain suddenly dissapeared. A golden light surrounded me and there were no thoughts in my mind, I was experiencing a very deep state of calm. It must be what many may refer to as "inner peace".
Strange thing is, I went back home and didn't think much about the experience. Still thinking it was all a load of rubbish. Then one day, maybe months later, I was riding my moped to work, when I was overcome by an intense feeling of, what I now recognise as, love. Everyone I saw was the embodiment of all that is beautiful in the world, I could see no evil and no threat in theses strangers. I literally loved everyone. I continued to have these strange experiences for some time. I was able to discuss my experiences with the weekly meditation group. I discovered that these sanskrit words were in fact very meaningful and were designed to explain what I was experiencing.
This is probably the most profound and life changing experience of my life. I went from being a negative atheist, to an enthusiastic believer. I had received the gift of shaktipat initiation. For this I will be eternally greatful.
I have since had a sense that there is a force out there beyond our intellectual understanding. However, I have fun searching for a way of describing this "Being". I have had conversations with muslims, christians, sufis, hindus, sikhs, bahois, buddhists, jews and jedis. I have also read a few books and web based articles on even more relegions.
I studied physics at university, partly influenced by an amazing book written by Fritjof Capra "The Tao of Physics". He compares the paralles between modern physics and easter philosophies. I have vaguely followed in his footsteps, as I studied physics and am interested in world belief systems.
I now see science as a religion, as it studies the work of god to try and give it meaning, albeit in a rather vulcanian fashion. I do however like the following law of physics "energy can neither be created or destroyed it can only be transformed". This bares a striking resemblence to many deascriptions of God. I think if you change energy for god you end up with a pretty good description. "God can neither be created or destroyed it can only be transformed".
It is necessary however to have a deeper understanding of what energy is, which I guess is beyond what your average person cares to think about. I will focus on something I read in a book called "The Book of Nothing" (great title!)by John Burrows. The book is mainly about the importance of the number zero in the development of mathematics, but he does go on to talk about vacuums, and the fact that there is no such thing as a perfect vacuum or empty space. We have assumed for a long time that there is nothing in outer space and that there is a perfect vacuum. The truth is that studies have shown the existance of a latent energy, that has the ability to spontaneously create particles out of, what appears to be, nothing. You may get for example a particle of matter and a particle of anti-matter appear and then colide with each other and dissapear, back into the void. This potential for spontenious creation is what may have caused the big bang. This sort of phenomenon is occuring all the time and this is refered to as quantum fluctuations. These quantum fluctuations are what I refer to as God.
God is that underlying force that has the infinate potential to create and recreate matter in its "own image". Matter is God concentrated, we are made from matter, hence we ARE God!!! How cool is that?
I have looked at different religions and attempted to understand the deeper meaning behind thir messages. I believe that these messages have been missunderstood, misconstrued and missinterpreted on purpose or by lack of understanding. I dont claim to know more than anyone else, but I will procede to share my view on the different journeys one may enbark on to reach God, Enlightenment, Heaven, Nirvana, Siddhaloka, Emptiness or what ever you may call it. I believe the previous list of destinations are sinonimous. I have more experience with catholisism, hinduism and buddhism that any other religion but what I have been drawn to in all the religions I have come in contact with is their more esoteric and spiritual practices. I would like to move away from superstition, rituals and customs that have become meaningless over time, or have always been meaningless. For example, going to church on a Sunday religiously, pardon the pun, does not mean you will be any closer to godliness than a person that stays at home and leads a good and selfless life. I will focus on the deeper significance of the different religious practices and their effectiveness in helping us attain Enlightenment.