xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

The Rev. Ellin M. Dize: Perceived truth is subjective

There are thousands of religions and philosophies to explore answers to serious questions: "What is my purpose in life?" "What happens to me after I die?"

Some people prefer a religion that tells them exactly what to do. There can be a sense of comfort just by following the rules: Don't mix milk with meat. Don't eat meat on Friday - eat fish. Don't use an animal for food. Abstain from smoking, drinking alcoholic/caffeinated beverages or eating pork. Worship God on Sunday, or maybe Saturday; don't do any work that day - rest. For proper worship, address God only as "_____."

Advertisement

The reason there are so many religions now is because at one time, people's interpretations differed or they broke the rules, they felt guilt or shame and joined others who broke the same rules. Voila, a new religion evolved. Since there are as many religions as thought systems, how can we say, "This religion is right and that one's wrong"? Instead of respecting each other and uniting as one people, we separate ourselves. Learning how others worship can become so unnerving and uncomfortable for some people, you can almost hear their rejective wheels turning in their heads, crying out: "Don't confuse me with the facts."

"We do not see the world as it is. We see the world as we are" (The Talmud and Anais Nin). This quote summarizes the idea that the truth one perceives is subjective and can be wrong. Personal truth is a summation of a story we tell ourselves based on our perception derived through education, experience and one's current state of mind. In Buddhism, one works at detaching oneself from life's events, understanding you are creating the meaning of events. Buddhists feel this is a path to enlightenment and happiness. It takes great effort to detach from one's beliefs, challenge them, reframe them and develop new, healthier beliefs. With practice, one can achieve a happier, more peaceful life. It is said that 90 percent of your long-term happiness is predicted by the way you process the world - not by the world itself. To stay grounded, I like to remember this quote by Lao Tzu: "If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."

Advertisement
Advertisement

We cannot blame the world for the state of our lives (it was our parents, our boss or bad breaks). The moment we understand we are not separate from God, and we are all one, we can stop looking outside ourselves for answers. The common denominator in your life is you. The world is not making you miserable, and it's not the priest who scurries down the aisle with pomp and circumstance that makes you feel high; it's you.

Your purpose in life is doing what you love doing and losing track of time doing it. When you die, you go up, according to Debbie Ford, but Deepak Chopra thinks you don't go anywhere - you just change form.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement