“Spirituality is not making walls in the names of religions and prophets but to make more roads and bridges to reconnect with humanity.” Amit Ray
It is interesting that many will argue over whose religious teachings are correct. However, when you study them, the principals closely mirror each other. Regardless of what belief system you follow, whether it be Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc., there are many important lessons that flow through all beliefs. Those common lessons can be understood and followed for anyone wishing to grow within their soul. They are helpful hints from our ancestors to assist all of us to find our way throughout life. Below is a list of a few common beliefs that will help you to see that the name of your religion isn’t as important as the messages shared by all of them.
- Treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. Although the exact verbiage differs, this message is clear in Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Taoism. A couple examples are the Jewish Talmud, which states “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman.” The Hindu Mahabharata declares – “This is the sum of duty; do naught onto others what you would not have them do unto you.” The Islamic Sunnah, “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” Many of the Ten Commandments in Christianity are based on the fair and kind treatment of others.
- Focus on the present. Buddhism emphasizes mindfulness and meditation. The Hindu Svetesvatara Upanishad recommends the “quiet retreat of Yoga”. And Jesus told his followers: “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow: for tomorrow shall take thought of the things for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
- What goes around, comes around. Most religions have their own interpretation of Karma. Karma yoga is perhaps the central teaching from Hinduism’s Bhagavad Gita. In this practice, it is not the action that matters but the quality of the thoughts behind the action that binds you. The core doctrine of Buddhism also teaches in the Eightfold Path that, “Whatever deeds they do – good or evil – of such they will be the heirs.” And in Christianity the Bible talks a lot about getting back what you send out. One example is Job 4:8 which says, “As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.”
- Money shouldn’t be the primary goal in life. Being obsessed with possessions and accumulating more does not equate to happiness. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Judaism all agree and point this out. Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib says, “The parable of this world is like your shadow – If you stop, it stands still. If you chase it, it distances itself from you.” Jesus stated “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Buddhism teaches that suffering roots from our desires.
The more educated one becomes on belief, the more perplexing the concept of hatred and use of one’s religion as a means to feel power over another completely contradicts the true core teachings within their belief system. For those truly wishing to feed their soul and become a better spirit from within, the best place to start is by looking inside yourself. Which of the lessons listed above do you need more practice with? What can you do to grow into the best version of yourself? For the summer solstice, instead of making it your goal to improve your body, why not focus on improving your soul. That would benefit you for more than just this life time. The positive effects would last forever.