Last week, on Ash Wednesday I asked my friend Evelyn, a Lutheran minister, how she observes Lent. Touched by the depth of our connection, I’m often curious about how she tends to her relationship with Source. She told me how, during the forty days of Lent, she feels invited to go deeper into herself; to explore her relationship with God; to make and take more time to BE with God. For her it’s a humbling opportunity to confess all the ways she is imperfectly human, while accepting the graciousness of God to forgive and to love her.
I love this.
I met Evelyn when she came to a Selfistry workshop in Pennsylvania a few years ago. I was immediately taken with her. Her Christian faith is so exquisite, sincere, and embodied. Yet, she has no qualms about allowing every person the right to find their way to be in love with the divine. Christ and Source are one in her eyes … as in mine.
Selfistry is likely to be compatible with any religion, as it contains the fundamental elements that abide in most of them — a higher power, a mortal human, and the space in between. As long as the practitioner has found their authentic standing within their chosen religion, they will likely find Selfistry to be an interesting framework. Like Evelyn has.
Thinking of this, I’m reminded of a comment once made on one of my Facebook posts. A young woman was wondering why I felt the need to start a new religion. “Aren’t there enough already?” she chided. At the time, I felt offended that she would accuse me of such hubris.
Rather than defend myself, I decided to ponder the question … Could Selfistry *become* a religion?
The Oxford dictionary gives this origin for the word religion: “Religio, from Latin = obligation, bond … perhaps from the Latin religare = to bind.”
Since Selfistry supports individuals in binding themselves to their own knowing and to their own essential nature or higher power, then I suspect it’s possible it might be classified as a religion. However, there are few Evelyns out there. Most religions as they presently exist are not the kind of institution I would ever want Selfistry to become. After all, most established religions tend to bind people to an ideology separate from their inner knowing, often using others as intermediaries between them and their God.
I just can’t get behind this.
Not in these times.
Maybe humans have always been a work in process, but these times appear to be highlighting our species’ radical ignorance. It’s as if we’ve lost touch with our essential nature and have become captivated by an insatiable hunger for power and control. When it comes to religions and their role in helping us stay tethered to an innate reverence for life itself, we’ve been misguided by pundits masquerading as enlightened beings.
Here is my response to the woman’s FB comment:
If Selfistry is a religion, it’s a religion of self knowledge, self awareness, self responsibly, and sovereignty. Selfistry is not claiming anything new. It merely restates the basic tenets — those principles that every religion seems to agree upon — and reorganizes the fundamentals into a more user-friendly version for the modern, intelligent, and sophisticated human who’s comfortably outgrown insincere and oppressive forms of religion.
Here’s the deal.
I’m not claiming to be some sort of enlightened master whose feet you need to touch. I’m not claiming Selfistry came to me through an ecstatic state on a mountain whereupon tablets were handed to me from an invisible God. On the contrary, Selfistry strips away the guru model and places the compass of truth within each individual’s very own heart.
I realize that putting the personal “self” at the center of anything is potentially risky. These days, our whole world appears to be overridden with narcissistic sociopaths killing people in the name of their God or political leader.
But when the self is properly understood and put in perspective, an authentic, kind, and reverent life naturally unfolds.
It’s really that simple.
Evelyn and I agree that we have found the same truths through different paths. She has found her way through the religion of Christianity and its holy intent. I found mine through sitting quietly for a long time. Selfistry is merely a way to help you find yours.