A JOURNAL OF TRANS-ETHNIC SPIRITUALITY
VOL. 1, ISSUE 4
What is trans-ethnic spirituality? Can there be such a thing? The last hundred years have been a challenging and exciting time for religions around the world. With the advent of world travel and global communications, we live in a time of great change and expanding vistas of knowledge. There are now areas all over the world where people of differing faith are neighbors living on the same street. These new conditions have placed a great stress on those who wish to maintain the purity of their religious faith.
Many of the world’s religions are, in essence, closed systems which, as traditions, do not take the religious ideas of others into account and even discourage a knowledge of the doctrines of other religions. Due to the limited travel and availability of knowledge of the followers of the various religions in the past, many followers have developed a contempt and even fear of other’s religious beliefs. This contempt and fear has come down to the present day and is perpetuated by well meaning clergy persons of all religions.
The question is, “Is it a necessary requirement for people of different faiths to hold each other’s religious beliefs in contempt or would our faith be deepened and our service to God and humanity be better served by a knowledge and respect of all religions and spiritual paths?”
Ethnic, as a general term, may refer to any group of people who share a common group of customs or language or characteristics. We all share in and are members of innumerable ethnic groups, any where from which sex group we are a member of to what profession we are engaged in. To think in trans-ethnic terms would be to rise above the perspective of the groups to which we belong and to widen our perspective so that we may take in views that might not be common to the groups that we are members of. This is not to say that one would abandon the views of one’s group of origin but, by understanding the views of others we have an opportunity to deepen and clarify those views and beliefs that we normally would only take for granted.
All of the religions of the world are treasure troves of spiritual wisdom and if we are dedicated pilgrims on the path of the spirit, we can only benefit by the wisdom of others. One of the great hurdles that must be overcome by those who would open themselves to the beliefs of others is the identity or belief crisis that attends the breaking out of the shell of ignorance. The uncertainty of striking out into the unknown, especially when one’s religious peers discourage such inquiry with passion and seeming authority, is enough to prevent most from the challenge of striving toward a broadened perspective and a deep internal questioning. But these are the very things that our present times call for. Many have responded to the stresses of the times by becoming increasingly fundamentalist. But I would suggest here that if we delve deeply, even to the extent of taking any religious tradition to its fundamental conclusions, we will arrive at the trans-ethnic. If we are progressive and we move out to the far reaches of progressivism we will arrive at the trans-ethnic. In short, spiritual movement in any direction will, in the end lead to the trans-ethnic nature of the spirit.
True spirituality is beyond the confines of any doctrine or belief and thus beyond the confines of any particular religion. This is not to say that any religious tradition is wrong or limited but that when a person comes face to face with his or her deepest nature or has encountered the very bedrock of being, one has gone beyond the mere beliefs of religion and entered its ontological basis and has touched the trans-ethnic nature of Reality. Thus the trans-ethnic perspective is predicated on having had a realization of the underlying Unity of Being to which we are each intrinsically connected and take our being from. Peoples of all religious backgrounds and traditions have had such a realization. In some traditions it is called enlightenment, in others, salvation or entering the Kingdom of Heaven; in others it is called awakening from sleep or being reborn.
It is that precious mystical realization that brings clarity to life and thrusts one into a higher order of living. What is blind faith to many is certainty to individuals who have had such an experience. Where many would tremble with fear, such individuals step boldly forward in faith. It is these individuals who are the most likely to grasp the trans-ethnic nature of spirituality. Such people live in all parts of the world and can be found in all walks of life. They may not even be particularity religious in their attitudes or appearences and yet there is a wisdom in them and a way about them that sets them apart in some subtle way.
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