Imagine that the world is a great circle. We alight into our human experience on its surface unknowing and uncaring of any god’s existence and begin walking the circumference of this plane. Like a giant wheel, this circle, and at some point during our journey on its rim, we happen upon a spoke that represents a particular religious faith.
Being born in America, our secular culture exposes us to the spoke that represents Christianity. Easter brings a bunny and decorated eggs with the mention of a man who, though crucified, was raised again. Christmas summons a visit from Santa, presents if you are “good,” and another, “oh-by-the-way, it happens to be Jesus’ birthday.” God gets a shout out when one pledges allegiance to the Red, White and Blue. The Academy Awards arrive, and here’s Jesus again, called upon in thanksgiving because he enjoyed that blockbuster so much he gets the credit for every winner’s win.
As many as 76% of Americans are formally exposed to this spoke called Christianity upon arriving in the home environment. Our parents teach us the simplified tenets of their faith, lead us in our bedtime prayers, and guide us into a church for more formal teaching. Some of us, disenchanted with the contridictions and hypocrisy we find there, reject all things "church". Some of us actively engage in acquiring this theologic knowledge until we are asked to step fully into that belief structure of our own accord and apply those teachings to our life. There we sit, at our particular spoke on the wheel, content just to have a designated space on the surface.
But there are some of us who hear a calling that emanates from the hub of the wheel. A faint tone at first, that resonates at our core, stirs the soul, and refuses to release its pull. Exoteric structure and fundamentalist dogma no longer fulfill us. We intuitively yearn for something more. So we turn inward, toward the hub, penetrating the rigid membrane of the circle to enter the realm of the esoteric.
We travel the path of the mystic.
We turn away from rules and into the possibility. We don't find solid, pat answers. We make discoveries, which lead to questions, which lead to more discoveries... and more questions. The mystic yearns for the personal experience of divinity. We seek to embrace it, contain it, to walk with it through our daily lives, and shower it into the world we greet there.
As we move inward toward the source at the hub, we begin to take notice of the other spokes on the wheel. Where the view from the outer radius of the exoteric revealed only the vast differences that divide the spokes of different faiths, the view from the inner radius reveals their similarities. The mystic sees the underlying unity in all spiritual paths and realizes that the closer we move to the hub, the less the externals of religion matter. We see that every religion was born of a mystic and they all point us in the same direction.
The exoteric realm cannot be disregarded. Often times is the first place where our foot meets the path, where our flesh meets the soul. It is a fertile ground in which the seed of our spirituality can be planted. Once planted in this ready soil, Source calls us to deepen our roots into the richer, vaster Kingdom within. The deeper our roots, the higher our branches reach to the heavens and the more vibrant our blossoms grow.
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