We need less religion (as we’ve known it) and more well-being through religion that develops contemplative spirituality in its adherents. This involves bringing the conscious mind in sync with the subconscious. This involves philosophical changes, but they are no longer seated in the conscious mind as the ideas one holds, for they are no longer rooted in the “mind,” but in the “heart.”
It is not enough to simply change one’s ideas because the ego cannot fix itself. Once we recognize we need a raised consciousness, we begin encountering spiritual teachings that come from a higher consciousness, if we haven’t already. The egoic mind, the conscious mind, grabs hold of these teachings and works to shift one’s ideology. This is good, but cannot transform. Transformation takes place as one’s consciousness shifts/raises and this is seated in the subconscious mind, also known as the “heart” or the “soul.”
This is not sentimentality, either. It is a philosophical shift – a change in perspective – but it comes from an increasing awareness of our union with God. It is not mere emotion making its way into how one sees the self, others and the world; nor is it a mere change in ideology. Those would be merely cosmetic and short-lived. Thus, they are powerless to transform, in and of themselves, but those dynamics are sternly participatory in the transformation process when they are brought to play by a shift in consciousness taking place down in one’s soul.
This talk of “consciousness” isn’t usually found under the category labeled “Christian,” but under the category labeled “New Age,” “Pagan,” or “hippie.” If we can lay fear aside just enough, let’s look past semantics and talk more about the substance behind the language.
For us to come into greater and greater Christ-likeness, to enjoy and experience the “life of the Kingdom” or the “fruit of the Spirit,” we must experience our whole being coming into agreement. But with what? With whom?
Religion is the container in which we encounter and experience spirituality. Picture a room. It consists of four walls connected at four right angles, but if those same four walls were placed in a straight line, there would not be a room. However, the walls would still be walls. Thus, the substance of the room is the space between the walls – when the walls are placed so as to play their assigned role in the making of a room and live up to their assigned relationship to the space they create, which is the real “room” we’re talking about.
Likewise, religion gives us spirituality. But unlike the room, religion does not create spirituality – religion informs us so as to make us aware of spirituality, which already exists. Religion informs. As vital as that information is, information does not transform. We see this in the media, for example. Information is shared every hour of every day in the form of raw who, what, when and where, as well as various forms of analysis that picks up at the next question: What does this mean? Yet, sharing this information – even in great depth with tremendous care and expertise – has not transformed the culture or the world. Why? It would be great if we could bring about change by sharing information with the masses so doing so would stimulate a critical mass of awareness on an issue or set of issues so as to generate actions that would change the problem needing solved. In theory, this should work and, indeed CAN work, but the information isn’t enough to cause the change needed down at the base – at the individual level – because information does not transform. We see bad news on television, we feel sympathy for those involved and now know of the situation, but knowledge belongs to the egoic mind. We gain knowledge from our sources of information, like religion, but this is the extent of the assigned role the informing entity plays. This is where faith/spirituality comes in – to follow up and cause a real and lasting change with an awareness that is seated in a deeper place than the conscious mind.
So, when Paul encouraged the believers to “Be transformed by the renewal of your minds.” (Romans 12:2), he was addressing something much more deep than a mere change in the ideas one holds.