Most of us have our own religions. We don’t have to believe in a deity in order to practice a religion. It could be manifested through patriotism by adhering to patriotic rituals such as saluting the national flag. We can practice religion through sports by painting our faces and cheering during a sports event. We can also practice religion through politics by attending a political rally and through entertainment by attending music concerts.
The dictionary defines religion as follows:
Notice that the word RELIGION has the word EGO in it (r E li G i O n) , which may explain why it is basically the manifestation of our Egos (tongue in cheek). But seriously speaking, Religion (of any kind) simply nourishes our Egos by making us feel superior, protected, and invincible.
Any kind of religion is an attempt to make us feel better and superior. It is a desperate way of deceiving the real self from the hard and true nature of our fragile existence. We tend to feel inferior to other more powerful and greater entities, such as authority figures and natural phenomena. So we prefer to deceive ourselves by assuming a greater role than what we truly are, such as calling ourselves professionals, wealthy, experts, and intelligent.
Our different kinds of religion can also give us a sense of protection from our volatile state of existence. It temporary relieves us from being prone to pain and ultimately death. It keeps us from being ridiculed and marginalized. We do this by armoring ourselves with rituals, citizenship, drugs, and fashion. It provides a false sense of security fueled by fantasy.
All sorts of religion can also make us feel invincible. It helps us feel unstoppable through identification with a sports team, political party, culture, and race. It provides a sense of immortality. This “eternal identity” is also manifested through family traditions.
But there is hope. We can still free ourselves from the deception of the different religions that keep our egos nourished. It is through the difficult process of emptiness. It is scary to refrain from protecting our egos through any kind of religion described above. But I believe it is possible. We have to accept the fact that we our finite beings and will eventually die. So, I invite you to take my challenge and start living life without relying on feeding the falsified ego. Surrender to suffering and embrace it. Practice mindfulness, surrendering, and being in the present moment.