Transcending Society

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There are many different symbols for the Divine. I'm sure you know many of them -- the Christian, the Buddhist, the Hindu, the Judaic, the Islamic; Shinto, Taoist, Zen Buddhist, Tibetan, Native American. There are so many different signs for This; so many different symbols for this One Cosmic Reality. Each culture creates or structures a mode of expression about It. It's discussed in language. It's discussed in the language of those cultures.

And, you know, when a child that is born and grows up in one of those cultures listens to their parents and their friends, the adults, speaking about this Reality, then the child begins to form images of It. The child is actually being conditioned by the language of religious terminology.

Religious culture conditions us to think of the Divine in a certain way. Unfortunately, the human beings, sometimes, create a terminology that becomes rigid and dogmatic, suggesting that there is no other way to conceive of the Divine -- there’s no other way to talk about the Divine. And therefore, that culture becomes insulated. It becomes insulated and it becomes suppressed. It suppresses the authentic seeking for whatever those terms point to, those symbols, that their religious language speaks about. Do you follow?

So, the child is in a position just to hear these stories about “Creation” and about “God” and about “the meaning of life” but the child doesn't really understand that the adults are caught up in a conceptual system. So before the child even knows what's happening, it takes on all these beliefs, it forms all these deep-seated images about the Nature of Reality. So the child grows up in a conditioned atmosphere. It is conditioned by the knowledge that it grows up in.

And, by the time it has reached adulthood, the child will be just functioning in basic assumptions, which are never questioned, about the Nature of Reality. So at that point, the child (which is no longer a child), can adopt a spiritual practice - if he or she is lucky enough to find a Teacher or a Teaching that emanates Awakening, which is beyond concepts. And therefore, that person can begin to become reconnected directly to the Divine Reality. Do you follow? The child can become ushered into a direct experience of the Divine, which has no label on it.

But, you see what’s - I mean, you can see what's ahead - of this person: now they're going to be challenging all the conventional values of their culture. They're going to be challenging all the terminology that they had to ingest as a child. So here they are, fighting for their Life of Freedom, you see, they're fighting for their life, trying to break out of the mental and conceptual and emotional restraints that have been placed there by a culture.