Why is life the religion? Because life is primary. Without life, nothing important to us is possible. It may seem trivial but it’s easy to take the life religion for granted until we are at risk. We do not have an endless supply of tomorrows to finally begin our “real life.” This is it! This life is the incarnation of matter itself and, even more, matter becoming more conscious. Every deception and mistake and every discovery of truth is a part of life. When we relate to life, we tend to think in terms of ‘my life,’ ‘my generation,’ ‘the lives of my family members, friends, race, and nation.’ Countless labels exist, labels we have added to life, and they often separate us from each other, either individually or in groups.
“There is as much continuity between the phases which we call generations of individual lives as between those which we call childhood, maturity, old age. The thing, the continuous and coherent system, is not the individual, but the entire chain of life.”
Robert Briffault (1)
The continuity of life that began with the germs that evolved on this planet show us that we are literally incarnations of that same evolving life. It is this connected-ness to life that gives us our moral sense. We feel shocked when something unjust imposes itself upon the living. When we pollute another pure source of water, those tuned into life religion feel the offense. There are tendencies that hold back life, to manage it as a means to some particular end, those folks who have an interest in the things as they are believe that they know what’s best, but this arrogance ignores the entire painful process of progress that improves life. We live longer and easier than our ancestors and, in admitting our problems, we could improve even more. If we looked at the contributions that women make to civilization, we would see the folly of those people who feared and, still fear, women’s freedom. Perhaps we haven’t seen anything yet, and the best is yet to come. Every improvement in life has been a challenge to older beliefs that better beliefs supplanted until the new belief is, in turn, surpassed. Each benefit of progress becomes the inheritance we pass on to our children.
We exist like buds on a long vine of life that has taken countless forms. When we consciously embrace what is best in life, those buds begin to open. Humans learn not only through imitation and repetition, but also through discovery. Who has not felt the joy of life in the midst of a new discovery? That joy is one of the things that makes life worth living, along with beauty and the sweetest affections in friendship, intelligence, and sensuality, among other good things.
When we think of what our ancestors went through so that we could be here, their untold sufferings and joys, we can take heart when we too hurt and wish to make the world a better, more loving, more beautiful place, a place full of new discovery in countless forms.
When we are afraid it’s easy to think that it’s only our own budding lives that matter. However, the truth is that some of us extend that care to those individuals nearby who we call family and friends. Others go further and extend their care to a larger group called their community, nation, or race. Still, we must not forget the vine is the source, the continuity, and the life-giver. The spirit of this world is not a metaphysical mystery; it unfolds right in front of us.
“Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you’re alive!
Think … and think … while you are alive.
What you call “salvation” belongs to the time before death.
If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment
in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now,
in the next life
you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth,
find out who the Teacher is,
believe in the great sound.
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.
Elsewhere Kabir mentions that life is not the sort of guest we will meet twice. Through the trials and uncertainties, we can trust that life will evolve in spite of setbacks and resistances from those of us who cling to the past. We will improve our legacy, keeping what is best, improving the rest, and giving better knowledge as life moves forward, we a hope that our contributions will aid the same life that flowed into us as it flows into the next generations that will live in a world that we will never see and can never imagine. I wish for them the best and ongoing new discoveries.
(1) Briffault, Robert. Psyche’s Lamp. New York, NY: George Allen & Unwin, 1921
(2) Vickers, Todd. The Relevance of Kabir. Felton, California: Vickers Publications, 2015.