Back Theoretics

I Can't Cant the Cant

I Can’t (v. contraction of cannot) Cant (v. to speak in jargon) the Cant (n. pious language).

To my amazement (and amusement) now that I’m getting pretty old I’ve discovered that I’m living a religious life. It wasn’t by intention so much as worldly default. I was totally lost and confused, without trustworthy social anchors when, in abject and dire straits, I experimented asking inside for guidance. It worked so I kept doing it.

Now don’t get nervous. I’m not a Holy Person or even harbor delusions of self-righteousness. If anything the hallmark of my existence is just how out of whack a person can be and still open their Hearts. I’m not going to give you a list of grotesque failures and posture how great I am for overcoming those. They are none of your business and there is still enough remaining to be chagrined about without the load of ancient history. Besides you might well be having a harder time than I did.

Did you ever notice that nobody has an easy life here on earth? We all have issues. Blindly reacting to them simply for the sake of survival can lead us to make horrendous choices without considering the results of our actions. Yet all manner of spiritual failure can be forgiven instantly. I’m convinced that forgiveness and mercy are inherent qualities of Love, the spiritual foundation of the universe. Forgiveness occurs at the instant we recognize our mistakes and experience a heartfelt pang of regret. I’ve also noticed that I don’t believe it until enough positive actions have put the memory of my missteps way in the past. Forgetting is the proof of forgiveness.

That’s not what I’m writing about today, though. Public vs. personal religion is on my mind. For many people rituals are the substance of religion when all they really are is a placeholder for religion. For me religion was a discovery of Love in the Heart. That allowed a direct communication with the universe of spirit. Guidance tailored for my unique needs was the substance of its reality. Public observances occur at specific times and places. Personal religion occurs when the spirit moves through you.

Think of prayer. Prayer in institutional formulas seem to be good thoughts and valuable principles canted aloud. After a while meaning is lost behind the comfort of tradition. Prayer as I know it isn’t verbal at all but an attitude of the Heart. Do you need help? Are you sending Love to someone else? Your Heart is the power supply that provides the energy for your entire successful cosmic communion. Worship is similar to prayer but is an immediate reciprocal connection to the Creator that elevates the spirit.

Public worship can have real value even though it is usually ritually organized. When groups of people gather and create a situation in which a circuit of Love flows from Heart to Heart everyone becomes spiritually refreshed. That energy isn’t found in personal religious effort and is incredibly valuable. Rituals can provide an outline of activity that potentially allows that circuit to be created. With repetition they are diminished in effectiveness. Our ‘sacred’ things, books, garments, words, places, songs etc. become substitutes for the reality. What we need is a ritual of no rituals.