The promise was to clearly define what true born again means and to do justice to the matter, it becomes compelling to bring in Mysticism although the acceptable word is Spirituality. When we hear mysticism, the biased fickle minds are wont to conjure some sort of voodoo, occult practices, sorcerers, all kinds of magical incantations, spells and conjurations. This is how poorly mysticism has been misunderstood and badly imagined to be.
Because of this, some are so scared stiff of any assembly that has no façade of a religion. We would rather label some mystical schools such as the Rosicrucian, Grail message, Freemasonry, Theosophy, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga, Vedic, Taoism, Pateniali, Christian Science and a host of others as secret societies.
We condemn their practitioners, yet all the aforementioned sects allow people to be members and opt out, if one is not pleased with their modes of worship. Instead of satisfying our inquisition by taking the bold step of a “peep” into these sects and ascertain by firsthand experience what those sects stand for, we were clay-footed and in lieu we chose to be judgmental in condemning them as secret societies.
The definition of a secret society itself is very subjective. Any grouping that allows membership with freedom to pull out if dissatisfied cannot really be adjudged as a secret society. Private-membership organisations are not the same with secret societies or cultism.
The secret societies essentially are those that one must be a member as long as one lives, whether one is disillusioned with the sect or not. We wouldn’t advice anyone to venture into such darkness and devilish groupings.
The word “secret” itself is a controversial one. There is a tinge of secrecy or privacy in virtually everything we engage in, be it in the family, associations, businesses and social engagements. Anything that restricts fellow beings in the manner we issue invitation to guests and debar others from participating or partaking in our affairs could be labeled as a secret event. But it could be argued that not all such settings are secret per se, private perhaps.
Jesus Himself could be accused of having secrecy among his disciples because when he goes out to preach he speaks proverbially and at times, the direct disciples often didn’t understand him.
It got to a head that at one time Jesus was challenged as to why they don’t understand him when he speaks in public. For effects, Matthew 13 vs 10, 13 and 17 are quoted to wit:
Verse 10: AND JESUS WAS ASKED WHY SPEAKETH TO THEM IN PARABLES?
Verse 11: AND JESUS ANSWERED,BECAUSE IT IS GIVEN TO YOU TO KNOW THE SECRET BEHIND THE KINGDOM OF GOD, BUT TO THEM IT IS NOT GIVEN.
Verse 13: THEREFORE I SPEAK TO THEM IN PARABLES,BECAUSE THEY SEE NOT AND HEARING THEY HEAR NOT AND NEITHER DO THEY UNDERSTAND.
Verse 17: FOR VERILY I SAY UNTO YOU MANY PROPHETS AND RIGHTEOUS PEOPLE HAVE DESIRED TO SEE THOSE THINGS WHICH YOU HAVE SEEN AND HAVE NOT SEEN THEM AND HEAR THOSE THINGS WHICH YOU HEAR AND HAVE NOT HEARD THEM.
Could all the above quotes not be given the tag of secrecy? It bothers on individual perception though. They may be secret or private, but not in the sense of being evil. Besides, some things are better revealed after the disciples have been prepared to understand them otherwise, it would make no sense if they are not ready for it. Such preparation and revelation are never a town hall affair.
The exercise of the liberty to access various religions and sects for the purpose of determining what they offer as well as their limitations will go a long way in eliminating the unfounded bias that people have developed against them. Albeit, we shouldn’t hesitate to take a flight if it becomes necessary, once our tipster mission is accomplished.
Such experience will open our horizons and when we speak about any sect, we wouldn’t be speculating.It is this wherewithal that puts one in good stead to bringing in Mysticism in discussing born again vis a vis Religion, fully cognisant of what they both offer. Once we haven’t pigeonholed ourselves in the manner of not willing to expand our frontiers, by learning from other climates, we will perceive common purpose in the world and embrace all peoples across the world from a position of expanded consciousness.
The fact remains that we all a projection of the same Lord and only requirement to come to terms with our common pedigree is the flair to broaden our horizons. Nothing more, after all, no knowledge is lost.
Therefore, from hindsight, I make bold to say that whatever religion or mysticism we wish to embrace, the core essence must be the worship of the Word of God. Any religion or school of mysticism whose main objective is not how to access the Word of God, or doesn’t teach the method of attuning us with this Creative Energy of the Supreme Lord could not be regarded as holistic, all round and end-to-end.
But if we are satisfied with the exoteric aspects of religion with its attractions being befitting burials, colorful weddings, ceremonial birthdays and other worldly fantasies, which are influencing some people to embracing certain religion, such worldly people need not read further. According to Jesus, they might not be among the chosen few. This is for the fact that Spirituality is for the chosen and strictly about devotion to the Lord, completely devoid of any ceremony, ritual, rites and embellishments.
However, the comforting news is that people can still belong to any religion and still practice spirituality. It must be emphasised that spirituality is needed only if the religion we are practicing is deficient in the real practice of the Word of God. Therefore, if our religion truly practices the Word of God, and not by merely talking about it, we should discard any form of spirituality at once, because it would turn out to be an unnecessary duplication. Both Religion and Mysticism have common goal. It is to rejoin us to the Supreme Lord. Nothing else.
It is instructive that hardly would we find any school of spirituality that has rites or routine for naming ceremony, wedding, burial and other things we celebrate. Spirituality leaves such to the cultures and traditions of individual devotees, provided they don’t conflict with the necessary disciplines, towards the worship of God in Spirit and In Truth.
Spirituality is accordingly brought into this discourse because the goal is EXPERIENCE. Ordinarily, Religion should suffice for our purpose, but veritable evidence abounds that religion as it is practiced these days, does not give us personal realisation of unchanging truths. Sadly too, it doesn’t yield firsthand experience, which some great Prophets, Messiah, Sages, Avatars of eons of time past no doubt had and which accounts were recorded in the scriptures.
We may be depending for our faith on such writings. We are because we haven’t made attempt to have their spiritual in-flight. No one showed us in some of our religions because the personae-dramatis themselves don’t know and it is impossible to give what one doesn’t possess. We thus remain content with reading accounts of others. Certainly, this couldn’t be enough. It is impractical to get the taste of sweet meal by merely reading about its recipe, just as we cannot appease hunger by the study of a cookbook.
Worse still, the holy books of different religions depend for their explanation on the mercy of individual’s interpretation. This leaves room for differences and discord. Ironically, all these shortcomings are not of religion itself, but of the benighted practitioners passing from generation to generation something they have no direct experience of, beyond intellectual knowledge and emotions, both of which are not exclusive to any religion, believers and atheists alike.
Furthermore, religion as it is currently, gives us only promises of heaven and salvation. Yet, they both remain imaginary because the people dramatising religious sermons to us have no direct experience as the Messiah, Prophets Mohammed and other Saints did. The implication of this scenario is that we may be following religious practitioners who might be worse off than the biblical Nicodemus.
The purpose of all Saints, all Prophets and all sermons is none other than to enable us refrain from doing the bidding of the Negative Power. This Power is known as Lucifer,Satan and referred to as Prince of the world by Jesus. It is in the grand design of the Creator for an intervening Power whose assignment is to sustain the Creation by tempting us continually.
The truth of the matter is that the world can not run without the sins or karma that we are committing daily, through the tempting of the Negative Power and which consequences and unfulfilled desires keep us coming back to perpetuate the world in the cycle of birth and death. This shall be made clear when we go proper into Spirituality.
Meanwhile, religion as a necessity as it is, is unfortunately being made to lose its core objective, through of course those making it an instrument of commerce and exploitation. No thanks too to the gullible followers. It is rueful that religion is generally becoming more concerned with creating social status in the world for its followers. That couldn’t have been the original motive. Social Clubs and Service Organisations fare better in that regard.
Nevertheless, we must give credit to religion that it lays emphasis on moral and social reformation alas at the expense of spiritual enlightenment which was the basis of its formation.
Kudos to all believers irrespective of their religions. Without religion the current prevalence of criminality in the world would have been a child’s play particularly;
The extreme moral degeneracy going on in the world where babies are being raped, where politicians are emptying the treasury under the notion that the life of their Countries, especially Nigeria, is dated and may be expiring anytime.
In a world where the COVID-19 pandemic is suspected to have been induced by economic and other petty reason of one country trying to outsmart the other. Where the black are being discriminated against in forgetfulness that the Power behind every creature is the same God that has created us only differently on the surface. Internally, there is no distinction between the so called white and the dark complexioned.
The list of what religion has assisted to taper is endless. Because of this we must applaud religion and is strongly recommended for every individual for the purpose of imbibing the fear of God and fellow feelings, after all, we need pure love primarily before attempting to reach back to the Court of the Lord.
As we draw the curtain and take on Spirituality from next week, readers are encouraged to try and find meaning to some of the injunctions that prod us to the true worship of the Word of God. We will find them in several scriptures and for ease of reference I cite: Psalms 46 vs 10. It reads: “BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.”
Matthews 6 vs 6: “AND WHEN YOU PRAY,DO NOT AS THE HYPOCRISIES WHO LIKE TO PRAY STANDING IN THE SYNAGOGUE AND IN STREET CORNERS TO BE SEEN BY MEN. BUT LOCK YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS AND ENTER THY INNER CLOSET AND PRAY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS UNSEEN.”
Matthew 6 vs 22: “LET THINE EYES BE SINGLE AND YOUR BODY WILL BE FULL OF LIGHT.”
All the above verses and much more that we will find in the scriptures point to the esoteric method of the true worship of the Lord and they are introduced here as an attestation that the teachings of the Messiah are wholly. Nothing to add and nothing can depreciate them. TRULY WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN.
. Aare Oyefeso, a philosopher and businessman, writes from Lagos.