You may find this a challenging question, but what if the greatest expression of religion possible for a human being has more to do with how we live than it is about doctrines and beliefs?
This question points to the possibility of a practicality in daily life by which we might access much more fully a connection with deeper aspects of ourselves and the universe.
The one unifying truth of all religion is the very human need to reconnect to, and know ourselves in, the wholeness that is to be in relationship with The All. The fact of religion, this need to reconnect, reveals that our prevailing state as human beings is absent of such a connection – divided within ourselves, separated from one another, disconnected from The All – an absence sorely, deeply felt and always there.
There is much that doesn’t make sense about human life and society. For starters, how is it that, while the world’s religions share many values, including those of love, peace, the oneness of humanity and the sacredness of human life, and with the great majority of humanity identifying with one of those religions, yet so much of human life, the things we do and what we make life about, directly contradicts those values?
The fact of this great contradiction also points to the possibility of a practicality that is missing from our daily life, as we have doctrines, beliefs and values that we profess and aspire to, but when it comes down to it we fall well short of those standards and the behaviours that would equate with them.
Pursuing what doesn’t make sense, it ultimately leads to something within us each that which as human beings we register as the state of incompleteness that underlies our need for religion – to reconnect, rebind and return ourselves to wholeness. Seeking to alleviate the unsettlement of our incompleteness, it seems we make religion about the adoption of a set of doctrines, beliefs and values to which we aspire, but our movements on the whole contradict our aspirations, exposing that we don’t know a practicality in life; the very movements that would be the embodiment that would resolve the unsettlement and actually render us complete.
The situation is a compartmentalisation of our lives that might well be described as the division of Spirit, Body and Soul; the aspect of Spirit being the self who thinks and occupies the body, the aspect of Body being the principle of practicality and embodiment in the physicality of human life, and the aspect of Soul being The Truth which, if embodied, would unify us each, and humanity wholly, as we then cease to allow impracticalities – including the particular doctrines, beliefs and ideologies of the Spirit – to divide us.
Rightly understood, the Spirit is that principal of individuality that we all have as human beings, inherently in a state of motion and turmoil, on a quest to alleviate its in-built and inescapable dis-ease and unsettlement by many and varied means, not least by what it postulates to be religion. And so ‘religion’ in the world has become the very divided and divisive thing it is for humanity – the outplay of an endless spectrum of personal and often institutionalised truths, each upheld to be right and so making another wrong – compartmentalised to preclude any expression in physicality of even one principle founded on The Truth, such as the oneness of humanity, which alone would unify humanity if we made oneness and brotherhood our living way.
It is from this understanding that the possibility of religion as a lived way emerges, as a practicality of physicality in daily life by which we can access fully a connection with the deeper aspects of ourselves and The All and live life accordingly. This is Integrative Religion, at a practical level that integrates our aspects of Spirit, Body and Soul, by which we can resolve forever the dis-ease and unsettlement of the Spirit that currently predominates human existence.
Integrative Religion, it follows, in modern language could then be understood as the integration of religion (Spirit, the individual in unrest, seeking reconnection), science (Body, a practicality lived in physicality, without which there is no reconnection) and philosophy (The Truth, a known way to be lived which when lived reconnects, unifies, and so is honoured by all).
It is only with the earnest intent to see and understand ourselves ever more truly and deeply, to get to the bottom of whatever doesn’t make sense about ourselves and human society on the whole, that we stand any chance of resolving our deepest dis-integrity as human beings and society – that which underlies our need for religion in the first place. The alternative is to continue as we have throughout human history – divided within ourselves and precluded from realising the oneness of humanity that we are – and suffering the ongoing outplays of that internal dis-ease and the societal turmoil we all know so well and for which we seemingly have no effective, lasting solutions.
Ultimately, what doesn’t make sense is to continue to uphold any form of a lesser truth and way of life, especially one that is proven beyond doubt does not work, remaining divided and obstinate in the face of a greater truth that can be and is being lived, and which as a living way would unite. And if that is the case, then, in honesty whatever we continue to do under the banner of religion, such that one unifying Truth is not brought to the fore and made our foundation, must be seen as a form of religion that is not everything religion could be in its deepest, truest form.
What if instead of making religion about the management of our symptoms of spiritual unrest, we go deeper and make it about what addresses the root cause of our incurable woes, both personal and global, by restoring to unity that which we have divided within ourselves and within society?
This web site, A Case of The Livingness, presents the personal experiences of many ordinary people, the author included, who have done and are doing just that, and the growing evidence that supports our stories. Without exception, we have transformed ourselves and our lives, each having walked our own path of return to the wholeness that is the reintegration of Spirit, Body and Soul, which translates as Integrative Religion – the reintegration of religion, science and philosophy.
What we share on this site shows that there is a way and it can be done, as we each and as a group are in fact A Case of The Livingness, that being the result of the practical and transformative path of integrative religion that is The Way of The Livingness.