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What is Religion . . . and where is Your Sacred Temple?

"Undersea" - Manipulated Digital Image by Marg Herder“The finger pointing at the moon is not the moon” —The Buddha 

 “The kingdom of heaven is within” —Jesus

Not long ago, I watched a NOVA documentary about a unique group of science divers who dive into blue holes.  According to National Geographic, blue holes are submerged underwater caves and one of the most threatened habitats on earth. Scientists study the cave’s geological formations in an effort to understand climate change and extinct species. Because of the extreme depth (some exceeding 600 feet), they risk their lives in doing so.

What I found fascinating was a diver who commented about his love of blue holes, saying, “I go to my church underwater.” The breathtaking beauty, the mystery, the knowledge that he risks death, and the intense concentration required in each moment all make the dive a deeply spiritual experience for him. All conflicts and petty concerns vanish and he feels reborn. Here’s a link to the Blue Holes Project.

In another documentary, Happy, the producers interview people across the globe to explore what makes people happy. They discover that a sense of community, compassion, giving back, kindness, and gratitude are key to inner happiness, rather than an exaggerated and constant material consumption of things. Interestingly, one of the people interviewed explained that surfing—riding the exhilarating waves and being one with nature—was for him, not just happiness but also his religion. Like the scientists who explore blue holes, he found that living his passion in the moment is how he connects to the Universal Source of All.

What brings you that awe-inspiring universal connection to something greater than yourself? What makes you truly happy? What passion helps you feel most fully alive? Where do you find Spirit?

Doing what you love doesn’t require tangible worldly results that are only measured in numbers. It’s difficult to define or measure intangibles like compassion, joy, mindfulness, happiness, and love. But if you come alive, then that is enough.

As a famous Buddhist story goes, when the Buddha was asked if he is a god or is he merely a human, he replies, “I am awakened.”

In joy & gratitude, 

Diana J. Ensign


My book, Traveling Spirit: Daily Tools for Your Life’s Journey, is available now on Amazon as an eBook, and in print (both hardback and paperback versions). 

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