I did enjoy the readings, but I’m definitely skeptical of anything resembling organized religion. For me Ram Dass’ book was the hardest to read, and the closest to organized religion as I knew it especially the later quarter of the book. I find his book hard to recommend. The Art of Living was the best book out of all of these that I listed.
With all of these books the focus seems to be on being present in the now. Whether that be Ram Dass “be here now” or in Michael Gungor’s book “This” the focus seems to be on being present. Enjoying the time we have now, and shrugging off the cares and worries of the past and future.
I’m open to the idea of a belief that there is some type of force or spirt that connects the world is some way. But I remain skeptical; as even that seems hard to grasp. The ideas of re-incarnation are completely foreign and to me defy logic and science. And Buddhism seems to embrace the idea of re-incarnation.
I do appreciate the fact that most of these authors are comfortable with unbelief, and have a healthy view on how to approach morality without a divine power. With the focus being on how we treat others in the here and now. Instead of working towards a religious goal in the afterlife.
The focus on healing yourself is also a welcome insight. And then after working on yourself, showing yourself love, healing and mindfulness. Only then you can show others those same things that you showed yourself. This is something that was never focused on in the circles I grew up in, and probably would have been considered heretical.
All of these authors talk about letting go in some way. Ram Dass being the most extreme; he talks of being so far removed from self that you are watching yourself move through life. To me that sounds like no way to live.
Buddhism mentions the act of letting go of all desire and attachments. For me I cannot embrace that; I know from a Buddhist point of view that is foolish. But letting go of all, what are you really left with? You may have peace but at what cost?
For me right now I feel like I can let go of my desire to need to be certain, and to need to know absolute truth. To define g-d or the divine now seems pointless, and I can let go of that. But I can’t embrace the idea of letting go of all desire and attachment.