A few years ago I was in Los Feliz and I got to meet an amazing guy named Michael.
After a few minutes of talking the topic of spirituality came up and I asked him what his spiritual heritage was.
He thoughtfully reflected before answering, looked at me and said, "I guess you could say I was Buddhist."
I asked him what he meant by that and he responded, "Well, there's a lot of different things about all the different religions but I particularly like the calm that Buddhism advocates."
I totally knew what he meant. In my limited exposure to Buddhism I am always attracted to it's transcendent nature, it's sense of peace and connectedness to all things.
He asked me, "What's your story? What's your spiritual heritage?"
"Well," I said, "There are so many things I like about all the different faiths and worldviews that I've encountered so far. I really like the idea of strength in submission from Islam, I like the whole Zen peace in Buddhism, the humility and story-telling culture of Judaism, the puritan work ethic preserved in Christianity, the potential of the human spirit in the new age movements-- even the sincere desire to help people in practical ways that I've discovered through my friends who are Scientologists. It seems like every faith heritage has some merit."
I continued, "The hard part is knowing which aspects of different religions are helpful and which are hurtful. Which philosophies of life we should embrace or reject. To make these choices-- which we all make-- we use a kind of filter."
I explained that whether we know it or not, all of us have a kind of filter that helps us figure out what's helpful, what's true and beautiful. Whether that filter is our parents or politicians or the media or our selves. We all have a filter. Often times our filters can be very unintentional which can be very dangerous. And while not all filters can be perfectly applied, some filters are better than others. And at the very least we can at least make our filter intentional.
"So I've tried to make my filter very intentional," I said.
Michael thought for a moment and then asked, "So what's your filter?"
To be continued.
Posted on Wed, March 31, 2010