Are speculations over how time might have begun and what happens to our consciousness after the body dies really the most pressing of spiritual issues? Isn't how we embrace the present moment far more critical to our growth and our ability to contribute to the world?

For centuries religion has prospered largely on the premise of offering "answers" to the questions of how life began and what happens when the body dies. Frankly the insights provided by organized faith on these matters is little more than speculation designed to comfort believers.

There's nothing wrong with a little comfort. But it's bizarre, to say the least, that failure to accept the specific consolation provided would result in eternal torment.

It's difficult to believe insights about the origins of the universe and the nature of an afterlife when such teachings are served with the threat of punishment should one disagree. Such a creed can only be viewed as highly suspect by genuine spiritual travelers.

The question arises: Is it really that important that we all agree on how existence began and where our consciousness goes upon leaving the body?

No doubt the subject matter is of the profoundest nature. Who hasn't lain awake at night pondering these questions at length?

How did the universe begin?

How is it even possible to assume a beginning took place, as so doing implies at some point there was nothing, from which everything emerged?

What is the meaning of this life experience? What will happen to my identity when my body can no longer sustain the life force?

What is this life force that animates me and provokes spontaneous thinking?

I'm sure anyone still reading this content can relate to the above list of musings. And certainly a number of other related questions could be added.

But while fascinating at the level of philosophical conversation, and perhaps useful in the formulation of a personal spiritual truth, how relevant are these questions to this present moment? In other words, are the specifics of how life began and what happens when the body dies really the most important aspects of spirituality?

Isn't it far more pertinent that we embrace the unfolding now without attachment and to the full extent of our personal capacity, that we might understand the true nature of awareness and beingness? Should we not focus our energy more on expanding into our own bliss and contributing love and goodness into the collective?

It seems the height of superstitious fear to live in constant concern about whether or not our arbitrary thoughts and observance of ritual will result in the desired reservation in the afterlife. And it's nothing more than fanaticism to demand adherence to a consensus ideal of how the world came to be, especially when the model has nothing to do with scientific data and verifiable research.

How can a conscious traveler be much good to him or herself, much less to the rest of humanity, by remaining fixated on dogmatic notions of the distant past and unpredictable future? Here is a revealing difference between religion and genuine spirituality.

Organized faith is more concerned with tedium and ceremony. Adherents must remember the names and dates of import and agree on the relevant metaphysical points. It is from the residue of religious thinking that people become obsessed with creation vs. evolution, judgment, vs., reincarnation, and so forth.

Spirituality is the pure exploration of consciousness, including self-awareness and compassion for others. Here matters of specific theology are secondary to living and loving in the gift of the moment.

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