There is no true religion or spirituality without kindness and love. ~ Swami Brahmananda
Ed was raised in the Jewish faith (as he says, Jewish on his parents side!), Deb was raised a Quaker.
We both began spiritually seeking at the same time in the late 1960′s. Ed was in his twenties living in New York City, hanging out at Studio 54 and other discos; meanwhile Deb was an art student living in London. And when Ed was in India being ordained as a Swami — a monk in the Yoga tradition — Deb was being ordained as a Buddhist. We both became teachers in our respective traditions, but by the time we met in the 1980s we had each left being part of a traditional order and were on our own, having decided to explore what it is to live a spiritual life in the midst of a materialistic world. We were like foreigners, finding our way in a world that was not so inclined or sympathetic towards spiritual life.
Essentially, religion is designed to be our spiritual source of comfort and advice, a structure to provide moral guidelines, a caring community, and help for those in need. And in many ways it is. But religion is also the cause of violence, wars, discrimination, bigotry, pain and suffering, all of which are a long way from kindness, compassion, comfort and spiritual reassurance.
Religious morality is also used to justify political reasoning and supremacy. In the U.S., the 1st amendment draws a clear separation between church and state, between religion and politics. Yet every presidential candidate is judged by his or her religious beliefs, as seen in the attempt to prove that President Obama is a Muslim, more so because his name is Barack Hussein Obama, which generates fear and hate.
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