Yesterday I mentioned the Delhi gang-rape case of December in connection with religion. When the topic was hot in the news, there were discussions on rape all over the newspapers and all over the TV channels, too. Whenever there was a religious person present in such discussions, they at some point brought up the argument that religion is an anchor to victims in such situations and that people find consolation in their belief after such horrible events. In that time I saw a sentence written online which rang true to me. A victim says: God was not there when I was raped, I don’t need him now!
I believe this is a very normal and natural reaction of anybody who has experienced something as horrible as a rape. It is even a natural reaction to people who face a sudden death in their family. Who could know that better than my family? I have been told many times and always by religious people that the ceremonies and rituals would help you in such a situation. They say you find peace of mind because you know that there is someone bigger than you looking after you. I don’t think so!
For one, you have to ask what any ritual or ceremony could help? If your belief in God could turn back time, I could understand the sentiment. A rape victim would sit down to pray and time would turn back to before the incident. She would decide not to go home the way she did but take another route. She would take a friend along or take the taxi. She would be prepared to run or she would just not go to the place where it happened. If your belief in God could turn back time, yes, then it could help!
It cannot though and that’s why I think it is crazy to ask a rape victim or someone in a similar situation to have faith in God and that he would fix everything. Of course they would ask the obvious: if God can be there for me now, how come he was not there for me when this terrible crime happened? How come he did not soar down from heaven with a sword of fire and cut my rapists in two parts? Or send a heavenly storm that miraculously makes them blind but not me so that I can run away? Or simply put it in their mind not to rape anybody?
There are people who say that not even a leaf on a tree can move without God’s wish. So please ask your God not to have such bad wishes! Why are people starving on this earth, why is there war, why do people rape and murder others, why don’t we all live in peace together? Why are we not all healthy and why do people pollute nature and this planet? Why are there dictatorships and why is there still child labour? Why, why, why? If God is almighty and if everything happens because he wishes it to happen, why is he such a bad person?
I don’t take the argument that he has a bigger plan and we just cannot see it. You cannot tell this to a rape victim! So why should someone who has been through such a traumatic experience start believing in God or find comfort in religious belief?
No, I don’t see how this should work!
After writing about the problems with the Karmapa Lama, I had some more thoughts about why people give donations to religious institutions like temples and churches or also to gurus and masters. Sometimes I wonder whether they think they can bribe God.
The ideal scenario would be this: a believer goes into a religious building, be it a church, a temple or any other such place. He or she has a problem and goes there to do prayers or ceremonies. This person finds inner peace, can calm the mind and maybe in this way find a solution for the problem. This makes him thankful that there is such a place and he wishes this place to remain so that he can always go there to pray. He thus supports the place with his donation.
What actually happens in the minds of people is not really this! People give donations not out of thankfulness and the wish to support, but rather in the belief that they can buy blessings. They think they can buy their luck or good destiny just like rice on the market.
They want to get something, they have a wish and they want to have it fulfilled. For this wish they go, offer some money and say ‘God, here you are, this is how much I give for you to fulfill my wish’. Even if they don’t formulate it clearly like this, they think that for big wishes you should give a big donation, for smaller wishes, some coins may be enough.
People thus try to buy fulfillment of their wishes from God. God however does not want or need any money. People have this thought that they give for God, or that God would love them more if they gave more but actually God does not really care for this. Otherwise what could a poor person give if he had a big wish?
When I am travelling in the west and giving healing sessions, many people come to me and tell me about their loneliness. They experience a lack of emotional connections to other humans and they wish for the physical contact that I described in the last days. Just someone to sit next to, maybe a hug sometime or a loving touch.
Often however they also tell me that they have never or very rarely experienced this kind of loving touch. I have heard from many people whose parents and even grandparents never were affectionate with them. Even when they were small, they were never taken in the arm, never cuddled, stroked, kissed and loved in this way. Some say that their parents were loving people and just could not express it. Others don’t think that positively about their parents. Whatever was behind that, for some of them it is difficult to ever have physical contact with another person in a natural way. They just never learned it.
If they are lucky, they realize it and, with the same luck, they find a partner who can show them what it means to be close to each other physically as well as emotionally. They are the ones who fear physical contact the most although they also long for it the most. They need to learn from scratch what is so natural to others which is why many people have made bad experiences while searching for this touch of love.
Many times, when I hear this kind of story, I then hear that they have searched for another kind of love, another physical contact. Instead of the physical contact with humans, they choose to be close with animals. They have pets, a dog, a cat or another animal and love them just like their children. For me this is also obvious: your pet is a being, able to have feelings and to develop an emotional relation as the result of physical closeness. On top of it, it is so much easier to start an emotional relation with an animal than with a human person.
So whether it is in the west or in India and whether it is the connection with humans or animals, everybody needs physical contact and emotional connections. Without these, we are not complete.
Today we celebrated Tanya's 25th birthday and wished her all the best for a long life full of joy!
Is a friend someone with whom you can share your heart?
Yes, this actually is the special quality of a real friendship. A friend is the one in front of whom you can open your heart and share whatever you have. You do not need to take great care of what you say and in which way you say it. You know it doesn’t matter, you know that your friend will understand you and your feelings. Even if you say something in anger, your friend understands where this anger comes from. If you share your fears, your friend will understand them. And if you share your deepest wishes with your friend, he will do whatever he can to make your dreams come true.
There can be situations that you cannot even share with your family but of which you know that you can share them with your friend. In these cases a friend whom you can share with is what you really need. Of course this shows how much trust is in between you. A friend sometimes needs to straighten you out, too, when you are running in a wrong direction. This is why it is also good to share: friends can tell you when you are going astray.
It makes you light to share. No matter if it was something joyful or a worry that you shared, afterwards you feel better. Of course, this friend can also be a family member. Your father, your wife, your uncle or your sister. When friends with whom you share are family members, then relatives become friends. Sharing is a very special quality of friendships and if you are able to share among your relatives, too, you can be sure that you have some very special friends.
It is always interesting to think about the deep wishes that everyone has inside themselves, those which you may not even be consciously aware of but which are always there and influence all your actions.
It is not about the sports-car that you want to buy next year, not about the house that you want to build in five years. It is about the wish to have security which drives the wish to have a house. It is about the wish to be seen and be important which drives the wish to have the sports-car.
And yes, of course some of you might say that it is pathetic male thinking to believe that your sports-car makes you important, but women do the same thing just in a different way. Men could say at this point that women have this wish to be seen much more than men.
There are more wishes inside you which go further than outer appearance. Some are just our basic needs: the need for something to eat, warmth, the need for light and fresh air and then of course the need for closeness, security and love. These form many of our wishes even if we are not aware of this. This, too, is our nature and why would you try to hide or change this? Just be natural, be you!
We were sitting together and talking about how easily people call themselves ‘yogi’ or ‘yogini’ here in the west. I have heard many times that somebody here introduces himself as a yoga master. In India people will not say this for themselves in this way. Even those who have spent their whole life doing yoga would never say about themselves that they are a ‘yogi’. They feel shy to say this because this word ‘yogi’ has much value to them and they have much respect for yogis. They do not feel themselves that they are great or good in yoga. Even after doing yoga and being and living in yoga for their whole life, they will still say that they are students.
I will be happy to feel myself always as being a good student. But I see here many times that this desire of being a master comes. People want to be in charge. They want to be a master and it actually is their unfulfilled wish that shows in this way.