When I look at spiritual traditions in it’s “institutional” forms I’d like to draw a comparison to commitment and a committed relationship.
I’m not a “fan” of the fixed forms of, what we call, “religion”. Any religion. Probably because the form in which it is molded often is, and may get, taken as its essence where it says to refer to. Or is made into a fixed standard to express that essence. (*)
I like the quote I read lately about that, which aligns to it:
“I was always repulsed by the word “religious.” It always smacked of some unnatural prop that is added to being human.”
Now about comparing to love and a committed relationship. We (are to) commit and accept, bear with the very one we love. Also in their habitual life, the good and the bad ones. Her more or less rigid forms she got used to, feels comfortable with and safe in. Often based on the traditions of the family a person comes from. The way she got raised. The people important in her journey. Family, friends, teachers, etc. Experiences along and down the road that helped form and mold things within the person, that add to making her who she is.
Yet, we know – or should know – and make a real connection to that lifely, sparkling soul wearing that garment, these layers to cloth itself in within this world. Don’t judge it, ridicule it nor rip it off. That would be disrespectful and aggressive. Stay far away from that.
Yes, I used “she”. As I know there is already a woman in my world, send by the Source Above, whom I can and choose to fully commit to. She is already there. To embrace with my soul, before I will with my arms and lips… Commitment doesn’t start when you shove a ring around her finger. It starts before even meeting her.
Okay, I let myself get carried away a little, here.
Judaism, garments and fashion…
No, I’m not talking about the type of “yarmulkes” (kippot/skullcaps) whether they’re knitted, colored, black, etc. nor the size and forms of hats, lengths of coats, the “latest” periwig, etc. although lots of importancy and “knit-picking” is involved there…
I meant the (ordained) “religious” services and practices as they can be found across the globe in the various forms of Judaism, that serve as garments. In which it survived throughout the ages and tries to survive and feel comfortable in. To overcome all the adversities and to bring home safe and share meanwhile from the inner beauty that is clothed in that garment. Feeling secure and affectionately used to it, while going the journey through life, this teshuvah, this exodus-way back. To eventually make aliyah, to rise up towards the “Promised Land”, the Olam HaBa; the World to Come.
(* This is however a matter which is stressed seriously by Jewish teachers throughout time. With also beautiful ‘mystical’ allusions to it, with a full consciousness showing how the Sages understood and learned their students to keep an eye on this.)