Letting Go of ‘Sacred Cows’
We are living in such an axial age, that is, an age of dramatic shift in consciousness that even sacred cows need to be held up to scrutiny. Have you ever stopped to consider what authentic freedom there might be in letting go of sacred cows? What new possibilities you might have?
Of course I respect the practice in India of revering the cow as a millenia old source of milk, a prime nutrient in India. Shamanically, it’s desirable to have a reverent attitude towards animals as fellow occupants of the planet and givers of whatever gift they may bring.
When everything revolves around the cow to the point of absurdity though, the practice needs to be reviewed and returned to its original inspiration.
One of the sacred cows in the United States is the Bible. Certainly it should be viewed as a source of wisdom, where it is truly wise. A husband however who takes the verse “Wives be submissive to your husbands” and then wants his wife to knuckle under and do what he says, perhaps with some abuse mixed in, has lost his way.
The same might be said for fundamentalists who find some obscure reference to homosexuality, written millenia ago, and use it as a bludgeon over loving souls who desire to be in a same sex marriage. Here the Bible serves the cause of self-righteousness, rather than righteousness.
And how about salvation only through belief in Jesus? Where does that leave Gandhi? He never espoused Christianity formally but he certainly was one of the most Christ-like people of human history. Surely, Jesus will not leave him out in the cold, so there must be something about that belief that needs examining. I propose this: instead of formal belief in Jesus, how about belief in what Jesus represents: a passionate commitment to unconditional love. If you are a loving person, then you qualify for eternal reward even if you were never a Christian as such. It may even go beyond that because some people, such as Anita Moorjani, author of Dying to Be Me , who have had Near Death Experiences, report that everyone is in heaven. The idea that the Bible is the inspired word of God needs to be tempered with some common sense interpretation and, in the case of the New Testament, with the mind and heart of Christ.
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the event that Christ signified as the reason that he must go, means that all external sources are worthy of consultation and consideration but, in the end, we are called to look inside ourselves for our own inner authority. This is the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Someone might say, “What if everybody says something different?” The Good Shepherd calls his “sheep.” They respond, not from theological profundity but from recognizing the sound of his voice. When many voices are heard in the land, the wise servant will recognize which is the voice of wisdom.
How? By how it sounds.
Bill O’Brien is a Consciousness Coach. He and his wife Linda have lived in Shepherdstown since 2005. To reach O’Brien, email email@example.com.