I remember a few years ago when the Vatican abolished “limbo”. Limbo is supposedly a permanent state for the souls of infants who die without being baptized, but who haven’t been cleansed of original sin.
This was major news in the Philippines which is a predominantly Roman Catholic country. Several people were interviewed by a TV station about what they thought about it and one of the responses amused me. The woman said “I’m so happy the church abolished limbo because now I know my baby is in heaven.”
We need to open their eyes and wake up. Our little beliefs and doctrines do nothing to reality. All these years, this woman has harbored despair in her heart over her dead baby because of a belief perpetuated by a religious authority. Now, when this authority relented on its decision, she suddenly feels relief. What will happen next time if some other doctrine is created? Is my peace of mind to be determined by a group of people who have absolutely no experience of the reality they are espousing?
We like to live in the comfort and stability of their beliefs. That is why when something comes along to shake that belief, the first instinct is to try to explain it away. Failing that, the next move is to look for a cleric (pastor, priest, imam, theologian) and pass the burden of explanation on them. When they explain, we are expected to nod our heads in assent. After all, aren’t these the specialists of the field? Haven’t they spent more years studying and reading books, studying the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, the Vedas, the Sutras?
Sometimes, some of us still go further and question more. That is the time that others begin to look at us strangely — begin to whisper and say that we are asking strange questions, that we should just accept what is taught and not be such a bother, that we are sounding like heretics and unbelievers.
At this point, most people retreat back into the confines of their belief. After all, most people are not really after the truth. What they want is reassurance. What they want is safety.
But truth is seldom safe. And reality is hardly so reassuring.
Do we then live in fear? Of course not, because fear is an illusion as well — an expectation of things that may or may not happen.
We live with eyes open, in the moment, in the now — realizing the wondrous nature of ourselves and of reality. Life must be savored in all its sweetness and bitterness, in all its highs and lows, in all its tenacity and fragility. The search for truth is a climb up a never-ending staircase. Each step you leave behind falls away into deep nothingness.