Be Ye Not Conformed to the World
Be Ye Not Conformed to the World.
These were the words of Paul. They are as true now as they were then, perhaps even more so. Many people have a gut level sense that there is something unwholesome or at least shallow about big crowds, corporatism, big business, big government, and big anything. Religion is the relationship between a soul and its Maker. It's just hard to be yourself and committed to God when you are involved in something big that pulls on your loyalty.
There is also something dangerous to the soul in just about any worldly thing.
School, for example, is supposed to be good for us. Education, it is said, is the secret to success. Yet, the kind of graduates from today's schools proves that something is wrong.
Clearly, being illiterate and uncivilized (such as Third world savages) is not the answer. But doesn't it appear that the educational system is producing illiterates and savages? Many graduates can hardly read their diploma. High schools and colleges are turning out selfish, weak charactered, promiscuous, pot smoking, confused graduates. And those who get good grades often become the characterless, immoral and amoral types who push drugs to drug children, put MTB in the gasoline, or market violent video games to teenagers.
At a more basic level, some of you may have had a decent dad and a decent mom, decent aunts and uncles, decent friends, decent neighbors, and decent bosses.
All were doing "their best" and living properly. But something was missing. Perhaps you can remember when you were a young person. You looked at your parents and their friends, and you decided you did not want to be like them. It wasn't that they were bad, but something was missing. You may have thought they were too straight, too old fashioned, too pedestrian, or perhaps you thought they were unsophisticated and uneducated. Or you thought they were too crass and not idealistic enough.
You were close to the truth. But you erroneously ascribed the "something missing" to any of the above reasons. As a young person you could still see clearly, and you intuited that something was wrong with the life that leads to death.
Chances are you rebelled, determined that you would live adventurously. You tried education, perhaps drugs, perhaps adventuring in motorcycle riding, mountain climbing or hand gliding. Chances are you may have admired some rebellious type leader--even a gangster or someone your parents would disapprove of. You may have tried finding answers in other cultures.
Your intuition that there has to be more to life was true. But you made the classic mistake of resenting your parents for not being able to demonstrate the life that had a transcendent quality to it.
Your resentment actually cut you off from the inner Light from which your intuition came. And your resentment made you feel guilty. After seeking adventure in strange experiences, you came back, guilty and chastened, to take up the same kind of life your parents had.
Here is the answer. First of all, forgive your parents and other authorities. Don't hate them. Have compassion on them, for they did not find it either. Secondly, what you are looking for cannot be found in the world. Others cannot give it to you. Whether they be mainstream or counterculture.
What you are looking for is the Father you have never known. God is the missing part of your life. But let me warn you. You cannot find God in ritual, worldly practices, or worldly religious or spiritual organizations. There may be someone you have encountered someone who did have a transcendent quality to their life, but it was hidden from you. And even if you saw that they had something special, they cannot give it to you.
You must find God within. And you will only find Him when your search is sincere. And when, and if, that will occur for you I cannot say.
In the meantime, you're better off leading a proper life: eating right, being married, working at decent work, being fair, saving money, and being virtuous. The decent life is safer for the soul. The decent life can have its share of adventures and simple pleasures (such as raising a family, going on a picnic, gardening, riding a bike and so on).
But just remember: no activity, no matter how decent or proper, is a substitute for God. "Put first the Kingdom of God and His right way, and all other things will be added unto you." These were the words of the Messiah. We make a mistake when we put the cart before the horse. We seek other things first and then God as an afterthought.