I enjoy learning from enlightened people who share practical and spiritual truths that can make my life (and the lives of my family and friends) better, filled with more joy, peace, and love. And in response, I like to share what I've learned.
There's a story of two letters that helps explain how I can learn to be a better man, a wonderful husband, and a loving father by reading holy texts. And it goes like this...
One day, I was walking down the road in front of my home, and I saw two letters lying on the ground. I picked up both of them. One letter was addressed to someone who lived thousands of years ago. The other letter was addressed to me. I open both. Now, in real life I wouldn't open the letter that’s not addressed to me, but this is just a story. So, roll with it.
And this story continues with me reading both letters.
I open each envelope. The first envelope is the one that's not addressed to me, but I read the letter anyway. The letter is written in a language that is very difficult to read and understand. It's filled with strange stories written by old men who lived thousands of years ago. Because it's not addressed to me, there's little that can be practically applied to my life. I can simply read it and glean from it what I can.
Next, the letter that's addressed to me is written by several and women men who also lived long ago. They say that they were inspired to write to me and believed that I would one day read the letter and become more enlightened. The letter is about life, work, God, believing, receiving, consciousness, marriage, friendship, joy, peace, and love. I read the entire letter and meditate upon the ways in which I can practically apply what I've learned.
Each letter was written by people inspired to do so. They were inspired, in-spired, or in spirit. When I'm inspired, I'm in spirit, which comes from the Latin word "inspirare," meaning to be "breathed into."
This is how spirit, God, is said to be within me. Spirit is not a man. Spirit is not a woman. God is not some old guy with a curly, gray beard, floating in the sky, waving his finger, doing good and bad things. And God is not religion, which is man made and is based upon fear and death.
Is It to Me or Not?
To understand anything that I may read, I ask myself, "Is this written to me?" I must get "to whom" correct. If it's written to me, I may want to engage my mind. If it's not, I'm likely not to understand it. My story of the two letters helps me understand how to read holy texts, such as the bible, which can be split into two parts:
Most of the bible is not applicable to my life in practical ways, because most of it was not written to me. Most of the bible, particularly the Old Testament and parts of the New, was not written to me or any other believer and actually presents a false picture of the world.
In his book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Christopher Hitchens says,
There is a small part of the bible that can be practically applied to my life. It's written to me. Check out Ephesians. Throughout history, men and women have been inspired to share their life lessons with others who might believe in what they say. The majority of the bible is just for my learning (Old Testament, the Gospels, and a few parts of the New Testament); some parts are written to me, and therefore may be practically applied to my life.
The bible is like the story of the two letters, where only a small part contains spiritual truths that can be practically and empirically applied to my life. I encourage you to investigate certain spiritual insights for yourself from holy texts, such as the bible, without accepting old dogma that limited ignorant religious people of the past. When reading holy texts, get "to whom" correct. Read what has been written to you.
That’s the story of the two letters.
By the way...
Tips for Men to Be Better Men, Wonderful Husbands, and Loving Fathers