May 4 Religious Traditions
“We are all rooted together in the ground of consciousness that is God’s gift to all of us.. and our joining is absolute. When the Islamic mullah prays with true and quiet heart, I believe that the souls of the Iowa farmer and the Welsh miner are touched. When the gong sounds in the Japanese monastery and the monks enter the timeless silence of Zazen, their quiet nourishes the Brazilian native and the Manhattan executive. When Jews and Christians pray with true willingness, the Hindu scientist and the Russian policeman are enriched. Thus, when you struggle with your own mind…, you do this as much for others as for yourself, and you help the struggles of others in ways beyond all understanding.”
Gerald May, Will and Spirit. p. 319-320.
In Will and Spirit, Gerald May writes that at some point it is necessary to become located within some valid spiritual tradition. It can be found in Anglican formality, Roman authority, Quaker simplicity, Methodist fellowship, Presbyterian morality, Baptist freedom, Evangelical and Pentecostal zeal, the center of the Sufi’s twirl, in the Navaho’s dance, and the correct answer to every Zen koan. All traditions have a core of truth pointing to a single, loving energetic Source of creation.
Polytheistic religions tend to keep balance between male and female images of deities while monotheism fosters a male, father-like image of God. May writes that it is primarily the father’s personality that affects the offspring’s image of God even though people learn most of their loving from mothers. May believes that even though the mother plays an important part in our psychological development, it is the father whose personality most often may affect our image of God. The monotheistic male father-like image may become more balanced in devotion to Mary in Roman Christianity and Eastern Orthodoxy. Rohr and other contemplatives also believe this sole masculine image of God is changed as we relate to the parts of the Trinity as masculine and feminine.