All the great Sages tell us that the only authentic and genuine faith is one that we create. It is not following in the path of others. So, why are there so many religions?
What is authenticity? It means original and genuine. It is not a copy. It is fresh. A faith that is original and genuine is one that does not follow but creates a path. In fact, all the great sages tell us to find our own way. They turn away from the trap of religion. You cannot find authenticity by memorizing philosophies, doctrine, and dogma. You can’t pretend your way to authenticity.
Truth is not to be found outside. No teacher, no scripture can give it to you. It is inside you and if you wish to attain it, seek your own company. Be with yourself. ―
What is Authentic Faith?
Authenticity is something you can spot. Someone who walks their own spiritual path doesn’t fit the cultural norm. If someone is walking their own walk, they don’t follow the crowd. They are often freethinkers. They reject the programming of the commercialized cultural narrative.
They forge their own path. It is what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1). It requires the courage to create a unique path and walk with authenticity. We share the same inner desire to explore the unknown. This is the catalyst. To create your own path, you use tools to expand awareness and explore higher states of consciousness.
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen. ―
What is authentic faith? It is creating your own unique path and seeking your own personal truths. It is taking the responsibility to direct your own exploration of your consciousness. It is a path that values tools and processes, not beliefs and religions.
You may walk your path alone, but you will find others who will walk with you. You will share your knowledge and gain knowledge from others.
Pathways to Authentic Faith
Spirituality in the form of consciousness research pre-dates organized religion. In fact, this is also the root of today’s modern medicines. The exploration of consciousness was the focus of indigenous cultures. This was before organized religion came to power. These early pioneers are the real explorers. They show us the various pathways by developing tools for us to create our own way.
Psychedelics are not a substitute for faith. They are a door to authentic faith, born of encountering directly the sacred dimension of everyday experience. This is not the only gate to that discovery, but it is the most ancient and universal, and potentially the most accessible to the majority of the human race. — Rick Doblin
We don’t advocate the use of psychotropics or psychedelics. These are tools for the experienced spiritual exploration traveler. These tools are not for beginners. If you have a desire to use this advanced method, we recommend that they meet two conditions.
Some people answer the question, what is authentic faith with the use of psychotropic drugs. These substances immediately open doors of consciousness. So it would be best if you were prepared to be thrust into the world of the Shaman and Seer.
The psychotic drowns in the same waters in which the mystic swims with delight.
― Joseph Campbell
The Shaman swims in the same water that the psychotic drowns because psychedelics are like diving into the pool’s deep end. You want to learn how to swim and float before doing this. They are tools for pathways to authentic faith and spiritual experience.
These substances come from cultures and traditions that have an extensive history of perfecting their use. Typically, these are the last tool in a series of other preparatory practices. They are not for beginners. You need to be ready physically, mentally, and spiritually.
First, you need to be grounded. You need to have a solid history of spiritual exploration without psychedelics. We don’t recommend them if you have a history of mental illness. Always take them with proper supervision.
The second condition is that the person and/or place administering them is qualified. They need a verifiable track record of success with the safe use of these substances. They must have a way to verify the origin and preparation of the plants that you will ingest. They should monitor you throughout the process. Otherwise, taking any psychedelic compound or substance is risky. It is potentially injurious rather than helpful. Do your research.
Several factors can affect the potency and effectiveness of these compounds. Quality control is hard. That’s because the same plant can contain different levels of active ingredients. Preparing plants requires experience and expertise.
The Shamanic Journey
There are other pathways to authentic faith. As Mr. Doblin points out, ingesting psychotropic elements isn’t the only gateway. Another method is the Shamanic Journey. Some indigenous cultures use psychotropic elements. But these aren’t necessary to enter the shamanic state of awareness. The sound of drums is all one needs to achieve the Shamanic State of Consciousness.
The Shamanic State of Consciousness (SSC), or the fifth state of consciousness, is coined by Michael Harner (2). He is an anthropologist, writer, and Shaman. In this state, the brainwaves are also in the theta-wave area. Besides being self-aware, you project yourself into a “visionary state” of consciousness. You are both the director and participant within a landscape of non-ordinary reality.
This state is probably the most ancient form of spiritual practice known as the Shamanic Journey. This spiritual technology has similarities across many cultures. It is likely the source of modern religion.
This process has been modernized and rebranded. Some call it guided meditation and creative visualization. The Shamanic State of Consciousness is significant for several characteristics. The person in SSC controls when, where, and how long they travel. By setting the goal of their journey, they provide a level of freedom and control.
What about Religion?
When you hear the word “faith,” you probably think of religion. But religion and authenticity don’t always go hand-in-hand. Not all religions provide pathways to authentic faith. For example, Taoism and many forms of Paganism have the fewest constraints over freethinking. With these systems, you are free to explore and develop your path. With these, you develop your own path.
In contrast, the Abrahamic religions (3) have the greatest number of boundaries. These are the regions of Semitic origin, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These religions aren’t new. They are the rebranding of Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and Assyrian mystery religions. Many people don’t regard the belief in these mythologies as an authentic faith. Yet, they contain contradictory doctrines and justification for religious bias, discrimination, and violence. Moreover, they are absent from any real transformative techniques, processes, or methods.
The foremost concern of Western theology is to create a cost-effective income generation pipeline. They rebranded what was already in place. The focus of this rebranding was on cash flow rather than spiritual development. It used the mythologies that were already in place—no need to keep an army overseas.
Religion is self-policing using peer pressure to maintain the cash flow. Here the focus was on selling the afterlife. A commodity with no unsatisfied customers. This provided massive streams of wealth, making organized religion war-proof. It’s an intentional misrepresentation of mythology as fact.
What is authentic faith to you? Does it involve following one of the Western organized religions? Or, is it creating your own spiritual path? More and more people find that the most fruitful path is one beyond the confines of any religion. This is a revelation people have known since before the creation of Western theology.
Thanks for reading this article. We welcome your opinion, so don’t hesitate to comment or email us. We hope it provides some food for thought. You can find more mind-opening topics on our blog.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia
(2) Michael Harner, Wikipedia
(3) Abrahamic Religions, Wikipedia