Do you know what is better than charity and fasting and prayer?

It is keeping peace and good relations between people,

as quarrels and bad feelings destroy mankind.

- Prophet Mohammed


Day 1

For what reason do you worship? Sounds like a silly question at first glance, but I'd seriously like to know the answer. What function do you--the faithful; the devout; the pious--believe that worshiping serves? Does it give you guidance or is it there for healing? Maybe it's both, but here's my point: It has become very clear to me that, for the most part, people pick and choose how they use their religion regardless of what the stated (or inferred) purpose of the religion is. This, to me, is so common that it almost runs counter to what the point of a religion is. I'm not going to discount the power of an epiphany or natural progression, but if we use religion as our personal tool towards happiness or spiritual freedom then how do we define religion? Internally, how is it different from a good book or an amazing song?

I was listening to Faithless today. You probably don't know them, but they were (and still might be) a wildly popular house/trance/electronica band from the UK who I had the privileged of getting to know through my sister in the 90's and again through Korean clubs and European friends throughout the past few years. They have a song called 'God is a DJ'. 

Give it a try:

I bring this up because something struck me a few moments ago that used to pop in and out of mind when I was a concert-going teen and twenty-something. I have had many seemingly religious moments deep in the crowds with tunes blaring all around me. The uninhibited freedom experienced while your body independently moves and bonds with the rhythm and bass is something unlike I have ever experienced in a church or while reading religious texts.

As I said during my Catholic month, I don't like it when people attempt to redefine God, but is Faithless redefining God here or are they identifying the elements they require to feel a church or religious experience? The lyrics are as follows. 
This is my church
This is where I heal my hurts

It's a natural grace

Of watching young life shape
It's in minor keys
Solutions and remedies
Enemies becoming friends
When bitterness ends
Maybe I shouldn't call it a religious experience because it's not a religion, yet I'd be curious to see how the emotions differ. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating that bands can or should have the authority to create viable churches or religions, but I see nothing wrong with the fact that people identify bands in that fashion. For instance, I am now and always will be a Deadhead. Sounds pathetic, right? Don't care. Sure, I missed the first and second boat, but nothing is going to change the utter peace that their music has brought to my soul and while I don't agree with Ken Kesey...

The Grateful Dead are our religion. This is a religion that doesn't pay homage to the God that all the other religions pay homage to. 
...I can honestly say that Grateful Dead has carried me through this life much more than religion has. And you might say that it's only because I didn't allow religion to enter my life and to that I would say, so what? The Grateful Dead is a band and I always knew that, but denying their positive effect on my soul is just ludicrous. Their songs have given me guidance (Eyes of the World, The Wheel, So Many Roads) and have also offered me healing (Ripple, Brokedown Palace, Black Muddy River). Just how is that different from a religion? 

I wanted to start this month with that sentiment because the deeper into the game that I get, the more I realize that religions are here for us for a number of reasons. We use them as we please. Ultimately, people will divide and define each depending on what they need in their own life. The Grateful Dead has served a very real and helpful purpose for me in life and while it might not have a creed or a chapel, it ultimately was my source of spirituality. That wasn't really the original point of their music, but it was the result.

I'm starting this month just like I start every month: with no real goal and no real desire for guidance and healing. Jainism will most likely reveal itself to offer both like most religions do, yet it will do it in its own way and on its own time. Will I allow that or will I use it for my own frailties? The human soul reacts very easily to a plethora of triggers irregardless of creed, status or intention. The slightest of sparks can start a fire and I'm excited to see the kindling waiting for me in the days ahead.


I'm hungry, but I just finished a masterful meditation, so I'm feeling great. See you tomorrow, kiddos.


  1. Here we go again....interesting beginning this month with the Grateful Dead and their effect on your life.

  2. They've always been an important part of my life. Can you think of any non-religious times that your soul literally shook inside you?

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