QA157 QUESTION: It has just come to the point that service in an organized church has no meaning and one still has longing for this atmosphere that can exist in a church – of awe and a feeling of standing in front of something that is higher. I think that this is an important part in a person’s development and it is very good for a child to experience this, sometimes in a special place. But I have the feeling there is no such place.
ANSWER: Well, the place is really only deep in yourself. That’s the real place where you find God – not in any particular building or represented in particular edifices or pictures or symbols. It is only in you, in your way, in the way you experience life, in the consciousness that evolves out of the depths of your being that make the experience of God a living reality that permeates your everyday life, that does not separate it from everyday, so-called worldly life.
Now, if anyone has a need to go to a certain place because he hears nice music and there is quiet, there is nothing to say against that. I would only say, beware of externalizing religion in that way, because that too may lead toward a way of error and may encourage the weakest points in a person.
QA178 QUESTION: So why do you need to go to a church, because a church is kind of, I mean, it’s actually probably more illusion than real.
ANSWER: Of course, I agree with you.
QUESTION: You go into this cavernous, huge church with stained-glass windows. Is that really a true thing?
ANSWER: It does not help. It is not a necessity. Some people may feel more inspired there, but it certainly is not a prerequisite for finding the truth of the divine spirit within yourself.
QUESTION: May I ask about Christmas? Really, I’ve always been extremely moved by the whole holiday: by the lights and by the story of Christ, just looking at a Christmas tree or listening to Christmas carols.
ANSWER: Well, I have spoken in the past about this so many times that I do not want to go into this. All I want to say at this point is, again, it is the question of attitude. If you join your heart in love and generosity and giving, then it is a beautiful and meaningful thing. It furthers love; it furthers joy; it furthers pleasure; it furthers unity between people.
But if it is, as it unfortunately manifests many times so frequently, a commercialized frenzy, it loses its purpose and instead of something beautiful, it becomes meaningless and often even ugly. Again, it is the spirit behind that determines it.