The Buddha’s birthday is marked at the monastery at Chogye in South Korea by a small group of boys aged between 7 and 11 having their hair shaved and entering the monastery. The boys spend a few weeks experiencing the life there. Then, when the festivities are over, they return home.
It seems unlikely that the lads will grasp much about the theory lying behind the way things are done in the monastery. The concepts behind a monastic life will probably have escaped them. But what they have observed and felt, the atmosphere in which they have been living, will undoubtedly have made its mark.
In this the boys reflect the experience of all who try taking religion seriously. There is much that our minds are not capable of grasping, many concepts which we can’t take in or which, if we do, we don’t find helpful. Often it is more at the level of our senses, of our experience and our feelings, that religious faith seems worth embracing.
It’s not just our religious beliefs which are sometimes difficult to explain to ourselves, let alone to others. Maybe we can’t put into words why we think a certain course of action is right or what we believe is going on in a particular relationship or why we expect events to turn out in a certain way. In such situations we have to trust our feelings and intuition. When we give these aspects of ourselves a chance to grow, and listen to what they tell us, it won’t just be in religion that what we grasp goes deeper than concepts, theories or words.
Read: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. (John 3.8)
Rejoice: in times when my instincts have proved trustworthy.
Reflect: Is my faith based more on facts or feelings?
Remember: God might speak to me through my intuition.
Resolve: to listen to my deeper self.