For a long time I’ve believed that in its essence religion is about raising individual and collective consciousness and answering two questions.
The first question is ,"What is it to be fully & positively human here in the world with others – and should I live accordingly?"
The second is, "What is the nature of reality – from the Kingdom of Heaven within to the Cosmos without?"
Recently a friend (thanks John) sent the following;
Tolle’s interpretation of the ‘Parable of the wise and foolish women’ (Matthew 25: 1-13).
The parable describes ten women waiting for the arrival of a bridegroom at night. Five have enough oil to keep their lamps burning, five do not, and while away to replenish their supplies the bridegroom arrives, and they miss the wedding.
The biblical interpretation is that one must always ‘keep awake…for you never know the day or the hour’ when the Kingdom of Heaven will arrive (New English Bible). Tolle argues that ‘even the men who wrote the Gospels did not understand the meaning of these parables…’. He interprets it as follows (Power of Now p. 79):
‘Jesus speaks of the five careless (unconscious) women who do not have enough oil (consciousness) to keep their lamps burning (stay present) and so miss the bridegroom (the Now) and don’t get to the wedding feast (enlightenment). These five stand in contrast to the five wise women who have enough oil (stay conscious).’
It works for me – what about you?