Faith has no form or rules. Faith lives in our souls rather than our heads. Through the centuries religions have been formed with very precise belief-systems and rules. They say that if we follow the rules (usually very harsh and with following harsh punishment if not obeyed) we will be granted forgiveness and love. These different religions have declared war on each-other since centuries, leaving death, despair and destitution in their paths. Is this something we should hold to?
The Tao gives no rules, only suggestions and there are no stories except the ones that apply to us as individuals; we all have different stories. It takes courage and conscious thought to follow suggestions; again, it is as individual as our stories. The Tao has been around longer than any religion, it has different names but it is the same source; the source of creation and one-ness.
I lived my first 7 years in Japan, brought up by a Japanese nanny. She used to take me to the temple and I loved it. It was light, colorful and loving. Children were always allowed to be there. Small children would move, giggle and play during ceremonies, watched over by benevolent monks. We would make games out of the music and chants. I loved going to the temple and I knew nothing of religion. These were not religious practices in a sense, it was more like a way of life and it was loving. Nanny would very wisely teach me without ever setting rules or punishment.
Then we moved to Sweden. There was one month left of school in the village, and I was promptly put there. On the last day of school there was a ceremony in the church. I had never been to a church and my parents were not religious in any way, so I had missed that part. On entering the church I had the biggest shock of my short life; from the ceiling a huge cross hung with a man (life-size) nailed to it. Blood had run down his body and birds had walked around in it, leaving little bloody bird-feet-traces all over his chest. Around his head was a crown of thorns, cutting his forehead. I flipped; I ran out of the church crying and throwing up, in a complete panic. Finally the teachers managed to force me into the church and I sat cowering towards a wall, so afraid, and I became wary of “my” new country, believing that this was what was done to people who were “bad” – children included. I realized, while sitting in the church, that this was a statue, not a real man, but when I first saw it I thought it was real. To me this was the ultimate horror; blood, destruction, hate…all things bad and scary. Like forcing a 7-year-old to watch a massacre-movie.