Two questions part 1 religion and me


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This is a slide-show which explores the questions 'What is Religion?' and 'Who or what is God?' The first of four parts, in this part, 'Religion and Me' we explore the first question, looking at the way that each person is part of the picture of religion and asking 'Who am I?' The concepts of Body, Mind and Spirit are explored using poetry and image. Parts 2,3 and 4 can be ordered from www,

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Two questions part 1 religion and me

  1. 1. Two Questions – God and Religion
  2. 2. What is Religion?And the God question. 300 slides (including 66 of lead-in)
  3. 3. God And ReligionThis topic is explored in three sections:Part One – Religion and MePart Two – Religion in ActionPart Three – The Great World ReligionsPart Four – The God Question
  4. 4. Religion and me
  5. 5. Lead-InThe following sixty slides come from my‘Reflections On Life’ Slide-Show – Part 1,timed to give a ten-minute ‘count-down’ to the firstpart of four which make up ‘Two Questions.’This is just to provide a reflective atmosphere tothe workshop which explores two questions – What is Religion? And Who or What is God? In this first part we explore the subject of Religion and Me
  6. 6. …Aum ~ Shanti ~ Shanti ~ Shanti ~ Aum…
  7. 7. “Music gives soul to the universe wings to the mindflight to the imagination and life to everything" Plato
  8. 8. In the beginning was the Word. Andthe Word was with God and the Wordwas God….
  9. 9. “The unexaminedlife is not worth living.” Socrates
  10. 10. There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; oryou can live as if everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein
  11. 11. “If you dont love yourself, you cannot love others.You will not be able to love others. If you have no compassion for yourself then you are not able to develop compassion for others.” Dalai Lama
  12. 12. Nothing is more precious than peace. Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind. Daisaku Ikeda
  13. 13. Peace may sound simple – one beautiful word – But it requires everything we have, every quality, every strength,every dream, every high ideal. Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)
  14. 14. The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls ofpeople when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the centre of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this centre is really everywhere, it is within each of us. Black Elk (1863-1950)
  15. 15. Each soulIs a leafOf God’sUniversalHeart-Tree.Sri Chinmoy
  16. 16. to be self evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowedby their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty,and the pursuit of happiness.
  17. 17. If there is to be peace in the world,There must be peace in the nations.If there is to be peace in the nations, There must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, There must be peace between neighbours…..
  18. 18. …..If there is to be peace between neighbours, There must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, There must be peace in the heart. -- Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.)
  19. 19. About the authorDurgaMata Chaudhuri has been absorbed by the subjects of God andreligion all her life. Born into a Quaker farming family, on leaving homeshe lived in Ulster, during the height of ‘the Troubles,’ which intensifiedher own search for Truth.Not long after returning to England to study in Birmingham, she met thespiritual Teacher Sri Chinmoy who subsequently gave her the spiritualname DurgaMata.Inspired by worshipping with her Hindu in-laws and with friends frommany different religions, DurgaMata took a degree in Theology andReligious Studies (twinned with mural art) at Roehampton University andtrained as a specialist teacher in RE and Art. She has taught for morethan 20 years and now works as a free-lance RE Consultant and silk-paint artist.DurgaMata believes that there is no such thing as a neutral viewpoint. Asa Theist, she respects all faith positions including agnostic and atheist,but her own love for God both underpins and is reflected in this resource.
  20. 20. Many of the images in Two Questions comefrom our own photographs. Others have been gathered from many sources. A full list of credits is being prepared.We hope that all whose photographs have been used will be happy and proud to be included in this slide-show - but should any copyright questions arise we will be happy to make any adjustments necessary.
  21. 21. Two Questions –God and Religion
  22. 22. What is Religion?And the God question. 300 slides (including 66 from lead-in)
  23. 23. The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
  24. 24. What is Religion?What do you think ?Religion is something we all have views about.
  25. 25. Activity 1 Think about the question What is religion? Working on your own, What are the most important words or short phrases that you would want to include in your answer?Write these words on a ‘postit’ and stick them on theflip-chart at the front of the room for later discussion.
  26. 26. Religion is about me• Religion is a subject that you have to think about.• Everyone has a point of view on this subject.• And in the subject of religion, your views are important. So are mine.• We may not agree but all our views matter.• Religion is about you.• Religion is about me.• Religion is about everyone.
  27. 27. girls
  28. 28. andboys
  29. 29. Old
  30. 30. andyoung
  31. 31. We asked reception children .They gave lots of answers and they did notall agree - but their answers followed apattern. They all could be grouped by theideas they expressed. There were four mainideas.The children said that • Religion is about what I believe. • Religion is about doing things. • Religion is about Jesus and Christianity. • Religion is about God. Here are some of the answers they gave -
  32. 32. Religion is about Belief?• Your own opinion.• A belief in different countries.• What you believe in.• Believing in everyone.• Believe to do something.• What I believe.• Person who believes.
  33. 33. Your Own Opinion My favourite of these answers: „Your Own Opinion‟is a very insightful answer given to the question „What is Religion.‟ Religion is about each person, what we think and what we believe, our own understanding of life.
  34. 34. Religion is about doing things?• A thing you do at least once a week• A religion is if you pray to God and other people.• Believe to do something• Vegetarian• Someone who helps people• Believe to help another person• Something youve forgotten to do!
  35. 35. Your ActionsMy favourite of these answers: „Believe to do something‟ is a very insightful answer given to the question „What is Religion.‟ Religion is about each person, thechoices we make which are guided by our beliefs - and all our actions.
  36. 36. Religion is about Jesus (Christianity) • Believe in Jesus and God and their friends • Something to do with Easter • … if you read the Bible • Lots of people who pray to God or Jesus • Something left over from a long time ago!
  37. 37. The Great World Religions My favourite of these answers:„Believe in Jesus and God and their friends‟ is a very insightful answer given to the question „What is Religion.‟Religion is about people like Jesus who inspire others to follow their example, and about sources of wisdom and authority – especially the great World Religions such as Christianity and Islam.
  38. 38. Religion is about God.• I believe in God• Someone who believes in God• Is someone who loves God• Believing in God and his friends• If you think God is real• Someone who talks to God in their prayers• I don‟t believe in God.• Believe in God to do something for Him
  39. 39. Religion is about God My favourite of these answers: „Believe in God to do something for Him‟ is a very insightful answer given to the question „What is Religion.‟ Religion is aboutthe relationship that someone can develop with God, not just belief in God.And again how this faith or belief is reflected in the way that people live – in their actions.
  40. 40. Did anyone get the right answer? If so, Which answer is right? Religion is not a simple subject like maths where you learn a rule and use it to get the right answer. Religion is about us, who we are and what we think.We are all different. We have different parents, different histories, different experiences and different ways of seeing the world. So our thoughts are different and we answer the question in our own way.
  41. 41. What does that mean?Does that mean none of the answers are right? No.Does that mean all of the answers are right? Perhaps.Does that mean that all of the answers are right but only inpart, - Each one only gives part of the answer? Many people would say that this is true. But not everybody. There are many different views.
  42. 42. The unexamined life is not worth living. – Socrates
  43. 43. The Best AnswerWell, you‟re the RE teacher. You know more about thesubject of religion than we do. So which answer do youlike best and why?I like this answer best:‘Religion is something you do, something you believe inand Someone you believe in.’Why? -Because the person who wrote this, even though they are soyoung (in reception class) - can understand that religion iscomplicated and can‟t be explained in a short way.They have said that religion is about the way you live your life(actions - what you do) – about your own beliefs - and about asource of wisdom - you believe in. This last idea includes bothGod and the great world religions. So this one answer covers allfour basic ideas.
  44. 44. The Jigsaw of ReligionOK, Miss, since you are so clever, howwould you answer the question?How would I explain what religion means?That is an excellent question.I would start by saying thatReligion is like a jigsaw made of millions of pieces.It is not something simple and easy to understand.Each person is a piece of the Religion-JigsawWithout each person, the picture of religion isincomplete.
  45. 45. Part 1 Religion and MeWe start by thinking about the way religion is made up of different individuals, all with their own understanding of who they are and what life is all about.
  46. 46. If this red piece represents me.What colour would you choose to represent you?
  47. 47. No Religion“But I don‟t believe in anything. I‟m notChristian or any other religion. I don‟t haveany religion. I‟m a „none‟ so I‟m not part ofthe jigsaw of religion, am I Miss?”Well, the different religions in the world are only part ofthe religion-picture. Everyone‟s views, ideas, thoughts, experiences, hopes, dreams and beliefs are important in religion.The picture is only complete when it includes everyone.Your views are just as important as anyone else’s So there is definitely a piece of the jigsaw for you.
  48. 48. I am unique• Unique is a very important word in religion. It means absolutely special and different from anything else that exists. Just like everything else in nature, each human being is unique.• I am unique. You are unique. We are absolutely special and completely different from anyone else who has ever lived before. Also we are completely different from anyone else who will ever come to live on earth.• Even identical twins are different. They may share exactly the same DNA, they may look similar, but they have their own thoughts and experiences, their own ways of understanding life, their own hopes and dreams. One goal to aim for is to try to be true to who we are.
  49. 49. Difference is natural.You see difference everywhere. No two leaveson a tree are the same. No two snowflakes in asnowstorm are the same.It is natural that we all have different views, ideasand beliefs. The religion-picture includes them all.If we want to see the complete picture we needeveryone’s views. Truth is not truth if it isincomplete. (We will explore different views about religion and God later in this ‘Conversation.’)
  50. 50. Activity 2 part 1 Working in pairsTalk to a partner and take turns to explain what yourviews, ideas and beliefs about religion are and why.See how many things you can think of that you agree ordisagree about.Do you all agree that everyone is part of the jigsawof religion even if s/he does not actually believe inGod or practise – any religion such asChristianity, Hinduism Buddhism or Islam?Does this challenge your own understanding ofwhat religion is?If so, how do you feel about that?
  51. 51. Activity 2 part 2Write some questions or responses tothe ideas given so far –for discussion later.If you have a favourite way of explainingreligion or a ‘model of religion’ which youfind helpful, note it down. use ‘postits’ and stick them on the flip-chart at the front, as before.
  52. 52. Reflection in a mirror? Since everyone is part of the religion-jigsaw, one good place to start is by asking what it is to be a human being, what it is to be you.You look in the mirror in the morning and see your reflection looking back at you. You may think „I look great today.‟ But is that who you really are? You may show a friend a photo of when you were young, and say, „look how cute I was.‟ But a reflection in the mirror or an image on a photograph Do not begin to show who you really are. You have a body and external features that can be seen but there is more to you than that.
  53. 53. Who Am I? I have a strong bodywhich is solid and warm.
  54. 54. Who Am I? I have the five senses – sight,hearing, smell, taste and feeling .
  55. 55. Who Am I?I have clever hands that canmake things and hold things.
  56. 56. Who Am I? I have a mindthat can think and dream,
  57. 57. Who Am I?I have feelings, moods and emotions.
  58. 58. Who Am I? True I have a body and a mind – but is there more to who I am than that? Many people – including many great teachers of religion - would say that you are not the body or the mind – They might say - - that your body and mind belong to you. - You own them and use them.• - that you need your body and mind – you can‟t live without them - but they are not who you really are.• Many – probably most – people in the world believe that who we really are is the spirit or soul.
  59. 59. Activity 3 - reflection Like all models which represent something different, the jigsaw model of Religion is useful as a starting point but it is not perfect. There are difficulties. We are not like a „jar of paint,‟ the same „colour‟ all the way through. Human beings are complicated. There is a lot to who and what we are. Working on your own -• Shut your eyes and feel what it‟s like to be who you are.• Feel how solid and warm you are.• Listen and see how many things you can hear.• Watch your thoughts. Are they thinking about the past, the present, the future or in the world of pure imagination? What is your own view of who you are? Do you believe in mind, body and spirit? Do you think we have or are the soul? Thinking of religion as a jigsaw is useful but can you think of a better model for religion?
  60. 60. The soul?When you think about the soul you have touse art, music, symbols or poetry because the soul has no visible shape.
  61. 61. Each soulIs a leafOf God’sUniversalHeart-Tree.Sri Chinmoy
  62. 62. Who is speaking? I am the owner of my body.I am the captain of my mind. I am the lover of my heart. Sri Chinmoy
  63. 63. Invite Your SoulInvite your soulTo enter into your mind-jungleTo clear it up.Invite your soulTo enter into your heart-insecurityTo strengthen it.Invite your soulTo encourage youin all that you doand say.Your soul will inspire you,Fulfil youAndImmortalise you by Sri Chinmoy.
  64. 64. Is death the end?Many people – including many visionaries, poetsand great teachers of religion (who claim to knowabout these things) say that we are not the bodybut the soul which experiences life. They also say: that death is not the end and when the body dies, and the brain is dead, the soul – which is the real you, lives on. - Few people have personal first–hand experience of this, so there is a lot of argument about the soul and life-after death.
  65. 65. A butterfly is often used as a symbol of life after deathbecause it startsout as caterpillar and then turns into a chrysalis(as if it had died) but after some time it emerges as a beautiful butterfly
  66. 66. What do you think?
  67. 67. Activity 4 Working on your ownThink not just about whether you believe in the soul and inlife after death, but also where these beliefs come from.What shapes your views?Have they changed significantly over the years since youwere first aware enough to think about them?If they have changed, what caused these changes? Working in a groupNow share your views and insights with those in yourgroup.As always, note down any thoughts that you would like to explore further on a ‘postit’ and stick them on the flip-chart.
  68. 68. two ways You can live as if nothing is a miracle; orYou can live as if everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein
  69. 69. Life after Death?Unless we have special vision, we do not know, from personalobservation, what happens when we die or whether or not we have orare the soul.There are people who speak – and who have spoken in the past - onsubjects like this, with such clarity and authority that people havebeen drawn to follow them and believe that what they say is true.Such „visionaries‟ can be found in all the great religions. Christianity and Islam tend to view life as linear, with a beginning and end. They speak of „judgement‟ and of heaven and hell, while Religions which have their origins in theIndian region tend to speak of „karma‟ – cause and effect - and view life as cyclic, birth and death being linked by reincarnation. All religions agree that there are consequences to our actions here on earth, and death is not the end.
  70. 70. sixth sense Some people claim to see beyond the physical. Theyspeak of a sixth sense and may know things or seethings that most people are not aware of. They mayhave encountered a ghost or been strongly aware ofthe presence of God in some way, for example.People sometimes have surprising experiences, whichare outside the normal pattern of life, when they seethings in a new way. Rudolf Otto studied this and foundit is common. He called this encounter with the‘Numinous.’ Research into reincarnation and Near Death Experiences offers some interesting insight.
  71. 71. Evidence?Some people speak of encountering ghosts, speaking to spirits of the dead, past life experiences and Near Death Experiences - of „continued existence‟ when they have died and been resuscitated again.Each person will have their own reasons to supporttheir beliefs in life after death – but as with allreligious questions, these can never be proved in away that is going to convince everyone.Most people who do not believe in God, rejectthe idea of life after death, too.
  72. 72. insight All the religions agree that our physical death is not the end of our existence. Sri Chinmoyin meditation,One of countless spiritualteachers who has spokenwith authority and insight gained in meditation - about God, the soul, life after death and many related subjects, Sri Chinmoy combined Eastern and Western approaches to life in a particularly clear and dynamic way.
  73. 73. The spirit or soulSpirituality and religion are interestedin who and what we are in our inmostselves, deeper than our physicalappearance and mental thoughts.Spiritual awareness suggests that atthe deepest level we are all one.Sri Chinmoy (a prolific poet and spiritualMaster of our time) has written muchabout spirituality. The following poem isabout the meaning of spirituality. It is allabout this sense of oneness:
  74. 74. Spirituality My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme! My true spirituality is the love of Your Breath In every heart, My Supreme, my Supreme, my Supreme! --------- by Sri ChinmoySri Chinmoy uses the name Supreme for God. What does ‘Supreme’ mean ? Do you know any other names for God?
  75. 75. Activity 5 How would you explain what spirituality means? Human beings are not islands separate from everyone else. We are tribal, social animals. We tend to like it if we find people with similar views and can find opposing views quite challenging.Have you ever got into an argument about a „religious‟ issue?What other subjects or views do you feel strongly about?Where do you look for answers to the great questions in life?What are your own favourite poets or sources of inspiration? With members of your group Discuss these questions… and if there are questions or issues you would like to discuss further, note them on a ‘postit’ and stick them on the flip-chart at the front.
  76. 76. Inside and outsideI am complicated. I am part of the jigsaw of religion but I am alsolike a jigsaw myself - because I am made up of many different parts.I can think of myself as a piece of the jigsaw of religion, but I amalso like a flower with lots of petals.I have a physical body. On the outside there are all the features thatyou can see: the colour of my skin, my hair, my eyes, the shape ofmy nose, how tall I am, what I see when I look in the mirror....But then there is who I am on the inside, all the things that I thinkand feel. I have a mind – but I am also more than that.I am the one who experiences, observes and learns – could that bethe soul?There are many different ‘petals’ that make up the ‘flower’which is ‘me.’ I need a model for my life which recognises allthe different things that go into making me who I am. I can use a flower as a model to illustrate the complexity of my own life.
  77. 77. A flower is madeup of many petals
  78. 78. A human being is like a flower with many petals.What „petals‟ would you include in a flower-diagram of your life?
  79. 79. The Flower of my life Like all models which represent something different, the jigsaw model has difficulties.We all have a body that you can see, but we are morethan that. We have an „outside‟ and an „inside‟. Some ofthe most important parts of us are on the inside –including our thoughts, feelings and experiences…We grow from a tiny baby to a child and adult, then wegrow old and eventually we die. Flowers also bloom andfade away.The model of a flower is better, as a representationof my life, than a piece of a jigsaw because - justlike each flower with all its petals - each person iscomplicated with many parts and just like aflower, we change with time.
  80. 80. The Garden of ReligionI can think of myself as a flower with many petals, growingin the Religion-Garden.Like a flower, we change. We grow from a baby into anadult and at the end of our life we die. We have family,friends and neighbours and our lives overlap.Flowers are like that too. You need many different flowersto create a beautiful garden.This model of Religion as a garden, helps us tounderstand that we are complicated and there aremany parts to our nature. It also reminds us thatreligion is about many people, not just one. What sort of flower would you choose to represent your own life?
  81. 81. "I find one vast garden spread out all over the universe.All plants, all human beings, all higher mind bodies are about in this garden in various ways , each has his own uniqueness and beauty. Their presence and variety give me great delight. Every one of you adds with your special feature to the glory of the garden.“
  82. 82. Change A flower grows from a seed. It is nourished by the rain and the sun. It grows and blossoms, fades and dies, just as we do, but it stays where it was planted. Flowers don‟t move about. Flowers don‟t think – at least not as we do. People are more complicated. A human baby grows up in a family and is nourished and protected by its parents and other people. Our family, our community is not fixed in one place like a garden. I have a family, friends and pets. They are part of who I am, too.I am part of a community, a neighbourhood, a nation – a „humanrace,‟ the world of nature and Planet Earth itself.I am part of many groups, many patterns and these patterns areconstantly changing.My thoughts, feelings beliefs and ideas change with time, too.A good model for religion needs to be able to show the way weare part of patterns which move and change all the time.
  83. 83. Activity 6 On your own Watch your thoughts and see how they change. Can you stop them from moving about? Imagine watching birds fly across the sky. You see them pass but you do not follow. Try to do the same with your thoughts. Observe your thoughts and see if they are in the present, past or future – or are they in the land of dreams and imagination. Can you detach your awareness from your thoughts, watch them without getting caught up in them? Can you stop your thoughts and make your mind completely still and clear, awake, aware but silent and watchful?It is not easy, but that is the aim of meditation. Try for yourself.
  84. 84. Watching your breath can help in meditation.Let your breathing be gentle and slow, not forcedin any way.With each breath, feel you are taking pure peaceand stillness into your heart.As you breath out, feel you are breathing out allyour restless thoughts, anything that is worryingyou or making you feel tense and stressed.The Buddha was an expert in meditation. He saidthat everyone can become enlightened, fully awareand awake, experiencing perfect peace and bliss.
  85. 85. • Using the power of imagination is also helpful when you meditate.• Imagine a flower bud is growing in your heart- centre, in the very centre of your chest.• The flower is slowly opening, petal by petal and growing in size until it is fully blossomed and you are nothing but this flower.• The fragrance of the flower fills you and spreads out, sharing its sweetness with everyone around.
  86. 86. Activity 7 On your own -• Think about changing emotions, about times in the past few days when you have been particularly happy or sad, loving or angry or full of inner peace.• In silence, think about all the changes that you experience – each day, each week, each month, each year and at different stages of life.• What about your family and community – can you think of ways that they have changed?• Has anyone you know given birth to a new baby?• Can you think of anyone who has moved away or moved into the area.• Has anyone you know died? Share your observations with a partner.
  87. 87. The beauty of lifeHas deepened my love.The beauty of deathHas deepened my wisdom.Sri Chinmoy,Ten thousand Flower-Flame series ? Part 1
  88. 88. Activity 8 Our views ideas and beliefs are invisible and private – unless we choose to share them. They are not fixed. They grow and evolve over the years. They are influenced by our experiences, by all that we learn, each conversation we have, each book we read or film we watch. On your own Think about your relationships with other people, friends, family, pets and other animals etc. Then there is the whole panorama of romance. In what ways have your relationships changed over the years? Think of your own views and your experience of faith. What has shaped this and how has it changed since you were a young child? Can you think of any models for religion that can include this quality of diversity and change which is so important when we think about who we are? with a partner - Share something of your faith story Share some experiences that have changed your views on life.
  89. 89. Community• We are born into a family.• Our family is part of the wider community.• We belong to the local district, where we live.• Families and individuals who practise a religion belong to a community of faith.• When we start school or join a club, we become members of a new community and make new friends.• When we go to work we belong to another community and are part of a team of colleagues.• When we get married we join another family group.• All these different groups are like patterns in our lives and communities themselves are full of patterns which change with time, just as our own lives do.
  90. 90. PatternsIf you think of just one community that you belong to, youcan picture it as a flower. Who or what would you place in its petals?Think of people – family, friends and neighbours – yourlocal district, your nation, continent and the whole world.Think of pets and all the birds, animals and other creatures thatshare this world with us.Then think of all the different people in that community andhow they all belong to other groups, just as you do. Youcould draw these as interlocking circles, but the patterns aretoo complicated to represent on the petals of a flower.
  91. 91. Moving and Changing Religion is like a jigsaw with many pieces. Each person is part of the picture. Each person is complicated with many parts like a flower with many petals, so Religion is like a garden.Just as there are many flowers in a garden, and they can be grouped in different flower-beds, so people live in groups. We have families, neighbours, villages, towns, districts, nations and continents. But unlike a garden with flowers that stay in one place, our communities are made up of interlocking and overlapping patterns of people and events that are constantly moving and changing. We need a new model for religion which has „space‟ for that.
  92. 92. .
  93. 93. The Kaleidoscope of ReligionReligion is not just a picture which is complicatedlike a jigsaw, made of many pieces which aresolid and fixed.Religion is not just like a garden where plantstend to stay where they’re planted. Religion is notfixed. Religion full of beautiful colours and interlocking patterns which are constantly moving and changing. It is more like a kaleidoscope.
  94. 94. The Kaleidoscope!Have you ever used a kaleidoscope?It is like a tube.You look down the centre and turn the barrel atthe bottom. Light comes through the bottomwhere there are small pieces of translucent plasticor coloured glass, all shapes and colours.These are reflected by mirrors running the lengthof the tube. You can’t describe akaleidoscope, you have to see it to know what Imean.Here are some kaleidoscope images.
  95. 95. Religion is inside usA Kaleidoscope, colourful patterns thatmove and change, now that is looking morelike religion!But religion is not just something you see fromoutside. Religion is not just something you lookat from a distance. Religion is inside us. It ispart of who we are.Religion is how we make sense of the worldwe live in, how we understandourselves, who we are and why we are alive.
  96. 96. Activity 9 On your ownJust reflect on who you are and what it means to be you, what things, people, places and experiences matter most to you.How would you answer the questions „Who are you and why are you alive?Listen to the following poems about identity.Reflect on these poems and the pictures and ideas that they explore.
  97. 97. • From a song about myself That lead Was as weighty, ….. He ran away to Scotland That fourscore The people for to see - Was as eighty, There he found That a door That the ground Was as wooden Was as hard, As in England- That a yard So he stood in his shoes Was as long, And he wonderd, That a song He wonderd, Was as merry, He stood in his That a cherry Shoes and he wonderd. Was as red, • John Keats
  98. 98. I Am - by Rose Tremain I am the ragged fur coat my English Literature teacher wore in a cold boarding school classroom And all the stories she encouraged me to write I am a publishers rejection letter I am five publishers rejection letters. Then six, then seven… I am the white boots I wear in 1975 to meet the eighth publisher, Penelope Hoare And her devastating smile of acceptance I am Robert Merivel, and all my characters who came before and after him I am the eyes of my readers on the underground I am Lev, wounded hero of The Road Home I am Rose Tremain, winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction 2008 I am all these things and all these people. I am who I am because of everyone.
  99. 99. I AM ALONE I am alone I wonder who I really am I hear everyone around me and yet I know I am alone I want to trust once again I am alone I pretend that Im fine but I feel lonely and afraid I touch my reflection and feel trapped inside myself I worry that Ill forever be this way I am alone I understand that I have to find someone to trust I say to them, Im fine but I hope they know Im not I dream of one day feeling secure I try to put my faith in others, but I cant I hope that one day Ill trust again, but for now I am alone.Student – exploring wishes, dreams, hopes and fears with poems.
  100. 100. Imago DeiCiara Regan, age 13Here I stand,Looking at the cold sheet of glass,Watching a stranger mimic my every moveI think of all the time spentTrying to create the perfect face of beauty,To no avail.What was the point?Why the waste of time?Why the waste of effortI realise now that I am perfect in my imperfection,I am – we all are – what God intended.We are his creation,Through his spirit we live,We are him and he is us,Imago Dei
  101. 101. Do not stand at my grave and weep, I am not there, I do not sleep.I am in a thousand winds that blow, I am the softly falling snow. I am the gentle showers of rain, I am the fields of ripening grain. I am in the morning hush, I am in the graceful rush Of beautiful birds in circling flight, I am the star-shine of the night. I am in the flowers that bloom, I am in a quiet room. I am in the birds that sing, I am in each lovely thing. Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there. I do not die. Mary Frye
  102. 102. Within - part 1 WITHIN I am the sound of the wind rustling through feathers As the eagle soars between mountain peaks. I am the space between the last breaths of the dying As they leave life behind for the next and grow weak. I am the grey that floats in the fog when changes arrive Holding the potential for new choices; neither black or white. I am the eye of the storm where it is quiet and I set its courseYet having no motion I am the measure of the hurricane‟s great force I am the silence that the birds sing to in the night I am the blood coursing in their veins and the will that gives them flight
  103. 103. Within - part 2 I am the homeless woman on the corner whose eyes you look through. I am the dark and the light that revolve within you. I am the proton, electron and neutron at play, The saints in their glory and the one who betrayed. I am without bounds and wear time as a cloak,With my hand I spin the cosmos with one brief stroke. I am a bug on a leaf on the bamboo tree Look within yourself if you wish to meet me. --------------- by Katherine Wyatt
  104. 104. Long long ago When nothing was there And God got bored with himself He made everything Then he got bored With everything that was perfect And so planned to make some distortions So he made some like me Who as they say have lost their minds As I sat on the swing in the playground The teachers words tossed in the air Like bubbles of soap all around me I did not play with them by waving them away But I tried to feel them by waving them in and out When I walked out of the classroom The tail of words followed me Words made of letters Crawling like ants In a disciplined row.Tito Mukhopadhyay(the author is severely autistic. He uses words to communicate his world.)
  105. 105. "I am dust particles in the sunlight.I am the round sun.To the bits of dust I say, Stay.To the sun, Keep moving.I am morning mist,And the breath of evening.You the One in all, say who I am.Say I am You.“Sufi poet Rumi.
  106. 106. Activity 10 – part 1• Draw a spider diagram to collect some of the most important events experiences and people who have shaped your life and your ideas.• Turn this into a time-line, so these items are listed in chronological order.• Now rank them in a different way – according to how important or significant you feel them to be in making you the person you are.• Next read each of the poems again, slowly.• Have you included on your list all the important experiences, things and people who have influenced you, which you might want to mention (as John Keats and Rose Tremain have in their poems?)
  107. 107. Activity 10 – part 2• Now add ‘colour’ to the ‘skeleton’ of people, places, things and experiences that you listed in part 1.Think about your relationships and emotions.• Think about when you feel especially happy or sad, think about your hopes and dreams and what main quality best describes what it feels like to be who you are at this moment in time - like the student in ‘I Am Alone.’ You may find this turns your list into a ‘mind-map.’• Next think about the world of nature and all the amazing things that make up your world and are meaningful to you (as the authors of the poem on remembrance and the poem „Within‟ have done.)• Finally think of how your own understanding of life, death and God add to your sense of who you are, (like the authors of Imago Dei and the poems that followed „Within‟ have done.)
  108. 108. Activity 10 – part 3Note - If this is done as a school homework exercise pupils or students may choose to write a poem or prefer to make a collage of images and quotations which explore their identity.When this activity has been completed, working in groups of three, each person takes turns sharing their work, for a timed period as follows:Person 1 shares their poem or art-work with person 2 who listens carefully but does not interrupt or make any notes. Person 3 listens and observes both person 1 and 2. Person 3 can also think about the work in a wider way and may make notes and include questions that they would like to ask.When Person 1 finishes, person 3 tells person 2 all about person 1 – and person 2 corrects them if they have missed out anything. Then person 1 corrects them both if they have forgotten anything.Next change numbers (person 1 becomes person 2, person 2 becomes person 3 and person 3 becomes person 1 – and continue until all have taken all three roles. Finally, all three may ask their questions which will lead to more conversation and exploration of identity. Remember - this is all part of learning about what religion is because each person is part of the picture of religion.
  109. 109. EmotionWe have seen that religion includes everyone and how each human being is a very complicated thing made up of body, mind and spirit. But in the poems, the dimensions of experience and emotion were added to this mix of ingredients that makes us who we are. When some people feel very happy, they start to sing.If you feel sad or upset, you can change that mood and cheer yourself up, by listening to music you love – or by singing. What is so special about music that can express our emotions and change our moods like this? We need a model of religion which includes experience and emotion. Music is an answer.
  110. 110. Sing or listenMany kinds of music can touch your emotions and even makeyou feel as if you are flying or expanding until you are part of amuch greater world than just your own small physical body.Everyone can listen and enjoy - but unless you play aninstrument, you can‟t join with other musicians to create a greatsound. But everyone can join in a song. A song is a poem with a melody added which gives it morefeeling and power. Some songs are hymns, carols or bhajan‟setc. They are religious songs which are not about ordinaryhuman things. Often devotional, they may be about spiritual orreligious subjects, sung as a way of worshipping, praising orthanking God. They may take you on a journey of faith.But many non-religious songs can also take you on an innerjourney. For example the song „Windmills of Your mind‟ is like ajigsaw or kaleidoscope. It is full of different images about lifewhich open the heart to a form of meditation.
  111. 111. Windmills of Your Mind - some of the lyrics – Like a circle in a spiral or Like a tunnel that you followA wheel within a wheel never to a tunnel on it‟s ownending or beginning on an ever Down a hollow to a cavernspinning reel where the sun has never shoneLike a snowball on fountain or acarnival balloon Like a door that keeps revolving in aor a carousel that‟s turning half forgotten dreamrunning rings around the moon Or the ripples from a pebble someone tosses in a streamLike a clockwhose hands are Like a clockSweeping past the minutes whose hands areon it‟s face Sweeping past the minutes on it‟s faceAnd the world is like an appleWhirling silently in space And the world is like an appleLike the circles that you find in Whirling silently in spacethe windmills of your mind Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind.
  112. 112. Religion the SongReligion is often described as a code of life or way of life. It is not silent and distant like the patterns in a kaleidoscope. It is more like a hauntingly beautiful song. ~ if you think of religion as a song ~ Each person is one of the notes of the melody. And the music of religion flows in and through you. You are part of the song of religion but it is bigger than any one individual. If religion is a song, the song is part of who you are, you are part of it – and at each moment, one of the verses is recording the story of your life.
  113. 113. Activity 11 part 1 Thinking and reflecting on your own -Can you think of times when you have sungsomething that has changed the way you feel?What are your favourite songs?Can you think of a song you sing that ‘takes you out ofyourself,’ that ‘lifts your spirits if you are feeling downor makes you feel exultant, as if you are flying orsoaring above the earth?Can you think of any songs which use words tocreate a feeling or an impression, words used assymbols, not to describe the actual subject of thewords (Windmills of Your Mind is a good example.)If you have any ideas to share or questions to discuss, write them on a ‘postit’ and stick them on the flip-chart at the front of the room for later discussion.
  114. 114. Activity 11 part 2…• Can you think of a time when you have sung or played music and the result has been bigger than you, bigger than any one singer or musician?• Each person has been important, like a note in the song – but the song itself has been bigger than all of you. Talk to those in your group ...about music and the part it plays in your lives.• How does religious or spiritual music compare with popular music? Can you think of examples where they overlap?• The subject of religion is like music. We are all part of it - but it is bigger than all of us together. Talk to those in your group about the idea of religion as music. How does this help us understand what religion is?
  115. 115. “Music gives soul to the universe wings to the mind flight to the imaginationand life to everything" Plato
  116. 116. Religion the musicYou can’t write a definition of music or explainwhy music changes the way you feel. It is aninner experience, a mystery.Religion is like that. You can’t prove that your beliefsor your way of understanding the world is right. Youcan’t prove that God exists or does not exist tosomeone else. But if you have a living faith it issomething you feel inwardly, a reality in your heartand it moves you in a similar way to music.Religion, like music, simply is. It’s part of our experience, part of who we are.
  117. 117. Activity 12• Think of examples of things that you find mysterious or amazing about the world.• Are there certain books or films that you find explore the mystery of life in an insightful way?• “There are many more things to life than we can know for sure or understand. If we can embrace the mystery of life, just as we accept music, then many problems and arguments simply disappear.” in your groups- Discus your responses and thoughts about this statement and about the concept of religion as mystery… and if there are questions or issues you would like to discuss further, note them on a ‘postit’ and stick them on the flip-chart at the front.
  118. 118. Religion the mystery When we come to the subject of religion, spirituality, God and the soul, we are a bit like ants looking up at a human being and trying to know who human beings are. It‟s amazing that we can think of all these things, but it is not surprising that there are things we simply don‟t understand.Our little brains have evolved over millions of years, from the nervous system of a mud-worm, from the „primeval soup‟ in the primordial oceanfrom nothing but star-dust – infinite energy transformed into matter which had no beginning or (to use religious language) from the „Dreams‟ or „Word‟ of „Eternal God‟ our „Creator.‟ Sometimes we just have to fold our hands, in all humility and honesty, and admit there are things that we simply do not know.
  119. 119. Shakespeare?There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Hamlet Act 1 scene 5 Shakespeare
  120. 120. The Outer WorldScience explores the physical or material world. Scientists have discovered amazing things about our world. They have worked out how atoms build into molecules, how the different chemical elements build up this amazing planet.Some people think that science can explain everything. But in reality science does not hold all the answers. It doesn’t even ask all the questions. Science and Religion are both important.There is an outer world that science explores. But there is also an inner world. If you want to know about that, science is the wrong discipline, the wrong tool to use.
  121. 121. Science and ReligionScience can calculate the age of the earth and show that lifehas evolved - but it can not tell us what life is, why it is, themeaning of our lives or how to live a good life here on earth.We need two eyes to see clearly, to see in perspective. In asimilar way we need the insights of both science andreligion to understand our lives.Science and religion are sometimes viewed asopposites, competing with or contradicting each other. Butactually they are just different ways of seeking truth aboutthe same world, the same amazing reality. How would you „define‟ life, love, beauty, hope, peace, happiness or the colour blue? Can you look at love under a microscope or write a formula for it?
  122. 122. The Quest for Truth In their common quest for truth,science and religion, science and spirituality, though at opposite ends of the knowledge- ‘spectrum’ are drawing closer, as both delve deeper into the nature of human consciousness.Some quotations and aphorisms are as rich andmeaningful as spiritual poems – The great scientist and mystic, Albert Einstein declared: “Science without religion is lame, Religion without science is blind. ”
  123. 123. Spirituality and ReligionThere is an aspect of life which is invisible, subtle and elusive.You can not define it or explain it. But it is just as important asthe outer physical world. It is the world of our innerfeelings, experience, and imagination, sometimes called the„Inner World.‟ Spirituality and religion are two related subjects that explorethis inner aspect of life. Spirituality is impossible to define, butit includes the sense of everything being infinitely precious andthe feeling that we are all part of a Whole.Spirituality is rooted in our experience of life and especially inthe deep emotions of wonder and awe, when the mind stopsthinking of anything and we just „live in the moment.‟ Religion can be viewed as our human response to this subtle, inner or spiritual experience.
  124. 124. Poetry and Symbolism• When you want to explore the outer world, things that you can see and touch, cut up and examine in detail, science can help you. If they are very small, you can look at them under a microscope. If they are far away you can use a telescope. You can analyse them in chemistry to see what they are made of – or use the laws of physics to see how they work.• But when you want to learn about subtle, elusive subjects, about our inner lives, about life itself then you need to explore them with the tools of spirituality and religion. It is impossible to approach them directly. Here we need to use different tools.• Art, music, poetry, story and symbolism are some of the tools often used to express the truths found in religion. They have to convey ideas and emotions rather than simple facts.
  125. 125. A poem Upwards Towards the heights Towards the starsTowards the Vast Silence By Ibsen
  126. 126. The analytical mind• Can you understand the poem?• Why do you think the poet uses capitals for V and S?• Do you think poets want you to try to analyse their poems?• Poems are words that take you beyond the mind, to explore realities that are without walls.• Poems are often intended to convey their meaning on a deeper level, to give you a sense of understanding which is not limited by the analytical mind.• Instead of trying to analyse a poem, just hold it in your heart and „feel‟ its truth.
  127. 127. Aspiration Upwards Towards the heights Towards the starsTowards the Vast Silence By Ibsen
  128. 128. Going Beyond the Mind What is this mind? Who is hearing these sounds? Do not mistake any state for Self-realization, but continue To ask yourself even more intensely, What is it that hears?Bassui
  129. 129. Searching for God: Hide and Seek Patrick Corley, age 8I counted to ten, and then I looked,Behind the office door, on the top floor.For half an hour, I searched the shower.Then the cupboard under the stairs,But He wasnt there.I checked behind the sofa, and out in the street,But if He had been outside, He would have been a cheat.I looked under the table and under the bed.Then I checked the bathroom instead.I looked in the mirror, and what did I see?Then I realised, maybe He is in me.Should I look for Him in my heart?Okay! Lets make a start.
  130. 130. Finding God? – Self-Realisation The Absolute I have crossed the secret ways of life,No mind, no form, I only exist; I have become the Goal.Now ceased all will and thought; The Truth immutable is revealed;The final end of Natures dance, I am the way, the God Soul.I am it whom I have sought. My spirit aware of all the heights,A realm of Bliss bare, ultimate; I am mute in the core of the Sun.Beyond both knower and known; I barter nothing with time and deeds;A rest immense I enjoy at last; My cosmic play is done.I face the One alone. From ‘My Flute’ by Sri Chinmoy.
  131. 131. Infinity is this Infinity is that. When infinity from infinity Is taken awayInfinity remains… The Upanishads
  132. 132. Activity 13 Think about the question What is religion? Working on your own, Having worked through this slide-showand perhaps thought about religion in new ways, write your own poem or create a mind-map or collage of images entitled - what religion means to me. We will then share our ideas and enjoy an open discussion, looking at all the ‘postits’ on the flip-chart, too.
  133. 133. In Part One - we have seen that - religion is about questions and answers, in religion everyone matters, everyone has a place. The picture of religion is not complete without all of us. Religion is like a jigsaw and each person is part of the picture. Religion is like a garden and each person is a flower with many petals. Religion is like a kaleidoscope, full of beautiful colours and patterns that are always moving and changing.Religion is like a song, like music. It „flows in and through us‟ so each person is a note in the melody, a verse in the song. The music is bigger than any oneperson but each person contributes to it, adding their unique character, beauty and fragrance to the whole. Religion is a mystery, a subtle and elusive subject Religion explores the inner worlds, dealing with truths such as love, hope, compassion and happiness that are „felt‟ inwardly, using the spiritual „heart‟.Religion does not conflict with science but explores a different aspect of life.Religion and spirituality often use art, music, poetry and symbolism to inspire and communicate, because they explore an aspect of life which can not be examined or analysed by the intellectual mind. Everyone can explore religion and their ideas about God using poetry.
  134. 134. END OF PART 1
  135. 135. By Durga-Mata Chaudhuri Blue Lotus Enterprises Blue Lotus Enterprises is a company which creates products and offers services which educate and inspire.All our Slide-Shows can be ordered from our website on DVD or in book form – see and Contact dcbluelotus@gmail.comThis work is copyright and can not be copied without permission of Blue Lotus Enterprises This Slide Show is good for increasing understanding and encouraging discussion / reflection with all ages.
  136. 136. Images Many of the images in Two Questions comefrom our own photographs. Others have been gathered from many sources. A full list of credits is being prepared.We hope that all whose photographs have been used will be happy and proud to be included in this slide-show - but should any copyright questions arise we will be happy to make any adjustments necessary.
  137. 137. PoetryThe poems used in Two Questions come from many sources.They include two from the RE Today Spirited Arts Competition, 2011. The poem by Tito Mukhopadhyay is from ‘Beyond the Brain’ We hope that all whose poems have been used will be happy and proud to be included in this slide-show - but should any copyright questions arise we will be happy to make any adjustments necessary.
  138. 138. Two Questions