The religion is a distraction, when taken out of cultural context. Likewise, spirituality is no better than fool's gold, when it is not firmly hitched to practical application.
The best and brightest among us cannot accept religion as it has been presented. Our most productive members will always reject the wishy-washy brand of spirituality that has been promoted until now.
If we the devotees, are sincere about our spiritual convictions - that is, if we honestly believe that people's lives will be improved by ritual, ceremony, prayer and meditation - we must also accept responsibility for making the value of spirituality visible and self evident.
The question you should be asking right now is, "HOW? How do we demonstrate the true value of spirituality?" Ironically, the heights of spirituality begins and ends with HUMANITY. People are people because of other people.
I am reminded of at least 21 verses of Ifa wherein the babalawos exclaim to the protagonist, Iwo loò sèèyàn [You are not humane]. They don't say, You are not pious. They don't say, You do not recite your oriki well enough. They do not say, Your meditation is not deep enough. They say, You are not humane.
Here, it's CRUCIAL to emphasize the key word in the declaration, Iwo loò sèèyàn [You are not humane]. The key word is èèyàn, which is synonymous with ENIYAN, human being. More precisely, ENIYAN literally means, The chosen one.
Ifa teaches us that human beings were created and chosen by Olodumare for one purpose, which is to bring about the Good Condition. What is the Good Condition?
...A world where there will be full knowledge of all things,
joy everywhere, life without anxiety or fear of enemies,
attack from snakes or other dangerous animals,
without fear of death, disease, litigation, losses,
wizards, witches or Esu,
danger of accidents from water and fire,
without fear of misery or poverty...
- Holy Odu IrosunIwori
All these objectives can and will be achieved to the extent that all devotees commit to SERVICE, SERVICE and more SERVICE. Let your religiosity and spiritual elevation make you a better SERVANT. Let your goal be to improve the quality of your service by measurable, tangible increments.
From this day forward, in keeping with the mandate of the Holy Odu IrosunIwori, you will determine the efficacy of your spiritual practice by measuring your ability to:
THE ENIYAN CHALLENGE
By this time next month, I want to hear about your success. When I ask you, "What have you done to help bring about the Good Condition?" I want to hear a meaningful response.
Obafemi Origunwa, MA | ObafemiO.com