This is what I have always believed, right down to the very core of my soul and being.

I was told a long time ago by an awesome US Army Reserve Chaplain I worked for that there were 5 steps or stages people go through before becoming “enlightened”.  I wish to the gods that I could remember word for word what he had said, but I remember him saying that the steps included being told what was “right” and “wrong” by our parents; spiritual guidance from the church or religious institution; pondering the guidance and internalizing it; experience and gaining knowledge – living your life; purging the beliefs that you were taught that no longer suit or benefit you; then coming to an understanding and no longer needing to be told what to do – you have your own internal moral compass to guide you and tell you what’s “right” and “wrong”.  Sometimes he said, people need to take a step or two back at different points in their lives.  This would be I would think if the Universe throws you a curve ball or a Karmic bitch slap if you keep missing the point of  a lesson that is being taught to you.

“Don’t speak to me about your religion; first show it to me in how you treat other people. 
Don’t tell me how much you love your god; show me in how much you love all his children. 
Don’t preach to me your passion for your faith; teach me through your compassion for your neighbors. 
In the end, I’m not as interested in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give…” ~ Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, New Jersey