As it stands, some of the best days I've ever had in this lifetime are firmly linked to a dear friend of mine who quotes the bible over and over (sometimes ad nauseam, admittedly, but I have decided to view it as a loveable quirk of his). He's REALLY into that stuff. And not shy to let you know. My only salvation in his presence is to quickly turn the topic around into something that I feel comfortable discussing, too. Thus far, it's worked quite well.
Growing up under the strict influence of convent school for girls, I have an innate drive toward freedom. So, I normally avoid everything overtly religious. But I also know enough about humanity to recognize when the bible or anything remotely religious CAN serve purely as a means for self-encouragement (with the right mindset and focus, of course!). After all, these things ARE tried and tested. They've been around for a long time. And people have been falling back on them in troves.
I don't need to be paying church taxes or tithing or donating on Kiva to know the symbolic and ritual powers inherent in things that have been repeated by millions as mantras for long stretches of time, with a certain intent: namely that of inspiring love and hope. The intent to find the strength in oneself to keep going.
To me, bible quotes are just the same as Reiki symbols: little helpers that have assisted millions of people over centuries to keep their faith in the greater power, and with that, in universal love.
Did you ever examine the vedic deities (Shiva, Shakti, Saraswati, Ganesha, Lakshmi etc.) in depth? Without prejudice, and with a fully open and receptive mind? -- Well, I certainly wasn't planning on doing that, but my yoga teacher training course kind of forced me to, back in 2011.
It was one of those OM-ing, chanting, tea-drinking, Ayurvedic cooking and hugging kinds of ashrams that I had signed up with. I'm not trying to ridicule my Sivananda lineage, but it appeared a bit over the top to me when I started (it still does, to be perfectly honest, even after I'd embraced it for a while). I'm definitely not into "DOING YOGI" or "DOING SPIRITUAL" - when the point of this whole school of life is becoming and "BEING." But I digress...
2011: Finance professional that I was, I was hugely skeptical, but also knew instinctively that I needed something softer and very different from P/Es, rate of return calculations, stock market commentary and trading systems to "shock" my system out of the acute overwhelm and disconnect that I'd been experiencing for a few years prior to signing up for yoga teacher training.
Meaning, I was acutely and painfully aware that I needed a very open mind and a new perspective that challenged everything I had known to be true until then. In retrospect, my understanding is that I needed to overshoot in the other direction to balance out the hard-numbers and performance-driven "religion" that I'd been following to a T in my career life ever since starting my MBA studies at one of the top private b-schools in Germany in 2005.
You think I was caught between a rock and a hard place there? - Indeed.