We live in a world today where disagreements, disputes and wars are erupting from every border and corner of the world, leaving us left wondering how to quench this burning inferno. Every method we use seems to fall on deaf ears, or rather it ends up fueling the issue. We judge others instantly by calling them names, we hold onto very firm beliefs and positions which leads to situations where if are you not currently engaged in agreement with one party you too become an automatic enemy.
We are quick to point fingers at others and list their countless problems, little did we know that we harbor the same issues that we accuse others of. We should learn to accept people and not use the models of total replacement or the partial replacement. We need to be inclusive in how we live harmoniously in this world yet how can we remain certain and retain or maintain our individuality, ideas, race, religion and ethnicity?
As I searched far and wide for answers through numerous religions and facets of humanity, there is only one resounding answer; no, it’s not peace. LOVE is the answer. In love we find peace. This four letter word is the only way humanity can truly live with one accord. But before that, one must understand what LOVE truly is; love as a general expression of positive sentiment.
Love may be understood as a function to keep human beings together against menaces that threaten aspects of life. Love is defined in the dictionary as 1. An intense feeling of deep affection. 2. a person or thing that one loves.
Through in-depth research, I have come to the conclusion that love is abstractly defined as follows:
“love usually refers to an experience one person feels for another. Love often involves caring for or identifying with a person or thing, including one’s self. In addition to cross-cultural differences in understanding love, ideas about love have also changed greatly over time. Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages.”
My personal studies at UTS and through the course Theologies and Interfaith Dialogue have had a monumental impact on my understanding of life and has shed more light on how to deal with people of different views or religions. The ability to conduct dialogue and express one’s views without fear of losing love. The only religion I feel could universally unite us is the religion of LOVE; better known as Swaggerism, hence my “LOVE” for religion.
At a base level, Swaggerism is living life as a good person and making it better than yesterday by changing who you are right now. But what do we define as good? Simply, do unto others as you want to be done unto you. If we are concerned about others, we won’t hurt them, we will do good by them, as we want good to be done to us.
Digging deeper, you might be wondering “how is this a religion? What is so spiritual about this?” To answer those questions, Swaggerism is the practice of how one lives his or her life on a daily basis. It is made up of the knowledge, consciousness and understanding of the self and how one deals with others in each and every situation. It is practiced through how one presents him or herself to the world, based on how that person styles and handles any given situation. It is about living with love and being an agent of change. So it is a religious experience, but not strictly a spiritually religious one.
Swaggerism is a religion in the sense of doing something religiously, in that you do it each and every day. Are you a good person religiously? Are you going to work religiously? With this in mind, how does Swaggerism relate to a religion if it’s not talking about a particular God? Well, my goal with Swaggerism is to help you find you, not the worship of any esoteric God per se, but rather the internal exploration of the self. If you are able to find yourself, you may just find the God in you.
Swaggerism is built on three key pillars known as the FDR principles, or rather: FIND, DEFINE and REFINE. To improve yourself using Swaggerism, you must first FIND the aspect you would like changed. You can’t improve yourself if you can’t find something to change, right? Once you have discovered the aspect you want to change, you must then DEFINE it! Why do you want to change it? Why don’t you like it? What will improve by changing that aspect? Then, once you have found and refined the aspect you want to be changed you must then REFINE it! Mold it, shape it, change it into what you want it to become!
In a general sense, Swaggerism is absolutely about style, but not about what name brands that you wear that you hope to scream out loud for people to see and notice. In fact, fashion has very little to do with this brand of style. It’s about being “YOU-NIQUE”. It is about living in a world of conformity without being conformed. It’s a religion, or should I say a lifestyle, or perhaps to put it even more succinctly, a way of life. Swaggerism is about finding, defining and refining the self in you. It’s core principles and doctrines are embedded in the understanding and embracement of who you are, no regrets.
Like any (good) religion, Swaggerism is, at its core, centered on being a decent human being. And at that core, you will find 11 core principles, the 11 commandments of Swaggerism. They are, in no particular order, of course: Love, Giving, Joy, Peace, Patience, Positive Thinking, Kindness, Goodness, Faith Fullness, Gentleness and Self-Control.
To delve into each briefly, the 11 are defined as follows:
1) LOVE. We have gone into this deeply already, and love being the first principle of Swaggerism shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone! LOVE is loving yourself and others but most importantly LOVE is understanding. Where there is understanding there is love, there is peace there is unity and most importantly God is present. If you haven’t loved, you haven’t lived!
2) GIVING. Being generous is something that we all born with the potential to display, but it is how we are raised and the surroundings in which we are brought up that truly enable us to be giving. You never know who you help out by giving. Simply, when you give something you are opening your hands to also receive. You can not hold onto something and still expect to pick up something else if your hands are already full…
3) JOY. Think of joy as the color spectrum. If you do not see the color spectrum, the world is very grey and lifeless. Joy is the lack of pretension, it is enjoying life at the very core of your being. In all, you are joy. You were born to be joy but over time became camouflaged with burdens, attachments and disappointments. When you decide to be detached and be independent of all those, and be giving, you regain your true self, joy. Only through this understanding are you able to recognize yourself and allow yourself to be happy regardless of anything that befalls around you. Ponder this, ever wondered why you laugh when you actually laugh? Its simple, our bodies can not contain the joy. Its an overflow of joy, you.
4) PEACE. Peace can sometimes feel like a lost cause in today’s world. Violence and unrest is the easiest and most knee-jerk of reactions, but to successfully ingrain yourself in Swaggerism you must accept peace into your heart. Looping back to love, to attain peace, you must be practice love. What is love? Understanding. While we all are expecting to be understood by others, You must, however, know that in order to be understood, you must first be understanding.
5) PATIENCE. Patience is absolutely a virtue, and when you step outside of yourself and think it out, if you were in that same position of someone you are losing patience on you would want a little leeway as well. Situations can vary so much between people. And again making it full circle, what is at the heart of patience? UNDERSTANDING! Are you seeing a pattern here?
6) POSITIVE THINKING. What goes around comes around, and I’m sure that if you find yourself putting out some positive thinking, you will find the world acting a little better around you. Break the chains of doubt. So, obviously, when you doubt, you lack understanding and thus you are lacking in love. Our favorite concepts of Love and Understanding strike again!
7) KINDNESS. If joy is the meaning of life, kindness is the key to unlocking it. I am a firm believer in doing unto others as you would do onto you. There are countless idioms related to this concept. “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar,” or “kill them with kindness.” There is a reason there are so many nuggets of wisdom proclaiming this concept, and its frankly because if the world was a little kinder we would absolutely all live better lives.
8) GOODNESS. Goodness is something hard to define, either you have it in spades, or you need more of it. It is also a matter of opinion for many, just like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You cannot please everyone, but it is your task to try to help as many people as you can!
9) FAITH FULLNESS. FaithFulness is being full to the brim with faith. You are quite literally, full of faith. If you lack faith, you lack the necessary tools to truly feel love, as you cannot love something without having faith in it.
10) GENTLENESS. True strength is rooted in gentleness. A tender touch is a loving touch, and love is our favorite word today. By being gently, you ensure that you act with love.
11) SELF-CONTROL. Self-control is, simply, the ability to control your emotions. Mainly this has to do with keeping your negative emotions and desires in check, but it is absolutely a push and pull. Moderation is key, and self-control is the lock.
I believe if understand yourself and embrace who you are, only then you are able to understand others. You should never hate any part of yourself, but it’s never a bad idea to want to change the aspects that you don’t love. Change, like fire, always begins with a lone spark that is fanned into an inferno by swallowing the surrounding oxygen. With this in mind, I believe people of different religious backgrounds can be united under one umbrella and share a dialogue about love, with no discrimination of any race, creed, religion or ethnicity. Such things are ancillary to loving your fellow humans and goes against Swaggerism’s teachings.
CHANGE is the keyword in Swaggerism, however, LOVE plays a bigger role. Through love we are able to change our ways of life, to accept people for who they are, to change our hearts to forgive others, to change from stagnant positions and to change the labels thrust upon us. But the single most important aspect of Swaggerism is to embrace everyone regardless of who they are. No labels! Let’s all practice the “LOVE” of religion without having to feel converted but rather have a compassion and become more considerate of each other’s positions and feelings. I am a proud Swaggerist and Lovist, and so should you!
If you enjoyed the concepts and ideas laid out here, please look out for my book and catch me at one of my speaking or evangelism engagements, I am currently in the midst of a nationwide tour! If you would like to see myself speak in your local school, community or organization’s event, please feel free to reach out and request it via my website, https://www.reskque.com.