In snowboarding terms, tail bonks occur when snowboarders intentionally hit and bounce off objects, either natural or manmade, with the tail of the snowboard. Spiritually speaking, a ‘tail bonk’ is intentionally upsetting a religious fundamentalist, mainstream religious literalbot,* or people who consider themselves to be more spiritual than religious by inserting a controversial, maliciously judgmental, and/or hurtful comment at the end of a conversation about religious or spiritual beliefs as a seemingly spontaneous after thought.
This spiritual practice encourages you to refrain from “tail bonking” someone’s choice to express certain religious or spiritual beliefs and values.
While there are differences in denominational beliefs, rituals, religious customs, and practices, etc., the intention of this practice is to remind you to respect another person’s right to chose his/her particular faith tradition. And it strongly emphasizes avoiding religism — which is expressing fear, hatred, and/or discrimination towards other faith traditions.
Faith and belief do not necessarily surrender to logic, nor do they acquiesce to ingrained religious and denominational biases. They can’t even be declared absolutely consistent in any given faith tradition. Believers differ in the nuances of their professed beliefs and hold on, white knuckled, to their brand of faith.
This spiritual practice simply asserts the right for people to believe as they choose when it comes to churchianity and spirituality. People are at liberty to retail their own beliefs for acceptance, and are plainly at risk when they seek to assault (bonk) the beliefs of others. When bonking other’s religious or spiritual beliefs escalates to wanting to harm people because of their religious convictions, it is time to demand tolerance and call for discretion and goodwill – and just plain courtesy.
It’s a 2-Way Street!
This practice also requires that you stay cool, calm and collected if you should ever receive a tail bonk from anyone intentionally bonking your spiritual beliefs. Your poise will speak volumes about your maturity and spiritual growth. Conversational tail bonks are politically incorrect ploys used to upset someone whose religious or spiritual beliefs are different from yours, and when they’re used in religious contexts they are disrespectful and flippant. And besides that, they are just impolite and uncivil rantings employed to be hurtful. Bonks are not part of a spiritually-attuned consciousness.
Learning about the major world religions, their belief systems and values doesn’t necessarily mean you will not bonk their beliefs. Going with friends of other faiths and attending a worship service with them, or going to a different church, mosque, or synagogue doesn’t necessarily mean you will not bonk their beliefs. Looking for similarities in faith traditions might not prohibit bonking either.
What does work is a consciousness of non-judgmentalness and tolerance for people’s rights to chose the religious and/or spiritual beliefs they feel led to adopt. You may not agree with how people express their stated religious and/or spiritual beliefs, but showing respect for their right to chose those beliefs and biases is what this spiritual practice is all about.
Let’s all practice what we teach about tolerance, understanding, respect, and love … as we walk the spiritual path on practical feet.
* (See the spiritual practice called Avoid Conversations With Literalbots in Vol 2).
© 2015 Bil and Cher Holton, YourSpiritualPractice.com