The reason why religious practices can help only to a limited extent is that, even though the person is well meaning, his ego takes over at some point to use the religion to its own end and so the causes for mental disturbance continue to operate. That is how if you criticize a person’s religion, he or she gets very disturbed, even after many years of practice. If the ego is not involved, there can be no disturbance. As long as the ego is in charge, there can be no depth to the mental serenity brought about. Self-deception is inevitable. Deeper understanding of oneself is needed to usher in a stable peace of mind.
So, the question is: Can anything help at all towards bringing about inner serenity without overtly or covertly feeding the ego in the process? This is an interesting challenge for those who understand the limitations of conventional practices of religion and meditation. They move into an investigative process that can be called Athma Vichara or Soul Search. Such an approach begins an inward journey of understanding how the mind brings about its own trap – the prison it builds around itself and sustains the ego. Obviously, understanding the prison is necessary for a movement towards freedom to take place. As of now, only a small percentage of human beings recognize this matter of inner evolution as a precursor to stable mental serenity. Even though of being a small minority, they are already aiding the process of planetary transformation towards collective harmony and wholesome life on this planet. If you feel drawn to this matter, you will also be able, in your own unique way, to bring about mental serenity for you and so augment the planetary transformation in the process. You may contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for mutual discussions. My website will be of interest to you.