Robert Ellwood is a life long member and lecturer for the Theosophical Society in America. He is an American academic, author, and expert on world religions. Religion, then, is based on the awareness that we and the universe have two interlocking natures, which may for convenience be called material and spiritual. The spiritual relates to consciousness, thought, and will. On the universal scale, it may be called God (or, for example, the Absolute, Ultimate Reality, the Unknown Root, or some other name). On the individual level, it may be called soul, immortal spirit, or something else; names are less important than the reality. The essential concept is that the two, God and individual, are of similar essence, and are in inward and outward contact. Thus each religion in its own way tries to teach what channels of spiritual communication are most valid or effective.