Monday, April 23, 2012

God Can't Change... His Mind

All that is subject to change is born and die away. The Lord doesn't. If God was subject to change He would constitute no salvation. If we, in some way, could convince Him to change His “mind”, we wouldn't be able to trust Him. He would then be a pawn to the strongest will, or best rhetoric, just like you and I. 

It is the Eternal nature of The Lord that makes Him worthy of our adoration, and our deepest Love. He is the One mountain that will never yield to the winds of change. He is the Infinite sea from which all waves rise and fall.

Many people believe God to be fickle. They envision Him listening carefully to their prayers, and then after some consideration, responding to their desires. They picture God as someone who bends down to the drama of Man and makes decisions based on our strengths and shortcomings - rethinking His policy with the turn of every tide.

How can a Father like that please anything but our personal and egoistical agendas? God saw me, he heard my cries, and because of my honesty and need, he took pity on my soul. Isn't that an extremely self-centered way of thinking? The neighbor just died from cancer, and children not far from here are drugged and sold as sex slaves. Try; In my cries, because I gave an honest voice to my need, I was fortunate to experience God, and experiencing God I was healed.

Now, it may be, that what I'm saying suggests a very dull Lord, one who is closer to a natural force, like gravity, than something alive, like a Person. I believe both of these ideas to be misleading. The picture of a magnet may be clarifying: You, a small shard of the greater Magnet, twitch and turn in your prayer, shedding some of the covering dirt (ego) you have gathered over the years, and thus, you make possible for the Magnet proper to attract you. You have moved within reach. It feels now as if He is doing the work, but He always pulled you to Him with the same strength. Only due to the circumstances, and your willingness to come before Him, are you now able to experience His presence. Perhaps this may even cause changes to the events around you, because all things move around Him. But it is not due to a change in Him, but rather the re-alignment between you.

Everyone alive know that strange things happen. The natural world we inhabit is not apart from Him, and though our societies may be horrendous and insane, His presence shines through them. The Universe is highly dynamic and reflects a dynamic aspect of the Lord. He is everywhere, and it is His very being (not will) that causes all events and phenomena. Aligned with Him we live in Paradise. Separated from Him we move through Hell. This is not because the Lord wills it, but because He IS (what is). When we refuse to partake in Him, or hide in a reality of our own ego-centric and individualistic making, we fail hellishly. The Universe can't sustain illusion. That's where all the pain comes from. It is a skewed perspective, that paints a demonic face upon the Eden countenance of God. The Bible calls it His judgment, and even His wrath, but there is no malice or punishing mind behind this hammer. It is simply the result of our ignorance, and His inevitable nature. He is love Eternal.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

We are plants that can either grow into Loving Union with Him, or turn dry dead in the misconception and refusal of His Light. From an isolated perspective the surrounding world becomes an enemy of me. Through earnest meditation, prayer, and love we heal that imagined disjunction, and reality is made clear to us. His eternal work (being) becomes our own. Through us, as persons, His being becomes action. Look at action spawned from such Unity, and behold; there is the will of God, adapting to the situation at hand, healing the world, so that its waves may be a never-ending melody, in tune with His unchanging essence.

When I now pray; May He help us find His will inside of us, it is not so that He may hear me, but so that I may better hear Him. The Lord doesn't need our prayers, but when we perform them sincerely, His voice reaches its audience, and transforms it into his leaves. We shouldn't pray for God to shape the world into our image, but for us to accept being shaped into His. This is not watching the world being destroyed and calling it the work of the Lord, but to see God's Love in everything, and to shape the world stage for its Artistry.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Eternal Prayer - New Words

Infinite One, our source and our true nature,
You, who is beyond names,
Help us to find and experience your Light.
Through Your existence all things are,
Both physical and spiritual.
Through You we live and are sustained,
Teach us forgiveness when we fail to remember this.
Strengthen us at the hour of temptation,
And stear us away from the path of separation.
Only in You, we are free,
And as You, we are glory eternal.

So be it; truly

Friday, April 13, 2012

Existence Exists

There is one fact that simply can't sink deep enough into our understanding, and that is the two word headline of this post: existence exists. We tend to take it for granted 99,9% of the time, and yet we have not even come close to fathom its significance. Pondering this one fact alone can lead to a great awakening.

Reality, that which IS, might not have been at all, and if it had it could have been something else entirely – something gray, dull, mechanical, and flat. If possible, try to see this not from the perspective through which you survey and judge the objects of existence, but from outside of it. I ask you to look at existence itself – at its inevitable and miraculous being. Yes, here. Take a small step outside of yourself and behold it directly. This is what IS. There is no other story. There is no other reality. This is how IS-ness IS, and it actually and fully IS.

Stay, if you may and like, with this one fact for a couple of days. Exclude to the level you can all other worries, questions, considerations etc. Meditate upon being Existence. Ponder the nature of Existence, not its physical nature, possible illusory aspect, or any detail of it at all. Look at existence itself. It is.

I repeat the same thing over and over because it is very likely that you do not see what it means. Existence exists. In the mind existence is treated like an object like any other, but existence/reality isn't an object. It is what IS. We therefore have to let the fact sink in deeply. This is how it looks, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds right now. Yes, it does look, smell, taste, feel and sound. We know it, but we normally do not grasp it. We have to detach ourselves from the “inside of existence” perspective through which we typically perceive the world, and behold existence as existence.

Let us taste the full impact of these two words, and keep doing so. Until we laugh out loud and long at what they say, we have not managed to comprehend their fullness. We have not fully seen that...

We are.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Wisdom of Cherry Picking

To make sense of reality the mind has to catalogue every phenomena and put them inside distinct compartments, which it labels as best it can. One good example of the effects of mind-boxes is the 'all or nothing'-approach which seems so very common today, and something that Christians (for example) regularly have to deal with. Unless they can defend every aspect, expression, and action performed under the banner of Christianity for the last 2000 years, some people will give them a really hard time.

The same thing happens with the Bible. If you love the book, yet refuse to defend (or believe) every single chapter of it, you are likely to be accused of 'cherry picking', by some atheists. What that expression means in this context is something like this "Unless you stand behind the whole tree, including the berries I have deemed rotten, you shouldn't defend it at all" This I find a very narrow-minded (which means few and tight mind compartments) way of looking at things.

If we wish to walk the spiritual path with honesty, meaning we don't take what we hear for granted but examine it for ourselves, I see no other way but to engage in this kind of cherry-picking. It is impossible to understand Scripture from day one, and even more impossible to understand all of Scripture.

How beautiful a thing it is to read something that inspires us, to initiate or continue on the path, perhaps a single line from the Gospels, The Qur'an, or the Bhagavad Gita. Imagine asking someone who just opened the Bible, why Abraham was ready to slay his own son, and then demand that he/she defended that seemingly barbaric choice of the Patriarch.

If we find anything to hold on to, in the way of spiritual food, then let those two or three berries alone help us begin our ascent of the tree of Heaven. Spiritual progress and understanding happens in steps, and no book has to be embraced in full, to reach the grand destination.

What wine does to violent men doesn't count for all, and so it is with religions. They are indeed powerful tools of transformation, which need to be exercised with a sense of balance, and that's precisely why we shouldn't swallow any of them all at once. We certainly can't defend every limb and twig while barely holding on to one, and if anyone pushes us to do so, it is wise to stick to, and be content with, the cherries we have already cherished – those whose taste we well know.

So, was Mary ACTUALLY a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, and was he REALLY conceived by the Holy Ghost? Shake your shoulders, and answer truthfully; How would I know? I'm not looking in to that right now, because it doesn't really influence my spiritual practice, nor my way of life. We say these words in Church, but I'm not all that concerned with them, and the joy which this path brings me, doesn't change either way.

As we start to engage in spiritual practice, like meditation for example, we begin from a point of ignorance. We don't really know what is happening. Only with time do we start to understand what the practice does to us. While we may happen upon blissful states, or sudden insights early on, we can in no way understand the full effects the practice can bring about. The same goes for reading scripture, and a religious way of life. Slowly we have to venture ever deeper into waters unfamiliar to us. Understanding that is also understanding the importance and wisdom of "cherry picking". We may trust the words of our elders, masters, priests, or teachers, but we really can't defend a tower upon which we do not yet stand, nor can we truthfully embrace those we have only heard about. Yet, from one berry alone, we can say that this tree bears fruit, and that it is worth holding on to. With the chance of one more fresh berry upon it, I will climb it all the way to the grave.

A berry a day, keeps the devil away... and will eventually make the walls of our compartments fall. The Spirit can stand no such brain-made boundaries. However, if we pretend to know that which we do not, or identify too strongly with our favorite compartments, then accusations like "cherry picking" are bound to make those mind-boxes into safes, in which only small and graven idols of the Lord can be secured. His majesty and essence will roam freely, somewhere else entirely.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Underneath the Wrapping

As an extension (largely a repetition really) of the last post I thought I'd try to give some examples of conceptual wrappings and some further explanation of what I mean by “the abstract eye”.

When we look at these letters which we are currently reading, we cannot help but silently or loudly, utter or take in, the sounds and meanings we have been trained to associate with them, and their combinations (words). Looking closer at the individual letters, like this U, we can see it has a specific shape, which is really all it is – a shape, or a form. A 'u' isn't a letter anywhere but in our minds. What we see is our minds superimposed upon the form. Typographers, designers, and visual artists, have a better chance of perceiving the u as an image, while most people normally never consider the pure line or curve of it. All they see is the U.
What I'd like us to do now is to gaze at this shape: H until we can behold its form free from the concept we call 'h'. To help out we may start by picturing the silhouette of two pillars attached to each other with a thin horizontal construction binding them together. Perhaps it is the ruins of a once great temple? Try then to see the form completely free from any kind of meaning (Staring at it for a long time usually helps). If we succeed it's great, but if we don't, the fact that we can realize that H is a form, just as “meaningless” as any other form, is beneficial. Though we understand it as a letter, it is still that same and simple form, which the illiterate will confirm, if we doubt it.

We typically don't add much emotional wrapping to the forms we call letters, but some sorts of music, some kinds of food, some occupations, and some types of animals (for example), are not as easily kept free from such additions. Just like the sound added to the letter H doesn't really have anything to do with the H-form, our opinions and ideas about heavy metal, soup, police-men, and spiders, are just that – opinion and ideas. Even if it's true that spiders more often bite human beings than butterflies do, they are not nasty, disgusting, creepy, or evil, anywhere but in some people's minds. (This is also true about police-men.)

The emotional wrappings may partly or fully be caused by actual facts, but hairy, poisonous qualities don't equal fear, because if they did, all beings would fear spiders, and loath heavy-metal. That some people love it and others hate it (whatever “it” may be) should be enough really, for us to see beyond our ego-centric ideas about all things. Unfortunately, this “should be” is wishful thinking. Wrappings don't come off that easily.

When we have managed to look at an H, for a short moment liberated from our branding of it, we can use this same technique on the rest of reality. Just try to keep free from ALL ideas when entering places, and encountering people, and you will notice how strange and marvelous a phenomenon they truly are. Treat every moment as a new and unknown revelation, coming to you all-inclusive and inevitable. There is nothing we can change of what already is, but for our reception and acceptance of it.

If we keep this up, we may be invited into the next level of freedom, where form itself is recognized and experienced as a concept. This is where the H blends together with the background (which no thing can ever escape) and starts speaking to us as the Unity it is. When that happens, we ourselves, simultaneously blend together with the world before our eyes and “seeing” is transformed into “being”.

An H isn't built up singularly by dark lines, but is equally made up by the seemingly empty areas between the pillars, as well as the space surrounding it. It is also fully dependent on the reader, without whom, there could never be form, nor letters. Examining an H is examining ourselves. Let us look beyond our ideas of it. Let us take into account all that which is required for the revelation of an H, and study that boundless process in action. Form and consciousness is now shaking hands, moving closer, and as they do they begin to recognize themselves in the eyes of the other. The merger has already begun.