Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Taking the high road following the path of Jesus

Gandhi supposedly said one time that he would convert to Christianity if he ever found a church that actually followed the teachings of Jesus.

What Jesus actually taught through His words and actions is miles away from what most Christian churches preach and teach. It has been debated whether Jesus ever intended to found a church. He was very interested in spirituality and He told people to be religious if they are so inclined but He also said that He intended to transform the teachings of religion, to take them further.

Jesus was certainly not legalistic. He taught that people are more important that the laws. The laws are to benefit the people, not people benefit the laws.

Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is "to love as I have loved."

When the rich young man asked Jesus what he had to do to get to the kingdom, Jesus' first answer is "follow the commandments." The rich young man follows up and says, "I already do that and I still am not happy. What more can I do?" Jesus says simply, "Sell all that you have; give the money to the poor and come follow me." The rich young man became sad and walked away.

That's what happens today in most churches. They preach the commandments, but they don't want to sell what they have, help the poor, and follow Jesus. And so churches are losing members. Young people are not following the teachings of the church. They eschew the legalistic teachings, the theological debates, and they turn to materialism, to drugs and alcohol, to video games, to virtual reality, and to suicide.

Churches are failing in their mission to facilitate and nurture the souls of saints. They engage in self preservation and social justice and political work. Churches have failed and are failing to nurture souls on the spiritual path. Nurturing souls on the spiritual path is intended here. Our work is unusual in our modern society.

The spiritual path calls us from the path of the ego. Has it dawned on you yet that there is a better way? Have you embarked on the search? Are you walking the path of Love? As Jesus said, "Come follow me." Indeed.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Is it time to go home?

Be careful what you pray for. You may be barking up the wrong tree. You may be whistling in the dark.

God is not part of the path of the ego. God is understanding and compassionate and is sad to watch God's creations struggle and suffer on the path of the ego which they have created, but respecting their free will, God does not intervene because God knows nothing of this fantasy which God's creations have built. This is the meaning of the Adam and Eve's sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve went their own way and decided to create their own world apart from the world which God created. Adam and Eve and their children can't have it both ways: either want to live in God's world or the world of their own making.

We have chosen to live apart from God's world on the path of the ego and then expect God to intervene and make things easier for us in a world not of God's making. This expectation is not only silly and stupid, it is arrogant and full of a false sense of entitlement which springs from the childish willfulness and naivete of a two year old.

An observer might want to shout, "Grow up!" Playing your childish games, and when they go awry, asking God to fix the mess you have made is based on a huge misunderstanding of what has happened and what is going on. You have been on the wrong track. Has it dawned on you that there must be a better way?

Indeed there is a better way. It is turning off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit. This turning initiates a searching for what one has left so long ago. It is a re-membering of the Oneness from which one has separated. This process of re-joining the Oneness is called the At-one-ment, Atonement.

Is it time to quit the nonsense and go back home?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Searching for Truth.

Osho says that the Truth can't be divided into fragments. Either you get the whole of it or nothing. There is no little bit or only part of it.

The whole, as Aristotle said, is greater than the sum of the parts. That's the Truth.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Are you misunderstood?

Here is a fact of life - As soon as you say something it will be misunderstood.

People interpret statements according to their own minds. Most people's minds are biased; they are ridiculous.

This fact is not rocket science. It is very apparent. We experience it hundreds of times every day, and yet we continue on oblivious, impervious.

Most people's minds are fast asleep. They are sleep walking through life, conditioned by cognitive and emotional processes they have no awareness of.

Most people live under the illusion that they have free will. This is what the ego has tricked them into believing so that the ego can stay in charge.

Ask yourself or someone else, "What makes you tick?" Most people have no idea. They are not the least bit mindful. The want, and cling, and hide their sense of lack as they strive to attain whatever it is that they think will make them satiated and whole.

This striving is a sad thing to watch. It is a fool's errand based on fear.

Psychologists tell us that the biggest problem with people addicted to social media in our digital age is FOMO - fear of missing out.

No where is the phenomena of misunderstanding greater than on social media.

It has been described as "ridiculous."

It is time to turn off the path of the ego, and ridiculousness, onto the path of the spirit and peace.

This turning takes forgiveness. We can forgive ourselves for our ridiculousness and others and it is this act which makes all the difference.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

What do you have faith in?

Osho says,

"In fact, the moment a child is perfectly conditioned by you, you are very happy; you call it 'religious education.' You are very happy that the child has been initiated in the religion of his parents. All that you have done is you have destroyed his capacity to know on his own. You have destroyed his authenticity. You have destroyed his very precious innocence. You have closed his doors and windows. Now he will have an encapsulated existence. He will live in his inner darkness, surrounded by all kinds of stupid theories, systems of thoughts, philosophies, ideologies. He will be lost in a jungle of words and he will not be able to come out easily.

Even if he comes across a Master, if he meets a Buddha, then too it will take years for him to unlearn - because learning becomes almost your blood, you bones, you marrow. And to go against you own knowledge seems to be going against yourself, against your tradition, against your country, against your religion, It seems as if you are a traitor, as you are betraying. In fact, your society has betrayed you, has contaminated your soul." p.217 "Ah, This!"

Rev. Galen Guengerich, the pastor at All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City describes, in his book, God Revised, how when he left his conservative Mennonite community in central Delaware to go to Princeton Theological divinity school that his family and friends were afraid he would lose his faith. Guengerich said, in fact, he didn't lose "his" faith, he lost "their" faith, and now was free to find his own.

Spirituality, unlike religion, is not taught to a person, or given to a person, it must be found by the person as part of his/her own experience. Spirituality is not a creed, a set of beliefs, or the practice of special rituals, or adherence to traditional activities. Spirituality is the experience of the Divine within and among the Divine's creations.

Most of religion appears on the path of the ego. Spirituality appears on the path of the spirit.

What do you have faith in? What informs and gives your experience of your life meaning?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What does it take to be spiritual?

People are not aware that knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is borrowed. Truth is personal.

Religion is not knowledge. Religion is experience.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that knowledge is spiritual. Knowledge is counterfeit spirituality. For a true spiritual experience, knowledge has to be set aside. Knowing about swimming and actually swimming are two entirely different things. In the same way, knowing about religion and being religious are two different things.

As David Francis, the Unitarian pioneer said, we need not think alike to love alike.

Spirituality, in the Christian tradition, is walking in Love. That doesn't take knowledge. It takes forgiveness.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Are you a lover or a meditator or still in the ego?

Osho says, "These are the two paths from the valley leading to the peak. One path is of awareness, meditation: the path of Zen we have been talking about these days. And the other is the path of love, the path of the devotees, the bhaktas, the Sufis. These two paths are separate when you start the journey; you have to choose. Whichever one you choose is going to lead to the same peak. As you come closer to the peak you will be surprised: the travelers on the path are coming closer to you. Slowly, slowly, the paths start merging into each other. By the time you have reached the ultimate, you are one." p.213, "Ah, This!"

We could also say that the path of mediation is the path of the Buddhists, and the path of Love is the path of Christians. Jesus said that the way to the kingdom is to "love as I have loved."

Unitarian Universalists describe what they all their "living tradition" as emanating from six sources, what has also been called the "perennial philosophy" which is what all the religions have in common which is the journey to the top of the peak.

Osho's point seems to be that if you are to journey to the peak you must choose a path. You can't walk them all at once. How can you be in two places at one time? Which route will you choose? Which route is best for you?

It's not that we can't sample them all. Indeed we can, but muddling on them all will not get us to the peak and takes a lot of time and energy.

It seems to me that walking the path of Love takes a certain amount of mindfulness and as one nears the top of the peak, as Osho points out, they become one. Lovers are meditators, and meditators become lovers.

At the very least get off the path of the ego and onto the path of the spirit.