Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

Spring and The Gospel of Thomas

April 5, 2013

Looking at the trees outside my window, and those lining the streets and covering the mountains in Western North Carolina on this day, April 5, nary a green leaf has arrived on their branches. The skeletons are yet bare-boned. But I can almost feel in my throat the energy that is ready to surge out of those trees and spring into this manifest world. Very shortly uncountable tons of gorgeous green mass will be exploding everywhere. The world is so pregnant right now!

This has been causing me to think of a profound passage attributed to Jesus found in The Gospel of Thomas, one of the documents found in the Nag Hammadi desert in Egypt in 1945.

If you bring out what is within you, what is within you will save you. If you do not bring out what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.

What if we, like the trees, are that pregnant, that ready to burst forth with what is within us which must be expressed? For each of us it is something unique – our own love, creativity, passion will be the new growth surging through us like the sap rising in the trees. The depressions, anxieties, angers, fears that we suffer may be due to damming up and not bringing out what is within.

Let’s make an intention to let go, spring forth, let the juices in the channels for our spirit come up, out and through. I like this image. I want to breathe into it. In the Book of Revelations Jesus says, “Behold I make all things new.” Let’s get ready for the new.

Forgiveness

March 30, 2013

The archetypal themes of the spring equinox and Easter season are several and powerful. New life, hope and possibility after the cold death and darkness of winter, miracles of resurrection, dark nights of the soul followed by transformation and grace — messages that profoundly encourage and inspire us.

For me this year, the theme that has been a stand out in my reflection is that of forgiveness. Religious persecution is another.

In the Christian story, Jesus is taken not by lousy thieves and bandits, but by the admired and respected authorities of religion and state. Shockingly it seems we have not evolved from there in these 2,000 years. Intolerance goes on and on in all manner of human affairs. Why can’t we get it? I so wish we could get it. Even if a person doesn’t have a particular religion or politics, the tendency of an individual to have his or her own personal Way, the lens through which they see the world, and to resist those who seem to threaten it is no different from any manner of religious persecution. Everyone can benefit by sober reflection on this, I believe.

The pivotal moment in the drama of the capture, torture and crucifixion of Jesus seems to be when he asked for forgiveness for those who were involved in his death. He understood that they really didn’t get it, and he didn’t want them to suffer because of it.

Last night, Good Friday night, thoughts of this came over me like a storm and a weight. I had been watching the news and piddling around when suddenly I found myself unable to do anything but turn off all of the lights, fire up a bunch of candles and sit solemnly in the dark with my altar. I have not forgiven. I know I have not forgiven. Do I even want to forgive? Sometimes it seems like forgiveness is a naive collusion or denial, a failure to stand for something. I know real forgiveness is not that, so how can I find this in me? How does one accomplish that? It doesn’t happen just by saying you want it.

As I reflected, suddenly it became painfully clear to me that the person I need to forgive is myself. This is where it begins and that could make the rest of it easy. The many ways I have failed myself, disappointed myself, judged, criticized, betrayed or lied to myself — these awarenesses came in clearly and baldly. I have joined with some super-ego authority that prescribes what I could or should have done by now, how disciplined I should be, and on and on. It is a failure  in tolerance. The people in my life that I thought I had to forgive, that I still know I have to forgive, hold a pale specter compared to this issue.

Now I see it a little more clearly; many thanks to guides, angels and powers who support the journey for helping me to see. Still, how does it happen? In this self-forgiveness work, just like any other, we don’t want to be in naive collusion or denial about what is to be forgiven. It seems important to stand for something. Figuring this out won’t happen just because by wanting it to, it will be a journey. A journey toward love and tolerance. I accept the task.

Forgiveness begins at home, they say. It goes out from there. It will take over the world I suppose when we start with where the calling truly begins.

Saving Jesus

January 12, 2013

Yesterday was the first New Moon of 2013, New Moon in Capricorn. In the spiritual tradition I trained in and where I was ordained, it was suggested that the New Moon before Christmas is a time when Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is very attuned to our hearts and that on that day we might say prayers to her and ask for her helps regarding our deepest concerns. And similarly the first New Moon of the year is considered a time to pray to Jesus, his spirit being especially aligned with our needs at this time. Jesus being a man who certainly created new beginnings, after all his story is written in what we call the New Testament, I always liked this idea of invoking his helps with the new intentions formed at the beginning of a new year. Over many decades I have fasted and said prayers on these days, and experienced some strong responses from the spiritual realm.

Though I resigned from that ministry in 1994, what I learned there has continued to hold immense value for me. Increasingly I am grateful and moved by the wisdom of its founder, Ann Ree Colton, in her efforts to introduce those who studied with her to the wisdom tradition in every world religion, Christianity being just one of those we studied, the Bible just one of the scriptural texts poured through and revered. She said, “Every man beats his own path to God,” and encouraged respect for any sincere approach to divinity and spirituality. Jesus was certainly not held up as the “one way” that many Christians fiercely believe.

I decided to include some friends in the ritual that I normally would conduct privately for the “Jesus New Moon” yesterday. It was a very sweet occasion. However, some of the conversation, and other recent conversations with friends, have highlighted for me the stigma around the name of Jesus; even the name evokes a similar kind of gut response that comes with mentioning groups who impose their ideas on others with violence and persecution, or at the very least with judgment and scorn toward non-believers. People don’t want to be associated with the name Jesus because of it. I understand, I deeply understand, and it makes me really sad.

I was in Jerusalem visiting the site where The Last Supper is honored, a building that is believed to be a similar construction to the one in which this event would have taken place, and approximately in the same neighborhood, when an inner event occurred that caused me to differentiate in my mind Jesus the man from the character that Christian churches constructed by that name. Our guide was a Mormon. He told the story as it is written in the New Testament about the last supper, that Jesus knew he was about to die, and that he had supper with his disciples. He spoke the mysterious words that the bread is his body and the wine his blood, and as they ate it said “This do in remembrance of me.” I was following the story which I knew “by heart” anyway and was powerfully moved reflecting upon it in that place. Then the guide said, “And that is when he established the priesthood.” I was jarred, even shocked out of my reverie, and thought “WHAT???” Where did anyone get priesthood out of that? He was having dinner with friends. He seemed to me to be telling all of those who loved him to break bread together in remembrance of him. Should not men, women, children, families, friends, small groups, large groups do this? My mind suddenly lit up with the question – where did this notion of an exclusive, celibate, authoritative mediator between spirit and other men come out of that simple story? I started to get upset, but then heard these words inwardly, “The only Jesus is the one who reveals himself in the heart.” The churchy idea of Jesus began to be eradicated for me at that time.

One of the best bumper stickers I ever saw read: “Dear Jesus, please save me from your followers.” If a person reads the stories of Jesus in the New Testament, just by themselves without explications and commentary, I think one finds that the last thing in the world that Jesus ever intended was to start a fundamentalist group who made rules and judged people according to them and were exclusive and separative. Jesus hung out with everybody and eschewed rules created by the spiritual dictates of the time, which surely got him into trouble. The people he was most critical of were the pompous, proud, overly pious church people, and those who sought to profit from religion.

I won’t say more except that I am concerned that our “savior” needs saving from the sad blight on his name created by humans and groups who use it to shame and persecute others. The simple stories in the scripture, and especially the unedited ones found in the Nag Hammadi desert as well as early gnostic and Celtic records put down before the Roman empire took over the Christian tradition, reveal a very different spiritual leader, healer and guide than the Jesus whose name now causes people’s skin to crawl when they hear it. For many, seeing a cross causes the same reaction as the swastika causes others. It’s tragic. Sad.

I love, truly, the Jesus who lives in my heart and the influence that the pure teachings and stories of him have on me. I’d love to know better how to help save his name from the reputation created by over-zealous, misguided fundamentalists. I hope that the beauty and power of his true legacy can be reclaimed and retained for the generations to come.

Moving Mountains

August 6, 2012

If you “have faith and doubt not”, says Jesus, you can tell this mountain to move and it will move. Have faith and doubt not. Damn, that one is tricky. Faith I have, I actually have loads of it. Doubting not, there’s the rub. What does it look like, really, to never doubt? Isn’t it only fools who never doubt? Maybe that is why I keep turning up The Fool card in the tarot recently. I need that Fool’s vision and courage. I’m trying to move mountains. Kind of literally.

Recently I have received some very generous and unexpected feedback, rather randomly, from people who have worked with me in retreat at my now-on-the-market center on the mountain. They are telling me how they have moved mountains in their lives since coming. Each expressed a clear sense that it was their experience here that gave them the needed strength and vision. I give at least 50% of the credit for these results to the location in these ancient and wondrous mountains. They just get under your skin and do something to you. All I have needed to do, mostly, is get you here.

Now I am moving into town, downtown, the heart of the urban environment. Can I move the mountain with me, so that what I do still carries the power? Can it be done? Shall it be done? Only if I have faith and doubt not. Doubt… not… and move this mountain. Lord God please help me with that one.

In the Manger

December 25, 2011

I truly love the traditional Christmas story – that this very morning Mary and Joseph were sitting in stunned and happy quiet after the successful birth of their baby boy, tucked into a  manger cave behind the inn, having swaddled their son and placed him in the warm straw. The animals who lived in that manger kept them warm and adored with them this newcomer. Then shepherds arrived who had heard angels singing, telling of the birth. Then Wise Men of the East had known of the prophecy and found the baby through their astrological wisdom; they followed a star shining in the East. And, the New Testament says, Mary saw all of these things and held them in her heart. I always loved that line.

I just know it can be so that this very morning some new impulse of innocence, power, beauty, divinity and love can be successfully born in each of our hearts too. A new possibility. Let’s each behold what is born, swaddle it, be quiet with it today, at least in that interior place where silence can be held even as life swirls about. In that manger the animal spirits will watch over, the protectors will come to see and honor, the new gestation will have a silent and tender beginning. I hold all of these things in my heart with you.

Whatever name or story for the mystery you love and celebrate, I pray you will be infused with the love and magic in it as our earth turns toward the new season and new year. It does seem a good time to begin again and believe freshly. May love be yours.

Instantaneous Healing

October 21, 2010

I am remembering a dream I had some years ago, the details of which I wish I had time to look back into my dream journals to find right now, but I will tell what I remember. I am on the bottom of the ocean, there is a university, I am getting my Ph.D. in Angelology, (a term that I had never heard of before the dream but have since read is one that is used somewhere), and there is something we are learning about instantaneous healing. The message seemed to be that humans are set up now to believe that it takes time to recover from ailments at all of the levels – emotional, psychological, physical, spiritual. We don’t truly realize yet that instant healing is possible; that it is literally possible to go from a state of sickness to a state of freedom from that sickness in an instant when things are lined up right. That was what we are learning about in this school at the bottom of the sea regarding the science of Angelology.

People struggle now for years to recover from traumas, abuses, illnesses of every kind, and the set up has been that it takes those years to integrate the shocks, the information, work through the healing processes, and become free of the effects. Our best shots now at “instantaneous healing” involve repression, or severance and marginalization of the issue. These are band-aids on the problem, helpful for a time but not healing. There is much information that we have yet to integrate regarding the true possibilities of healing.

Jesus was the Miracle Man who healed in a moment. It is possible. I loved what one of the participants in a conference I recently attended said by way of response to one of the lectures. He called up Jesus’ words, “And greater things than these shall ye do.” The fellow remarked, “This is not a scriptural phrase that I hear preached upon very often.”

So true. And what the passage says is true. We just have to live into it.

Seeing Through

February 24, 2010

Yesterday I had a momentary flash or vision in which I saw a crack in the matrix or whatever the proper word would be for this veil of our consensual reality. I saw right through it for one split second, like a crack in everything. It was as though all of this that we see and think is matter and is real is just a projection on a movie screen. If there is a crack in a movie screen, there’s a crack in the picture. I saw that crack yesterday. And I saw that like a sight, not a concept in the mind. I wasn’t thinking about anything at all, I was  just walking across my living room.

At the same time I saw that the matrix is me, and the crack is in me. The revelation seemed to be that these many frustrations I have about myself – wishing to be able to change bad habits, or to be smart about money, to be clearer about what I am doing, the seemingly endless list –  are all just illusions. For that split second I saw through it. I could see that I can do anything I want and change anything I want to about myself. What I saw was real, as real as anything I have ever seen. It was a glimpse briefer than a split second. And I don’t feel a bit changed today except for having seen that.

Today I thought of Buddha sitting under the Bodhi tree, just sitting there, refusing to move until he saw through the illusion. He stayed there for a long period of time until he finally saw through.His life’s message was to impart that the nature of reality is illusion, and that every single one of us have the capacity to see through it; that Buddha is not different from us, he is the same as us. (Just as an aside here, I am often sad that many Christians think that Jesus’ message was that He is different from us, that it is anathema to think we have the same nature as him. Priests made that up because they actually thought they were better than everybody. It is a tragic misinterpretation in my view.) 

My thought today is that we are all Buddhas, that the Bodhi tree is everywhere and we are always sitting under it if we want to. And that just like Siddhartha Gautama we can see through. I personally do not believe that we have to be perfect, or fasting, or yoga masters, or ascetics, or without sin, or poor, or even disciplined, we can see through the illusion. And it’s all illusion. Lovely, wonderful, fascinating, brilliant, gorgeous, horrible, outrageous, exciting, frustrating illusion. 

When Jesus was baptized and when he died, they say the sky split. He split the sky. We can split the sky. Einstein split the sky. These great teachers are telling us the truth about what we are and what is so. I’m going to really thing about that crack I saw yesterday. Am I supposed to be able to sustain it, or act on it? I’m not sure. I’ll keep sitting under the tree.