THE NEXT ROOM

In the West, poetry has pretty much been “dying on the vine”
Because there’s simply no “juice” left –
Especially since there’s no longer any believable God to write for.

In ancient Islam, mysticism and poetry frequently were allied –
And in medieval Sufism, with Hafiz and Rumi,
You might even say that, for a time, they became the same thing.

Christianity, knocking through a couple millennia of violent materialism
And repressible crimes,
Has, unfortunately, over time, devolved into contemporary Evangelical/Republican paternalism.

Sufi poets, however, spent their time and spiritual energy searching for the “heart of humanity”
And found it in “Love” –
Which enabled them to dance and sing ecstatically.

Westerners might one day experience this too –

But from way over, in the next room.

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SPIRITUAL STATIC

What’s “good” would be to have a direct relationship with God –
That’s the ultimate!

Christianity, however, requires a relationship between its believers and Christ –
Who, in turn, has a great relationship with God.

Personally, I view Jesus as a “shining example”
Of someone able to achieve a direct relationship with God –
Not to sublimate to – but to emulate
Especially since neither the Bible nor any church or other religious institution,
And not even Jesus himself (no matter what the religion says), is capable of substituting
For the real God.

SPIRITUALLY, DOES CHRISTIANITY STILL MAKE SENSE?

Jesus knew everything, spiritually, about being “born again” himself –
But, unfortunately, the Christians who came after him
Never became interested in their own “true selves”
Into which they could be born again (like Jesus) –
And live a life parallel to God.

Even though Jesus believed God was “Spirit,”
Christianity was founded, in large part, upon “spiritual materialism” –
Because that requires an external “savior” – in this case, Jesus himself –

This understanding of human beings as objects that need to be saved
Was in stark contrast to Jesus’ understanding of human beings as subjects
With an inherent ability to save themselves
By spiritually being “born again” into their “true selves.”

TODAY

Christianity is a big city religion
Because Jesus, Peter, and Paul all went into capitol cities to die.

Cities are a domain of control –
The opposite of nature or God.

As a consequence, Christianity decided to place its God into an unchangeable canon –
And then closed it for good –
Whereas “spirit” is like an invisible ball
Children enjoy playing with.

Starting quite early, however, Christianity’s most serious games
Involved war –
Taught, derivatively, by its self-designated “13th Apostle” –
Constantine.

On the other hand,
Each individual could be like Jesus
Deciding to become a child of God –
And live as God would live
If God were human –
That is, completely “free.”

Anyone could do this – it’s what Jesus, Buddha
And Mohammed all taught –

But isn’t that the opposite of what the world religions are teaching us
Today?

FEEDING FIVE THOUSAND

There was no real “physical” miracle here –
So this shouldn’t be seen as qualifying Jesus as “God.”

However, there was a profound teaching –
About sharing.

As the day wore on –
The disciples started wondering
How the thousands of people who had come to hear Jesus were going to be fed.

At first, the disciples considered going out and buying food at nearby villages –
But, instead, Jesus said: “You feed them” –
Instructing his disciples to start sharing their food as an example
Of how followers of Jesus should respond to a common need.

This particular teaching, at the time, was such a striking “symbolic action”
That, eventually, it became established in Christianity as the Eucharist –
Illustrating that followers of Jesus, when meeting to share teaching about God,
Should also share a meal-in-common – that included everyone
Men and women, poor and rich, old and young.

The Gospels refer to 5,000 men being fed,
But the heart of the story actually centers on the biblically-invisible women –
Without which there would have been no food to share.

The men came to listen to Jesus without (like men sometimes do) thinking ahead about food –
While the disciples only started becoming concerned about it later in the day –
But the women had already planned ahead
And brought enough food to feed their families and friends.

Jesus intuited this, of course, because his soul was both male and female.

This first “all-people” spiritual dinner turned into a big outdoor picnic –
Celebrating God’s word as taught by Jesus –
Along with the sharing of food by the women enabling everyone to be fed –
With plenty of leftovers.

This was a teaching about spiritual democracy –
That all persons, of whatever age or sex, stand equally before God –
Symbolized by their common sharing of food.

There was no “magic” here at all –
The teaching was simply that Jesus’ followers, using their initiative and faith,
Should simply share what they had with others –
(As opposed to the segregated eating by classes and sexes common at the time).

This teaching eventually was included in all four Gospels – establishing a new social pattern for Jesus’ followers –
Ultimately becoming the Eucharist (which, unfortunately, over time, has largely lost its original meaning).

Neither the Christian Church nor the rest of the world, has yet to fully embrace this teaching –
That followers of Jesus (whether Christian or not) are called upon
To start the reign of God –
By starting to share what they have.

If America, for its part, could drop its primitive faith and reliance on military and economic power
And start sharing what it has with the rest of the world
Wouldn’t we – especially under the leadership of women (who respond naturally to people’s physical needs) –
Be capable of successfully feeding, clothing, and housing all eight billion of us?

Wouldn’t that be the miracle God wants –
For human beings to thoughtfully and lovingly share the world’s resources with one another.

As I said, Jesus didn’t believe in physical miracles like the “magical multiplication” of loaves and fishes –
But he did believe in spiritual miracles involving the kinds of changes possible for a human heart

If just given a little “spiritual push”.

COURAGE IN THE FLOW

We earn the title of “human being” when we’re able to live out values
Higher than our everyday concerns –

Some examples are:
Love, truth, justice, beauty,
And “Good” – an alternative word for “God.”

Before enlightment, if and when that ever happens,
Each choice we make will be determined by our earlier unconscious choices –
Made without self-reflective thinking –

But to live “in the moment” – like God does –
We need the same inner freedom that God exhibits.

In order to accomplish that, however – we’ll need to shake off our elaborate egos
And ersatz societal roles –
And become free enough to resurrect our original true self.

It’s not sexuality that our predecessors, Adam and Eve, wanted to cover up –
It was their “self-made” artificial reality –
Which can only be changed by gaining the ability to see the world through God’s eyes.

Christianity, in order to justify itself, has promoted a misleading standard for all humanity –
“Perfection” –
But, after all, even God isn’t perfect in a mathematical or abstract sense –
Because God is alive

Like nature – just on a higher level.

So, to condemn ourselves as sinful because we haven’t achieved “perfection”
Is irrational
Because we aren’t –
And never will be.

One day, however, we might decide to be “born again” – like Jesus recommended –
And, as a consequence, be able to experience full reality –

The same as God –

After which, hopefully, we’ll start making intelligent-loving decisions,
Discovering all it took was

Courage in the flow –

That’s all –

Just a little courage
In the flow.

BORN AGAIN

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” John 3:3

Christianity teaches that Jesus was referring to salvation based upon a belief in him.

But Jesus was actually talking about being born “into the Spirit” – not about a commitment to himself.

So, what does it mean for one to be born “into the Spirit”?

I think, first, this requires a determination of the meaning of one’s “self.”

Each of us is born as a “true self” – but, at this moment in history, a “true self” probably wouldn’t be able to survive past his or her childhood. That’s why a person, while still young, accepts the substitution of an “ego” or false self in place of their true self – so that they can successfully integrate their “self” into the world – i.e., with their parents, community, and surrounding culture, including their nation and religion. This successor “self,” in most cases, takes the form of the strong and healthy ego that Freud described.

But what are the costs of living through an “ego” self, no matter how successful it may be in the world?

Think about consciousness as an open circle. Then picture the part accessible to the ego as a very thin slice – maybe 10% – 20%. From early childhood on, that’s the part of ourselves we choose to live within – with all our experiences needing to fit within that narrow slice or be excluded. Excluded how? The ego self requires, as the price of an effective existence, that each and every experience outside the scope of its chosen roles be methodically and ruthlessly pushed back into the unconscious – sealing those experiences off from our consciousness.

So, what happens when we’re “born again”? Upon being born again, we gain access to all our consciousness – all 360 degrees of it – and are able to experience full reality. We become completely “free” and totally open to all our experiences – just like when we first came into the world as a newborn baby – but we also retain all the experience and knowledge of the person we had become by the time we were “reborn.” This rebirth, however, doesn’t happen to an ego – it only happens when we’re able to break free of the ego we had earlier accepted – and start living outside it. That’s what Zen training, for example, prepares us for – to get “outside yourself” in order to become “free of your ego.” This is essentially the same path which Jesus taught – that we need to be “born again” in order to become our “true self” – the self God originally provided us with.

Once you become your true self, you’ll enter “Heaven” – and no longer be creating karmic problems in this world. That’s because you’ll be experiencing everything clearly – by being able to see yourself at the same time as you’re participating in the world – by an ability to stand “outside” yourself. This makes it possible for you to see what God wants you to do in any given situation – just like Jesus was able to – allowing you to act the same as God would act if God were a human being like yourself.

Let me say this as simply as possible – once you find your “true self,” you won’t be Jesus, but you’ll have become someone like Jesus – because you’ll have done what he recommended – spiritually, you’ll be “born again.”

All the “Angels in Heaven” start singing when this happens –

or perhaps,

You’ll simply be able to hear the angels who’re always singing – once you’ve gained the “ears to hear” that everyone receives upon being “born again.”

SEARCHING FOR GOD – WITH BOTH MINDS

We possess two minds: a logical/mathematical/scientific mind and a creative artistic one:
Joined at the brain’s center they function best when acting together
Because it takes both to encompass reality.

Today, many people are using just one of their minds in their search for God or for understanding reality – the “logical” one –
And that’s true whether we’re speaking of believers in orthodox religion or atheists –
Since both can be quite comfortable construing reality in a purely logical manner.

Atheists – being materialistic – use “Occam’s Razor” to crop spirit entirely out of life’s picture,
While Fundamentalists and Conservative Evangelicals proselytize a “god-given” faith
composed of ancient superstitions systematized into a “take it or leave it” religion.

Both are dead-ends.

I propose that people should start searching for God and their true self by using both minds. A new post-“postmodern” field of human endeavor will be necessary to accomplish this: a freely creative and artistic, yet inherently rational, spiritual discipline of using both of our minds.

In the past, artists convincingly portrayed various aspects of God, but restricted their images and stories to their culture’s predominant religion – whether Christianity, Buddhism, or Islam.

Today, however, artists need to widen their scope of work to encompass all human religions, spirituality, thought, and emotions. Human beings’ highest and most joyful levels of creativity could then be used to “paint pictures” and “tell stories” about God, and to discover their true selves – with absolute freedom – while grounding this new“ spiritual-art” in a profound and rational understanding of reality.

This “Two Minds spiritual discipline,” however, will never be included in the course curricula at Princeton Theological Seminary or Oral Roberts University because this combination of a rational scientific approach with spontaneous and free artistic creativity, by its very nature, could never be the subject of academic systematization.

The best thing would be for each person to become a “scientific-artist” or “artistic-scientist” (depending upon one’s natural preference), and to go and search for God and one’s true self on their own – using both minds. If they happen to learn about someone who might be helpful to them in that search – they should go and talk to that person – one on one.

Repeat, as often as necessary, until radiant with joy!