DINER MYSTIC LOOKS AT JESUS THROUGH THE SCRIM OF CHRISTIANITY AND SEES A SOMEWHAT DIFFERENT PERSON

The “True Self”

If you want to know what Jesus thought about our “true self” – it’s simple – one’s “true self” can be discovered when we achieve the openness and receptivity of a small child. It’s the state of innocence human beings possessed prior to developing an “ego” or “false self” to deal with a potentially hostile world.

            “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15.

Jesus – in telling us to become “like a small child” – means we need to move towards a radically different, and earlier, version of the human spiritual world – accepting the “natural reality” directly created by God –  as opposed to a “reality” created by technically and theologically “sophisticated” human beings in modern manmade civilizations.

The “Essential Choice”

What deters us from becoming “like little children?” It’s our desire for and love of money – creating a stark choice between love of God and love of money.

            “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” Mathew 6:24.

Jesus made this crystal clear by pointing out the impossibility of someone who’s rich to be able to enter God’s kingdom.

            “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  Mark 10:24-5.

Jesus also emphasized God’s preference for the poor:

            “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20.

And said we needn’t worry about clothes or food:

            “… do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food and the body, more than clothes.” Luke 12:22.

What Kind Of “Human Love” Does God Want?

If you want to know what God is “like” – that is, how human beings can start “living like God” – it’s simple: “God is Love” and “Love is God.”

But that begs the question, doesn’t it? What is this “love” God wants for us and how are human beings supposed to achieve it?

Jesus radical (and true) answer is: “Love your enemies!”

            “I tell you: Love your enemies… that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous…. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mathew 6:44-48.

So, don’t be nationalistic, tribal, or self-centered – no, be like God. Remember, people who love their enemies have no enemies. If we can live like this – that is, how God would live if God were a human being – then we’d be able to enter God’s world and start living like God’s children. After all, there’s no ego in the sun or rain!

Another good example was love of one’s “neighbor.”  In response to the question of “Who is my neighbor?” (in the context of “Love your neighbor as yourself”), Jesus gave the example of the “Good Samaritan.” Because there was serious animosity between Judeans and Samaritans at that time (another example of “Love your enemies”), the story demonstrates that non-Jews (and, later, non-Christians) sometimes follow God better than the “official people” of God. Therefore, people like Muslims, or even atheists, may be able to do what God wants even better than those committed to the Western majority faiths.

Such “radical” examples of love go further than the “Love Commandment” later set forth in the Gospel of John:

            “A new command I give to you” Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34

This, however, is the least radical of Jesus’ love teachings. That is, it’s significantly less radical than loving one’s enemies or hostile neighbors! This kind of “love” was addressed to Jesus’ immediate circle of disciples.

Who Should We Spend Our Time With?

Jesus tells us that people who act on behalf of God can be spiritually closer to us than our blood relations or close friends – emphasizing doers over listeners.

            “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” Luke 8:21

How Can We “See” God?

Finally, how can we see and experience God’s kingdom? Jesus indicated that God’s rule is close or already present but unobserved – that God’s rule is all around us but difficult to discern:

            “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say “Here it is!” or “There it is!” because the kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:20-21.

In other words, God is spiritual, not materialistic. God’s Spirit can be seen and felt through one’s imagination and heart. That is, it takes an awakened inward “mystical” sense for us to be able to “see,” “feel,” and “sense” the presence of God.

DISCOVERING WHAT GOD WANTS US TO ACTUALLY DO

“Each of our lives is a part of the lengthy process
of the universe gradually waking up and becoming
aware of itself.” Thomas Nagel

Given that enlightenment, by itself, turns out not to be enough,
The next question is: what does God want human beings to actually do?

Since human beings have all the potential mental and emotional “firepower” they’ll ever need,
how can they gain access to it?

The number of processing units within our mind/brain exceeds 100 trillion (1015) neural connections –
(which may be greater than the number of galaxies in the universe.)

Each one of us has this same potential.

But this “power” is not needed for literally everything – in fact, we’ll only encounter a limited number of critical moments in our lives when a “right” decision is necessary. When we reach such a crossroads, that is, when we find ourselves attempting to figure out what God would do if God were a human being – just like us – that’s when we’ll require access to this almost astral “mind.”

To achieve it, at a specific time and place, we first need to relinquish our “ego” or “false self” (even though a “shadow” ego might still be hanging around) and become a “nobody.”

This can be done!

Of course, to gain access to all this mental and emotional “firepower” – after our ego has once been set aside (even if only temporarily) – one also needs to get past our normal everyday human “appetites” for money, sex, food and status, as well as escape all the “stories,” socially-created and individually accepted, that have provided us with acceptable quotidian identities – whether national, racial, or religious.

So, to successfully become “nobody” is not such an easy task. We’ll need to acquire the innocence of a small child who accepts the “natural world” created by God – “thinking” and “feeling” in an open and natural way – to make the kind of decision God hopes we can make.

Each one of us has the necessary mental and emotional capacity to make a “right” decision for one’s self.

First, however, we have to want to get there – to that place of freedom and clarity. As I’ve said, this can be easy – even though usually considered almost impossible – but we are able to do it if that’s what we truly desire.

Our minds possess this almost “stellar” capacity to address essential life questions –  using our thoughts and feelings to discern the right answer – the same answer as God’s answer would be.

It’s the love of God that makes this possible.

THE CONSCIOUSNESS OF GOD

Human consciousness doesn’t continue after a human being’s death –
But inside God’s consciousness, it can and does –
It’s there – a “living reality” – inside God’s “mind.”

The Puritans were right – everything counts –
Every act, every thought, every feeling, counts.

Recently, though, we’ve been living as if they don’t – not really –
And that we’re able to brush off laws, norms,
And morals – frequently referred to as “the small stuff.”

But they aren’t “small” –
Lies go on forever
Cruelty persists
Murder can stain multiple generations
And they’re all available, by God – for playback.

Each decision we make is a choice
That lasts forever.

When we use our time and energy
To help or hurt –
It has lasting effects.

Each of our thoughts and acts is real –
Existing in real time and real space, using real energy
And, as a consequence, remains in God’s consciousness.

God also has the power to make that consciousness
Available to us – so that we can see – not just in the few moments before death –
But forever and ever –
All the consequences of our actions to everyone who’s been touched by them.

When we hurt someone – through God’s eyes – we can see what that felt like –
And what it felt like to those who loved that person
As well as all the wider consequences to their families, and even descendants.

We frequently think we can forget about consequences – that we can somehow evade them –
But we can’t
Because they happen in real time and real space
And are retained by God – every single one of them.

When God takes our actions out for review
We no longer can change them because, by then, “we’re” gone.

Inside God’s mind we’re still there though – alive – just as we were earlier –
Which lets us see – in excruciating, slow, fine detail
What we said and did – and all the consequences flowing out of those statements and actions.

This is why we have to take our thoughts and actions more seriously
While we still have an opportunity to change them – by turning away from negative ones
That is, by “repenting,” as the old-timers used to say.

Yes, it’s true that human beings’ lives do come to an end –
But not inside God’s consciousness –

If what we did or thought was ugly – it’ll still be ugly
And if it was beautiful, it’ll still be that.
Each act, each thought is incredibly important
Because all have real consequences – for us and for others –
That are permanent.

So don’t lie, don’t act in unkind ways –
Don’t accept the belief that there’s no God or lasting consequences –
For God, your actions and thoughts are all real
And will always remain so –
God keeps them alive – just as they were from the day they first came into existence.

So, please accept the joy of your actions if that’s what they illustrate
And take the pain caused if that also turns out to be the truth.

WHICH COMES FIRST?

Which comes first – life or consciousness?
(This may not be as obvious as it first appears.)

Is dumb animal life necessarily followed by ever-expanding human consciousness
Or is consciousness an eternal form of spiritual energy present in all living bodies
And even nonliving matter like rocks and dust –
That is, is “consciousness” something that’s omnipresent out there
Inherent in both life and non-life forms – just at different “levels?”

Who knows the answer to this – for now – except God?

Let’s review the most commonly accepted “steps”:

First comes existence
Then life
Followed by consciousness
Then, hopefully, a handful of human/God selves
And, finally, God
Who, of course, incorporates everything before and after –
Including, most importantly, the present.

The sense we have that “we” will not die –
Even though understanding it’s a physical impossibility–
Where does that come from?
Is it a lie or some kind of sophisticated self-delusion?
And, if so, why is this “sense” so strong – so seemingly unassailable?

I don’t think or feel I’m a living cognizant piece of  “meat” –
Instead, I feel like a fountain – a spiritual fountain –
And, given that, where does the supply of “water” come from?

I feel connected, yet remain independent and free.
I feel I’m part of a whole, but not subservient to that whole.
I feel I’m a spirit – similar to God – but certainly not the same as God.
I feel I have authority – but no important authority.
I feel I’ve joined a cosmic dance where I lead by not consciously leading.

Who am I?

AN OCEAN OF BEAUTY SPEAKING

Long ago and far away, God appeared inside a “burning bush”
Speaking about the necessity for human beings
To step back away from this seemingly unnatural display of Holy energy.

My own spiritual experiences usually arise at the meeting of ocean and shore
Where sunlight flashes in and out of summer afternoons –
 “Speaking” through the beauty of an ocean rhythmically crashing onto the shore –
Echoing my walking heartbeats.

Whenever the Holy is experienced through both sight and sound –
At the same time and place –
We are to understand that God is present
Due to such “doubling-up” of spiritual experience.

I’ve recently become worried, though –
Since I’ve been inquiring about the God who’ll come after Jesus’ God –
A God who’ll adamantly refuse to be rolled back
A God who’ll agree to be shared by everyone on the planet.

I hear soft sounds and, simultaneously, start seeing brilliant lights –
God is hiding somewhere, out there, behind those crashing liquid mountains –
Speaking in a still small voice which no one yet hears.

Waves come rolling in – lighted up inside –
Grumbling: “I’m coming” –
“I really am!”

ALWAYS THE SAME PERSON

I’m always changing – adding and subtracting to and from my “self” –
Yet remain the same – from the first moment of my existence.

How is this possible – to remain, in essence,
A single soul –
While, over time, adding and subtracting worlds to myself –
Eventually even being changed by the love of my life into two
Yet still remaining one.

Is God like this?
From the first moment of creation – staying the same –
Carrying time, space, and energy inside an infinitesimally/infinitely small/large bright self?

Is it really necessary for a God to “die” in order to be “born again” as a newer, fresher God –
A “Springtime” God?

When, ultimately, I personally “flash off,” will I remain the same – just in another form?
Will, after my body dries up and blows away, the energy of my “life” continue existing
In a time and space beyond our present time and space?

All forms change and die –
Yet, perhaps, never really die –
Not even the “old” Gods
Or the newborn ones either!

BEAUTY’S ALWAYS THERE JUST LIKE GOD

Beauty
Takes your breath away
So you never forget it
Till meeting it again after stepping off a “cliff”
Into life/death.

Beauty is what you first see when opening up your eyes at birth
And what you could continue seeing except for a long hazy sleep –
The sleep of your long-developed and cherished ego.

You spend your entire adult life attempting to wake back up –
To see, once again, what you first saw –
The naked beauty of the world.

It’s always there – right behind your eyelids –
Covering up your “true” eyes –
You can open them anytime you wish –
But only after giving up that hypnotic dreamworld.

Oh, God, let me see
Just like You see!

Let me be awake in the same way You’re awake –
Let me experience beauty every moment
Of my grateful/ungrateful life!

NOT, NO NEVER, ULTIMATE REALITY

God can be viewed from two directions – one from God’s consciousness
And one through human consciousness.

Since we’ll never understand God, though, from inside God
We’ll just have to plod along – uncovering successive “pictures” of reality
On our way towards, but never fully achieving, God’s own unique vision.

That’s why, over millennia, we’ve experienced a succession of “Gods”
Like live Russian “God” dolls
One inside another –
Our minds, over time, replicating those ”Gods” – one after the other.

The real God, though, actually “lives” beyond human reality –
Present, past, and future –
In fact, it’s obvious God “lives” beyond time and space.

But we ourselves don’t – can’t!

The closest we’ll ever get to the real God
Is the taste, flavor, and inspiration of all-too-human love.

It’s the only direction we’ll ever be permitted to experience –
But not, no never, Ultimate Reality.

THE BIRTH OF A NEW RELIGION

It won’t be a new religion bearing a capital “R,” but something beyond that.

Something beyond the usual and ordinary conceptions available to our human minds –
Something beyond all previous definitions of “God.”

It’ll come bubbling up, surprisingly, out of nowhere,
Which is where the next final God
Is now residing.

It’ll be similar to what happened to Jesus, the Buddha, and Mohammed –
When God “twinned” with a specific human being –
So that people were no longer able to distinguish who was who.

The next final God will also choose someone specific
Someone surprised at being chosen
Yet willing to accept that choice for the good of all –
And, more probably than not, will be a woman.

This particular someone will know when they’ve been chosen –
Because they’ll become “Love” –
They’ll embody “Truth” –
Their right hand will symbolize “Justice”
And “Beauty,” for them, will be completely natural.

This God beyond all presently known Gods
Is knocking on hearts across the globe at this very moment.

“Knock knock – Knock knock!”

Won’t you let in the God beyond “God”
So she can begin appearing in and influencing all hearts on earth
Today?

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

What’s the difference between a mental concept and a mentally direct experience?

“The tulip is reddish-orange.”
“Snow covers the mountainside blindingly white.”

Are these mental concepts or mentally direct experiences?

Or perhaps both?

Zen argues we should rely solely on direct experience
And avoid mental concepts which can be manipulated inside one’s head
And end up, really, as almost anything at all.

So, tell me, are love, truth, justice, and beauty, direct experiences or mental concepts?
If they’re direct experiences – they could be reality – the same as God.
If they’re mental concepts, on the other hand, they might be mirages, dreams,
or complex manipulations inside one’s mind – i.e., lies!

Zen repeatedly has attempted to distinguish between mental concepts and direct experience
but, in my opinion, has not had much success in parsing this.

I think that’s because, sometimes, mental concepts actually are identical with reality –
at least in certain times, circumstances, and places.

They just are!