HEART AND MIND

Socrates said, “know yourself,”
While Jesus taught us to “love others.”

But, of course, we need both!

If you don’t know yourself, then you won’t be able to see the reality of others –
Because there’d be no true “you” doing the seeing.

And, if you don’t love others, you won’t be able to know and love yourself –
Because we can’t exist without real relationships.

It’s also known that it can be difficult to know one’s “self” – because we’re too afraid to look –
Afraid we’re ugly!

It’s this dual path that we really need –

So, go down these two ancient Jewish and Greek spiritual paths,
And, surprisingly, we’ll find ourselves feeling less ugly – more beautiful –
When we go down, others will suddenly begin appearing more lovable to us –
Especially after we finally decide to forgive ourselves.

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SPIRIT IS ECSTATIC!

God leaves behind “Self” when entering the world
As an avatar – like Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed.

Teachers all –
Who taught us how to leave our ego-self behind
So as to meet God as our “true self.”

So where might this meeting – between God and her people – occur?

They’ll meet, of course, “in the air” –
That is, in an ecstatic marriage
Of spirit with Spirit.

THE RAPTURE

The rapture is not a physical ascendance –
(which is a spiritual-materialistic concept).

The rapture is when we’re so overwhelmed by love –
That it occasions a feeling of floating – above and looking down at – one’s self –
After we have jettisoned our “ego.”

So, rapture is not just when you are “feeling” some love,
Rapture is when you become love –
And leave the material world behind.

THE RIGHT QUESTION

We create a “self”
To protect our true self –
Which we may never come to know.

We protect this “self”
So that the true self – hidden deep inside –
Might, one day, feel safe enough to appear.

The “self” works, marries,
Saves for retirement –
And, generally, watches its step.

But this is not the Way –
Because one has to be willing for the ego-self to “die” for that.

Similarly, God turns out not to be “religious” at all – not in the slightest bit –
Because God is primarily a destroyer –
Obliterating artificiality wherever and whenever it appears.

Seven and a half billion people have been milling around –
Waiting for a word that could become the new “First Word” for humanity.

Who will speak it?
Who will frame the question we all want asked?

The day humanity finally gains its potential to become One
It will be asked
Because it’s always been the same question.

HOW TO BE “LIKE” GOD

It’s certainly not about being powerful –
A few spiritual masters have said that, after death,
Each of us will be able to create our own universe –
But that’s just silly.

We’re not ever going to be God –
Even though it is possible for us to be “like” God
By getting “free” of all the “not-God” surrounding us.

After all, God is absolutely free – and doesn’t have to ask before acting –
We can be just as free – and in the same sense.

Wouldn’t it be thrilling to be as free as God –
To start thinking and acting, as a human being,
The same as God would if God were in our place?

What’s the main impediment for doing this?
It’s the ego, which we have mistakenly identified as our “self”
But the ego is not our “true self,” it’s only one of our own creations –
And being “man-made” – is not part of what God originally gifted us with.

We feel as if we’d disappear without our ego –
That we’d be a no-body, a no-thing –

And that would be right!

Because we aren’t an ego, a body, or a thing,
We are spirit – potentially, totally free –
If we accept being our “true self” –

Free as God, if we choose to be.

In such case,
What we’d lose is our artificial “self” – our ego –
And what we would gain is our “true self” –

Jesus called it “the pearl.”

STANDING OVATION

The world’s up on a stage –
Out in front, a huge audience has been assembling.

We take on various roles,
And applaud or not, depending upon our mood.

Beautiful women, selling oranges, make their way
Through the crowds –
And even up on the stage where the nobles sit.

We eat, watch,
And play our given parts –
Noble, commoner,
Playwright, orange.

Shakespeare thought
The entire world could be envisioned as up on a stage
Playing out his plays.

Everyone else thinks pretty much the same thing –
Sometimes, collectively calling that production “the world as we know it” –
While each of us tries to reserve the best parts for our “self.”

The production always ends with a standing ovation –

Of the self, by the self, and for the self.

THE FUNNY THING IS

The funny thing is –
When you start moving closer to God
You also begin losing pieces of yourself –

And when your goal is reached
You’ll be completely gone –

Gone,
But still there.

It’s only your artificiality that’ll really be gone.

At that point, you’ll be free enough –
To stand in front of God – face to face –

You won’t be able to see yourself though –
Even though others still will.

Yes, it’s true, once you finally let go –
And are no longer there –
You’ll actually be more there than you ever were before.

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.”

CAMOUFLAGE PEOPLE

Jesus, in the way he lived his life, demonstrated
Something truly amazing –
So, it’s surprising that, even after all these years, we still haven’t “gotten” it.

Big Religion, on the other hand, has acted like an enormous stuffed pillow
With extraordinary capacity to smother spirit –
And, even though it hasn’t been able to muffle Jesus’ radiant words entirely,
It has been effective at “re-interpreting” what he said –
For over 2000 years.

Quite a feat!

In spite of that, the Church never achieved complete ownership of Jesus –
Even though it’s been publicly displaying him,
Like a jeweled pendant for two millennia.

In contrast to these theological contortions, however –
Jesus has always been just another human being –
Teaching us how to love God –
Which, of course – is both very easy and very difficult.

Jesus told us not to try to live like him but, instead, to be like him –
To embrace, whenever possible, truth, justice, and beauty –
And always be vulnerable
To love.

Without his extraordinary example, how will we ever escape all the crazy ideas
We are so constantly fashioning about ourselves –
Faster than eye can follow –
Instantly creating and re-creating a “self” in order to meet worldly expectations.

Camouflage people –
We assiduously avoid any reality
That might turn out to be our actual lives.

THOSE WHO DECIDE TO LOOK

Whoever talks about mirrors
Or “cleaning their mirror”
Isn’t talking about God –
They’re talking about their “self”.

They’re trying to see what they’re made of.

But since God is actually nothing – i.e., no thing,
The self, also, is equally nothing – in the same sense.

When this nothing merges with that nothing
“Reality” suddenly appears!

From God’s perspective
The Chinese Olympics
Aren’t any more spectacular than a single blade of grass.

Remember, love is everything
So no matter what comes through the doors of life,
Big or little, large or small, it all may be loved –

Always, always – it’s a matter of attitude!

There are over seven billion people in the world
And trillions of leaves –

Each one, however, is magnificent –
In the eyes of those who look
Through the eyes of love.