THE START

It could be a thought –
A feeling –
Or perhaps even the consequences of something physically irritating.

The point is the “want” –
Somehow, someway, we begin “wanting” God
Through our own personal need, time, and circumstances.

A friend might tell us –
A lover could kiss it into blazing existence
Or it might be a soft dream
Quickly disintegrating before we wake up.

The point is – we need to start somewhere –
Sometime –
So God can take it from there.

Beginning with almost nothing
It’ll eventually become everything
In your life.

Yes, it’s true, God doesn’t arrive without being called –
But the “ask” is never an accident –
After all, it’s always a matter of consciously turning in the right direction –
Isn’t that right?

TO LOVERS OF LEARNING

You are my friends
No matter where you live –
Alabama or Ukraine.

For some reason you’ve discovered the secret of being a “true” human being
Through a desire to know everything!

Primary school teachers hurled straight ‘A’s’ at your head
While other children were envious because, for you, it was so obviously not “work”–
Just pure joy.

You’re getting what you want,
Have wanted, and will always want in the future.

It’s a lot like cracking open walnuts –
Or oysters –
This peculiar ambition of the mind!

Stars shine brightest in blackest nights – especially when looking up
Waves arrive at a shore without end
Based upon the love God promised us at birth.

The moon smiles –
Even though just partly lit –
But the sun laughs out loud because it’s day’s turn now.

Let’s drink to old age –
And greet Jules, our first grandchild,
In this New Age – filled with joy and dread –
Mixed up, shaken like a fizzy,
By the Mistress of the Universe.

A TRAPPED BIRD FINDS A SAFE HAND

It felt like Truth
Opening up inside my hand –

It was like any other bird
Resting in God’s vast forest –
Who protects all bird life.

I carried it to the window –
The bird trusting me – like some alternative God –
Who’s able to carry living beings past death into life
Beyond imagination.

We know nothing about what lies beyond space and time –
So we arrive there motionless, silent, upon meeting death.

Suddenly, a window opens –
Releasing the entrance of fresh air.

We open our “wings”
And fly out into what’s been waiting
Out there – for all of us – all the time!

THE FACE OF GOD

When looking deeply into the face of God
We disappear.

Not only do we fall in love
We drown in love –
And, then, become Love.

Rising up past the material world
We step beyond the animal in us –
Beyond the human in us –
Even the angel in us
And become a “true” human being –
Someone God decides is worthy to inhabit.

It’s that “face” of God we’ve all been searching for –
So we leap into it and become it –
Entering into the world of God’s Love.

It’s the face we put on when looking at others
To demonstrate love beyond everyday human love –
God’s love –
Which opens up even to “enemies”
Who no longer qualify as that
Since God (and, now, we)
No longer have enemies.

It’s a short jump
Even if an almost infinite leap –
From being a regular human being
Into someone who embodies God.

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.

ENLIGHTENMENT IS NOT ENOUGH

I talk a lot about becoming “nobody” – about giving up my ego –
The identity I’ve developed over years of trial and error
While projecting my “self” out into the world
To gain an acceptance of my self-created identity.

Eventually, however, I start feeling inauthentic
For relying upon this self-manufactured ego
Which, one day, I hope to replace with a new, improved identity –
A “better” ego –
Which, of course, will also invariably turn out to be a dead-end.

Giving up one’s ego – completely – as the final step on the way to enlightenment –
Is never enough however,
Because becoming a “nobody,” by itself, doesn’t accomplish a thing –
The point of relinquishing one’s ego is to replace it
With love of God –
Along with an ability to take concrete steps to bringing God into the world.

In sum, relinquishing one’s ego is only the first step –
But what follows needs to be a life dedicated to “understanding” God
And God’s true nature as much as humanly possible –

For example, who is God, what does God want, and are there any exemplars of God
Appearing in the world today
Who make one’s heart “sing with joy?”

Starting this process of “understanding” God
Is the same thing as “falling in love” with God –
Both, however, entail a commitment to a lifelong process.

Once you’ve actually fallen in love with God
Means you’ll want to act in ways that God desires –
Jesus was able to do this –
Faced with a painful, disgraceful death administered by Roman troops –
He acted solely for God
Which resulted in an historically impactful release of Holy Spirit out into the world
Occurring simultaneously with his physical death.

This spirit of Jesus was transformed into a human “sun” –
That perpetually is creating more spiritual life in our world –
Often in ways not manifested during his earlier physical life.
Take Saul/Paul, for example, who was able to transform himself,
At least partially, into a brilliant reflection of Jesus.

So, enlightenment is not enough by itself – instead, we need to “fall in love” with God
And then commit our lives to bringing God, by our actions, into the world.

We lose nothing by giving up our egos
Because, without God, we’re nothing anyway –
All our other efforts – no matter how materially meaningful –
Don’t matter at all –
The only thing that truly matters are actions on behalf of God
Everything else is – dross.

Every single human being, whether righteous or unrighteous,
Has the potential – while still alive –
To make a choice about each single individual act –
Whether or not to contribute something towards making God’s world real.

God began existence with a simple gesture
Unfurling out into the cosmos –
From its initial cosmic explosion, followed by evolving life, and then radiant spirit
All – moving steadily towards God –
Where, by the end of time, all of us will end up participating with God

Who is “Love”
Who is “Truth”
Who is “Justice”
Who is “Beauty.”

If you can do this, you’ll gain everything – and lose nothing –
Even if, by then, you’ll no longer have any personal identity or name –
Which won’t matter because, in your actions, you’ll have become part of God –
And God will recognize you and know your name – even if no one else does.

Jesus deeply understood this, and you can trust him about it –
That is, we need to love God the same way he did.

So, a loss of ego leading to enlightenment may be an important first step,
But, by itself, amounts to almost nothing
While acting in the world for God turns out to be the only thing
That’s actually truly meaningful!

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!”