A DEMOCRACY OF ENLIGHTENMENT

Each and every child on earth is born ecstatic – it’s natural to all human beings
And not just reserved for “spiritual greats” – whether avatars or Messiahs –
It’s something everyone on earth possesses – as a birthright –
In other words, when human beings are born – they’re born into ecstasy –
It’s what human life, potentially, is.

However, to retrieve that initial spiritual capacity later on in life as an adult,
We’ll have to unlearn almost everything we’ve so dutifully mastered
And give up the “person” we’ve worked all our lives to become
In order to discover that ecstasy – a second time.

Mystics call this “the pearl”
I call it the “true self”
Each person has an absolute right to it –
And, if they truly want it – it’s always there.

We don’t have to overcome Himalayan mountain ranges of self-doubt –
Or eventually come to know “everything in the world” –
We just have to be willing to accept our “true self” –
The one we were originally born with.

This is the gift God has wanted to re-give us the most!

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THE PEARL THAT CAN’T BE FOUND

It’s smart to be humble –
Because everything’s constantly changing.

Today, the king loves you,
But, tomorrow, you might find yourself out on the street.

So, generally, it is smart to be humble
Because you can’t fully appreciate life
If, unconsciously, you’re taking the gifts for granted
That are already yours.

When you start opening up to love – like a heliotropic flower –
You’ll start becoming aware of all the gifts coming in
As well as the gifts going out.

On the other hand, if you insist upon remaining proud –
You won’t understand anything at all
And find yourself sitting up on top of a mountain –
Unaware it’s collapsing beneath you.

Moreover, the pearl you were obsessed with finding
Will remain hidden deep inside your heart –
Because it’s not now, nor has it ever been, the subject of sale.

SOME QUESTIONS

What, if anything, exists
Beyond matter, time, energy, and space?

What’s possible to imagine
Outside humanity’s collective memory?

Where should we look
For what’s been lost in the found?

How discover fresh love
In what’s been so long-possessed?

When will we gain courage
To approach the deader aspects in our souls?

The answer is always the same –

In a Holy Celebration!
Upon discovering our “true self” –
That exquisite gift from God described by mystics as

The “pearl”.

THE PEARL THAT IS YOU (for Ruth)

When you tithe, you might buy a few more bricks for a new church annex,
But, unfortunately, you won’t be able to buy God
Through this kind of material agency.

And, even though thousands of people regularly assemble at a specific place of worship –
God will more commonly be found, waiting alone, out in the parking lot.

In truth, God resists being organized
By a committee, a denomination, or even a religious empire,
Nor can God be systematized by logic or complex mathematical equations –
In fact, it’s simply not possible to preserve a spiritually deteriorating civilization
By transforming a standard-issue, everyday God into a shibboleth
To be held in people’s mouths like a piece of butterscotch candy.

Even if we stand out in the street – shouting –
“Open, Jesus, Open”–
God will refuse to open
Because God doesn’t respond to “holy” passwords.

Usually, God is most likely to be found when we’re not really looking –
And, frequently, is discovered in the most surprising places.

The human heart has enough room for a miniature sky – sprinkled with surprises –
But the best one – by far – the one you’ve always hoped for –

Will arrive first thing in the morning
When, half-asleep, your hand reaches under your pillow –
And, there it is –
The pearl you’ve traded your entire life for –

The pearl that is you.

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.”

“LIVING IN SIN” – AND DECIDING TO WALK BACK OUT OF IT

Most of us, today, find ourselves “living in sin” because, at some point,
We misplaced our “true selves” –
Relinquishing what God gave us as our very own.

We were drawn to this path by our parents –
Who wished, initially, for us to survive, and then, later on, to thrive –
But, until the world, one day, becomes “God’s Kingdom” – once and for all –
That was probably the right call to make at that time.

So, we never made a conscious choice about exchanging our original true self
For a conventional adult ego –
The exchange that resulted in our losing “everything” truly meaningful to us.

The only possible cure is for us to admit the hard truth
That we actually have lost our true self, sometime or somewhere, during childhood,
And, now, don’t know how to find it again.

It’s a lie we’ll be able to recover our true self in one faith-soaked stroke –
Whether in this life or even in passing from this one to the next –
In truth, it may only be retrieved one step at a time –
The first one being the most important!

That first step by a true self,
Is like trying to put a tiny foot inside God’s huge shoe
And having faith it’ll fit.

At the heart of all religions is an implied promise to get your true self back –
It’s what we’re supposed to spend our entire lives accomplishing –
However, religion never comes out and says this openly
Because it would also mean, eventually, giving up on religion itself
And religion has way too much invested in us to ever reveal that!
So it doesn’t say anything –
And, instead, asserts that each individual needs religion in order to be “saved” –
Even though the promised salvation only begins after one’s life is over –
Or, perhaps, needs to be provided by someone else.

The truth is – all you actually need is God – and the heart of a courageous human being –
The truth is you can have everything – just for the asking –
That when you’re given a “green light” by God –
Which everyone who asks eventually receives –
You’ll be able to start walking – backwards – retracing all the steps taken by your false self –
Back through religion, society, parents, and even your physical birth –

Until you’re completely free (that is, “reborn,” in the language of Jesus) –
To the point where you no longer belong to anyone but God
And, of course, your true self – the “pearl” –
God provided us with originally – as our own individual and exclusive gift!

CHURCH LIKE A MUSEUM

Jesus had this idea
That, one day, we might become complete human beings
Instead of remaining, in some part, human animals –

That we might set aside our materialistic desires and fantasies
And live in “reality,” that is, in spirit.

To Jesus – spirit was God,
And the reason we’re prevented from seeing God, face-to-face,
Without dying,
Is the very real danger of seeing ourselves.

In light of this, Jesus preached death to artificial selves
And the rebirth of our true self –

The “pearl” –

After he died, Church officials rushed to designate him as “God” –
But, of course, by then, he was no longer able to stop that from happening.

His finest gift to us was the validation of an active, open, loving human spirit –
While his successors spent their time constructing a spiritual/materialistic empire.

Everything they did, at least in part, led away from God –

So, today, we attend church, reverentially, like entering a museum.

JOY

… since there is no joy without God, but all joy is in God,
and God himself is wholly joy, it follows that the first speaker
said first and before anything else ‘God’.
Dante

The greatest love affair a person can experience is with God. When we begin to fall in love with God and start searching for our true self, the confirmation that we’re going in the right direction will be the amount of joy we feel in our hearts – a fountain of sparkling, radiant “life” that starts bursting through our broken self.

Pleasure and happiness are good things to experience, but joy far surpasses them. Nothing comes close: not sexual orgasms, superb food, high art, or incalculable wealth. That’s because no one can buy God or one’s true self. This is the “pearl” for which we should be willing to sell everything because, without joy, what’s the point of living, no matter how successful or famous we become? Joy is a dance with God that takes place in our hearts – a dance that, once begun, never ends.

The further along the path towards God and the true self you travel, the greater the feelings of joy you’ll experience. You can see it in faces of the “saved” – the saints and enlightened ones – who literally become suffused with radiant joy. When you’re overloaded with joy, when you simply can’t take a single drop more, what arrives next is ecstasy – when you feel as though you’re flying high above the ground. Ecstasy means “standing outside yourself,” while simultaneously remaining firmly grounded inside yourself.

Joy is experienced at the core of our being – in our heart of hearts – in our true self. Living in the spirit is like attending a wedding celebration that never ends. Jesus repeatedly used weddings and celebrations as metaphors: people are invited to a wedding, but fail to come; or they come, but aren’t properly dressed for the celebration – a celebration in which Jesus is turning water into wine – i.e., turning the material into the spiritual. Weddings symbolize hope for the new life that will be created by entering into this new relationship. The weddings and celebrations Jesus was referring to are the ones where you discover your true self and then decide to go on and “marry” God.

“No one knows the source of joy” says Rumi. Actually, we do know – joy comes from experiencing God. Happiness may arise from many different things, but joy derives solely from our relationship with God. In the material, once-born world, everyone strives for happiness, but it’s in the world of spirit that we find the true source of joy. We actually can measure the health of our relationship with God by the amount of joy in our lives. An objective test as to whether you’ve repented (i.e., turned to God) is whether you’ve fallen in love with God. If you’re still joyless after you think you’ve turned to God, then you haven’t, no matter how religious you might appear to be or think you are.

from “Diner Mystic”