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.

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.

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!

“LAYERING”

Our minds “read” reality through differing layers of abstraction
Because human beings embody a complex architecture of consciousness
Made up of different “levels” of virtualization using mental abstraction.

For example, the micro-physical level is on a radically different level
From the “normal” human body level –
When we move our arm, the mental abstraction of “arm”
Lies on a different level from the millions of cells making up that arm
Which, in turn, is on a different level from the gazillions of electrons making up those cells.

So, given these different levels of “reality” –
Our minds virtualize “arm” as an ordinary everyday mental abstraction
As part of our overall physical self –
While our minds also have the capacity to visualize, using imagination,
The underlying cells and electrons supporting this “top” level of human reality.

God’s reality, however, encompasses reality at all levels.
Jesus indicated his understanding of this by teaching his disciples that God
“Numbers” the very hairs on our heads. (Mathew 10:30).

So, what is the next layer of abstraction that might become available to our human minds?
I think it’s a “human/God” level of experiential Love, Truth, Justice, and Beauty –
Which, in turn, would require a fresh spiritual language and accompanying supportive culture
To attain this newly-exposed world of reality existing beyond
All previous levels of human abstraction.

With the availability of a new language, fresh realities could open up to our “true selves”
So as to experience living “like” God would live if God were a human being – just like us.

LONELY AS A ROCK

If there were no God
I’d be lonely as a rock hurtling through the void.

If there were no “high true” human character to attain –
I’d travel to an amusement park and ride around all day –
Eating cotton candy – while going round and round.

If there were no love available for me –
I’d rent a room in some high attic
And never go out again.

If truth completely evaporated out of American society –
I’d hitch a ride to dusty red Mars with a bunch of bizarre billionaires.

If it turned out that Jesus was not really Jesus –
And that the Buddha never blossomed into his “true self” –
I’d stop asking further questions and respond solely in exclamations –
Like “Huh,” “Argh,” or “Wheeh!”

If I thought it’d be pointless to learn any new things –
I couldn’t find fault with Trump saying: “Duh, maybe Hitler was a pretty good guy
Since he did get people back to work.”

And if there really were no God, there couldn’t be joy either
And the word “hope” would never be found in any English dictionary.

GOD LOOKING AT GOD

Jesus did it –
So any of us can.

We need freedom, however, to accomplish it –
Because the “self” our parents and society provided us
Prohibits real freedom –
Yes, unfortunately, that “self” which we use to survive
And, hopefully, prosper in the world –
Partially blinds us to reality – as well as to God.

Very few individuals are able to drop their societal “self”
In order to glimpse God –
Zen Buddhist monks tell us that one should “Know nothing” –
And keep repeating it –
Because one’s “self,” and all its mental constructs, restricts our freedom.

This, however, is partially incorrect –
True, to the extent that when we accept any mental constructs
They tend to blind us to reality –
But false, in light of the millennia of human striving for greater understanding
That has led to acquiring tools that can test reality
For the presence of God –
That is, for “Love,” “Truth,” “Justice,” and “Beauty.”

Scientists of consciousness teach that we’re provided with approximately three seconds
To open ourselves to reality – that is, to God –
That we have a 100 trillion synapses available to accomplish this –
And that our mind has a capacity even larger than the entire known universe –
But also, of course, limited by the time available to take a look.

God, however, has no time limitations
(since “time” for God exists in an entirely different realm) –
Therefore, God is always looking at us –
And greatly pleased when we’re able to “feel” God’s presence
And, in response, turn in God’s direction.

Sometimes, we can “see” a flicker of God’s robes passing by –
In and out of our psychological reality –
Out there, on the edge of consciousness –

Not only “see,” but also have the ability to think about what we’ve just seen –
Using those spiritual tools of love, truth, justice, and beauty,
To reflect upon it.

This is what Jesus did, and why he was able to say the things he said,
And why the people who looked into his face could see God.

So, yes, Jesus is God
But so are you if you truly want it.

You just have to give up everything – so as to gain sufficient freedom
To “see” –
And then, have faith in what you are seeing,
Using those “spiritual tools” handed down to you
Over millennia of human experience.

We should be talking with one another about all this –
About God – and about our selves –

What could be more important?

REALITY AT ALL LEVELS

How can we see like Jesus could see –
As fully human and fully God?

He saw with two eyes – one a human’s and one God’s.

A real human eye is found only in a “true self” –
Like the eye of an infant – where everything is fresh and new –
And, as the scientists say,
Pure uninterrupted experience is limited to three seconds,
But is never found in the head of a wooden puppet – like Pinocchio
As an “ego” or a “false self.”  

God’s eye is different –
It sees through time (eternity) and space (infinity) –
Set within the four cardinal points of love, truth, justice, and beauty –
With the lines meeting at the top of a spiritual pyramid –
Love meeting truth, truth meeting justice, justice meeting beauty,
And beauty resting on love –
All conjoined at the tip – where God lives.

Two eyes – one a human being’s and one God’s.

Jesus could see through a child’s eyes
Balanced by those four spiritual attributes of God.

When those two eyes exist in a single head
They see reality – and at all levels.

EXCHANGING THE EGO FOR A “TRUE SELF”

             Some say the most profound scientific discipline is theoretical physics which has vastly expanded our understanding of the structure of the physical universe using the language of mathematics, but I think this now needs to be matched by an even more profound spiritual/theological discipline that can further our understanding of the relationship between God and the human self through expanded human consciousness of love, truth, justice, and beauty as expressed through the arts. Materialistic evolution via science and technology has taken us about as far as we’re going to get while still retaining our basic humanity, but the prospects for our species will be pretty dim if that’s the full extent of what we’re ever going to achieve.

             I propose it’s time for human beings to make a conscious choice about which evolutionary path they should take: materialistic evolution (especially digital artificial intelligence) or the next step in humans’ spiritual evolution. Greater spirituality, however, won’t necessarily increase our intelligence or ability to manipulate the material world, but could, eventually, evolve us into an entirely different type of humanity – the kind originally pointed towards by Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed.

            When a person enters the world as a baby, they’re totally open to God – arriving as pure energy in human form. Because they come straight from God, they’re completely natural upon arrival. After their surprise landing in this world, however, they need to figure out how to survive in this particular time and place. They eventually do, but the cost is often high. They’re faced with the necessity of becoming the kind of person that other people readily recognize and the surrounding culture use. Since usually they’re raised by parents – people who’ve already made the requisite compromises and adjustments – the baby ultimately learns how to “fit in.”

            This baby, who started life as a tiny energy “sun,” eventually begins “dimming” because so much of her original natural energy will be perceived as “alien” to her family’s world. Eventually, the baby matures and becomes a “person” by developing an ego – and ultimately joins society. One day, however, that baby – after attaining adulthood – might begin wondering where all her previous energy had gone – and whether it might ever be regained.

            In traditional societies, a person’s roles remain largely the same throughout their life and also determine how their children will turn out.

            In modern societies, however, by early adulthood, a person usually gains abilities and opportunities to change “who” they are by making individual choices – leading them away from predestined family roles – becoming partly a family-destined person and partly a self-determined one – in a “composite” role. Nevertheless, whatever this composite role turns out to be, it’s still just a role.

            All roles, traditional or modern, become included in one’s “life story.” As Shakespeare asserted in As You Like It: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” So, the problem with developing an “ego,” along with one’s accompanying “story,” is the temptation to “make up” that story as one goes along – like in a dramatic film – even if carried out mainly unconsciously.

            Another problem with “roles” is their need for consistency and continuity, so the self can seemingly remain “the same.”

            This is why “higher” values are necessary to effect any serious changes in our quotidian roles and stories. Traditionally, humanity’s highest values have been attributable to a “Spirit” (usually “God’s”) – as well as to divine spiritual attributes like love, truth, justice, and beauty.

            Roles and stories, however, compel us to live as unfree. Since we believe these roles and stories (as reinforced by the surrounding society) constitute our “identity,” we sometimes even believe we would need to “die” as the price for achieving freedom. If a person becomes threatened with losing their identity, frequently, they’ll think they might as well be dead. That’s how important roles and personal stories are for a normal human being. In fact, there’s a general consensus in the humanities, as well as in psychotherapy, that the ego, as a person’s chief fictional character, is one’s essential self.

            So, how is it possible to free ourselves from embedded roles and stories that obstruct our natural human self-understanding and close down our best, most spontaneous thoughts – in order to gain the freedom necessary to become our “true selves”?

            The answer is that we need to be “born again” – at any age. That is, we’ll need to reverse direction, spiritually, and become a “child” all over again so as to become as free as God.

             Jesus himself said this, did this, and then died for it – all to show us how.

             To be “born again” is scary – few can do it all at once. Most people need time to shed their artificial roles until they’re free enough to make a long daring leap into their “true selves.” Starting at an older age, it actually becomes easier to work towards greater spirituality by breaking up and discarding pieces of one’s earlier “false selves” and gain a greater naturalness and openness spiritually even though one is at the same time physically degenerating.

LOST IN THE MIST

The truth is we no longer have names
Since the old names no longer apply –
Now, we’re becoming as anonymous as God.

No one knows the original name of God either –
All those religions inspired by God’s ancient names
Have been shedding their names
Along with all the adjectives clustered around them.

That’s why I’m waiting for a new God without a name
To suddenly appear, like happened in the old days –
For example, when Jesus first arrived, no one knew who he was,
But now, everybody knows his name.

Pretty soon, many more of us will have lost our names
And forgotten who we are –
Lost in the mist –
Inadvertently painted over.

I myself was born with a name
But I’m about to lose it
When I step out into a sky of pulsing, radiant stars
I’ll become someone – way up there –
Someone who I no longer remember, and you don’t remember either –
Yes, it’s true – I’ll still be alive –
Alive, but no longer having my own name –

For now, just call me “God.”

GAINING ENOUGH SUBSTANCE TO LOOK DIRECTLY AT GOD

The common and usual “self” expands by sticking “things” onto its body –
As well as manipulating other people into its lower orbit –
While rolling and trolling around in egoistic sweet desires.

This kind of “self,” however, sometimes disconnects from itself –
Like a space capsule unlocking from a mother ship
Into a self open to enjoying everybody and everything
With the freedom to be objective and to tell “the whole truth” –
Because there’s no longer any false self remaining.

A self that’s left its false self behind becomes a “true self” –
Free to think God’s thoughts,
Love like God,
And tell the truth like God –

That’s not to say, however, that these experiences can’t end up being a bit “shallow.”

The first step, however, is to gain spiritual freedom –
The second requires a lot of hard work – (because God is not a lightweight) –
Even 10 years of sustained and persistent work
Might only get us as far as being a decent human being –
Even after exercising the freedom of God.

People courageous enough to look God straight in the face
Sometimes still come to realize that working spiritually for most of their lives
Might not add enough weight
To gain the attention of a single person
Desiring to know something about the “real” God.