REBELS

jesusjimmy-dean-2larry-rebel

Recognize any of the guys above? One is a famous movie actor , one is a not-so-famous blogger, and the other is an artist’s rendition of a typical male Jew during the time of Jesus of Nazareth.

Surprised? You thought Jesus had long, brown, straight hair surrounding a face much more Anglican or Roman, didn’t you? Yeah, so did I thanks to traditional Christian indoctrination. There were numerous things about Jesus that were drilled into my brain by folks who meant well but simply did not do much research. They just thumped their bibles in my face and threatened me with the horrors of eternal damnation if I did not buy into their stories of creation, God, and Jesus.

So, you may ask, what do those three guys have in common? Well, the man in the center photo says it all. His legend lives today as the rebel movie star who died in an automobile accident in 1955 in California. The guy on the right is also a rebel. Most of his adult life has been spent in throwing off the shackles of alcoholism and then the Christian fundamentalism of his youth.

And we all know about Jesus of Nazareth. Or do we? I can still hear the Sunday School stories of the son of God performing miracles, healing the blind and the lame, relating great stories called parables to the people on the hillside. They say he was born of the virgin Mary, was crucified and then resurrected to ascend into heaven where he sits with his father, God.

But, did you know he was a revolutionary, an enemy of the Roman government, an insurrectionist, a panhandler and beggar, and…..a rebel? What? You thought he got himself crucified because he opposed the Jewish hierarchy, that the Pharisees demanded his death? Yeah, that’s what I was taught too. Actually, it is also a credible theory that the church fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries added that to the story when they revised and Romanized the early writings of the followers of Jesus and formulated the Bible centuries after the fact of the crucifixion of Jesus. The Greek and Aramaic verses of Jesus’ followers were translated to suit the needs of the new state religion of Rome. They wanted to discredit the Jewish culture and turn the newly formed Christian Church against Judaism.

Surprised again, aren’t you? But, I am not here to again crucify the man Jesus or find fault with Christianity. Truly I am hanging there on the cross with him. His life, his words, his compassion for the poor and suffering, his adherence to a code of ethics, his struggle to champion the rights of all people are also my cross to bear. The discovery of scrolls of the Dead Sea and the Nag Hammadi scriptures reveal a Jesus of the first century who is far more intriguing and mystical than the Jesus we read about in the Bible. He was a rebel and he had a cause.

In today’s social and political upheaval we also need to be rebels, we need to follow our personal creeds to ensure that Jesus, the Way, the Truth, the Life overcomes the powers of this world which would enslave and oppress. That’s who He is and that’s who we need to be.

DIVINE KINSHIP

“To see God everywhere and in everyone is the goal of our human existence.  Everyone, without exception, is our brother and sister.  This divine kinship also extends to mountains, rivers, plants, planets, suns and universes. Everything is alive with God’s consciousness.”  Ethan Walker lll, THE MYSTIC CHRIST

The above statement wraps up in a neat little package the key to mankind’s survival.  Until we see each other and the entire creation as an integral part of us individually there is no hope for our continuation.  Our prejudices, our fears, our self-pride must be burned by the fires of God’s love which God has shared with every creature, every inhabitant, every molecule of this earth.  The great ‘me, me, me’ of ego must submit to the great Oneness of the universal ‘I AM THAT I AM’.

It truly is a simple action which has become seemingly unattainable within today’s worldly rhetoric of bigotry, intolerance, and hatred.  When we go to our quiet place within, when we disregard the continual flow of the ego’s conversation, when we allow God within to speak, then we have come closer to a realization of Oneness.

“No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.  Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.”  1John 4 : 12-13

The word ‘love’ in Western culture has been abused and overused.  We have been taught to believe that love is an emotion, a feeling; it is that warm, fuzzy, light-headed experience that occurs when holding a dear one’s hand.  However, if we put love, the emotion, on the back burner of our mind and define ‘love’ as a personal commitment to unity with all brothers and sisters, all of God’s creation expressing it in acts of compassion toward all humanity and toward earth itself, then it is easier to fathom the second greatest of the commandments: “love your neighbor as yourself.”

NON-DUALITY

“Non-duality means that there is not the duality of a separate ‘me’ and a separate ‘God’ and a separate ‘world'”.   Ethan Walker lll, THE MYSTIC CHRIST

Think about this!  It’s an amazing revelation in my life which set in action a major redirect in my view concerning brotherhood, the world in which I live, and my relationship with the Universal Essence, my God.  If we are all interconnected, than truly “I am you, you are me, and we are one.”  God is within, without, throughout all creation.  God is not separate.  God does not live in a palace in heaven.  God is not sitting on the throne of righteousness judging and condemning me.  You neither.  God is as much a part of my being as each breath I take.

To better understand my ecstasy regarding this “rebirth” you also must understand the shackles of Christian fundamentalism in its most oppressive expression.  I lived it, suffered many years under its tenets, made my life a living hell because of it.  And today I am set free.

“If the Son shall therefore set you free, you will be free indeed.”  John 8:36

So, brothers and sisters, rejoice with me.  The oneness of us is also oneness with the One we know as God.  There is no separation.  Our Buddhist friend, our Muslim neighbor, the persecuted brother in Syria, the oppressed sister in Africa, the gay couple living across town, all of us are a single, living organism breathing and thriving with our indwelling Universal Essence.  This unity is confirmed by Jesus in John 14:20

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

That in very simple, unscholarly translation is non-duality as I understand it.  It is the foundation of the teachings of the mystics and it clarifies many of the words attributed to Jesus who was speaking in terms of spirituality, not worldliness, when he preached to the crowds and instructed the disciples.

I am not a preacher nor a teacher; I am merely a tool of what I believe to be the Truth.  The first relevance of this insight is that the harm which I allow or commit to my brothers and sisters is also an act of harm against me and against God.  The pain I cause others is also painful to me and my God.  The injustice toward others which I tolerate is also an injustice against me and my God.

“It is this seeing of ‘nothing separate’ that Jesus refers to as single-eyed seeing.”  Ethan Walker lll, “THE MYSTIC CHRIST”

“The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness, how great is that darkness.” Matthew 6:22-23

ABOUT TREKKING

Peggy Lee, a popular contemporary vocalist of the 1950s and 60s, recorded a song which reached into the top of the charts in 1969.  “IS THAT ALL THERE IS” expresses  disillusionment and disappointment with a life which should be filled with unique experiences.  She suggests that we “break out the booze and have a ball—if that’s all there is”. Peggy Lee died in 2002.

Sometimes our life’s experiences parallel the lyrics of this song of hopelessness and melancholy.  We strive to achieve, to find acceptance within our communities, to perform according to the edicts of our traditional religion.  We fear the god of vengeance and punishment portrayed by exhortations from the pulpits of our churches while we fervently pray to that same god for forgiveness and redemption.  Yet in the secret recesses of our inner selves we intuitively know that the god of our religions and churches somehow misses the mark of truth, compassion, and relevance which we earnestly desire in our lives.  This inner search drives us to search for another day when we can sincerely say “yes, Lord, I will follow”, when we can finally change the word god to a capitalized God.

“9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9 KJV

That day of transformation from god to God reveals to us an inner trek which fills our lives with the beauty, mystery, awe, and inspiration which God intended for us.  It is not a new realization; rather, it has been practiced for thousands of years by Teachers sometimes called “mystics”.  They and their followers shared the wonderment of God residing within and without, present in all beings and all creation, available to any who would seek.  The Kingdom of God is not reserved for the righteous; it is not a distant, heavenly sphere of religious correctness; it is not the eminent domain of any of the world’s religions.

“21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:21` KJV

The writings of the New Testament attribute the above verse to Jesus, one of the Teachers who understood the mysteries of the inner search for truth.  When his sayings, as recorded in the Bible, are processed in the realm of spiritual rather than worldly understanding we become keenly aware of the depth of inner communion with a God who becomes intensely real and personal.

Luke 17:21 is the essence of “TREKKING WITH THE MYSTICS” and the basis for a necessary life-changing redirect.  If our “rock and fortress” dwells within then surely hatred, bigotry, intolerance, government agents, worldly oppression shall be powerless in the presence of the great “I AM”.  We are proclaimed to be instruments of and witnesses to that which is Truth and Light.  We are destined to walk the earth fearlessly pursuing for all people equality, social justice, and personal liberty.  Doing so is our birthright and our Supreme duty.

TREKKING WITH THE MYSTICS

brilliance

Peggy Lee, a popular contemporary vocalist of the 1950s and 60s, recorded a song which reached into the top of the charts in 1969.  “IS THAT ALL THERE IS” expresses  disillusionment and disappointment with a life which should be filled with unique experiences.  She suggests that we “break out the booze and have a ball—if that’s all there is”. Peggy Lee died in 2002.

Sometimes our life’s experiences parallel the lyrics of this song of hopelessness and melancholy.  We strive to achieve, to find acceptance within our communities, to perform according to the edicts of our traditional religion.  We fear the god of vengeance and punishment portrayed by exhortations from the pulpits of our churches while we fervently pray to that same god for forgiveness and redemption.  Yet in the secret recesses of our inner selves we intuitively know that the god of our religions and churches somehow misses the mark of truth, compassion, and relevance which we earnestly desire in our lives.  This inner search drives us to search for another day when we can sincerely say “yes, Lord, I will follow”, when we can finally change the word god to a capitalized God.

“9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Luke 11:9 KJV

That day of transformation from god to God reveals to us an inner trek which fills our lives with the beauty, mystery, awe, and inspiration which God intended for us.  It is not a new realization; rather, it has been practiced for thousands of years by Teachers sometimes called “mystics”.  They and their followers shared the wonderment of God residing within and without, present in all beings and all creation, available to any who would seek.  The Kingdom of God is not reserved for the righteous; it is not a distant, heavenly sphere of religious correctness; it is not the eminent domain of any of the world’s religions.

“21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.”  Luke 17:21` KJV

The writings of the New Testament attribute the above verse to Jesus, one of the Teachers who understood the mysteries of the inner search for truth.  When his sayings, as recorded in the Bible, are processed in the realm of spiritual rather than worldly understanding we become keenly aware of the depth of inner communion with a God who becomes intensely real and personal.

Luke 17:21 is the essence of “TREKKING WITH THE MYSTICS” and the basis for a necessary life-changing redirect.  If our “rock and fortress” dwells within then surely hatred, bigotry, intolerance, government agents, worldly oppression shall be powerless in the presence of the great “I AM”.  We are proclaimed to be instruments of and witnesses to that which is Truth and Light.  We are destined to walk the earth fearlessly pursuing for all people equality, social justice, and personal liberty.  Doing so is our birthright and our Supreme duty.