Unwavering Light

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“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. … You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:44-45, 48).

At first glance, the above passage appears to be another lesson stressing the importance of loving one’s enemies. It is this, but it is also pointing to a deeper principle. Emphasizing the need to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you suggests a way to rise above the peace-robbing life of a reactionary. We all know how the quality of our life can be affected by the direction the winds of circumstance happen to blow. However, the imagery of the gifts of sun and rain continuing to be imparted illustrates the activity of God does not change according to circumstance or good and bad human behavior. Our spiritual freedom depends on our operating from this same principle.

Light streams through the blackness of outer space, yet we cannot see the light if there is nothing to reflect it. If we say light is good and darkness is evil, we will say of this darkness, “Look, here is evil,” and we will react accordingly. To condemn the enemy of your peace and pray for its demise empowers the darkness. The instruction to love your enemy suggests a way of holding up something that reflects the ever-present light. You’re not asking for increased light or praying that the light will behave differently. You are doing something to make visible this perpetually streaming light.

To love your enemy is to release the thought that there is an absence of light and affirm the opposite: The light is now shining in this darkness. To be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect is to behave as the Father behaves. Give your gifts of sun and rain, not because the world deserves them, but because it is your nature to do so.  Affirm that illness, that financial setback, that turmoil with the neighbor is but a shadow of the underlying reality. The belief that these are real and capable of robbing you of your peace is the enemy you pray for. There is only one reality, and that is the unwavering light.

The Resurrection Principle

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He is not here; for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6).

According to Matthew’s version of the resurrection, when “Mary Mag’dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher,” they found it empty. An angel was there to tell them Jesus had risen from the dead.

The Easter story presents the defining principle for both traditional and metaphysical Christianity. In both cases, Easter illustrates that life, not death, is the truth behind all appearances to the contrary.

We celebrate Easter in the Spring because all around us we see the resurrection of new life from the dry stalks and branches of apparent death, and we marvel at the tenacity and the proliferation of this mysterious force that we call life.

Traditional Christianity draws its meaning of Easter from the past, projecting its fulfillment as a glorious and everlasting future. In alternative Christianity, we invoke the principle of resurrection in our current affairs by dying to, or letting go of, the old and affirming the new. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Life is always creating new channels through which to express itself. Our work is to make ourselves as open as possible to the renewing energy of this resurrecting force so that every point of our experience may expand and flourish. Are you sealed in a tomb of fear and negation, worried about your future, uncertain about the outcome of some current situation? Then begin to release this fear and affirm that the resurrecting power of life is now lifting you beyond all restrictions, all uncertainty, all inhibitions, and that your life is full of new possibilities, and those possibilities are unfolding now, like the spring buds bursting all around you.

Open your mind to God’s resurrecting life right now, right where you are, and enjoy the blessings of a transformed experience.

Your Center of Power

If you are seeking an answer to a perplexing problem, consider using the following form of prayer. You do not need to know specifically how the thing will work out, only that it is working out now. How would you feel if you had your perfect resolution? The answer to your prayer begins the moment you make a conscious connection with your center of power.

The Beginning Within the End

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Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. John 12:24

John, who wrote his Gospel some sixty years after the death of Jesus, uses this saying to show Jesus prophesying his own death. The saying is couched in John’s account known as the triumphant entry, which we celebrate as Palm Sunday. Here we have a good example John using Jesus to advance the narrative of the early church.

The saying itself bears the characteristics of the mystical thread likely intended by Jesus. It references the omnipotence of God as the power that transforms the seed. That this power is within the seed illustrates the divinity of the individual. And even in the darkness of death, the seed is not separated from the transforming power that bears much fruit.

The principle embodied in this saying is clear. What appears to be an end is also a new beginning. From the death of one state of mind comes the birth of something greater, something that will bear much fruit. This is reminiscent of the second noble truth of Buddhism that says that trishna or clinging, is the cause of all suffering. If we cling to the seed, it will not bear fruit. If we cling to conditions as they were, our forward movement will be frustrated, and suffering will result.

Think of a situation in your life now that is undergoing significant change. Are you fearful? Are you reluctant to let the seed of the old condition fall into the ground and die? In your time of quiet, try thinking of the situation as you would a seed that is ready to plant. Imagine dropping it into the ground, covering it with soil and then sitting back knowing that something greater is now emerging. How the new emerges is not your problem. Your job is to let go in trust, knowing the Divine is now working its greater good through you.

The Trinity of Values

On my Facebook group page, The Alternative Christian, I conducted a three-day experiment asking participants to respond to the topics you see below. The statements represent a compilation of their answers.

My purpose for doing this is to demonstrate that this core set of values represents the basis of our understanding of all topics of a spiritual nature. For example, someone can say, “I believe in prayer.” What does that mean? How you view prayer is influenced by your understanding of these three core values. If you think of God as the old man in the sky, your understanding of prayer will be different from one who sees God as an indwelling, accessible presence. Likewise, your view of Jesus, of the Bible, of healing, of prosperity and so forth begins with this trinity of values. Understand their core values and you’ll understand why some are aggressively trying to save souls while others accept that the awakening to the inner presence of God is their salvation. You’ll understand why some are waiting for the Second Coming while others see it as an inner awakening to their own Christ potential. You’ll get why some see the Bible as God’s primary way of communicating with people, while others see the Word of God as that inner living flame of the soul.

I would recommend this exercise for anyone, to take a meditative approach to answering these three questions: What is my understanding of the nature of God? What is my understanding of the nature of the individual? What is my understanding of the relationship between God and the individual?

If you’re interested in becoming a part of The Alternative Christian, make sure you have a Facebook account then click the link and request membership in the group.

The Nature of God
God, the one power of the universe (omnipotent), is greater than all but accessible to all, organic and uniquely personal. Centered in the silent core, that holy void within every person, God is expressed through each living thing as the all-encompassing, healing energy, the pure, infinite, eternal source of unconditional life, love, power and intelligence. God is the object of all that we seek, the awe-inspiring joy, the creative life-force in whom all things live and move and have their being.

The Nature of the Individual
The individual is a unique expression of the creative life force that is God, a spiritual being expressing consciousness through a physical body, a thought in the mind of God, unlimited, free willed, endowed with the capacity to respond to God, to think, to feel, to demonstrate Christ-like love, to observe and live in God’s beauty in accordance with the divine laws of the universe.

The Nature of the Relationship Between God and the Individual
The omnipresence of God, in whom we live and move and have our being, is centered in every individual as the soul. God and the individual are in an unconditional, absolute relationship of oneness. We develop our relationship to God through the practice of meditation.

Announcement

I have started a closed Facebook group called The Alternative Christian. If you have a Facebook account and are interested in becoming part of this group, let me know with a comment to this post and I’ll send you an invitation. Here is the basic premise for the group:

The Alternative Christian is for those who resonate with a Christian-based message beyond the mainstream but not so far as the woo-woo New Age approach.

The first question I have posed is this: What is your understanding of the nature of God?

21 people signed up yesterday and today and I look forward to hearing from many more of you.

Blessings, JDB

The Mystical Thread

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As we’ve seen, the Gospels carry two messages: one is the developing doctrine of the early church, the other is what we’re considering the mystical thread that runs through the teachings of Jesus. How do we recognize this thread? We look for ideas that are consistent, not with early church doctrine, but with the principles of mysticism. These principles will always include references to 1) the omnipotence God, 2) the divinity of the individual, and 3) the relationship of oneness between God and the individual. In some verses these ideas are evident while others will require some thoughtful consideration before they yield their hidden treasure.

Jesus made references to God caring for sparrows, lilies of the field and birds of the air in general. He assured his listeners that God, their heavenly Father, would take care of them as well. We can picture how this happens with a favorite illustration of mine. We mow our lawn and a healing intelligence is there to respond to each individual blade of grass. If every lawn on the planet is cut at the same time, this non-depletable presence responds just as quickly and just as certainly.

We see the first element in our trinity of principles as the grass immersed in the omnipotence of God. The healing power is dispersed everywhere, equally at the same time. The second element presents as this power fully involved in every single blade, meaning the whole of the healing power is intimately involved, down to the cellular level. We see the third element in the fact that all the grass is one with this healing energy, no begging for its help required.

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith?” (Matt. 6:30).

There isn’t room here to cover all the instances of how the teachings of Jesus rest on this powerful trinity of principles. We will continue to explore specific passages in the weeks ahead. The important thing is to be able to identify this mystical thread as a key assurance that God is truly a present and responsive help in our times of uncertainty and need.