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.
YouTube: The Beginning Within the End
Audio: The Beginning Within the End
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.
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.
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.
YouTube: The Mystical Thread
Audio: The Mystical Thread
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.
[Note: I was absent Sunday due to a minor surgery, which was a success. I want to thank Elaine Lawrie-Foss, a lifetime Unity student, for speaking in my place. JDB]
Youtube: The Silence (audio only)
Audio: The Silence
Excerpt from The Silence, by E.V. Ingraham
The moment it dawns upon you that the first sense of stillness that you feel as you practice the silence is the actual presence of God, that moment you have passed into the realm “beyond the silence,” for then there comes to you a conscious revelation of one of the outstanding characteristics of God Himself. But back of the silent nature of God lie all the numberless phases and degrees of Him who is all. The silence then becomes the locus (place in consciousness) for receiving the inspiration of the Almighty that gives understanding; the locus where the Spirit of truth becomes the only teacher, where man gains knowledge of the Infinite at first hand. Silence ceases to be mere stillness, and becomes the unfolding presence of Divinity itself. At this moment you have literally touched the hem of His garment, and the complete reconstruction of your nature begins.
YouTube: The Mystical Union
Audio: The Mystical Union
“Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4-6).
How we understand Jesus’ kingdom of God is our key to understanding the mystical thread running through his teachings. Is this kingdom a biblically prophesied day of judgment, complete with major destruction, wailing and gnashing of teeth? Or is it a quiet spiritual awakening that is born and grows through our consciousness from the innermost recesses of the soul? It is clear from the overall message of the New Testament that the early Christian community couched it in apocalyptic terms. But when we lift the sayings of Jesus from this evangelical narrative, we find another, inner-directed message more closely associated with the mystical thread.
Jesus often speaks in contrasting terms. He uses things like good and bad fish, wheat and tares, wide and narrow gates, old and new wine, houses built on rock and sand, man and woman, to name a few. We get the most from these illustrations when we see them, not as references to believers and sinners, but as contrasting types of consciousness. One is the surface, senses-based understanding, the wide gate that most rely on to navigate through their world. The other is a consciousness built upon the bedrock of the soul, the narrow gate that relatively few discover. This is the heart of the gospel of Jesus for it not only establishes our relationship with God, it gives us a practical spiritual base from which to weather life’s storms.
Matthew obviously used this passage simply as commentary on the institution of marriage. The deeper meaning addresses the need for unity between the intellect (man) and the intuition (woman). Rather than think of ourselves as a human being seeking a spiritual experience, we correctly understand ourselves as a spiritual being having a human experience. From this spiritual foundation, the intellect and the intuition act in unison, the soul inspired intuition providing the primary insight. We are no longer two but one flesh, our head and our heart joined in spiritual matrimony.
This is an appropriate message for today. Our intellectually driven science sees the soul as little more than a neurological process, an unnecessary curiosity. The towering intellect has effectively divorced this intuitive counterpart for that singing siren of technology.
We know that civilizations grow or fall on the same principle: from the inside out. It’s what we grasp as our center that determines which direction we go. Through all time, this mystical union that God has joined together is truly a marriage that no culture can afford to put asunder.