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just a small thing

Posted: January 25th, 2009, 4:13 am
by anvil46
I have been looking for awhile [63yrs old] and had come to 'GOD LOVES ME' and 'I am an immortal soul' . I have chased my tail through so many circular intellectual spiritual gymnastics , because I like to know the how and the why of things . I had attended a Wm Meader lecture , like him and have attended a couple of his talks, anyway it was on 'the dark night of the soul' and other very complex concepts. I meditated on this version of the souls journey as I was also reading 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying ' . At some point , and yes I know all religious experience can be cause by frontal lob epilepsy , a calm came over me with the realization that all we are told is children's stories , that the real way "IT" is is so much more complicated than we can-understand and composed of a LOVE that we barely feel the shadow of . I have no idea if this helps anyone else , something I have found on the path , difficult to say the least . Blessings to all with the knowledge that even the wrong path is still a PATH.

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 11th, 2009, 5:22 pm
by Speculum
Nicely said; thanks for sharing it.

My experience is that there is no "wrong" path. So long as the student or seeker approaches the task with enthusiasm, earnestness, discipline, respect, and confidence, the path will take care of itself.

I cannot imagine that it makes any difference to God, however defined, whether we immerse ourselves in written scriptures or in the woods and waters of a forest or anything else in between. If we are open and receptive in our search for Truth, it will find us wherever we are.

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 12th, 2009, 12:39 pm
by W4TVQ
I suspect that the reason we are limited to "children's stories" and fairy tales -- at least for now -- is that those things convey real truth, truth which gets mauled, battered, compressed and "pretzelized" when we try to contain it is "serious" words.

Much has been written to support this idea: for example, Madeleine L'Engle's book The Rock That Is Higher, subtitled "Story as Truth;" many passages in the writings of G. K. Chesterton, too. Quite frankly, I can find as much truth is some of Dr. Seuss' books as in some of the most profound writings of the eastern mystics or the early church fathers. Jesus knew this: he made up fairy tales all the time to get his point across. He knew that if he said "God loves you a whole lot" people would yawn and count it as "just your opinion," but if he told a story about a prodigal son the story would lodge in the heads of the hearers and eventually they'd get the point.

I guess one must deliver truths wrapped in a mythical or otherwise palatable container such as a fairy tale. Think how much widsom and profundity is wrapped in the "silly" myth of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. As Dylan Thomas said, "I know that the legend of Adam and Eve is never for a moment silent in my service." It's rather like the question of how to get a much needed pill down the throat of an unwilling kid: wrap it in candy.

I know that the question I'm addressing was not the thrust of the original post, but I think it's a sidecar that rides with the original thrust. God, by whatevername and in whatever form, cannot be crammed into our heads without bursting them, so let's hear it for fairy tales that give us a hint of what we will eventually know in full and face to face.

Jai Ram

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 16th, 2009, 2:34 pm
by anvil46
When I wrote that even a 'wrong path' was still a PATH. I really meant wrong , I mean the evil , left hand , what ever the term. I believe it all leads to GOD , yes it is the long and painful way , but a belief in a Loving GOD results in a belief in universal salvation of the immortal soul , the mechanics of which is GOD'S business . Belief in any form of eternal damnation paints the deity involved as not what I believe GOD to be . My faith In GOD'S LOVE is very simple . In those dark times I return to GOD loves me , me is an immortal soul . And so it is for all.

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 25th, 2009, 8:06 pm
by Speculum
This is a tough nut for me.

As you have undoubtedly read here and elsewhere on TZF (and if not, please read The Simple Way), if God is Infinite, as must be so otherwise God's not God, then God is All There Is, and if God is all there is, then what is "evil"?

To be sure, there are hundreds, thousands, of ways that we can make our lives and the lives of others uncomfortable, even miserable. And, I agree, that's bad, sometimes even inexcusable. But evil?

Evil suggests something other, something beyond (or below), something outside the jurisdiction of the Divine. For me, that's simply not possible. Again, if God is Infinite, how can anything be outside God's Jurisdiction?

This raises the question of the devil, doesn't it? My response to that is, christen him! Please understand, I'm not being flippant. But, as I see it, all of the power the devil has, he gets from us -- from our fear and hatred and anger. Turn off that tap, and he disappears.

As for Lucifer, if you have read any of In The Beginning, you know my take on him.

As for right and wrong spiritual paths ... If a seeker is sincere, and undertakes his or her journey with enthusiasm and dedication, I think God will transform any aspects of the path that may be "wrong" into "right". Thus, for me, here God says to a seeker, "Come to Me any way you can. Let Me worry about whether it's right or wrong; you just keep walking".

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 26th, 2009, 12:42 pm
by W4TVQ
Along these same lines I just posted this on another board, and it spoke to me, I think, more than the person to whom it was addressed. I've struggled with the idea that "all roads lead to god" (they do) and that "all religions say the same thing" -- which they don't. Then this occurred to me (not a "great revelation: everyone else probably knew it already):

Quote: "without the Bible or something to give me solid ground, I think it would be easy to just go with whatever "feels" right at the moment."

It would, of course, be wonderful if there could be a single source that contained all of the truth and had the answer to every question. To many Christians, the Bible fits that description ... but to maintain that assessment of the Bible they must ignore, gloss over or explain away an awful lot of stuff. The God revealed in Leviticus is simply not the God revealed in the New Testament.

When this began to dawn on me, I thought it meant I must abandon my Christian faith and join the agnostic/atheist community. It seemed that the only alternative to biblical theism was pragmatic atheism.

But that doesn't work either: atheism is just another hiding place. The more one grasps the immensity of the universe and the unutterable beauty of great galaxies millions of light years across, each one only one of millions of galaxies containing billions of stars, the option of "it just happened" vanishes. But does the option of a God Who communicates with His creation, and us specifically, also vanish?

Well, try this. It worked for me. Read not only the Bible, but the Upanishads, the Baghavad-Gita, the Tao Te Ching, the writings of the Christian mystics (especially Thomas Merton), and don't forget to add the current literature such as A Course In Miracles. What you'll find is not that they all say the same thing, but that they all are rooted in the same reality, and all reveal a single Mind at work revealing Itself/Himself to anyone who will take the time to listen. The simple fact is, we don't need a single source of Truth because Truth is not a single thing, it is the expression of a Mind so vastly beyond ours that only little sparks of it can reach us and be understood by us. We are inhabiting a tiny planet in a tiny solar system on the outskirts of a huge galaxy which is only one of millions of such galaxies ... and we are going to understand God??? This truth is summed up nicely in the fable of the blind men and the elephant: each touched a different part of the elephant, and insisted that the elephant was like the part he touched. "The elephant is like a rope." "The elephant is like a wall." "No, the elephant is like a tree." In fact, the elephant is all of those things. So when we say "God is like Jesus," it is true: He is. And He is like Krishna, and like the Tao, and like the Wisdom of the Buddha. Because He is all things to all men, He inhabits His creation as proprietor and we are simply tenants trying to figure out Who He is. He cannot be imprisoned in the pages of one book, or of one church, or of one religion, or even of one universe. His name is not a limiting name like "John" but rather it is I AM. No modifiers.

Or so it seems to me.

Jai Ram
Pax Domini
Shalom Aleichem

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 27th, 2009, 10:07 pm
by anvil46
OK I should have put the word evil in quotes . What I was saying I don't agree with your VERY BIG 'IF a seeker is sincere ' I say that there is GOD and only GOD and the only place 'we' can be is on the path , There is no where else to be ,even those judged by society as 'evil' are winding there way to GOD , again the mechanics of which is beyond us and actually none of our business. Universal Salvation is the only result of a belief in a perfect GOD of Love , so all those that are despised are still on a path to GOD ,there is no where else to be . My point is that we can not know what is going on but if we have come to the realization that we are children of a loving GOD then , by all the basic teaching, we should act like it and love GOD and his creation[which is HIM-HER-IT] I thought I was clear but just in several comments it went some place else. What a lesson. WOW!!! I love it here.

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 30th, 2009, 12:02 pm
by Neo
its all zen to me

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 31st, 2009, 3:58 pm
by anna

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 31st, 2009, 4:06 pm
by Speculum
Nicely put, Neo.

Speaking of Zen, here’s an apt story:

The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. “I am getting old,” he said, "and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship.”

“If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it,” Shoju replied. “I received your Zen without writing, and am satisfied with it as it is.”

“Even so," said Mu-nan, "this book has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching." With that, he handed the book to Shoju.

The two happened to be talking beside a wood stove. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands, he thrust it into the flames.

Mu-nan yelled, “What are you doing!”

Shoju replied, “What are you saying!”

Anvil46 wrote,
... I don't agree with your VERY BIG “IF a seeker is sincere “. I say that there is GOD and only GOD and the only place “we” can be is on the path, there is no where else to be

I agree with you.

That said, here’s what is becoming increasingly apparent to me: Despite the obvious appearances and experiences to the contrary, there is no such thing as a spiritual path.

If God is Infinite, as must be the case, otherwise God is not God, then It is all Divine – every thing and every one every where however defined without exception.

That reality does not seem to me to allow for the existence of a spiritual path or process which carries us from an “away from God” place toward and to an “at one with God” place. If it is all Divine, if it is all the Divine, how can there exist an “away from God” place? Where would it be?

Increasingly, it seems to me that what we have is more like a spectrum (or rather, Spectrum) than a path, a Spectrum along which every point is Divine and “at one with God”, but along which there are points at which That Reality is apparent and other points at which That Reality is not apparent, and the difference between them is what some call the Veil or the Cloud of Unknowing or whatever label we like, which is itself Divine, even the Divine Himself, but which is not of our doing or of our undoing. And when the Veil is present, it is because the Divine Will (which, like everything else, is too the Divine Himself) wills it, and when it is not present, it is because the Divine Will wills it so.

In a word, as so many of the traditions suggest (when all the curlicues and frou-frou are brushed away and distilled out), our function – as “seekers” – is to do nothing but simply be ourselves with enthusiasm, do whatever it is we do, precisely because there is nothing else we can do. And the Divine takes care of all the rest.

There are many Teachers and Teachings which express this lesson, but nowhere that I am aware of is it said more clearly and succinctly than in the commandment, “Consider the lilies, and how they grow”.

w4tvq wrote,
The God revealed in Leviticus is simply not the God revealed in the New Testament.

Of course, I know what you mean, but actually, it is the same God, isn’t it, only described and related to differently by different people living at different times in different cultures reaching to make different points.

with the idea that "all roads lead to god" (they do) and that "all religions say the same thing” (they don't) ... What you'll find is not that they all say the same thing, but that they all are rooted in the same reality, and all reveal a single Mind at work revealing Itself/Himself to anyone who will take the time to listen.

Well, yes and no.

At the outset of my journey, it did not seem to me in the least that they were all saying the same thing. Quite the contrary. But more and more, it is clear to me that in fact they are identical in virtually every sense but the spelling. My expectation is that, for me, this phenomenon will become more pronounced and increasingly evident as I go on, to the point that everything written or spoken, wherever and whenever and by whomever, will be heard and seen to be saying the very same One Thing, there being nothing else to say.

The differences issue from language, culture, geography, history, social mores, legal values, and so on. It is very difficult to read past those in any written work, but especially in religious scriptures, so fraught are they with emotional and psychological memories and other baggage. What Muslim in Palestine can read today from the Torah without thinking of settlements on the Golan Heights? What Jew in Tel Aviv can read from the Qur’an without thinking of suicide bombers?

Maine’s state legislature is currently considering legalizing same-sex marriage. The discussion – or, I should say, the argument – has spilled into the newspapers, where every day there appear letters to the editor pro and con. Most of the letters seem to have been written by sensible, thinking persons, and virtually all of them quote scripture in support of their position.

Years ago, before I “left the world", an economist told me “You can prove anything with statistics. Tell me what you want proven, and I will manipulate the statistics to prove it”. The same is true of the scriptures of every religion.

In the end, I suppose it is a question of where are we standing (who or what we think we are) when we are looking. Eventually, I suspect we Realize that regardless of what we seem to be looking at, we are looking at ourselves.

Re: just a small thing

Posted: March 31st, 2009, 4:13 pm
by anna
But seriously....................Neo, you just caught me by surprise and it generated a guffaw!

The way I see it, the closer you get to the top of the mountain, the larger the vista, and the less detail you can see, and even though there are molds and bacteria, insects and vermin consuming the forest, predators devouring one another, and general horrific things happening on the forest floor, -- in addition of course, to all the gorgeous things happening beside them -- the viewer sees only beauty and majesty beneath her. So that, all visions are real, and true, but the viewer determines the perspective from which she views the vision and she determines where she stands in relation to what she sees. Perhaps that is the only real "free will" that we humans can exercise. All the rest is simply reaction to the external environment....perhaps? :confused:

Re: just a small thing

Posted: April 1st, 2009, 12:03 pm
by W4TVQ
Just an aside, irrelevant to al the profundity here ... regarding the use of scripture to prove whatever one wants proven:

A Baptist preacher led a congregation so small that baptism had to be done in a stream outside the church. He pleaded with his board of deacons to get him a pair of hip boots for the baptisms.

"Fine," they said, "if you can show us where the Bible permits such thngs."

A week later he was back. "I have it right here," said he. "Hip boots in the Bible. Psalm 42:1: "pants for the water brooks."

He got his boots.

On another message boad I see almost daily how the bible is used to prove (1) once saved always saved, (2) salvation can be lost, (3) Jesus is God, (4) Jesus is not God, (5) God is infinite, (6) God is not infinite... ad infinitum. It almost becomes hilarious at times, yet people are willing to fight each other almost to the death for one "interpretation" or another.

Jai Ram

Re: just a small thing

Posted: April 2nd, 2009, 3:20 pm
by Speculum
Psalm 42:1: "pants for the water brooks."

Very amusing. At an estate auction, Anna got me a nice oil painting based on that verse, actually with the verse itself included in the work. It's on TZF here.

On another message board I see almost daily how the bible is used to prove (1) once saved always saved, (2) salvation can be lost, (3) Jesus is God, (4) Jesus is not God, (5) God is infinite, (6) God is not infinite... ad infinitum.

As you are undoubtedly aware, it has always been so.

Consider these lines excerpted from Bart D. Ehrman’s book Lost Christianities. Ehrman, a religion teacher at UNC Chapel Hill, has written numerous books on early Christianity.

In the second and third century, there were Christians who believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two. Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.

In the second and third centuries, there were Christians who believed that God had created the world … others believed that this world had been created by a subordinate, ignorant divinity. …Yet other Christians thought … this world was a cosmic mistake created by a malevolent divinity.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed the Jewish Scripture was inspired by the one true God. Others believed it was inspired by the God of the Jews, who was not the one true God. Others believed it was inspired by an evil entity. Others believed it was not inspired.

In the second and third centuries, there were Christians who believed that Jesus was both divine and human … there were other Christians who argued that he was completely divine … others who insisted that Jesus was a full flesh-and-blood human … and others who claimed that Jesus Christ was two things: human and divine …

In the second and third centuries, there were Christians who believed that Jesus’ death brought about the salvation of the world. There were other Christians who thought that Jesus’ death had nothing to do with the salvation of the world. There were yet other Christians who said that Jesus never died.

And so on.

It is, of course, not unique to Christianity. Other religions are similar in this respect. Eventually, one of the groups gains preeminence, shunts the others aside (or burns them at the stake), rewrites the history of the early years (so that their perspective is perceived to have been always correct from the very beginning), and prospers as the “only true religion”.

It’s the human condition, isn’t it?

I suppose we see in the Teacher and the Teaching what we need (and want). For each of us, that changes as we change. As seekers, the key is to be open and receptive to change.