Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

 

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ in me,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me,
Christ with me.

Attributed to St. Patrick, 385-461(translation by Kuno Meyer)

The coming of Patrick to Ireland about the middle of the fifth century initiated the “most peaceful invasion and lasting conquest of all”. This hymn is attributed to Patrick and certainly reflects many of the themes found in Patrick’s thought. The version we have today was likely written in the late 7th or early 8th century. The hymn is a celebration of the wisdom and power of God both in creation and redemption.  It is an excellent example of a lorica — a “breastplate” or corslet of faith recited for the protection of body and soul against all forms of evil — devils, vice, and the evil which humans perpetrate against one another.  The name of the hymn derives from a legend of an incident when the High King of Tara, Loeguire resolved to ambush and kill Patrick and his monks to prevent them from spreading the Christian faith in his kingdom.  As Patrick and his followers approached singing this hymn, the King and his men saw only a herd of wild deer and let them pass by.  The word ‘cry’ also has the sense of a prayer or petition.

From rc.net

Would Christians be delighted?

 

At the end of the gypsy episode of Stuff You Should Know, the hosts reads a listener email asking them if you could go back in time, where and when would you go, and what would you bring?

One of the hosts said he would go back to the time and location of Jesus, and bring a video recorder. Both hosts seems to think that Christians today would be delighted by the footage.

I am not so sure, and the reasons seem obvious.

We don’t know if Jesus was a historical person. It’s quite possible he wasn’t, and it’s also possible he was. We just don’t know. We don’t have sufficient historical information. (The information we have is all from the Christian tradition, which isn’t an independent source.)

Even if he was a historical person, what he said and did may not be represented accurately in the New Testament. The NT stories were written down decades and centuries after he lived, and they were written by people with their own understandings and agendas. The “real” Jesus may have been quite different from how he was represented there.

What we do know is that all or nearly all of the vital elements of the Jesus story are found in a wide range of earlier religions and spiritual traditions around the Mediterranean. (See, for instance, The Jesus Mysteries by Peter Gandi and Tim Freke.)

It may be that Jesus is an invented figure, used to convey (valid and important) spiritual principles and pointers.

It’s also possible that he was a historical figure, and later followers added familiar stories from existing regional traditions, either to make the Jesus story more familiar and attractive, or to convey spiritual messages and pointers.

It’s even possible that Jesus was a historical figure, and his life just happened to fit into all these existing stories. This seems quite unlikely, although theoretically possible.

Even if the footage did show Jesus as (a) not an historical figure, or (b) quite different from how the NT portrays him, some Christians would still be delighted. And that’s the Christians who genuinely are OK with Jesus (a) not being a historical figure, and (b) not being accurately represented in the NT.

It’s fully possible to have a deep relationship with Jesus/Christ, and still be OK with these two things. The Jesus story is still full of important and helpful metaphors for our own spiritual path. Christ is still a powerful and transformative presence. In short, it’s fully possible to have a deep and alive relationship with Christ, and still be intellectually honest.

It’s also simpler because it is more honest, and it reveals the essence of Jesus/Christ more clearly. It reveals the important pointers and metaphors in the Jesus story. It reveals the importance of the alive presence of Christ. It strips away the peripheral things.

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Adyashanti: The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit

 

The spirit that Jesus embodies is not a safe spirit; there’s no guarantee of how it will all play out in your life. There’s only one guarantee that Jesus gave: if you can receive and awaken and embody what he is speaking about, then your life will never be the same again. Then you will realize that you’re already living in the Kingdom of Heaven.

– Adyashanti, Resurrecting Jesus: Embodying the Spirit of a Revolutionary Mystic

It’s not a safe spirit since what it wants with us and our life may be contrary to what we, as a human being, wants. Jesus is the best example of this, with his crucifixion. And that goes for any awakening, not just one that’s (explicitly) associated with Christ.

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Did Jesus exist?

 

Did Jesus exist?

The reality is that we don’t know. There are hardly any historical sources suggesting that he did exist, apart from Christian sources.

Looking at the data, it seems that it’s very possible that he didn’t exist.

And yet, most historians and theologians seem to gloss over this question. They don’t mention it, or perhaps say of course he existed, don’t be silly. (As one theologian did when I asked.)

Why this lack of intellectual honesty and courage? It’s perhaps because aspects of Christian theology, as it was created in the centuries after Jesus may have lived, depends on Jesus having existed as a historical person.

And yet, maybe there is another way. A way where we can be intellectually honest about the historical question, and still benefit as much if not more from the Jesus story, and Jesus’ teachings.

The Jesus story is, as many have realized and pointed out, a metaphor for the awakening process we all may go through. Adyashanti’s Resurrecting Jesus is a clear and insightful book on this topic.

Jesus’ teachings applies to us whatever label we put on ourselves – Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, atheist or whatever else it may be. As any good wisdom teachings, they are pointers. Questions. Experiments.

And, it seems, we can connect with the Christ energy whether or not we know if Jesus existed as a historical person. The Christ presence responds, as it seems to have done for centuries or millennia, to prayer and Christ meditation. (I experience it quite strongly, and know that many others do too.)

Note: Was Jesus a Pagan God, by Freke and Gandi, is an interesting exploration on this topic.

Note 2: Some say that the mutual disagreements between the texts in the New Testament is an indication that Jesus didn’t exist, but that seems a weak argument. Disagreement between historical sources is expected and inevitable, even if they refer to something that did happen.

Also, some point to the striking similarities between the Jesus story and stories from religions and mythologies in the middle east prior to Christianity. It almost seems that someone did a cut & paste job when they created they Jesus story. Again, that doesn’t seem that this is a good argument for the non-historical Jesus.

Finally, there is the Shroud of Turin. From what we know about it today, it’s possible that it’s real. Science can only determine if it’s a fake, and haven’t been able to conclusively do so yet. In any case, it’s an interesting question.

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Images of God

 

Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God.

Justin Welby tells BBC radio interviewer there are moments when he doubts – but he is certain about the existence of Jesus.

– from a The Guardian article

I am sometimes puzzled that people who make God their business sometimes seem to have a quite naive and immature way of looking at it. (Of course, there are many exceptions.)

In this case, as I have mentioned before, it’s all about our image of God. If I see God as equal to reality, what is as it is, then the whole question of belief falls away. God equals reality and is something I can explore through science, and also in immediate experience. Also, if I see God as consciousness itself, then I can find it through a simple inquiry here and now – for instance through the Big Mind process, the headless experiments, or the Living Inquiries.

Similarly with Jesus. It’s all about how I see Jesus and/or Christ.

If I see the Jesus story as a teaching story, it doesn’t matter whether Jesus – as a historical person – lived or not. The Jesus story reflects me and my own process.

And if I see Christ as a particular flavor of Big Mind/Heart, then again it doesn’t matter whether Jesus lived or not. It’s something I can access here and now, allow work on me, and live from.

It allows me to be more honest about the historical question of Jesus, and admit that there is hardly any convincing data suggesting that he did live as a historical person. It doesn’t matter because the Jesus story is still a very important teaching story, and Christ is alive here and now.

Note: See Resurrecting Jesus by Adyashanti, and The Jesus Mysteries by Tim Freke and Peter Gandy, among other books, on this topic. Also, when it comes to our views of the divine, I am aware that these tend to reflect phases of adult development, as outlined by f.ex. Fowler.

Christ Meditation

 

In my teens and early twenties (before my Zen days), I used especially two Christian practices daily.

One was the Jesus or Heart Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”, with the heart beats and breath. (Inbreath: “*Lord *Jesus *Christ”. Gentle pause: *. Outbreath: “Have* Mercy* On* Me*” Gentle pause: *. The * are heart beats.) It’s very powerful. And it’s purpose is to open to Christ, allow Christ to work on me, and give my life over to Christ.

I didn’t use the Heart Prayer so much after I moved to the Zen center, since I wanted to do Zen completely and see its effects on me.

Now, I feel drawn to more Christ centered practices again. The Heart Prayer feels a bit too much for me now. It’s very “fiery” and tends to open me further, increase the energy, and bring the energy up. It also activates the crown chakra very strongly. Neither of those feel right for me now, as I am still in a “spiritual emergency” of sorts.

The other practice was the Christ Meditation. (It may have another name.)

Visualize Christ at the seven points: In the heart, above the head, below the feet, in front and back of the heart, and either side of the heart. Christ can be visualized in different ways. For me, it’s often a golden light. Visualize Christ in the heart, and about 1 meter outside the body at the six other points. This is a silent meditation. A silent opening to Christ, a silent allowing of Christ to work on me, and a silent giving of my life (my body, mind, actions) to Christ. This one feels more right for me now, and I may do it and see what happens.

With both of these, I notice that they become “automatic” after a while. I may sit and do it intentionally and formally once or twice a day, or whenever it comes to me. (In bed, on the bus or train, while walking in nature, etc.) And I notice that it tends to keep going on its own in between these more formal sessions. It lives it’s own life, as I live my daily life. It keeps working on me.

Note: I learned about these practices from reading Wilfred Stinissen, and also The Way of the Pilgrim (Heart Prayer) and other Orthodox books.

Note II: These practices tend to bring up material for inquiry. That’s one of the reasons practices are helpful. For instance, if not much happens, what does it say about me? If something happens -such as all revealing itself as consciousness & love & light, heart opening, seeing a “flame” on top of the head and more – what does that say about me? What deficient selves are triggered, or compensated for, or filled up, through what’s happening? What’s the worst that can happen if the practices don’t work? What’s the best that can happen through these practices? What do I find when I take this to inquiry?

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Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed

 

But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.
Matthew 8:8

And paraphrased, used in some Christian traditions before reviving the bread and wine:

Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

I attended Eucharist at St. Paul’s Cathedral yesterday, and was deeply touched by this simple phrase.

I – as what identified mind says I am, this human self – is not worthy to receive Christ. It cannot be worthy, because it’s a mistaken identity. It doesn’t exist as it appears to exist. It also is not worthy since it operates from images and thoughts taken as true, while reality is quite different. It’s not worthy because it operates on a basic lie, and this basic lie engenders any number of other lies.

The grace comes from Christ, it comes from the divine. Say the word, and I shall be healed. Say the word, and this human self will function in its real context, within what I am noticing itself. Within awakeness – the divine, noticing itself. Nothing needs to change for that healing to take place, apart from the noticing.

The reversals are also true. This human self is worthy to receive Christ, because it is already the divine. It is the divine temporarily appearing as a human being and the world it’s in, and either identifying as that human self or not. And when awakeness (the divine, Christ) notices itself, this human self is bound to change. At the very least, it initiates a process of aligning this human self – more and more thoroughly – with reality, with reality noticing itself.

Giving it over to Christ

 

Giving it over to Christ. Experience what’s here and give it over to Christ.

That too is a form of inquiry, an experiment. What happens, what do I notice?

I notice some of the beliefs and fears not wanting to do it. The thoughts saying that something terrible will happen if I give it all over to Christ. I won’t be in control anymore. (And that I am in control if I don’t hand it over. That I can be in control. It’s possible to be in control.)

I notice the relief, the sense of coming home.

I notice I still function in everyday life as before, and perhaps from more heart and clarity.

I notice the relief in giving it all over, including what seems the most dense, and the most personal, the most like who and what I am.

I notice it’s a prayer, a meditation. It’s an intention to shift center of gravity from identified to non-identified mind, from being blindly caught up in beliefs to more clarity, from head to heart, from this human self to Christ. (And I notice how all those words seem very clunky, far from the utter simplicity and beauty of it.)

I notice it’s all already Christ, including confusion, frustration, dullness, brain fog, tiredness, anger, what mind takes to be mine, me and I. By giving it over to Christ, it’s easier to notice it’s already Christ.

I notice how it all – the whole field of experience without exceptions – seems more transparent, more alive as awakeness, presence, love.

(more…)

Update

 

A few things going on now, much of it – I suspect – related to my sessions with Barry.

Right now:

A sense that identified mind (ancient mind, confused mind) and non-identified mind (clear mind) are the same. It’s as if the images held in my mind of the two being somehow separate are falling away. They are revealed as the same, as they are, of course. It’s one mind, and it can appear as identified (confused) and non-identified (clear) at the same time. Specifically, it appears as old wounds (beliefs, fears) surfacing at an emotional and physical level, coexisting with clear mind, and – when remembered – met with love and clarity, held in love and clarity, and with love and clarity inside of it.

There is a sense of heart surgery happening, with a quite physical soreness and achiness in the heart area. Old wounds, emotions, regrets etc. also surface. (These are not really old, they are created right here now.)

I have had periods of very strong (and inexplicable) nausea, perhaps related to something happening (releasing? working itself out?) in the belly and solar plexus area.

A few weeks now:

A sense that Christ (the divine, the light of Christ) is within and inside of all of me, including the darkest (most unresolved, most contracted) areas of the psyche. There is also a sense that the love and intelligence of this light of Christ is at work there.

An experience of Christ – the light of Christ, presence of Christ – in a more yin way, as very soft, deep relaxation, holding. During the initial phase of the awakening process, Christ was experienced as more fiery (filtered through head and heart centers). Now, it appears slightly different, as velvety soft (filtered through the belly center?).

In general, love is brought to whatever is here, when remembered, including – and perhaps especially – any resistance, fear etc. surfacing. I notice that behind the heart ache is sadness, grief and regrets, and I also notice a part of me seeking to go into blame, accusations and victimhood to protect me from feeling, experiencing and meeting that sadness. And that too can be met with love. It’s innocent, it’s there to protect me, and it’s love. Seeing that, it feels natural to meet it with love. When remembered….!

(more…)

Incarnation trauma

 

This keeps coming into focus:

As a kid, I had memories of how it was before this incarnation – all as a presence with infinite love and wisdom, an infinite sense of being home, timelessness. What’s closest in the physical world is perhaps an ocean – in this case of awakeness, love, presence, wisdom, beyond and including the impersonal and personal – and of myself and any other more personal presences as part of this ocean. Before this incarnation, there was a council of sorts and a knowing of all of us that it was time for me to incarnate again. It was good for me (especially the first half of my life?) and good for others and humanity (especially the last half of my life?). There was a match between what I – as a soul – could learn and contribute, and what humanity as a whole would be learning and shifting into in this phase of our history. At some point, resistance set it, pretending I didn’t want it and didn’t chose it, pretending I was a victim, had lost something of infinite value, that God had chosen it for me, that it was a terrible tragedy to incarnate (not so much because this life isn’t enjoyable and interesting, but because of what was lost).

So there was a knowing that it was all right, and a wanting of this incarnation. A pretending it was a terrible tragedy. And quite a split between the two.

Later on in my life, I see some of these themes play themselves out, especially not fully wanting to be here (with my whole being) and repeated stories of loss of what’s most valuable to me, especially people, places and opportunities.

I also see how I tend to make idealized images of the past, as I did very early in life with my images of how it was before incarnation. Compare them with the present. And get caught up in the suffering created that way.

And I see how I – for a while – imagined that what was then isn’t here now. By holding onto an idealized image of the past, comparing it with an image of the present, and telling myself I lost something of infinite value, mind distracted itself from noticing it here, noticing it didn’t go anywhere.

Right now, I am most drawn to letting the (soft, gentle, loving, infinitely wise) light of Christ shine on this, the wound, the part of me pretending I didn’t want this incarnation, pretending I lost something of infinite value. And in this, there is a very quiet, soft, wordless loving inquiry, or sometimes just a whisper.

Is it true? What’s more true? How is it to take it in? Feel it? Stay with it?

(more…)

Session with Barry – #4 in new series

 

I did a session with Barry last week, where we invited in the presence of Christ, resurrection etc.

Here is a brief recap of some of the highlights:

I notice something descending on me, enveloping me. It’s an experience of being held. What’s enveloping me is white, soft, gentle, loving, silent, creative, intelligent.

I notice it seeping through me, suffusing me, my body and mind becomes this soft, gentle, loving presence.

There is a large golden ball of light beneath me. It ascends, up to my arms, then enveloping me.

There is a shower, as if a shower of golden sparks on me and through me.

Barry experienced the same at the same time as I did throughout this session. He asked, and was told this is the first mantle of Christ, described on page 51 in the e-version of his book We Are the Awakening Christ. This is where Christ takes us on and commits to bring us home. The second mantle is where we commit our lives to Christ, all of it without exceptions (I am not quite there yet, during this turn of the spiral).

Since that session, I have experienced this soft, gentle, white – or light golden – presence of Christ through and in me, in my heart area, and I have stayed with the flame in the chest and brought anything that comes up – resistance, fear, hesitation, wounds etc. – to it, knowing the flame knows what’s needed for it to resolve.

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Primal fear of death

 

As seems quite common in this process, a primal fear of death has come up for me for a while now. It was very strong for some months up to about a year ago, and now comes up a little less intensely.

What is is about?

It’s about the death of who I take myself to be, and this takes two forms: (a) The death of identification with images and ideas about who I am – a human being etc. (b) The physical death of this body. And the latter is of course really about the former. If I take myself to be this body, then the death of this body is perceived as the death of me. It’s all about identification and beliefs.

The invitation here is for two things:

(a) Open to the fear and the impulse to recoil from it. Take it as an inquiry and notice what happens when I recoil from it, and what happens when I open to it all. Ask myself, is it true I cannot take it? Is it true it’s too much? Is it true it’s (the fear, the impulse to recoil) is not already allowed? Not already opened to?

And (b) identify and inquire into (i) the beliefs behind this fear, and (ii) the beliefs behind the resistance to the fear.

(i) It’s terrible to die. I will die. Death means…. What I fear the most about death is…..

(ii) It’s overwhelming. It’s too much. This dread/terror means something terrible has happened/will happen. It’s easier to recoil. Something terrible will happen if I open to it. I am not up to the task. I need to be up to the task. What I am most afraid would happen if I open to this dread/terror is….

(more…)

Christ with me

 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in me, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me,

Christ with me.

(The Sacred Lorico or Deer’s Cry by Saint Patrick)

– 0 –

Can I recognize Christ in everyone who thinks of me, whatever they think?

Can I recognize Christ in everyone who speaks of me, whatever they speak?

(more…)

Arvo Pärt: The Deer’s Cry

 

 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,

Christ in me, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,

Christ in the eye that sees me,

Christ in the ear that hears me,

Christ with me

– 0 –

The sacred Lorico or Deer’s Cry was composed by Saint Patrick in the year 433. Knowing of an ambush to kill him and his followers, St. Patrick led his men chanting it as they passed through a forest. They were transformed into a deer and twenty fawns, and thus St. Patrick and his men were saved. Pärt composed the work in 2007 and it was first performed in Louth the following year.

– 0 –

This is one of the most beautiful songs I know. And it reflects a common practice in several different spiritual traditions. For instance, both in Christianity and Buddhism, one of the basic practices is the visualization of Christ / Buddha above and below us, on either side, in the front and behind, and in the heart. And there is also the “walk in beauty” prayer attributed to the Navajo.

Christ as what comes & goes, or is always here

 

Two ways to approach Spirit is (a) as a state, as what comes and goes, and (b) as what’s always here, and both have their place.

Especially in the beginning of the process, it seems common – and perhaps helpful – to explore Spirit as a state, as an experience, as something that comes and goes. It gives a glimpse of the reality of all as Spirit, it provides inspiration for further exploration, it gives trust that reality is perhaps quite different from how it appears when filtered through our beliefs.

At some point, this approach may get a bit old. Experiences come and go, and it’s clear that Spirit is reality itself, it’s what doesn’t come and go. So can I find Spirit right here, in the midst of and as any experience – as the person I am with, as the experience that’s here?

Christ can be seen as equivalent to Spirit, the Divine, Buddha Mind, Big Mind/Heart, Brahman, life and reality, and that’s true in my experience. Christ consciousness is life recognizing itself, releasing identification out of the story of I. And Christ does also have a particular quality, a fiery, heart centered and action oriented quality, at least in my experience.

When I explore Christ through the Heart Prayer – Lord Jesus Christ, Have Mercy Upon Me said with the breath and heart beat so it eventually is continuous day and night, or the Christ Meditation – visualizing Christ in my heart, above and below me, at both sides of me, and in front and back of me, I initially explore Christ as what comes and goes. There is a strong presence of Christ, my aura brightens up, there is a fiery quality in my heart and on top of the head, and there is a “flame” that appears in my aura on top of the head. This can in itself be important for transforming my human self and inspiring trust and faith, and it can also shift into recognizing Christ as what’s always here – independent of any particular states or experiences.

And this exploration – of Christ as what’s always here – can be continued through asking myself how is it to meet the person I am with, and the experience that’s here, as Christ? And perhaps, is it true this person, this experience, is not Christ? 

 

Christ Exploration

 

How is it to meet whomever I am with – in person or my mind – as Christ?

How is it to meet whatever is here – noise, discomfort, hurt, pain, thoughts, identifications – as Christ?

It’s very simple, there is nothing that’s not Christ. And it works because it’s true.

– 0 –

It also helps me see how I tell myself that this person, this experience, is not Christ.

So I can explore how it is to meet that person, that experience as Christ.

And make a note of the resistant thought and take it to inquiry.

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The Divine in Disguise

 

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
– Matthew 25:40

After the woman had gone, Martin ate some cabbage soup, cleared the things away, and sat down to work again. He sat and worked, but did not forget the window, and every time a shadow fell on it he looked up at once to see who was passing. People he knew and strangers passed by, but no one remarkable.
– from Where Love Is, God Is by Leo Tolstoy

Most everyone is lousy at math and does that to God – dissects the Indivisible One, by thinking, saying, “This is my Beloved, he looks like this and acts like that, how could that moron over there really be God.
– from Lousy at Math by Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

Love said to me, there is nothing that is not me. Be silent.
– Rumi

Encountering the divine in disguise is a common and beautiful theme in many traditions.

How would it be to meet the person in front of me as Christ? How would it be to meet this experience – the one right here right now – as Christ?

How would it be to meet the woman on the tram, looking like a veteran meth user, as Christ? How would it be to meet the noisy neighbors as Christ? How would it be to meet someone not giving me what I want as Christ? How would it be to meet whatever is here as Christ – pain, illness, discomfort, anger, grief, hurt, reactivity, contraction, confusion, thoughts, beliefs, identities and identifications? How would it be to meet that in me I have the hardest time befriending as Christ?

How would it be to meet whatever I recoil from as Christ?

The Divine or Christ is not in disguise. The Divine is here plain as day as everything and everyone.

The disguise is in my own mind, my own beliefs, my thoughts saying something is not OK, not good, not the Divine and then taken as true. The disguise is only created in my own mind.

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Garden of Eden

 

There are of course many ways of understanding the story of the garden of Eden and the “fall”, each with some validity to them.

Any story, including the ones from mythology and religion, can be seen as reflecting something here and now.

So one of the simpest ways of understanding this story, and one of the almost literal interpretations, is that eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is a reflection of taking stories – specifically stories of good and evil, right and wrong – as true. When I “eat” the stories of good and evil, I take them as true and somehow inherent in reality. It’s something that happens here and now for most of us, and it is a “fall”, a loss of paradise.

All that’s needed is clarity about the stressful story that’s here now. Christ may represent that clarity, and Christ may especially represent clarity around the story of I. When any story is seen for what it is, Christ reveals itself to some extent. The wisdom and kindness that’s always here can shine through our lives a little more clearly. And when the story of I is seen for what it is, Christ reveals itself even more clearly to itself and in our lives. Even here, there may still be beliefs in stories. There may be a fall, being thrown out of paradise, and (the opportunity for) another redemption through clarity.

(more…)

Christ with a sword

 

I sense that this really powerful aspect of the Christ, the one that carries the sword is the next really powerful archetype that is about to unfold for the collective.
– from an email from Barry responding to my dream about the white wolf.

Here is something very simple that comes up for me around the white wolf and Christ with a sword:

Through Tension/Trauma Release Exercises (TRE), tension and trauma is released from the body. A facet of this process is a reorganization of me at all levels – mental, emotional, energetic and physical – in a way that is more natural and healthy, wise and kind. And this more healthy and natural functioning includes (what appears as) the most primal aspects of me, the ones that have an earlier evolutionary origin.

Through inquiry, there is more clarity around thoughts, and this also opens up for a more natural, healthy, wise and kind functioning. Some of these beliefs are very basic and form my perception about life and death, me and the world, survival and so on. And these and any other beliefs create my whole world. They filter, label and interpret perception. They create emotions, the appearance of instincts, and even what appears as the most primal impulses. So when there is more clarity around these thoughts, even what appears as most primal in me is more aligned with reality (Spirit). It functions in a more healthy and natural way, in a way that looks more kind and wise. The primal aspects of me are more aligned with reality, and – in a certain sense – are more in service of reality awake to itself.

So the white wolf can be seen as the primal impulses aligned with reality. And Christ with a sword can be seen as Christ functioning through a human self where more of the most primal is more aligned with reality. (I use the word “more” since I assume it’s an ongoing process for anyone, even – or perhaps especially – for those where there is more clarity.)

(more…)

Rewiring of the heart

 

Over this last week, there has been a great deal of sadness and also a physical sensation of a rewiring of the heart.

The sadness has surfaced from memories of close and intimate relationships where I held back love, where I didn’t allow myself to feel and express how much I loved the other person, and from seeing how much pain it caused myself and the other.  So there has been a great deal of pain, sadness, grief and regret surfacing, along with that sense of a rewiring of the heart, and a sweetness in it all.

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A visualization from Anthony de Mello

 

Suppose I return to a scene that causes me much distress. An event that brought me humiliation, like a public rebuke, or one that brought me great pain, like the death of a friend. I relive the whole event, in all its painful detail. I feel once more the pain, the loss, the humiliation, the bitterness. This time, however, Jesus is there. What role is he playing? Is he a comforter and strengthener? Is he the one who is causing me this pain and loss? I interact with him, just as I did with the other persons in that event. I seek strength from him, an explanation of what I don’t understand; I seek a meaning to the whole event.

What is the purpose of this exercise? It is what some people call the healing of memories. There are memories that keep rankling within us — situations in our past life that have remained unresolved and continue to stir within us. This constitutes a perpetual wound that in some ways hampers us from plunging more fully into life, that sometimes seriously handicaps us in our ability to cope with life. [….]

It is important for our personal growth, both spiritual and emotional, that we resolve these unresolved situations that keep rankling within us. When we relive them in the company of Christ, again and again, if need be, we will notice that a new meaning comes into them, that the sting goes out of them, that we can now return to them without any emotional upset; in fact, that we can even return to them now with a sense of gratitude to God, who planned these events for some purpose that will rebound to our benefit and to his glory. This form of prayer is good therapy and good spirituality.

An excerpt from Contact with God by Anthony de Mello.

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The Story of Job and more

 

Here are some stories from the Bible and the New Testament that have come up for me lately….

The story of Job

Job is purified of shoulds. His stories of what should be and what is, clash. He is humbled. His views are invited – in the strongest possible way – to be more aligned with reality.

Life happens, and it is not always aligned with our personal preferences. We can either throw a tantrum and blame the world, God, others, fate or ourselves. Or we can take a closer look at our fixed views, recognize what happens when we hold onto views not aligned with reality (stress, blame, resentment), and find what’s more true for us. We can (a) replace these stories with other stories more aligned with reality, and (b) softening our hold on these stories in general. We can find more trust in reality and truth. And we can find more comfort in not knowing, using stories as guides for ourselves and yet recognize that they are just stories. Reality is the boss. Through his experiences, Job matures from being blindly caught up in beliefs to recognizing stories more as stories.

Said another way, Job’s individual will (beliefs) is worn off, and he finds himself more receptive to God’s will (reality).

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Trinity

 

The topic of trinity came up again yesterday, in a conversation.

How do I find the trinity in my own experience?

For now, it seems quite simple….

God is Buddha Mind, or awareness, this awake no-thing appearing as whatever is happening – thoughts, sensations, sights, sounds, smell, taste, or more elaborate, as emotions, pain, bliss, confusion, clarity, discomfort, tension, suffering, images of past, future and present, images of others, the house, the city, nature, the earth, civilization, solar system, the evolution of the universe, and so on.

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No escape

 

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It is Good Friday, and as I woke up, and later when I went for a walk, I stayed with the image of Jesus on the cross.

What comes up for me? What does it mean for me, right now?

The first that comes up is Jesus nailed to the cross. Pinned down. Unable to escape. And that is how it is for all of us. We are unable to escape our experiences, even if we try. It may seem to work for a while. We can distract ourselves. But our experiences are still there, including the ones we try to escape from. Much better, then, to consciously allow experience as it is. To welcome it. Say “yes” to it. Be with it. With heart, compassion, and kindness. This is what we do in choiceless awareness and shikantaza practice. But we can also do it in daily life, throughout the day. I notice an impulse to escape experience. I notice discomfort. And can ask myself can I be with what I am experiencing right now? And in that is an inquiry. What happens when I try to escape experience? What happens when I allow it as is, with kindness?

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The nativity as a dream or teaching story

 

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Joel (from the Center for Sacred Sciences) gave his traditional Christmas talk on the 25th, and I missed it unfortunately. The audio will be available in a few weeks and can be ordered from the center. 

The talk was on the nativity scene as a mandala, or seen as a dream or teaching story, and a friend was kind enough to send me a brief summary as he remembered it. 

Here are a few things based on that summary, with additions on my own. This has already gone through a few filters, so it only reflects my own take on it. Not necessarily what Joel said. 

The virgin birth. The awakening is born of spirit, not of the human. It is what we are awakening to itself. The timeless now awakening as always and already here. It does not come from and cannot be initiated by anything human. It is grace.

The stable. Awakening can happen in ordinary and humble circumstances. It also embraces and is often lived through ordinary and humble circumstances.

The shepherds. Awakening includes the ordinary in our lives. And it is available to ordinary and humble people.

The wise men. (Sometimes kings.) Wisdom is in the service of awakening. The ruling views and habits align with and are in the service of what we are awake to itself. 

Animals. Awakening embraces and is lived through our animal and human nature. 

The star. A guiding star. Also the presence of the celestial. Spirit. That which all experience happens within and as. What we are. 

The angels/messengers. ??? (Maybe the knowing that comes with awakening. The obviousness of Ground awake to itself as the awake no-thing appearing as the myriad forms and experiences.)

The baby. The innocence of awakening. Not knowing. Curiosity. Wonder. 

The gifts. An offering of what we take as most precious. A sacrifice of our most precious stories and identities. 

All of this reflects the fruits of awakening, and are also guides and pointers for the path

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Deny me three times before dawn

 

I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” – Matthew 26:34. Also Luke 22:34. Mark 14:30. John 13:38.

Adyashanti talked about this during his July intensive this year (I have listened to the two first session on CD.)

As so much in the New Testament, it is a beautiful expression of what we are likely to encounter on the path.

I find this for myself in small daily situations, and also in the overall process of recognizing what I am and taking the consequences of it in my daily life.

Mainly, I notice I am caught up in a story. I find what is more true for me. I live from that for a while. Get caught up in the story again even if I know better. Shift into living from what is more true for me. And so on.

John is, as so often, even more to the point:

Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down your life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” – John 13:38

Of course, for most of us it happens more than three times. But it doesn’t have to.

(The illustration is an Ethiopian painting from the 1600s.)