Thoughtsea

Isn’t it amazing, that we live in a sea of ideas, interpretations, associations, and identifications—an ocean of superflous thoughts—when all we need is to live?

And I probably do it more than most. How wonderful are those moments when the noise falls silent, and I just am.

Being human being

My teacher often points out that the Spirit seeks embodiment. “Being a human is such a wonderful thing, everyone’s trying to do it, even God!” Tonight, he said that all God wants is a human being. That’s what the Creator created. Unfortunately, God got a little less than what was ordered!

In his book, A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle puts it this way:

You are a human being. What does that mean? Mastery of life is not a question of control, but of finding a balance between human and Being. Mother, father, husband, wife, young, old, the roles you play, the functions you fulfill, whatever you do—all that belongs to the human dimension. It has its place and needs to be honored, but in itself it is not enough for a fulfilled, truly meaningful relationship or life. Human alone is never enough, no matter how hard you try or what you achieve. Then there is Being. It is found in the still, alert presence of Consciousness itself, the Consicousness that you are. Human is form. Being is formless. Human and Being are not separate but interwoven.

Life really is so much simpler than almost anyone would have you believe.

Citizen of a country or a Kingdom?

It occurs to me, that practically speaking, the Church has neither the interest in, nor the ability to further Jesus’ mission of helping people to realize the Kingdom of the Father. No matter what its stated purpose is, the de facto purpose of the vast majority of churches is to create “good citizens” strongly anchored in a belief system that Jesus never taught.

Today at work, our websites took down our Red Cross donation buttons. This is when the focus shifts from the American Katrina disaster, to the South Asian earthquake disaster. It’s now estimated that 80,000 people are dead, unknown numbers homeless, and reconstruction can’t even begin until summer next year. But our websites aren’t going to encourage you to donate to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and there will be no prime-time fundraising concerts on our TV channels. No matter how much greater the need is. Hey, they’re not Americans, are they?

I think of the media, dutifully honoring every single American soldier who dies in Iraq as a hero, regardless of the circumstances of their life or death (and some undoubtedly are — don’t get me wrong). But no newscast is going to spend 5 minutes reporting and mourning the life of an Iraqi mother, father, son, daughter killed by the insurgency—or by our fire. Being an American is what counts.

Some people’s beliefs cause them to join terrorist groups, and wreak havoc in isolated attacks. Some people’s beliefs cause them to join massive armies that wreak havoc by trying to remake the world in its own image. And the Church, with certain exceptions, applauds the latter. The institution forsakes Christ, and serves Caesar.

I can’t imagine that the myopic culture of Americanism — imagining America simply to be the world, or the only part of the world that counts—would have developed if the Church had kept the Gospels paramount. But “coming as a little child” is hard work, and becoming a good citizen believer is so much easier. But there’s a difference: Jesus told us we must become as little children again, or we miss this Kingdom of heaven.

Little children don’t care about national boundaries —at least not until their parents and teachers brainwash them into think that imaginary lines we superimpose on the trees, hills, rivers, and seas actually separate the world into “us” and “them”. To the little ones, there is just one realm, one Kingdom to live in. And we miss it.

I had a spiritual conversation with someone recently, who’s been conditioned to hear the voice of God in one place only, speaking only certain approved things. He’s a good citizen. And a believer. A really great guy. But, he’s missingthe Kingdom.

Call me a Christian, a Buddhist, a mystic, a heretic, an apostate, an unbeliever. Your labels are your business. All I want is to know God’s heart, and reflect it. What is really is there, but God’s divine love, underneath and within all things, causing them to be? And what purpose is there except to realize it?

Show me a national boundary that God respects, which neither the wind nor the Spirit cross. Then I’ll take countries seriously. Till then, enjoy the dream. Or wake up.

Tolle does it again

Eckhart Tolle, cover picauthor of the spiritual bestseller The Power of Now has a new book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, on the bookshelves. I’ve just started it, so it might be a little while before I can review it in depth, but my initial impression is that this book is very powerful. So powerful, in fact, that I’ve often had to put it down after reading a couple of pages. The teacher’s presence is felt through his words.

It seems that in this book, Tolle will go more deeply into what he’s taught in the The Power of Now, as well as describe in much greater detail the nature of the ego, and the social and global consequences of awakening and unconsciousness. I greatly look forward to reading this.

i is imaginary

It’s a strange quirk of the English language that we capitalize the pronoun I. We don’t capitalize we, nor you, as the Germans do with Sie. Capitalization is a degree of honor in English. We give names the honor of being distinguished from mere words, and we give I tons of symbolic honor, the only word (not a name) that’s capitalized on every single occurrance.

But that’s nothing. I is a number as well, and not just any number, but the number, number one. 1. Numero uno. The beginning. The reference point. In probability, 1 represents total and complete certainty. In logic and Boolean algebra, 1 represents truth. In set theory, 1 represents everything.

How interesting that we call I the first person. And how interesting that what “I” perceive is my reference point, my beginning. And how interesting that we all confuse the view of “I” with the Truth. Certainty. Everything.

But the same letter also expresses a very different reality. In its abstract way, the relationships of other realms are reflected in mathmatics. And as mystics know that there is something beyond the material universe or “real world,” mathematicians denote a realm vastly larger than that of “real numbers.” It’s the world of i, not I.

When I is written in the lower case, i, it no longer represents 1, the truth, the whole, and certainty. Instead, it symbolizes the basic unit of a completely different framework, strangely called the imaginary, although the imaginary number i is just as real (and just as imaginary!) as the “real number” 1.

Spiritually, When the ego is shifted to the lower case, it no longer confuses its perceptions with the truth, the universe, and certainty. Instead it sees clearly, the “real world” and the _real_ world, which is “imaginary” in the viewpoint of those who are closed to the Spirit.

What’s it like?

1 / 0 = x
X = you.

Declining the Invitation

I seem to have learned something very valuable: to decline certain negative invitations. For instance, I’ve had migraines since puberty, but now when the first stage hits—visual disturbances, flashing lights, stuff like that—I have the ability to refuse the pain that comes after. It’s like I might not be able to keep the UPS guy from knocking on my door, but I can refuse to sign for the package. My last several migraines, I’ve consciously (and successfully) just refused delivery.

Tonight, I felt another negative invitation, to physical sickness. I know it sounds strange, but my experience with qigong and reiki has sensitized me to sometimes be aware of subtle goings-on inside my body. Tonight, I got an invitation to a bad cold or sore throat, something that would’ve been quite unpleasant. I declined, and spent a pleasant bit of time consciously fighting the infection I felt brewing. I’m confident I succeeded, and I’m going to be well tomorrow and throughout next week.

I also got a chance to see how prone I am to accept so many other negative invitations. Stress. Fear. Anger. Sure, I’m a happy mystic who loves the whole world—until I’m running late for work in a grinding traffic snarl. Why didn’t I see the invitation there?

(Them): Hey, Jon, let us introduce ourselves: we’re a traffic jam, the clock inside your car, and the deadline you should’ve met yesterday. We’re inviting you to enjoy hours of tension and excess stomach acid. Please play with us!

(Me): Hey guys. I really appreciate the thought—it’s nice to know I’m not being left out,—but seriously, I’m afraid I’d rather hang on to a positive attitude of peace and happiness, even in these circumstances. See you around.

Lord, help me to decline the invitations!

That’s Jedi life in the real world.

The Navigator: a mediæval odyssey

Navigator poster The Navigator (New Zealand, 1988) is a wonderful little spi-fi (spiritual fiction) gem. Great movies aren’t always “masterpieces”— the big, conspicuously-wrought if not over-wrought works. There are also gems—small films on tiny budgets that pack more meaning and feeling in 90 minutes or so, than George Lucas did in the most recent seven hours of Star Wars. Please don’t confuse this movie with the cheesy 1986 children’s sci-fi The Flight of the Navigator. This is different. Very different.

The setting is a village in Celtic Cumbria in 1348, which is anticipating arrival of the Black Death any day. Griffin, a boy in the village, has been having visions (filmed in color in an otherwise black-and-white movie) of a journey to the other side of the world and erecting a cross on the steeple of a huge, white church. When his older brother Connor comes back from a journey, he brings news that the Death is much closer than previously feared, and will probably begin striking the village when the full moon sets, which is the next morning.

Griffin inspires the men of the village to follow him to a cave where they can punch through to the great city on the other side of the world, and erect a cross as an offering to God to spare them from the plague. There, in the cave, they see the strange sights that Griffin’s visions described, and depending on him as their guide, he navigates them through the frightening vision that is 1988 Auckland, New Zealand.

I don’t want to give anything else anyway—but suffice it to say this is perhaps the most realistic look at mediæval British village life ever shown in a movie. The peasants, though illiterate and superstitious, are intelligent, and respond to the horror threatening their world with perfect faith and trust in God, as well as in the visions of their young mystic, Griffin. Ultimately, though, the offering that is needed is not of a cross, but the teacher’s demonstration of love.

This is a brilliant metaphor of Christ’s descent into hell, and the bodhisattva heart. It’s a paean to those shepherds, teachers, shamans, and navigators who devote their lives to guiding us in the territory that only the soul can see. Directed by Vincent Ward, director of Vigil, Map of the Human Heart, and What Dreams May Come, The Navigator also has a brilliant, moving film score by Iranian-born Davood Tabrizi. Only complaint? Subtitles would be useful. I’m an American—I don’t speak that English!

Seen on the Web

Sometimes there’s nothing better to share than what others have been sharing:

I’ve encountered an exceptionally beautiful blog, (some of you know it already), that of Sadiq Alam. The title is “Inspirations and Creative Thoughts, and the address is mysticsaint.blogspot.com, both of which are perfect descriptions for what I see there.

From a link from Twyla’s blog, I found another link that had this link “Martin Zender. This site might be the best exposé of the misunderstanding of “hell” as “eternal torment” on the Web, and I’ve added it to my list of hell-blasting sites on God is Love.

Here’s a bit of humor for anyone who remembers The Shining, the scary movie with Jack Nicholson and Shelley Long. Here’s a parody trailer for it, found at Real Live Preacher.