THE CHRIST: Our Kingdom-Within
A Revelation Initiated
Compiled, Edited, and Written
There will be no marriages in heaven.
The Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking.
[This book is complete and free.]
PART FOUR: Mystic (Pure) Experiences of The Kingdom-Within
PART FIVE: The Pauline's Spiritual Basis of Christianity
The Author's Interpretations of Our Kingdom-Within
Concerning the Love
-Within Vision (Lennon and the Beatles)
This book is meant to be a precursor to the consolidation of our psychological and trans- cendent conscious transformation, happening fairly rapidly in our times -- a transformation that goes beyond knowing to understanding, beyond reason to intuition, beyond our self-love to our Love-self; a transformation in which justice and wisdom gradually take the ascendency over injustice and ignorance through Love in all its inclusive meaning. For this transformation to take form, there has first to be a major shift, a revolution, a new paradigm, in religious
consciousness, especially in Christianity!
This form takes an inward, personalized, focus so that religion becomes internalized, spiritualized. And this inwardness has its origin in Jesus Christ himself; but, for historically purposes, has been placed in the background of the Christian religion when it should be, must be, from this time forward, placed in the foreground. Its outward, historical, manifesta- tions have had their purpose for all these hundreds of years; but has now to be surpassed by its inward purpose, as Christ intended it to be.
This placement is simply Christ's elemental message that the "kingdom of God is within us." As to what this kingdom is, is specified in one statement made in the gospel of John: "God is love." In which case, the kingdom of God that is within us is as much as saying that the kingdom of Love is within us -- "Love" being capitalized, as is "God" capitalized to make a distinction.
Once we get the point of this shift in our consciousness, an awareness takes hold of us that transforms our thinking: our beliefs and values. We are now something more than human essentially - and this is the key word "essentially" -- we are that essentiality itself from here to eternity. It is easy to imagine all that follows from our humanity from this point on.
Of course, there are innumerable books, and material in all media, proclaiming this new consciousness; and they do reach the few in contrast to the many. But it is the many that must be reached if our consciousness is to unfold exponentially, evolutionarily, at the DNA level. And these many are to be reached in the Christian fold itself, the agnostics, and perhaps even the soft-core atheists; and then everywhere else "as time goes by," as convulsive history is made; just as it was convulsively made when Jesus arrived. In brief, what has so far been "the road less travelled" is now to become the "road most travelled"
This, then is the main purpose of this book which takes two parallel directions: one as Christ first historically proclaimed, and taught to his death, the Kingdom of God; and two, that this kingdom of God is actually the kingdom of Love; and as such is the essence of the Christian religion -- and actually of all religions; and is to be emphasized in our times and for all times.
This book concentrates on the kingdom of "God", its spiritual aspects from the perspec- tive of Jesus himself, his apostles and early and modern Christian mystics exclusively. All other passages in the book corroborate this exclusive perspective from a secular point of view and experience.
This book is not a scholarly treatment, but a spiritual wisdom set in aphoristic format for those who are spiritually inclined, both intellectually and emotionally; yet, as will be seen, the book has all the earmarks of a scholarly work insofar as facts are concerned.
This anthology is the original source book in Christ's and Paul's, and others', own words, mostly plain and simple; and if not plain and simple, then in words that refer to that which is plain and simple. So do not be led astray by others' deliberate or ignorant, misunderstand- ings, however seemingly reasonable and persuasive they may be. We have to be espe- cially with their persuasive seductiveness, since it aims for our most vulnerable target: our cautious emotions; which, as we know, can easily overpower, overshadow, reason and judgment.
Jesus is the first major personage in the Western world who made it possible to openly express the spiritual way to God through direct experience for, not only mystics who followed him through the ages to our times, but for those ordinary persons who have had such mystic experiences; yet who otherwise would not have dared expose themselves for fear of dire reprisals. Fortunately for us, in our times, the worst thing we have to fear is ridicule from the "realists." Oh, I almost forgot the most potent "worst thing" -- silence.
The core of Paul's epistles stand as an extension and elaboration of Jesus' moral and spiritual teachings. All else, from Paul, was mostly religious preachment with what Christ himself would have taken issue.
In modern times, The Indian mystic-seer, Ramakrishna, is the one person so close to God that he not only was in continuous Samadhi (blissed oneness), but spoke the inspired wis- dom of God in parables as did Christ. It is all recorded in The Gospel of Ramakrishna, recorded by one of his devoted disciples.
In contemporary times, the Indian sage and mystic, Krishnamurti, testifies to Christ's kingdom-within gospel as he taught and experienced it internationally.
Paul says that love does not end; which is to say that love does not begin; which is to say that love simply Is. Or put differently, "I am that I am." The "that" indicates I am the reason, the meaning, of I am.
The Kingdom of God/Heaven
REGARDING THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The doctrine of the Kingdom of Heaven [within us], which was the main
teaching of Jesus, is certainly one of the most revolutionary doctrines that
ever stirred and changed human thought.
- H.G. Wells
I:1 I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
I:2 My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But know my kingdom is from another place.
I:3 Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
I:4 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
I:5 I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.
I:6 He said, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, "'though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.'
I:7 And the disciples came and said to Him, "Why do You speak to them in parables?" Jesus answered them, "To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted."
I:8 Jesus said to them, "You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father. This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them. …To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory"
PARABLES SIGNIFYING THE KINGDOM OF GOD/HEAVEN
I:9 The disciples came to him and asked, "Why do You speak to the people in parables?" He replied, "The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. This is why I speak to them in para- bles: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.' But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.'"
I:10 The kingdom is like a man who had a [hidden] treasure in his field without knowing it. And [after] he died, he left it to his son. The son did not know (about the treasure). He inherited the field and sold [it]. And the one who bought it went plowing and found the treasure. He began to lend money at interest to whomever he wished.
I:11 The kingdom of the Father is like a certain man who wanted to kill a powerful man. In his own house he drew his sword and stuck it into the wall in order to find out whether his hand could carry through. Then he slew the powerful man.
I:12 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
I:13 Jesus [said], "The kingdom of the Father is like a certain woman. She took a little leaven, [concealed] it in some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him who has ears hear."
I:14 The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, 'Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?' He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' So the servants said to him, 'Then do you want us to go and gather them?' But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow togeth- er until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.'"
I:15 A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop of a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
[Christ's explanation of this parable of the sower:]
I:16 Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes be- cause of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."
I:17 The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.
I:18 The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and cov- ered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
I:19 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
I:20 The kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.
CHRIST ON THE SPIRIT OF OUR GOD-WITHIN
From The New Testament Gospels
II:1 Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
II:2 I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you.
II:3 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
II:4 You must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is Perfect.
II:5 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
II:6 When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
II:7 The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.
II:8 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you.
II:9 I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me? The Jews answered him, "We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming," because I said, I am the Son of God?
II:10 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
II:11 "You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that God is one, and there is no other but he; and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God."
II:12 Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that
person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.
II:13 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of
II:14 Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
II:15 I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.
II:16 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
II:17 You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; [I pray] that they also may be one in Us.
II:18 He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
II:19 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my
Father's commandments and abide in His love.
[From The Thomas Gospel]
II:20T The Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty.
II:21T I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries.
II:22T What you are looking forward to has come, but you don't know it.
II:23T Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.
II:24T Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
II:25T When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and
the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom].
II:26T If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty.
II:27T If they ask you, "What is the evidence of your Father in you?" say to them, "It is motion and rest."
II:28T Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the Father's light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.
II:29T When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that
came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much you will have to bear!"
II:30T If those who seek to attract you say to you: "See, the Kingdom is in heaven!" then the birds of heaven will be there before you. If they say to you: "It is in the sea!" then the fish will be there before you. But the kingdom is within you and it is outside of you! When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will know that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you will be in a state of poverty, and it is you <you will be> the poverty!
II:31T Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Fortunate is one who stands at the beginning: That one will know the end and will not taste death.
II:32T The disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said, "Have you discovered, then, the beginning, that you look for the end? For where the beginning is, there will the end be. Blessed is he who will take his place in the beginning; he will know the end and will not experience death.
II:33T Blessed is he who came into being before he came into being. If you become my disciples and listen to my words, these stones will minister to you. For there are five trees for you in Paradise which remain undisturbed summer and winter and whose leaves do not fall. Whoever becomes acquainted with them will not experience death.
II:34T Whoever has ears, let him hear. There is light within a man of light, and he (or "it")
lights up the whole world. If he (or "it") does not shine, he (or "it") is darkness.
II:35T From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much
greater than John the Baptist that the person's eyes should not be averted. But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will know the kingdom and will become greater than John.
II:36T If they say to you, "Where have you come from?" say to them, "We have come
from the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image." If they say to you, "Is it you?" say, "We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living father."
II:37T His followers said to him, "When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will
the new world come?" He said to them, "What you look for has come, but you do not know it."
II:38T If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.
II:39T I am the light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.
II:40T His disciples said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" [And Jesus replied] It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, "Look, here!" or "Look, there!" Rather, the Father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don't see it.
II:41T The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what is yours. You, in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, "When will they come and take what is theirs?"
II:42T This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?
II:43T Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.
CHRIST ON THE WISDOM OF OUR KINGDOM WITHIN
From The New Testament Gospels
III:1 He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none; and he who has food,
let him do likewise.
III:2 But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
III:3 Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
III:4 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from him who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
III:5 Give to everyone who begs from you; and of him who takes away your goods do not ask them again.
III:6 As you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
III:7 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
III:8 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
III:9 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.
III:10 And Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the multitude putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him, and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, her whole living."
III:12 You have heard that it was said, `You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
III:13 Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against
me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times."
III:14 Give to him who begs from you, and do not refuse him who would borrow from you.
III:15 Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
III:16 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
III:17 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
III:18 Or how can you say to your brother, "Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye," when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
III:19 You have heard that it was said, `An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
III:20 Love one another as I have loved you.
III:21 Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
III:22 Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
III:23 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
III:24 And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
III:25 And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
III:26 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
III:27 Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
III:28 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
III:29 You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
III:30 Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its saltness, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.
III:31 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
III:32 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
III:33 No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a vessel, or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, that those who enter may see the light. For nothing is hid that shall not be made manifest, nor anything secret that shall not be known and come to light.
III:34 Your eye is the lamp of your body; when your eye is sound, your whole body is full of light; but when it is not sound, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.
III:35 Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will
find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?
III:36 Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
III:37 Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
III:48 To another he said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my fa- ther." But he said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God."
III:49 Another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the king- dom of God."
III:50 You must be perfect as your God in heaven is perfect
III:51 If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
III:52 Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.
III:53 If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.
III:54 Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.
III:55 I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat, nor about your body, what you shall put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass which is alive in the field today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O men of little faith! And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be of anxious mind. For all the nations of the world seek these things; and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things shall be yours as well.
III:56 Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
III:57 When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, "Give place to this man," and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, "Friend, go up higher"; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. Also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid."
III:58 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
III:59 Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to abbathtion, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
III:60 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
III:61 Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great mill- stone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
III:62 Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.
III:63 Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false
III:64 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
III:65 You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
III:66 If your right eye [i.e., of part of your perceiving mind] causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell [psychological hell of guilt and shame, embarrassment, loss of one's reputation, being at the mercy of others judgment, etc.]. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
III:67 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
III:68 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
III:69 If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will
come to him and make our home with him.
III:70 If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, you will know the truth, and
the truth will set you free.
From The Thomas Gospel
III:71T Congratulations to those who are alone and chosen, for you will find the kingdom. For you have come from it, and you will return there again.
III:72T Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him.
III:73T Let one who has found the world, and has become wealthy, renounce the world.
III:74T Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking.
IV:75T Congratulations to those who go hungry, so the stomach of the one in want may be filled.
III:76T When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.
III:76T Jesus said, The person old in days won't hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.
III:77T The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what belongs to you. You, in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, 'When will they come and take what belongs to them?'"
III:78T Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. And after they have reigned they will rest. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.
III:79T Don't lie, and don't do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.
III:80T The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up
from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!
III:81T A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows. And a slave cannot serve two masters, otherwise that slave will honor the one and offend the other.
III:82T Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine. Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break, and aged wine is not poured into a new wineskin, or it might spoil. An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear.
III 83T If you do not fast from the world, you will not find the kingdom.
III:84T Love your friends like your own soul, protect them like the pupil of your eye.
III:85T If two make peace with each other in a single house, they will say to the mountain, 'Move from here!' and it will move.
III:86T You see the sliver in your friend's eye, but you don't see the timber in your own eye. When you take the timber out of your own eye, then you will see well enough to remove the sliver from your friend's eye.
III:87T Why have you come out to the countryside? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to see a person dressed in soft clothes, [like your] rulers and your powerful ones? They are dressed in soft clothes, and they cannot understand truth.
III:88T [When you give] do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
III:89T Let one who has become wealthy reign, and let one who has power renounce.
III:90T How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and how miserable is the soul that depends on these two.
III:91T If one is whole, one will be filled with light, but if one is divided, one will be filled with darkness.
III:92T Be as sly as snakes and as simple as doves.
III:93T As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. "Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?" They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept de-
manding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!" Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?" "No, Lord," she said. And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more."
III:94T For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.
III:95T If a blind man leads a blind man, they will both fall into a pit.
III:96T Become passers-by.
III:97T Grapes are not harvested from thorns, nor are figs gathered from thistles, for they do not produce fruit. A good man brings forth good from his storehouse; an evil man brings forth evil things from his evil storehouse, which is in his heart, and says evil things. For out of the abundance of the heart he brings forth evil things.
III:98T Blessed are the solitary and elect, for you will find the kingdom. For you are from
it and to it you will return.
III:99T Blessed is the man who has suffered and found life.
III:100T Blessed are they who have been persecuted within themselves. It is they who
have truly come to know the Father. Blessed are the hungry, for the belly of him who desires will be filled.
III:101T If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do
not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
III:102T The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the harvest.
III:103T He said, "O Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing
in the cistern."
III:104T Why have you come out into the desert? To see a reed shaken by the wind? And to
see a man clothed in fine garments like your kings and your great men? Upon them are the fine [garments], and they are unable to discern the truth.
III:105T A woman from the crowd said to him, "Blessed are the womb which bore you and
the breasts which nourished you." He said to her, "Blessed are those who have heard the word of the Father and have truly kept it. For there will be days when you will say, 'Blessed are the womb which has not conceived and the breasts which have not given milk.'"
III:106T Let him who has grown rich be king, and let him who possesses power renounce it.
III:107 The who has recognized the world has found the body, but he who has found the
Body is superior to the world.
III:108T Wretched is the body that is dependent upon a body, and wretched is the soul that
is dependent on these two.
III:109T Come unto me, for my yoke is easy and my lordship is mild, and you will find
repose for yourselves.
III:110T If you have money, do not lend it at interest, but give [it] to one from whom you will
not get it back.
III:111T The kingdom of the Father is like a certain woman. She took a little leaven, [con- cealed] it in some dough, and made it into large loaves. Let him who has ears hear.
III:112T The disciples said to him, "Your brothers and your mother are standing outside."
He said to them, Those here who do the will of my Father are my brothers and my mother. It is they who will enter the kingdom of my Fathbelongs er.
III:113T They showed Jesus a gold coin and said to him, "Caesar's men demand taxes from us." He said to them, Give Caesar what to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.
III:114T He that loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loves
son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
III:115T Fortunate is the man who knows where the brigands will enter, so that he may get
up, muster his domain, and arm himself before they invade.
III:116T When you make the two one, you will become the sons of man, and when you say,
"Mountain, move away," it will move away.
III:117T He who will drink from my mouth will become like me, I myself shall become he,
and the things that are hidden will become revealed to him.
III:118T Whoever finds the world and becomes rich, let him renounce the world.
III:119T Jesus said, The heavens and the earth will be rolled up in your presence. And one who lives from the Living One will not see death. Does not Jesus say, "Whoever finds himself is superior to the world?"
III:120T Woe to the flesh that depends on the soul; woe to the soul that depends on the flesh.
[The Compassionate Jesus]
From The New Testament Gospels
III:121 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
III:122 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
III:123 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
III:124 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be
III:125 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
III:126 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
III:127 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
III:128 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.
III:129 Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of
evil against you falsely on my account.
III:130 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted
the prophets who were before you.
III:131 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest
for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
III:132 I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall
drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
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? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?'…But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.
III:133 Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened
to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks
it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
III:134 Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, "Friend,
lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him"; and he will answer from within, "Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything"? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion.
III:135 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
III:136 Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done.
III:137 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
III:138 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I
say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
III:139 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
III:140 Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
III:141 The Samaritan woman said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?" Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift
of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and
He would have given you living water.
III:142 Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water
that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
III:143 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world
gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
III:144 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
III:145 Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not
seen and yet believe.
From The Thomas Gospel
III:146T Come to me, for my yoke is comfortable and my lordship is gentle, and you will
find rest for yourselves.
III:147T Congratulations to the poor, for to you belongs Heaven's kingdom.
III:148T Seek and you will find.
III:149T For I say to you that unless your justice abounds more than that of the scribes
and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of the heavens.
III:150T Not everyone saying to me: Lord Lord will enter into the kingdom of the heavens,
but the one doing the will of my father who is in the heavens.
III:151T Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become as the child, you will not enter into
the kingdom of the heavens.
III:152T Truly I say to you that the rich hardly enter into the kingdom of the heavens. But
again I say to you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
III:153T And if your eye stumble you, cast it out, for it is good that one-eyed you enter into
the kingdom of God than having two eyes be thrown into Gehenna.
III:154T How difficult will those having possessions enter into the kingdom of God. But his
disciples were being amazed at his words. But Jesus again answering says to them: Child- ren, How difficult it is for those trusting upon possessions to enter into the kingdom of God.
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God.
CHRIST AS THE GOD-WITHIN MESSENGER
from The New Testament Gospels
IV:1 I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.
IV:2 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.
IV:3 I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just,
because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true.
IV:4 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love; just as I have kept my
Father's commandments and abide in His love.
IV:5 I am the Light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.
IV:6 For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so
that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.
IV:7 He who believes in me, does not believe in me but in Him who sent me. He who
sees me sees the One who sent me. I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me will not remain in darkness.
IV:8 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also;
and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
IV:9 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you
forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
IV:10 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.
IV:11 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
IV:12 When He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.
IV:13 These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when
I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the
IV:14 This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on the earth, having accomplished the work which you have given me to do. Now, father, glorify me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
IV:15 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal
life, which the Son of man will give to you.
IV:16 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.
IV:17 I have food to eat that you do not know about.
IV:18 So the disciples were saying to one another, "No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?"
IV:19 My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.
IV:20 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water."
IV:21 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
IV:22 If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.
IV:23 I and he Father are one.
IV:24 [H]e who believes in Me will live even if he dies.
IV:25 E]veryone who lives and believes in Me will never die.
IV:26 While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.
Prayers to God
IV:27 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.
IV:28 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
IV:29 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.
IV:30 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
IV:31 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.
IV:32 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.
IV:33 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth."
IV:34 I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may 1believe that You sent Me.
IV:35 The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one.
IV:36 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
IV:37 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."
IV:38 O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me."
IV:39 I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
From The Thomas Gospel
IV:40T Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.
IV:41T Perhaps people think that I have come to cast peace upon the world. They do not know that I have come to cast conflicts upon the earth: fire, sword, war.
IV:42T I will give you what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, what no hand has
touched, what has not arisen in the human heart.
IV:43T I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I'm guarding it until it blazes.
IV:44T I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended.
IV:45T Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the kingdom.
IV:46T I took my stand in the midst of the world, and in flesh I appeared to them. I found
them all drunk, and I did not find any of them thirsty. My soul ached for the children of hu- manity, because they are blind in their hearts and do not see, for they came into the world empty, and they also seek to depart from the world empty. But meanwhile they are drunk. When they shake off their wine, then they will change their ways.
IV:47T If the flesh came into being because of spirit, that is a marvel, but if spirit came into being because of the body, that is a marvel of marvels.
IV:48T Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me.
IV:49T If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living Father.
IV:50T I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries.
IV:51T It is I who am the light which is above them all. It is I who am the All. From me did
the All come forth, and unto me did the All extend. Split a piece of wood, and I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.
Testimonies of Our Kingdom-Within
TESTIMONIES FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT EPISTLES
V:1 Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
V:2 The one who keeps God's commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
V:3 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
V:4 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you ? guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
V:5 Let us leave the elementary doctrines of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, with instructions about ablutions, and the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.
V:6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him," God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everywhere, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, inter- preting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
V:7 I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self.
V:8 [We are] joint heirs with Christ.
V:9 He who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
V:10 All you who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.
V:11 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God [or Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?] You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
V:12 His [Christ's] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
V:13 There is] one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in all.
V:14 It is in God that we live, and move, and have our being.
V:15 Do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
V:16 These are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all
things, even the deep things of God.
V:17 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches
of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
V:18 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ.
V:19 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
V:20 I live, now not I; but Christ lives within me.
Testimonies from Secular Sources
Nothing can discourage the appetite for divinity in the heart of man. ...The divinity of man is still on the march, and will be worthy of adoration only at the end of time.
1 Nor should you yearn for a perfect doctrine; yearn, rather, for perfection of yourself. The godhead is in you, not in concepts and books.
2 In each man the spirit is embodied, in each man the creature suffers, in each man the Saviour is crucified.
3 Grace, or the Tao, surrounds us always. It is the light and it is God Himself. Whenever we are open for a moment, it enters into us, into every child, into every wise man.
4 The things we see are the things that are in us. There is no reality except for the reality we have within us. What makes the lives of most men so unreal is that they mistake the images outside them for reality and never let their own world speak. It is possible to be happy in this way. But once a man knows the other way, he is no longer free to go the way of the many.
5 Reason in the right place is a good thing, and those who insist on following instinct or intuition in realms of life where reason is a good guide will usually come to grief, and conversely. I only contend that reason must not be granted total claims or equated with the spirit.
6 What our reason thinks and says is a flyspeck compared to the life, relationships, and kinships that ebb and flow under the "threshold".
VI:3 D. H. Lawrence
1 There are vast realms of consciousness still undreamed of vast ranges of experience, like the humming of unseen harps, we know nothing of, within us.
2 What's the good of a man unless there's the glimpse of a god in him?
The gods are all things, and so are we.
The gods are only ourselves, as we are in our
moments of pure manifestation.
Only in sheer oblivion are we with God.
VI:4 Aldous Huxley
1 GOD IS. That is the primordial fact. It is in order that we may discover this fact for ourselves, by direct experience, that we exist. The final end and purpose of every human being is the unitive knowledge of God's being.
2 What is the nature of God's being? The invocation to the Lord's Prayer gives us the answer. "Our Father which art in heaven." God is, and is ours-immanent in each sentient being, the life of all lives, the spirit animating every soul. But this is not all. God is also the transcendent Creator and Law-Giver, the Father who loves and, because He loves, also educates His children. And finally, God is "in heaven." That is to say, He possesses a mode of existence which is incommensurable and incompatible with the mode of existence possessed by human beings in their natural, unspiritualized condition. Because He is ours and immanent, God is very close to us. But because He is also in heaven, most of us are very far from God. The saint is one who is as close to God as God is close to him.
3 It is through prayer that men come to the unitive knowledge of God. But the life of prayer is also a life of mortification, of dying to self. It cannot be otherwise; for the more there is of self, the less there is of God. Our pride, our anxiety, our lusts for power and pleasure are God-eclipsing things. So too is that greedy attachment to certain creatures which passes too often for unselfishness and should be called, not altruism, but alter-egoism. And hardly less God-eclipsing is the seemingly self-sacrificing service which we give to any cause or ideal that falls short of the divine. Such service is always idolatry, and makes it impossible for us to worship God as we should, much less to know Him. God's kingdom cannot come unless we begin by making our human kingdoms go. Not only the mad and obviously evil kingdoms, but also the respectable ones-the kingdoms of the scribes and Pharisees, the good citizens and pillars of society, no less than the kingdoms of the publicans and sinners. God's being cannot be known by us, if we choose to pay our attention and our allegiance to something else, however creditable that something else may seem in the eyes of the world.
4 For those of us who are not congenitally the members of an organized church, who have found that humanism and nature-worship are not enough, who are not content to remain in the darkness of ignorance, the squalor of vice or the other squalor of respectability, the minimum working hypothesis would seem to run to about this: That there is a Godhead, Ground, Brahman, Clear Light of the Void, which is the unmanifested principle of all manifestations. That the Ground is at once transcendent and immanent. That it is possible for human beings to love, know and, from virtually, to become actually identical with the divine Ground. That to achieve this unitive knowledge of the Godhead is the final end and purpose of human existence.
1 The relations of the soul to the soul to the divine spirit are so pure that it is profane to seek to interpose helps.
2 From within or from behind, a light shines through us upon things, and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is all. ... Of this pure nature every man is at some time sensible. Language cannot paint it with colors. It is too subtile. It is undefinable, unmeasurable, but we know that it pervades and contains us. We know that all spiritual being is in man.
3 We learn that God IS; that he is in me; and that all things are shadows of him.
1 The unconscious of man is the consciousness of God, the end of the world.
2 I would not forget that I deal with infinite and divine qualities in my fellowmen. All men, indeed, are divine in their core of light, but that is indistinct and distant to me, like the stars of the least magnitude, or the galaxy itself, but my kindred planets show their round disks and even their attendant moons to me eyes.
1 Within the soul's pure places moves a spirit
Unto a higher, purer and unknown
Giving itself freely in thankfulness,
Reading the riddle of Him no tongue can name.
2 Unless our eyes had something of the sun
How could we ever look upon the light?
Unless there lived within us God's own ecstasy?
3 What man reveres as God is his own innermost being turned inside out.
1 To see a World in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
and Eternity in an hour.
2 We are led to Believe a Lie
When we see not Thro' the Eye
Which was Born in a Night to perish in a Night
When the Soul Slept in Beams of Light.
God appears & God is Light
To those poor souls who dwell in Might.
3 We are all coexistent with God; members of the Divine body, and partakers of the
4 He [Jesus] is the only God. And so am I and so are you.
... And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and the mind of man:
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man:
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
1 Within a cavern of man's trackless spirit
Is throned an Image so intensely fair
That the adventurous thoughts that wander near it
worship, and as they kneel, tremble and fear
The splendour of its presence, and the light
Penetrates their dreamlike frame
Till they become charged with the strength of flame.
2 The One remains, the many change and pass:
Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly:
Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
Until Death tramples it to fragments.
There is a God within us, and we glow when he stirs us.
VI:13 Epicharmus of Syracuse
The Logos, the rational principle in the universe, steers men and ever preserves them on the right path. Men have the power of calculation, but there is also the divine Logos. Human reasoning is born from the divine Logos, which furnishes each man with the passageway both of life and of nourishment. The divine Logos is present in all the arts, ever teaching men what they must do to obtain good results. For it is not man, but God, who discovered the arts.
1 The Unlimited is the first-principle of things that are. It is that from which the coming-to-be of things and qualities takes place, and it is that into which they return when they perish, by moral necessity.
1 Although this Logos, the rational Principle in the universe, or Destiny, or the divine Word is eternally valid, yet men are unable to understand it ? not only before hearing it, but even after they have heard it for the first time. That is to say, although all things come to pass in accordance with this Logos, men seem to be quite without any experience of it -- at least if they are judged in the light of such words and deeds as I am here setting forth
2 We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own.
3 What is divine escapes men's notice because of their incredulity.
4 Although intimately connected with the Logos, men keep setting themselves against it.
5 Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortals; they live in each other's death and die in each other's life.
6 The hidden harmony is better than the obvious.
7 Listening not to me but to the Logos, it is wise to acknowledge that all things are one.
8 The things of the universe are not sliced off from one another with a hatchet, neither the hot from the cold nor the cold from the hot.
7 In everything there is a portion of everything else, except of mind; and in some things there is mind also.
1 We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own.
2 Immortals become mortals, mortals become immortals; they live in each other's death and die in each other's life.
3 There await men after death such things as they neither expect nor have any conception of.
We must acknowledge that there is one kind of being which is always the same, uncreated and indestructible, never receiving anything into itself from without, nor itself going out to any other, but invisible and imperceptible by any sense, and of which the contemplation is granted to intelligence only.
1 We must not follow those who advise us to have mortal thoughts, since we are only men, and mortal thoughts, as mortals should; on the contrary, we should try to become immortal as far as that is possible and do our utmost to live in accordance with what is highest in us. For though this is a small portion of our nature, it far surpasses everything else in power and value. One might even regard it as each man's true self, since it is the controlling and better part.
2 The object of our search is this - what is the commencement of movement in the soul? The answer is clear, as in the universe, so in the soul, God moves everything. For in a sense the divine element in us moves everything. The starting point of reasoning is not reasoning, but something greater.
3 [The mind] seems to be an independent substance implanted within the soul and to be incapable of being destroyed.
1 [The] soul, I say, herself invisible, departs to the invisible world ? to the divine and immortal and rational; thither arriving, she is secure of bliss and is released from the error and folly of men.
1 The human mind is a part of the infinite intellect of God.
2 The power of man, in so far as it is manifested by his actual essence, is part of the infinite power of God or Nature, that is to say, part of His essence.
3 Properly speaking, God loves no one and hates no one, for God is not affected with any emotion of joy or sorrow, and consequently He neither loves nor hates anyone.
4 The love of God above everything else ought to occupy the mind.
5 Our salvation, or blessedness, or freedom consists in a constant and eternal love toward God, or in the love of God toward men.
I am the world.
VI:22 Simone Weil
At times the very first words tear my thoughts from my body and transport it to a place out- side space where there is neither perspective nor point of view. The infinity of the ordinary expanses of perception is replaced by an infinity to the second or sometimes the third de- gree. At the same time, filling every part of this infinity of infinity, there is a silence, a silence which is not an absence of sound but which is the object of a positive sensation, more pos- itive than that of sound. Noises, if there are any, only reach me after crossing the silence. Sometimes, also, during this recitation or at other moments, Christ is present with me in person, but his presence is infinitely more real, more moving, more clear than on the first occasion he took possession of me.
VI:23 Bertrand Russell
Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness. In the union of love I have seen in a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
1 All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree.
2 The most beautiful experience we can have is mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery, even if mixed with fear--that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds; it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity; in this sense, and in this sense alone, I am a deeply religious man. I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.
VI:25 Werner Heisenberg
1 Physics is reflection on the divine Ideas of Creation, therefore physics is divine service. We are in our time very far from this theological foundation or justification of physics; but we still follow this method, because it has been so successful.
2 We know that there is an ever-changing variety of phenomena appearing to our senses. Yet we believe that ultimately it should be possible to trace them back somehow to some one principle.
3 The atoms or the elementary particles … form a world of potentialities or possibilities rather than of things or facts.
4 Heisenberg's response to Wolfgang Pauli when Pauli asked if Heisenberg believed in God: "May I rephrase your question? I myself should prefer the following formulation: Can you, or anyone else, reach the central order of things, whose existence seems beyond doubt, as directly as you can reach the soul of another human being? I am using the term 'soul' quite deliberately so as not to be misunderstood. If you put your question like that, I would say yes."
VI:26 David Bohm
1 Light is what enfolds the universe … Light in its generalized sense (not just ordinary light) is the means by which the entire universe unfolds into itself.
2 [Kant's problem was: We cannot see things as they really are because we impart our structures to experience, so we bar the way to the noumenon (the pure - spiritual - world) with our own inner categories.] But my view is to say, "I am the noumenon," so there is a way out of Kant's trap. At least I am of the noumenon. …I am participating in the noumenon.
3 It is part of our nature to find a coherent meaning because we are meaning.
4 Everything is the observer and everything is the observed. …The electron, in so far, as it responds to a meaning in its environment, is observing the environment. It is doing exactly what human beings are doing. [So the electron is observing us] It is gathering information about us, about the whole universe. It is gathering-in the universe and responding accordingly. Therefore it is observing, if you take that in its literal sense.
5 Meaning is not only what consciousness is all about, it is also the whole activity of consciousness; meaning immediately acts in some way. … Its [consciousness] essence is meaning.
VI:27 Gustaf Stromberg
1 What then is the essence of the universe? In my opinion, will lies at the very foundation of the universe. The universe is a manifestation of a Cosmic Will. We have been endowed with some of the elements of this Cosmic Will, and also with a certain degree of freedom in using Cosmic Energy. The potential power of the human will is very great because it is a part of the Cosmic Will and redramatizes its capacity for the creation of good.
2 The most startling recent discovery, and for us the most important, is that beyond the physical world of matter and energy is another world, which cannot be described in terms of space and time. It is a spiritual world, which is not subject to the deterioration and dissipation characteristic of the physical world. This newly discovered world existed before the material world was "born" several billions of years ago, and we have no reason to believe that it will ever come to an end. It has therefore been given the descriptive name: "The Eternity Do- main." It is the world in which our minds are "rooted," and in which both life and mind have their ultimate origin.
3 In the opinion of many scientists. God has lately been reinstated as an indispensable element in the world needed to explain the ultimate origin of energy, matter, life, and consciousness. Most scientists now agree with Isaac Newton when he stated that he felt like a small boy playing at the seashore who had found a pebble more beautiful than those found by others, while beyond him lay a wide ocean waiting to be explored.
VI:28 James Jeans
1 At the beginning of the last century we thought that the ultimate reality could be described in mechanical terms. The universe now looks more like a great thought than a great machine, and there seems to be a creative intelligence in the universe.
VI:29 Sir Arthur Eddington
1 Religion first became possible for a reasonable scientific man about the year 1927.
2 The relativity of the current scheme of physics invites us to search deeper and find the absolute scheme underlying it, so that we may see the world in a truer perspective.
3 The stuff of the world is mind-stuff. ...The mind-stuff of the world is, of course, something more general than our individual conscious minds; but we may think of its nature as not altogether foreign to the feelings in our consciousness.
4 Consciousness is not sharply defined, but fades into sub-consciousness; and beyond that we must postulate something indefinite but yet continuous with our mental nature. This I take to be the world-stuff. We liken it to our conscious feelings because, now that we are convinced of the formal and symbolic character of the entities of physics, there is nothing else to liken it to.
5 If I were to try to put into words the essential truth revealed in the mystic experience, it would be that our minds are not apart from the world; and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness ? that the harmony and beauty of the face of Nature is at root one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man.
6 We all know that there are regions of the human spirit untrammeled by the world of physics. In the mystic sense of the creation around us, in the expression of art, in a yearning towards God, the soul grows upward and finds the fulfillment of something implanted in his nature. The sanction for this development is within us, a striving born with our consciousness or an Inner Light proceeding from a greater power than ours. Science can scarcely question this sanction, for the pursuit of science springs from a striving which the mind is impelled to follow, a questioning that will not be suppressed. Whether in the intellectual pursuits of science or in the mystical pursuits of the spirit, the light beckons ahead and the purpose surging in our nature responds.
7 Perhaps the God within creates the God in Nature. But no complete view can be obtained so long as we separate our consciousness from the world of which it is a part.
VI:30 Erwin Schrodinger
Eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.
The Bible: The Old Testament
VI:31 From Psalms
1 You are from all eternity.
2 I have said: Ye are gods; and all of you are the children of the most High.
VI:32 From Ecclesiastes
1 God has put eternity into man's mind.
2 He has also set eternity in the hearts of men
VI:33 From Isiah
1 The LORD will be your everlasting light.
2. The day of my spiritual awakening
was the day I saw,
and knew I saw,
all things in God
and God in all things.
VI:34 An Ancient Egyptian Maxim
The kingdom of heaven is within you; and whosoever shall know himself shall find it.
VI:35 From The Bhagavad Gita
1 But the whole world is pervaded
By that which none can destroy ?
No one can bring it to nothing.
2 He who finds his joy within
Within, his grove of pleasure
And the light of the sun within
Merging with God, he gain's God's bliss.
3 One whose self is yoked in discipline
Sees the same in all things
He sees himself in all beings
And all beings in himself.
4 Earth, water, fire, air, space,
Mind, consciousness, sense of self,
In all these eight-fold parts
My nature is manifest.
5 I am the same in all beings
No one is hateful or dear to me
But those who turn to me with love
Are in me, and I too am in them.
6 I am the source of all.
All things come from me.
Knowing this, wise men revere me
Full filled with love.
VI:36 From The Upanishads
1 In the supreme golden chamber is Brahman [God] indivisible and pure. He is the radiant light of all lights, and this knows he who is Brahman.
2 This invisible Atman [human soul] can be seen by the mind, wherein the five senses
3 He is the Eternal among things that pass away, pure Consciousness of conscious
beings, the ONE who fulfills the prayers of many.
4 All things are eternal by their very nature.
VI:37 From Buddhist literature
Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure; all things are only its manifestations.
VI:38 From Lao Tzu
1 Existence [Tao, Eternity, Spirit] is beyond the power of words
Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no
Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees to the core of life
Sees the surface,
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them different
Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
From wonder into wonder
2 Existence, by nothing bred,
Parent of the universe,
It smooths rough edges,
Unties hard knots,
Tempers the sharp sun,
Lays blowing dust,
Its image in the wellspring never fails.
But how was it conceived? - this image
Of no other Sire.
3 Nature, immune as to sacrifice of straw dogs,
Faces the decay of its fruits.
A sound man, immune as to a sacrifice of straw dogs,
Faces the passing of human generations.
The universe, like a bellows,
Is always emptying, always full:
The more it yields, the more it holds.
Men come to their wit's end arguing about it
And had better meet it at the marrow.
4 The breath of life moves through a deathless valley
Of mysterious motherhood
Which conceives and bears the universal seed,
The seeming of a world never to end,
Breath for men to draw from as they will:
And the more they take of it, the more remains.
5 The universe is deathless,
Is deathless because, having no finite self,
It stays infinite.
A sound man by not advancing himself
Stays the further ahead of himself,
By not confining himself to himself
Sustains himself outside himself:
By never being an end in himself
He endlessly becomes himself.
6 What we look for beyond seeing
And call the unseen,
Listen for beyond hearing
And call the unheard,
Grasp for beyond reaching
And call the withheld,
Merge beyond understanding
In a oneness
Which does not merely rise and give light,
Does not merely set and leave darkness,
But forever sends forth a success of living things as
As the unbigoted existence to which they return.
That is why men have called them empty phenomena,
In a mirage
With no face to meet,
No back to follow.
Yet one who is anciently aware of existence
Is master of every moment,
Feels no break since time beyond time
In the way of life flows.
1 The Atman, which is pure consciousness, is the light that shines in the shrine of the
heart, the center of all vital force.
2 Brahman [God] is pure existence, pure consciousness, eternal bliss, beyond action,
one without a second. In Brahman there is no diversity whatsoever. Brahman is the
innermost consciousness, filled full of endless bliss, infinite, omnipresent, One without
3 Brahman is reality itself.
All seemed a world in a flower, and I was the soul of this world.
The void is the condition of the Self-free, wide and silent. It seems void to the mind
but in reality it is simply a state of pure existence and consciousness.
VI:42 Ramana Maharshi
1 Your very being is . The consciousness within, purged of the mind, is felt as God.
2 Perfeblissct Bliss is Brahman.
VI:43 The Zen Teaching of Huang Po
1 The original pure, glistening universe is neither a square nor round, big nor small; it is
without any such distinctions as long and short, it is beyond attachment and activity,
ignorance and Enlightenment.
VI:44 THE BLEND OF EAST AND WEST
The following selections are from the book Dialogues with Scientists and Sages, The Search for Unity, by Renée Weber. Renée Weber is a professor of philosophy, and Father Bede Griffiths is a distinguished Roman Catholic monk, writer, and scholar of comparative religion and Christian theology.
These selections are a superb and succinct exposition of the comparisons and contrasts between the Judeo-Christian religious traditions and the Oriental religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Zen. I include it in this book because, first, these comparisons and con- trasts in my opinion can be nowhere else, nor no how else, elucidated so clearly and pointedly for the average intelligent layman; and second, this selection pertains intimate-ly to the overall theme of my book that the God-Within reality is to precede the God-without theology in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition if this tradition is to survive.
WEBER Father Bede, what is your unique vision of Christianity?
GRIFFITHS In the biblical tradition, which is Semitic, the transcendence of God is empha- sized above all, and the immanence comparatively little. Again man is master of the uni- verse; and the sense that the earth is his mother, that he depends on it, is resisted. The idea was considered to belong to the surrounding peoples with their nature gods, so it was re- jected. All kinds of sacredness of the earth, the moon, the stars, and the sun were lost. But if the biblical view is complemented with the oriental view, then you get a deeper understand- ing. In other words, God is not only the transcendent deity of the Old Testament, but he is also the immanent deity of the whole Hindu tradition. So it really is two worldviews which are fundamentally complementary. I think the Christian churches today have to discover that oriental worldview. They've never done it. Only now are we really encountering Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, the whole oriental culture, and that I feel is the work of the next thousand years.
WEBER Some people discern the emergence of a planetary culture. Can you describe your vision of the marriage of east and west?
GRIFFITHS There are several components. First, science has changed its whole under- standing of the universe ? as a field of energy and not simply as a materialistic, mechanistic model. This opens physics, biology, and psychology to the spiritual dimension of reality. It also opens western science and philosophy to oriental mysticism and philosophy. I am inter- ested in how science and mysticism relate to Christianity as a religion. My understanding is that Christianity began in the east in Palestine and has always moved westward. So its whole culture, its theology, its organization, its way of life has developed as a western organization. To a Hindu today, Christianity is a foreign religion, a western religion. What I see is how the Christian faith ? the pure Christian faith, coming down from Jesus ? can be expressed and lived in the oriental tradition, and also supported by the modern western scientific under- standing. The convergence of those three is what I'm interested in.
WEBER Those are the elements that can be married. Is there something that cannot be married?
GRIFFITHS At the deepest level I don't find anything incompatible. The deeper you go into Hinduism or Buddhism, the more you see how there's a fundamental unity with Christianity. On the surface there are many differences and contradictions, and even below the surface there are still problems. But the deeper you go, the more you converge on this One. That is my vision of the future: that in each religion, as you go deeper into it, you converge on the original Source. We come forth from the One and we're returning to the One. But you can't mix on the surface. Syncretism is mixing on the surface-you take something of Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and you mix them. What we call Ecumenism is going beneath the sur- face to the convergence in the One, the Source. That is the real whole.
WEBER Does that also apply to prayer and meditation in their depth?
GRIFFITHS Yes. Again it's a question of orientation. Prayer, especially in the Christian and Semitic tradition, is addressed to God above, and man feeling himself a sinner on earth, opening himself to God the Father in Heaven, receiving grace coming down from above. It's always got a dualistic edge. Typically Christian prayer is either standing or kneeling ? you're always relating yourself to something beyond. In the east, meditation is the normal form of relating-you're sitting and you realize God within. These are opposites, in a way, but to me they are complementary. Of course, in the Hindu tradition we have bhakti and jnana. Bhakti is relating to God in love and devotion, and there's always an element of duality in it. On the other hand you have jnana, knowledge, contemplation, where you simply realize your unity. Many Hindus would say that ultimately bhaktj and jnana coincide. Again, on a certain level they're opposed, but on the deepest level they converge.
WEBER An apparent difference is that in the Judeo-Christian framework prayer concerns sin, therefore the ethical dimension. Meditation concerns avidya, ignorance and its overcoming, therefore the epistemological dimension. There isn't anything to ask of side. One simply aims to clear away avidya, i.e., not seeing things as they really are.
GRIFFITHS That's an important difference. For the oriental, call sin is ignorance. Relation to God and to the infinite is conceived of in terms of consciousness, a lower form of conscious- ness evolving into a higher form. But in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the relation to God is conceived of in terms of sin and righteousness; it's a moral tradition. Often, in practice, they tend to be opposed, but I think one can interpret sin and ignorance as interrelated. Sin is in the will, ignorance is in the mind and consciousness, so the two are interdependent. I would agree with the Semitic view that the fundamental difference ? what separates us from God-is in the will.
This leads to another point: in the Hindu tradition God is sat-chit-ananda, being-knowledge-bliss, a state of pure consciousness, giving this ultimate bliss. But in Christianity, it's not simply a state of consciousness. It's a communion of love. The doctrine of the Trinity is fascinating from that point of view: God is being, and also wisdom and knowledge, but that Being is expressing itself in its word and communicating in love. So the Godhead itself is communion, personal relationship. To me that is a particularly Christian insight. It reveals being as essentially relational. I was struck by a remark of Suzuki that the Void of Mahayana Buddhism is not merely static but dynamic. There is, he said, an urge to differentiation in the Void and at the same time a need to remain always in itself. Creation, the manifestation of the One in the many, is the result of this urge to differentiation. This could be applied to the doc- trine of the Trinity.
WEBER Is Christian love parallel to ahimsa in Hinduism and to compassion (karuna) in Buddhism?
GRIFFITHS They're parallel in many ways, but the compassion of the Buddha and the ahimsa, and perhaps even more prema or love, in the Hindu tradition, are very closely akin to Christian charity. But each has its own distinctive character. In both the Hindu and Buddhist traditions the person disappears in the ultimate but in the Christian tradition the ultimate reality is personal or interpersonal, so that for us the highest state is a communion of persons in love.
WEBER Could you go into that, Father Bede?
GRIFFITHS In knowledge we receive the forms of things into ourselves: we look out and see the trees, the earth, the sky, and receive these forms into us. We commune with things in knowledge, in consciousness. But in love we go out of ourselves, we surrender ourselves to another, each gives himself to the other but you don't lose yourself in the other, you find yourself. That is the mystery of communion in God and with God ? the Father and the Son be- come a total unity and are yet distinct, and that is true of man and God as well. We are one, and yet we are distinct. There is never total loss of self. In consciousness there is a pure identity, but in love there's never pure identity because love involves two, and yet the two become one. That's the great mystery. It's a paradox.
WEBER The Indian metaphor of the ocean and the droplet that re-merges with the ocean is not the correct one for Christianity then?
GRIFFITHS It's not adequate, no. You can say the drop merges in the ocean, but you can also say the ocean is present in the drop. In the new science, the whole is in the part and the part is in the whole, and that is very important. In the ultimate state the individual is totally there, totally realized, but also in total communion with all the rest. There is the illustration, often used, of mirrors. There is one light and each mirror reflects the one light and reflects all the other mirrors. So it's diversified and yet it is all one.
WEBER Leibniz says that all the monads mirror each other and God has pre-harmonized them. What is probably difficult for the east is to understand the Incarnation from this per- spective. In the east it seems to be cyclical and almost like an office that is occupied by many great enlightened beings (avatars) in different epochs. In the west it seems to be a unique climax in history.
GRIFFITHS I think that is the distinction between cyclic and linear time. The oriental view is cyclic so an avatar comes again and again, but the Hebrew and Christian view is linear, time is moving towards an end. We speak of an eschatology. Therefore in the Hindu tradition, Ramakrishna and others come and others succeed, and nothing is final. But in the Christian tradition the whole creation and humanity are moving to an end, and Jesus comes at the end to bring all things to a head. It's a convergence of everything at that point in time and space, when time and space are transcended, a culmination. Then at the resurrection, time and space are taken up into the infinity ? what T. S. Eliot called the "point of intersection of the timeless with time."
WEBER Did Buddha, when he realized divinity under the Bodhi tree, also touch that inter- section?
GRIFFITHS Yes. I think there are many stages by which the infinite is manifesting in time, in fact the whole creation is a manifestation of the eternal in time. But there are many degrees-at first, in the physical universe, the power of God is manifest but life is not present. Then life comes into the universe. Then in ordinary human consciousness ? this consciousness of God, the chit, is being manifested, but it's hidden in most people. In the great seers ? a Buddha or the rishis [sages] you get a certain transparency. For a Christian, I think Jesus would be the point at which the total transparency is realized in that human being, and the divinity could give itself totally to the human. It's the meeting point.
WEBER What is the role of the mystic in the Christian view?
GRIFFITHS Christian mysticism begins in the New Testament, first of all with Jesus. Jesus had a unique experience of God that he expressed in the word ... abba." They all say now that this word … abba," Father, was a word of wonderful intimacy, and He knew himself in relation to God as Son to the Father in a unique way. No one knows the Son but the Father. No one knows the Father but the Son. He had this unique relationship of oneness with the Father ? unity in relationship. That was a mystical experience. The Spirit is the self-communi- cation of God. The Son is the revelation, the Spirit is the communication, and at Pentecost the Spirit comes on the disciples and they participate now in this mystical experience. In the early Church there was a very strong sense that this mystical divine experience was being transmitted through the Bishops. But as an organization develops and gets further from the source, it becomes increasingly a more human reality. Though the mystical tradition always continued within the Church, you can point to holy men right up to the present day; the organization, the dogmatic formulas and the sacramental system tend to cover it. They were meant to reveal it, but they tended to cover it. But I feel now it's opening up again. Certainly, it's the mystical tradition which is the very life of the Church. Without that, it has no meaning at all.
WEBER Are you saying that these features could reveal, but people take them as ends, whereas they are guideposts: they require our insight and self-transformation?
GRIFFITHS Exactly. You see, what actually happened was the Fathers had this tremendous experience of Christ. They tried to find words to express it, some formula. We need some conceptual form to focus the reality for us. The descendents take over the formula and lose what it's intended to express. And so it gets hardened into dogma. One has to relive it, and that is difficult.
WEBER In fact it raises another question about an assumption underlying eastern philoso- phy. From a Christian perspective, can we become God?
GRIFFITHS It's to some extent a matter of language. After all, St. Atherasius, who was the greatest doctor of the divinity of Christ, said God became man that man might become God. But it really depends on how you understand that. Karl Rahner has a very interesting under- standing of this. He says that in every human being there is the capacity for self-trans- cendence. Beyond our body, beyond the normal faculties of the soul, we are open to the transcendent reality. That capacity is in us at all times, and it can grow and become total, so it is possible for the human being to give himself totally to God. Rahner says that in Jesus a human being was found in whom this capacity for self-transcendence was totally realized so that he could become God. He could realize himself in a total unity with God, and God could give Himself totally to him. Each one of us can transcend ourselves and experience oneness with God. But it's not really becoming God [as in Indian Advaita], because God is always beyond. The human being is always limited, and though we can transcend ourselves and receive this gift of divine life, it's never total in us. As St. Thomas Aquinas says, we are not comprehensive: we don't comprehend God. Though we are one with Him and experience His love, He always remains beyond, at the same time.
WEBER The fact that Christ was a being who could do that raises the question ? who was he? Was he a man who was very spiritually evolved and who could therefore learn to do this, or was he of another order of being from ourselves from the very beginning?
GRIFFITHS I think we have to say, in the strict Christian tradition, Jesus was a man. He belonged to this humanity, and he had the body of a Jew and the psyche of a Jew, and he belonged to his time. In that sense he is totally human and he shares the whole human reality, including suffering and death. In him as in all, there is the capacity for self-transcend- ence. But in him, as I understand it, that capacity was unlimited. In the depth of the spirit, he was open to the total reality of God, so that St. Paul says, "In him dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He is totally one with God and totally one with humanity. The rest of us have varying degrees of openness to the divine. We all participate according to our capacity in the divine life, divine satchitananda, but there is always a limit to it.
WEBER Why was there this extraordinary openness and capacity for self-transcendence precisely in Jesus.' Could this have happened before, or did it happen before, say five centuries earlier, with Buddha? Can it happen again other than in the eschatological dimen- sion? Can it ever happen again as an historical event?
GRIFFITHS In the Christian understanding we would say, no. It was a particular historic revelation, it came to a definite historic end and finality in Jesus, and the total reality is rea- lized there; but that is not denying that the divine mystery is revealing itself in all different religions, in all different human experiences. But they are all related to this final eschato- logical event.
WEBER I was at a small seminar with Krishnamurti and a group of scholars in Ojai, California a few years ago, and as often happens at these conferences there is great excitement but also frustration. At the end of each day a question kept coming up that is relevant here. It was phrased as follows, and I would ask it also of the historical Jesus, was this a man who had learned to swim consummately, or was it a fish? If it's a fish, it's another order of species, and there is little hope for us. If it was a man, then potentially it can be learned by anyone. That's the crucial question.
GRIFFITHS Definitely I think it is a man. To me one of the great weaknesses in modern Christianity is that really almost from the time of the Council of Nicea in the fourth century, Jesus has moved over from the human to the divine. They've never actually denied the human reality, but it is so much emphasized that he is God, that he is presented more as a God appearing on earth than as a man. But the man standing before God ? the epistle to the Hebrews brings this out so clearly ? offered loud cries and tears to Him who was able to save him, and he was saved by his Godly fear. So he is standing as a man before God. Thus it is definite that he belongs with us. Yet at the same time he is the point where we go beyond and become one with God.
WEBER Potentially, could any Christian mystic or any deeply devoted spiritual human being do this again?
GRIFFITHS I think in a sense that's the whole point. The epistle to the Hebrews calls him the pioneer of our faith. He is the one who has gone beyond. He has opened the way, and now it is open to everybody, really, to enter in and to participate in his experience of God-become sons in the Son, to participate in the Holy Spirit. I'm hoping, if I am spared long enough, to write another book on the subject, to try to show how Jesus ? I would like to put it in Hindu terms ? is a man who realized God in this unique way. For it is a unique way.
WEBER Would that be accepted by the orthodox Church?
GRIFFITHS I think it could be put in a way which is acceptable. The tendency now is to emphasize that Jesus had to grow, he had to learn Aramaic, he had to study the Bible gradually to discover his calling, probably at the baptism he underwent a kind of initiatory experience, he still had to face the question of suffering and death. Only gradually did he realize that he was called to undergo this, and only at the Resurrection does he pass beyond human limitations and become totally identified with the work; but all the time he is moving toward that fulfillment.
WEBER In The Marriage of East and West, you point out that Christianity cannot grow as a religion today unless it abandons its purely western cultural set, with its emphasis on the rational-masculine. You say that faith is a function of the intuitive-feminine aspect of ourselves. Might it not be said that the east wants knowledge rather than faith?
GRIFFITHS No, faith is simply a preliminary stage for knowledge, knowledge in the deep sense of jnana. In fact, faith in the strict tradition is an illumination of the mind. It's an opening of the mind to the transcendent reality, but like a seed it's just an opening, a beginning, and faith has to grow into experience. Perhaps one of the great differences in the Christian tradition since the Middle Ages is that we've tended to concentrate on intellectual know- ledge, theology, faith becoming theology, but not on faith becoming experience.
WEBER Faith in your sense is not synonymous with belief.
GRIFFITHS No, we make that distinction now.
WEBER Faith is the movement towards a living experience, which requires one to change, not to just endorse an article of belief.
GRIFFITHS Exactly. Belief doesn't save you at all. St. Thomas again makes an interesting distinction between fides informes and fides formata. Fides informes is what we would call belief. You believe in God, in Christ, in the Church, but it doesn't change you at all. It is not moved by love and not by a transforming power. It's helpful as far as it goes; but it is ex- tremely limited. But his fides formata, "faith working by love," is a transforming faith which opens you to the divine. That is terribly meaningful because there are millions and millions of Christians who believe, but they have got very little real faith.
WEBER One is about the reality, and the other is moving towards experiencing it.
GRIFFITHS Yes, exactly.
WEBER Like all mystics, Father Bede, you emphasize our direct experience of the divine. From Plato on down, with his symbol of the sun as the supreme reality, light has been the privileged metaphor. Is it also so for you?
GRIFFITHS No. That's why I value Dionysius the Areopagite so much. He speaks of the divine darkness: You must go beyond all your imagery, beyond your thoughts, into the divine darkness. That's where you meet God.
WEBER In darkness, not "divine light"?
GRIFFITHS No, darkness.
WEBER That is unique, isn't it?
WEBER Because the religious metaphor.
GRIFFlTHS Is always "light."
WEBER What were his influences?
GRIFFITHS Well, it comes from St. Gregory of Nyssa, who saw the journey of Israel through the desert culminating in Moses going up to meet God in the darkness, in the cloud on Mount Sinai; so the culmination of the spiritual journey through the desert, ascending the mountain, was in the cloud and in the darkness. He was hidden with God.
WEBER One could also connect it to those dimensions of ourselves that are dark, not lit up, since we rarely explore them. We do not know them.
GRIFFITHS And really the journey towards God is a journey into the unconscious. There you encounter many demons and other things, but eventually God is hidden in the depths of the unconscious.
WEBER Perhaps the darkness is the ground, like arupa, formlessness, in Indian philosophy, and by the time we see it through light, it's the visible manifested expression of the divine rupa, the formed. But what makes it all possible cannot be seen.
GRIFFITHS Yes, surely. You know, in a Hindu temple the inner sanctuary is always dark. You go through the courts of the temple, which are filled with light, the figures of the gods, but when you come to the inner sanctuary you come to the heart, the inner center of your own being, and you encounter God in the darkness. God without form.
The following selections are taken from a dialogue between Bill Moyers, a foremost intellec- tual journalist and Joseph Campbell the noted mythologist. In its own way, it discus ses the same matters as the dialogue with Father Bede Griffiths, and is included in this book for the same purpose.
The following selections are taken from a dialogue between Bill Moyers, a foremost intellectual journalist and Joseph Campbell the noted mythologist. In its own way, it discusses the same matters as the dialogue with Father Bede Griffiths, and is in-
cluded in this book for the same purpose.
From the ultimate energy that is the life of the universe. And then do you say, "Well, there must be somebody generating that energy"? Why do you have to say that? Why can't the ultimate mystery be impersonal?
And from the Upanishads: "Then he realized, I indeed, I am this creation, for I have poured it forth from myself. In that way he became this creation. Verily, he who knows this becomes in this creation a creator." That is the clincher there. When you know this, then you have identified with the creative principle, which is the God power in the world, which means in you. It is beautiful.
The transcendent is unknowable and unknown. God is transcendent, finally, of anything like the name "God." God is beyond names and forms. Meister Eckhart said that the ultimate and highest leave-taking is leaving God for God, leaving your notion of God for an experience of that which transcends all notions.
"Eternity is in love with the productions of time," says the poet Blake. [Which means:] The source of temporal life is eternity. Eternity pours itself into the world. It is a basic mythic idea of the god who becomes many in us. In India, the god who lies in me is called the "inhabi- tant" of the body. To identify with that divine, immortal aspect of yourself is to identify yourself with divinity.
Now, eternity is beyond all categories of thought. This is an important point in all of the great Oriental religions. We want to think about God. God is a thought. God is a name. God is an idea. But its reference is to something that transcends all thinking. The ultimate mystery of being is beyond all categories of thought. As Kant said, the thing in itself is no thing. It transcends thingness, it goes past anything that could be thought. The best things can't be told because they transcend thought. The second best are misunderstood, because those are the thoughts that are supposed to refer to that which can't be thought about. The third best are what we talk about. And myth is that field of reference to what is absolutely transcendent.
MOYERS But isn't the only way a, human being can try to grope with this immense idea to assign it a language that he or she understands? God, he, God, she?
CAMPBELL Yes, but you don't understand it if you think it is a he or a she. The he or a she is a springboard to spring you into the transcendent, and transcendent means to "transcend," to go past duality. Everything in the field of time and space is dual. The incarnation appears either as male or as female, and each of us is the incarnation of God. You're born in only one aspect of your actual metaphysical duality, you might say. This is represented in the mystery religions, where an individual goes through a series of initiations opening him out inside into a deeper and deeper depth of himself, and there comes a moment when he realizes that he is both mortal and immortal, both male and female.
CAMPBELL I think what we are looking for is a way of experiencing the world that will open to us the transcendent that informs it, and at the same time forms ourselves within it. That is what people want. That is what the soul asks for.
MOYERS You mean we are looking for some accord with the mystery that informs all things, what you call that vast ground of silence which we all share!
CAMPBELL Yes, but not only to find it but to find it actually in our environment, in our world ? to recognize it. To have some kind of instruction that will enable us to experience the divine presence.
We know that Jesus could not have ascended to heaven because there is no physical heaven anywhere in the universe. Even ascending at the speed of light, Jesus would still be in the galaxy. Astronomy and physics have simply eliminated that as a literal, physical pos sibility. But if you read "Jesus ascended to heaven" in terms of its metaphoric conno tation, you see that he has gone inward ? not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes, into the consciousness that is the source of all things, the kingdom of heaven within. The images are outward, but their reflection is inward. The point is that we should ascend with him by going inward. It is a metaphor of returning to the source, alpha and omega, of leaving the fixation on the body behind and going to the body's dynamic source.
Shakespeare said that art is a mirror held up to nature. And that's what it is. The nature is your nature, and all of these wonderful poetic images of mythology are referring to something in you. When your mind is simply trapped by the image out there so that you never make the reference to yourself, you have misread the image.
The inner world is the world of your requirements and your energies and your structure and your possibilities that meets the outer world. And the outer world is the field of your incarnation. That's where you are. You've got to keep both going. As Novalis said, "The seat of the soul is there where the inner and outer worlds meet."
MOYERS So the story of Jesus ascending to heaven is a message in a bottle from a shore someone has visited before.
CAMPBELL That's right ? Jesus did. Now, according to the normal way of thinking about the Christian religion, we cannot identify with Jesus, we have to imitate Jesus. To say, "I and the Father are one," as Jesus said, is blasphemy for us. However, in the Thomas gospel that was dug up in Egypt some forty years ago, Jesus says, "He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am, and I shall be he." Now, that is exactly Buddhism. We are all manifestations of Buddha consciousness, or Christ consciousness, only we don't know it. The word "Buddha" means "the one who waked up." We are all to do that ? to wake up to the Christ or Buddha consciousness within us. This is blasphemy in the normal way of Christian thinking, but it is the very essence of Christian Gnosticism and of the Thomas gospel. The Catholic monks had no problems understanding the Buddhist monks, but that it was the clergy of the two religions who were unable to understand each other.
The person who has had a mystical experience knows that all the symbolic expressions of it are faulty. The symbols don't render the experience, they suggest it. If you haven't had the experience, how can you know what it is? Try to explain the joy of skiing to somebody living in the tropics who has never even seen snow. There has to be an experience to catch the message, some clue ? 0therwise you're not hearing what is being said.
MOYERS The person who has the experience has to project it in the best way he can with images. It seems to me that we have lost the art in our society of thinking in images.
CAMPBELL Oh, we definitely have. Our thinking is largely discursive, verbal, linear. There is more reality in an image than in a word.
MOYERS Do you ever think that it is this absence of the religious experience of ecstasy, of joy, this denial of transcendence in our society, that has turned so many young people to the use of drugs?
CAMPBELL Absolutely. That is the way in.
MOYERS The way in?
CAMPBELL To an experience.
MOYERS And religion can't do that for you, or art can't do it?
CAMPBELL It could, but it is not doing it now. Religions are addressing social problems and ethics instead of the mystical experience.
MOYERS So you think religion's great calling is the experience?
CAMPBELL One of the wonderful things in the Catholic ritual is going to communion. There you are taught that this is the body and blood of the Savior. And you take it to you, and you turn inward, and there Christ is working within you. This is a way of inspiring a meditation on experiencing the spirit in you. You see people coming back from communion, and they are inward-turned, they really are.
There is a magnificent essay by Schopenhauer in which he asks, how is it that a human being can so participate in the peril or pain of another that without thought, spontaneously, he sacri- fices his own life to the other? How can it happen that what we normally think of as the first law of nature and self-preservation is suddenly dissolved?
In Hawaii some four or five years ago there was an extraordinary event that represents this problem. There is a place there called the Pali, where the trade winds from the north come rushing through a great ridge of mountains. People like to go up there to get their hair blown about or sometimes to commit suicide, you know, something like jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. One day, two policemen were driving up the Pali road when they saw, just beyond the railing that keeps the cars from rolling over, a young man preparing to jump. The police car stopped, and the policeman on the right jumped out to grab the man but caught him just as he jumped, and he was himself being pulled over when the second cop arrived in time and pulled the two of them back. Do you realize what had suddenly happened to that policeman who had given himself to death with that unknown youth? Everything else in his life had dropped off ? his duty to his family, his duty to his job, his duty to his own life ? all of his wishes and hopes for his lifetime had just disappeared. He was about to die. Later, a newspaper reporter asked him, "Why didn't you let go? You would have been killed." And his reported answer was, "I couldn't let go. If I had let that young man go, I couldn't have lived another day of my life." How come?
Schopenhauer's answer is that such a psychological crisis represents the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization, which is that you and that other ? are one, that you are two aspects of the one life, and that your apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience forms under the conditions of space and time. Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life. This is a metaphysical truth which may become spontaneously realized under circumstances of crisis. For it is, according to Schopenhauer, the truth of your life.
Now, I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping, off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word "Sat" means being. "Chit" means consciousness. "Ananda" means bliss or rapture. I thought, "I don't know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don't know whether what I know of my being is my proper being of not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being:' I think it worked.
MOYERS Do we ever know the truth? Do we ever find it?
CAMPBELL Each person can have his own depth, experience, and some conviction of being in touch with his own sat,chit,ananda, his own being through consciousness and bliss. The religious people tell us we really won't experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive.
MOYERS Bliss is now.
CAMPBELL In heaven you will be having such a marvelous time looking at God that you won't get your own experience at all. That is not the place to have the experience -- here is the place to have it.
MOYERS: Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?
CAMPBELL: All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time ? namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.
Science is breaking through now into the mystery dimensions. It pushed itself into the sphere the myth is talking about. It's come to the edge. …The edge, the interface between what can be known and what is never to be discovered because it is a mystery that transcends all human research. The source of life - what is it? No one knows. We don't even know what an atom is, whether it is a wave or a particle, it is both. We don't have any idea of what these things are.
That's the reason we speak of the divine. There's a transcendent energy, source. When the physicist observes subatomic particles, he's seeing a tract on a screen. These traces come and go, come and go, and we come and go and all of life comes and goes. That energy is the informing energy of all things. Mythic worship is addressed to that.
We know that. That old man up there has been blown away. You've got to find the Force inside you. This is why Oriental gurus are so convincing to young people today. They say, "It is in you. Go and find it."
MOYERS: But isn't it only the very few who can face the challenge of a new truth and put their lives in accord with it?
CAMPBELL: Not at all! A few may be the teachers and the leaders, but this is something that anybody can respond to, just as anybody has the potential to run out to save a child. It is within everybody to recognize values in his life that are not confined to maintenance of the body and economic concerns of the day.
MOYERS How does one have a profound experience?
CAMPBELL: By having a profound sense of the mystery.
MOYERS But if God is the god we have only imagined, how can we stand in awe of our own creation?
CAMPBELL How can we be terrified by a dream? You have to break past your image of God to get through to the connoted illumination. The psychologist Jung has a relevant saying: "Religion is a defence against the experience of God." The mystery has been reduced to a set of concepts and ideas, and emphasizing these concepts and ideas can short-circuit the transcendent connoted experience. An intense experience of mystery is
what one has to regard as the ultimate religious experience.
Anyone who has had an experience of mystery knows that there is a dimension of the universe that is not that which is available to his senses. There is a pertinent saying in one of the Upanishads: "When before the beauty of a sunset or of a mountain you pause and exclaim, 'Ah,' you are participating in divinity." Such a moment of participation involves a realization of the wonder and sheer beauty of existence. People living in the nature experience such moments every day. They live in recognition of something there that is much greater than the human dimension. Man's tendency, however, is to personify such experiences, to anthropomorphize natural forces.
Our way of thinking in the West sees God as the final source or cause of the energies and wonder of the universe. But in most Oriental thinking, and thinking, and in primal thinking, also, the gods are rather manifestations and purveyors of an energy that is finally impersonal. They are not its source. The god is the vehicle of its energy. And the force or quality of the energy that is involved or represented determines the character and function of the god. There are gods of violence, there are gods of compassion, there are gods that unite the two worlds of the unseen and the seen, and there are gods that are simply the protectors of kings or nations in their war campaigns. These are all personifications of the energies in play. But the ultimate source of the energies remains a mystery.
MOYERS There are many Christians who believe that, to find out who Jesus is, you have to go past the Christian faith, past the Christian doctrine, past the Christian Church.
CAMPBELL You have to go past the imagined image of Jesus. Such an image of one's god becomes a final obstruction, one's ultimate barrier. You hold on to your own ideology, your own little manner of thinking, and when a larger experience of God approaches, an experience greater than you are prepared to receive, you take flight from it by clinging to the image in your mind. This is known as preserving your faith.
You know the idea of the ascent of the spirit through the different centers or archetypal stages of experience. One begins with the elementary animal experiences of hunger and greed, and then of sexual zeal, and on to physical mastery of one kind or another. These are all empowering stages of experience. But then, when the center of the heart is touched, and a sense of compassion awakened with another person or creature, and you realize that you and that other are in some sense creatures of the one life in being, a whole new stage of life in the spirit opens out. This opening of the heart to the world is what is symbolized mytho-
logically as the virgin birth. It signifies the birth of a spiritual life in what was formerly an ele- mentary human animal living for the merely physical aims of health, progeny, power, and a little fun.
But now we come to something else. For to experience this sense of compassion, accord, or even identity with another, or with some ego' transcending principle that has become lodged in your mind as a good to be revered and served, is the beginning, once and for all, of the properly religious way of life and experience; and this may then lead to a life, consuming quest for a full experience of that one Being of beings of which all temporal
forms are the reflections.
Now, this ultimate ground of all being can be experienced in two senses; one as with form and the other as without and beyond form. When you experience your god as with form, there is your envisioning mind, and there is the god. There is a subject, and there is an object. But the ultimate mystical goal is to be united with one's god. With that, duality is transcended and forms disappear. There is nobody there, no god, no you. Your mind, going past all concepts, has dissolved in identification with the ground of your own being, because that to which the metaphorical image of your god refers is the ultimate mystery of your own being, which is the mystery of the being of the world as well. And so this is it.
MOYERS Of course the heart of the Christian faith is that God was in Christ, that these elemental forces you're talking about embodied themselves in a human being who reconciled mankind to God.
CAMPBELL Yes, and the basic Gnostic and Buddhist idea is that that is true of you and me as well. Jesus was a historical person who realized in himself that he and what he called the Father were one, and he lived out of that knowledge of the Christhood of his nature.
I remember, I was once giving a lecture in which I spoke about living out of the sense of the Christ in you and a priest in the audience (as I was later told) turned to the woman beside him and whispered, "That's blasphemy. "
MOYERS: What did you mean by Christ In you?
CAMPBELL: What I meant was that you must live not in terms of your own ego system, your own desires, but in terms of what you might call the sense of mankind ? the Christ-in-you. There is a Hindu saying, "None but a god can worship a god." You have to identify yourself in some measure with whatever spiritual principle your god represents to you in order to worship him properly and live according to his word.
MOYERS In discussing the God within, the Christ within, the illumination or the awakening that comes within, isn't there a danger of becoming narcissistic, of an obsession with self that leads to a distorted view of oneself and the world?
CAMPBELL That can happen, of course. That's a kind of short-circuiting of the current. But the whole aim is to go past oneself, past one's concept of oneself, to that of which one is but an imperfect manifestation. When you come out of a meditation, for example, you are sup- posed to end by yielding all the benefits, whatever they may be, to the world, to all living beings, not holding them to yourself. You see, there are two ways of thinking "I am God." If you think, "I here, in my physical presence and in my temporal character, am God," then you are mad and have short-circuited the experience. You are God, not in your ego, but in your deepest being, where You are at one with the nondual transcendent.
The idea of Buddha consciousness is of an imminent, luminous consciousness that informs all things and all lives. We unthinkingly live by fragments of that consciousness, fragments of that energy. But the religious way of life is to live not in terms of the self, interested intentions of this particular body at this particular time but in terms of the insight of that larger consciousness.
There is an important passage in the recently discovered Gnostic Gospel according to St. Thomas: " 'When will the kingdom come?' Christ's disciples ask." In Mark 13, I think it is, we read that the end of the world is about to come. That is to say, a mythological image-that of the end of the world-is there taken as predicting an actual, physical, historical fact to be. But in Thomas' version, Jesus replies: "The kingdom of the Father will not come by expectation. The kingdom of the Father is spread upon the earth and men do not see it" ? so I look at you now in that sense, and the radiance of the presence of the divine is known to me through you.
MOYERS Through me?
CAMPBELL You, sure. When Jesus says, "He who drinks from my mouth will become as I am and I shall be he," he's talking from the point of view of that being of beings, which we call the Christ, who is the being of all of us. Anyone who lives in relation to that is as Christ. Anyone who brings into his life the message of the Word is equivalent to Jesus, that's the sense of that.
CAMPBELL "Follow your bliss." There's something inside you that knows when you're in the center, that knows when you're on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you've lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don't get any money, you still have your bliss.
Mystic Experiences of The Kingdom Within
FROM CHRISTIAN MYSTICS
All mysticism is characterized by a passion for unity. To the mystic, true
Being and Ultimate Reality are One. This can be experienced as both
impersonal and personal, as Ground of Being, Ultimate Source, Pert
Goodness, Eternal Wisdom, Divine Love, God, or the Godhead. This
Reality contains, yet transcends, everything there is. It is the One in all all
is lost and all is found.
As Christ refers to the kingdom of God in terms of Light, glory, and inward-
ness as indicative of the Kingdom of God, the following passages confirm
VII:1 St. Augustine (354-430)
1. [I experience] a state of feeling which is quite unlike anything to which I am used ? a kind of sweet delight which, if I could only remain permanently in that state, would be something not of this world, not of this life. But my sad weight makes me fall back again; I am swallowed up by normality.
2. I entered even into my inward self, Thou being my Guide: and able I was, for Thou wert become my Helper. And I entered and beheld with the eye of my soul.. . above my mind, the Light Unchangeable. ... He that knows the Truth, knows what that Light is; and he that knows It, knows eternity. Love knoweth it. Truth Who art Eternity! and Love Who art Truth! and Eternity Who art Love!
VII:2 Meister Eckhart (1260-1327)
1. I have spoken at times of a light in the soul that is uncreated, a light that is not arbitrarily turned on. ... I may truthfully say that this light is rather to be identified with God than with any [perceptive] power of the soul, even though it is essentially the same.
2. The divine nature is Oneness and each person is One, the same One in nature. …Be therefore that One so that you may find God.
3. The union of God with the soul is so great that it is scarcely to be believed. And God is in himself so far above that no form of knowledge or desire can ever reach him. … Desire is deep, immeasurably so. But nothing that the intellect can grasp and nothing that desire can desire is God. Where understanding and desire end, there is darkness and there God's radiance begins.
4. Every single creature is full of God, and is a book about God. Every creature is a word of God. If I spend enough time with the tiniest creature, even a caterpillar, I would never have to prepare a sermon, so full of God is every creature.
VII:3 St. Gregory the Great (540-604)
1. The mind of the elect … is frequently carried away into the sweetness of heavenly contemplation; already it sees something of the inmost realities as it were through the mist … it feeds on the taste of the unencompassed Light, and being carried beyond self, disdains to sink back again into self. . . .
2. Sometimes the soul is admitted to some unwonted sweetness of interior relish, and is suddenly in some way refreshed when breathed on by the glowing spirit. … When this is in any way seen, the mind is absorbed in a sort of rapturous security; and carried beyond itself, as though the present life had ceased to be, it is in a way remade in a certain newness [it is refreshed in a manner by a kind of new being. ]. There the mind is besprinkled with the infusion of heavenly dew from an inexhaustible fountain.
VII:4 Johannes Tauler (1300-1361)
1. The soul has a hidden abyss, untouched by time and space, which is far superior to anything that gives life and movement to the body. Into this noble and wondrous ground, this secret realm, there descends that bliss of which we have spoken. Here the soul has its eternal abode. Here a man becomes so still and essential, so single-minded and withdrawn, so raised up in purity, and more and more removed from all things. … This state of the soul cannot be compared to what it has been before, for now it is granted to share in the divine life itself.
2. God is pure Being, a waste of calm seclusion … much nearer than anything is to itself in the depth of the heart, but He is hidden from all our senses. He is far above every outward thing and every thought, and is found only where thou hidest thyself in the secret place of thy heart, in the quiet solitude where no word is spoken, where is neither creature nor image nor fancy. This is the quiet Desert of the Godhead, the Divine Darkness-dark from His own surpassing brightness, as the shining of the sun is darkness to weak eyes, for in the presence of its brightness our eyes are like the eyes of the swallow in the bright sunlight.
VII:5 St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-394)
[The soul] leaves all surface appearances, not only those that can be grasped by the senses but also those which the mind itself seems to see, and it keeps on going deeper until by the operation of the spirit it penetrates the invisible and incomprehensible, and it is there that it sees God. The true vision and the true knowledge of what we seek consist precisely in not seeing, in an awareness that our goal transcends all knowledge.
VII:6 St Peter of Alcantara (1499 -1562)
Let a man return into his own self, and there in the centre of his soul, let him wait upon God, as one who listens to another speaking from a high tower, as though he had God in his heart, as though in the whole creation there was only God and his soul.
VII:7 St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153)
1. To reduce yourself to nothing is not a human sentiment but a divine experience. … It is deifying to go through such an experience. As a drop of water seems to disappear completely in a big quantity of wine, even assuming the wine's taste and color, just as red, molten iron becomes so much like fire it seems to lose its primary state; just as the air on a sunny day seems transformed into a sunshine instead of being lit up; so it is necessary for the saints that all human feelings melt in a mysterious way and flow into the will of God. Otherwise, how will God be all in all if something human survives in man?
2. "I have beheld to some degree the beauty of His glory and have been filled with awe as I gazed at His manifold greatness."
VII:8 Richard of St. Victor (1120-11 73)
1. For it comes to pass that sometimes through greatness of devotion, or great wonder, or exceeding exultation, the mind cannot possess itself in any way, and being lifted up above itself, passes into ecstasy. The human mind is raised above itself by the greatness of its devotion, when it is kindled with such fire of heavenly desire that the flame of inner love flares up beyond human bearing.
2. Whoever you are, if you loved fully and perfectly perhaps the perfection of your love, the urge of your burning desire would carry you away into this kind of ecstasy … if you were truly worthy of divine love, perhaps he would enlighten the eyes of your intelligence so greatly with the effulgence of his light and inebriate the desire of your heart with such a taste of his intimate sweetness, that thereby he would carry you up above yourself and lift you up to divine things by ecstasy.
VII:9 St. Bonaventure (1221-1274)
If you should ask how these things come about, question grace, not instruction; desire, not intellect; the cry of prayer, not pursuit of study; the spouse, not the teacher; God, not man; darkness, not clarity; not light, but the wholly flaming fire which will bear you aloft to God with fullest unction and burning affection.
VII:10 Jan van Ruusbroec (1293-1381)
…for ever striving for what it lacks, ever swimming against the stream. One cannot leave it, one cannot have it: one cannot lack it, one cannot gain it: one cannot tell it, one cannot conceal it, for it is above reason and understanding. … But if we look deep within ourselves, there we shall feel God's Spirit driving and urging us on in the impatience of love; and if we look high above ourselves, there we shall feel God's Spirit drawing us out of ourselves and bringing us to nothing in the essence of God, that is, in the essential love in which we are one with Him, the love which we possess deeper and wider than every other thing.
VII:11 Walter Hilton (1340-1396)
1. The opening of the spiritual eyes is a glowing darkness and rich nothingness….It may be called: Purity of soul and spiritual rest, inward stillness and peace of conscience, refinement of thought and integrity of soul, a lively consciousness of grace and solitude of heart, the wakeful sleep of the spouse and the tasting of heavenly joys, the ardor of love and bright- ness of light, the entry into contemplation and reformation of feeling.
2. Because the eyes of your spirit are not yet opened, I shall give you one word to ex-
press everything which you must seek and desire and find … and this word is "Jesus." I do not mean the letters "IHS" painted on a wall or written in a book, I do not mean the sounds of the word which you form with your tongue, I do not mean the name as it can be fixed in the heart. …: through such exercises man in love may find Him, but here by "Jesus" I mean all goodness everlasting wisdom, love and sweetness, your joy, your dignity and your eternal happiness, your God, your Lord and your salvation. …
… However much you know or feel of Him here in this life, He is still far above it; and there- fore if you want to find the whole of Him as He is in the bliss of love, never cease whilst you live to long spiritually for Him.
VII:12 Francis of Assisi (1181 - 1182- 1226)
1. What we are looking for is what is looking.
2. [the vision of the Divine Being is] a rapture and uplifting of the mind intoxicated in the contemplation of the unspeakable saviour of the Divine sweetness, and a happy, peaceful and sweet delight of the soul, that is rapt and uplifted in great marvel - and a burning sense within of that celestial glory unspeakable.
VII:13 Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022)
But, Oh, what intoxication of light, Oh, what movements of fire!
Oh, what swirlings of the flame in me, miserable one that I am,
coming from You and Your glory!
The glory I know it and I say it is your Holy Spirit,
who has the same nature with You, and the same honor, O word;
He is of the same race, the same glory,
of the same essence, He alone with your Father,
and with you, O Christ, O God of the universe!
I fall down in adoration before You.
I thank You that You have made me worthy to know, however little it may be,
the power of Your divinity.
2. It shines on us without evening, without change, without alteration, without form. It speaks, works, lives, gives life, and changes into light those whom it illuminates. We bear witness that "God is light," and those to whom it has been granted to see Him have all beheld Him as light. Those who have seen Him have received Him as light, because the light of His glory goes before Him, and it is impossible for Him to appear without light. Those who have not seen His light have not seen Him, for He is the light, and those who have not received the light have not yet received grace. Those who have received grace have received the light of God and have received God, even as Christ Himself, who is the Light, has said, "I will live in them and move among them."
3. Do not say that it is impossible to receive the Spirit of God. Do not say that it is possible to be made whole without Him. Do not say that one can possess Him without knowing it. Do not say that God does not manifest Himself to man. Do not say that men cannot perceive the divine light, or that it is impossible in this age! Never is it found to be impossible, my friends. On the contrary, it is entirely possible when one desires it.
VII:14 John of Ruysbroeck (1293 or 1294 -1381)
When love has carried us above all things ... we receive in peace the Incomprehensible Light, enfolding us and penetrating us. What is this Light, if it be not a contemplation of the Infinite, and an intuition of Eternity? We behold that which we are, and we are that which we behold; because our being, without losing anything of its own personality, is united with the Divine Truth.
VII:15 Henry Suso (1295-1366)
A truly "self-abandoned man," by contrast, enters the joy of his Lord and becomes inebriated with the immeasurable abundance of the Divine: He is quite dead to himself, is entirely lost in God, has passed into him, and has become one spirit with him in all respects, like a little drop of water which is poured into a large portion of wine. Just as this is lost to itself, and draws to itself and into itself the taste and color of the wine, so it likewise happens to those who are in the complete possession of blessedness. All human desires fall away from them in an inexpressible manner, they melt away into themselves, and sink completely into the will of God.
They are deprived of their own being and are transformed into another form, into another glory, and into another force. Now what else is this other strange form but the divine nature and the divine essence into which they flow and which flows into them, in order to be one with it?
What else is this glory than to be transfigured and glorified in the light of being, to which man has no access? What else is this other power than that the divine strength and power are given to man through this personality and this union, to do and to leave undone all that belongs to his salvation?.
In winter he suffered very much from the frost. … His feet were full of sores, his legs drop- sical, his knees bloody and seared, his loins covered with scars from the horsehair, his body wasted, his mouth parched with intense thirst, his hands tremulous from weakness. Amid these torments he spent his nights and days; and he endured them all out of the grea-t ness of the love which he bore in his heart to the Divine and Eternal Wisdom, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose agonizing sufferings he ought to imitate.
VII:16 Jakob Böhme (probably 1575 -1624)
1. The gate was opened to me that in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at a university...For I saw and knew the being of all beings ... I saw in myself all the three worlds, namely the divine... the dark ... and the external and visible world.. And I saw and knew the whole working essence, in the evil and the good and the original and the existence of each of them.
2. I saw and knew the Being of all Beings, the Byss and the Abyss - the Descent and Origin of the World and of all creatures through the Divine Wisdom. … In this Light my spirit sud- denly saw through all, and in and by all the creatures; it knew God - Who He is and what His Will is; and suddenly in that Light my will was set on by a mighty impulse to describe the Being of God.
VII:17 St. John of the Cross (1542 -1591)
In this [Divine] tranquility the understanding sees itself raised up in a new and strange way, above all natural understanding, to the Divine light, much as one who, after a long sleep, opens his eyes to the light which he was not expecting.
VII:18 PierreTeilhard / paleontologist/philosopher (1881-1955)
1 I became aware that I was losing contact with myself. At each step of the descent a new person was disclosed within me of whose name I was no longer sure and who no longer obeyed me. And when I had to stop my exploration because the path faded beneath my steps, I found a bottomless abyss at my feet, and out of it comes - arising I know not from where - the current which I dare to call my life. The fourth dimension is not another place; it is this place, and it is imminent in us, a process.
2 … the coming of His Kingdom as I see it in my dreams. I mean the "implosive" encounter in human consciousness of the "ultra-human" and the "Christie" impulses - or, as I often ex- press, of the Forward (i.e. the progress of mankind by "convergence") and the Upward (the spiritual ascent of mankind towards Christ, in whom it will find its completion and consumma- tion, when, in St. Paul's words, God will be "all in all"). I am more and more convinced - judging from my own infinitesimal experience - that this process is indeed possible, and is actually in operation, and that it will psychologically transfigure the world of tomorrow.
VII:19 Thomas Merton (1915 -1968)
But what a thing it was, this awareness: it was so intangible, and yet it struck me like a thunderclap. It was a light that was so bright that it had no relation to any visible light and so profound and so intimate that it seemed like a neutralization of every lesser experience.
And yet the thing that struck me most of all was that this light was in a certain sense "ordinary" - it was a light (and this most of all was what took my breath away) that was offered to all, to everybody, and there was nothing fancy or strange about it. It was the light of faith deepened and reduced to an extreme and sudden obviousness.
It was as if I had been suddenly illuminated by being blinded by the manifestation of God's presence. …The reason why this light was blinding and neutralizing was that there was and could be simply nothing in it of sense or imagination. When I call it a light that is a metaphor which I am using, long after the fact. But at the moment, another overwhelming thing about this awareness was that it disarmed all images, all metaphors, and cut through the whole skin of species and phantasms with which we naturally do our thinking. It ignored all sense experience in order to strike directly at the heart of truth, as if a sudden and immediate contact had been established between my intellect and the Truth Who was now physically really and substantially before me on the altar. But this contact was not something speculative and abstract: it was concrete and experimental - "the essence of that union is a pure and selfless love that empties the soul of all pride and annihilates it in the sight of God, so that nothing may be left of it but the pure capacity for Him.. . .You who have experienced such plateaus of glory know what I mean. … One walks in the world yet above the world as well, giddy with the height, with feather tread, with effortlessness and calm security, meeting the daily routine, yet never losing the sense of Presence. Sometimes these periods are acute and brief, too dazzling to report to anyone. Sometimes they are less elevated but more prolonged, with a milder sense of glory and of lift, yet as surely of a piece with the more acute experience.
VII:20 St. Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510)
1. I am so …submerged in His immense love, that I seem as though immersed in the sea, and nowhere able to touch, see or feel aught but water.
2. "My being is God, not by simple participation but by a true transformation of my being.
VII:21 Hadewijch of Brabant (Thirteenth Century)
The soul is a bottomless abyss in which God suffices to Himself and ever finds His plenitude in her, just as the soul ever does in Him. The soul is a free way for the passage of God from His profound depths; again, God is away for the passage of the soul into her freedom, that is to say, into the abyss of the Divine Being, which can be touched only by the abyss of the soul.
VII:22 Thérèse de Lisieux (1873-1897)
If you only knew what darkness I am plunged into.[
VII:23 St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
1. It is foolish to think that we will enter heaven without entering into ourselves.
2. My soul at once becomes recollected and I enter the state of quiet or that of rapture, so that I can use none of my faculties and senses. … Everything is stilled, and the soul is left in a state of great quiet and deep satisfaction.
3. From this recollection there sometimes springs an interior peace and quietude which is full of happiness, for the soul is in such a state that it thinks there is nothing that it lacks. Even speaking ? by which I mean vocal prayer and meditation ? wearies it: it would like to do nothing but love. This condition lasts for some time, and may even last for long periods.
VII:24 Angela of Foligno (1248 -1309)
1 The eyes of my soul were opened, and I discerned the fullness of God, in which I under- stood the whole world, here and beyond the sea, the abyss, the ocean, everything. In all these things I could see nothing except the divine power, in a way that was utterly indescrib- able. My soul was brimming over with wonder and cried out in a loud voice "The whole world is full of God".
2 I beheld a Thing, as fixed and stable as it was indescribable, and more than this I cannot say, save what I have often said already, namely, that it was all good. And though my soul did not behold love, yet when it saw that ineffable Thing it was itself filled with unutterable joy, and it was taken out of the state it was in and placed in this great and ineffable state. … But if you want to know what it was that I beheld, I can tell you nothing, except that I beheld a Fullness and a Clearness, and felt them within me so abundantly that I cannot describe it, nor offer any image of it; for what I beheld was not bodily, but as though it were in heaven. Thus I beheld a beauty so great that I can say nothing of it except that I saw the Supreme Beauty, which contains in itself all goodness.
VII:25 Jane Ward Leade (1624 -1704)
As I was considering the high and weighty work to which we were called, my spirit was immediately caught up into a high region that was all calm and still, where I saw no figures or images, but there was a wonderful light which flowed into me like a river. Then it was opened to me that this was the creating light from which all being did proceed and that what was now expected as a new creation must be brought forth from the stillness of the light.
VII:26 From The Cloud Of Unknowing (authorship unknown)
For silence is not God, nor speaking; fasting is not God, nor eating; solitude is not God, nor company; nor any other pair of opposites. He is hidden between them, and cannot be found by anything your soul does, but only by the love of your heart. He cannot be known by reason, he cannot be thought, caught, or sought by understanding. But he can be loved and chosen by the true, loving will of your heart.
FROM SECULAR MYSTIC EXPERIENCES
VIII:1 Albert Camus / French novelist-philosopher
We lead a difficult life, not always managing to fit our actions to the vision we have of the world. (And when I think I have caught a glimpse of the color of my fate, it shoots out of sight.) We struggle and suffer to reconquer our solitude But a day comes when the earth has its simple and primitive smile. Then, it is if the struggles and life within us were rubbed out. Millions of eyes have looked at this landscape, and for me it is like the first smile of the world. It takes me out of myself, in the deepest meaning of the expression. It assures me
that nothing matters except my love, and that even this love has no value for me unless it remains innocent and free. It denies me a personality, and deprives my suffering of its echo. The world is beautiful, and this is everything. The great truth which it patiently teaches me is that neither the mind nor even the heart has any importance and that...the sun or the cypress tree swelling against the empty sky set a boundary to the only world in which "to be right" has any meaning: nature without men. The world reduces me to nothing. It carries me to the very end. Without anger, it denies that I exist, and, agreeing to my defeat, I move toward a wis- dom where everything has been already conquered--except that tears come into my eyes, and this great sob of poetry makes me forget the truth of the world.
VIII:2 Thoreau / American naturalist-philosopher
I can remember [from his (Thoreau) early youth] how I was astonished. I said to myself ? I said to others, "There comes into my mind such an indescribable, infinite, all-absorbing, divine, heavenly pleasure, a sense of elevation and expansion, and I have had nought to do with it. I perceive that I am dealt with by superior powers. This is a pleasure, a joy, an existence which I have not procured myself. I speak as a witness on the stand, and tell what I have perceived." I looked in books for some recognition of a kindred experience, but, strange to say, I found none. Indeed I was slow to discover that other men had this experi- ence…For years I marched as to a music in comparison with which the military music of the streets is noise and discord. I was daily intoxicated, and yet no man could call me intem- perate. With all your science can you tell how it is, and whence it is, that light comes into the soul?
VIII:3 Anton Breton / French philosopher-poet
[To his daughter] What I have loved, whether I have kept it or not, I shall love forever As you are called upon to suffer also, I wanted, in completing this book, to explain to you. I have spoken of a certain "sublime point" on the mountain. It was never a question of establishing my dwelling on this point. It would, moreover, from then on, have ceased to be sublime and I should, myself, have ceased to be a person. Unable reasonably to dwell there, I have nev-ertheless never gone so far from it as to lose it from view, as to not be able to point it out. I had chosen to be this guide, and therefore I had forced myself not to be unworthy of the power which, in the direction of eternal love, had made me see and granted me the still rarer privilege of having others see. I have never been unworthy; I have never ceased to identify the flesh of the being I love and the snow of the peaks in the rising sun 1 do not deny that love has a difference with life. I say it should vanquish, and in order to do so, should rise to such a poetic consciousness of itself that every hostile thing it meets should melt in the hearth of its own splendor.
VIII:4 Dante / Italian poet
Thus my mind, wholly wrapt, was gazing fixed, motionless, and intent, and ever with gazing grew enkindles. In the Light one becomes such that it is impossible he should ever consent to turn himself from if for other sight; because the Good which is the object of the will is all collected in it, and outside of it that is defective which is perfect there.
VIII:5 Krishnamurti / Indian mystic-sage
June 18th, 1961
In the evening it was there; suddenly it was there, filling the room, a great sense of beauty, power and gentleness.
In the car on the way to Ojai (California) again it began, the pressure and the feeling of immense vastness. One [Krishnamurti] was not experiencing this vastness; it was simply there; there was no centre from which or in which the experience was taking place.
It's as though everything stood still. There's no movement, no stirring, complete emptiness of all thought, of all seeing. There's no interpreter to translate, to observe, to censor. An im- measurable vastness that is utterly still and silent. There is no space, nor time to cover that space. The beginning and the ending are here, of all things. There is really nothing that can be said about it.
Woke up in the middle of the night, with a sense of immense and measureless strength. It was not the strength that will or desire has put together but the strength that is there in a river, in a mountain, in a tree. It is in man when every form of desire and will have completely ceased.
Woke up early with that strong feeling of otherness, of another world that is beyond all thought.
VIII:6 Ramakrishna / Indian mystic-seer
1. Dive deep! Dive deep, my mind!
Into the Ocean of Divine Bliss.
2. I was then suffering from excruciating pain because I had not been blessed with a
vision of the mother [God as the creative Principle of the world]. I felt as if my heart
were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered by a fear that it might not
be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation any longer: life did
not seem worth living. Suddenly my eyes fell on the sword that was kept in the Moth-
er's temple. Determined to put an end to my life, I jumped up like a madman and
seized it, when suddenly the Mother revealed herself to me, and I fell unconscious
on the floor. What happened after that externally or how that day or the next passed,
I do not know, but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss altogether
new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.
Later he said about this experience: "The buildings with their different parts, the
temple, and all vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead was a limitless, infinite, effulgent ocean of Consciousness or Spirit."
VIII:7 Heisenberg / physicist
The talk was still going on when, quite suddenly, a young violinist appeared on a balcony above the courtyard. There was a hush as, high above us, he struck up the first great D minor chord of Bach's Chaconne. All at once, and with utter certainty, I had found my link with the center ... The clear phrases of the Chaconne touched me like a cool wind, breaking through the mist and revealing the towering structures beyond. There has always been a path to the central order in the language of music, in philosophy and in religion, today no less than in Plato's day and in Bach's. That I now knew from my own experience.
The Pauline's Spiritual Basis of Christianity
OUR HUMANITY IN CHRIST
IX:1 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.
IX:2 Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
IX:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
IX:4 I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me, My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory.
IX:5 For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
IX:6 In [Christ] who is the source of my strength I have strength for everything.
IX:7 [God] chose us in [Christ], before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him
IX:8 Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as [being] dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.
IX:9 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
IX:10 With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.
IX:11 Therefore take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
IX:12 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one ? I am talking like a madman - with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I have received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I have been beaten with rods; once I was stoned. Three times I have been shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brethren; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches"
IX:13 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me
IX:14 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
IX:15 I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
IX:16 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.
IX:17 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
IX:18 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an op- portunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
IX 19 Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual im- morality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
IX:20 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
IX:21 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him be- fore the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
IX:22 In Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
IX:23 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in or- dinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostil- ity. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
IX:24 This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
IX:25 I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith ? that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
IX:26 The truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
IX:27 Having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
IX 28 Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salva- tion, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making suppli- cation for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
IX:29 If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
IX:30 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
IX:31 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me; practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
IX:32 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities; all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together [author's italics].
IX:33 Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
IX:34 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
IX:35 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
IX:36 We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
IX:37 Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with god- liness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
IX:38 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good con- fession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time - he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
IX:39 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.
IX:40 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobe- dient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learn- ing and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqual- ified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
IX:41 All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
IX:42 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trust- worthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profit- able for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
IX:43 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
IX:44 My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man,
"You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
IX:45 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
IX:46 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
IX:47 How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my bro- thers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
IX:48 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry … In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and ob- scene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircum- cised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony [author's italics]. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
IX:49 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
IX:50 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your pas- sions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore who ever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
IX:51 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
IX:52 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"? yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
IX:53 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the righteous person. He does not resist you.
OUR LOVE IN CHRIST
IX:54 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
IX:55 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
IX:56 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you.
IX:57 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
IX:58 Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
IX:59 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
IX:60 In all your dealings with one another, speak the truth in love, that you may grow up.
IX:61 More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endur-ance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."
IX:62 For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
IX:63 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. … For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another"
IX:64 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ has made me free from the law of sin and death.
IX:65 Love comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
IX:66 Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The Author's Interpretations of Our God-Within
[From The New Testament]
1 Behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
"Within us" as part of us or as the whole of us? But then how could the eternity and infinity of God be a part of us. It's hard to conceive of eternity or infinity being parceled out in sections. Then if God is "in" us as the whole of us, then God is everywhere, endlessly. Would that be in every atom of us? And if God is the whole of us, are we then essentially God? If so, then we need to urgently revise our perspectives of religion and spirituality.
2 I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you.
This saying might be interpreted as meaning: The Father contains Jesus, and Jesus contains you, and you contain Jesus. Or, The Father consists of Jesus, and Jesus consists of you, and you consist of Jesus. Or, I am the Father, and you are Christ, and Christ is you. If we consider the interpretation of passage 1 above, then this last interpretation would be closest to the truth of the saying.
3 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
One's inward God will be revealed to him if he be perfectly receptive to It as
4 You...must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is Perfect.
Perfect in what sense? perfectly moral? perfectly loving? perfectly forgiving? perfectly virtuous? perfectly patient?... and we can go one and on. Now, of course, as human, we are imperfect, and can be nothing else. So long as we are subject to our chemical psychophys- iology, we can never be perfectly any-thing, if by perfect we mean purely selfless ? Perhaps an act or two, now andthen, yes, in which we acted intuitively, without thought, but by pure compassion or love. ... and here we come, perhaps, to the true meaning of "perfect" : a perfect act of love. But what is a perfect act of love? Is it not when we identify with a person (or animal or anything) so that we become one with him or her in mind so that we act in uni son with him or her, so that her suffering is our suffering, her joy is our joy?
5 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.
Which implies that we already are spirit and truth, otherwise how could we in the flesh only, be able to worship in spirit and in truth? and since "spirit" is indivisible, infinite and eternal,
we essentially are the same.
Compare: God has put eternity into man's mind. (Ecclesiastes)
6 When the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
When the spirit of truth comes to our realization comes to us in its grace; in which case it is always there, being indivisible spirit. Once we are graced with the Spirit of truth, then all re-lated truths will abound in us.
7 I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see
the kingdom of God.
So the kingdom of God, which is Spirit, God, can be realized here and now in life. But where is "here"? In our mind, when It suffuses us with Its grace; But when "now in life"? when its grace unexpectedly descends upon us, most likely when we are psychologically receptive to its visitation. And how does this receptivity occur? By our shedding the trappings of our ego and sensuality. And this is why Jesus and his apostles are so intent on our shedding our self so that we may be ready for its visitation
8 I have shown you [the Jews] many good works from the Father; for which of these
do you stone me? The Jews answered him, "We stone you for no good work but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them,
Is it not written in your law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Fa-
ther consecrated and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming," because I said 'I am the Son of God'?
So even the Scribes wrote of men and women as gods -- God made them in his own image. Of course, people being so imperfect (lustful, immoral, malicious, etc.) and God perfect, it would be sheer blasphemy to speak of them as gods or children of God. So, this Truth remains a secret, a mystery, not to be thrown out to "swine" (the unworthy). It cannot be de- nied by those who realize this truth: that we are all sons of God. Now along comes Jesus who is so imbued with his Godhood, that he announces his divinity as common to all people. Yet even he has to be careful with the common people whom he is addressing, since they are infused with the notion that they are but puny fallible, subject to death, dis- ease, famine, etc. mortals who beg to be immortal; and so they will listen to anyone who comes up
with an idea that there is a God who created them and will reward them with everlasting life with Him and their loved ones. How could they even begin to think that they too are essentially immortal, in fact, God?
9 The kingdom of God is in the midst of you.
God is everywhere in us, out of us, in Jesus, in oneself, in one's neighbor, in this, in that, in everything. More particularly, Jesus is the "ambassador" of the kingdom of God, in which case, he is "in the midst" of those to whom he was addressing.
10 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Unless one becomes totally receptive to the Kingdom of God, they will not realize It. This receptivity requires selflessness, understanding, grace, sensitivity, goodness, meditation, etc.
11 I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true; there is another who bears witness to me, and I know that the testimony which he bears to me is true.
Jesus is not concerned with "his" wisdom, but the wisdom of his essential Self: His kingdom of God. It is from that source that He teaches. That he is especially near God, he mentions not emphasizes. He has to mention it, because how else would he be believed? By reason? By intuition? So he has to come on strong to emphasize that he is the Son of God. Why? -- He lives in and for God only; he has realized Him, and that he himself is Him. No one else knows this; so this is why he is teaching it as the testimony to what many people intuit, and are receptive to. Yet this doctrine is dangerous, so he sugarcoats it with parables and innu- endoes, and beatitudes.
12 I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
At first thoughts, this statement seems to contradict Jesus' declarations that Jesus is in truth the Son of God, that is to say, he is God made flesh. In which case, God would not be greater than Jesus except in the sense that His incarnation is less than God so far as human interpretation is concerned.
Another way of looking at this situation would be to consider Christ's declarations of being essentially God as a metaphor. Which is to say, that mystically speaking, he experienced the Oneness, the pure-conscious bliss of God or Eternity, not only once or twice, but continually (as Ramakrishna did); so much so, that all that mattered to him was the eternality, the essenti- ality, the spirituality, of his being. Accordingly, he came to believe, or rather, know, that his true, real, being was God -- the Love, the Meaning, of everything.
So, yes, he was the son of God, since he apparently was the only one known who be- came God (Oneness, Pure conscious Light-Dark, Bliss, totallydenuded of self and life-presence) so totally. Accordingly, he braved the risk (the first and only person of his and former times) of declaring and preached that Reality and his Sonship of that Reality.
And so, daringly (he most likely intuited that it would cost him his life) he declared himself as the Son of God in all its mythological trappings ? "healing the sick," "raising the dead," "feeding the multitudes," "walking on water," "sitting at the right hand of God," and the like. And being so powerfully, spiritually, in touch with God/Heaven, he probably was capable of something like "healing the sick," "raising the dead," "feeding the multitudes," and the like.
Yet, hardly a one paid attention to, or could grasp, the truth of his and our divinity in his times - nor dare I say, ecclesiastically, historically, through to our times - to the truth that not only was he the son of God, but that we are all sons of God essentially, eternally, immortally. Yes, He was the son of God because he was the only person qualified to preach its Word, its gospel -- "Be perfect as your God in heaven is perfect."
In the end, in order to clear the air of this "son of God" controversy, we could say, that the phrase "Son of God," whether referring to Jesus alone or to all of us, is a metaphor for the mystic experience of Oneness beyond all
physical dimensions. In which case, Its "Experience," if we can call it that, is our pure-conscious bliss of Oneness; metaphorically, we can call it our Godness, our Son-of-Godness, and all its variations.
So if Christ is metaphorically the Son of God, as set forth in these comments, would be considered an avatar of God; but an avatar of such epic proportions that he stands out as the foremost spiritual messenger of all times inasmuch as he initiated, in no uncertain terms the God-within reality publically and sacrificed his life for it - in which case, of course, he did die for our sins so that through his example, his Ideal, his Truth, (in the extreme) we too could free our minds from our ego-sensuality enough to experience our Godness, our eternality,
if only once or twice in our lifetime so that we could live our lives within the radiance of the holy Light, the sacred flame, the enlightened Love, despite all the crushing strife we are subject to without falling apart.
True, other great religious-minded persons have taught this inward God Reality, but who are they? Krishna? Too impersonal and legendary. Buddha? Too erudite and impersonal. The Upanishads? Who wrote them? The Tao Te Ching, Laozi an undisclosed person. Ramakrishna? Too much of the enclosed monk however passionate. Krishnamurti? Too objectively remote -- a third person witness-writer. Hardly anyone of note in the Christian religion other than Meister Eckhart; inspirational, but too intellectual and church enclosed.
And considering all the important mystics down through the ages to our times, East and West, they are of little or no human consequence other than testimony. It is Christ who stands forth as the beacon of our spiritual nature both as a person and as a god among men.
13 You are the light of the word. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
We who are in touch with our essence are in the light. We shine with this realization; we can't help but doing so. In what way do we shine? By acts of love, by being immersed in love, as in meditation in contemplation, in acts. God is love. We have realized God-as-Love, so we act in love. If we shine in love, then it will be recognized by others that we have gone be-yond the capture of ego and sensuality: of their fears and anxieties, of their excesses and deficiencies; in which case, we give "glory to [our] Father who is in heaven."
From The Gospel of Thomas
1 I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries.
His mysteries are those which pertain to Christ's identity with God, as well as our identity with God, And those who are worthy of his mysteries are those who are receptive to learning of them, and who are willing to take the necessary steps to realize the Truth behind those mysteries.
2 If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the kingdom is in heaven,' then the birds of Heaven will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather the kingdom is inside you and it is outside you.
We cannot fly as the birds, nor swim as the fish, and so they would reachthe kingdom of heaven before us; yet we are more than flight, we are more than aquatic, in as much as we know we are human, and so, that we are immortal. The birds of the air and the fish of the sea too are essentially immortal; yet they do not know this Truth. We do ? which are both our grace, and our anguish. The kingdom is within us inasmuch as God "runs through" every- thing, by which it creates and holds everything to its place, structure and order, from a
particle of dust to an amoeba to a human being to a star. The kingdom is without us inas much as everything, again, from a particle of dust to an amoeba to a human being to a star is God made manifest, are images of God, immortal Spirit made mortal flesh, infinite being made finite energy-matter.
3 Have you discovered the beginning, then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is, the end will be. Fortunate is one who stands at the beginning: That one will know the end and will not taste death."
The beginning of all things is the essence of all things, beyond good and evil, beyond space and time, beyond cause and effect. In which case the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning; in which case, further, there is in Reality, no beginning nor end; they are as we interpret nominal Reality as phenomenal reality. That we realize this Truth frees us from the fear of death; since, in actuality, there is no death beyond the dying of the mortal body.
4 Whoever has ears should hear. There is light within a person of light, and it shines on
the whole world. If it does not shine, it is dark.
A person of light radiates his (or her) realization of his divine nature; and his being Shines with it in presence and indeed. This person manifests this inward light in creative works of science, art, religion, philosophy; and these works advance man's consciousness, drawing ever closer to the realization of his Pure Consciousness as God. And on a lesser scale of works, those individuals of light, who in their private, common life, perform works of love and justice and wisdom that ever bear witness to the Holy One pressed dearly to the heart. Without these persons of light insinuating themselves in-to our lives, we walk ever engulfed in the darkness of our humanness.
5 From Adam to John the Baptist, among those born of women, no one is so much greater than John the Baptist that the person's eyes should not be averted. But I have said that whoever among you becomes a child will know the kingdom and will become greater than John.
Once a person realizes that he, as well as Christ, is the son of God, then his life will be of more relevance than even the great prophet John the Baptist; because inasmuch as John was a prophet heralding the coming of Christ, this prophecy is as nothing compared to the good news a person of Light has to offer the world, however small in scope his life may be.
It is the realization of God as man, of man as God, that is the central point; not prophesies.
6 If they say to you, 'Where have you come from?' say to them, 'We have come from
the light, from the place where the light came into being by itself, established [itself], and appeared in their image.' If they say to you, 'Is it you?' say, 'We are its children, and we are the chosen of the living father.' If they ask you, 'What is the evidence of your father in you?' say to them, 'It is motion and rest.'
Those of the light of realization are to reveal the source of this light so that those without the light may attain to it, or believe, have faith, in it; because those unfamiliar with the light cannot realize or conceive, that they too are of this light; the enlightened ones must show them its manifestations are in the world of motion, or flux; and that the essence of this motion is without motion: the first cause (Aristotle)? but is rather the form of all things in motion.
7 His followers said to him, "when will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?" He said to them, "What you look for has come, but you do not know it."
Jesus is the incarnation, the witness, of what they are looking for. In this sense the new world has come; he is right in front of them. He is in their presence to pass on the Truth that the "rest for the dead" is eternal life, and that the "new world" in truth is the eternal world. When will his followers ever get the point, and stop living in superstition?
8 Two will rest on a couch; one will die, one will live.
Salome said, "Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from
my table as if you are from someone."
Jesus said to her, "I am the one who comes from what is whole. I was given from the
things of my father."
"I am your follower."
"For this reason I say, if one is <whole>, one will be filled with light, but if one is
divided, one will be filled with darkness."
Jesus is so intimately, so fully, in touch with his -- our-- Divinity that he can live no other way than in It and for It. He has come to reveal this Truth to man that he may know that his life has meaning beyond his animal-human existence. Were we to realize this inward Truth, This God-Divinity, we would be whole in understanding, and not be so divided, seeking here and there ceaselessly for solutions to problems that do not even exist. When we come to this -- we
shine with It; we no longer stumble in the darkness of our minds.
9 One who knows all but is lacking in oneself is utterly lacking.
A person who has knowledge -- rational, intuitive -- of the divine nature, but has no realization of it, nor lives in and for it, is like the person who is missing a dimension; like the difference between a real horse and a painting of a horse. One who has never seen a horse but is presented with a picture of one, has an impression of what a horse is, but knows nothing more of its nature and behavior. Once this same person sees an actual horse and learns of its nature and behavior, he then can be said to know what a horse is. He might than go
on to become a horse specialist, and so forth. The same with a man whose tell of the divine nature, but whose presence and actions lack authenticity of it. There is no revelation, no realization, no enlightenment in the man. He is "utterly lacking" in the spiritual dimension of it.
10 If you bring forth what is within you, what you have will save you. If you do not have that within you, what you do not have within you [will] kill you.
If you bring forth the Spirit within you into the very fabric of your life so that It shines forth unto everyone, you have fulfilled yourself and are saved from the desperation, desolation of knowing that the divine nature dwells within you, yet you cannot realize it for whatever reason, the main one being the preponderance of your self-concerns, your fears, your anxieties, your confusions, in short, your ignorance. Of course, you do "have that within you" but without
realizing it and living it, you may as well not have "that within you".
11 I am the light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.
Jesus shines with a divinity that bears witness to the essential nature underlying everything, everywhere, from which all things issue.
12 Whoever is near me is near the fire, and whoever is far from me is far from the
Concoct the stupendous energy in each and every atom of us, and we have the heat of the sun at our core; and this is the fire-core, we might say, is the synapse between life and being -- however esoteric this may sound. By imitating Christ, we get to the core of the flame of us; otherwise, we are as distant from God as we are from the sun.
13 Images are visible to people, but the light within them is hidden in the image of the father's light. He will be disclosed, but his image is hidden by his light.
All that we perceive, ourselves included, are but images (or manifestations) of our essential nature. these images conceal the Real (the father, God) from us. This Real is the blinding Light that closes off revealment to us; yet this Light is given to us in Vision; and it is this vision that discloses the Light from the image of light.
14 When you see your likeness, you are happy. But when you see your images that came into being before you and that neither die nor become visible, how much will you bear?
You are lying down ready to go to sleep, then from "nowhere" comes this stupendous music into your consciousness that, were you able to transcribe it in musical notation, would make you one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. Then it is gone...forever. Is this what Thomas means about "your images." Is this the secret of the great composers: that they tapped into the eternal music that "neither dies nor becomes visible"? Is this the "music of the spheres" that so many have talked about? Then there are the "images" that mathema- ticians and scientists come upon as they awake and which solve their lifelong problem that no amount of reason could solve. And then, as you are watching your dog walk through the tall grass, you exclaim from "nowhere", "There is God walking through the grass!" Or, as a breeze wafts through the window to you, you exclaim," I am this breeze!" You are left in wonderment! And then it is gone, and you are back to yourself. And, as Thomas asks, "how much will you bear"? How many of these images could our poor humanity take, amidst all our daily activities and anxieties and travails and successes and failures? These images are those who identify us with our eternality
15 The messengers and the prophets will come to you and give you what is yours. You,
in turn, give them what you have, and say to yourselves, 'When will they come and take
what is theirs?'
Those who come to you to "enlighten," or initiate, you into the mysteries of the divine nature, the kingdom of God, question whether they really are in possession of these mysteries so long as they keep them to themselves as though only they are privy to them; as long as they do not straightway announce to you your own participation in this divine nature, turn the tables on them, and preach to them yourself the word!
16 His followers said to him, "When will the kingdom come?" "It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, 'Look, here it is,' or 'Look, there it is.' Rather, the father's kingdom is spread out upon the earth and people do not see it."
The God within is not anywhere to be seen, or looked for, as though it were "somewhere". Can we see infinity? eternity? Being? Can we see the light that lighted the world? Wherever there is Being, there is the kingdom. But Being itself cannot be seen; a being can be seen, but not Being itself from which individual beings issue.
Being is everywhere and nowhere: everywhere as phenomena; nowhere as noumena. Hence the kingdom is not to "come", nor has it ever come, nor will it ever come. It is as it eternally, infinitely ever has been and will be.
1 Let us leave the elementary doctrines of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, with instructions about ablutions, and the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come.
There it is! Paul knows; and he announces it to the world: the secret doctrine --"I disclose my mysteries to those [who are worthy] of [my] mysteries." -- that we too are "partakers of the Hwill be, eternally. But the world was not ready for this "secret doctrine, "if it is ready even in our times ? well, at least we are ready more than ever we were. And not being ready, Jesus had to spoon-feed the people of his times with "elementary doctrines, " that included " a fworks and of faith toward God … eternal judgment." It was dangerous enough to attempt to convince people that he was the Son of God let alone convincing them that they too were. So he taught the kingdom of God in parables and in metaphors and in beatitudes and in the laying on of hands and in redemption and of resurrection and of moral perfection and of acts of love. with hints of the underlying Truth of God's kingdom. And as far as the events -- or meaning of -- his death of the cross, his and resurrection, we might consider what the great
mystic Ramana Maharshi [the master] has to say about them:
The Master gave the true significance of the Christian faith thus:
Christ is the ego.
The Cross is the body.
When the ego is crucified, and it perishes, what survives is the Absolute Being (God) (cf. "I and my Father are one") and this glorious survival is called Resurrection.
And regarding these elementary doctrines, to whom would we have to repent? To our- selves? since we are essentially God. Why would we need faith when we know--i.e. have been enlightened to our inward Truth? Why would we need to cleanse ourselves of sin when sin has nothing to do with our eternal nature; besides, we suffer enough for our sins on earth; why must we suffer for them eternally, as well? The laying on of hands? Fine! Whatever gifts you haveuse them; But from where do they come? From your inward Self: your God-hood. The resurrection of the dead? You are resurrected on the moment you draw your last breath here in your mortal body. It would be as though an adultreturned to kindergarten that he would return to the "elementary doctrines of Christ" once he or she has been "enlightened," has "tasted the heavenly gift," has "become partakers of the Holy spirit, " has "tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come."
And what does it mean to be "enlightened"? To have realized the eternity that God has put into man's mind (Ecclesiastes). And what is this realization? That one's consciousness has dissolved into the Pure consciousness of God such that there is no trace of self, or any- thing, but God in one's mind. One's mind becomes the universal mind ? We become one with all. And this enlightenment is the "heavenly gift" ? and it is a gift, because it does not come at our bidding. And surely this enlightenment includes us as "partakers of the Holy
pirit". We then know "the goodness of the word of God"; that in Him, as Him, we are eternally free as He is; this is our sitting at His right hand in heaven. And these "powers of the age to come"? Well, once we have attained "the age" to come, i.e., eternity, then all powers are ours; we are all powers.
Now as to how many people have experienced this "heavenly gift" We have no idea; per- haps more than we could ever know, since people normally would be cautious in revealing such a bliss Experience. Who would believe them? They would be considered mad; even demonic! So, those who have experienced this God Bliss -- perhaps everyone has in one way or another, at one time or another in their lives -- would be so bewildered by it that they would think they were hallucinating.
2 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him," God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everywhere, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man's thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.
The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. For who has known the mind
of the Lord so as to instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The mature: those who know their spiritual birthright. Wisdom: the Truth which issues from eternity that radiates itself throughout all being. The secret and hidden wisdom of God: that God is the love that binds all things as one from a particle of dust to an exploding star, from an amoeba to a human being.
Jesus was of this wisdom par excellence and the Pharisees had him cruciied for it, as they had not this wisdom of God in their understanding, in their experience. And so he blasphemed, as they saw it Paul and his disciples have received the consciousness, the vision, of this holy Gift in their soul; and they are compelled to teach it at whatever cost.
3 I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self.
The law of God: that which rules the world to its place, to its order, to its structure, to its forms. As Paul is of the world, so does God rule him. Where though? In his every part -- bone, cells, atoms -- as a whole.
4 All you who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship.
As "led by the spirit of God" we are living a spiritual life; and thereby, are sons of God. And
a spiritual life would be one of pure devotion to God in prayer, in goodness, in love, in con- jugal sex or celibacy, in being shed of our ego with its desires and fears and emotions. We have become passionate for God not for the flesh. Our passion has been transmuted into compassion; our lust transmuted into affection. Living in the spirit of God, we have become God-like in our mind and Christ-like in our hearts. Beauty has be- come Truth, no longer sensuous or sensual. We are living more, much more, in with our soul than our body-mind complex. We are Intoxicated with God not with Eros. And thus wise we are sons of God. We live in and for God and foremost. We are imitators of Christ. In being God-like, we are Christ-like. Yet God is neither passionate nor compassionate, is neither good nor evil, neither mind nor body nor soul, neither son nor father, neither here nor there; neither now, then, nor hence, neither alive nor dead. Were God any of these, It would be limited, divided, relative, contrasted, compared. Which, in that case, we are not, nor can be "sons" of God. We simply are God at our inmost being, as is everything else. Metaphori- cally, yes, we would be "sons" of God were we to live as Christ-like; but "sons" in the sense that we would be more transcendently receptive to our essential nature having minimized the human animal in us. The less our minds are subject to our human conscious ness, the more it opens to its wider panorama of life consciousness, and so pure consciousness. Again, in this sense, we are sons of God, because are shedding ourselves of being sons of man. It is then that the son is the father is the son is the father. ...
5 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?
Our human beingness is the manifestation of God which inspirits Itself as human or animal or plant or mineral, or...everything. Yet, somehow our mind is conscious of itself, and so con- scious of other selves, and so conscious of all phenomena. And being conscious, reasons about this consciousness.
6 His [Christ's] divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.
Through Christ we have become aware of our divine nature as God. Before him (at least in the western world), we believed ourselves separate from God, believed ourselves under
the illusion our frail humanity have anything in common with the Divine nature. Yet Christ has come to teach us that, our frail humanity aside, we are essentially divine, essentially God Himself. Knowing this truth, it is up to us to transcend our humanness so that we may become "partakers of the divine nature." This was Christ's essential message to the world; and in this sense he is our savior.
7 [We are] joint heirs with Christ.
Yes, though Christ is our exemplar, our savior; yet, at the core of us, we truly are "heirs with Christ". Without his life and teachings, we might still be on our knees begging for God's – or the gods – forgiveness, trembling in dread of His temporal and eternal decrees.
8 ... he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Well, actually we are one spirit with him already ? eternally. By coming to be united with the Lord in this life, we "become" one spirit with him, inasmuch as we live in and for this spirit.
1 God is love, and he who abides [lives] in love abides [lives] in God, and God abides [lives] in him.
Now Jesus himself nowhere makes this compelling, sovereign, statement that God is love; yet his teachings are practically nothing but councils of love. On what authority, then, does John make this claim? His own in vision or else wise? wise? God's? or even Jesus' himself? Elsewhere, John states that "love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this love of God was made manifest among us that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live
through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins."
In this latter passage, he again repeats that God is love, and further states that love is of God, and that he who loves knows God and that God's love for us was so strong that he sent his only son Jesus to save us from our sins.
This passage, based on the statement "God is love" highlights two seemingly opposing interpretations of meaning that run through the Gospels and the; and how to reconcile them or decide for one over the other is the challenge for contemporary man.
One interpretation, which seems the more obvious one, and the one that Christianity, the religion, has adopted and has built its theology upon, is that God is love in the sense that he is of love, as John puts it; in the sense that we mortals understand as love: the attraction to others, rather than repulsion, that inspires us to do good works toward others and to feel affection and compassion toward them. The more love we show toward others, the closer
we draw to God through Jesus; we then are "partakers of the kingdom of God" If there is no, or little, love in us, then the further from Jesus we are and therefore, from God; and accord- ingly, we are lost souls. Jesus came to mankind to bear witness to this truth and to "com- mand" us to love our neighbor so that we may be saved and also bear witness to this light of love within in our own little way. Without Jesus this is impossible.
Let me lead off with the second interpretation of "God is love" by considering the mean- ing of the last statement of the above paragraph. A man once told me that the reason he attended mass every morning before leaving for work was to curb his violent temper; and it worked overall. This is one essential saving grace of Christianity whether it is to control one's temper, one's lust, one's greed, one's gluttony, one's hate, one's sloth, one's cowardice, one's skepticism, one's aggressiveness, one's "critical eye" and the like. There is
no gainsaying the immense value of the Christian religion in this case alone, which without
the image of Jesus as savior, not only would we fall into sin,|but we would no doubt wallow in it as well. To him we pray to "lead us not into temptation". To him we turn to inspire us to love, to do good, so that we may "keep in line," so to speak, and even hope that we may find ourselves in love and goodness by following Christ's way.
Even a more vital purpose of the Christian religion is the saving consolation it offers to believers who suffer from loneliness, boredom, grief, inadequacy, failure, weak will, anxiety, anguish, terminal illness; who fear the loss of loved ones that they will never see them again, who fear self-annihilation; who suffer from the absurdity, the tragedy, of life. Any one of these conditions casts such a shadow over our mind that it tends to deteriorate our will to live. And so we turn to Christ to place ourselves in his bosom of love and hope and light and peace and promise that we will live eternally "at the right hand of God."
Now Jesus being the preeminent love-being of the world, it would be under-standable that his intense passion for mankind would be to save men and women from their "hell on earth" that they and others, and life itself, imprint upon their frail nature, who never asked to be born vulnerable to "sin" as they were. His profound compassion would be to console men and women from this "valley of tears," this cauldron of desires. How to save and console mankind from the ravages of life: that was his divine mission; and so he taught his gospel of
love, and died his death of agony, and rose as testament to his divinity, his sonship to God.
Yet all was not peaceful in his gospel; for he came with "a sword" as with an olive branch. He came preaching Gesethemene as he did the kingdom; he lived for peace and died in violence; he taught hate of one's parents for the kingdom of God; he proclaimed family dissension on his behalf; he acknowledged that he was not good that only God was good; he destroyed the property of the money-changers in a rage of righteousness. The point of this side of his teachings apparently was to instill fear of damnation into people; which the Jews were accustomed to anyway from the authority of their own scripture.
Jesus commanded his followers to love. Certainly Jesus knew that no one can be com- manded to love another person. Why then did he come off as a tyrant in this regard? Well,
he knew human nature well enough to know that to expect most people to wisely sacrifice
the flesh for the spirit was too much to expect or hope for -- "the spirit is willing but the flesh
is weak." Jesus took this "fire and brimstone" approach because of people's basic laxity
and easiness toward sensuality and pride; that they are moved more by fear and awe than
by truth and understanding.
Jesus surely knew furthermore people's need for an authority figure, a wise leader, an avatar, who radiates as more-than-human to assure them that everything will be all right here and now. All that devotees have to do is to abide by what their Master commands through their spiritual wisdom. Now to assert that one is sent from God Himself to teach His laws, that
is the Redeemer, the Savior; that through him, the Son, poor mankind will be set free -- this is to be the ultimate God Incarnate, the charismatic founder of a religion.
We see then the multiple levels that Jesus functioned on: as the Prince of Peace, as the Warrior of War, as the Lamb of Love, as the Accuser of Damnation, as the Consoler of the Ailing. His peace was of the mind, his war was against the flesh, his love was of the soul, his damnation was of the evil one, his consolation was of the heart. This was no ordinary, or even extraordinary mortal; here was the overman! the oversoul! This truly was the Son of God! -- the multiple Man as witness to the Truth of all truths.
No other man in history was so multi-dimensional. What -- Who -- made this man so Godlike? And the answer to this question has taken all its various interpretations down through the ages of Christianity. Our interpretation which is now quite obvious is that this mortal man was so in touch with his Divinity as God, so Godlike, that he lived as God and died to man as no other person in history has as testimony to that Divinity.
"Lived as God," "died to man"? Within the meaning of these two crucial phrases lies the support of Jesus the man who was Christ, the God in man. How did he live as God? ? stripped of all his alleged miracles, including hisrising from the dead, for which Paul claimed that if we did not believe in the resurrection of Christ, then there is no religion of Christ? He would have lived as God by being in a state of spiritual elevation, benediction almost always;
and by living that benediction among men as totally selfless: enraptured in the benediction
of love; in which case, he would have died to man so far as hishumanness (sensuality, ego, desire, etc.) were literally stripped bare. He lived his teachings. Turning his other cheek was as a breath of air; forgiving his neighbor seventy-seven times was a blessing upon him seventy-seven times; loving his enemy was as though he himself were the enemy; to lay down his life for his friends was to die to fear; to not resist evil was to fight for good. And yet, could any man, however spiritualized, as Jesus certainly was, live perfectly -- and this is the key word -- live consistently enveloped in this purity of spirit on earth in his human cast so long as he is physiologically subject to the biology of his body and mind as a man of "blood, sweat, and tears." -- or as the Poet put it: "Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, or- gans, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the
same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh, if you poison us, do we not die."
Further, does not Jesus respond to someone who called him good that he is not good; that only God is good. Does he not say that he doesn't speak on his own authority, but on God's authority; that he keeps God's commandments; that those who follow him will even do greater works than he himself? Do not these assertions de-emphasize him as the Son of God?
He says be perfect as your God in heaven is perfect -- not as he is perfect. Now if only God is good -- perfectly good, then, this perfection must not be of this earthly existence. In his flesh he is not good; yet he truly was perfect as his God in heaven was perfect.
Since so many of Christ's precepts, and commandments pertain to humanistic love (Love
thy neighbor.) and transcendent love (Love God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul.), I believe it appropriate to end this book with a brief look at this concept
of love in relation especially to Christ's two primary commandments mentioned above.
The following comments, extracted from one of my books, explore this concept a little.
One might seriously question Christ's commandments to love, since no one can be
be commanded to love anyone; it happens or does not happen of itself. Certainly this
holds true in matters of erotic-love, or self-love, or vital-love; yet Christ obviously was
not referring to these common experiences of love, but to a love far more encompas-
sing in scope: a love of humanity, of nature, of God. Such transcendent love pales in
contrast to the emotional intensity of either erotic, self, or vital love; for these humanly manifestations of love engulf the mind and emotions: erotic-love in terms of sex and propagation; self-love in terms of pride and desire; and vital-love in terms of empathy
and endearment.It has been given to only the very few to live love exclusively; and
though many aspire to such a life --: to love mankind, nature, God, selflessly, the pull
and lure of their humanity are normally too enticing for them to love beyond self-inter-
est except occasionally -- "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"; or in more con-
temporary terms: they want to love selflessly, but rarely feel this want. It is more a mat-
ter of intellect to them than of emotion.
Which is where Jesus comes in with his inspiring commands for such aspirants to
love for the sake of God without consideration for the feeling of love. You might ima-
gine him saying some thing like this:
"Don't be concerned about feeling love; just act in love, or lovingly, even if
it doesn't feel natural. Be thoughtful, be kind, be considerate, gentle, under-
standing, gracious -- strong!; project your mind beyond its confinements of
self and stimulation into a transcendent state of man and woman, of good
and evil, of life and death, of the world and God -- of yourself (including ev-
eryone and everything) as God in the in-most meaning of your being. Don't
wait for the 'feeling,' the 'inspiration,' to come upon you; dmost likely they
won't. Act in love, regardless. Make the effort for the sake of God: the God
of Love. Do what is right, what is good; show affection, care, concern; trans-
cend yourself into being and meaning. In this way you will be in the realm,
in the reach, of Pure Love, even though you don't feel it. Strain against the
inertia and strife in your nature; go counter to it. Don't rely on the love im-
pulse, or feeling, or grace; that happens rarely. But know that your intention
to act transcendently for the sake of God, or Love, is the essential matter.
Your humanity is much too frail, much too frivolous, judgmental, divided,
self-serving, to expect to be suffused with love except periodically, instan-
taneously. Should that happen, then fine; that is your reward, your grace.
'But,' you ask 'What if I can't even act in love for the sake of God?' Then I
say to you act from your sense of right, or of obligation, or of your sense
of common humanity. Let your moral sense guide you if not God. In either
case, you are acting in love, you are not far from the kingdom of heaven.
Love is not just a feeling of good and beauty and attraction; it is works as
well, and it is faith. Let the spirit, the sense or concept, of Love move you
to acts of love; not only the feeling. Feelings are ephemeral; works are
reliable, consistent; and with faith, you can act in love without feeling. And
when the feeling does descend upon you like a dove of peace, then know
that is your blessing, your grace, and your incentive to continue the 'good
fight.' - Love! I command you to love!"
So Jesus was right in commanding us to love our neighbor, our enemies, God; and not only was he right, but he had the right to command us to love transcendently: selflessly, being the very purest incarnation of Love itself; or in the Christian format: being the Christ, the Son of God, the Son of man. We wouldn't expect him to "suggest" others to love when to love is so crucial, so inspiring, so beauteous, so true, to a sensitive person's whole being "living to love is the reason we shine" (the Bee Gees).
On this note, this book ends; hopefully with the conviction and aura that the kingdom of God is truly within us -- no question about it; and that we can experience It within our minds trans- cendently either through intuition, intimation, a-sense-of, or as pure-bliss-consciousness, or otherwise. As such, it stands as the precursor to its next volume, in which the kingdom of God translates to the kingdom of Love.
Considering the apostle John's statement, "God is Love.", and Christ's teachings of human and spiritual love, and my final statement in this book that the "God within" principle is trans- formational to "God is Love," accordingly, it is appropriate to update, modernize, Christ's gospel of the kingdom/God within to our times worldwide. And it is my contention that the foremost medium to do so, is through music, pop/rock music, specifically; and even more specifically, through the music and wisdom of John Lennon and the Beatles.
This statement can readily be affirmed through my studies on this phenomenon in the following desktop published books:
Beatles Spirit: Visionaries of Love
Revolution and the Beatles
Of Love and the Man (in three volumes)
Volume one: The Lennon Testament: A Love-Peace Autobiography
Volume Two: Of Love and the Man: A Commentary
Volume Three: Christ and Lennon: Our Kingdom Within