What is Real? The Trial of Jesus as Spiritual Revelation

There is a very interesting conversation that takes place in The Gospel of John, 18.28-38. It is a conversation about the nature of reality. Pilate’s final question to Jesus, “What is truth” couldn’t be more profound. Read in its appropriate mystical context, this is a question not about legal perceptions, but about how we as human beings perceive reality. It’s essentially a quantum physics question, although neither Jesus nor Pilate could have known that.

However, because of his incredible spiritual tuning, Jesus did understand that the reality of the world is more dynamic—and more susceptible to massive changes, than we believe. In his time, his people—the Jewish people, were living under Roman occupation. They largely accepted the consequences of this reality, although occasional armed skirmishes showed they didn’t necessarily like it. Jesus, who is much more highly attuned to God than anyone else around him, sees through this. He sees “reality” as purely temporal, and something that not only can be changed, but also is somewhat artificial. I don’t think Jesus would have said, “we create our own reality,” like so many proponents of the Gospel of Wealth. He was more concerned with social justice than that. I do think he understood that the way we view reality as sort of, “that’s just the way it is” has profound consequences on our spirituality and the health of the planet. By aqueiscing to the currently accepted thinking, we do in fact create a reality that is often not in our best interests, the interests of our brothers and sisters, or the interests of the planet. “What is truth?” Most of the time it’s what I tell you the truth is. To that Jesus says, “Yeah, no.”

Remember, before Pilate makes his profound statement, Jesus makes one that is even more mind-bending: “My kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.” He says this because he knows “this world” is an artifice of human creation and is, to a large extent, the result of a lack of imagination and our unfortunate willingness to accept things the way they appear, even though our senses constantly deceive us. Like sheep, we do what we are told because someone we think holds power over us—either because they are a tyrant or because we think they’re smarter or more experienced, told us to do something. “The Bible is literal and infallible!”
 “Okay,” we reply, even though everything we know about history and science informs us otherwise.

“We must sign global trade agreements to improve the economy”
“Okay,” we reply, even though global trade agreements have historically only benefited the corporations they are designed by.

“This Jesus is a rabble rouser, an insurgent, and a heretic!” they proclaim.
“Okay,” the crowd says. “Okay,” his disciples say, because we are programmed to listen to and respond positively to authority. Yet, when Jesus proclaims his authority comes from God, we find it impossible to believe, so entrenched in the reality of human power are we.

This reality is but a shadow of things that happen on a level we cannot physically perceive. We’re not even ready to perceive it mentally. We are just starting to figure out that everything we think is real is just one of many probable realities, and that which reality is truth depends largely on what we think and believe.

For decades, physicists have been trying to work out how light acts as both a particle and a wave, but never both at the same time. In fact, it doesn’t seem to collapse into one state or the other until it is observed and measured. On a sub-atomic level, there is no reality, there is only all possible realities. There is, in fact, no reality in our 4D world until we begin to measure things, and it turns out that measurement is never, ever, objective—it is always subjective. There is no absolute truth.

Now, on a macro scale—the place humans and planets and other things exist, this in-between place, this reality where atoms are both particles and waves, collapses. It cannot be sustained as atoms assemble into plants and trees and Pilates and Jesus’. But there have always been people who intuitively understood that if reality doesn’t actually become real until we observe it, then there is the potential to change it before it even happens. So to claim flight is impossible—to claim anything is impossible, is ignorant. In truth (see what I did there?) anything is possible. In fact, anything is so very possible that all we really have to do is realize the truth of a reality beyond that of this world. You know, like the one Jesus continues to try and show us.

This alternate reality is what Jesus means when he says “my kingdom doesn’t belong to this world.” What he’s really saying is, “I don’t accept this reality, and in fact, I know of another reality that is more beautiful and accepting, one where I would never stand trial for talking about our social responsibility to each other, our connectedness to each other, our duty to share the wealth and to treat each other as brothers and sisters rather than slaves and masters. I can show you this world. I have shown you this world, only you refuse to believe—or just don’t want it to be, possible. What is truth? I am truth, and I can show you the way to the light.”

Now. If only we could believe that was true.

Meditation: I am open to a deeper reality, a deeper way, a deeper truth, a brighter light.

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