Showing posts from September, 2015

Universal Consciousness, part 2: Jesus

The stories we read about Jesus in The Bible draw from a variety of sources: The historical Jesus, stories about Adam and Moses, and even the life of Buddha. It may surprise you to think that anything in the Bible is related to Buddha since we tend to think of it as a Jewish text. Indeed, the Bible is a product of Jewish culture, but no people develop their ideas about anything in a vacuum. Other cultures always surround us and influence our ideas--both intentionally and subconsciously. The Jewish people who authored every story and epistle in the Bible were constantly surrounded by (and often subjugated by) other cultures. The archeological evidence is also incontrovertible: The first Israelites were an amalgamation of Canaanites and Amorites who migrated into what is now Egypt and Syria in the early second millennium BCE. They were multicultural and henotheistic from the beginning (Henotheism is the belief in many gods with Yahweh as the Supreme Being--references to the "Divine

Universal Consciousness, part 1: Buddha

If the creative muses are willing, over the next couple of days I want to compare the stories of Buddha and Jesus. While both stories can be read as historical accounts, they are only revelatory if we read them as allegory. This is not to discount the historicity of either Buddha or Jesus. Their lives on the historical stage continue to be influential. Yet, focusing on them as people from the past has also sidetracked the greater meaning in their stories and made them both objects of worship, rather than gateways to enlightenment. By focusing on Jesus and Buddha as historical characters—and often becoming obsessed with  proving  they were historical figures, we, especially in the West, have lost much of the important meaning in the allegory of their tales. Let’s begin with Buddha (born 500 years before Jesus, it is impossible to look at the teachings of Jesus and not see Buddha’s influence). At the time of his birth, a prophet revealed that Prince Siddhartha would grow up to b

Guided Meditation & Centering Prayer

Guided Meditation & Centering Prayer Today is International Day of Peace. In order to bring a true, lasting peace to the world, we need to become more peaceful as individuals. I do not believe that can happen without a significant change to our spiritual being. We must be people grounded in the mystery and healing love of The Universe if the systems of our planet are to change significantly.

 Toward that goal, in church yesterday I showed a short, 10-minute guided meditation. So many of you have asked for the video that I’ve linked it here for everyone. While we often associate meditation with Eastern religions/philosophical systems, centering prayer is a very ancient Judeo-Christian practice. From Moses to Jesus, from the Benedictine monks to Teresa of Avila and Pope Francis, spiritual sojourners have practiced (and encouraged the practice of) centering prayer and meditation for thousands of years. Centering prayer roots us in God. It’s a form of silent meditation in which we pre

Rebuilding Our Spiritual Foundation, part 2

In our church, we talk a lot about the idea of "spiritual oneness" with God. The idea is that we are not beings separated from God, but rather, are created from the very being of God. There is no duality, no "us" and "God," no physical body and separate soul. Rather, we are one being, created from and always part of the consciousness of God. This relationship is the foundation of our existence: We are One. Oneness isn't a new or even particularly revolutionary idea. The concept is found all over Scripture: "For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13). "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one" (Deut. 6:4). "Then God said, 'Let us make humans in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every

Rebuilding Our Spiritual Foundation, part 1

One of the things I love most about reading The Bible and other ancient literature is the sense of connectedness I get from our ancient ancestors. They were connected to the land they farmed and developed through the use of hand-made and hand-operated tools. They were connected to each other by trade routes that required human interaction. They were connected to God by a deep sense of awe and mystery in every rainstorm; in every gently blinking star. They were people filled with wonder, open to the idea of mystical experiences that simply couldn’t be explained. We have lost much of that sense of awe and mystery. We understand most of the processes of nature, and what we don’t understand we’re analyzing in a way and with tools that would themselves inspire awe and mystery amongst our ancestors. The scanning tunneling microscope, the internal combustion engine, jets, rockets, the Large Hadron Collider, inoculations—these would be the stuff of magic to our ancestors.   Unfortunately, in o

Filled With the Power of Love, part 2

Filled With the Power of Love, part 2 How do we uncover a deeper-than-surface reality? How do we find the goodness in humanity, when all we are told is that we are worthless sinners? We find what I think is a “more real” reality through an intentional process of awakening. We intentionally awaken by finding (and using) spiritual practices that slowly peel away the surface of this artificial reality and reveal the truth about our Oneness with everything that exists on this planet and every planet. In this universe and every universe. The truth is that there is only One, and we are all emanations of The One. You can call this God, enlightenment, nirvana, or Fred the Orange. You can consider yourself Buddhist, Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, or Pastafarian. It doesn’t matter. Every system we create is simply a way for us to awaken to Oneness. There are many paths, but only One Universal Energy, One Universal Mind, One God. Again, different people use different names t

Filled With the Power of Love, part 1

Humans have done a good job of designing a world that keeps the truth hidden from us. Whether we’re surfing TV channels or the Web, we’re flooded with images and stories about how atrocious we are to each other. Constant war in the Middle East is causing a flood of immigration to Europe, in numbers so massive and in waves so fast and furious, that even the countries doing their best to shelter everyone simply cannot keep up. Then, of course, there are the countries that are completely disinterested in sheltering victims of wars they likely had a hand in starting. In the United States, politics is about self-preservation and special interests. This country, once considered the best place on the planet to achieve your dreams; this country, built on the blood, sweat and tears of immigrants; this country, stolen from its indigenous people, is now building walls to keep everyone else out, even though none of us actually belong here. Indeed, if an intergalactic traveler were to stumble acros