Suppose you and I have had an argument. If you have beaten me instead of my beating you, then are you necessarily right and am I necessarily wrong? If I have beaten you instead of your beating me, then am I necessarily right and are you necessarily wrong? Is one of us right and the other wrong? Are both of us right or are both of us wrong? If you and I don’t know the answer, then other people are bound to be even more in the dark. Whom shall we get to decide what is right? Shall we get someone who agrees with you to decide? But if he already agrees with you, how can he decide fairly? Shall we get someone who agrees with me? But if he already agrees with me, how can he decide? Shall we get someone who disagrees with both of us?… But waiting for one shifting voice [to decide for] another is the same as waiting for none of them. Harmonize them all with the Heavenly Equality, leave them to their endless changes, and so live out your years. What do I mean by harmonizing them with the Heavenly Equality? Right is not right; so is not so. If right were really right, it would differ so clearly from not right that there would be no need for argument. If so were really so, it would differ so clearly from not so that there would be no need for argument. Forget the years; forget distinctions. Leap into the boundless and make it your home!
Taoism. Chuang Tzu 2
Around the age of nine, I found my need to find the “right” path to God overwhelming most other things in my life. So while attending a Yiddish school on Saturdays, I reserved Sundays to attend as many different churches and Sunday schools that I could get to and also gain entrance. It seems now to have been a young age for such a quest, but at the time, the world in which I lived seemed so chaotic and unjust, that finding the way to God felt to me to be the only journey that could in anyway offer me peace. My Jewish upbringing taught me to question and so, of all the churches that I attended, my shortest stay was in the Catholic Church where, because of my insistent questioning, I was asked to leave and not return. I think that my Jewish experience, on a whole was the most enriching in my life, yet, at the same time, the words that I learned were spoken by the Christ resonated profoundly in my heart. As I went from church to church, somehow I found it difficult to feel that I had found the home that I was seeking.
Yet, even when I ran out of churches to attend, Jesus stayed with me insisting that I find a way to accept Him into my life. Part of my problem was I felt that to embrace Jesus was to betray my Jewish heritage, which I so deeply valued. The other problem that I had was that it seemed a contradiction to say in one statement that we were all children of God and then in another that Jesus was the only begotten Son of God. I spent many hours in silence asking God to help me find a way to make peace with this contradiction. Other times I just wished that he would go away and leave me alone. I debated the concept of Christ for hours on end with my Christian friends but never mention it to my Jewish ones. Inside I had no peace. My intense questioning and debate caused one Catholic Priest to actually come to my door and ask me to stay away from the Catholic friends that I had who were members of his church. It was not my intention to cause them to question their faith, only to seek a way for them to convince me.
Then there finally came a time when my life was so consuming that I did find a way to push the entire question away from my conscious attention. I did this for some years, although during the whole time I heard myself time and time again quoting something that Jesus had said. And then one day, I simply felt the Christ consciousness within my soul, without explanation, without intellectual understanding, and contrary to popular belief, without invitation. From that moment on, not only did I have a new vision and understanding of the Christ, but of God and the Universe. My level of comprehension was lifted above the world of form and shape to a world of essence and consciousness. I began writing things that I thought were my own words to only later find out that they were in fact his. What was even more profound was that these words of his, were spoken by Krishna, and the Buddha before him – I was expanding. I started to rise above the judgments and classifications that were once in my mind to a place of wholeness and acceptance which had no real words to explain. And this was only the first step on my journey.
Each scripture is written by the same hand. Each one is speaking in a different symbolic language. Each different scripture resonates for the souls who vibrate to that language. We each vibrate to different symbols, and God, in all His Wisdom, comes in the shape and speaks in the symbols understood by all. Still, as I read through the scriptures and the mythology of various peoples, the characters may seem different but they are basically the same. The exact description of their experiences may differ, but the underlying message is the same.
So, when someone begins to speak in the language of their religion, and I feel the urge to correct them and explain the “right” way – I push myself past that impulse and find that regardless of what the differences are in our spiritual convictions, we can always meet in the common area, called Love. It is my belief that God would not have created us with such diversity if it was His intention that we look, think, live, or believe in exactly the same way. I also don’t believe that He meant for us to be repelled by our differences or to see them as conflicting differences of better or worse, but simply enhancing differences, each offering a new shade of beauty – a different level of experience. Just as we have seven major charkas, each one vibrating to a different color, between each of the seven are many smaller ones in varying shades of the colors that they lie between. Throughout our many lives, each one of the charkas is dominant in our experience of ourselves and of our lives, until we finally reach the crown chakra.
Just like different sizes of shoes, each size fits different feet, but no one fits “better” feet than the other. They are just different. Each is a joyous expression of God. And He experiences Himself through us and through our experiences. The more varied we are the more varied His joy.
Like everyone in the world today, I have been seeking an answer to why we have arrived at this difficult place in history. The most simplistic reason is that we really are not able to share this planet – we have not learned the true meaning of being a neighbor, and so we have not learned the meaning of brotherhood, because if we had, than sharing would come naturally. If we knew the meaning of brotherhood, no one would WANT to have more than anyone else – not more things, or more land, or more food, friends more status or a more sacred knowledge of God. We would want, to have enough, and to be sure that our brothers had enough. It was Cain who questioned being his brother’s keeper and we all know how that worked out for him. Jesus was not the first to mention the idea of brotherhood, and He taught it 2000 years ago. The Initiates of the Eleusinian mysteries between 1500 and 1425 BCE were called adelphoi, which means brothers, a Philadelphian was someone who practiced “Brotherly Love”, which is where the name of the city comes from. The So why is it that we have since traveled to the moon, but not journeyed one step closer to true brotherly love. Certainly, we know how to say it better now than before and we create stories and books showing the joys of brotherhood, but the concept is as much science fiction as the movies showing the year 2520 with desolate nuked out cities run by mutant robots chasing the five humans left who haven’t killed each other – or is the latter more realistic?
“Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”, why is it that the simple things are the most difficult to grasp? We can communicate over distances thousands of miles in a matter of seconds, but we can’t “Do unto others as we would have other do unto us”. I know in my heart that God doesn’t make mistakes, so the fact that it is easier to wrap our legs around our necks and act like a pretzel than it is to love our brothers like ourselves must be a sign along the path. There must be a real message there for us. Have our brains grown at the expense of our hearts? Or did we have to master the easy stuff first, like colonizing Mars before we could be ready to tackle the difficult tasks, like learning to share a planet that we have lived on together for tens of thousands of years.
I believe that thirty percent of the people in the capitalist countries hope that there is a God, and thirty percent fear that there might be a God, and another thirty percent hope that there is a God but that either He is too busy to look at what they are doing, or that He has left much more room to maneuver in His Commandments than meets the eye. This leaves ten percent who truly believe in their hearts that there is a God. However even of that ten percent who believe that, there is a God, five percent believe that in the end we will find that He did not give us Ten Commandments but the Ten Suggestions.
If everything in the Bible was meant to be taken literally, few of us alive today would make it through the 613 commandments without passing directly to the down elevator. It is difficult to believe that after thousands of years of floods, plagues and pestilence, God finally grew so frustrated with man that He decided that the only way to secure mankind’s entrance into Heaven was to beget a son, send him to live a life of the highest form of unconditional love for all, and then have him publically tortured and killed. I believe with all of my heart that God Almighty, All knowing, All seeing, creator of Heaven and earth could find another way. And I believe that the other Way is through the experience of our lives on earth. We have been given Teachers, Jesus being one of them, but not the first, nor the last to show us the Way. In Isaiah 13:15-16 the way to Heaven is stated clearly:
15He that walketh righteously,
and speaketh uprightly;
he that despiseth the gain of oppressions,
that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes,
that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood,
and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
16He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.
Then later in Isaiah: 56:1, the 613 commandments are summed up further this way:
1Thus said Jehovah:
`Keep ye judgment,
and do righteousness,
For near [is] My salvation to come,
And My righteousness to be revealed.
The Way is again made clear by Jesus in Matthew:
16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
This is really one of the foundations for my belief in reincarnation. It seems I have believed in it as early as I could imagine anything, but it really began to make sense when it dawned on me that God is always looking and that fact doesn’t seem to have any impact on most people. I mean – we can justify our actions to ourselves, and we can allow ourselves an ‘E” for effort, but it seems to me that in actuality God does not really ask much of us considering what we receive. And I don’t think that He is really all that vague on His Commandments, but being a Loving God, I do believe that what He does give us is time, and He gives that to of us in the form of reincarnation. After all, God knows that we can’t make the leap from colonizing Mars ALL the way to “Loving our neighbors” in one lifetime. It takes many lifetimes, with frequent rest periods in between to stretch that far from human to humane. Each incarnating class doesn’t have a really high number of graduates at a time, but we all do, in our own time, make that final leap off of the wheel of incarnation.
One thing that is very clear, from Osiris, to Horus, Dionysius to Jesus, and from the Buddha, to Krishna is that the first and most difficult step is non-attachment to the material. God tells us not to make idols out of gold and silver, but we forget that we are also told not to make gold and silver into idols. We must begin that journey of separation from our very closest traveling companion, the ego. We have a lot of history with our egos and they have served us well. What makes it even more difficult is that at no other time in history has the climate been so perfect for an ego. All the toys – all the battles – and all those big, big, guns. It was a great deal easier to make a clean brake a few centuries ago when we were too busy needing each other to give the ego that much room to move and groove. Now, it seems so hard to hurt the egos we love, the egos, which aid in serving us the world on a silver platter.
The spark of God lives within all of us. The journey towards that spark is one that every living being on the planet shares, and, with or without knowing it, we need each other to complete that journey. Life, what is really life, is God. That life which is within each of us also connects us one to the other. It guides all of us, loves all of us and creates the one common thread that unites each living being to each other and to the Source of Life itself. For just as we each have a body with many parts, but just one soul, all of creation is also one Body with just One Soul, and that soul is God.
35And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Leviticus 25:35 (King James Version)
7If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. 9Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought; and he cry unto the LORD against thee, and it be sin unto thee. 10Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto.
11For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land Deuteronomy 15:7 (King James Version)
A psalm of David.
1 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy mountain?
2 Those whose walk is blameless,
who do what is righteous,
who speak the truth from their hearts;
3 who have no slander on their tongues,
who do their neighbors no wrong,
who cast no slur on others;
4 who despise those whose ways are vile
but honor whoever fears the LORD;
who keep their oaths even when it hurts;
5 who lend money to the poor without interest
and do not accept bribes against the innocent.
Whoever does these things
will never be shaken.