Monday, July 27, 2015

THE NATURE AND CHALLENGE OF JESUS' TEACHINGS.... July 26, 2015

"And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you."
-- Jesus

 Here are some thoughts on hearing Jesus. I don't believe any genuine spiritual teaching can be approached literally as something the human ego is addressed by God 'to do.' Instead they are not intended as rational statements but are always paradoxical. I hear the sayings of Jesus intentionally creating an impossible bind for any human who aspires to live an ethical life(Which I assume to be most ordinary folks) for it points to what we well know we have not and cannot consistently or even usually practice in a literal external way. It pushes one to acknowledge their distance from any claimed moral or loving perfection. And to become aware that when any unconditional or sacrificial or effective love comes from us, it is not our ego's doing but a spirit or The Christ or The Self acknowledged within that makes such moments possible. Such moments would be ones experienced by the ego consciousness as 'grace'(where did that come from? we might ask ourselves with gratitude) and not of our own egocentric doing. That is why Jesus would would say such is not to be announced or paraded for that honors the ego which is not where such love behaviors originate, and the practitioners of this fully know that.

This would imply that behaving by the love ethic is not one to be 'worked on' as much as always 'prayed for' as in 'thy kingdom come.' Ironically this is the very prayer I was taught growing up  we do not pray, for the 'kingdom' has supposedly already come....it is the institutional church. Surely this is a tragic misunderstanding of Jesus.

I would add that I find it important to think of Jesus as not always experiencing such perfect love and sharing as a human being either. (I ask for the Christian reader's patience to not rush to the conclusion that this paragraph diminishes the value or adoration I have for Jesus. It is quite the opposite I assure you.) I imagine Jesus lived with a sense of 'grace' like I am describing above.  He  experienced being aided from beyond his ego consciousness and enabled to be what love demanded when it was most needed, often just barely enough and in the nick of time- not some continuous morally perfect life without any flaw. That is how I have come to understand what it is to be a human living in harmony with the Spirit. This would be what the actual 'incarnation and union of divine and human' would look like and how it would be experienced by the human in our day.  The idea of Jesus the man being lovingly and morally perfect(except potentially as he also implied other humans are)  makes it impossible for me to either relate to or genuinely appreciate him as a model for living.. .. I'd have to say I am somewhat repelled by that interpretation of his life for it is totally distant to what is actually me and what I observe in the best of  others. It does not help or empower me toward a more loving life. Instead it  implies Jesus was not a real and whole human being, which is the only goal I can rationally aspire to, to experience my being's center as not my ego consciousness but something much larger, something which I am not the manager of and which creates those moments of grace whenever love and full generosity  should emerge in my behaviors. This would also imply our imperfections and character flaws, rather than being despised and rejected outright,  become consciously a necessary and essential part of our true and 'whole' character or personality.

ADDENDUM
Jesus also says, 'All things are possible with God'... Applying that to the individual or group would mean just that. We do not ever 'know' by reasoned knowledge what The Self or indwelling spirit or The Christ can work to bring forth from humans. The important point I think is that morality and ethics in Jesus' teaching is not primarily a matter of the thinking, willing, planning ego consciousness. It is created by the 'other' undetectable by physical senses .... religious function. Depth psychology stresses, this 'other' function is as much a reality of the natural human being as are  the capacities to think and feel. Becoming more aware of this and Trusting 'It' is there and functioning creates a transformed 'state of mind' that can bring about development of the 'whole' person and  potentially  a genuinely transcending  and  realized ethic. ... where one potentially experiences 'so loving the world'. I think we can see how hope in any kind of PERFORMANCE UNDER LAW or human reason alone , runs contrary to this paradoxical emphasis of Jesus' teaching.

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