Q: What does it mean to be saved?
A: That depends upon your religious affiliation, but as a rule the Christian church teaches that Jesus Christ willingly gave up his life as a sacrifice for your sins, and by your acknowledgement of that sacrifice you have been freed from the curse of sin and death. It teaches that Heaven is reserved for those who die in the faith . . . Hell is reserved for those who don’t.
Christian doctrine accepts a convert as they are and promises them a new life where they will be forgiven of past sins and become a new person as they live under the living word of God and His bible. In time the simplicity of that message created the largest and most powerful religion known to man. People flocked to the Mother church and her teachings by the millions.
When I was a younger man I know I did. I was at the end of my rope. I needed help from somewhere. Jesus was there, free and open armed, for me. I was born again in a local church and as long as I remained in good standing with the church and it’s doctrine I was guaranteed a place at the table when I got to Heaven. Heady stuff for a guy who had absolutely no religious affiliation whatsoever, and it worked great for a couple of years . . . BUT . . .
In time I began to notice that my life had become an ‘us vs them’ affair, something I was not comfortable with for many reasons. I began to question . . . especially when I realized I, as well as almost every church person I knew, had pretty much traded our past sins in for an open, ongoing, and obnoxious version of self righteousness. I was not pleased with myself.
I studied the bible, prayed for this and that, even lived on a Christian commune for a couple years . . . but after all was said and done I was the same guy I’d always been, but now I had to hide behind this magical connection to God. Anyway the questions became too many, the doubts too large, and I became what we church people feared more than anything else . . . a reprobate backsliding his way to Hell!
Back to the question of salvation: What was I being saved for? Why me? What if I couldn’t read the bible? What if I was born a Muslim? A Jew? An Indian? Chinese? What about the rest of creation? The questions came on like an endless series of waves in a heavy storm and I felt myself sinking under them . . . so I did what I do best. I hopped a plane and headed off into the sunset and a new adventure in Seattle.
Today I am not down on any church, but in general I believe we have gotten it all wrong when it comes to Christianity. I believe we have been duped by a ministry clearly bent on self aggrandizement. Guys who have created magical doctrines in order to rule over their flock of believers instead of taking the time and patience to teach them to practice what the simple teachings of Christ actually meant. We Americans are an overly spoiled, ‘all show and no go’ people. Even our version of Christianity, (especially the TV ministry bullshit), proves it to us.
Bottom line . . . It is easier to WORSHIP Jesus than it is to LEARN from him . . . and the ministers are using our spiritual laziness against us by promoting their version of American exceptionalism in order to control our minds, and give themselves a great life in their shiny new church. These Pharisees and false prophets are alive and well and living among us.
So here’s my answer to your question on salvation: Jesus didn’t appear on the scene to SAVE you. He came to TEACH you how to SAVE yourself. . . and if you choose to follow and practice his teachings, he will be your teacher and you his student. And what can be more satisfying to a teacher than to have a student who learns his lesson?
Jesus was a special being, no one can argue that. I believe he existed and was a thorn in the sides of the priests of that day, just as you will become if you follow his lead. I don’t believe he was a special creation though. I believe he was an old soul who obtained awareness at a very early age and dedicated his life to the cause of teaching humanity a better way.
I believe there have been many teachers who have come and gone throughout the ages who were born for the very same reason, and I believe they all have based their teachings on one four cornered foundation.
You are being saved for no other reason than to build THIS house . . . you may never know it, you may never be awarded anything other than the satisfaction of knowing you helped build it . . . but that will be enough.
Q: What does it mean to be in the moment?
A: Well, to me living my life in the moment is the only time I am actually alive, any other time past or present is either over and gone or sitting somewhere in the future waiting to arrive.
The past, it lies behind you
The future lies ahead
Live in the moment or
live amongst the dead.
The past it lies behind you:
Living in the past in the physical sense is like this: When I was a young man I was strong and agile. I was superman. I could almost fly. When I became an old man I quickly realized I was no longer that person and would have been a fool to try to be. . . Today I must live with the reality that I have weakened to a great extent. I still work out, but now it’s to keep my bones and ligaments agile. Although I still think I can fly, I know better than to try. . . . Same thing for a woman trying to carry the beauty of her youth into old age, it don’t work. There is a special beauty that is reserved for the aged she will never know as long as she lives in the past. That’s living in the moment in the physical.
Living in the past in the spiritual sense is like this: I did some really bad stuff when I was younger that could have tied me up in guilt forever. My spiritual growth has also been stunted by lust, greed, and selfishness. I have hurt people and been hurt in return. I have struck out when a simple turn away would have been better.
Had I held onto past grievances and brooded over them for long periods of time they would have very soon become my best friends and I would still, at 75, be holding onto them. Though they were long past, and completely out of my control I would still honor them in my remembrance. Thankfully I have learned not to hold onto my past mistakes and erroneous ways and to recognize them for what they were. Growth lessons.
The future lies ahead:
It is imperative that each of us realizes that we personally have a whole lot to say say about what our future will hold for us. We are not just poor souls grasping onto dead logs as they float down the river of life, we are powerful souls piloting our own ships, and we have total control when it comes to buffeting the waves and circumventing the whirlpools. We quite literally create our futures by the things we do and say in the present.
Live in the moment or live among the dead:
That’s pretty much the way it is . . . the present is the only place we have control. Therefore, although it is a struggle to do so, it must be done.
Who am I anyway? What am I? What’s my purpose . . . or is there even a purpose at all to any of this?
These are a few of the questions I have been asking myself over the years and somewhat (secretly or loudly) trying to figure out. Questions upon questions run through my mind like a junkie chasing his next fix . . . but usually the answers elude me and I have to experience a thing before I learn it’s lesson. . . . bummer . . .
Why can’t I just believe! Have faith! Listen to what they tell me! Read the good book, follow directions and queue up behind my choice of religion along with the rest of the crowd. Then I would just have to pay my tithes, listen to the pied piper and prepare for Heaven . . . or (gasp) follow this path I’m currently on and get sent on a one way trip to Hell. . . . “That’s the choice you have Jimbo . . . get used to the idea of Hell because you ain’t good enough for Heaven! . . . even if you had 15 more lives, you wouldn’t make the grade . . . Of course just say the magic words, ‘I accept Jesus as my personal saviour’ and your in scott free!” (see next installment)
I’m not really bragging, but I have a rather lengthy resume when it comes to experience on this earthly plain. In short, after a regular high school education, I have been an airborne soldier…been a hippie . . . been a religious nut . . . been an Alaskan fisherman and off season bush rat . . . been a carpenter/home builder. Am a husband . . . a father . . . a writer . . . an amateur herbalist . . . and a Taoistic Christian who lost (or escaped) the religious sides of both . . . The one great truth I have learned during all that time is that NOBODY knows their ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to telling me, in a spiritual sense, what God expects from me. When it comes to living by law and order? That is a social requirement. When it comes to my spiritual life? That is a book only I can open and only I can read and understand and apply myself to.
I’ve run into a lot of folks who have tried to direct me in the ways of the Lord, or in the ways of God, or, worse yet, their own God ordained ways, but the only way that works for me spiritually speaking is MY way. . . . and MY way is fraught with dangers, because alongside of personal freedom dwells personal responsibility. . . and in this country, ‘responsibility’ is one of the scariest words in our language. Nobody seems to want anything to do with it. Look around, from the president on down and all you see are fingers pointing and tongues wagging . . no wonder we are in such bad shape.
I once lived on a christian commune . The religiosities were enormous and the social order was as restricted as the military unit I once served with. I did all the right stuff, said the right words, even attempted to sing on key while singing for my supper, but ultimately I had to walk out on the only church family I’ve ever had because of the religious nonsense that got the best of me. I wore the proper uniform, but I knew beneath it all I was play acting. I knew I was a phoney. Was I faking it? No, I was sincere as I could be, but that uniform I wore was starting to rot and rip as bad as fatigues in the jungle . . . and I knew it. . . . so bye bye, miss american pie . . .
Funny thing was, a year later, I visited my old family and most of them would barely talk to me . . . HA! Probably a good thing I left. With friends like that who needs enemies. But by then I had grown a beard and you know what they say about beards . . . no? Don’t matter, different shit, same day.
Now, to get to the point . . . I am about to embark on a long winded writing on the subject at hand, not as a teacher, but as a watcher and 75 year experiencer of living in the american bubble. (that is about to burst) The main thrusts in these writings will be about: 1. Personal responsibility and 2. Never give in . . . never, never, never give in to doing that which you believe to be the right thing.
Now, when you walk alone and free there are rules, spiritual rules stronger than any physical rules. Rules that the whole of religious thought is based upon, the same rules that are taught in every religion on the planet and followed by almost no one . . . LOVE, MERCY, and GRACE.
I’m a builder. I build homes and just about anything else from musical instruments to dog houses. One thing I fully understand is that for a house to stand the test of time and weather, it must have a good, proper foundation. It is absolutely essential. The foundation must be started below the frost line, built up and carefully backfilled. Everybody knows in the trades that most buyers barely check the foundation and spend most of their time scrutinizing the paint job. So where does the greatest effort go on the builders part? You got it.
The main religions on this planet are all pretty much founded on the same principles of love, mercy, and grace. But after that the foundation goes in and up in a heated rush, it can be crooked and out of level and ugly as hell, but no one cares after the plates, joists, and plywood are applied to cover the shoddy work. The rest of the house is hurriedly roughed in until they get to the paint job and finish trim. Then it’s take your time and do a good job time. Welcome to the large, expensive and beautifully laid out churches of today. Watered down money grubbers like Joel Olsteen comes to mind. What a sham scam that smiley mannered young man is fostering upon the zillions of people who believe his nonsense.
No wonder our kids are leaving the churches in droves, they are smart enough to see the degradation and want no part of it. Trouble is while they see nothing but phoney going for reality, they are also losing the reality of the principles these churches were built upon, and they become wandering stars with no direction at all. They operate in the physical sense of doing what feels good to them. They are swinging the pendulum too far to the left and suffering greatly because of their parents inability to walk the walk while incessantly loving to talk the talk.
I don’t have all the answers, many I am still questioning.
I know for sure that I have no desire to teach, or start a club, or be a leader over anybody. I don’t even like people all that much these days. I have just one goal in these writings and that is to reveal to YOU that WE are powerful spiritual beings and are personally responsible for ourselves. And that we will never know any of that power unless we build the proper structure to contain it and we build it upon a foundation of love, mercy, and grace.
So although I may have a somewhat disjointed viewpoint of religion, I have researched it, meditated upon it, and it has become my reality. Because of that, the dusty old salvation story as well as the book it is written in has evolved into a new and very exciting reality.
I read the book years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now there is the movie playing on Amazon and it reminded me of the nine insights . . . following are the nine with a brief explanation.
A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences. (synchronicity)
This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete worldview, which replaces a five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort. While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our awakening to life coincidences is opening us up to the real purpose of human life on this planet and the real nature of our universe. (We are learning in large numbers that we are powerful spirit beings)
We now experience that we live not in a material universe but in a universe of dynamic energy. Everything extant is a field of sacred energy that we can sense and intuit. Moreover, we humans can project our energy by focusing of attention in the desired direction (“where attention goes energy flows”), influencing other energy systems and increasing the pace of coincidences in our lives. (the discovery of our energy field (or Chi) is a great leap forward for mankind as it struggles for balance)
Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak and insecure. To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy. When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce human energy is the cause of all conflict between people. (we need only to learn that our energy field (chi) grows by sharing with others through acts of kindness)
Insecurity and violence end when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within, a connection described by the mystics of all traditions. A sense of lightness buoyancy and the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection. If these measures are present, the connection is real. If not, it is only pretended. (Once we allow ourselves to strongly link to our spirit reality our worldview drastically changes)
The more we stay connected, the more we are acutely aware of those times when we lose connection, usually when we are under stress. In these times, we can see our own particular way of stealing energy from others. Once our manipulations are brought to personal awareness, our connection becomes more constant and then we can discover our own growth path in life, and our spiritual mission, the personal way we can contribute to the world. (We have finally given up the gamery of religion and taken up the reality of our spiritual awakening.)
Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies. First we have a question, then dreams, day dreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answers, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being. (We learn to discern the still, small, voice from the usual constant babble taking place in our heads)
We can increase the frequency of guiding coincidences by uplifting every person that comes into our lives. Care must be taken not to lose our inner connection in romantic relationships. Uplifting others is especially effective in groups where each member can feel the energy of all the others. With children it is extremely important to their early security and growth. By seeing the beauty in every face we lift others into their wisest self and increase the chances of hearing synchronistic message. (make sure that we leave each person we come in contact with a blessing instead of a curse. We must be very care we do not judge others by our perceptions.)
As we all evolve toward the best completion of our spirit missions, the technological means of survival will be fully automated as humans focus instead on synchronic growth. Such growth will move humans into ever-high energy states, ultimately transforming our bodies into spiritual form and uniting this dimension of existence with the afterlife dimension, ending the cycle of birth and death. (as the world around us decends deeper into darkness these nine insights will become brighter. There was a time when we had to fight our way along this path in one’s and two’s, but now current events are pushing us forward in vast numbers. Once the balance has shifted in our favor, then, and only then, will this planet know peace.)
James Redfield and Carol Adrienne, The Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide (New York, NY: Warner Books, 1995), pp. xv-xviii.
We should be made aware that all is not doom and gloom in today’s world and that many of these forms are at work right now and available to any of us who will slow down long enough to listen for them.
When I was a kid I never had a family I was very proud of . . . but when I got older I DID . . . .