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Black & White

Black & White

As a young man growing up in Northern Ireland, I believed the world to be black & white. Not the physical world of course, though with our old 50’s TV sets everything jumped out of the screen in depressing shades of monotonous grey. Oh, what a joy it was when my Aunt Marie got the first colour TV in our family circle. Nothing was ever the same again!

Anyway, those zealous, heady days of youth saw me living and moving in a world of evil black and an extremely holy white. I’d better explain. My dour Irish culture was a tribal construct of ‘us’ and ‘them’, viz. Protestants and Catholics. The infamous troubles only highlighted this predominant world view. Of course, the goodies were us, the besieged loyal defenders of all things British and the baddies, the Catholic rebels who wanted the Pope of Rome and all his Jesuit troops to replace our hard-earned Protestant heritage.

Thankfully, somewhere along the line, Jesus appeared to step in and I soon switched my allegiance to evangelical Christianity, albeit a radical Charismatic brand. The black morphed into all those existing faith traditions who didn’t dance in the aisles or speak in mesmeric tongues, while the white became an authoritarian stream of revivalism that sucked me into its beguiling mission.

Of course, such black and white takes on life can only last for a while. For the Light eventually dawns that there are more hues than we first imagined in the multifarious Mind of God. The Divine is a Transcendence of Colour; a pure Light yes, but One that refracts into a bounteous spectrum of tantalising tints. Our black &white mindsets are only meant to be temporary guides through the early days of our time on planet Earth. Fairy story settings that keep us safe until we find our psycho-spiritual bearings in the great, but often confusing Dance that we call life.

Thankfully, we don’t have to go searching for the colour that our hearts were born to reflect and enjoy. For the Divine Artist, will find us with a stoke of their internal brush, a splash of unexpected pigmentation that will change our perception for good. The time of the Masterpiece is of Its choosing, a decision to begin on the chequered canvas of our black & white programming. The time for conversion, from ego’s dualistic paradigm, to a spontaneous and uncontrollable frenzy of colour. A foretaste of the limitless sweep of tints known as the Glory of God.

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Is Life Safe?

Safety

Is Life Safe?

 

Let’s face it: most of us Jesus followers don’t believe that life is safe. The reason? Well, we unquestioningly believe that we’re living in enemy territory, a realm where someone other than the Divine is boss. This dualistic form of thinking has always been around, starting with extreme Gnostic beliefs and certain brands of Greek philosophy  which influenced the early Jesus movement. In contrast, traditional Jewish thought tended to see God saturating the whole of life and taking full responsibility for it. A God who didn’t hold back in enveloping  both the darkness and light of human experience. Added to the early Christian mix were the fallen angel myths of late Jewish Apocalyptic writings, those heady tales that had a decisive bearing on the embryonic faith. Soon after ‘the Satan’ was enthroned as ‘the god of this world’.

So how does such a take on life and the world we find ourslves in  influence our personal spirituality. Well, let me suggest that those of us hooked on the anti-Satan Resistence Movement brand of Christianity have greatly underestimeated the length of the Divine Reach. Many Christians, particularly those of the evangelistic persuasion, tend to see the dark hand of the enemy in the minutae of life. So much so that they find it hard to enjoy anything and chill out in the knowledge that Love wins; indeed that Love has been in control all along.

The result of this dualistic war-footing approach is that one can never afford to take one’s eye of the psycho-spiritual ball. For, to do so is to court disaster. That’s the reason that many Christian believers are so into rigid self-discipline, disguised as the victorious life. Their stoical attempt at remaing kitted out in the ‘whole armour of God’ in case a fiery dart manages to penetrate their spiritual defenses. It’s a tough way to live. I know for I’ve been there, having played the spiritual warfare card for the early decades of my faith walk.

The key suggestion that I’m making is that our only ‘real’ enemy is our egoic-self, the one who projects fear for fun and conjurs up Don Quixote-like windmill foes to justify its driven existence. It’s a truly dastardly plot, one that much religious falls victim to. Ego loves an enemy without, for it diverts our attention from our own dysfunctional psycho-spiritual malaise, viz. internally skewed vision. For where there is Light we often see Darkness and where Darkness hides we perceive a holy religious Light. It’s all a matter of perspective, a case of which specs we have been indoctrinated to wear.

Thankfully, when we jack it all in due to burnout, leaving the stoical ranks of the Christian Army , we’re shocked to discover that Divine Love has been marinating life with its Presence all along. Life is much easier than we first imagined. Ego’s straw men go up in flames as we see the Light in places and people that we previously viewed as off limits to the Divine and Its Love. Of course you might conclude that I’ve become all wishy-washy and lovey-dovey, a utopian dreamer in a dangerous and threatening world. Not so, for all too clearly I realise the suffering that takes place all around us and our heightened natural instinct to avoid it and demonise it. Yet, I reckon that the Divine, the One who paradoxically resides above all and in our midst, has never yielded ground to our ego projections. In Reality there is only Source. The mock battles of our fervent minds are just that – mind games birthed by a wounded ego, one that hurts like hell.

To step back and lay down our arms is surely the sign of ultimate trust. That Obi-Wan Kenobi moment when we finally realise that we can’t be annihilated nor destroyed. An overriding knowing that flows from Divine Love Itself. An awareness that outside our ego’s virtual-world all is well and shall be well, world without end.

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Running In Circles

Running In Circles

Trying to escape all things Divine is extremely hard work. For the more we run away, the more frustrated we tend to get. Why? Well, we always seem to end up back at the place where we initiated our attempted break for freedom. Life appears to conspire to bring us back to what we run from, with God being its favourite drop off point.

For those of us who’ve been raised in a religious belief system, the most logical tactic for our planned escape is to ditch God completely, converting to a quasi-confident atheism, with all its promised allure. Out of mind, hopefully out of sight, is its beguiling mantra. Just take up a rigidly atheistic viewpoint and the Divine will leave us alone to enjoy our non-belief in peace. Alternatively, we may prefer to take the slightly less dogmatic agnostic approach to bathe our religious wounds, while swaying to and fro between the opposing belief branches of promise.

Of course, Divine Love lets us have our day of supposed freedom, glad to see us free of our prior religious shackles and metaphysical misconceptions. For God really is into liberty, even if it involves being ignored by those who run a mile from belief systems that go by His/Her Name. So off we dash, running along the remaining track of life, entering each new bend with a renewed vigour and vim as we head for our godless utopia. The old ways lie far behind, distant memories of past metaphysical illusions and pain. ‘Thank God there is no god,’ we cry out in our paradoxical, liberated fervour.

However, the trouble is that we’re not running along a straight track, one that follows the flying crow into the remainder of our space-time existence. For, much to our amazement, we find ourselves running around a circular path that takes us right back to the big Mysteries of life, and eventually bang into a Presence, One that stands tall to block our illusory progress. Yes, at some stage we experience the Track Designer Supreme, stepping out onto Its creation to catch us totally unaware. Thankfully, we’re not frog-marched back into the tepid bath water of our religious past, but into the pulsating Rapids of Spirit Life, an Energy Flow that wells up from our hidden depths within. The Life abundantly as promised by the Nazarene, the Spring of Self from which gushes the endless Source of All.

Only then does it begin to make sense – this topsy-turvy Journey race that ends in healing tears of joy and release. No longer the hurdles of ego, no longer the fear of stumbling on the relational blocks of others, no longer the nightmares of finishing last in the adversarial affairs of humanity. Just a Presence, One that lets us collapse in a heap of sheer relief, just a Presence that allows us to rest before standing up once more to re-engage as Children of Source.

Remember, contrary to ego’s advice, there’s no  place to run and no place to hide. Best to cut short the Great Escape race and fall into the welcoming Arms of Divine Love.

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