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Posts Tagged ‘Nazarene’

Burn-Out & God

Burn-Out & God

I guess that God knows all about burn-out, having seen so many of us succumb to that particular psycho-spiritual pitfall. The trouble is, most of us recovering religious junkies found God at a young age when we hadn’t yet discovered who we really are, and perhaps more importantly, what God is really looking for in our mutual friendship. Is it any wonder that so many of us ditch the religion and God of our youth to be ‘normal’, and sleep in on Sunday mornings.

I reckon the whole concept of discipleship is partly to blame. To be a follower of the Nazarene is to self deny and take up our cross ad nauseam. Boy, what a life to sign up to. Thousands of church services over our three score years and ten, months spent in intercessory, battling prayer and of course, last but not least the endless voluntary work, known as ministry expected from all good disciples. It all sounds so holy and sacrificial, and if we know anything the Divine is really into sacrifice, especially that of His beloved Son. Some New Testament scholars believe Christianity to be an updated version of Greek Stoicism, and I can see why. Virtue as the highest form of happiness sounds all too familiar to my religious junkie mindset of old. Yes, God is a quality controller who expects from us the high standards of the Nazarene, especially on Sundays.

So where is the flaw in all of this. What exactly is discipleship and is its end result always burn-out. Well, may I humbly suggest that we have lost the Middle Eastern meaning of discipleship. All Jewish Rabbis, at least those of note and a good reputation had their disciples; generally a band of men, who modelled themselves on their master’s lifestyle and teaching. Of course like all discipleship models it had its drawbacks, with rivalry and power struggles always a possibility. Yet, at its essence it was all about following. Yeshua, bar Josef was no different. He asked his motley crew of men and women, to follow him, but was it a journey into dour sacrificialsm? I believe not.

The Nazarene claimed that his yoke was easy and his burden, light. These rabbinical buzz words had a special meaning. Yoke and Burden referred to the general life teaching of a spiritual master. In other words, Yeshua was saying that what he asked of his followers was quite simple and easy to fulfil, in comparison to many of the other yokes and burdens kicking around the Judaism of his day. Peter, James and John and gang were simply to love God and their neighbours in the same way the Galilean did. Just an imitation of sorts, yet not one to be squeezed out of stoical human effort, but one to be channeled from Divine Source, a reflex action of the Love that touches all. The taking up of the cross wasn’t a call to suffering but a call to liberation from the dictates of ego. Such a radical following of the Nazarene, would release the tortured will into the Divine destiny. A letting go to trump all lettings go.

‘I have come to bring life and life more abundantly’ now begins to make sense. A life of realignment and connection with Source, the Love that flows to all, if only we will ditch our old sacrificial thinking. To follow the Nazarene is not to crucify Self, but detach from ego and its incessant, fear fuelled demands. Self is made to flourish and create in the divine economy, not hang on a religious cross and pride itself on its suffering.

So where does that leave all of us religious burn-outs. Well, I reckon that somewhere along the line we have been presented with a form of Christianity whose yoke is far from easy and its burden, heavier than lead. We attempted to slave our way to holiness in the guise of sacrificial love and it back-fired. Our bodies, psyches and spirits had enough and declared so in quite dramatic fashion. ‘Stop’ they cried and so we did, often unwillingly, for the death loving virus within religion is a hard one to shift. Lying in a faithless heap we wondered if we’d ever again feel the Presence that started it all. And of course, in time the call comes, not to stoicism and religious hoop jumping, but to stillness and touch, the compassionate embrace of the Divine Samaritan. The Master has returned.

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Living To Die ~ Dying To Live

Living To Die ~ Dying To Live

 

I’ve just been listening to Cat Steven’s new wee song, Dying To Live ~ Living To Die. It’s really sparked something within me, on this warm, Lincolnshire, blog-writing morning; so here goes.

Many of us are dying to live. We just feel like we haven’t got to a place that can be really called living. If only is the wee phrase that gives it away. If only I’d a better, bigger, whatever. You know how it goes. The advertising industry certainly do for it is their raison d’être. We feel like a glass half empty if we’re lucky. Some of feel drained dry on a permanent basis as we struggle for a drop of life to keep us going. Show me the one who claims to be living life to the full and I’ll show you a liar, be they a hedonistic playboy or a religious zealot. No, not even after some sublime spiritual experiences do we constantly feel fully alive. I reckon, it’s the way it’s been designed, a metaphysical carrot to keep us on the Way.

Our dying to live takes many forms. Ego suggests a whole selection of ways that we can kill ourselves during our earthly sojourn. Addictions, a stream of broken relationships, self-imposed lacks of all kinds appear to be sponsored by our wounded, shame orientated self who confidently declares that we deserve to die. We are often our own firing squad, lining up to fire an assortment of psycho-spiritual weapons that will put us out of our misery. Unfortunately though it doesn’t work. We rise again to go through the whole suicide attempt again.

Let’s face it we are addicted to dying, hoping to prove to ourselves and Other that we are heroes worthy of Love. The gloomy, morose among us are death junkies par excellence. Everything is seen through the lens of death. Trips to the doctor’s surgery a regular ritual, hoping to hear the worst – news that induce pity and some sense of self-worth as we teeter on the brink of space-time.

And yet there is a dying process, one not driven by ego, that does lead to life. It is the awakening process within that unties the bonds of psychological attachments. Let’s just say that ego doesn’t like it at all. It will rant and rave that it alone is the expert in the dying business. Yet, under the guidance and encouragement Spirit Breath, the Intelligent Energy of our Source life-giver, we are led into situations where we go through mini-deaths. Yet these mini-deaths are really portals into a new sense of freedom, not the totality of Life as it shall be, but as it can be here within the constraints of space-time.

If Spirit nudges for us to jump off our personal psycho-spiritual cliffs of attachment then my advice, based on painful experience, is to leap with all one’s might. Divine Presence is always there to work its wonders, to catch and restore those who trust. Letting go of addictive relationships or other psychological crutches is always the path to life, no matter how much ego protests.

The reality in which we find ourselves suggests that we are all living to die. What an absurd thought. We run around like headless chickens for a while before running out of steam and ending up as a cold corpse in the frozen earth or a little urn of ashes to be sprinkled onto a local beauty spot. Could Source really be so cruel. Life seems to be a school which rings the closing bell, sending us into nothingness where the lessons learned will be of no further earthly use. No wonder many great philosophers ended up mad or taking their own lives.

Of course religion weaves its pseudo magic and asks the faithful to embrace suffering and die a thousand deaths daily – all for Jesus. Such a warped mindset has milked death for all it’s worth. Many religious organisations are kept going by the sacrificial endeavours of their members, all in the name of God, though often resulting in manipulation, misery and control. Death cannot be used as a religious tool to keep the flock in line. The dying of ego is a more liberating process than the  numerous self-hating hoops through which we jump in our pursuit of religious reality.

The whole life thing seems to be one great Cosmic joke, a teaser of the cruellest kind. We live to die. Full stop. Some folk appear to accept this and just get on with it. ‘Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die’ is the wisdom of many. It certainly brings a measure of release for some, but niggling in the depths of being the question remains. ‘Is this really all that there is?’

So, I guess if the Nazarene hadn’t turned up and gone through the whole gamut of human existence that I’d join the above club. No matter how wonderful the teaching of the Jewish prophet, it’s only half of the claimed story. Even in our scientific age we can’t get around the big one. Disheartened, fearful men and women, such as ourselves, came bursting out of a Jerusalem safe house to declare that their executed leader was alive and well. Not the kind of thing that disillusioned sect devotees usually get up to. How or what happened to the Nazarene isn’t the topic for this post but rather the answer to the ‘living to die’ downer. ‘Living to die to Live’ seems to be closer to the Divine Mystery. Our conscious Self appears to continue on after ditching this shell-like body. Rather than the end, death is only a beginning.

Try and get hold of Cat’s or Yusaf’s wee song.

❤ Dylan

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The Search For Wholeness

The Search For Wholeness

 

After we realise that we are a separate entity of sorts, following the awakening of infancy, we set off on a journey that lasts a lifetime. An inner angst that all is not quite right drives us along a path that searches for wholeness and completeness.

Of course our newly formed ego pulls out many tricks to try to get us there. For a young child popularity seems to be the golden chalice to return us to our original state. Yet this desire to be number one in the eyes of our playground others just initiates us into a path of conflict and competition, one that can last well into later life. No wholeness there then.

In our teenage years the wonders of sexuality and its promise of a deep union with another, preferably an attractive one, beckons. Sex is the new healer we are told by mass media and the advertising industry. Just find the right sexual partner and all will be well – a libido utopia that promises much but ultimately deceives. For in seeking an appropriate partner to complete us we are actually looking for one with the negatives and positives of our early carers, viz. our parents. Behind the hormonal urges we are looking for a replay of our early wounding and affirmation. Hoping to get it right the second time we project and transfer the memories of past events onto the one before us – our better half as we foolishly believe. Of course reality eventually kicks in and we either settle for separate lives, giving up the dream of marital wholeness, or continue on in a numbing illusion to our end of days.

Of course some of us were sold the god of a particular religion as the key to wholeness. If only we believe and receive the divinity of choice with its rules for right living then all would be well. It certainly works for a while, especially in the heady days of our 20s and 30s. Initiated into an instant family of fellow believers we once more set about the reconstruction job of our early family life. Often the leaders of our local religious brand become our parents in our dance of restitution and recovery with god smiling benignly upon our efforts. Eventually though the old sense of being half-filled returns as our projected parents let us down once more, revealing their fragile feet of clay. Indeed they too are searching for wholeness in their role of leading others. But that is a story for another day.

Of course the pharmaceutical industry jumps in to take the edge of our inner angst, this feeling of  being somehow flawed. Antidepressants, whilst initially helpful in treating our dark depressions can never take us to the place that we desire. Every alternative addiction is tried and found wanting. Initially, tobacco, alcohol, recreational drugs, money, career development etc all promise much but with a heavy price. We feel worse and less of a person than when we started.

So this sounds all rather depressing. Well, yes I guess it is, and yet that is our experience for much of our lives. There will be occasional highs of connectedness and well-being but generally we feel like half a person or three-quarters at best. A little hole resides deep within, one that many of us choose to ignore, for heading there only triggers past pain and rejection.

So can we find a level of wholeness. Well, I believe we can, but it takes courage and dare I say it a measure of madness, according to ego that is. For, rather than trying to move people and things into the missing jig-saw space within our sense of Self, we just let go. Finally getting the message that we just are, Something other moves in like a flood to fill our angst strewn caverns. In giving up, we find what we have always searched for, A Source Presence that holds us in the palm of its hands. The bigger picture that we’ve missed in our days of frantic search. In going through the pain of  fragmentation we come out on the Other side, the Reality behind the screen of isolation and despair. The Cosmic parent who has not cracked our sense of Self through rejection and judgement. Our carer par excellence.

The Nazarene knew what lies beyond and lies within. Our wholeness lies in the depths of spirit under the fear-fuelled world of ego and illusory relationships. It is ours to give; a gift to our space-time Self.

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Time To Go Within

Time To Go Within

 

What a world we live in. No sooner has the dust settled on some outer conflict than it all breaks out again. It looks like we as a race are addicted to violence and it’s powerful cousin, reciprocal ‘military action’. What  is the answer to our violent rivalries, those erupting from the volcano of mutual desire. I want what you want. I want to be what you are. And on and on it goes until the penny drops. We are wasting out space-time experience. It can be better than it appears all around us and within.

Ego is the scriptwriter, producer and director of all that we observe without and feel within. Our world is a jungle in the ego-inspired drama, a dangerous place where security is the only god worth following. Yet such a locked in type of security is an illusion. We can never be secure in ego’s painted world, not unless we see through it’s sham-like reality, with its hate, war and suffering.

No there is another place, not one of pie-in-the-sky escapism but a Higher and more real Reality. Not the reality of pseudo-righteousness nor conservative morality but the altogether realm of Source. Much of our angst and suffering stems from our view of this space-time bubble we didn’t ask to be thrown into at birth. Of course there is much to enjoy as we float around space-time, but let’s face it there is also much pain. Yet, how real is our suffering in the larger scheme of things. Isn’t suffering just ego’s director’s cut on life. What is life anyway? Is it this dream we live through without waking up until our final breath? Is Life something altogether different from this vale of tears. Does it reside in another dimension, one beyond the world of energy matter?

I suspect that it might. For glimpses of another way of Being break through ego’s carefully guarded plot from time to time. The Studio head will have His way, tweaking our sensory reality from time to time to awaken us to the bigger picture! Life as we know it is a virtual-reality movie one in which we are immersed, actors on a stage and all that. Shakespeare knew a thing or two about life and its transient illusion.

So how do we stay sane within the minefields of life, those laid by ego to keep us in its realm of fear. Well, we can go within. Not purely into the psyche-soul where ego tends to muscle in, but somewhere beyond; the womb of our Inner Space – spirit. Here all is still and all is Real. A Star-Gate to the Home from which we came and to which we shall return. A portal to an authentic Presence, a stiller of our psycho-spiritual storm. It is here where we touch base with Source, the personalised Being who imagined us into being, launching us into the schoolroom of space-time. We are here to discover who we are, set against the ever-so real scenery of ego-drama.

No, religion and politics will not take us there, for they too are players in ego’s defensive script; harbingers of a utopia that doesn’t exist and never can under the subtle direction of ego. Yet, many chose to throw their cents worth into their great crusades in the name of progress. An admirable choice but one that will ultimately frustrate. No, violence isn’t going anywhere; not in this theatre of dreams. Yet, it too is a stage prop, one that the Nazarene exposed as non Divine.

Roll on the Second Act.

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I Am The Vne

I Am The Vne

 

Yesterday, I was privileged to visit the Walled Garden at Clumber Park, Sherwood Forest. At present a 19th century long greenhouse is being lovingly restored to its former glories. Yet, for me it already is reflecting a glory of sorts in its large collection of grapevines.

After much pruning and tender attention for the last six months or so the white grapes now hang there for all to see in their bounteous manner. Ripe for the picking and awaiting their edible fate!

So why write about it here. Well one of the Nazarene’s most famous sayings came to mind as I stared in wonder at the paradox placed before my eyes.

“I am the vine, you the branches; he who is remaining in me, and I in him, this one bears much fruit, because apart from me you’re not able to do anything.”

In the past I sat around long enough in church circles to hear numerous talks on these words all taking the same theological tact, viz. using Yeshua’s words as proof texts for his Divinity. Yesterday though, it was different as I focused on the wizened wood on which the abundant fruit chose to hang. It got me thinking.

Having passed through a PTSD period, where one’s psyche is stripped bare, I now look for the psycho-spiritual insights of the Nazarene’s teachings and this one is, I believe, a wee gem.

Let me start by suggesting that the litle phrase, “I AM”, one frequently used by Yeshua, is a teaser of sorts. He is pointing to the Transcendent Source of All, the One who just is, depending on nothing else for Its existence. In applying this term in His sayings the Galilean is opening up to us the world of Spirit, the higher realm in which we were spawned to swim. He is trying to unveil the mysteries of how and why we tick.

The Vine represents Source and all that It has birthed, the whole God filled shebang. We can only understand our being in the Light of the I Am transcendence. The Nazarene, may I suggest, isn’t pointing primarily to Himself but to the Cosmic Parent who holds together all in all.

So where do we come in. We are the space-time channel of the Divine Life, the branches if you like. Like old wood we don’t look that special, even to ourselves but we contain within ourselves the Divine sap that will manifest Itself in Its fruit of choice. May I go even further and suggest that the old wood of the branches is none other our psyche-soul, that part of us that weathers the storms and wounds of life.

In other places I have written of how the Nazarene is a transmitter, perhaps a unique one, of all that flows from Divine Love. In doing so He is, or becomes a microcosm of the Vine Itself. In asking us to remain in Him, the Nazarene is asking us to stay within the desire field that emanates from him, that Divine magnetic field that realigns our battered psyche-souls with the Divine Flow. We are mimetic creatures here in space-time. We were designed to absorb desire and follow its leading. The Nazarene is challenging us to remain within the Divine desire flux, to allow ourselves to be drawn into the very heart and mind of Divine Love, as He did. He isn’t a Model that will not reject us as we become like Him. Rather He will rejoice and bless Source for the familial extension of the Divine Image. He will remain in us as a magnetic Presence, one that leads us out of the captivity of ego and into the very I AMness of Source.

The plans and purposes of Divine Love, the Source script of the Divine Drama, will come to pass, way beyond our widest imaginings, as we remain under the influence of  the creative Spirit. Fruit will pop up without any religious or moral effort, without the strains and efforts of ego sponsorship. Divine Love can produce fruit with ease; all its asks is to remain, and to be open to Its inflow of Life. Of course the annual pruning will be the surgery of soul-work, when Love has a word with our restless sub-personalities, all hot and bothered in their doubts of Divine approval. Best to let the  Spirit vine dresser do Its thing without fuss; the sooner our psyche-healing gets going the sooner we will feel the joys of connection with Life-bursting Source.

If we try to step out of the Nazarene’s desire field, we will return to the manipulation of skewed desire and all its resulting inter-personal problems, viz. Model Obstacles and Monstrous Doubles. Even though we sweat blood in the mimetic realm of man we won’t produce anything of real worth, for all will pass and disappear into the mists of time.

The fruit of Divine Purpose will remain, in some shape or form way beyond the mystery of death. Perhaps it will be served up in a special cup, as the Wine of our Journey, at the Wedding Feast of I AM and Its reunited Lover.

I guess we’ll find out one day!

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