The Immortal Diamond
I want to welcome you to 2013! As a friend who is a leading Mayan scholar exclaimed:
"I am so glad December 2012 is behind us!" The end of the Mayan calendar, as is true of every calendar, is the beginning of a new calendar. In early January our local community was treated to a visit from Richard Rohr, a significant contemplative voice within the Christian tradition. Richard brought our community a message of hope, that there is an Immortal Diamond that indwells all of us, our True Self.
So much fear and anxiety dominates our psychological landscape, signs of the False Self. Fears like the end of the world, the end of our lives, the end of our health, the end of our paycheck create ongoing sources of anxiety. Ours is to commit to the contemplative life which slowly but surely dismantles those fears and anxieties, defuses the False Self. "Peace," "Fear not" and "Be of Good Cheer" were the bywords of Jesus to everyone he ever greeted, suggesting that our fears and anxieties are without foundation.
Richard Rohr suggests that most people don't have emotions; their emotions have them. They are controlled by the emotions of fear, anxiety and anger. I liken those emotions to the medieval torture device known as The Rack. The most primal emotion is fear; that is The Rack, which tortures and confuses many a soul. The Rack works by pulling the body in Two Directions, just as Anxiety pulls toward the Future and Anger pulls toward the Past, dislocating the psychological wellbeing of the individual. This dislocation does not allow us to be Present to the Presence of God. God is only known in the Present Moment. If we are chained to the future and the past, the Present Moment becomes an elusive butterfly. The Greek word, psyche, literally means "butterfly;" our very soul eludes us!
Richard suggests and The Urantia Book affirms that "the goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference." Such goodness perfumes God's love for us and is unconditional, available in every Present Moment. "There is a Truth that lives within us that will be with us forever" (2 John 2). Most of us know little of this Truth, this Love because we unwittingly permit The Rack to continue to dislocate us from God's Presence.
We need a new "motherboard" in our soul. We have inherited both a Reptilian and Mammalian brain that perpetuates the legacy of emotional instability. It is time to become truly human, with the realization of our divine potential. It has been shown that meditation and contemplative prayer literally fires different parts of the brain that lead to a quality of coherence.
Richard made clear the scripture, "What I want is mercy and not sacrifice." He underscored how many are tortured by images of God that require sacrifice before mercy can be bestowed. In particular, he made clear that the Atonement Doctrine is a heresy by suggesting that God required Jesus' death before loving salvation could be bestowed upon humanity. "Most notions of sacrifice largely appeal to our False Self.... Jesus came to end sacrificial religion itself," not by being a sacrifice, but by demonstrating God's unconditional loving Presence.
The ropes of The Rack are a "literalism" that is "the lowest and least level of meaning." Such literalism ties us to childish and, often, idolatrous understandings of scripture. Not until we begin to move to the allegorical, the affective and the contemplative dimension of scripture does the true meaning of scripture emerge. The allegorical displays deeper and deeper qualities of meaning. The affective appreciation of scripture leads to a moral response that engages us with the world and the people around us, with a desire to perform the divine will in real service. And, the contemplative appreciation of scripture engages a quality of silence that allows us to be authentically present to the Divine Presence in scripture, in the world, and, most importantly, within ourselves.
I invite you to recommit yourself to a Contemplative Life, an inner world illuminated by communion and worship with the Divine Presence, leading to an engagement with the outer world that is dedicated to doing God's will in loving service to humanity and to our planet!