Thursday, June 8, 2017

When is the Judge a Killer?

Glorification of the Eucharist by Salimbeni

After consider the topic of God in the last post, it would be good to have a look at the word judgment which is so often linked with him. The image of the man with the long beard sitting on a throne watching and judging everything we do is a bizarre concept. It suggests that God is a giant stickybeak!

Take, for example, these words from the Gospel of Matthew which records Jesus saying:
You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' Mt 5:21
Let’s ask what is being killed and who is judging? Sure, in the next verse Matthew’s report continues about being angry with your brother but the logic of my ideas about verse 21 applies also to the subsequent verses when we identify the brother as something within us.

The Fall of Icarus by Reubens
The specific Greek word used here for ‘kill’ is phoneuo which means to murder. Murder means to kill secretly when no one is aware of what we are doing. What happens within us secretly that no one is aware of? The forming of our opinions! All day long we decide what is good and bad mostly without being fully informed. Therefore, in our consciousness, with our thoughts, feelings and intentions, we secretly take the life from people and things that displease us. What is more, we think it is our right to do this while at the same time demanding that someone who physically kills another person is punished with a jail sentence or a death sentence.
So who is the judge? The judge is actually the killer. Judgment in Greek is krisis and means separating (analyzing) and then a decision. Yet how often do we separate out all the facts? Modern life is full of quick decisions. If we want to stop being the killer, the one who takes the life out of something, we must take the time to do the separating.

This Greek word krisis is similar to the English word crisis that means a critical moment or a turning point. In daily life it is our opportunity to be aware of all the fact before we make damaging statements, or act prematurely. This means we need to be much more aware of all the issues so that we stop, separate out all the facts, and put them back together differently before making decisions - then the judge is no longer the killer.

Also published on Huffpost

Friday, April 7, 2017

Who or what is God?

The Creation by James Tissot

One of the most astounding things I heard when I began to really study the Bible was that there were many gods. Not in the sense of the ancient Greeks and Romans looking towards Olympus - although that could hold some answers as well - but in the sense that God-God, the Highest One, needs other mighty beings to implement His intentions.

Take for instance the first words in the Bible,
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

In Hebrew this text goes like this,
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets.”

The word translated into English as God is Elohim. Who is this Elohim character? For the Hebrews God was Jehovah or YHVH, but they also had other gods as described in Wikipedia:

El Elyon ("Most High God"), El Shaddai ("God Almighty"), El `Olam ("Everlasting God"), El Hai ("Living God"), El Ro'i ("God of Seeing"), El Elohe Israel ("God, the God of Israel"), El Gibbor ("God of Strength")

It will be no accident that there are seven. Then there is Moses’ famous conversation with God at the burning bush, when Moses asks God what his name is (Exodus 3:14) and the response is Ehyeh asher ehyeh, I am that I am. In the New Testament, Jesus refers to this I Am often using the Greek words ego eimi. Notably when he was challenged about where his authority came from in John 8:58
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Landscape with Moses and the Burning Bush by Domenichino 1600-10

Understanding the I Am can provide answers to questions we may have about God. link to I Am post.
Amidst all this confusion, it is perfectly understandable when people say, “I don’t believe in God.” They have the courage to admit that, so far, they have no information to assist them to have any plausible understanding of God. Blind faith doesn’t do it. When they come across ideas about God they do not experience any inner confirmation that the information makes sense.

When I first heard that about the Elohim-God I felt liberated. The Elohim are one level of the nine levels of spiritual beings that put the highest God’s intentions into action. These nine levels of spiritual beings were described by Dionysius the Areopagite and using his list we can find them identified throughout the Bible, specifically when the words, power, authority, might, principalities, among others, are used.

The Greek word for Elohim is Exousiai and is rightly translated as power – the power to create. Furthermore, the word Elohim is plural and feminine. I have come to understand why this is. They are the creators of form, like a pregnant woman, and we see their work in every form on this earth. This is like seeing the finished house from the architects plan.

It is clear that no one can explain God to us, we must remove the blindfold ourselves and intelligently discover not just one God but all the Gods who uphold this universe and keep it in order.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Disciples as Mind Traits 4

Road to Emmaus by Alexandra Ross
When we think of Jesus and his Disciples, we should be equally mindful of the mighty Cosmic Spirit called Christ gradually becoming infused into the body of Jesus. Only when we think of it in this way can we approach the truth of the situation. Two beings; Jesus the man and Christ the Being who had never experience life in a human body before. Imagine that! This happened for the first time in the whole universe. Think about what it is like to do something for the first time; learning to swim, learning to drive, learning to ski, taking your first roller coaster ride or first bungee jump. Magnify that thousands of times and we may get some idea.
The other side of this story is that humanity cannot move forward without Christ. That is why he went through the process of entering into the man Jesus. We cannot evolve without Christ - not that he does the work for us, no, quite the opposite, we do the work which he has made possible, and he enhances it.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Jn 14:12
For Jesus to go through the mighty transformation of taking into himself this mighty Cosmic Being required the support of the disciples, just as we need support when we learn to swim, drive or ski. Stop and think for a minute what it would be like to be infused by a being of the stature of Christ. Luke knew when he wrote about the Son of man - the Christ infused human:
"For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day." Lk 17:24
Are we ready to be struck by lightning? For that is what it is like when Christ becomes active in our being. For that lightning to be effective, we have to make some choices. Otherwise it will burn us or kill us. To survive the strike, the 12 mind faculties represented by the disciples have to be activated in a positive way.
It is a work in progress and we should go easy on ourselves. We can be so critical of ourselves it can be crippling. It is about building pictures for ourselves and taking baby steps. The last three disciples speak strongly about choice. Having choice is so free making; always mindful that if we can make a choice in one direction then we can also make it in another.
Disciples James Alphaeus, James Zebedee and Simon the Cananaean
James Alphaeus: James the son of Alphaeus represents order, especially creating order in chaos. He is also known as James the Less, or James the Just and is a half-brother of Jesus. James is connected with the use of the word; speech is a very creative thing, primarily because it gives us choice. We can choose to speak or not to speak, and we can choose what to say or what not to say. We can also release a power in what we say, as Jesus did when he said, “Laz’arus, come out.” for instance. James is associated with the power in us to say something, perhaps something difficult. James is also the discipline in us not to say something. Our speech will be orderly according to how conscious we are.
James Zebedee: James the son of Zeb’edee represents the faculty of judgement or discrimination within us. Judgement is that higher ability not be swayed by our self-will, or the will of others; to resist being drawn back to the past and to stand in the present, in the new situation, and seek to express our higher will. Within us, our intentions are our will; without, will is visible in our actions.

Simon the Cananaean: Also known as Simon the Zealot who probably belonged to the Zelotes, an extreme Jewish sect. This sect was also known as the Cananaeans. Simon was the brother of James and Jude. After the martyrdom of James, Simon became head of the Church at Jerusalem. In hermetic tradition, the zelator is the one who is able to approach the fire. Simon the Cananaean stands for zeal, enthusiasm; this motivating energy is optimism for the future.

Published on Huffington Post September 11, 2016

Monday, November 21, 2016

Disciples as Mind Traits 3


Why did Jesus have disciples? Couldn’t he go it alone? Asking such questions can lead us to different perspectives regarding our own spiritual journey. If we are totally honest with ourselves, all we want is to understand ourselves. Then, the next thing we want is to understand others. Looking into the lives of the disciples can assist with this.
When we look at the disciples the first thing we notice is that each disciple is different, yet they walk together, and they walk with a leading principle called Jesus. This does not mean that we should look for a leader outside ourselves, but rather look for a leading principle within us.
When we look at the characteristics of the disciples we will identify with one more than another. This can reveal to us the path we are on, and another disciple can reveal the path a friend is on, this should not be cause for disagreement. Yet this is often the case; unless you agree with someone you are against them is a common principle today. This has a stifling effect because unless you have the strength to support your own ideas you are silenced in one way or another.
Apart from describing our different paths, each disciple represents mind traits. We can think like Thomas in one situation, and respond like Judas in another. Understanding the twelve traits revealed in the nature of the disciples, we can understand ourselves better, and find ways of responding to life differently. Also, if we can identify where other people are coming from - a Judas or a Thomas trait - we will meet their ideas with understanding and life will be more harmonious.
The next three disciples show that the conventional interpretation of them is actually the opposite of what they really represent as mind qualities. This is often the case when we investigate beneath the surface to discover spiritual meanings.

Nathanael Bartholomew, Judas and Thomas

Nathanael Bartholomew: Nathanael means gift of God. He is known by his family name, Bartholomew, in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. St. John calls him Nathanael. In my book on the Disciples I show how Nathanael is the faculty of imagination within us. Not fantasy but real imagination - a spiritual imagination able to create concepts as living images. By creating moving pictures in our mind when we try to understand a concept brings it to life. Also, these concepts will be much easier to remember. This is a method used by people who have excellent memories and inventors also think this way as they work out the detail of their invention.
What this means is that we ‘see’ things differently. Here is an excerpt from my reflections about Nathanael seeing,
“Jesus points out to Nathanael that this is only the beginning: “You shall see greater things than these.” This must always be our expectation, to see greater things. We should always strive to have firsthand experiences, by hearing Philip within us saying, “Come and see.”
Judas: Judas represents the generative, reproductive energy within us which can work in a positive or negative way. Judas is said to be the Greek version of the Hebrew name Judah which means ‘praise Jehovah’.
And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, "This time I will praise the LORD"; therefore she called his name Judah; then she ceased bearing. Gen 29:35.
The reproductive force within us is motivated by conservation; survival of the species. Judas is also associated with betrayal, however, the word ‘betray’ also means to ‘reveal’. Judas gives us the opportunity to act in a higher way.
“There are two sides to the Judas energy within us. He can assist us or assail us. Mostly he works within us without our knowing. It is up to us to become conscious of what he is doing. Jesus was.” Twelve Disciples byKristina Kaine 
Thomas: Thomas represents reasoning, understanding. Thomas’ central role in some of the Bible stories alerts us to the imperative of reasoning. He doesn’t take things at face value, he wants to understand and experience things fully. His questioning can be described as a lack of faith or disbelief, however, blind faith is like a blind person crossing a busy road alone.

The Thomas in us continually tests the facts from every side to reach a full understanding. Generally people do not do this, they stop at the first understanding that meets with their satisfaction which is usually only a fraction of the truth. This is lazy - taking the easy way out so we have instant answers and don’t have to put in much effort. What is not realized is that the effort we put in awakens our consciousness. We don’t need to find the ultimate truth, or have it given to us by others, what we need to do is to strive.

First published on Huffington Post

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Disciples as Mind Traits 2

Jesus Sent Them Out Two by Two by James Tissot

The road from disciple to apostle has one purpose; to open us up to the experience of our Higher Self referred to in the Bible as ego eimi, I Am. If we speak these two words, “I AM” out aloud and imagine standing in the Universe, beyond the idea of time and space, we get a sense of this eternal state of being. Yesterday, today and tomorrow open up to us as one place. In this way, we claim our own individuality without the weight of opinions and the ideas of society. Try it, it is refreshing. When we come back to the here and now our outlook has changed. It is from this perspective that we can view the disciples.
We can imagine their incredible journey with Jesus - the one who experienced his I Am first - and stand in their shoes as they approach their own I Am from their unique perspective. This was not without trepidation as we read in the Bible.
We can ask what it was like for John, Thaddaeus or Matthew as they journeyed through the Middle East with Jesus as he challenged the status quo. Each one experienced it through the qualities given to them by their name.
As previously suggested, while the disciples represent qualities in our mind or consciousness, they also represent the different paths that we each take as we strive to connect to the highest, purest human condition, our I Am. At this stage in the evolution of consciousness, we are about halfway there. As with all things, some are a little ahead, some are a little behind. This does not mean we can pass judgement on others, it simply means they are taking a different path.

Disciples John, Thaddaeus and Matthew

John: The name John means ‘the grace of the Lord’ and he represents love and grace. This love is agape, one of four main Greek words for love. Agape is the highest love, it loves everyone equally; it does not favour family over friends and acquaintances nor does it favour one’s own culture over another.
In its highest expression, love is objective. It does not see through the eyes of judgement, but understands human behaviour as a developmental process we all go through. This love is not biased and it does not take offence. It is a kind and understanding witness, always recognising the pure human seed within each human being. Then, seamlessly this love fertilises the seed in the other person opening it to its inner potential. From this comes the expression of grace.
Grace is that capacity in our soul for doing what is right, what is good, out of our inner self, not through externally imposed rules and regulations. Grace says, “How can I be so that you can be free.” Charis is the Greek word for grace - which reveals the word charismatic. This is when love shines from us in an inspiring way. Other people want to become like us and they do this of their own accord, not because we give them advice about how they should be.
Thaddaeus: Thaddaeus represents elimination, letting go of things so that we can keep moving forward. The name Thaddaeus means ‘of the heart’, big-hearted, warm-hearted. The disciple Thaddaeus is also known as St Jude and was a brother of St James the Less, and a relative of Jesus. It is the heart which can eliminate things that mesmerise the mind. Thaddaeus within us works continuously to restore harmony by eliminating that which disrupts. This is tied to forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not so much about covering up what we feel, but stepping over it and moving on. To assist this, we could work with John and adopt some love and grace.
Matthew: Matthew represents our will - human intentions and actions. Matthew collected taxes. He works in the depths of the community to sustain the body - the infrastructure - of society. He was called away from that to serve in the innermost circle so that human will could become freewill. The other thing about will is that it reveals ourselves to us. Our acts of will, when, for example, we dig the garden or rearrange the furniture, give us a glimpse of ourselves, of our ability and place in the world.

As separate paths, or working in conjunction with one of the other disciple-paths, we can find our way to our Higher Self. Using the disciples to become more aware of our character and qualities, and the particular path we are on, is the ancient recipe for personal development untainted by modern fads that often accentuate the self over others. This is the ego trying to displace the I Am - feeling threatened by it actually. By accepting our own path, and remaining open to the path of others, the whole human race will climb the mountain with more certainty and security.

You can read more about the disciples in my book

First published on Huffington Post

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Twelve Disciples?

The Calling of the Apostles Peter and Andrew, ca. 1308-11 by Duccio

The Bible clearly states that there were many more disciples than 12. Luke gives one example of this.
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. Luke 10:1
In the Bible we find two different words to describe these close companions of Christ Jesus; disciple and apostle. In Luke 10, the word ‘sent’ is apostello or apostle. Is there a difference between a disciple and an apostle? If we look at the ancient meaning of these two words, we see that they are two different aspects of the same person.

The Greek word apostello comes from apo which means ‘of separation’; and stello, meaning to set in order or arrange. It speaks of getting ready for something new, preparing for something separate from the way it used to be. In addition, the word stello comes from histemi which means to cause or make to stand. The thing that causes every human being to stand on two feet is the I Am, setting us apart from animals. This could mean that the apostle is the one who now stands on his/her own two feet.

Disciple in Greek is mathetes, which means more than the basic interpretation of ‘thoughtful learner’; it means the learner who uses the principles of mathematics to understand the truth. This may sound weird but if we think about it, it makes sense. It is referring to using the principles of mathematics to test the truth, to ensure things always add up. There is a special word for this which has been used in secret societies down the ages which is mathesis - and we can see the word ‘maths’ in these two words. Therefore, we can say the mathetes mathesis - disciples understanding truth. This, of course, is a continual process of testing and re-testing as we do in mathematics to ensure things always add up.

This brings us to the question: why does the Bible focus on 12 disciples, and why does it mention that there were more than 12?

I would like to suggest that the disciples represent certain human characteristics, I have written about this previously in my book The Twelve Disciples in the Gospel of St John [link]. The meaning of their names explains their nature and in this way shows us different aspects of our own character which we need to develop. The disciple in us, mathetes, is the one who learns and the way we learn is through thinking accompanied by endeavour. Most thinking today is not accompanied by endeavour. In fact, many people are very lazy with their thinking, which is why they never fully understand this world – or themselves.

Not only do the 12 disciples represent 12 different characteristics they also represent 12 ways to understand or approach spiritual truth. This could mean that one person approaches spiritual truth in the Andrew way, while another approaches it in the Phillip way. It is said that there are 12 paths up the mountain.
Now we will look at the nature of the 12 disciples who followed Jesus. We can observe these qualities in ourselves throughout the day to see how they work in our consciousness. We can also identify our own approach to truth.

Disciples Andrew, Simon Peter and Phillip

Andrew: In the Gospel of St John references to Andrew reveal that he works away in the background; he is a companion. Andrew represents strength of mind and humility; therefore, these two faculties must always be our companions working away in the background. Andrew is from Bethsaida, a fishing town. Fish represent our thoughts, our ideas, our concepts, and so Andrew comes from a place where ideas and concepts are caught.
Simon Peter: Simon means hearing and Peter means faith. He captures the essence of our ability to hear and see beyond the physical sounds and images that meet our senses. The Simon nature becomes active when we deeply contemplate something and a new understanding seems to speak from within us like an inner voice. This is the true nature of inspiration; we hear the new idea. The Peter nature means that our faith becomes knowing, rather than blind faith. We are able to confirm our inspirations again and again in our contemplations. Here we can see mathesis at work.
Phillip: The name Philip means lover of horses just as the word philosopher means lover of wisdom. Philip speaks to us about inner power, courage, and an ability to weigh things up. Philip is the challenge within us to use our mind purely intellectually or to allow in a spiritual element that doesn’t rely so much on physical proof but can certainly be tested over and over again in our thinking.
The use of the term spiritual does not mean something airy-fairy. By spiritual is meant something that can’t be physically touched, for example, love is spiritual, a hug or kiss is physical. This points to a notion that behind everything physically present in this world is something spiritual just as love sits behind a hug or a kiss. If we look for the spiritual component behind all that is physical in our lives a whole new world opens up to us.

The disciple in us develops in an intimate way before it expresses itself in the world as the apostle - the one sent. This is not evangelical, converting others. Why do some people focus on converting others when the whole idea is to focus on converting ourselves? When we do this with success others witness what we have done as an example of what they can do.

By working out the unique ways in which we tread our own path, we can be more accepting of the ways in which others tread theirs.

First published in Huffington Post

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Have you seen Christ Jesus? Did it happen like this?

Blue Angel By Charles Andrade

Why is the Christ Being so misunderstood? Perhaps people are frightened of the idea that one great Cosmic Being is within us and around seeking to unite us all in a community of loving individuals. Is this picture too big for us to comprehend? Do we actually prefer to stay in small cliques of agreeable people and ostracize anyone who disrupts the status quo? Jesus tells the people here to go to Galilee, the place of mixed races and creeds.

Then, many people will speak about God, out there somewhere, who they can pray to when they experience difficulties. But even then they want to compartmentalize this God and tie him to different belief systems.

Should we be concerned with all this unbelief? For that is what it is, we can’t call it belief because there are so many things people can’t believe in. Not to mention all the work-arounds to make ideas comfortable. Let’s have a look at what St Matthew writes about the Risen Christ.

And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Hail!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sum of money to the soldiers and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So they took the money and did as they were directed; and this story has been spread among the Jews to this day. Mt 28:9-15

Behold, idou, has a special meaning indicating an all-encompassing perception. You see and know everything about what you are seeing.

Jesus met them; met is hypantao, which means a confrontation. It suggests a certain level of force - not a friendly force but an opposing force. This opposing force is the etheric life-force in all living things. In our bodies it is the force that opposes the decay of our physical substance. When this force loses its principle of opposition, our physical bodies die.

Since Jesus’ body has disappeared, it is from this force that Jesus said, “Hail.” Hail is chairo, which also means rejoice. Using our imagination we can see a mighty spiritual being, an imposing and frightening etheric figure greeting the people in a way that draws them to him - drawn in the way we are drawn to nature. Nature is especially etheric.

“And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.” “They came up” is proserchomai; pros means moving towards, and erchomi is a very specific word which means to come from one place to another, to change position, not just physically. This suggests that these people entered into a spiritual connection with Jesus. As they physically stand there, they spiritually connect with him.

“Took hold of”, is krateo, which means to have power, and refers to the Spiritual Hierarchy of Exousiai, named Elohim in the Hebrew language, or Powers. These are the Creator Gods from Genesis who created this physical world and, as intermediaries, hold and herald the power of the Cosmic Christ.

Feet podas could mean just that part of him which was approachable from the lower etheric levels. It is interesting that they were not warned not to touch him as Mary was in St John’s Gospel” Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me” in 20:17. Perhaps enough time had passed that this mighty etheric presence was anchored in the spiritual world and supported by all the beings in the Spiritual Hierarchy.
Of course they worshiped him. Worshiped is proskyneo, and means ‘to kiss towards’ and indicates reverence.

We are left with the impression of an extremely powerful event. One in which we are shaken free of our earthly body enabling us to be present in our etheric body and there to meet the Risen Christ. It would be frightening; it would feel like the ground beneath our feet has fallen away. Yet we don’t feel unsupported, we replace our feet with his, we “take hold of his feet” giving us a feeling of security and reverence.

This is a description of what will happen to us when we perceive the living Christ. Of course we will be shaken. It will be like no other experience we have ever had. The physical world in which we have been living will lose its value - or at least the value we have given it. We will now see it for what it is; a stage in the process of standing in our own I Am.

When we perceive the living Christ we will be stirred to reverence and we will be called to act - “go to Galilee”. This is because Christ is not to be found in the church, he is in the world and he disturbs us.

“Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” ‘Go and tell’ really says “take word” apangello; apo, means a state of separation, and angelos, means angels, messengers. This supports the idea that this is a spiritual event. “There they will see” where ‘see’ is horao which means to see what appears. What appears is the etheric Christ, divested of his physical substance, and they will see him.

What takes place between the guard, the chief priests, the elders and soldiers is the perfect description of today’s society. The truth is silenced and money is elevated to a Christ-like position. Nothing is more valuable in the world today, or more worshipped than money. Lies are told to support this position which prevents us from seeing the etheric presence of Christ who is waiting for us to reach up and to hold his feet with reverence. From the soon to be published Vol 6 in the series Who is Jesus : What is Christ 

First published on Huffington Post