Thursday, August 14, 2008

Empty Space unsubstantial as the empty place between the ripples that a ship has made in passing by. And covered just as fast, as water rushes in to close the gap, and as the waves in joining cover it. Where is the gap between the waves when they have joined, and covered up the space which seemed to keep them separate for a little while? (ACIM:T-28.III.5:2-4)

One of the reasons for picking the title Closing the Circle for my book is contained in the above paragraph. For once you really tune in to the consistency of the Jesus of the Thomas gospel and the Jesus of  ACIM, the whole magnificent theology in between evaporates into nothing, for Jesus said the same thing before and after, as if nothing ever happened. To look at it from this point of view, you begin to realize how and why the ego must always push Jesus, Yeshua, J, out of the way, and yet it can never succeed, for in the end only truth is true, and all else is a lie. As I have argued elsewhere, the emergence of Christianity as a solid, coherent religion, was a victory for the Church, and a brainchild of Paul, but it is the choice for the murder of Jesus, and perpetuates the psychological mechanisms for keeping him out of the way, i.e. the expectation of the Second Coming as some sort of future event in the time/space framework is an expectation, which detours the mind around the presence of Jesus in the now, keeps us blind to him, and now dependent on the emerging Church as our only hope to ever bring him back.

In the meantime, never mind how badly distorted Jesus's teachings were in the course of Christianity, undoubtedly some always found their way to him. For even with only the Biblical account to go by, we are free to lift Jesus out from the editorials around his words, as in fact Thomas Jefferson attempted quite amazingly. But many saints and mystics, many of whom were never known, have found the way.

The image that emerges then is of how the teachings of Jesus in the form he taught in Palestine 2000 years ago, began to fade into the background almost immediately, with the Thomas gospel and perhaps the Q tradition as the purest traditions, which are fading into the background almost immediately, and the narrative gospels taking their place. The ego always uses cooptation as one of it's most powerful strategies, which is also referenced in the Course as follows:

The ego speaks in judgment, and the Holy Spirit reverses its decision, much as a higher court has the power to reverse a lower court's decisions in this world. The ego's decisions are always wrong, because they are based on the error they were made to uphold. Nothing the ego perceives is interpreted correctly. Not only does the ego cite Scripture for its purpose, but it even interprets Scripture as a witness for itself. The Bible is a fearful thing in the ego's judgment. Perceiving it as frightening, it interprets it fearfully. Being afraid, you do not appeal to the Higher Court because you believe its judgment would also be against you. (ACIM:T-5.VI.4)

Ultimately it is because of this development  that the Thomas gospel, and the things Jesus says there, to not sound like Christianity at all. This is what came as such a shock when they were first rediscovered. Not only that it has taken fifty years since that discovery before we are beginning to notice what he really might be talking about, and that it is not the Pauline theology that was invented twenty years after his death and on. This meeting really is the central point of Gary Renard's work. The experiences he had, break through the veil of obfuscations of these teachings, and free us up to hear them anew with their original freshness. Therefore that particular circle began to be closed with the re-discovery of the Thomas gospel, and is now emerging into public consciousness, among other things because of Gary's work describing his own experiences in the vernacular.

Meanwhile the dynamic of the ego as being the choice for the murder of Christ is powerfully spoken of in the Course, and makes complete psychological sense, but there is a curious book I want to mention here, by Wilhelm Reich, titled The Murder of Christ, which explains the whole process in a very curious way. Reich was the disciple who Freud chose over Jung in the end, as a defense against Jung's interest in spirituality. Freud literally said to Reich, that they must protect the world against the "rising tide of occultism," which was exactly where Jung's interest led him, and which upset Freud no end. To Reich, like to Freud the body was the foundation of our reality in this world. Reich was faithful to Freud to the extent that for him all issues were centered in the body, and seen most clearly in our difficulties with healthy sexuality. But you can read that as a parable, that just happens to be Reich's way of expressing the issues, once you see through that, he identifies perfectly how and why, as long as we deny who we are in truth, we are absolutely committed to the continuing murder of Christ. To see through the whole thing, all you have to do is to grasp that the point is not re-becoming sexually liberated bodies, which was Reich's way of understanding our true creativity, but to re-become spirit, which really is the only place of our creative identity, when we re-identify with what we truly are as the Son of God. All the power in Heaven and earth was indeed given to us, for we have the option to choose against the ego.

On the stage of history the re-discovery of the Thomas gospel, and the ensuing renewed focus on the deeper meaning of Jesus's teachings, is certainly one way of closing the gap over 2,000 years of obfuscation of his teachings, which in a way was only empty space, once you see how silly it really was.

Anything Rather Than The Love Of God

They said to him, "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you."

He said to them, "You examine the face of Heaven and earth, but you have not come to know the one who is in your presence, and you do not know how to examine the present moment."
(PGoTh, Logion 91)

In Lesson 196 we find the following: The thing you dread the most is your salvation. (ACIM:W-196.9:4) The central theme here is that Jesus teaches us in this saying as well as throughout the Course that our problem is that we are slamming the door in his face, or to put it more formally, we keep choosing the separation now.

To paraphrase it in a different way, he is present to us, always, but we prevent ourselves from seeing him while we keep seeking in the world outside, and in the past, for the explanation of who he is, instead of accepting his presence. Thus the ego's motto in slightly different words is: "Anything rather than the Love of God." The Course may not use quite those words anywhere, but the theme plays throughout, as in here:

It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask. There is, however, no point in giving an answer in terms of the past because the past does not matter, and history would not exist if the same errors were not being repeated in the present. (ACIM:T-4.II.1:1-3)

And again this is also the essence of what has been misinterpreted in Christianity as the Eucharist--he is sharing his mind with us, and is present to us whenever we remember him, that is the power of the resurrection. The power of the Course as a path lies in the fact that all of this points towards our responsibility for a behavior in the mind which we can stop. Jesus is outside the door, and it is up to us to stop slamming the door in his face, as he will be glad to come into our mind at our invitation. The ego's problem is we keep looking for him as a body, i.e. outside, and that sets us up for defeat, which played itself out in early Christian history as the constant adjustments about the prediction of the Second Coming, which then became enshrined in various apocalyptic theologies over time. Meanwhile, we safely keep him outside the door, by denying his reality, and through our addiction to conflict we keep him far away from us.

Thus, we indeed do not know how to examine the present, for we are sound asleep in the ego's dreams, unable to be awake to his presence--think also of the apostles asleep in the garden. And here is where the Course is so practical and helpful, for it helps us to learn to see the silliness of our resistance, and how we're causing our own pain. And the practice of forgiveness helps us to let go of the defenses that are designed to keep us in misery.