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Mystical Christianity

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The creativity of the human spirit lies within.

When labeled “scripture” by organized, formal and primarily cultural groups, spiritual writing suffers at the hands of unimaginative believers. What starts out as “scripture” deteriorate into DOGMA – form without the spiritual substance that created it.

Over my lifetime I've come to understand how epiphany, illumination and flashes of inspiration lead to a greater sense of being prompted - not in the manner of a human puppet who only moves because God pulls the strings - but in a manner of responding to the creative impulse. One's muse resides in an inner place that seems literally and personally holy.

Might not we call that place - as did Jesus - The Kingdom of God within. There dwells the soul in a fully illuminated awareness. Constant opportunity to know one's self more completely exists in that holy place. Constant opportunity for enhanced personal insight and wisdom exists there as well.

One can sense the on-going reality of eternity in an interior manner quite personal and unique

Such is the kingdom of God described by Jesus. It is the home within each of us where we can see clearly through the window pane if - as Alan Watts expressed it - we are not too busy painting pictures on the clear crystal of what we have bought into from our own speculation or what other mortals have told us.

Perceptually our existence seems governed by the perceptions of five physical senses. In interaction with those physical senses we've learned that our brains function from both a left and right side.

Our left-brain is primarily an interpreter of facts – an encyclopedia of personally acquired knowledge and experience.

The right brain, the creative and imaginative side, is the source of our music, poetry and inventions.

Through our senses facts and experience are admitted into our thinking. They are ordered and collated on the left side of our brain and then conceptualized and understood on the right side.

Balance and harmony of perception are the natural path of our spiritual and physical evolution to wisdom and a higher spiritual plane. Real balance and harmony require perceptual willingness to trust what arises within that inner garden.

We are equipped to see in three dimensions: height, width and depth. Without three-dimensional vision, we see only a square instead of a box and a circle instead of a sphere.

Logic suggests that a prompting moves more naturally through the mind via the creative and imaginative side -- the right brain side.

Left-brain thinking turns on the spirit receiver by its ability to read words, remember definitions, remember stories and remember personal life incidents.

Right brain thinking activates the more spiritually creative aspect of thinking that senses the will and influence of ideas both higher and deeper in the mind.

To live entirely with an emphasis on left-brain thinking makes us no more human than a computer, which amasses knowledge and acts only according to facts in the database.

To live entirely with an emphasis on right brain thinking causes us to live in a world of fantasy, wishful thinking, and imaginary states where the practical application toward bringing wishes to reality is missing.

Right brain conceives the wish, but left-brain has the resources to realize the wish.

It is sensible then that the infinite would not speak to humans solely through right side thinking where ideas would remain only in a conceptual state without the will and knowledge to action. Creativity then springs into action in a mind balanced with knowledge AND imagination.

Spiritually speaking, we are better served by reading formal scripture with a sense of creative imagination rather than with rigid left-brain literal thinking.

One primary weakness of contemporary Christianity is that while Jesus did all that He did using the Law as reference material to teach and point toward God, Christianity uses scripture as Law only and points not at God but at Jesus.

Do we lazily rely on left-brain-dominated blindness by acting only as the words are literally written?

Do we think then that we have no need that they be placed in a context of spiritual internal feeling and understanding?

Or do we lazily reside in a fantasy world with a right-brain-dominated weakness of wishful trusting that if we "believe" in Jesus we are fulfilling God's intent in giving us life and opportunity?

Do we restrict ourselves to merely looking and pointing at Jesus instead of looking where He looked and pointing where He pointed?

"Lazy" is appropriate here. Are we mostly interested in learning only that which we are commanded to "do", that which we need to "obey" and that which we "shouldn't do"?

Are we afraid to be truly prompted by turning loose our right-brained creativity and trusting when comes to our outer consciousness seeking expression from within?

I have at times in my life been a piano teacher. Worrying about literal Bible jots and tittles to excess is like being able to play music only by reading notes.

It is like counting the rhythm loudly inside our heads as we try to hit the notes as dictated by our loud inner counting.

We have no true feeling for the music itself, the phrasing and the flow. We are worried more about the form of the music rather than its substance.

It is very unlikely - playing music in that manner - that we will be captured by the fullness of the musical piece. We are not likely to find ourselves carried to a higher plane as the music actually communicates its mood and feeling.

Such sterile and empty playing is primarily pretending to music; it is action dominated by left-brain thinking.

Although mechanically a player can become very skilled, not only does the music remain mechanical in sound - as if played by a computer - but it is unlikely such a player will ever successfully understand or interpret what he plays; let alone create his own music.

Creativity does not proceed out of minds dominated by left-brained thinking.

The Bible is first and foremost a spiritual document which contains within its pages a wisdom that must be obtained spiritually and never literally.

It takes work to use scripture in that way. It takes a recognition that God - as the strongest spiritual force in existence - is something very much a part of reality in the here and now.

It takes a recognition that every human individual not only has a "right" to on-going spiritual communion but a need and opportunity to enhance life on the basis of individual effort.

Jesus spoke in the scriptural terms of his time and made excellent use of the "father's house" consisting of many mansions. The image is not of a massive fortress or cathedral with separate "mansion" wings and lobbies, but of an abode where all dwell.

 

How might we read scripture free from rigidity, dogma and literal binding?

Read with me for a moment.

Jacob found himself in the presence of the abode of God in Genesis immediately upon awakening from his dream.

"Surely the Lord is in this place: and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place: This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."

Jacob was awake, alive and breathing earthly air and was suddenly struck with the realization later taught by Jesus: the abode of God as a kingdom is here, is now, and we are already a part of it.

In Psalms David confirms Jacob's understanding with the assurance that

"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."

David was not comforted because he believed he would suffer in guilt and regret all the days of his life or that he would be consoled in his future spiritual incarceration by an abstraction. David was not looking at a post-mortal dwelling with God forever that included eventual forgiveness - an end result is promised to all of us.

David expressed his own powerful awareness of the presence of God in the here and now. David was first and foremost a mystic. He demonstrated repeatedly his ability to write and sing about a relationship with God that was not singly his nor restricted only to him by a discriminating Eternal Father.

David was one who had known God on an extremely intimate basis over his mortal lifetime. He knew God as all mortals can actively know still today.

David had no need to be comforted by biblical wordage that had yet to be written and interpreted by literalist evangelical Christians in the Middle Ages.

The Psalmist in # 84 makes the affirmation that mortal life as a "doorkeeper in the house of my God" is preferable to a life of dwelling "in the tents of wickedness" which certainly will not be present after death.

Again, the abode of God is here, on earth and in the present moment.

Proverbs advises us on how to build our homes in harmony with the abode of God in this earthly environment.

 

"Through Wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established. And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches."

“Wisdom” in the above quote is not mere wise knowledge. In Proverbs Wisdom is another name for the spirit of God.

When Isaiah was calling Israel to repentance, he justified Jacob's understanding of what the house of God is. He justified Jacob's own life of living within God's earthly abode.

In fact Isaiah preceded his approval of Jacob with a statement about gnat-strainers and camel-swallowers. Precisely stated, Isaiah describes that sterile left-brain world of scriptural literalists who play at being righteous.

"... the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.

Therefore thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale."

 

Trying to protect their status as spiritual overlords of a nation that had been taught it was God's chosen people, the Jewish priesthood accused Jesus of being the Devil.

Jesus responding to those who labeled him Beelzebub, understanding that what they were after was entrenchment in a false spiritual reality. He described life for those who forgot that the here and now is God's abode.

"Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city of house divided against itself shall not stand...."

Jesus was teaching that for all people the here and now is where God's abode is found. God does not have bouncers and ID-checkers to keep non-worthy folks out.

The words Jesus puts into the "lord's" mouth are strong and powerful - expressing God's passion and compassion for humanity.

Which brings us to the marvelous "In my Father's house are many mansions" (which I have actually heard as a beautiful musical piece with lyrics following the actual verses.)

Literalists limit the image of the abode of God as a future abstract kingdom that includes punishment. Literalists envision unrelenting suffering that will only be eventually ended by a scorekeeping God who knows when the uttermost farthing has been paid.

Such is all literalist biblical Christianity has to offer spiritual seekers.

It's an insult to who and what God's reality is. It denies the existence of any substantial spiritual nourishment at the banquet to which we are all invited.

It's an insult to humanity to insist that amid all that abundance there is only a bowl of bitter gruel upon which has been divinely inscribed:

The Inerrant and Absolute Word of God. This is all you may consume.”

A lie.

 

We ought not leave so much on that table untouched.

I cordially invite you to experience this writing and poetry as my own magic and in no way meant to instruct how you should find your own magic.

When your own creativity reveals itself to you it will be unrestricted by anyone else's magic.

Divination: Divining the Divine
 
Start a conversation about Ouija boards and you will invariably encounter active Christians who react instinctively with rejecting, considering such things dangerously occult - a tool of Satan. Mention the Tarot, The I Ching, Runes and other forms of divination including astrology and you’ll encounter the same knee-jerk reaction that these also are tools of the Devil and must be avoided.
 
Yet many of these same believers will not hesitate to talk about moments when they’ve felt spiritual guidance in their lives through the same divining process; even occasionally coming to tears in relating their own experience of the mysterious from within a literal Christian mindset.
 
On more than one occasion I have heard practicing Christians tell me that they’ve opened the Bible to a random page, run their finger down to a verse picked randomly and found a specific verse timely to their question and purpose. For them it was God’s spirit moving them to find God’s truth for their issue of the moment. On more than one occasion I have seen quoted the biblical injunctions against divination, wizards and familiar spirits that cannot and should not be trusted.
 
Yet these same quoting biblicists seem to remain unconscious of the fact of their own conscious acceptance of spiritual divination by trusting written words in a book they have come to accept as containing a spiritual communication of God to each person. "God doesn't communicate with people in that manner" Oh yeah? In the 24th chapter of Genesis Abraham’s servant blatantly requests God’s help in an act of divining - from God - who is to become Isaac’s future wife.
 
Divination by dreams occurs in a righteous context in Abimelech learning that Sarah was Abraham’s wife in a dream, Joseph’s dream interpretation for the well being of Pharaoh’s Egypt and his own Israelite tribe, Gideon’s acting upon a dream to defeat the Midianites, Daniel’s dream interpretations, Joseph’s dream assuring him it would be okay to take Mary to wife, and again later to take the child Jesus to Egypt.
 
In Numbers, righteousness was the singular purpose and intent of the use by the priests of the Urim and Thummim, the mechanics of which must have had a similarity to those of modern workers with divination. And yet there remain those strong words against wizards and familiar spirits from which now we live with a contemporary popular interpretation that condemns all divination as occult and a tool of the Devil.
 
Could it be that there is a genuine tangible and palpable difference between superstitious divination and the real thing as spoken of favorably in the Bible?
 
Acceptance of superstitious divination reflects people’s willingness to trust the mystic revelations of anyone purporting to foresee specific future events both general and personal. From a negative standpoint, what comes to mind nowadays is the carnival fortune-teller who through use of a crystal ball or cards will declare something significant concerning the querent’s future - selling entertainment for a price.
 
The idea that God would warn Israel about wizards and familiar spirits as a protection against being deceived into harmful, rash or self-destructive actions based on gullibility makes sense. But the idea that God was saying that divination in its purest sense, something available as a spiritual tool for all human beings, is evil and of the Devil is for me a false notion.
 
Our contemporary world is full of the results of contemporary Christian divinators: the prime practicioners are Rapture proclaimers who have “divined” the meanings of the Book of Revelation and other Bible passages to construct a Rapture and End Times scenario that has impacted millions.
 
Divination itself is a function of communion between God and human beings. It is the essence of promptings by the Holy Spirit. Many people keep journals and diaries. Journaling, when it avoids mere recitation of meetings, appointments and events, cannot help but be introspective and divinatory.
 
The act of writing out one’s thoughts on a daily basis is a powerful means of communion with one’s inner spirit - the mind is the place where the majority of human activity takes place - the mortal home of the soul. Taking journaling one step further by setting aside time to write thoughts as they spontaneously occur without time for editing for propriety’s sake can be very revelatory.
 
Such writings need not be shared with anyone else, but if kept and pondered with questions such as: “Why did I write that?” “How come I wrote it that way?” “Why am I so angry ... so pleased ... so offended ... so happy?” The effect is both healthy and instructive … a movement further along one’s own path.
 
Divination and Me
 
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines God-approved divination by lot as occurring in the choice of scapegoat by Aaron in Leviticus, in Numbers 26, in Joshua 7 and Samuel’s selection of Saul as king, in the choice of Mathias as Judas’ replacement in Acts.
 
Divination by lot seems to be that which most similarly resembles popular contemporary divination methods. It began for me one day years ago when out of boredom in a book store I began reading a book entitled "A Guide to the I Ching," by Carol Anthony.
 
My eye was caught by the following under a paragraph entitled “On being led” as “necessary to establish the relationship between the student and the I Ching:
 
A willing suspension of disbelief
 
A sincere effort Perseverance”
 
This was a tiny powerful moment because I found myself reading the definition of how I had earlier in my spiritual life started on a different path wile still retaining my use of scripture - and coming to the spiritual place in which I now live.
 
I did not buy that book then, but as I continued scanning that “New Age” shelf I came across a marvelous book by Cynthia Giles, "The Tarot: Methods, Mastery and More."
 
Expecting at first a Tarot “how to” what I discovered was that Giles, who has a Ph.D. specializing in Jungian Studies, was touting the Tarot as a means of self-exploration rather than a means of telling one’s own and other’s futures.
 
Among other things, she wrote of divination as a means of expanding ways of knowing one’s self, of wellness and rejoining body and mind, of growth uniting body and soul. I bought that book and read it ... and reread it.
 
For the next 2-3 years in the 1990’s I bought a set of Runes, a Tarot deck, the I Ching book, commenced my exploration ... and found myself amazed. In all three contexts, that which I learned as “revealed to me through divination tools” was essentially identical -the same information - in each context.
 
I realized then that journaling and techniques that task the mind and imagination creatively became a fascinating and enjoyable labor of love.
 
I found a means of exploring the inner self in a deliberate absence of seeking external mystical sources as portrayed by others who also used these tools.
 
I was not seeking to know the future, or some sort of channeled wisdom. Carried on independent of the need for outside religious approval based on someone else’s magic or assumptions, I found myself further down my path toward a more direct communion with the reality of God than I’d ever intended or anticipated.
 
In the end, for the most part, I put my Tarot cards and my Runes away, no longer feeling a need for their help. With a greater understanding of myself, I designed another device for divination more in line with how I seem to be wired.
 
It’s a book I built in which I’ve collected what I consider the most important grains of wisdom I have found. It is also dominated by but not limited to the words of Jesus which I believe to be authentic or close to it. It’s a living book in that it grows when I encounter something new that merits inclusion in my Muse Book.
 
Some who read this article are probably not aware that something they’ve written may very well be in my special collection. When I use it, I refer to it slowly and in a patient, almost leisurely manner, exercising faith in spiritual communion with the divine and trusting the process.
 
In closing, I’ll say this. There are millions who know this stuff - many who are younger than I and yet knew it long before I did. I join with them in a path toward greater understanding of self and God.
 
Some of these participate here at Suite101 and know who they are. None of them, nor do I, presume to tell anyone else what God thinks, what God hates, what God tolerates, and most of all whether or not God takes sides when human conflict occurs. We've learned that through daily on-going divination.

From Slumber

Awakening slumber from morning's fresh light
doth beckon to me from my place in the night,
reminding me softly that I'm really here
with songs of the dawn just pleasuring my ear.

I'm never alone in my corner of living.
Abundance surrounds with a generous giving
of substance and form to the life that is mine,
while the soul in its sanctum continues to dine

on the outer sensations and feelings within,
exploring with wonder the vast mortal din.
Aloneness is longing -- they're one and the same
the spark of desire igniting God's game.

He gives to us souls three-dimensional suits
from which tangibility grasps at the roots
of existence - but only in one of its forms,
self-limited, thereby providing its norms.

By such God presents the wise venue for learning
how being connects with our eternal yearning.
To yearn from aloneness suggests how it's wrong
to perceive we're in life but don't truly belong

to what is not like us yet still plays its part
in harmonious cadence with all in our heart.
In a time and a place where neither exist,
my moment with God in His Heavenly Mist,

was a thought given breath from a source so divine
with a blimps of perfection for which I would pine.
From that instant forever was longing that grew
to a loneliness wanting to know what God knew.

The longing was needed to gather the force
required for entry to mortality's course.
My longing and loneliness reached thru the veil
to the soul of another who agreed to travail

and sacrifice pleasure to take on the pain
of easing my longing to return once again.
A woman then offered her tangible portal,
a gift born of love that I might become mortal.

The awakening slumber of morning's fresh light
doth beckon to me from my place in the night.
I open my eyes with remembering smile
my longing has brought me to earth for a while.
2000



without a sense of the mystical, Christian worship comes up short.

Alan Watts, again pre-Zen Watts, wrote something to the effect that without mysticism Christianity is left lacking. When I connected with the Episcopals, I participated for the first time in my life in a liturgical service.

Having eaten bread and taken water in a very routine way (a blessing was said and the little pieces of bread and water were passed out to the congregation where they sat) every Sunday from childhood, I understood it as "passing the Sacrament." It was just something we did as part of Sunday Service.

That first Episcopal liturgy was profound in comparison. When invited to take communion I shrugged inwardly with a sense of "yeah sure." But as I listened very closely I understood a sense of re-enacting the moment of the Last Supper.

When I went up front and knelt, the contrast between the routine sacrament of my youth and early adulthood paled in comparison to how I felt that single first time.

Myth and ritual within a liturgical context touches on the mystical and without a sense of the mystical, Christian worship comes up short.

 "Listen easy ... you can hear God calling..."

If people stop challenging my thinking I'm liable to think I've reached the apex of smartness ... right before I fall flat on my face.

I rarely sense the presence of God simultaneously in the presence of a sermon. Yet, in my experience I do not rarely sense the presence of God.

The experience is much more frequent and when I read or hear something that challenges or prompts deeper thoughts inside, I don't have to cope with sermonal droning.

It's one of the reasons why I listen to a lot of New Age music - which is not, BTW, connected to New Age Religion. It is usually instrumental and highly melodic and harmonized, can move slowly or quickly, in solemnity or gaiety with no intrusion of lyrics. It's a marked contrast with contemporary rock music or the exhausted elevator music.

The more lasting familiar music for me is Classical music with melodies that have stood the test of time.

A lot of my writing is generated with New Age or Classical music in the background.

Now having said that, I'm going to refer to an icon of elevator music. Neil Diamond has a song that begins ... "Listen easy ... you can hear God calling..."

 
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