Like the scent of a flower in the spring air, a pointer to the truth will mysteriously take you to somewhere so real, showing you that you’ve always been naturally free, and then it will disappear, as easily as it appeared, but never truly leave you ever again. Always with you, it can never be found either. This is the natural paradox of communicating truth.
Keeping this in mind, the nature of the pointer versus the actual Truth, turn off your intellect and experience, rather than reading the words. Read, but don’t understand. Smell the flower, don’t dig it up and take it home.
As individuals, we can never act against our own best interest. It may appear so to others, looking from the outside, but to us, there is always a benefit being sought. If you help someone, there is a benefit to you. It may make you feel good to help someone. It may align with your beliefs and make you feel good to act in a way consistent with how you see reality. If you do something self destructive, there is also a benefit which underlies those actions. Maybe one is seeking attention, avoiding pain, seeking a feeling other than mundane, sometimes numb, existence. Even the ultimate self destruction, suicide, is simply another way to seek a benefit, whether it be cessation of suffering or a message to people left behind etc.
Whether the person acting, or those watching, see an action as “good” or “bad”, the underlying motivation is the same - desire for something we want, to be happy, free of suffering.
Evil, as we call those actions which hurt others, occurs to the extent that one is deluded by their own feeling of separation from others, and reality itself. One’s potential for hurting others, or acting in an evil way if we choose that terminology, increases as the delusion of being a separate, disconnected entity which must be fearful for its own survival. Make no mistake, however, because those who are “evil” are also acting from the desire for happiness, as deluded as it may be. Their motivation is the same as the person who is charitable, and seemingly “selfless”.
This all may sound very depressing at first. If this is true, isn’t everything people do, good or evil, just a big fraud? The good person doesn’t really want to help anyone but themselves and the evil person doesn’t really want to hurt someone else but simply make themselves feel good. Try to sit with this before reading on. Try to answer the questions that might arise by seeing that everyone is just running around seeking their own benefit, no matter what they say or do. How does this change the way you see the world? Is it bad?
The problem is not the desire, not seeking happiness for one’s self, benefit, truth, or whatever else you call this underlying motivation for people’s action. In fact, there is really no problem at all. This motivation stems from the divine itself. The desire to be happy, whole, in peace, is a divine spring moving through us all. So, why does it express itself in ways that seem selfish, evil, painful, and totally opposite to what we might expect from the source of all that is of love and goodness and perfection?
Remember the first paragraph above. Read it again. If you continue, this whole thing should dissolve like the scent of a flower in the spring air. This is not the truth. Some will be stuck in the intellect from reading the last few paragraphs. That’s ok. A few will read on, but get stuck trying to hold onto the flower. Still fewer will fade away on the breeze, floating away with the flower’s scent.
The essence of the illusion, that which makes our underlying motivation seem selfish, disingenuous, and even evil, is one’s delusion of separateness, both from one another, the world, and the divine. If one sees oneself as separate, then your motivation for happiness can be at odds with others, can transform what should have been a kind act into simply a self satisfying lie, and eventually lead to the evil of actively seeking to harm others for our own pleasure.
If you want to make someone act horribly to others, isolate them, separate them, and cause them to feel totally alone and detached from any support. They will then be able to destroy others for their own happiness because there is no connection. Hurting others for one’s own benefit begins to be natural for one who is cut off from others.
Conversely, to bring someone together with others, forming real connections and understanding, will cause them to envelope others into their own desire to be happy, seeing their own happiness as attached to that of others. Yet, even these people, while having a closer connection to some, are still cut off from the deeper truth and connection they’ve moved closer to.
The point where Adam and Eve became self conscious is the point where evil became possible. Self interest, rather than union with the divine in perfectiont, became the nature of the world. In every other major religion, the same truth underlies the existence of “evil” and suffering in the world. When we see ourselves as separate from God, from Truth, from the oneness of reality, the notion of suffering and evil arise.
One who has realized who they really are can never be alone, cut off, turned into someone who perpetrates evil against another. There are no others. There is no loneliness. There is only perfection. This one’s motivation is like the sky, open to all who gaze upon it.
When we realize what has always been there for us, who we’ve always been, there are no ethics needed, no morality needed, no laws that could apply. When we see that we are not all separate individuals, then that underlying motivation we talked about before, which seemed so depressing and pessimistic, now seems like universal love and connection. It is the ultimate expression of God’s love. Everything you could ever do, from the moment of realization of your oneness with everything, could only be for the benefit of every seemingly separate thing, from the smallest atom to the ever expanding universe.
When one finally experiences this, not just intellectually fumbling around with the concepts, life will be transformed. Anxiety will be transformed to a knowing smile, depression to a profound laugh, happiness to a boundless, spacious, indescribable quality with no opposite. You are this right now, and its expression awaits us all.
Some believe they must suffer in order to find salvation. As they see it, so shall it be. Some believe salvation will come naturally, blissfully, without effort. As they see it, so shall it be. Some believe that salvation must come through intense introspection, intellectual hardship, deep understanding. As they see it, so shall it be. Some believe they must devote themselves to God, surrender totally and without any part left out, in order to find salvation. As they see it, so shall it be. When they finally laugh, they will see it has all been, only because they saw it as such, and the seeing itself created what was believed to be the obstacle. What was always there was that which was able to show whatever it is you chose to project. It is that ‘thing’ which can accommodate any and all projections that is of utmost importance. That is you. That is Christ. That is God. That is Spirit. It is One.
Sermon, January 21, 2020
We are like a person sweltering on a hot summer day, standing at the edge of a pool, wanting, simultaneously, to get relief from the heat, but not to get wet. We come to Christ, to the Absolute Truth which ends all of our imagined suffering, through His Grace and yet we bring ourselves, resisting actual freedom. His Grace brought you, His Grace will take you, and His Grace will finish you. You have come for something you can’t even imagine, because of something you can’t really imagine, and now it is time to stop imagining all together, to fall backward into the pool of Grace, letting go of even the idea of the person, you believe, was carried by such Grace.
The only barrier to awakening, to salvation, is “you”. If you are here, reading this sermon, then you are ‘seeking’. In fact, we are all constantly seeking, along different paths, perhaps calling the thing sought by different names. The only constant in seeking is the ‘you’, the idea of the seeker and the idea of what is sought.
What is it that makes us think we can recognize salvation when we find it? What is that initial, instant moment out of which comes the desire to know God? Did we choose that moment and what came out of it? Why do we assume that we are able to choose the right path and then know when we get the right result?
Allow me, for a few moments out of your day, to have your attention. Allow me to show you your boundless faith, the purity of your true self, your ever present awakened and saved self, that thing which, ultimately, cannot be named, yet you seek, because you are here looking.
With what mind do you seek truth and happiness? With whose judgment do you decipher what is a true path, what is a false path, who is a prophet and who is a false prophet? With what words, ideas, thoughts, learning can you form a basis for choosing what is right and what is wrong if you believe that the same you in in need is also the you who will choose a path? Which person are you, ignorant or wise? Who are you?
One can be active in the world, and quiet within, just like the waves on the surface of the water and the silence below
I will be taking a sabbatical leave to take care of some spiritual and practical matters. On the practical side, I'll be exploring ways to create more stable funding for the Mission and possibly find grants etc. In order to keep this vision going, some practical financial matters need some extra attention. From the spiritual side, quiet grace never hurts!
I will still be present to answer any emails etc but the main break will come in terms of writing full sermons regularly. I don't anticipate a very long break, however, I will update as needed. In lieu of the full length sermons, I will try to post regular 'shorts', almost Zen Koan style. I also encourage reading past sermons as we can often find new things a second time.
Thank you to everyone for their continued support. I pray I find a continuing source of financial stability for the Mission so that it may continue, and expand, its service.
20And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
God isn't whispering, you're screaming
God isn't hiding, but you've left to go looking
Be quiet, be still
Imagine a bubble arising from the ocean. Now imagine a small bubble forming within the larger bubble, both floating above the water.
The small bubble begins to examine its world. It becomes a master of the nature of the larger bubble, knowing all there is to know.
The small bubble bursts, becoming one with the large bubble, realizing all knowledge was no knowledge, a mere creation within himself.
The large bubble bursts, merging back to the ocean. No knowledge, no realization, no other, just ocean.
All knowledge is false. All unknowing is Truth.
A person has told you they have one week to live. They have asked you to read parts of the Bible to them. What parts do you choose to read?
Read the Bible this way for yourself. What you focus on, and what happens, may surprise you.