Christ Freedom Talks
All anguish is common sin. It if it is small or overwhelming does not matter. Christ is openness, gratefulness, kindfulness and salvation from all sin. When it hurts God is confronting you in order to release all content again - and again ! Are you a content-carrier in the world? Or are you in the desert with Christ? The desert joyful repentance and patient fasting into Life Itself ? Leave the world to meet the Light of Light in the desert. There is the Lover.
Present-day culture and Christianity can find common ground in freedom. After all, the letters of Paul and the Gospels are about a message of freedom, liberation in Christ. And modern culture has been striving for various levels of freedom for centuries.
But how are we to find freedom? In materialism? In consumerism? No. Just more suffering. Do you think a teaching can liberate you? A political teaching? A religious teaching? No way.
The twentieth century's ideas of freedom caused millions of deaths. Do you believe that strong-willed mental contents of images, thoughts, theories and experiences can set you free or make you happy? No. Only more uneasiness and suffering is gained in that. More of self love as the scottish preacher George Macdonald would have said. Being a Christian is something else, as I see it.
Christ is the open space of love, nothing else. When you come to Christ, don’t bring content. You can't use it. Rest in nothing created, rest only in Him. You see, he dies for you on the cross and that means no more of your ego-content. We love telling stories about ourselves and our world, but that has to go. Kill your darlings. We love the fictions about “myself” and we pretend to believe it, although it changes all the time.
As you are in Christ it is impossible to be anxious about your present state. This hereness of this moment simply does not yield to being anxious or troubled. Anyone can see that. Look around. You see everything, your hear sounds. There is this being here in this very moment. Even if you are lying dying this is clearly so and you can observe it, just as you can observe your bodily dying process. There is a perfect silence about it.
So this being in Christ is very down to earth. No fancy stuff. No beliefs or proofs of the existence of God. Why? Any dualistic mode of thinking is incompatible with true life in Christ. Dualism is the intentional dissociation of thought and action; while life in Christ demands their integration.
From the point of view of any dualist belief and thought, whether in its pragmatic or its contemplative mode, whether from an idealist or a realist attitude, life in the love of Christ cannot even be rightly conceived. Any belief in God and the traditional proofs, even if they were logically perfect, could only conclude to some infinite or absolute being which lacks any quality deserving of reverence or worship.
The God of belief in traditional proofs is not the God of living in Christ here in this moment. Christ is like this. People want to experience a miracle or something remarkable. It is just like this. Having a dis-ease about this means you don't observe it. First time you really observe it your mind comes rushing in: wow this is a miracle ! Then this becomes you life and the mind is left alone, not needed to shout things like that. Not needed to produce belief or proofs for belief.
Enthusiastic preaching is really not needed for life in Christ. On the other hand people will continue to try to reach what is here already and go to meeting to listen to enthusiasm. They don't see the sign, as Jesus said. The repose of the mind in Christ is unspeakably great. It is the most profound spiritual tranquillity. The enthusiastic preacher would love to have it, loosing his sense of sin and guilt in the presence of the Lord.
You know there is no human being who would not confess to having something that plagued him. There is always something from which you would gladly be free. It is the content of your self-talk, your drama, your narrative. It impossible for you, at the moment, to regard life as an altogether good thing. Am I not right?
Most persons imagine that life would be an great satisfaction if this something would disappear. The causes of your discomfortable drama are of all kinds. You know them very well, you blame this, you blame that. The degrees of discomfort reach from simple uneasiness to a misery such as makes suicide the highest hope. You know, the greater part of the energy of this world's life is spent everyday in the endeavour to rid itself of discomfort. Just look at the advertising! Look at the cult of coaching and spirituality!
Some try to escape it with strong and continuous effort to keep rising in the social scale, you know, to achieve something. But of course they discover at every new ascent fresh trouble. They have brought the trouble with them. As long as you live in the dream you bring your burdens with you.
Others, making good money, are slow to find out that the poverty of their souls keep them unhappy. Some try endless change, they travel, try new life-styles, new positive thinking, every fourth year. But change will never set them free.
May be you try to expand your mind with knowledge? Go into academia? You will find that happiness will not easily dwell in the great house of knowledge. It will turn out to be a simple self-expansion and the false dream continues.Memory and description to not serve freedom.
To number the varieties of human endeavour to escape discomfort would be to enumerate all the modes of such life as does not know how to live outside the self-dream. All seek the cause of their misery, the variable occasion of just your own misery. When one apparent cause is removed, another at once succeeds.
The real cause of your trouble is something you have not recognized as even existent; you are not yet acquainted with its true nature.
Personal history really does not matter much here. Still
everyone is asking for your personal story. In those notes on the teaching we have enjoyed together I will try to get some personal episodes in.
I will mention an episode when I was 18 years old. I was waiting for the bus but found out that the bus had just gone. I went into a nearby little church, the door was open. It was raining so I needed to be somewhere to wait for the next bus. Inside there was a service going on, not many attendants. It was a Lutheran Swedish State Church. As I sat there I soon heard the texts of the day. Everytime a name of God appeared, as “The Lord” or “God” or “Christ” or “the Father” or “The Holy Spirit” I did not imagine anything but only realized that it was me, my life, or Life itself. It was the real love, more real than anything else in the world. I realized it over and over again, like waves coming. And I was totally unprepared for this Christ bhakti.
I did not jump up for joy. I did not sing Halleluja and shout in that little village church. I just heard and realized, a big YES inside. Soon enough I went out and took the next bus. End of story.
People can ask me a lot about this. But really, it is only that you realize what is real. Christ is this real life. God is this reality that takes place. Everytime you read the Scripture and stop imagining or having opinions, when you come to the words Christ, the Father, or The Holy Ghost and other names of God, you will se what I mean. All ego content has to go in that moment. Why should you carry any mind-content? The Bible is about letting go of that. Jesus carries all that weight, one and for all times. God is saving you all the time. Let it happen. You don't have to explain it.
I was growing up during the 50s and the 60s and Sweden is a lutheran country. We went to church most Sundays. But I have no clear memories from church services or sermons. I remember a lot of debate between mother and father in the car home from church. I think I wondered what there was to argue about. I also went to Sunday school, which was an entirely social affair as far as I remember.
I had no great interest for religious questions during my teen years. The experience in the church as I was 18 was no big thing, just encountering truth, meeting the real. In a way time stops when you don’t imagine any more but meet the real. Christ is not in time just because you don’t carry any content, you just meet Christ. That is so for the rest of your life.
So what about conversion? To shift from an agnostic to a believer? Is it not a process in time? Is not awakening? Realization? Years of meditation and prayer? We have to ponder that a little.
Becoming the “new man” means that all imagining goes and Christ is real instead. There is no time involved in that. You stand in the light of Christ and no time is passing or coming. This is really much simpler than having big belief systems and complicated ethical programmes running in your mind. Christ is not about having a teaching, it is about the real life. This is the real life and Christ is here.
If you talk about the “old man” and the “new man”, like you can do in the Christian tradition, beware that real life has neither of them. Christ empties all of those concepts and you are already the “new” just like God is always “new”. Christ is always the “new” and He is always the “good news” the true bhakti, Gods love.
Since I had to study various religious philosophies to become a teacher I discovered what you can do with language and imagery. Every culture has those images and stories and systems of beliefs. Christianity was more of a crisis cult to start with - the end of the world was very near ! This is good I think. There is use for vast contents. You let Christ in his love empty this world for you. And you are not supposed to imagine too much about the next. If you do that, you are back into the mind prison. Then Christ died in vain for you.
Other systems, like the buddhist, has a much more sophisticated belief system. That means more images and concepts to give up. Some western people think buddhism is simpler. On the contrary. But you have to give up all images, you see what I mean? No particular system is better or worse. They all have to go. Christ is compassionately emptying all those thought and images.
One of you said that all the Gospels could be just fantasies. Good. That is true. In your head all is fantasy, or most of it anyway. So when you imagine things about the Gospels being fake or lies, it is your egocontent that runs you. Try to come from the other angle. What does it take for you to be free? I takes Christ and you letting all of your contents upon him. Then a sort of happiness can appear and suddenly you know what the Gospels are all about.
Why do you have to be free? Because you are like a prisoner right now. However absurd this statement may appear to one who has not yet discovered the fact for himself, the cause of everyone's discomfort is this evil dreak you have about yourself and the world. This is moral evil—first of all, evil in the dream about yourself, the dream sin. This is what is wrong with you.
People nowadays do not like to hear about his or her own wrongness, his och her own unrightness. The only way to get rid of it, though, is for you to get rid of your own dream sin. You may have other weaknesses, but no special sin may be recognizable as having caused your prison existence. So start there.
Evil in ourselves as the dream with its content, is the cause of the continuance of misery, the source of its necessity, and the preventive of that patience which would soon take from it, or at least blunt its sting. The dream about yourself is essentially unnecessary, and passes easily with the discovery of what it is. It gives itself up, you don't have to do it.
The suffering also is essentially unnecessary, but while the delusion dream lasts, the suffering will take place, over and over again. Foolish are all those people and organizations who would rid themselves or his fellows of discomfort by setting the world right. By waging war on the evils around us we neglect that integral part of the world where lies our real faith business. If we let go of the evil dream, things will show us true nature, life itself in Christ.
To correct our misery from the outside is impossible. It is to go on dreaming the dream that is our prison to start with. Were it possible—an absurd supposition—that the world should be fixed from the outside, it would yet be impossible for the people who had contributed to the work, remaining in the self dream, ever to enjoy the perfection of the result.
As long as we try to live our self-talk we remain a distracted, jarring instrument. We talk good politics, good religion, but it does not avail to much. The philanthropist who regards the wrong as in the deficit in democracy or in religious faith, forget that the problem is conscious and wrong individuals. The false dream is always generated in individuals; the wrongness exists in the fiction of the individual, and is passed over by parents and teachers. The child starts life in truth and soon goes into the dream lie. So you have to wake up.
There is no way of making three men right except by making right each one of the three; but a cure in one man who repents and turns, is a beginning of the cure of the whole human race.
Some of you have asked many times why Christ says at one time that no one is good except God, therefore don’t call anyone good. But what is the problem? What you imagine to bee good is just disappearing movements of your little mind, just fantasies. That is what Christ means and that is also what Christ is to you: disappearance of images and opinions that drive you hither and thither. So no one is good except God. A very good basis for life! Read it again and ponder!
You also have problems with sin. Sin is something you don’t like, am I not right? But you see, sin is only what it is, distraction from God through the dream about yourself. When you turn to Christ the dream fades and all sins are soon entirely gone. It is such an immediacy, it is like the grass under your feet, the sky over your head. But don’t expect that until it happens. Until it happens you think you are stuck in sin. You think sins are hanging on to you, weighing you down and you can only pray: God help me, forgive me, have mercy upon this sinner. But the truth is not like that. Truth is that in Christ there is open space, wide enought to let any of your sins simply disappear in that vastness.
So don’t imagine too much about sin. It is much simpler than that. You look at the loving face of Christ, all is open and full of love. You get distracted, your energy is robbed by some train of thought and feelings. You come back, Christ is there to love you again, as if nothing happened. For Him there was nothing. For you, in your imagination there were a lot of things: fall, redemption, conversion, bliss....whatever you like.
Sin is distraction. It only drags you away. Christ lives in attraction, He draws you to him. So those are the movements of life - distraction and attraction. You never have to distract. But if you do, the whole thing is made to nothing when you let attraction from Christ be your living energy. Christ is here to live you. Not make theology.
You never have to know whether sin dissappears or stays in some form. This is academic. Not even academics should dabble into such a question. In the vastness of the Lord everything disappears, everything is forgiven for ever. Let that be enough.
When I was a teenager I got caught up in a criminal gang. We organized stealing trips. It was a criminal life, a major distraction for me. A dream of fear, worry and pains for my mother. But when Christ drew me to Him it all just went up in the air. That’s why you should thank the Lord. There is always reason for thanking the Lord. As soon as we return as the Prodigal Son, it all disappears into the vastness of his love. We are set right. The dream is over. If that is not a miracle, I wonder what is. But it is also very natural, very simple.
The one cure for any organism, is to be set right—to have all its parts brought into harmony with each other; the one comfort is to know this cure of the evil dream is in process. Rightness — yes righteousness — alone is cure. The return of the organism from the dream self to its true self in Christ, is its only possible ease.
To free a man from the dream of suffering, he must be set right, put in health; and the health at the root of man's being, his rightness, is to be free from content, that is, from sin. A man is right when there is no false dream content in him. The wrong in the world, the evil dream, is in him; he must be set free from it.
I don't talk about confessing sins, being set free from the sins he has done: that will follow when the dream fades away. I mean the sins we are doing now, or are capable of doing now. The dream of our separate being spoils our nature — that is the wrongness in us — the evil we consent to, the sin we are in the dream.
To save you from your dream life, is to say to to: rise up and walk ! That is what Christ is all about. Be at liberty in life itself, the essential being dimension. Be free as the Son of God is free ! To do this for us, Jesus was born, and remains born to all the ages.
When misery drives me to call out to the source of Life — and we should take the increasing outcry against existence as a sign of growth — the answer will come in an awakening from the prison dream. This is probably not be what you think you desire. Indeed this message from me is not popular at all, it is hard imagine it in a TV interview for example. It's not tasty to media.
But you want only to be rid of his suffering, isn't that so? You can't have that though, whithout being delivered from the dream you went into as a child. It is a terrible thing to go on in the dream prison, starting this project and that, trying to prove something. If you will not have that deliverance, he must keep his suffering.
Through life's own chastisement you will luckily take at last the only way that leads into the liberty of true life itself. There can be no wake up except to come out of this evil dream into the glory of God.
I also hear you sometimes discuss what particular action or thought is a sin. In the Catholic Church distinctions are made between venial and mortal sin. But who is interested? In distraction there is sin. It is actually one sin more to make distinctions between sins, as if you knew something. Christ is complete open love to you and all distinctions vanish. So don’t add more distractions to yourself by theorizing. Christ is true life itself and this is how He loves you. Is there any need to do more than that?
Many searching people today search in buddhism and hinduism. But this always get complicated. There is a parish where you live, you know. Why not go there, hear the Word and get liberated that way? I am always surprised that people learn a lot of sanskrit terms. They try to understand the cosmologies from other cultures. Why? If they shall teach it in college like I have done for many years, I can understand it. But for liberation? Jesus is that liberation right here and right now.
Also it gets confusing with East and West. There are no such things in real life. Christ is not a culture, East or West or Middle East. Real living God is always this here and you are called to it every minute of your life. Which is a life created by that very same God. It is not “your” life. To the degree it is your life it has to die. If this seed does not die it is of no use. So it is with all cultures, all buddhisms, hinduisms, all human language. When you look to the Cross you see that.
You know when Jesus said to the young man to keep the Torah in order to come into life he was really leading him down to desperation. The young man had already missed the point. He came up to Jesus and said: Good Master, what should I do....etc. That is missing the point. It is like seekers going to India or Japan, to other religions. What should I do? Jesus tells Him all he need to know immediately: Why do you call me good? There is no one good except God. But the young man misses out on that. And when Jesus says that he should follow the commandements, he of courses replies: what commandments? There is no end to suggestions of what he should do. In the end he goes away, desperate.
You go to India, then Japan, then back to Europe to find enlightened teachers, you shift from one to the other. You read all the books and watch all the shows. Same thing as the young man coming up to Jesus, calling him Good Master. Christ is this vast open ocean of love right here, right now. There is nothing to do here except the real life. So seeking is confusion.
It is true that Jesus came to deliver us also from this seeking. The painful consequences of our seeking dreams fades away in His freeedom. But until then these consequences exist by the one law of the universe, the true will of the Perfect.
That broken form of life that is you dream about yourself renders suffering inevitable; it is the natural consequence of the unnatural — and, in the perfection of God's creation, the result is curative of the cause; the pain at least tends to the healing of the breach. This is the brilliant function of pain and sorrow. So don't complain, it is all for the good !
Christ never came to deliver men from the consequences of their dream sins while yet those sins remained: that would be to cast out of window the medicine of cure while yet the man lay sick, you see that, don't you?
To live this selftalk life is to go dead against the very laws of being. Yet people, loving their self dreams, and feeling nothing of their dread in it, take this word concerning the Lord to mean that he came to save them from the punishment of their sins. Not so, it will hurt to live in a false dream. Even the helix spiral of you DNA will cramp tight together, visibly, when you suffer.
The idea of yourself — the miserable fiction rather — has terribly corrupted the preaching of the gospel in most of our Churches. The message of the good news has not been truly delivered. Unable to believe in the life in Christ, the total forgiveness, the dream is pursued further into varius religious acts.
In the dream of ourselves there is images of God not at liberty to forgive, or incapable of forgiving all distractions in us. Religious people in many churches do not really believe God to be our Saviour, but a God bound, either in his own nature or by a law above him and compulsory upon him. Some teach that Jesus came to bear our punishment and save us from hell.
The mission of Christ is total open love. He came to work along with our bad dreams about ourselves. He came to side with it, and set us free from all self content. No one is safe from hell until he or she is free from the dream self delusion. To live in that dream may indeed sometimes feel as if we were in hell. There is actually no other hell to think of than that of this self dream condition.
A question that often comes up among you Christian students is the devil and evil forces. Do they exist? Is there a devil? But in Christ this interest fades away. Really — it fades away in the victory of Christ as reality and the me-dream vanishes. I remember, as a small child, seeing old Catholic Church ceilings, full of paintings of the devil and his hord of evil demons. Images like that are distracting, just like the dream about ourselves.
Theologians who dwell much on the devil and the forces of evil give themselves to a lot of distraction. Let the devil exist but do not believe in him! Of course the world is as full of horrid things as the paintings in the medieval church ceilings. But why distract yourself from Christ and freedom? Why should you need that?
This living reality that you all share is of course difficult to enjoy if you are distracted. But I discovered early in life that we always swing between enjoying this living thing and loosing ourselves in imagining other things. There is this swinging between death and life all the time. Christ is the living but we will often forget Him. Every time we come back there is life again. Christ is immortality, our distractions are mortality. So we swing between lethal distractions and immortal joy in Him.
Don’t try to be immortal all the time. No chance you will succeed. In Christ you are always saved to immortality. Let Him do it. This is of course a ground for happiness but not for speculations. If you imagine a lot of nice things in the world to come, that will be distractions, taking you to the lethal state again. Let Christ be what He is and rest in That here.
In Christ you leave things behind, you give up your ego content. That can be felt in different ways. If you are in prison and have committed some stupid things, that feels so good. You leave it all behind, only joy. Then you can really dance and sing Halleluja. The slave is free. But some of you have not committed many crimes, you have behaved well and earned great reputation, you have learned a lot and you know a lot. That feels difficult to leave behind, just give away like that. You will inevitably feel sad. I heard one philosopher say he was sad because according to postmodernism maybe the dinosaurs have not existed, they were just concepts and deductions from bones and other stuff. How much more sad he would be to leave all of his intellect behind in Christ.
An older priest who was listening to me talking about truth in Christ, was very sad for having to leave his faith behind. But what you leave is of no use with Christ anyway. So why not be in Christ whithout burdens? Is that not what he should have said as a priest all along? His bishop was perhaps warning him of heretical thinking. When you imagine things about heresy and not heresy you really distract yourself from Christ. There is only one Christ and no ego content is welcome in Him. If you bring some you will be desperate. It has to go. In a way desperation can be a sign for you: go in the other direction.
This also brings up Church business. Am I a protestant or a catholic? Am I a true catholic? What is orthodoxy? All those noises in your head. If you go to the mass and let yourself be distracted by images, candles, the priest, confession, the people there, it is your treat, you know. It is not meant for distraction, it is meant for Christ. You should be with God, not any signs or ceremonies or right thinking according to any catechesis. Then you can do whatever do want to do. Early on the Christian Churches applied some common liturgy. Why not? Use it, enjoy it. But do not run away from God with it. It does not belong to you, nothing belongs to you. In Christ you leave everything behind.
But it this the case even with other trends. You think you are New Age? Not true. You think you are into nonduality? Not true. You are here at it is just as dualistic as ever ! You imagine thinks and that is dualism, you have a self-talk going on all the time and that is very dualistic. In Christ there is silence all the time. Christianity is the philosophy of true silence when you let Jesus Christ die for you and you die with Him. That is so simple. This life here is always dying with him, so you just have to be here. Be natural, no burdens.
Remember the mother who wanted to secure places in heaven for her sons, the Sebedei sons, who were following Jesus? She was distracted and Jesus told her the truth: he could not secure anything of that for her. Her sons, like all of us, can only drink what Christ is giving us to drink. Her sons, as all of us, can only be baptized in Christ, which means leaving all those desires and distractions behind. That is the point with baptism and the drinking of his wine: to die from content. Instead you see people storing a lot of new content, having this experience and that, remembering that spiritual adventure and that, going through this phaze and that. It never ends. It reminds you of a person hopping around on one leg. Why not use both and be done with the search?
People who are busy at spritiual quests are like those two blind men sitting at the wayside as Jesus was passing. They are shouting at God in their blindness. He turns around and heals them after asking what they want. They get their sight back. It is all about seeing and stop the seeking and shouting. There is no roadmap to enlightenment, you just let Christ open the eyes. All roads end on Golgatha, and that is just here where we are.
Some of you ask about the mind. Is it good to try to get rid of the mind? Will it be peace then? Are you the mind? Or is the mind just there, impersonal and like a biomachine? All those questions are interesting. But really, what is here? Christ is this here. Is there any mind there? I can’t see any. Can you? So seriously, it seems to be a lot of ghost questions. Interesting though they are, they deal with a dream. That does not lead us to a happy place. Christ does not suggest any of those questions. Better then, perhaps, to just leave it alone and return to Him, exactly here were we are now, with or whithout any mind.
You know when you settle into Christ right here, there is actually no need of a searching mind. Your can perform functions with body and mind. But you are settled in Christ, which means you live this life. There is no imagination of anything else because this is vast, it’s too big. Anything a mind can come up with is so small in comparison. This is even eternal so you don’t have to imagine a heaven. As far as Christ is concerned this is heaven enough for you. All suffering in life goes into this vastness and evaporates in the middle of the pain.
When you are in Christ it is natural to challenge all religion, even all popular spirituality nowadays. You should challenge them all because it is what Christ did. He spent time with all the wrong people and did all of the wrong things according to legalist tradition. But at the same time he was the true Torah. He was the radical Torah. You should be the same. Challenge all the beliefs around you and in you. In Christ you don’t trust anything but life itself. You don’t trust nice experiences or happy states. They come and go. In Christ you are just free of them, whether they come or not. In this body of mine there is pain in many places both day and night. Often migraine attacks that make me go half blind. Those states come and go. In Christ I don’t rely on any of them for being “me” or “my life”. Why should I ? Christ is life.
What about sickness and death? A personal note. When I was 20 and romantically deifying myself as a poet I went to spend Christmas at a lake hotel up north in Sweden, near the places the famous poet Dan Andersson lived. After some days there I called my parents, only to be told by my mother that my father was dying in the hospital. Chocked and full of fear I immediately went to him only to see him die a few days after that. Nobody had an idea that he was that sick. I was with him almost to the end. The pancreas cancer was eating his body. But his eyes gave me assurance of something idefinable. Whithout many words he communicated this to me over and over again. All shall be well. I had not come to Christ by that time in my life, so I was mostly confused. But something great and comforting had been coming from my father in the middle of this pain and death at only 53. And it took away some of my romantic notions about being a person in a body that can die at any moment.
Shortly afterwards I went to Paris and sat for many hours in the little church up at Montmartre, the one close to the big beautiful cathedral. An imposing statue of St Peter was up front at the church altar and I imagined talking to him about my father. Was my father with Christ now? A strong sense of direction came into me to look for Christ instead of worrying about my father. Just outside the church I found this street with my fathers name: Rue Norvin. It was hilarious.
Death is a good teacher. Hurry up, it is time right now for the real life. Don’t spend another day in the dream about yourself. There is no such thing in Christ. There is only new life, life and love in abundance.
My dream about myself started early in life. I remember my father asking me when was six : Do you think you are the King of the world? And I think I confirmed that to him. It was true ! King of the world ! A great feeling.
Then later on over the years he often referred to me as the King in a very ironic way. But I certainly felt like it. I was the King and life was my life. Of course this is a mistaken identity. But I like the expression King of the World, King of Kings, The Lord and King over all. Because when these refer to Christ, they are most appropriate. But you have to disappear in order to really see that. If you make yourself a little vassal and Christ the King, you just get religion. Then truth does not make you free. Real truth, when you are not and Christ is, makes you free.
I found out rather early that my dream about myself, fed by self-talk, is like a wound. It does not matter so much what you do. The wound is there if you entertain it. It takes no time or special effort to undo this dream. Like the woman who touches Jesus garments from behind, we can touch the Lord. At any time we can do that. See? No effort, no time, no training. If you have pistis, often translated as “faith” but really is more than that, then it is done. Jesus says to the woman, who has been sick for twelve years: your "pistis" has cured you and made you whole. Pistis is not believing, it is more like you give up the dream about yourself. You wake up.
The message of waking up from the dream is one of forgiveness. Waking up is to be forgiven from all dream content, not a vengeance from God. Letting go of the dream is deliverance, not an evil to come as a payback for your time in delusion.
Not for any or all of your bad dream contentwill you be condemned; not for the worst of them should you dread remaining unforgiven. The dream sin you dwell in is the punishment for exactly as long as you hold to the dream. In this present there is no such me or self as you dream of. In this present moment there is only open forgivenness. Can you see that?
To live those I-me-mine-dream scripts is to live the sins — those pervading your thoughts and ruling your conduct; the dream distractions you keep doing, and will not give up. These are the data you are called to abandon, to clean of your screen, to wasg away in the Holy Spirit.
The individual dream is the cause of your misery, though you may not know it — since our culture does not even as much as hint to this fact. The memory is part of the dream, the memory of the wrongs we have done, the memory of the wrongs other have done to you ! You all have them, don't you?
Such dream memories can really become quite bitter; but they all disappear as the dream goes. The whole personal setup is quickly abolished, remorse lose its bitterness completely int eh present life going on right here. As the Scripture says "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." But when we love the Light in Christ, all shadows are dispelled.
It is the indwelling dream of badness, ready to ever dramatise bad actions, that we need to be delivered from. Not waking up we are left to feel discomfort and reap the consequences of the dream activities. A man said on his deathbed: I have lived a life of worries, most of them for things that never took place ! This is one of the consequences of the mediocre dream.
The very child of God — the real you — entangled in the fiction of me and my life, does not care for his father and will not easily come into His freeedom. This freedom is the easy life, the sacred simplicity. Preferring the ego dream causes us to desire wrongly, act wrongly, or, where we try not to act wrongly, yet making it impossible for us not to feel wrongly.
With the departure of the separative dreaming will depart also the power over us of the evil things we have done, and so we shall be saved from them also, saved from all past time as it were. The bad dream that lives in so many of us, is the theater of our negative judgments, our unjust desires, our hate and pride and envy and greed and self-satisfaction. Only when you drop all content can you wake up from this. Don't believe in all the media based on personal biographies of enlightenment, so popular today in social media. That is only more content. Same dream, additional content.
When we turn against the dream content and refuse to obey them, they rise sometimes in fierce insistence, but the same moment begin to die. We are then on the Lord's side, as he has always been on ours, and he begins to deliver us from them so that we can see what is really here in front of our noses.
A biographical note. I once met a man who was passing through Uppsala in Sweden on his way from India back home to Vancouver. I have forgotten his name but I remember hew was a math professor from British Columbia. He went round our student restaurant and asked if anybody could offer lodging for a day or two. I let him have my old student room, since I had moved to another place and it was empty. He was an amazing man in his forties and he kept saying to me: Staffan you have to wake up ! I was studying theology and philosophy at the time so I tried the usual jargongs on him to clarify things. But he just ignored that and returned to: Staffan you have to wake up ! People are sleeping, you have to wake up ! Then he went on his journey in his little Citroen 2CV and I never saw him again.
But his man, who showed up from nowhere and disappeared, stirred something in me. I knew already then that a false dream of myself, sustained on self-talk, was making me sleep. After this man disappeared from my life, I had the conviction that human beings really put themselves to sleep. And they do it mainly with language. In philosophy postmodernism was coming along and I read a lot of Lyotard, Derrida and others. It is all about the ambiguity of language and narration. But this man discarded all discourses. He just said: wake up ! And from then on I knew his was on to something.
Waking up is like touching the garment of Christ and see your wound disappear, the wound of the self-dream. The very idea of a self is the wound and all the seeking efforts are feeding that wound. My father always asked me: do you think you are a King? That self-dream got me into trouble after trouble. Fights, criminal gangs, suffering. Music saved me a bit, playing in a band took me close to other people in a new way. It took me off the streets. A confirmation camp, arranged by a Boy Scouts organization together with the Swedish Lutheran State Church, also made a heavy impact on me. Then, at 18 I had the experience in the church of seeing how Scripture was about me and this life here and now. And two years later this math professor showed up just to tell me to wake up. This is story-telling, don’t put too much into it.
You often ask me why I keep talking about Christ when our culture is so secular and only old people go to church. But the Christ I talk about is not about going to church, it is about your life. It is very natural. Water is wet and you live in Christ. It is our nature to live in the highest good, to leave all ego content alone. Water is by its nature wet. No difficulty in that. Content can come and go when needed. But we leave it alone. That is the most natural thing we can do. Don’t believe those who say that it is difficult to be enlightened. Light is the most natural thing to all being. Christ is light, the very light that is existence here now for you. The light of I am. The light of the One who Is before Abraham was.
So it is a mercy to turn to Christ because you are already the lightness that He is. Like recognizes like. You come home and you are whithout burdens. Why should we not always talk about this? It is the most happy of conditions, why not celebrate it every day, every hour? All the old spirituals and hymns are about this. Your grandparents and their grandparents sang them with tears in their eyes. Share this with them ! It is a great tradition.
Of course people who have struggled for a long time will tell you that it is a burdensome quest. But do not believe any one else. Touch Christ in this very moment and there is the end of all adventures and burdensome struggles. Life itself will provide all teaching you need. I thought I was a king and then life dethroned me in almost every experience I had. When nothing was left to be mine it was easy to turn to Christ. No struggle at all. We already live in Christ and that is why it is not difficult. It is what you believe about the world that is the problem, not the world.
And people who imagine Christ in various ways will of course tell you that thinking and imagining is the road to Light. They mistake their roundabout burdensome path to the real thing. They believe that their images were necessary. No image is necessary. Not special thinking is necessary. Those activities only prolong the carrying of burdens. To work with those images is like persecuting yourself with your own mind. How intelligent is that? We need to ask ourselves: why do I persecute myself?
There was once a strong movement in the Catholic Church called the Iconoclasts, 6th and 7th century. They had a good point - that no images will help us find light in Christ. Rather will they lead us astray to more content. Of course icons can be beautiful and inspiring, as can candles and incenses. But your are called to leave everything behind in Christ, just be in His Name. Sharing the light that need no images or ways of thinking.
If you read in the Scriptures you always find people dealing with what is going on. They seldom look for imagery or discourses or symbolic content. They need God now and cannot wait for a lot of reflection. They usually want to bypass all content. Even the enemies of Christ are busy testing Him, to see if He is the real thing. They are not into content of the mind. They want to see right now if this living prohphet really is the Messiah. There is this urgency all over the Bible, even in the wisdom texts.
That urgency is good for you. Skip and bypass all troublesome methods and paths that are flooding the market. In Christ all ends. There is absolute silence, the joy of what is. It’s strong, it’s clean, it’s hilarious. And it is so vast that any of your burdens or memories just disappear in this big space, this space of forgiveness.
You know we have a swedish joke: life is like an empty bag. You have to fill it with something. That is the mind-content-machine. It maybe you have noticed that however much content you stuff into that bag, it is never enough. And if you tell the mind about this illusion, it does not listen. It’s nature is lack. It will keep on getting content. The Christ comes in and all is still. You try to make even Him to be a new content, a new programme. That does not work, He disappears and the atheist is quite right: there is no God there !
What is there in the bag is content that eventually will hurt and destroy the joy of what is. Shakespeare puts it well:
“Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth, My sinful earth these rebel powers array, Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth, Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?”
And our usual outward walls are normality, cheerfulness and selfconfidence. When you go to Christ these walls may fall away with tears in your eyes, a blend of thankfulness and sadness, because you loose everything. But they fall.
Many seekers nowadays are talking about consciousness as a great mystical thing, but it is only "this poor soul" in Shakespeares sonnet. You know if you imagine a big vast consciousness, that is just a dream of of your self-talk and self-consciousness. The only consciousness there is around, is this little reactivity of ours, the way we use language to communicate and react on each others words and expressions. This self-consciousness is actually not free, not full of light, not personal, not loving. It is rather primitive, locked into its own reactivity. Christ is real freedom from this bondage. We die away from this self-consciousness when we go to Christ.
I know many of you like this big vast nebulous consciousness, I can read that in you papers. Of course you should explore it. But you know, the more content you produce with this self-talk, the more pain and bewilderment comes into your life. And it is not personal pain, it is impersonal pain. You can’t really blame this self-talk, this self-consciousness. It is like a programme. You just need help from the Other power, you need the Person of Christ, who can love you free from the mind bondage. Real love is always personal, full of heart. Your self-talk is more mechanical than personal, although we flatter ourselves to be persons with knowledge and emotional skills. It sounds good but we all know it is pain.
The real love of Christ is difficult to talk about. Sometimes it seems to be seduction. The Lord seduces us to say thank you for birth, life and world and then turn away and leave it all behind. From the outside it seems we just live a poor life. Nothing seems to go our way in the world. We just pray and walk in stillness and such things. Boring really to most people. Throwing your years away. Inside there is seduction - and of course the willingness to be so seduced.
I am a musician and I can really find a likeness in music. Christ is like the tone coming out of pure silence. He is the Word but only because He is really coming out of the silence of the Father. So being alive is being in Christ when it is a expression out of silence. Silence means giving up self-talk and self-consciousness. Silence is also the basic quality of the catholic mass. There are many words, many prayers but actually it is the silence that matters to the heart. And you sacrifice all your words into that silence. So there is this exchange - you drop all of you and silence comes in Christ. This is very simple, nothing special. When you read Meister Eckehart “Über das Schweigen” it may sound fanciful and deep. But like the taste of water it is wonderful but simple.
Wherever you are there is a body - have you noticed that? This body of mine is so sick that it is difficult for me to avoid the fact. But really the landscape you are in is always the body. It’s where you spend your life ! Think about it. Now you understand Incarnation. You are an Incarnation. In carna, in the flesh. At the same time, since you can see all this, you are not the body. You are not feminine or masculine. You are not child or middleaged or old. Look and you will see that you are not the body. So what are you? Before you answer, be That for a while. Then you will sense a new way of relating to all bodily things. That is what Christ gives you at every moment in life. Whether you know Christ that way or not, that is what takes place.
But being that which you really are does not pluck you out of the body or the world. Indeed the body is the very prayer cell for That which you are in Christ. The body is the instrument for the Name, the voice to sing with.You have to see this for yourself.
When I was 22 I moved in with my future wife in a cottage in the agrarian countryside outside Uppsala in Sweden, near the little village Alunda. I was doing academic studies in philosophy and was working on my thesis. In the mornings I took long walks around the cottage. Over and over I had the strong sense of not being the body but having the opportunity of using the body as an instrument for God. By letting my ownership go the right ownership becomes visible. The Creator is that owner, who is also the enjoyer and the lover.
We lived in the cottage for almost a year. During that period this was the dominant insight - being lived by Him, having the opportunity to sing and play the instrument of the body. At this time I also learned yoga and applied hours every day on postures and breathing exercises. This enhanced this vision of the body of course. My wife who was much more supple in her body than I, tested yoga now and then but did not pursue it.
So you are not the body. But the body is near and the closest environment. It is an instrument for life itself. There is enjoyment and love in this instrument so why not use it for that? Why use it for meaningless activities? Why manipulate it with drugs or extreme efforts? Why forcing it to overwhelming stimulation? It is a holy temple, best used for contemplation. So take care.
For many of you students, going to church and listen to stories you don’t believe in, is not a nice experience. I have understood that from your papers and reports (on visits to religious institutions, obligatory course requirements). You get irritated, disturbed, provoked even. That is interesting. You should study these reactions. Who is there? Who is going to church. You know the Cross is about dying to those reactions. And the church is about the Cross. How irritated and provoked are you by that now?
We were recently on a wedding in an old beautiful church and my 2-year old grandson pointed to the big cross near us on the wall, with Jesus suffering on it. He pointed to it and said: hurting ! We all laughed and I loved this little genius. Yes. That is what it is all about. It hurts to give up the dream of yourself. It hurts to fall down into the earth and die. It gives new life, yes. Bur it hurts. It is irritating to hear all the stories in the church about this falling down to die.
So next time you go into a church look if you can see who it is? It’s the same question as Who is it that tries to live in the moment? It is very popular among upper class people to try to live in the moment. But actually there is no one here to do that, upon inspection. Am I not right? If you look, can you discover anyone being here? Is it not just the “here” that is here now? That is life itself. In Christ there is always this access to life itself. But I don’t anyone, or any “me” to maken an effort to be here.
You know during the -70s there was a book out called “Be Here Now” by Ram Das and we all read it, or rather looked at it, since the brownish paper had a lot of drawings and funny characters in them. Some of you have borrowed the book I notice. It’s great fun isn’t it? You feel inspired to do something, start meditating or look for a guru. Still most of you don’t do that. You get a job and you start a career, you create families and you suffer. Somewhere life is not enough. Some of you older people know what I am saying.
Going into a church and hearing stories that you don’t believe in, is actually the same thing as reading “Be Here Now”. But it is even better because it provokes your ego rather than gives it pleasure and nice inspiration. Jesus is hanging on the cross there and so will you - that is the message. But as long as you believe that world is for giving pleasure to the self-conscious ego this message will be disturbing.
I remember an event i India. I was 23 years old and went for three months to northern India to do research for my thesis at Oslo University. Up in the little village along the Ganga river, I was invited to tea by an old indian gentleman. He was a convert to catholicism but worked as a temple artist for Hindu temples in the region. He showed me a book called “St Francis - the Bhakti Yogi of the West”. He made me read the book and then we met for talks around it.
This old artist told me a truth that I have kept since then: it is not enough with your natural desperation and your natural failures in life. Christ’s suffering on the Cross is necessary for you to be free of self. And the old man repeatedly quoted 2 Peter 5:7. It is about throwing all your troubles on Christ. I remember telling him of my yoga practise and he just laughed. It will only lead to natural failure, he said. He made a sweeping gesture and said: This Ganga river from North to South is adorned with thousands of monasteries and ashrams, all leading to the failure of self-power, self-practise, self-consciousness.
And there you have it. True repentance is a joy. You lay down every burden of self-consciousness, every ego content, whether you call it Advaita or Awakening or Transcendental Meditation or sacramental Church activities. Freedom is not about you doing things and the desperation you come to when all the activities just prolong themselves, is not working either. Natural misery and darkness must be thrown upon Him, the light one. In the vastness of Christ all burdens evaporates like clouds drifting away to reveal the blue sky.
I can see in your questions that you think the Christian faith gives you the experience of guilt. In fact, many of you older people seem to believe that this is what faith should do. The Catholic Church is a guilt-trip. However, there is a good guilt. If you have everything in life, family, money, vacations abroad, two cars and ten computers, but you still feel unsatisfied, then guilt can come as a helper. The guilt tells you: stop this. Guilt is like the roadsign One Way Street.
So I would say: read that guilt-sign. And then stop and turn around. You can’t turn around unless you stop first. It’s like realizing that there is no one here but behind me Christ is waiting to give me space. I can even fall back, like you fall back in water to let it support you. No effort, rather the opposite. You rest backwards, letting confidence follow you into the water. You will be carried and you realize: there never was anyone having guilt. As the psalm 145 says: The Lord upholds those who fall down, those who are beaten down He raises up. Failure becomes triumph.
Therefore I think guilt can be a good sign of the dream. Life itself is going on and in Christ you are done with yourself. In Christ there is mere life, naked life if you like. When conversion to this life takes place most of the preferences and beliefs disappear. They were connected to this false dream. What remains are perhaps a few habituated behaviours, easily questioned and given up. It is a bit like quitting smoking or drinking alcohol. It is there, a bit of a smoke can happen, a drink can be gulped down on occasion, but there is no desire for it, no need. There is no lack of anything really, life itself is just living. Christ is the freedom, not something anybody needs. The needy Christ is just a religious figure, a story. The real Christ is this saved life. It is saved as its own nature. The supernatural holiness of everything is the nature of everything.
Guilt can also show you a lot of things in what you see in others. Anything in you, which, in your own child or sister or brother, would make you feel him och her not so pleasant as you would have him or her, is something wrong. This may mean much to some of you, little or nothing to others. The idiosyncrasy of the personal dream is almost always unpleasant to see. Media, of course, thrives on those "interesting" things in people.
As the love of Him who is love wakes us up we get rid of all discontent, all fear, all grudging, all bitterness in word or thought, all comparing and measuring of our own with a different measure from that he would apply to another's. Since mind-contents is outright boring we will have no curling of the lip or feelings of disgust to peoples behavior. We will not tend to indifference to someone who needs help, there will be no desire to excel another, no pleasure at gaining by his loss.This is not moral striving, it is open space instead of the individual dream.
He will not have him receive the smallest service without gratitude; would not hear from him a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache, be the ache ever so transient. From such, as from all other sins, Jesus was born to deliver us; not, primarily, or by itself, from the punishment of any of them. When all are gone, the holy punishment will have departed also. He came to make us good, and therein blessed children.
You ask me so many questions about personal history. When I say the word: I was brought up in the 1950’s in a little village in the south of Sweden, you think there is meaningful communication, isn’t that right? But you see the time reference “in the 1950’s” and the place reference “in the south of Sweden” are only that - language references in this present moment of communication. There is no such a world as it sounds like. It only sounds like it, and hearing it, your brain dreams it. I use my memory as best I could, but still in that honesty, it is only linguistical references that make you think and imagine. That is fun. No doubt about it. It is creative, you can make radio programmes and films with it. Documentaries are based on this illusion. But this life, my life, life as it is in itself, is almost never concerned with such images and thoughts. It is living here, and there is no reference-world here. That is just a dream of time signs and place signs and adding human agents and their emotions to that. The story. The psychology of the story, the illusion of sequence.
So freedom in Christ is something very different from this psychology of a story with references. And if you want to be free that is the only choice. How many more years do you want to distract yourself? As long as you deal with this distraction you definitely suffer. And the misery St Paul talks about in 2 Chor 7 can lead to discovery of Christ but if you don’t turn around only the misery will go on. We seem unique in our way of suffering but really the Lord is just waiting for the Yes. The big Yes to letting go of the world of reference and circumstance, sequence and fate.
What do you loose when Christ comes in? Everything. And the truth of the old barthian formula is clear: nothing whithout Him, everything with Him. There is a joy of what is. That is the joy of everything with Him.
However - does this means you have to stop working as a cashier? Or stop selling cars? Or stop having plans for a family? Or stop being a soldier in an ongoing war - as Arjuna i Bhagavad-Gita? Of course not. Why has anything to stop or change to something else? We are a bit too romantic here. Oh, I have seen God and I can’t live like this anymore ! Of course you can. You can also change to whatever pleases you, perhaps do something that really helps others less fortunate. But, really, life is everywhere. It is what you believe about the world that is the problem, not the world. But if you read spiritual biographies there is always this storyline about revolutions in your life because you saw the light.
How do you integrate the joy of everything in Christ? That is an interesting question. Is there integration? For whom? You certainly don’t have to become a priest or join a contemplative order. You integrate, perhaps, by letting the life in Christ, which is Christ himself, take care of it. Integration is only about giving up. I give up self-conscious content. That is the only integration worth talking about. And who performs it? We don’t have to become someone else, someone new. We simply don’t have to become anyone. We are nobody, at last.
What about relationships, you say? Do you keep all your old friends when you let Christ be your life? You don’t have to bother. An old friend visits you, finds you to be no one in particular, gets bored and drops away. That is one possible scenario. Another comes, gets fascinated by you inner silence, stays on and is nurtured by you. Your brothers and sisters find you excentric and loose interest in you. Your mother loves you more than ever and she does not know why. Let all theses things unfold. We need not pursue any holy life, any contemplative order or new images on our walls where we live. The dropping away of all content takes care of itself. It is real life, not imagined. And you don’t change your name to Prem Anand or Bhikku Vamandas. Why should you pursue more ego content?
Think of Long Friday as we call it in Swedish - it is Good Friday in English - as the basis for all life. Everything is crucified in Christ. Then there is the silence of Easter Saturday, or Holy Saturday. And then Resurrection on Easter Sunday Morning. All is new because of the dying of all. Whithout that life will fetter you through endless experience, the bad dream, the master sin.
This master sin is at the root of all the rest. It is no individual action, or anything that comes of mood, or passion; it is the non-recognition by the man, and consequent inactivity in him, of the highest of all relations - Christ in us now.
As long as you are in that dream about yourself you will question everything anyone says about God’s goodness and sovereignty. In the darkest place of our life God has us testify each day exactly who we know Him to be. Everyday He is introducing Himself to us in what is going on. God sees who we are and uses all the broken places to make us who we are becoming.
The self-dream is the absence in you of harmony with the being who is our real existence, whose word is the man's power of thought, whose love is our true being. It is true that, being thus his offspring, God, as Paul says, cannot be far from any one of us: were we not in closest contact of creating and created, we could not exist.
You don't see this i you dream state, but as we have in us no power to be of our own, so have we no power to continue being. We don't create biology. But there is a closer contact still, as absolutely necessary to our well-being and highest existence. Our being at all, to the mere capacity of faring well or ill.
Until you are awake in God, your true relation to life is not yet an obvious fact. The flower lies in the root, but the root is not the flower. The relation exists, but while one of the parties neither knows, loves, nor acts upon it, the relation is, as it were, yet unborn due to life in a separate self dream.
The highest in man is neither his intellect nor his imagination nor his reason; all are inferior to his will to be awake in Christ, and indeed, in a way, dependent upon it: his giving up all will to wake up as God's own awakeful grace.
To theologize a bit, God creates in the man the power to will His will and thereby to wake up from his separate dream will. It may cost God a huge suffering that we can never know, to bring the point to the point at which we give up the illusion. But when we wake up it is easy. The truth is what is here. This is the will of God, life itself becomes one with God.
Life itself is the end goal of God in the creation of man, the end for which Christ was born and died and resurrected. We are saved from the dream of sins, and the universe flowers yet again in his redemption.Isn't this great?
We should of course not imagine Christ without sympathy for the sorrows and pains which reveals the content of the dream drama. With everything human he sympathizes. Evil is not human; it is the defect of a false dream, a cognitive mistake, a moral misapprehension. And opposite of the human.
But the suffering that follows our mental and emotional pogramming is human, belonging of necessity to the human that has identified with the bad dream. While it is by cause of this false identification, suffering is for the sinner, that he may be delivered from his sin. Christ is in himself aware of every human pain. He feels it also. In him too it is pain.
With the energy of tenderest love he wills us, his brothers and sisters, freedoom in Him, that he may fill you to overflowing with that essential thing, joyous freedom. For that we are indeed created.
Truth about this obvious fact of life and grace becomes the first thing, not individual happiness; and you must not make it true but let the obvious be itself. Life itself is in perfect in sympathy with God. He feels himself as life.
The individual dream is the tortured presence of every nerve that lacks this repose in what is always here with us. The self-dream recognizes the evil in life only as pain; in your dream you know little and care nothing about this dream sin. And the Lord is sorry for your pain. He cries aloud, 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'
That which is Christ's joy will be our deliverance from the self dream ! He might indeed, it may be, take from them the human, send them down to some lower stage of being, and so free them from suffering — but that must be either a descent toward annihilation, or a fresh beginning to wake up.
In the disobedient dream self we really don't believe in the Christ freedom and gladness that belong to purity and love. In the false dream we are weary and heavy-laden with self content. Christ knows what we need. The person living in the dream knows only what he or she want. Instead of more mind contetnt we need purity and simplicity.
Dream existence is an evil distraction. You can go to jungian dream analysis for decades, still the self dreams will be distractions and lies. Life in Christ points to the living existence as absolutely good, right here, right now. Love others, help out, be awake.
One of you wrote to me: " I know that I need to cling to the promise that God is all I need to be complete but sometimes it is easier to talk the talk than to walk the walk."
Well, to tell the truth, the walk with God is easier, once you do it. Talking about an experience is talking about the past. There is no past in Christ. And if you feel you must concentrate on the present - same thing. It becomes the past. To cling to a promise - same thing. In Christ you simply dispense with past-present-future. You rest, you don't cling.
Instead of clinging there is this vast open space of God, in which you can play with words and do whatever seems good to do at the moment, helping out. In doing it we can see how it passes. So everything passes while you are in Christ forever.
Now you can see why I am so reluctant to be biographical. Many of you have your parents videos of you when you were small children. When you see them - is it really you there? No. There is no one there, it is a video. You are looking at a video and you charge it with content and meaning.
Does it liberate? No. Any Christ freedom in that? You can almost feel the limitations coming rushing at you from the video screen. That is all the creative mind, creating the past and projecting this past on to yourself. Fetters. Pain. Then you take a deep breath, come out of the dream and life is more open, more spacious. You walk outside in nature and feel the freshness of the sky, the air. Freedom.
When he was a young priest, Albert Schweitzer tried to teach Christianity to young boys and his main goal was to make them remember a few central thoughts and verses that would keep them from denying religion later in life. That was his main goal: keep them from denying religion later in life. That is interesting, is it not?
I would say the opposite - it is important to deny all content and turn to life itself first of all. Christ is not to be found in stories and teachings. When individuals meet Christ it is about freedom of life itself, freedom in being itself. So it is utterly important to not believe things but get rid of things. Parents and teachers normally fill us with much content that will hinder us and confuse us up through the teen years and onwards through middle age. Some people live in the prison of the ego content to their last day on earth. This content can be religious - many individuals can testify to the painful limitations they have inherited in this content. Christ is the way in freedom from all that.
In Christianity there are two swords: mortificatio and vivificatio. The first one kills all experience, the other lets life in Christ take place. With the first sword all religious content is cut off. This is important. All images and doctrines are gone. Then you can go to mass och be in Christ, letting the vivificatio, the lifegiving, take place in everything that goes on.
Almost all of culture and most of religious history has been engaged in the creation and anxious maintenance of mind content. As children we are formed by institutions to create a mind, a container as it were. Then stuff is filled into this. In middle age we feel the prison around us and even in our thoughts. Desperations sets in and we turn to Christ, or some other line of freedom promise. But there never was any problem. All along life itself were living us as Gods children, grace abounded in every part of being. We were just too distracted to notice. The main distractions were about sexuality, identity and security. For some people this continues through the years and only death liberates. Christ is about finding beauty early on by discarding the ego content and dive into His vast space of love and energy.
Some of you ask about the historical Jesus, as if that is important to you. What is the result? Endless debates about who Jesus was - you see that don’t you? He is you own freedom. That is all you need to know. He is the Liberator and the salvation is already a fact. From textual evidence he is just a debatable historical character, whos mind is messianic and eschatological. But your life is not working from texts or textual critique. Christ means freedom in life as it is. You give up body, world, language, self image.
This is perhaps Christocentric johannine mysticism? Those terms do not help you. Christ himself helps you. You know, when I visited Patmos and the cave where St John allegedly had his visions and wrote his texts, whether it was John the Elder or John the apostle, I was thinking: does any of this historic content matter to you God? Or to life in Christ? As usual there was a wonderful silence to answer me, there in St Johns cave. And then I pictured John in front of me, and old intellectual who wanted to join the jewish with the greek into one teaching, scribbling away on his pergament. And when my wife hurried me on I said: thanks St John! You gave us the Christ of Christian experience.
What about the Second Coming? Some of you ask about that. If there is a Christ coming back and establishing an earthly kingdom, let it be so, that is all for the better. But right now, He is your freedom, the grace of all things and events. If waiting for the happy event of His coming is good for you, by all means be eschatological and in expectancy for the Wonderful. But be in Christ while expecting it. Don’t be limited by eschatological expectancy, don’t have opinions or beliefs about it. That will become another idolatry. Look to what Christ already is. Then you can let even more Christ come when He comes. Remember that He warned us for speculation on that event.
When I was in my thirties, I gradually understood that Christianity, if it is true, disappears as one path among others. A wonderful catholic priest, don Riccardo Bulloni, showed me that on repeated occasions. Christ is not a chosen path, in contrast to others. I could not concentrate on only one path among others, you know.
Maybe you are like me. After a while my attention would look for other nice paths to study. So Christ is not one path. It is life itself. There is a Christ awareness in the minutest details of life, whether I beahave nicely or badly. Before I saw this, there were doubts in my mind concerning the truth of this judaic sect in the roman times. Wasn’t hinduism more exciting? Wasn’t taoism simpler? Wasn’t islam more direct in its approach to God? All these questions. But Christ is not a choice, it is what is going on all the time. This is provoking for many who want to be politically correct, who want to talk politely about the Christian path as one of many, and perhaps not the best for everyone.
Of course the Christian language is a particular language with it's own special terms, based on the Old Testament writers and later pauline terms and further on the Greek Fathers. And as such it evolves over time. Key words like "the kingdom" and "heaven" and "salvation" undergoes changes of use. When artist-theologians like Meister Eckehart and St John of the Cross uses Christian terms, interesting creative changes occur. But Christ is not a language. When you find life in Christ, you will be quite liberal with language practises. What is there to defend?
If there was a special enlightenment, there would be something to defend. But Christ is the dropping away of this imagination. Jesus said that when light comes into your eye the whole body is full of light. But that light is the dropping away of all suggestions of “getting it” or “reaching it” which would only become more self-content.
Everything in the world is constructing and deconstructing. It is a trivial business, really. Christ is on the contrary like a ship of pure light that sails perfectly when there is no cargo to carry. As soon as you load some content or some consstructive suggestion of “wanting enlightenment” the ship stops, the wind of the spirit stops.
I don’t have anything for you in the form of content or concepts or aspirations of any sort. I have no intellectually impressive teaching. I have no interesting biography of a spiritual journey. I have no healing for you, no exercises or inspiring meditative practises. I can just point to Christ where all such concerns dies away into His love. In Christ we die into love. This is all. It is simple.
Many sentences in the Bible are about behaviour in the world. It is practical wisdom. Don’t lie. Don’t punish evil with evil. Love your neighbour, even your enemy. But the central theme of the Bible is Christ. And Christ is freedom in truth right here, scientific truth in fact, where all your imagination is dropped, where all your aspiration is discarded as vanity. Instead there is simplicity, silen, absolutely pure light that falls on everything in the universe. The absence of ego content makes life light and graceful. Minute details of forms, colours, movements, seasonal changes appear in beauty. Other human beings appear as light-beings, miracles that move and talk and imagine things.
There is now an experiencing that nobody in particular experience. Here it is. This is not a paradox or an exciting form of expression - it is the vital truth that anyone interested can really observe and understand, without having any other knowledge. That is freedom in Christ.
When we pause thinking, there is still pure experiencing. We have let Christ remove all I-content, all me and mine, all individuality. Clean simple phenomenology is ongoing. This is just experiencing. Whatever opinion we may have about experience, it is only experience - and it's all going on of itself, right? You see that? It is infinite, there is no determination, it is utmost potentiality. But it is without any experiencer.
Religious individuals have been looking for This to be here, this purity and ultimate potentiality, this boundless life of light and life. So this is really the essence of religions, beyond which an extension and development occurred with language assistance. Dogmas have been created as conditions for participation. No need really. The large astounding simplicity, always goes on here. It gets lost with these dogmas. Doubts and emotional aspiration comes as a result of this development of doctrine.
We do not really need to examine our inner life or describe it. That is more like therapy. Of course you can need therapy. But Christ is more reality than therapy. Many pastors talk therapy, really. And other talk dogma. But truth is here, in this very life here. It is enough that we ask ourselves: what is the data that appears on the screen of the soul? Ego content. Of course we can feel sorry for heavy content that hurt us. And then let the Spirit rinse it clean. This is done over and over again. It becomes our second nature to constantly rinse the soul clean by just turning to Christ in this moment.
In the Middle Ages, even all the way into our time and increasingly so today, people do pilgrimage walking. By slow walk they leave place after place to finally reach Compostella. Ideally the soul is washed clean by just walking free from professional life, free from class, economy, habits, relationships. A "splendid anarchy" as writer Jack Hitt says in his "Off the road" which is also filmed as "The Way." He writes: "The splendid anarchy of the walk was said to create a sense of being erased, a dusting of the tabula rasa, so That the pilgrim could consider a variety of incoming ideas with a clean slate."
When I was a new romantically enthusiastic Catholic, I often read books about Christ as Sacrament, Jesus as Personal Savior, the Holy Spirit as something I should engage in to receive a vibrating committed faith.
But it turned out that this is all a distracting weight on the soul. It is conventional fabrications and self-righteous programs. Let the presence of Jesus Christ wash away all of them with the living water that He is! Wash and rinse! You can never do this often enough. During the waking hours in a day, you can rinse certainly ten thousand times without any effort. Let the Spirit water rinse! Don’t carry any luggage.
So it is a huge difference between "engaging" spiritually or psychologically in the problems we have in life and to have all the data disappear from the screen to be in Christ instead. Let's not spiritualize the world but rather allow rinsing to go on in your conscience. Salvation is not found in constructing an deconstructing existence. Let cleaning take place in conscience instead.
I say conscience, because that's really where the problems are. As Luther says, happiness arises when the conscience is at peace, not from thinking or from consciousness or from spiritualizing the world. The good conscience is pure space and it is what gives happiness and it happens when it's cleaned by grace. Only grace, not religion.
When frustrations arise in life, we can immediately say to them "I love you, I'm sorry, I thank you for coming and showing this ugly content and give me another chance to drop you!" Christ cleans you up very quickly, much like a windshield wiper that sweeps across the rain-soaked windshield. You really don’t do anything.
Another way to see it is with the Swedish priest Waldenstrom. He uses the image of spurs when riding a horse. If we use the spurs to engage ourselves in the faith and the spiritual life, we run only on self power and self content. Old programs will be run and the old data will appear on the screen. It is important to refrain from spurs and let only the grace rinse - let the horse run. The power of the horse, life itsel, and perhaps a light touch of the spurs can feel inspiring.
When you go to church, if you go there, remember that there's really no one there at the beginning or during the service or afterwards. There's no one there. Can you see it? Is this message too provoking? Or meaningless? As long as someone is there, you see, there is ego luggage, data that you need to wash off. Jesus is the "I AM", the only reality. That is where the pure in heart resides. Church is not about anyone believing something, it's about "Jesus Is", not Jesus as "Son of God", something that the Emperor Augustus was for millions of Romans. Jesus is what IS, without any other persona in one body.
Whithout content or garbage your are the pure in heart. There is no "I" or "you" but precisely what Jesus is talking about - the Kingdom, the pure-hearted Life. That life is meant to be your life, my life. It is like a screen that gets a lot of dead data and you let the Lord clear them all. Screen Cleaning. Actually, I can’t make the cleanup myself because it sets new tracks that will add new data: "I did that, I'm spiritually advanced. I am about to be enlightened!" But God can do cleansing by His mere presence. In Hawaii people greet you: Aloha! The word means "God is present." We should constantly greet each other Aloha in the sense that all the dead content is eliminated.
This process is similar to the brain's constant neural eliminating of insignificant data in order to function well. In that manner it is a scientific thing. Of all the impressions we take in, we can consciously handle only a small portion into meaningful feelings, thoughts or actions. Likewise the Spirit handles everything that ends up on the screen - removing it by giving it all up to Christ. We are relieved to live a dynamic mix of light here and now, the movements, what is happening in your body now, shapes, colors, sounds. Not in search for the miraculous, but living in it.
The deepest sense of the Mass is not collective data on the screen, or your own data on the screen on your conscience, but only Christ. Thus, the screen is pure through God's complete purity. It's about the love of God, not a series of beautiful contents in the mind. A sentence in the Catholic Mass is useful: Lord I am not worthy to enter in under your roof, but only say the Word and I will be healed. Or, like in the italian translation: Lord I am not worthy to participate in your meal, but just say one Word and I am saved. That means for the divine phenomenology that no content on the screen is worthy of reality. It is just vain imagination. Pure grace is reality. When the Lord says only one Word that is reality.
All other "religious data" is just dust on the screen, collective content. This debris tends to grow to enormous proportions, because you put the religious zeal behind it. It’s the same in Buddhism and Hinduism, tremendous feodal power structures. It’s amazing that people in the West embraces it. Collective content creates good things: piety, compassion, love of immigrants and those in difficult political situations, efforts to achieve a better world, striving for the Kingdom of God on earth. A lot of those endeavors keep the churches going.
Many people skip Confession by just muttering it and by not realizing what it is all about. Many churches reduces it into a pastoral dialogue in which the words "Lord have mercy" is the beautiful phrase we hear, a kind of universal compassion of the Father. And we are satisfied with it. The old Jesus prayer is based on this.
But confession, whether you do it formally with a priest or alone with God, is really the foundation, the cornerstone in Christ. What Jesus does when he heals people are taking sins in themselves and in themselves, and clear them in the divine light. Every moment of rinsing our soulds with his purifying water is confession. Every piece of self-talk content, is what confession is about. Get rid of it !
Faith is the rinsing through confession of sins more than anything else. We all end up in situations where we think negatively about another person or about myself. For many this is taking place every morning they wake up. The dreams have been full of images and memories and associations, creating mental darkness. Now faith in Christ says: I love you darkness, sorry I left you, I thank you for coming and showing it and giving me another chance!
This is the meaning of confession, this is what we say when we read the Church's formal statement: I confess to almighty God and all of you here..... The Russian film Ostrov The Island (available on youtube.com) portrays a father Antonij’s living confession days after day. He is conscious of sin tireless performing images and associations in his heart. Thus, he is also very clear, compared to the monks around him who try to pretend that the negative contents are not there, or that it does not need attention.
When Jesus says that we should love one another, especially the enemies among us, it's just the way you meet the heart's data. When hatred rises up in the heart, when unease and discomfort rises up in our perception, just here is Christ’s "love".
Grace works likes this. To practice this daily is not using a method, it is to be real. It's about what happens in us, empirically, scientifically. The world's evil prince is lurking in our heart, making us project distractions from living new truth. You meet that daily, don't you?
To read the Bible is this cleansing of the dark products, this taking out of the garbage. You open the Bible, start to read and the rinsing starts. Can you feel that? If not, you are probably making more content, more garbage. You are constructing something that has to be deconstructed at another point in time. We can actually thank the garbage because it comes back to ask for forgiveness! Then we throw it away. Ok?
Sometimes we can do this with a smile. Sometimes we are very serious, talking to ourselves about difficulties and suffering. Often we focus on the grief and the suffering. In situations we call "horrible" the garbage is just awful - they want to be thrown away. Think of alcoholism, sex addiction, game addiction, criminal acts, pedophilia, rage, things like that. In situations we call "seductive" the garbage is pleasurable and it is diffictul to stop it, in situations we call "jealousy" is garbage just emotionally intense. But they all should be threwn away. Bow before them and thank them for their appearance, making you remember to turn to Christ.
Distractive appearances coming and going: that is the way the human heart lives. The Bible show us all sorts of situations where this happens. But you can just look at your own life. I remember a jaina man in India. We talked late in the night. He said his most diffcult sin was looking at young women. Then he found a way out of desire: he imagined them old and sick. Suddenly his mind was free of the tendency. He could be real again. It is as simple as that, really.
The dogma of original sin refers to exactly this empirical fact of consistent distractive appearances. Sure, we can dream of awakening and enlightenment. But in everyday life, it is this: garbage shows up and wants to be tossed away. In Christ all content is gone and so life becomes spacious.
Darkness covers the human heart. But think of darkness as something that wants to be transparent, washed off. Christ is the one who washes it off. “Qui tollit peccata mundi” - he who taketh away the sins of the world - it's the classic formula for this in the Agnus Dei. We hear it sung in the beautiful cathedrals of amazing choirs. But it is about my own heart all the time.
“Qui Tollis peccata mundi” is the cleaning or cleansing of the heart, which we should always engage in by letting Him do it. Penance is a happy practical way, not a boring self-depreciation. How wonderful to give up distractions! Best way to have fun, really. When Jesus in Matt. 13:24 speaks of the weeds will be burned and the wheat gathered into barns, it is also about the heart's need to ask forgiveness for the programs that generate pain, time and crowded places.
Weed burning is what other cultures may call the burning of karma to achieve purity. In Christ we are of course already innocent, that is why we feel that the darkness has come on a visit to us, as a stranger. We ask forgiveness for the unawareness we show when we think of the dark data that bubbles up in the “great suck of self” as the novelist Walker Percy names it. And we appreciate that this proved to us that our horizon of phenomena portrayed exactly what we need to be free from. Hello! This is what you are distracted by! Ok thank you!
A biographical note. When I was young would study Phenomenology at the university of Oslo for a higher degree in philosophy. My German was worse than I thought. I misunderstood a lot of what Edmund Husserl wrote, he is opaque and difficult even for native Germans. I misunderstood what he meant by "intentionality". I thought he meant that intentionality is not real, that it is a mere concept we add by thinking after the event, after the act. And I agreed with him about that. I have lived a whole life in this realization. But he actually meant something else! How’s that for misunderstanding the right way?
When we experience something, this happens in my "poor soul, the center of my sinful earth", to use Shakespeares words in his sonett. Therefore, there is one big task for me and you - to let Christ clean, cleanse, rinse, wash away, which is the meaning of penance and repentance. John the Baptist says two things. First - repent, repent, do penance. Then, but only then: come to the Savior.
The first part - to let the Divine clean, do the laundry of the heart - is the divine phenomenology. When we are in the company of the Savior there is a natural purification of experience (not of the person mind you!), but I have to be awake to choose His company. When Jesus says he is the living water, we often understand this to mean: drink this living water! But we can also see the holy water, the water we are baptized in, as the water that will rinse and clean our souls from all distractive and basically dead information.
Allowing the Lord’s presence to rinse and clean is your daily practice, but it is not a ceremony or worship or practise of meditation. It is a practice in relationship with other people. Most of the distractive assumptions thatcomes up on the screen in other people's minds, are usually the same coming up on my own soul screen. Have you noticed that? They will all be washed away by the living water in the grace of God - if you let that happen.
So we must not make a choice to become "launderer" but rather let the Spirit wash and let loose streams of living water of the soul. When we sin, as we always do when bodily and mental cravings occur all the time almost without interruption, we let washing take place. That’s called prayer. Yes, sin and washing prayer is the same process! Absence and presence of the One friend is one process with us. All data lumps on soul shield is like a mortgage loan to the Giver of life, a loan we let Him loose us from. Which is the meaning of the Cross.
Truth is not about curing one another, it is not about healing. I am no healer, I am no teacher. I have empty pockets, nothing to give you really. It is to take full responsibility for what happens in the soul, to dissolve, to eliminate it by the surging water of the Spirit. It is not by my compassion or some other pious feature that this message is expressed. All such delusions about your own virtue or the virtue of others, are just further debris on the mirror of the soul. Naked data and applications that act on the soul's screen is all we care about. With prayer that is directed at the garbage we just let it all go.
There is perfect health, you know, but on when you let all created things disappear and rest in Him.
The question Who are you? is popular these days. It becomes rather trivial by being asked so much. Maybe it is better to ask What is here? What is going on? Sometimes I prefer to talk in “states” although this term is also vague. If you think you are the body, that is one state of life. If you think you are mind, that is another. Jesus said he was One with the Father, that he was I AM before Abraham was. That is another state, the unitive state if you will. And then there is the feeling that you are nothing manifested at all. That is a state I feel at home in. You know, the absolute being, before identifying with any form of energy or matter. When I am hungry, this hunger is here. When I am laughing, there is laughter here. But the truth is absolute being, not yet manifested or always returning to Uncreated Light before manifesting. Would you not agree that this is to prefer? The whole. Can it really be said that anything else is real, as a discrete constituent real entity? I don’t see that. And anyway, what happens when you give up all notions in Christ, this absolute love and light seems to be the fact of it all. So we can see it that way.
In this way you see that Christ is not about thinking, believing, having a faith, feeling this or that, being that or this. It is only truth. It is absolute truth and you can have no hesitation about it. It is not a Weltanschaung, it is not a picture of the world, not a myth or a cult of any sort. Forget about all such things. Such things you read about, admire or hate, join or persecute. It’s all content in the world. The Christ I talk about is absolute truth right here and you know it for a fact.
It is so easy to read a little and have opinions about religion and philosophy. You learn to say “myth” and you can discard or explain everything about different religions. It is not about those opinions or academic phrases. It is not about evaluating the history of religious thought or the tendencies of the human mind. It is about this reality right here, this absolute reality in this very moment. Are you carrying content right now? Are you heavy with dust on the souls mirror? Are you distracted? Be honest about this.
When we have had our meetings, many of you feel very good in that silence that often comes when no one have a question and I am silent. Have you noticed that? Silence is good. It’s the same i the Catholic Mass, the silent episodes are the best. That is actually what Christ is all about - you are shutting up!
It is interesting - when you shut up things fall in their natural places.
If you ever have seen a buck in the forest, being disturbed by your coming and rushing away to a safer place. Then it grazes again and act as if nothing has happened. It does not plan revenge on you for coming and scaring him away. It does not think it is irritating with humans coming into the forest. It just grazes again after a brief but effective rush away for possible danger. It lives in a natural silence and easiness. Innocence if you will. Or pure actuality.
Life in Christ is much like that. You rest in faith and have a natural happiness undisturbed by distractions in the Actuality of God. Then, when things happen around you, you respond effectively and only so far as is necessary. Perhaps other people approach you in an invading way. You rush away, or set some boundary quickly and effectively. Afterwards it’s gone. Some angry person calls on the phone. You respond objectively, set the matter quickly and hang up. Afterwards you go back to life in Christ with it’s light and balance.
The early Christians lived in that attention, that actuality. The God-event that took place in the teaching and passion of the Christ was not history or biography over a great man-god, but the very actuality for all living things. The Gospels are not biographies, they are reflections of this divine actuality, present right now for you and me. And that means that you shut up the self-talk. Instead there is attention on this innocence of life itself.
So those early writings of the New Testament is not yet literature, they are practical notations of this attentive life in the actuality of the Christ. Imagine yourself to be one of the sick or blind individuals who get healed by Christ. You don’t believe in any teaching. You are just extremely attentive to Christ, that is all. You are fully aware of the actuality of God in a man. You don’t have a jewish or greek belief system in that act. You are simply and acutely silent and aware.
Some Christians seem to think that parish work and splendid choir works is needed to get God’s attention. Big ceremonies and good musicians in the church concerts seems necessary for salvation to take place. Or that eager following the extracurricular activites of the church is proving your walking close to Jesus. This is the same within hindu and buddhist organisations. Trying to prove to yourself how close you are to the spiritual path.
But always whithout exception people are best met and changed by God Himself not during the business of church activities but in the privacy of failure. When you loose, when you are hit by depressive states, when you are in the distress of weakness, when you are in the torment of frustration - that is where Christ offers you total peace, total absence of distraction. That is where attention on life itself comes in. In that sense suffering really prepares the way. Suffering tells you to turn the other way, that of silence and actuality. That’s where the Father welcomes the prodigal son, who is all of us at most time in the suffering from ego content.
Where is it now? Your experience from an hour ago - where is it now? If you don’t make it a new content, where is it? Nowhere. You see everything falls away, by itself. You don’t have to hurry it on. All experienceing will fall away into this vast open space that Christ invites us to. Why should you not go there? Because you are frightened? Yes, that may be so. You are scared that life is that vanishing mist. But it is true. And truth will set you free. All of your images of what life is for, or who you are, or what spiritual path you are supposed to be on - all those will vanish into nothing. That is how truth liberates you. When you turn the other way, when you welcome this truth, there is the heaven open for you, wide and embracing, never to abandon.
Sometimes you say that you are not ready for salvation or freedom. Why? You say because you encounter these negative things in relations and in the world. I don’t like that sort of conclusion. Ready? Who is ready for freedom in Christ? Is it some sort of course in knowledge, with progressive steps of skills? I don’t think so. Look at the Gospels. Are people ready for salvation? It is all about honesty. Scientific and empiric honesty. What is this? When I feel negative, what is it? Be honest and simple about it. When I have a problem, what is going on in the mind? Is it a divine diet? As if affliction is pleasing to God? Or is it some elses fault? Surely you are carrying around with some mental content? Must you do that? No. In Christ you lay it off at the side of the road. Exactly where you are now.
I some sense you can prolong distraction, by choosing not to see it. You prolong the dream of the ego, perhaps quite willfully? So then it is a matter once more of being honest to what happens. Look at it now, where is the content? If you don’t think of it now, where is it? Can you really see someone with a problem?
Sometimes religious beliefs are really vague. The promises of God seem distant and has to be imagined over and over again to be alive in your life. But right here, in our sensible experience of this situation, Christ is the operating principle of freedom. We are immediately free, not free through rethinking statements of doctrine or belief system. God is immediate. And this immediacy takes place right where you are.
To claim metaphysical statements like “this is wholeness” or “this is the infinite manifesting as the finite” or “this is objective non-existence” is really unnecessary and vague. Many nondualist talk that way today. Do we need that mumbo-jumbo? Does it please the mind to hear that “this is wholeness appearing as separate individuals”?
When you look around you see objects. Be honest, don’t fly away in nondual metaphysics. That is a mental trap. What is here? You see sunlight and shadows, you see mountains and rivers, you see me here and hear my voice. Don’t be silly. The important thing is whether you are free? Are you saved from mental content right now? Or do you suffer from it? That is what we are concerned with. Not whether you can say things like “there is nobody here” or “this is wholeness”. Saying these things does not help you, right? Listening so someone saying theses things with gravity and emotion, does not help you, right?
Blaming circumstances is another trap. You may have had a hard life, a difficult family. Don’t be angry at any person you can produce in memory. Don’t be angry at your parents. They love you as well as they understand that word, or as well a most people love. Who, or what do you “love”? Do you “love” them? What is “love”? Say the word aloud, it sounds like something dark and furry, which makes a lowing sound. Human love is fragile. The love of Christ works differently. It is here when you give up all content.
I remember a friend who told me I would never find the love of Christ, because my seeking stopped me from finding it. “You want experiences” he said. “And that way you will never be led to the love of Christ”. I remember my friend making me sad. I stopped seeing him and we never reconnected. Today I see how true he was. You cannot find the love of Christ by reading or asking people or going to Church, or by travelling. It’s like being borne with gold-tinted corneas and undertaking a lifelong search for gold. You’d never find it.
All the traumatic events in life are really no events. Marriages, births, deaths, terrible wars and famines, all those things occur but they don’t change anything. Wars are not changes but poor attemts to cause changes. War and peace are not events. The only event is your birth into this world. The rest merely occurs. Then there is the discovery of Christ in freedom, which is the event of dropping everything. So there are two events, the birth and the dropping.
Therfore I am not that interested in all your questions about events in my life. People who write autobiographies and talk on programmes like The Journey Home to the Catholic Church are creating a lot of fictional stories with a hero in the center. What really happened is something else and there is nobody to tell. There was a birth into this realm, yes. And now the important thing is whether you find freedom and love in Christ.
When the dropping occurs it will cross your mind that nothing else has ever happened to you. There is no time but the actual moment and when you look at that it is simply obvious that there never happened anything else. This is a freedom that the fictional hero of the story does not easily accept. I Christian terms faith has to discover the mystery of the present moment. You can call it the sacrament of the present moment. That is actually the Eucharist, the participation of Christ in the very appropriate form of a meal. But really it is a dropping of everything.
You are always in a mess, carrying some load ! So it is not that liberation is a big one clean forever. We like to think so, however. For many years I thought there were individuals on earth who had done the big cleaning and were out of it. But it does not work that way. There is always only this and that is pure from the start and forever. That is the Christ being. That does not need cleaning. But a human being who is suffering from burdens of the mind is always in the mess. Big mess or small mess is actually the same thing. Just mess. Then repentance is what you do - dropping the burdens on to the Lord.
You can see a lot of people in the world, suffering and not letting go. That makes the sufering worse. It becomes a lifestyle. But still they have the desire to become lighter. In any moment in time they can do it. Just lett the mechanism of the misery stop. There is rest for a while. Maybe this is what happens in church, maybe out in the woods. And in that rest someone can see how Christ is always taking on every kind of mental content. That is the end of all prayer, the end of all religion.
When we do not live in Christ, the only alternative seems to be to live in the cycles of mind creating and constructing and mind destroying and destructing what we call reality. When Christ talk about another sort of reality, the kingdom of heaven, he really points to something else than we call reality. But as long as we incorporate religion into our life, we simply construct more content.
We can be merely philosphical about this, like the kantians, and produce arguments for or against the notion that reality is a construct of the mind. But in living reality it is a matter of life and death. Life in Christ means daily offering up of the construction of the world as we know it. The construed world always lead to deconstruction sooner or later. The distracted life can of course provide pleasure and ease at times, but most of the time, for most of the individuals living the human life, it is all a painful misery.
When we start to realize this loop of construction-destruction you simply stop and turn to Christ, that is another order of life, another idea of existence. We give up the notion of construed reality and immeditately sense the freedom of the Creator himself, that which Jesus calls Father, that Abba he talks to on the hillsides of Palestine. In the Father we don't construct time and space like we do now, we don't restrict experience to individual centers, we don't interpret things to be preferable or not, we don't practise the dominance of "knowing" the world.
Wherever you are, whatever you do in this life, you construct reality. But then one day someone who lives in Christ most of the time comes up to you and claims that freedom only comes with truth in Christ. If you really listen to what this prophet says, you simply give up all content and share this infinite freedom in Christ. But if you want to go on constructing life with new content, you just join a church and remembers passages from the Bible. You add more construction content. You prolong the conditional life, you prolong the prison existence. You see what I mean?
Living oriented towards Christ means partaking in a love that is unconditional. It is not a part of the conditional construcktion of existence that we usually live in. The sort of typical psychodrama of trying to be a nice loving person in the world, with all its ambiguities and unclear situations, is just adding more conditional stuff to what is already clouding us and binding us. Christ is love that abounds everywhere and is ever free of darkness and content of the mind.
That is not how life was presented to me in school and among my peers. When I discovered this Christ around 20 years of age, there was astonishment and surprise and at times exstasy. I remember quoting from an Antonioni film that "being high on life itself is better than any drug". This was the seventies and drugs were becoming more available.
This love in Christ is not an experience taking place at a certain place in a certain mind, but something whithout process or development in time. It is the uncreated light that Christians have been encountering from early on, the mystical light that according to Jesus will fill the whole body.
When you act in that light life itself will dominate. You don't carry weight around, trying to fix life or be good or be enlightened. Life itself in Christ dominates the moment and you find all sorts of things to do and have fun with. It is a flow of natural delights because you don't try to make it according to preconceptions. That is an impossible task, to create a new enlightened creation, the holy life. There is nobody here to do that, so it is impossible. Instead the genuine light of Christ allows life itself to be childish, free, unconcerned by any intention.
The ordinary becomes itself in Christ light, but it is not a special ordninary, it is not the aestethics of japanese drawings or zen gardens. That is artificial like a planned graden, things ordered from a blueprint. The truly ordinary is all round us all the time and you feel the freedom of it, whatever it is. You can change it but it is not necessary, and even the change does not take it out of the ordinary. This is difficult to talk about, it comes by itself when everything is given to Christ to carry.
Even if God visits you he has to leave soon because everything that comes has to go quickly. Of course that is God as a mind content, and many believers only have God as a temporary content in mind. When we live in Christ we give up such a spiritual content and so we are not visited by God but we rather live in the space of God. This is more simple although theologians find it more difficult to argue.
What has not come does not go - and grace is never coming but always already here for anyone to enjoy and embody. It is the first gift, the first embrace of compassion, never to abandon you. Look how wonderful it is ! Gods grace never abandons you ! But of course every distraction will put you on a distance and you start to imagine sad things, miserable things, the context of sin and redemption, the cycle of sin and forgiveness. Allow everything to be forgiven from the first instant. That is true ordinariness, the forgiven state of the universe.
If nothing else happens, go into prayer. Say the Our Father, say it slowly. Nothing happens, and that is quite allright. Don't expect things to happen, don't wait for spiriual expereince. True prayer means nothing happens. Everything is just full and you say the words of the prayer, like you are resting in the warm water of the Mediterranian Sea in September. You lean backwards and the water will carry you. That is the same with true prayer, it is grace lifting you up for a period of rest.
The bhakti traditions in the various religious traditions always point to the obvoius fact of love. You have to fall in love with the grace that does not happen and does not add to any mind content. That is the resurrection of you life as it were. That is the New Testament vision of resurrection. Not another story to tell eager listeners, hungry for content. You stop the chase for religious experience and there is ease in Christ. That is the peace that He gives. Nothing goes on, no exciting constructions of sense reality, no fancy ideas about what to do in the world, no ideas about destiny. Just being in love in what is.
Some of you ask about sickness. When you are sick and in pain, it seems nice to float away into fantasies, just vanishing into a novel or a film, just to pass time and wait for feelling better. But you are always here anyway, this pain or sickness is what is going on. So we don't judge this as bad or not ok. I have been sick quite a bit in this life. It comes and goes, sometimes it stays for quite a while.
What helps is to realize that Christ always is this present moment. Sick or healthy this moment is always Christ and we can share this vastness that He is. Having pain we can realize Christ with every breath, in every sound we hear there is Christ in the very hearing, with every sensation, painful or not, there is the presence of God in life itself. Whithout judging pain or lingering on the fact that you are chosen for pain right now, you live in Christ and you don't carry burdens. He carries them for you. The pain is there, the condition of sickness is there, but it all takes place in Christ.
For many individuals only the telling makes it rea. Only when something is said out lour, do they believe it. It is as if the sound manifestation is necessary to make it believable. For these people silence is threatening and meaningless. How can truth reside in silence? Impossible.
But you know the mind is not free unless the silence and wonder is there, as a child who finds everything new each moment. Running content, telling a story, filling in the forms of language seems to be the only path for the worldly mind. And underneath there is the longing for freedom. In Christ all is forgiven - given away as it were - and a loving hope for the kingdom makes us inspired.
But isn't Christianity about morals and ethics? Some of you ask about that. I would say ethics come in strangely with Christ. Not like all other ethics that come from human reasoning and contracts. Most peoples ethics come by tacit contracts. But in Christ there is this strange freedom from all content, all impediments. And at the same time there is meekness, nonviolance, love in Christ and love for one another. It is not a system. No real arguments can be given. You live in this love and it is working for you.
So if you think that being a Christian is to behave, you will be thinking conventional content, a story about being a good person. That is not it. Try and you will see. If you take the statements in the Bible that seems to talk about behaviour, the commandments and so on, you will miss the freedom in God that the Bible is all about. You will make more religion. In Christ there is utter simplicity. No ethics. But in that loving silence comes nonviolence, resepct, meekness, acceptance, willing to sacrifice small and big things in life.
My grandmother told me once that if you do something in Christ, it will turn into a dear trouble. She had a life full of trouble, starting with her oldest daughter dying in scarlet fever. But in Christ the troubles still were dear troubles. She did not argue. There was not system of ehtics. She moved in Christ, that's all.
For one thing, you yourself is out of the question when you live in Christ. There is no one left to be a good person, there is no interest to be a good person. If you meet people who try to be good in church, you know they are there for other reasons. In Christ there is no such person trying to be good.
I met this old man in India, he was old and sick, probably soon dying. He talked good english and everyday he wanted to have conversations about God. The body is not real, only delusion, he said. But the living operation of eyes, ears, speech, thought, emotion, movement and so on, was God in action. He was very happy about this. A dying sick body is no problem, he claimed. The living God cannot die and in every living operation right here and now God is actively living.
This is a good way to talk about God. In Him we live and move as the New Testament says. And to recognize as this old man did, that every conscious living operation really is divine activity right near us, right in us, is to be awake to what is going on. He did not live in a dream about a separate me negotiating a destiny on Earth. Rather the living God was the obvious, the central dynamic movement every minute of his last weeks in this old sick body of his.
You know we talk about waking in Christ, being born again and so on. That implies a period before awakening or born again. But in Christ this is not true at all. In Christ there are no periods before salvation or after, no foreplay and life afterwards. We like to tell our stories that way. Get used to dropping all that. Be free. Jesus Christ is liberation, not remembering periods or states.
Please don't make metaphysics of this ! When you sit in Christ there is no teaching, no metaphysics, no philosophy. Only life as it is. You move in the Lord and the Other power does everything for you. There is no me and no myself there, so how can there be periods or states or notions about it? Daily life comes as it is and there is nothing but Christ going on.
In Christ there is neither any moment of death nor of ordinary life. It is the Holy Spirit ever constant through past, present and future, which means no content for you to engage in. There can be no moment of facing death other than the single breathing-moment here where you are. Each moment is the facing of death, you know. And each moment is also birth in the Kingdom.
You know this freedom in Christ is something you always wanted. From childhood you have always longed for this. Christ is not something foreign. He is what you always wanted. It is a release. When you accept Jesus Christ it is like turning a corner and you are home. You see what I mean? In that sense it is the common search, the common path, everyones path.
Often you mind is mad because it never comes into peace. I think that is a sound reaction. We should not crack down on thinking. We should not give the mind such a bad beating as we sometimes do. We bank our fists at the head and curse the worries, the anguish, the uneasiness - as if the mind was a bad guy producing all this to hurt us. No, the mind is right, it is awful not to live in happiness and peace. But there is a mistake in where to find it. That is all. A simple mistake. It is to be found when all contents are given away to Christ, so that there is only free space left for us. You see what I mean?
When a mind comes to that rest in Christ, it simply enjoys life. There is no protest anymore, no fight against circumstances. This is not apathy or just stoicism. No, you partake in what happens but you have left the world. Your mind is doing the natural procedures according to its capacity but you are in space, in the high with the Lord which is not neutral and impersonal but deeply engaging in love and life. You are living with the One Person, as it were.
This is a deep and nice release for the mind. And the mind was right all the time - there should be this peace, not that looping programme of doing things in the world or being a separate substantial person, on a distance from God or thinking of God as something neutral and impersonal. Life is never impersonal, it is highly personal when we are in Christ and not in a separate body-mind.
Therefore it is also a trap to be so smart that you say to yourself: there is no path, there is no search. That is only logic and sloth on the part of a too intelligent mind. From you childhood there is the longing for the freedom in God. Only at this release into Christ will you realize that this path, this truth and this life is what we always longed for.
The reality you see when you at ease in Christ is this very present reality here. So you can look around and have a look at the present, not in order to make new interesting content to process but just see the beauty of it all. It stays here, this beauty. Never leaves our life. This is life as it is.
Instead a lof of seekers never discover this kind of beauty, they are looking for a special beaity, well ordered, designed, elaborated, understood. These are avoiding activities, making it sure we never reach the true beauty. Instead we get reports about the adventure of seeking.
I don't have more religious content for you. This is it. Look around, notice what we are already in the midst of here. This is miracle appearing as sky, mountain, rain, snow, wind, cars, streets, people and animals. There is a body right here, producing all sorts of noice. Look at the beauty of it ! For a while it lives and makes noices. Listen to it and enjoy !
As soon as I or someone else takes the teacher position and tell you what to do, we will miss out on this peace that Christ is. A mind at ease is not going anywhere and so every hint of a teaching or a practise, will be whithout any meaning. In theory there is a path and a teaching but in the very embrace of Christ only one word is appropriate: satis ! It is enough.
This is terrible news for the creative mind. Be at ease is simply terror ! Better to be active in sin than be still i Christ ! This is the restless mind. But anyone who looks around to discover the present and ever new quality of colours, sounds, movements, things, light - will forget this restless mind. The brain suddenly works in a natural way and we are at peace in the midst of life.
Eastern and western religious practises often include control over passions. There is puritanism in hinduism, buddhism as well as conventional Christianity. This is the mind controlling content. Much of what is going on under the rubric of prayer and worships is simply the ego trying to control impulses, impressions, thoughts, feelings. Methodists in the Wesley tradition sometimes try to root out every sinful impulse from the body and brain. Much of catholic penitence is about the same endeavour.
Be at ease in Christ instead of this fretful mind control ! Look around, listen to sounds right hear, feel the body sitting or standing or walking. This is where Christ abides in you, nowhere else. In your fantasy there is only content about God, not the real thing. In you theology there is merely content and categories, not the embrace of Christ. But right here, in this very here-ness, God is talking as this life itself. It is not hard to realize this. My yoke is lights as air, says Christ in the Gospel.
There is nothing individualistic about truth. It is rather by losing individuality that truth comes to shine. Now make no mistake - what you become in truth is so much more honest, great, miraculous, than what little individuality can ever create.
In truth the notion of your private individuality can rest forever. What a release that is ! That is the meaning of the Cross -- on this holy cross the individual is let free into Christ. But you have to be willing to let this happen. Can you really say that you are through with the futile play of individuality? Are you really fed up with it? If not, I am sorry but you have to run about a little bit more. Then come back and maybe you can accept truth and life in abundance.
If you notice that you are not willing to let go of all content in Christ, try to see it with your common sense. This is really scientific, you know. Look at what is happening in this moment. You make the world by your passionate heart. The data you see in the world are there, in your passionate mind and heart. Let the Cleanser wash away all those data. Let Christ wash it away with his blood. Then what do you really see? You see nothing at all and in this light a fresh world is arising. This very reality here. It is new, data-free, like a spring morning.
Then, of course, your mind will try to make this new world into an old content, something to be treasured, remembered, talked about, written about. But that is already a fantasy. There is no such a reality, only a daytime dream about you. So, once more, let Christ clean up, refresh reality itself in His Blood, set you free. You will find yourself in the true Sabbath, the time which is no time. There is nothing more to do there.
The greatest mistake is to think that your dream is the very reality. It is real as dream, but not as you. Imagine looking at an interactive map on the internet. You can follow the streets of your childhood town, if they are still there. You try to remember what you did here and there. You find the place your father worked, or you mother. You look at the house where your first made love. Images of her or him appear. You attach emotions to your memories. Can you see how all this is make-believe? It is an activity in this now, trying to project back in time. Next time you do it you feel a little different, remember slightly different. It is a creating process. The real is here right now, where you sit dreaming.
An hour ago is already a memory that you can dream about. There is never actually an hour ago. There is never twenty years ago. It is make-believe, it is dreaming the daytime dream. We all go around loading this dream with emotions and values and knowledge. We are fabricating the documentary as we go along in life. All the time Christ waits for us to discover his presence right here. He is patient, you can come when you despair over the daytime dream. As you see the sheer vanity of it.
Think what happens when you do religion this way. It becomes another daydream and Christ still waits for us to come to Him and give away dreaming. Christ is the freeedom from these make-believe lives of ours.
You see, evacuation of the soul is the same as being with Christ, being in Christ. You evacuate in order to let reality be the only thing going.
You don’t like that, do you? It is not fun you know, not that good fuzzy feeling you like to have, am I right? You anticipate something negative here, isn’t it so?
Still you have to choose. You can live on with you daily dose of conceptions and ideas about yourself. Many live like that till they die. They never woke up to reality during the time in the body. They will end up in Christ anyway, right? But if you choose truth now there is only this way to Christ, to leave the other stuff, leave the notion of yourself.
Is this a hard bargain? I may appear so as long as you have something to defend. Remember the young man who went away from Jesus, quite disappointed with the message: leave everything you have and come with me.
That is the truth. Today truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Of course there are always people seeking to defend their opinions with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light as we evacuate the soul. The face of God is visible only when that evacuation takes place.
Is this message clear? I don’t have another agenda. Come to Christ, let go of the rest. You are nobody and that should be a relief, do you understand me?
I know some of you think I am impatient, and I know what you mean. I am so tired of reasoning around and around, never coming to the radical and simple truth. You can easily find people who talk and talk about God and who end up on BBC4 - intelligent talk radio. But you see this will not take you any way closer to Jesus, it will not be a closer walk with Thee. It will delay you. Be my guest, delay for ever. But you become real only when you give up content, give up intelligent talk.
In Christ there is nothing to talk about, you know. It is life itself, the real and overwhelming life, full of raw beauty and stillness, eternity in everyday detail. It does not make a good subject to talk about. It is not amusing, it is not impressive. Just very naked. Like the irish hymns says: naught be all else to me, save that Thy art.
This is not something you believe, that would be just another package of self-content, it would be of no use, just another ball you play around for a while. Instead this is already and always. Christ may also be your best thought, but He is this life and light, this boundless compassion.
You know, earlier in history, many thinkers thought that clear conceptions makes us happy. People still believe this. If you can clarify an idea, you are happier than before. But this is obviously wrong. You get heavier with more conceptions, albeit they seem clearer than others, but you don’t get happy. Two minutes after some person have found an heureka and a clarity in conception about something, they are heavier than before. They have to defend something, they have to be consistent. The happiness of discovery is over.
Coming to Christ is not a conceptual mystery. It is actually no mystery at all. Believers love mystery, but most often that means that the search is going on as before. They postpone reality. Right here, exactly where you are, is reality and no mystery clings to it. It is a revelatory reality but only because it is empty of all meaning. In Christ it is totally pure of meaning, purgated and complete.
Why are you listening to this? Is it because you think you will feel better? Be more happy by feeling better? Do you know that the body produces feeling? The body-mind is all the time producing feelings, some feelings of pleasure, some of pain or dislike. You must accept this first fact. It is the nature of the body-mind to create these feelings of pleasure and pain. This is not mystical.
But you see, you are not the body-mind, otherwise how could you understand what I say? You are not that system of appearance of pleasures. These pleasures come when the body-mind is exposed to certain pleasant objects, physical or mental or emotional. These feelings of disease and pain come when the body-mind is exposed to certain other objects, mental or material or emotional. You are not this dramatic scene of appearances, you have never been of that nature.
This sounds childish, I know. It is so simple, everyone knows it actually. Why do we have to repeat it? In Christ you are established in what is not body-mind. It is easy. You are in the Heart of all reality, you are in the very Reality. And then you are free. You are never free in the body-mind.
Easy to remember: everything i body-mind is creation and you are spirit. It is the un-created you really love. Let us rest in Him and not in anything created, since every new content in creation will be old immediately and not real enough for you.
You walk into this garden with awakened mind and there is nobody there. You learn to live there and Christ is giving this to you. This is the true life and once you get used to it you will never return to the world.
But make no mistake, a whole lot of people who are seeking liberation and awakening, will not like it. No one recognizes you, you are not given credits. You don't get a new sanskrit name ! You are obliterated and the Garden is everything. This sort of loneliness is everything. Can you stomach that?
You know why so many prophets were tending sheep? Why the boy Krishna was tending the cows? Why David was looking to the family herd? Probably the loneliness on the hills was a little like living in Christ. It was open space, loneliness, truth, nothing to conceptualize.
Truth is like a rich garden where everything i sliving but you don't find the Gardener, except in all living things, in the flowers, the trees, all the insects, all the birds. YOu have a clean heart and it is just as much outside as inside of you. No boundaries, just a lonely lovely garden. There is nothing to do in that Garden.
I know, you all want to do something. Develop, make progress. All this is obsolete in the Garden. All acitivity is evacuated with the evacuation of the souls. Not needed anymore. Just as right now - no "you" is actually needed. Try live whithout it a minute and you will see that you are still alive, still breathing, still living and loving life. You should try it !
In this very moment of experience - can you find a past? This is not a fanciful philosophical question, it is a matter of reality. Like Angela de Folligno heard Jesus say to her in a vision: The past is dead. Can you allow this to be the true fact about your reality now?
You see that is the breaking point. There is no purification or holy work to be done - just see for yourself ! Can you accept Jesus words to her: The past is dead?
It is like waking up a clear summer morning. The past is dead. This is the very resurrection, the new life. You can never make this to be another self-content. Sometimes you see advaita teachers talk about awakening and all we hear is more self-content, self-pleasant content. This will never do beyond rhetoric and nice satsangs. It is like a person sitting and hugging himself, a self-embrace.
When the past is dead there is nobody here to to be an awakened one, or anyone self-embracing. There is Christ and nobody else. We rest in this open space, filled with truth and confidence. It is the consolation St Paul is talking about in the opening oft the second letter to the Chorintians. It is not coming from us, were are not even there anymore.
Where is Jesus? He is here. This seems puzzling to you. But this is the place to be in Christ. Read what Katie Davies, the girl from Tennessee who lives with orphan childen in Uganda: "a piece of paper tumbles in the wind. on it is a picture that we have all seen - the face of a white male with long brown hair, a matching beard, and a crown of thorns. a child looks up from picking through the garbage pile and snatches the paper. "auntie kate!" he grins, "this is Jesus!" i look around me. at his bright dazzling smile, a stark contrast to his dingy, torn clothing and mud-caked feet, at the small yellow flowers peeking through the trash and overgrowth. i feel the warmth of sumini against my chest, her tiny arms wrapped tightly around me; i feel the african sun that warms me to the core and the wind in my hair that refreshes and renews. my heart might burst. "THIS," i think, "is Jesus". this is Jesus.
there is a love greater than anyone can imagine that fills be up. and unlike anything else in the world, as i give it away it doesn't ever run out but only multiplies. and THIS, this is Jesus.
(See her blog kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com)
Some of you are puzzled by traditional religion. Shall I walk in the footsteps of my family? How churchy should I be? Why is it important?
You can think of religions as of two sorts: do-it-yourself religions like buddhism, taoism, hinduism, and scripture-based religions like judaism, christianity and islam.
Freedom in Christ here and now has not to do with either. It is not creating a dharma, like most buddhist schools do, which is very popular nowadays. It is not using any scripture like the truth in itself. When all content is gone and you breath, feels the heat of the body, listen to the sounds around you, there is only life itself. That is the truth, that is the open space of the Messiah.
So you can go to the church of your family and forefathers, share the sacraments there, because you will never ever be anywhere separated from God. Religions is a temptation to make religious content and religious experience to a little separate "you" but God is there all the time, just as He is in you kitchen or bedroom or workplace.
So if you bother with traditional religion, remember there is nothing there. There is no exit from this present holy here-ness to a religious construct. No exit. This is it. Here it is, all you want. All religons talk about it, but here it really IS. The lilies knows it, every bird knows it.
What is our natural state? Is there such a thing? Some of you ask this questions. You have to keep in mind that everything that is a content is also a betrayer. When you keep an opinion, or a persuasion, or just an idea for fun, your natural state of consciousness is clouded. It is like the mirror, It is perfectly clear in itself, but dust and other things are gathering on its surface. And now your body expriences disease.
This pure consciousness is life itself, it is the Father that Christ is aware of at all times. It is nothing at all for the mind, since the mind deals in contents, and this is not such a content. You can try to make it a content, a dogma, a teching, but then the betrayal is a fact, and your body will signal with anxiety.
So certainly there is a natural state, a "naturaleza", a grounding nature, the well of pure water of life. It is here at all instants, it is the very thing letting life be what it is. And you can inspect this whenever you want to. Just nullify all contents for a little brief period and you will se how clear, original and joyful this basic ground of being is. It is blessed by itself, by its own nature.
When you inspect and find this you will relax. If you do int often it becomes habitual to be relaxed this way. You can never turn it into some radical content, it is before and after all content. It is the provider of life. Happiness and gratefulness is the energy of this nature of life, the living.
You could also say this is your true identity, but usually the word identity is tied to stories and fictions you have about yourself. Which is all just more trivial content, eventually giving you trouble and pain. So if we shall elaborate on identity let it be clear that is is not specific content of the individual mind. You see? It is when you drop all personal content that you can see this true identity, this living consciousness, reflecting the world but never touched by the world.
Not to be grounded in this true identity usually means you are caught in some dream. You project in to the past or into the future and you suffer from it. This is inexplicable for the mind, since theses projections seems so necessary. But when you are in you true conscious identity you simply don't believe in any projection at all. It is still, quiet, harmonius, you are at ease.
Always use the reality principle, which is the truth principle. What is truth? It is what happens now. That is true reality. You never really need another principle for living and thinking. Christ is this, what happens now. Even if you explain everything, that is the action taking place in your head, what happens. Then, after it has taken place, it is gone forever. If we talk about what happened an hour ago, it is gone and instead our remembering is what is taking place, what is real and true now.
Some people think this is nihilistic. So what? If it is true, that is enough, isn't it? I does not matter what people think and feel about it. There is nobody there while it takes place and there is nobody there feeling something about it. Everything just happens or are done moementarily. This is actually very simple. It also means dropping every notion, dropping all contents, which is being in Christ.
This is also very encouraging, in fact. Imagine you walk on a street. Every step is real when it is taken. Then it is gone forever. Never comes back. Right? Gone forever. That is freedom. We are always free because everything that happens is leaving us, going away forever. That is true freedom. Nothing stays. Nothing remains. Everything is changing all the time, leaving us, goes away forever. That is what Christ is all about, leaving everything behind. Never look back like Lot's wife did.
Everything is about truth because only truth will make you free. You will disappear in truth and that is the point. As soon as you add content and believe in that you will loose out on truth. Everything falls away from being a content, and truth always support that. Look around and you will see that life itself is truth which liberates.
This is very simple. Once I tried to write a doctoral treatise about this liberation. My professor did not understand. It was simply provoking but unintelligible to him. Truth demands that you drop content, intelligible or not. One of my good teachers said: The university will never accept this. He was right. But it concerns everyone, even the one who thinks he is a professor and wants to be intelligible and in control. Reality is always obvious and demanding your obedience which will liberate life for you.
So this takes place now and never more, never later. Can you see the value in this? It is of very high truth value, it is like the pearl in the field. If you find it you take very good care of it. You drop all contents for it. It is Christ himself, liberating you.
All your content is like a graveyard. You think you are alive when you feel things. You can pinch yourself if the arm and repeat: oh I am alive, I feel a little pain ! And you think and analyze and then you are alive. You go to the pub and have a bear and talk and think and brood, you think you are alive. No. No. It is all corpses in a graveyard, just corpses. You hamlet away, as D.H. Lawrence expressed it, and think you are alive. No. It is stone dead.
You see in Christ all this is so uninteresting. It is just more dead meat. When this is no more, when you enter into Christ, then this life itself is full of light and love. Then you don't identify anymore. You have stopped this lethal activity.
You see you come here with all your education, all your feelings and emotional intelligence. You are certified this and certified that, you are coaches and professors and advisors and doctors. Whatever. All this is more dead content, more lethal identifications. Then you are not satisfied and you think you need more content. Christ is the crucifixon of all that. You have to mature, to give it up.
Bottom line, you think you are alove becaise of this feeling and thinking, those impressions and those energies you have. No. Graveyard. It is all dead. Imagination, fiction, makebelieve. Come out of it, mature, leave it when you can. Until then, go on produce content, talk about it, know it, be emotional. Pain will follow wherever you go, death will follow you.
It is good to put one question after another to God. But they will not have answers until you drop every content in you mental bookshelf. Prayers will not be answered as long as you keep these contents and those questions. Maybe you don’t know who the preacher Charles Finney was. But he was confused by so many believers in church who never found answers to their fervent prayers. He could not understand it.
When you let Christ take away all you have, all those questions also die away. It can take some time. Some stupid little question can linger in your mind, popping up now and then and question your life in Christ. But eventually it fades out in silence because life itself is full of holy Spirit and it is more than we need. We become completely satisfied.
I heard a minister say: God has created time as we know it. You can’t give that away. But I told him to get to know God who is timeless. God’s presence is also timeless. And when you think me me me all the time, you will se that individual time also vanishes. There is no individual time. This place is forever and this is timelessness. Welcome here if you can stand it here! It will be boring for the restless ego but wonderful for your true soul.
You know if you come with identity to Christ, you will simply not hear what he says. If you think you are this, you are that, you must do this, you must not do that, all that has to go. It is dead meat. You can’t iuse it in freedom. It is a grave mistake to think that you can go on with your interesting and creative identities.
This is not nice to hear. You may not be ready for this, you must perphaps do more of the world, go on and do things until you vomit and just want to die. You can’t make awakening into Christ to something nice for you personality. Forget it. It will all be a lie, a real conceit, worthless for you. You will confuse yourself as well as others.
Christ did not come to be nice with you, he actually comes with a sword. When you are completely fed up with the world and your many identities in the world, being a sister, mother, woman, man, son, and all your titles and responsibilities, so fed up that you just want to die away from it all - then come! Christ welcomes you and replace all this nonsense with Himself. Then it is simple.
If you are not through with being someone in the world you will want this life in Christ as something added to your life, an expansion of you self and everything will rotten in your hands. Let the holy Spirit wash all data away from your screen. Be silent, drop all programs you have. Don’t try to be good at meditation or any other
technique, that is also only addition of content. You heart must be empty of all content. Come naked.
You know, real beaty is something very different from what you get when you think you are somebody. Identity only gives more crap, more worthless content, more graveyeard stuff. I meet you and I listen to all your selfinvolved nonsense and some of you are not smart enough to ask or help. You persist in this nonsense about who you are. You are nobody, and that is good news! If you think it is bad news, go back and do some more of it, until it wears you out.
People with identity are always proud, in this way or that. They will not give up who they think they are. It is like walking around with a clenched fist. It is hurting after a while and it is all your fault. You have to let the fist open. Open fist feels good. When you are noboy everything is fine. You are free for Christ. It is simple.
But as long as there is this pride you are not open for Christ, you have this clenched fist of identity, you have to do this, to do that, must avoid that, must access this, an endless series of must and must not. Listen to people and you will find them totally wrapped into this identity play. Some seem to do it with a certain gracefulness, but it is all nonsense in the end. There is alway disappointment in the end. And until you are weared out it will sound awful to come to Christ and let it all down. It seems very pessimistic.
Proud people like to talk to each other about their dramas. Let them do that until they are fed up. They will even pay much money to do it with therapists and coaches. Let them run this identity circus. When it finally collapses and people are ready to die, then there is an opening for real joy. Then Christ really means life, life itself.
Christ says you should not bring old bags for the new wine. If you bring old content the new wine will leak. I does not work, it can even explode. Identity, knowledge, youre interesting person, your work and your achievements in the world, it is all nonsense. Old bags. You bring old bags. If you try to hang those old things on Christ you get a churchy Christ. You only get religious, there is no freedom.
The truth will not make you free if you come with identity. If you pray the prayer will be old dead stuff. Then the prayer does not make you free. When you give away all identity, drop the nonsense me-my-must-do then prayer is freedom itself. Prayer is wonderful then, you can live a prayerlife continuosly, because you lost your identity. So don’t bring the old bags for the new wine of freedom in Christ.
You ask sometimes about sacraments and rituals. You know they are all for liberation of your mind so you can’t practise them with old mind, old identity, old nonsense of you life. What you think is real is always more stuff of the old and dead man. You think you are alive because you experience this or that, you live these ups and downs. That is just more content, more data, more discursions of the old life. Baptism is to get clean from all that, totally clean, you die in the process.
So forget about dead rituals. If you do them it’s ok, you will get fed up in time. But liberation in Christ will not come until you die from all of that. Sacrament is dying from all religion, all identity actions in the Church or outside of it. Confession is only dropping all data in Christ. Don’t make it a game, a churchy game. Enough people suffer in doing that. It does not lead anywhere. Truth will make you free when you drop all of that, when you disappear.
Come to Christ when you feel really low. You see, when you feel good you are always too proud. Your own data seem so strong and you live in the fiction about yourself. So you will not accept Christ anyway, just add him to your contents. That is graveyard, your own graveyard with all the corpses.
This way your misery will help you, you see that? Christ also says this: come to me all you who are burdened. I will give you rest. This means that you rest from all your burdens, you are clean in Christ. The problem is that people who feel good are so full of dead but busy content that they will create a lot of suffering for themselves and others by chasing good feelings and proud thinking. Soon they get tired and weary and then perhaps they return to Christ, giving it all away, hopefully.
You know Christ can never be your life as thought or feeling or project, only by giving all away and die into Him, which is baptism and the meaning of all sacraments. This giving away is freedom for you, say welcome to that world of peace ! No? Really, some of you are afraid of it. Where will my nice ego go? Will it hurt? It is like going to the dentist ! You want to be cured, but will it hurt? Yes it will hurt your pride, your image of yourself, your social benefits. Maybe you are not mature enough to do this? You want to play around some more.
Maybe you think that it is too lazy just to sit around and let God be God in your heart and rest from all human endeavour? If no one is pinching you in the arm or giving you slaps on the chin, you will not feel alive? That we have to love and hate in orden to be alive? A sort of emotionalism?
But it does not work that way. You see when you are in Christ reality itself is alive, fully alive so that you do not need to sit or do anything special to enjoy this aliveness. It is taking care of itsel, like a stream of water, full of bustling and sparking, all by itself. You can do whatever is needed to keep alive, help others, live your life. All fantasies about a holy life has to go. Forget it! Breathe, sleep, eat, walk around, this is life already. Nothing here to know or make or project, you live life itself instead.
I know, this sounds all too meager for many. Such a lazy way, we need people who strive and fight the good wars. All wars, by the way, seem so good to some of the fighters, don't they?
People ask about content. Must we not have content? Isn't that life, to entertain content?. No, I say it is graveyeard because Christ is risen. If that was not so, then you could live and die in your graveyard of dead content. But he is risen, and that means new life, the risen life. Ok?
The risen life means you live in that new life, Christfreedom. And then new contents may arise in your mind but you just let it go. It is of no use in the Christ life. Try and you will see.
You know life will go on anyhow. How much you suffer, it will go on till the end, will it not? So there is the choice - will I choose new life in Christ or not? It will not give more self content, it will kill all self-content. Will you choose it? Until you are completely fed up with your own data, you will not choose it.
Look at people. You will easily discover how they are not yet wholly worn out by content, not yet. You can see it clearly. Nobody with content is righteous, no single one and they will yield to the new life in Christ only when mature enough for it by being fed up with it. The the new life is compassionate and righteous, but no longer self-willed.
I know you belong to different religions here. That is ok, it is our world. Religion today, as perhaps at all times, is basically little more than acculturation. You side with a group because you want to belong to it somehow. You like the people there or the books written or the peculiar customs of the religious group. People do like that. It is not a radical conversion to truth or to real life. It is not even a clearly defined world view that you acculturate yourself to.
Now life in Christ is very different from this. It is dropping all that religious content of you mind. You clean up the inner screen completely. You leave all religious mindsets behind. Is this possible? Try and you will see. Life in Christ is the new life, you cannot carry anything over from religions or philosophies to that life. Trying to do that is just more churchy activity, not the early pauline life in the risen Messiah.
So the truly religious life is to leave everything for the one reality. You know even the atheists, who think this creation is so extraordinary as to dispense with its Creator, do carry a lot of stuff around, arguments, discourses, willful attitudes, evaluations. When you enter into Christ there is this fresh look around. There is openness, not dogma or discourse. There is pure reality, not elaborated selfworld.
If you read Father and Son by Edmund Gosse you can see what religion does to a relationship when religion is a closed system, a selfworld with religious terms. In Christ there is free open space but in the fundamentalist temptation you project the prison of the mind to a religious context. Then you keep that prison working and it destroys life.
Very often you come with emotional problems - you feel disgusted with something, you feel depressed. This is to be human. Well, if you live in Christ this is very uninteresting to you. Your daily moods and changing states are not any more what you care about, you see? You don't bother much with these changing energies in your emotional life. Actually you don't even know much about them, they are not yours to bother about.
This is strange of course to our psychological culture. Prime importance is usually given to what we all feel at a certain moment. Look at those hysterical sport reporters, rushing in on somebody who has just finished a race - how do you feel now? In our culure there is a stupid focus on reports on emotional states in a lot of situations. Small children are trained to give answers to adult questioning how they feel right now?
It is indeed liberating to read the New Testament. Life is at stake but there are not many reports on peoples feelings. Life itself is in focus, no matter your emotive responses to it. It is the same with truth. Look around you and you see truth and reality. You don't know what it is. It is there, resting in its own inexplicable there-ness. It is already waiting for you to discover it's simplicity. It is not at all bothering about neurological states in your body at the moment. It is not interested in reactions from a supposed emotional myself.
You can see many teachers with spriritual messages actually performing a sort of therapy. They say phrases over and over again and when people repeat these in their minds they feel nicer. So they think they understand the message, they think they have recognised something important for a while. One day after the meeting witht the teacher, they are back into the emotional drama. They look into the calender for the next meeting.
Even when some teachers point out that this is not therapy, what they say will be things people repeat, become addicted to. They turn the words into therapy, they remember and repeat. To live in Christ, however, stops all of this. There is absolutely open space where nobody knows or remembers anything. There is no repetition of any words or actions. There is just daily life, simple things, "ignorant things of this world" as St Pauls says about the things that God chooses for his revelation. Not special at all, not learned, not advanced in thinking or emotional intensity. And nobody in you bothers about what is felt at the moment if you live in love. It really does not matter since the open loving space in Christ is the very fact of life itself.
Do these emotional phases have to play out in your life? No they are totally unnecessary. But they come and go. Till the end of life on earth ! Since they come and go all by themeselves you don't even have to take care of them one way or another. Like thoughts they are passing and we just let them pass. After they've gone no one remembers them. In Christ you can instead let deep present love of everything in life arise in you heart.
You know these trivial things of our life really surpass human importance when God uses them in the freedom of Christ. Often people, especially religious, give some things special importance. Early messianic faith, the one St Paul belongs to, broke with the human importance of temple and hierarchy and teaching. We can do the same, it is still the most radical way to live. You give up all the stories about yourself and human importance and discover the new life in Christ. You live with the trivial things of this world that God singles out to baffle the important. That is different kind of joy.
That is often the most difficult thing in realizing life in Christ - to give away the human importance for mere nothings that baffle the somethings. How can you downgrade yourself in this way? If you listen to arrogant preachers they will not do this downgrading, because their church is so splendid and vibrant. And the secular elite will not do it, because their nice language and learned wisdom is not to be spoiled by this naive simplicity. Nevertheless, this is the true crucified way of life in Christ.
We hear about strong preachers, effective writings of this or that philosopher. But it is rather in the trivial everyday life and weak presentations you really find freedom in Christ. In the fragile context of ordinary life, where we offer the few stories we have about ourselves, there is nothing brave or saintlike. It is all weakness and lack of understanding. This is the radical way of dropping all content as merely human importance. This is no win-win situation, it is rather a loose-loose one. Instead this different joy of life itself as miracle arrives in a gentle way and we don't look back.
So then there is nothing for us in the wisdom of the east or of the west. Those beautiful anthologies with wisdom preachings do not really apply. When you loose everything in Christ there is mere presence Spirit and miracle of the trivial things. You eat together, help each other out, get tired, sleep and wake up, go to work, love your fellow sisters and brothers. No sofisticated wisdom teaching, just this, life itself.
Be aware when teachers or books or organizations are called "important" or "vital" or "vibrant" because they will probably delay your simple dropping away of all self content. They will provide exciting content and in the end wear you out through this exciting and wonderful content. Turn to the trivial things around you, the real beings living there, in sorrow perhaps, in need of all sorts of help probably. Just leave content behind and look around you - here it is. When you disappear as central observer there is only this and God is immediate, the revelation of this is itself presenting truth. No need anymore for the vibrant congregation or the vital teaching.
When content is dropped into Christ you find what is original, what is eternally new. This is paradise still here, it was never lost. It is not regained or refabricated but it is original. By life itsel as it is here this is revealed as the simple truth about life.
But of course this is just nonsense if you think about paradise as a symbol or a nice story to be read in Church. Then it becomes religion and phrases you like to listen to in your mind, more content to carry there, more fantasies. In reality it is the light that carries everything else, paradise right here in all trivial things.
When you pray the only real prayer you are in this paradise right here. It is the original matrix of everything and it is not specific words or specific mental content. You don't really pray towards anything or from anything, you don't anticipate or remember. You are here and this is open original space where deep compassion is the only state and it is making everything new. It is life itself, the deep compassion, not known by any mind or self project.
Maybe you want prayer to be personal, your little talk with God or Jesus? Or your congregations praising the Lord? Well it is much more than that you know. You are lost in it, so in that sense it is not personal at all, there is no individual or congregation there if it is real prayer. But this is the real living you, so in that sense it is really the only life there is, totally new and creative for all of us. It is immediate, there are no distances. The prayer is compassion itself, the only real prayer. You don't pray that something shall happen later or did happen before, you are in the prayer that is life iself.
What is prayer? Only this. Here is prayer, it is going on right now as reality itself. You can align with this life by dropping all data you carry and be in this very compassion that is reality. It is not a form of a set of prayers, it is not a mode or type of prayer. There are in truth no different kinds of prayer, we only think in those categories, fun as that is. There is one prayer, this compassionate reality itself. Your body will respond immediately to this one prayer. It is like a heavyladen boat, when you throw off the cargo of selflife you feel the lightness, the easiness, the comfort of compassion. In Christ there is only this, life itself.
Do you know who you are? Really? You know when we are kids we do everything as roleplaying, and it's serious business. Then we grow old and seem so serious although it really feels like theater. You never know who you are. Bottom line, it is not known by any of you. Because there is nothing there to know.
When you see what is already here, before any "you" or "me", then this not knowing is quite ok. You can still play roles if you need to. For practical reasons you can get things going by doing that. But a second later you are real again. You rest in this and there is nobody here, it is the open space of Christ, giving you freedom forever.
Yesterday you all came back from some weeks in Taizé and you had a lot of questions. But you know living like that in a community for a while and singing those long prayer hymns will give you certain experiences. What do they mean? Are you going to change your life? Are you coming closer to Jesus, to God?
Then you are back here in a small town. Time will pass and you do the ordinary and the memories fade and soon enough Taizé is far away, almost like a dream. Then some of you set up the goal to go there again and start preparing for that. This is how mind works on experiences, putting you at the center and asking questions.
Actually these experiences are just what they are, images and feelings, thought and judgements of different sorts. Christ is always with you in a very much closer sense. He is life when you don't know anything about Taizé or yourself or any other place or any circumstance. He is the loving space you are in when mind takes a pause. That is happiness of another type, something you never acquire or gain by any experience, except, perhaps the experience of no experience.
Through history there are some who become hermits and spend time in seclusion, living only for the prayer of the name of Jesus or some other prayers. Before the modern age that was a common sight in many European villages and people in general respected them and helped them. They were considered to live a holy life and this had a certain influence on people in genereal.
But when you see what theses hermits are saying, it is all about the Lord being present in all circumstances, closer to you than any experiences of whatever kind. So nothing will change when you start a hermit living, or a community living. It will still be the experiencing of sleeping, eating, thinking, feeling comfort or discomfort, feeling lost or feeling fine. Christ will continue to wait for you outside or inside of all your mental and emotional activity. Happiness will still reside only in the still point of everything taking a pause, relaxing all efforts of stimuli.
So go back to Taizé and sleep in sleepingbags and sing for hours in the church, meet a lot of poeple of faith, feel togetherness, talk to the brothers and eat the food there - I heard somee of you complaining about it! At least you will find food here wonderful in comparison ! Jesus is always with you and waits for you to take a pause, relax into his love and stillness, beyond any cognition or emotion. And you realize you don't have to go to any place to be with Him in freeedom. You are free to go anywhere but you certainly don't have to.
When you see over and over again how freedom and love comes in the instant you let all go, you easily become a lover of Christ, rather than a human being needing to experience things. You come to see that Taizé is everywhere, the singing and contempation is right here. You may not find so many professing the same faith as you, but they are real and they are living in Christ whithout even knowing it. For you what takes place here is love for Christ, visible in all phenomena.
Some of you come with a rather specific view of what Christian life and teaching is all about. The other day for example, a man approached me with the claim that all Bible is about is social justice, social and economical justice. The exodus story is basically about that, the teaching of Jesus Christ is essentially that. The kingdom of God is really a good kingdom where there is distributive justice. The fact that the roman kingdom crucifies Jesus is proof enough that this is the case. And he spoke at length about this and tried to enlighten us about the basic message of the Bible, and of Judaism as well as Christianity.
To have a content in you mind about what the message is in texts or in preachings, is all very good. But do you know it is just a content? You think it is important content, and you can argue for that. But do you really know it is mind content? I asked this gentleman this over and over again. He dismissed this question as selfevident. Of course it is mind content. Everything is mind content. The word of God is mind content.
So I had to ask him: is there anything else in this life than mind content? Then he grew silent. And that was the important thing. Silence. You see, when content is focused upon all the time, life itself disappears for this person. He had written twenty books about his theories about religion, but life itself had disappeared. Life itself is meaningless to such a focused mind. It is barren. Just colours, just movements, just sounds, just body feelings and so on. No sense. When you make theory and interpretation, then sense returns. And then you can write articles and books about it, go to conferences and talk about it.
This is content-sickness. Beware of it. You loose life itself. Jesus was into life itself, not into mind contents. God is all about life itself, not mind contents. This man with the theory of distributive justice as the main message of the Bible, is of course longing for true life, as we all are. But he has to carry a lot of theories around, a lot of mental burdens about meaning and message. So how do you help him? By contradicting him? Tell him about non-meaning and no-content? Perhaps he will only hear theories about mysticism and spin some more content around that.
When you come to Christ and let go of content, then all aspects of life are highly interesting. Sounds, air, body feelings, other people, loving words and gestures, laughter, movements. Maybe in this there is social justice, equality, respect, compassion for each other. But those things are not premeditated since all content and interpretation are surrendered. You are in life, you don't interprete it. You are in Christ and you enjoy it, you don't claim it. It is in the non-claiming that enjoyment co
I heard this wonderful expression from one of you: be like you come from Mars and this is the first day on Earth ! You know, everything is new, unknown, strange, curious. That is the way of Christ - everythings is made new. Nothing is heavy through your knowledge or understanding, it is fresh and really not able to be grasped at all. And no reason is actually given for trying to grasp it.
This is the way of innocence. You will notice after a while, that living this way is easier and just as effective as the other, heavy and ego-filled way of life.
There is no secret to this teaching - you can see everything in the open right here. As soon as you hear about something being secret or needing "initiation", beware. The life in Christ is if you will and open secret. It has been from the start. Read Irenaeus - it is about clarity, obviousness, ostentative reality. Christ is risen, you can see it clearly. "Touch me" the Christ said to Thomas the doubter.
The same goes for you. If you are unhappy, ask: what is right here? What is this? In what way is the Perfection of the Father right here? Then you are on the right path - leading nowhere else !
In fairytales often the common objects - a chair, a coffee pan - starts to talk and move like a little human being. In Andersens tales the dolls and soliders in the nursery starts to move and have battles. The things of everyday. That is where the magic is.
Actually the Christian tradition, in contrast to the oriental mystical spiritualities and gnostic sects, was all about being open and visible. It is marked by simplicity, for all to see. What appears is the truth.
When you hear today about not believing what you see but realize you inner self or find th dee wells of the unconscious, you can easily recognize this as more of the gnostic tendency. Irenaeus knew it very well. Instead you should look away from yourself. Look at life itself, it is trustworthy. As you see perfection in evey event while being in Christ, there is noo need for hidden or inner teachings.
But what about meditation? And inner prayer? Yes you can use these to wear you out ! When you are worn out you simply turn to Christ. There you find rest. You don't find more acitivity, you find rest. Of course you go about your daily chores, but now with some poetry in it, some grace to it. And you are happy, since you are walking in the light.
What about religion? Yes you can use that to wear you out too. You know Christianity says: here it is, it is obvious and visible. This is oftan a provoking messagen. So provoking that many martyrs paid with torture and death.
This materializing of the Spirit, as many saw it, was unberarable to many listerners. Remember that many of Christ's own followers left him when he was too outspoen in this directness of the truth.
We could talk more theologically about this: All liberty must of course consist in the realization of the ideal harmony between the creative will and the created life; in the correspondence of the creature's active being to the creator's idea, which is his substantial life in Christ. It is realized here, not in a dream about something else.
If we are creatures of God the creature's liberty is what his obedience to the law of his existence, which is the will of his maker, effects for him. You see the effects here right now. The instant you move counter to the will of life itself, the prime cause and source, the universe is its prison. And you are a prisoner.
St Paul in his letter to the Romans is not thinking either of the metaphysical notion of liberty, or of its religious realization; he has in his thought the consciousness of freedom, the life in Christ. Before any clerical organization was in place, this life was the central theme of the house-gatherings, the true Church.
Should you go to church? Should you confess regurarly? Should you share the sacraments daily? You know all those questions boil down to this: what is churchy things for? The purpose with them all is to open up for Christ as he is in all worldly circumstances. Look at people on the streeets, in shops, in buses and trains, in workplaces ! There is always suffering, longing, dissatisfaction, tension and drama going on. That is where Christ is situated. We all need to come free in Him, beacuse He is freedom itself.
Of course you feel compassion with all suffering beings, including yourself. But the Christ is the salvation freedom for you and all suffering beings. So don't make religion but be in Christ freedom instead. That's the point in all so called religious activity. You may fall in love with a liturgy but that is something quite different. It is you personal aestethics. That will not take you to freeedom, only more content in your mind.
Some zenbuddhist use this verse before meditation: With body, speech and mind in perfect harmony we strive for awakening from forgetfullness, to transcend all anguish and desire. You can turn directly to Christ after saying these words. In Him you forget about it all, therefore harmony.
For you know, no amount of sitting still will transcend anything. Only in Christ can you leave all contents behind. Sitting quietly in Christ is a wonderful practise for life. But you will never transcend desire by yourself, since that very self provides continually new desires. Christ has already enlightened your soul from this problem.
Whatever your practise is, it all comes down to this: do you allow Christ to be your Saviour? Right now, do you allow this to take place? Can you allow freedom? In that freedom no one is around, things only happen here.
Do you think about this freedom once it takes place in your life? You can talk about, but why? Only if someone needs help with it should you talk about it. Most people live their lives and discover no need for freedom, although they certainly would profit from it. Instead they suffer on and you must have compassion with them.
A priest friend asked about how to do the sacraments. I told him just let Christ do them, don't be present with your ego. It feels strange, he said. Well let it feel strange, you will get used to this freedom ! It's like having on a strange new hat, in the befinning you feel funny and wonder if everybody is looking at you. Then you get used to it and act naturally.
To move about in the celebration of the mass whithout the conscious me is just wonderful. All the actions become simple, direct, just and righteous. Life is like that when Christ freedom is the quality of it. You should try it ! I told my friend. Normally priests look scared or worried in mass and church services. Like it is a duty and something can go wrong.
It is also the same with faith. Do you have faith in the dogmas of your Church? Well, if Christ is the center, there is no one here to have any dogmas. The place is empty where there could be an ego having convictions and aknowledging dogmas of faith. Who is having any belief content in the moment where the freedom of Christ is alive? This moment is all we have. And it is enough, as Mother Theresa once said. This moment in Christ is enough.
One of you asked the other day about praying. What if you like to be constantly praying a simple prayer like Our father or the Jesus prayer? Well, the important thing is whether this is another cognitive content. Then it is an additional burden. Right?
It can be really fun and comforting to pray a lot. You get some strength from it, you feel high. But after a while you probably come down again. So it is really another content, while in Christ there is none, because he washed it all away on the cross. So is there more to say about it?
It is much like dancing or playing music. It is wonderful for a while. Intermittently it is a good way to live. But when you make it another burden or content you just activate the false agent, the ego, the central intelligence that you like to be. You are an achiever once again. Just let that go and rest in Him !
Those of you who are monks or nuns or ex monks or ex nuns, remember that there is no difference. This is the monastery, wherever you are you are in your cell. I know we all romanticise cloistered life but it is all foolishness. The quiet and silence you need is available wherever you are. I remember the title of an interesting sermon by William Ainger: "Public peace and quietness the fruits of Christian Truth" -- that's it. The truth about this reality here brings all solitude you need.
Once you skip your romanticising the recluse life, you discover only normal natural things, a floor, a bed, a room, a window, land to work with, animals, mountains, other people moving around. The real life. You cannot hide from it. If you hide in a hermit cottage your are not hiding. The world is right there. Christ is truth and life wherever you are, at all times.
Not many of us are wise but freedom in Christ is right here for us. Like me you are perhaps rather foolish. But it is in this foolishness that the freedom of Christ is alive.
You know simple people have always known that the real is this right here. No content, just life here, as it is. This is the stupid simplicity of Christ. Nothing but freedom and eternal life. When will you have the courage to stop romanticise and dream on about a religious life? Be stupid like me and those free in Christ.
Actually it is only as you are stupid and not having a clue, that you can be really open to others. When there is no agenda, because you are not smart enough, then you can be there for the other. You can't do that when you are too clever, or too full of wisdom and knowledge. Christ was simple. My yoke is easy. Come to this.
There is a nice book title: Just live ! The author is Ruth Tabrah from Hawaii. It is actually about the pure land faith. But none the less, the title is good for freedom in Christ. That is what the risen life is about: just liv. In freedom just live. Just be.
You know if you pick up the bible and read a line, you engage. You start engaging in letter on a page, or letters on a screen. Engaging in letters. Ok? Let's say you catch the phrase: Truth shall set you free in John 8:32. What is the meaning? The meaning is that you put down the book. You stop engaging in letters. You stop engaging in thinking. You just live. You just are. That is the big sense of it all. Not that you go on engaging in letters on a page or on a screen, or engaging in images and thoughts. That is just more left brain mecanics.
You see the difference? A child could understand the difference. Why can't you? Instead most of you keep on chewing and chewing thought and words and images and emotions. Left brain habits. No sense of the Spirit. Come to life instead !!
This life here. Ok?
Now what do I mean, here? Just this: I live, I see, I feel, I think, and there is an innumerable plurality and variety in what I live, in what I see, in what I feel, in what I think. I can't live this innumerable plurality without thinking it all into a First, and into a One, which is the fullnes of God. This is not a god, it is very God, the only operative thing going on here. And it is just here and just to live !
Has any man since the world began ever found it otherwise? Is not God the word, the key-word, for the clearing up to us, our only enlightenment? The only way to get out of this innumerable variety? This is the union with Christ, his salvation for each and every one of us. We don't have to prove anything. Try prove the breath you just breathed! Try to reach anything in this. Impossible. This is it, you are in it already. Why fight? Why engage in this attempt to create something else? Walk free in Christ.
You come here and you see me in meditation and you think: yes he meditates sometimes. I have to do that too. But you see, I am that meditation life. It is not that I sometimes meditate. I am that. And that is what Christ is. He is that very meditation, that deep or shallow prayer, that state of bliss. But sometimes prayer or meditation goes not work well. You are tired, you drift away in thoughts. That is also Christ. Whatever happens takes you to heaven when you live in Christ.
We do not reach or acquire that. We are that. How can I say that? Because we are in the freedom of Christ. In our western culture it is not ok for someone to sit all day in meditation. In other cultures it is highly esteemed. Cultures change and are morphing into new things all the time. They are like a river, constantly changing, constantly returning back.
That is Gods's will, you know. Like a free river changing everything, returning everything. If you use the Our Father, that Yeshua recommends to us, think of it like the river. We greet our Father like we greet the river every morning. We bless His name and celebrate the fact that His kingdom comes always like the river, that His will is like the river of everything that comes, that all our sins are washed away by this river, that we are liberated from all evil by this flowing river that takes with it all things so that nothing but the will of the Father remains.
So don't meditate or pray as if your will is the grace. Be rather what meditation and prayer is, constantly flowing like the river.
Basically, all cognitive activity produces delusion. So there is good delusion and bad delusion. It is not real, none of it. Jesus taught us the best delusion -- to say the Name of the Father. Wait for His kingdom, because it is near to us. That is the best way to deal with the delusion that we are in.
If you like myth you can use the thinking of Adam. We are Adams children and we are all fallen into the delusion of separation. There you are. Adams children get saved through the New Adam who is Yeshua. This is myth language. Use it if you like. The Bible uses it all through. In the images of Abraham you can see Christ. Abraham foreshadows the Father sacrificing his only son when he is on the Moira mountain to sacrifice Isac on an altar. Instead of his son, a lamb is sacrificed.
All this myth language is interesting. But never forget the basic practice. All cognitive acitivity creates delusion which binds us. Yeshua is freedom because the Kingdom is freeedom, and this kingdom is near He says. Best thing you can do is the life of kindfulness and contemplation on this kingdom. Use beads and say the Name of the Father on every bead. Or use your ten fingers. Be close to the kingdom. It will come, yes it is aldready here.
You know many people think we should be strong. Strong in faith, strong in what we do in the world. That is not at all the path of Christ freedom. It is mostly wilful delusion. Rather, you should admit how weak you are.
Not until truth comes up and you prove to be weak and miserable do you have any chance of Christ freedom. Listen to the preachers who like to seem strong in prayer, strong in scripture, strong i denominatinal theology. It is all repetitive theater.
We are all a bunch of weak creatures in Pain Valley. We need God to embrace us with his love and accept that He loves us in all our weaknesses. He is actually babysitting us all the time, taking care of us although we fail and fall, fail and fall every day in Pain Valley.
So come to you senses, be truthful about your own weak and miserable state. Why not? Be kind to your weakness. Be kind to others and be kind to yourself. Christ is this very moment in life. Here there is rest and joy.
You never get that joy if you try to be strong and ambitious. You only get daytime dreams, fake happiness and misery when you try to hide you weakness. Christ is the real. And this is the case for all of us. We live, as St Paul says, in earthen vessels that easily brake. But the real us in in the body of Christ and that is right here for us, as this and in this very weak life of yours.
So don't try to run away from weakness and misery, it is actually what help you most. Your strong dreams just take you into more delusive fantasy and there is no real freeeom there.
God is not solving problems. You might think he is after watching series like The Monastery or The Convent or Big Silence which BBC makes a lot of popularity, and are amusing and funny documentaries to watch.
But they all present an error. It seems like you come with problems and distractions of all sorts to the monastery, and then you learn prayer and stillness and your problems are solved or weakened or fading into the background. But freedom in God, freedom in Christ is the opposite: no problems among all the problems. My kingdom is not of this world.
Christ does not solve problem, he is freedom from problems and freedom from the one who is supposed to have these problems. It is all a fiction that anyone "you" have some sort of problems or difficulties. And that spiritual life solves these for you.
Instead you notice when you come to Christ that it is totally uninteresting to be someone who has problems or sins or distractions in the chaotic world. It fades away as a possibility, as a theater piece, as a mirage or absurd memory. Just be kind to these memories. They can't help themselves.
Of course you can pray, sit in silence, walk slowly and sing the Name of Christ. That is the most simple way of life, the best life there is to live. Do it ! But don't think there is any problem solved for anyone. There never was anyone who had problems or sins or difficulties. That is what you notice as you sing along and sit in silence. No one is there except the Living One. It is always Christ himself that is your freedom, not any negotiaion between a problematic self and a supernatural problem solver, a super therapeutic healer.
That self-improvement view is just prolonging the search for freedom and postponing the natural finding of Christ freedom. In Christ there is rest, peace, joy. It is not a clinic for mending failures in ourselves.
There is no such problematic self to begin with. When we come to Christ we leave all those contents at the door, garbage we carried with us, giving us pain. They are not useful, not interesting, not relevant in Christ freedom. Rest and inspiration is what love and compassionate patience in Christ is about.
We discover an infinite light and life in this practical freedom. We don't do problem solving or sin absolving in this freedom, whatever happens in the world or in the theater of myself. We rest and laugh, we breathe and bask in the divine light of Christ.
To be a Christian is to practise patience. When you are sick, be patient with the body, your friend who has brought you so much good in life. Don't turn it down, don't judge it. Be grateful, say: Thank you good body for having done so much good to me over the years.
And have patience with others. They are all less than perfect. Just like you. Look with kindness on them even when they do stupid things. This is what humans do all day: stupid things, which create a lot of unecessary suffering for all involved. Look kindfully on them and have pateience with them, just as with yourself.
This is the noble profession of faith that Yeshua told Pontius Pilate about. We look to the heavenlty things, which is patience and compassion. There will be suffering enough whithout you adding to it. Instead have loving patience with everything. Practise the faith that way, not by denominational chatterings called apologetics. Turn to the heavenly things in Christ and practise that sort of freedom !
People who are boring churchgoers only -- you who really don't have faith but go there for other reasons -- are really not profesing the faith. To practise the faith is to do it in your real life, the persons you actually meet, the circumstances you really happen to come into. They are often bad or uncomfortable, these circumstances. You agree? Or they are a mix. Good? Bad? You really don't know. They change all the time, so the bad happening turns into a good one. And vice versa.
(work in progress)