Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:43 pm

joe wrote:There are many Christians who will say they have experienced Christ in their lives. They won't necessarily refer to the Bible. Based on what you are proposing, one should hold what they are saying as true because they have said they experienced it directly. Of course what they describe is understood by them through the filter of Christian doctrine, so then what?
I cannot say that is an accurate interpretation of my comments. Anyone can say anything and claim it is authentic. And it may be as far as it goes. But everyone has a fair amount of programming and indoctrination that they likely do not recognize. Whatever programming and belief systems one holds can and often does color their insights.

That is why what others say is 'truth' is best taken as a pointer at most and not as gospel regardless of the certainty behind it. The most reliable authority is one's own inner guidance. That said, it may have to be cultivated to get and maintain clarity. My inner guidance is no less colored by my own life experiences, as is anyone else's. A pointer can indeed be valuable, but only to the degree it awakens more direct insight withing the one considering it.
There are also those who gain followers by claiming they are hearing God directly and transcribing His words for themselves and others, or who are acting on the direction of God, and what they teach or claim often corresponds to Christian doctrine.
Indeed it can. It depends on the clarity one perceives their inner guidance. It's not simply on or off. It's how well one can see through the fog of their own thought and belief structures. How well they can become attuned to their own inner Source. Often those who came through a particular religious doctrine speak in context of that doctrine with some clarity that is quite insightful.

It's also true that Law of Attraction will tend to bring the kind of understandings that one is most interested in and focused upon. Ask how does X doctrine work, and amazing insights into the doctrine tend to show up. Be careful what you ask for. The nature, intensity, and desire for answers tend to bring answers related more to the question than still greater understandings that may be available.

WW

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Dec 29, 2017 8:18 pm

Is there a way to actually separate the principles of Christianity from the narrative of Christ and God the Father and have things make sense in terms of going to church and listening to sermons?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Dec 29, 2017 9:44 pm

joe wrote:Is there a way to actually separate the principles of Christianity from the narrative of Christ and God the Father and have things make sense in terms of going to church and listening to sermons?
The problem with limiting one's focus to the principles of Christianity is that it tends to focus attention on the dogma of the Christian religion rather than the Essence of Overarching Spirit. If it has to conform to Christianity it becomes somewhat exclusive to a larger perspective of spiritual inclusion.

I suggest you focus on what feels expansive and inclusive in terms of consciousness and spiritual perspective. Is Christ Consciousness any different from Nirvana or Cosmic Consciousness as just two comparative examples? One might split hairs with specific definitions, but are they not essentially the same? So understand that Christianity is but one religion's teaching of Universal Truths that many religions also teach and point to.

In other words don't get married to the religion. No religion owns the sole path to the truth. Rather, make use of its underlying teachings that bring you clarity of the human experience as a whole. We're all going back to the Home from which we came eventually. Every experience, every insight, every thing anyone learns while here is valuable to the Whole and to the evolution of consciousness and being. If I were attending church, I would be going as an explorer, not a student. Be skeptical, but also be honest.

You also mentioned 'God the Father'. What does that mean to you? How do you see those descriptive characteristics in your minds eye? How large and inclusive can you imagine God to be? However large that may be, isn't it almost certain that God surpasses all imaginings? That said, isn't such imagining a great little exercise in the expansion of our own consciousness?

WW

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 7:09 am

Webwanderer wrote:The problem with limiting one's focus to the principles of Christianity is that it tends to focus attention on the dogma of the Christian religion rather than the Essence of Overarching Spirit. If it has to conform to Christianity it becomes somewhat exclusive to a larger perspective of spiritual inclusion.
I'm not sure if you are understanding what I mean. You said something earlier about principles versus The Narrative. It is the narrative that I am having some confusion about. So now I am referring to the principles.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:20 pm

joe wrote:I'm not sure if you are understanding what I mean. You said something earlier about principles versus The Narrative. It is the narrative that I am having some confusion about. So now I am referring to the principles.
Apologies for the lack of clarity. No doubt my vocabulary could use an upgrade. There is a matter of context in my comments. What I said earlier was about 'core' principles. I see such core as the spiritual underpinnings of most any significant religion or spiritual teaching. There is a commonality among them such as the many versions of the golden rule or holy spirit and a whole lot more.

My more recent iteration of 'principles' was a reference to religious tenets and the narratives that tend to feed an ideology and separates religions and sects into their identities unique from one another.
joe wrote:
Is there a way to actually separate the principles of Christianity from the narrative of Christ and God the Father and have things make sense in terms of going to church and listening to sermons?
In this quote, are you asking about the words of Jesus, or the narrative of the church about the words of Jesus, or a more specific reference to Christ (consciousness)? There are so many lines of thought referenced over the years. In any case, clarity is best found from within your own inner being. Read and explore beyond the church you attend to what others have found in their own search. Consider how it feels. Does it add to understanding? Is it expansive? A good rule of thumb, is take what you like and leave the rest.

For me, this was the path to clarity. It also led me beyond any specific teaching, including Tolle, to my own unique perspective. I believe this is as it should be.

WW

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Sighclone » Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:24 pm

Great thread!

joe - remember that all of Christianity is about "me" down here and "God" out there. It requires a sense of "separate self" (that was born into sin and must be redeemed. All of the scripture and liturgy and dogma is fundamentally about redemption and salvation...) "Who" is being saved? Nonduality is about discovering who you really are. A good place to start is with Christian mystics like Meister Eckhart. And regarding Meister Eckhart, there is a fairly good book titled "The Way of Paradox" by Cyprian Smith. Smith is a Benedictine monk and struggles mightily to bring the Trinity back into Meister Eckhart's writing...he pretty much fails to do that, but the rest of the book is lovely. Anthony de Mello (several books), and Adyashant's "Resurrecting Jesus" are other pathways through the restrictions of Christian teaching to deeper truth. All religions are "belief systems," that require something called "faith" to validate them. Spiritual beliefs based on actual experience rather than reading books are inherently more authentic.

I was a very active Christian for fifteen years - active in a Protestant (Congregational) church, proselytizing, speaking, singing -- all of it. It was part of my path...a part that is long past. The Bible has many lovely phrases - Luke 17:21 is one of my favorites - "...the Kingdom of the Lord is within you..." And there are many others that still ring true. It is not necessary to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But there is a lot of bathwater!!!

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:07 am

Thank you for responding. I have been to my first Life Group meeting and I have a few quotes I would like to contextualize through what we have been discussing here. It will help me to now have specific things to analyze.

1. What do you think it means to love God?
2. We put Him first, and our love is undivided.
3. We desire to be in His presence.
4. Our love for Him leads to obedience to Him.

How can these phrases, so typical of Christianity (personification of spirit in the form of a He, the notion of obedience and the idea of loving Him), be translated into more universal principles? They seem so specific.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:50 pm

joe wrote:Thank you for responding. I have been to my first Life Group meeting and I have a few quotes I would like to contextualize through what we have been discussing here. It will help me to now have specific things to analyze.

1. What do you think it means to love God?
2. We put Him first, and our love is undivided.
My sense is that it means to appreciate all that 'God' is, all of God's creation, all of life - without judgement or condemnation. Feel it out for yourself. The good news is that it comes quite natural when we get out of our thinking and into alignment with our natural state of being. That natural state is God expressed as you, as I, as us.

3. We desire to be in His presence.
Remember the three aspects of God. Omniscience, Omnipotence, and Omnipresence. Omnipresence means God is everywhere in all things. We are not just in His Presence, we are His Presence. This is the fundamental quality of Oneness.
4. Our love for Him leads to obedience to Him.
In my days of researching early Bible scripture, I ran across some revealing information. The earliest transcripts of the Ten Commandments were a little different in text, and a lot different in implication, from those in later versions. In the earliest versions, all of the 'commandments' were prefaced by the phrase "If you have God in your heart... thou shall (not shalt) not... steal, kill, etc".

Consider the implications. These were never intended to be commandments. They were more like prescriptions or truisms. If you have God in your heart, stealing and killing and lying etc. will not be a consideration simply because your core nature will be aligned with the Nature of God. These concerns are matters of the human mind and not the Essence of a loving God.

Life is full of temptations. When we find ourselves with thoughts of evil (notice that 'evil' is 'live' spelled backwards or reversed. I sense a message here.), it's time to go to our best resource - get it? Re-Source. The English language is filled with insights hidden in plain sight.

WW

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:26 pm

Brilliant translations/interpretations. Thank you! But I am still fuzzy on what the word "obedience" really means, as it is phrased as following the rules of a father figure, like a child must.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:54 pm

joe wrote:I am still fuzzy on what the word "obedience" really means, as it is phrased as following the rules of a father figure, like a child must.
I see it as just the church leaders trying to set a relationship between mankind and God in a way where they can keep themselves relevant as a mediator. Understand, most church leaders are well meaning and simply do not understand their own true relationship with God, let alone yours. So they do their best with the teachings they have adopted. The carrot and stick are ever present. Do what 'the Bible' says and go to heaven. Do otherwise and it's 'Satan' leading you to hell. Fear is tough to overcome once ingrained. Follow the path of love however, not fear.

As to obedience, to me it is simply choosing for alignment with the most reliable Source of insight. Our own inner awareness. Otherwise obedience turns into following words in a book. Which is better? A direct relationship with God, through how we feel when considering truth? Or an interpretation of words as stated by an endless succession of so called 'scholars'?

WW

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:11 pm

Well stated. Thanks!

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by turiya » Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:48 am

joe wrote:1. What do you think it means to love God?
2. We put Him first, and our love is undivided.
3. We desire to be in His presence.
4. Our love for Him leads to obedience to Him.
Maybe this just is an oversimplification of what WW wrote, but here's what came to me:

1. Loving God = being Present.
2. We put being Present first (... it's our "primary purpose" according to Eckhart), and then undivided Love (... true, unconditional Love for all that is) flows effortlessly.
3. We all have a deep yearning to be Present (... to put an end to our suffering).
4. Being Present leads to obeying (... going with the flow of/being in harmony with/being one with...) the rhythm of all Life.
(Not being Present... i.e. being completely wrapped up in the Mind.... is not obeying, going against the flow, being in disharmony, being separated from the rhythm of all Life.)
“We ourselves are not an illusory part of Reality; rather are we Reality itself illusorily conceived.” - Wei Wu Wei

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:54 pm

Yes, you are interpreting in the same way, but simplifying, which is always helpful. :)
When I read your lines against the ones I included, it again becomes striking to me what a jump Christian scripture is from basic spiritual principles with the replacement of a simple term like presence with something that is so loaded, like using He, or God.

My hope is that in participating in this Life Group I will better recognize the universal spiritual principles underlying Christian doctrine and not have difficulty in translating terms in my mind as well as recognizing the principles themselves in Christian doctrine. As I see it, since Christianity is our cultural context, it is the best way into spiritual growth for me as it provides an easily accessible community of people engaged in some kind of spiritual practice. Going it alone is difficult and less traditional communities/institutions or those that come out of other cultural contexts, I am not as confident in. One loses their way easily without a structure to follow.

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by joe » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:31 pm

Two new questions:
1. What about prayer? In prayer we are talking to someone, out loud or silently. Who are we talking to? How is this related (or not) to meditation?
2. When asked "Do you believe in God?" How do we respond?

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Re: Connecting Tolle teachings with Christian sermons

Post by Webwanderer » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:24 pm

joe wrote:1. What about prayer? In prayer we are talking to someone, out loud or silently. Who are we talking to? How is this related (or not) to meditation?
It's not so much talking to a 'someone', but more to the Creative Intelligence that forms the Universe of Consciousness and Being. What matters is not the focus on who, but the creative desire and intent underlying the prayer.

While we may think of it in a personal tone, it's more a focusing of natural creative energy toward a desired goal. As an extension of 'God' in physical form, you are an aspect of 'God's' creative outpouring. Prayer, or focused intent, is the mechanism toward the creation of the experience we have.

It's worth noting that we are 'praying' in a sense anytime we are focused on an idea or desire. It's strength and outcome generally depends on the clarity of our focus. Raising that focus to non-physical Source Energy only enhances that energetic expression.

I would suggest here that there is no Old Man on a Throne deity.... unless you believe strongly in one. In that case that same natural creative energy may form one up for you to enjoy.
2. When asked "Do you believe in God?" How do we respond?
Understand, when someone asks this question they generally have their own vision of the God they are asking about. When you answer, consider how much of a discussion/debate you want to engage in. You may answer according to your own understanding, or to theirs (if you have a sense of it). What are they really asking? Do you believe as they do? Or do they want to know your perspective on God? Are they looking to make a point? Or are they generally curious about your beliefs?

Unless you have a secure vision of your own beliefs, you may be inviting a difficult conversation. Still, most of these conversations have value, even if it's only to bring clarity to your own understanding by your efforts to explain what you believe. Always speak from your own understanding and not from what someone else has said. Make sure something you offer feels right in your own understanding, and always be open to whatever insights may come in these discussions.

Your view and perception of 'God' will likely change over time. That is a good thing as there is so very much to perceive. Be honest in your discussions. Don't try too hard to 'win'. It's an exploration after all, and what seems true at one time will give way to greater truths as understanding and perspective evolves and grows.

WW

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