Traditional Christianity

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Traditional Christianity

Postby YUDoodat » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:38 am

I am new to Eckhart Tolle, but not his teachings. Years ago I was deeply into the new-age movement, and read up on many different disciplines in my endeavors to assimilate truth and bring it into context in my life.

However, from my current individual 'fundamentalist Christian' point of view, I experience extreme cognitive dissonance when I try to understand certain of Eckhart's teachings in regard to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus. Granted, Jesus' teachings are parabolic and seem to mesh beautifully on certain deeper levels with Eckhart's teachings. And I have not come across anything anywhere (Christian or not) that illumines the workings and motivation of the ego as well as Eckhart does in 'A New Earth'. I see his 'ego' as Paul describes the 'old' or 'carnal man' in the King James version of the Bible.

My main concern is the way Jesus referred to himself as the 'only way to the Father'. Also, he is referred to as King of Kings (we might say, King of Masters) and Lord of Lords. And that "every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

The Bible additionally claims that Jesus was born of a virgin, which further sets him apart as "the only begotten Son of God", if this statement is literally true, as I believe it is. And since he overcame "the world" by never yielding to 'sin' through faith, his claim that "no one comes to the Father, but by me" seems to exclude attainment of "salvation" apart from exclusive association with his own sacrifice of himself on the cross.

From my distinctly 'Christian' perspective, what I believe Eckhart has done in describing his experience of "Being" is to confuse the inward spirit of a person with the Holy Spirit of God. Perhaps you would say I have made precisely the same mistake that I am ascribing to Eckhart: to confuse my inner Being with my ego, and thus to remain in duality.

But this is my dilemma. I understand the concept that creation cannot be brought forth out of nothing, because 'nothing' cannot truly exist. What truly exists is God, or Being, if you prefer, therefore everything created emanates from Being in the most basic sense. And it does say in the Bible that mankind was formed in the image of God, but does it necessarily follow that we ARE God on the deepest level? For me, this has constituted one of the great heresies of many false religions: that man is God at the deepest level - only most of us just don't realize this. How is Jesus Christ King of Kings and Lord of Lords, if we are all God and simply are unconscious of it?

Just an aside here: this is my very first post, and today is my 50th birthday as WELL as my daughter Hope's sixteenth - two milestone birthdays at once. We're having fun with it!
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Postby kiki » Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:57 am

Setting aside all teachings and viewpoints (biblical, philosophical, and otherwise), what is the direct experience of what you are? Not what you believe you are, not what a religion or philosophy teaches or tells you what you are, but what you are without reference to anything else.

Once that is "tasted" directly and becomes familiar, words and interpretations by others don't carry much weight. No one can then tell you to simply accept what was previously accepted as "true". Rather than rely on a bible or some religious text written long ago, consciously knowing what you are becomes the foundation/authority for how life is lived and experienced right now in this very moment. One then has no need/drive/passion to "convert" others to a belief system. Even asking questions like ""What does ET mean when he says such and such about the bible?" really doesn't have relevance for one who is awake to what one is. It may sway someone else to accept or reject what he says, but to one who is awake it is just more thought, more interpretation, more ideas - all useless to an awakened one. Wake up, then see what happens to "fundamentalism" of every kind.

I understand the concept that creation cannot be brought forth out of nothing, because 'nothing' cannot truly exist...And it does say in the Bible that mankind was formed in the image of God, but does it necessarily follow that we ARE God on the deepest level?


Is it a heresy to know what you are? The invitation that presents itself is to see for yourself. See what there really is at the deepest level - see if there is a "we", a "me", a "you" or an "other" that can have any label or name. Everyone has this opportunity but few will follow through with it even when they hear about it. Most will soothe any cognitive dissonance by retreating to something safe and familiar. Later, perhaps, the drive to discover what's really true will arise again and any cognitive dissonance will no longer hold one back because the call to return to the truth of what one is demands it. This call to return to the truth of what one is comes from truth itself, what you are, so it cannot be ignored forever in favor of any belief or idea.

BTW - happy birthday to you and your daughter Hope. And welcome to the board.

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Postby Webwanderer » Sun Apr 01, 2007 2:27 am

Hello Yudoodat and welcome!

Wise words from Kiki. I wholy concur.

I would add a couple of comments.

You presume that what the Bible says is literally true. There is however, enough argument against that to float a battleship. Who knows what mischief man has been up to in the writing and rewriting of that history? I’m certain it will not be resolved here.

The good news is that truth is available in this moment, as it was in the time of Jesus, for one clear enough to perceive it. Any exclusive belief system will likely just get in the way of that perception. IMO it is wise to employ a direct approach to the Divine. Intermediaries only perpetuate that sense of separation.

Is it a heresy to know what you are? The invitation that presents itself is to see for yourself.


What Kiki has written is true for all people of all time. Religions abound, but within those religions, or outside them, the same opportunity for direct knowing exists for all people. Access to a particular religion cannot be the one and only, exclusive track to a universal truth. To teach and believe it so has more to do with politics and control than to spiritual awakening.
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Postby erict » Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:29 am

YUDoodat, what is it that you are trying to do? It seems that being a good christian is the most important thing for you. In such a case Eckhart's teachings are of little value for you, very little value.

Everything you think you know and understand about god... do you know what it is worth?
"Be sincere; don't ask questions out of mere interest. Ask dangerous questions—the ones whose answers could change your life."
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Postby YUDoodat » Sun Apr 01, 2007 5:57 am

Fair enough kiki and webwanderer. I must acknowledge that the 'proof is in the pudding' so to speak. Unless and until one actually experiences what they simply believe and talk about, it is only that - just belief and talk.

When I first came across ET's book, TPON, I was fascinated and practically compelled to read it; even though for me, in my Christian circles, such teaching is regarded as heresy.

When I began practicing the techniques he describes, I was able to access the realm of which he speaks to a certain degree, and the peace was significant. I was able to maintain a center from which I could not be moved as long as I remained there, which was about a day and a half. I noticed things like traffic opening up large spaces between me and the cars around me, instead of cars jostling for position very close to mine. I also did not react to my wife, daughters, friends and associates in the familiar old patterns, and this seemed to make them more quiet around me (except for my wife, however).

But after a couple of days, the unfamiliarity became uncomfortable and I let down my vigilance and reverted back to some of my former patterns. I became afraid of wandering away from the truth, and of losing my mind so I put the books away for a few weeks.

Truly, this stuff is a consciousness nuclear bomb. It reminds me of the biblical passage that says, "Yet once more I shake not only the heavens, but the earth also, so that only that which cannot be shaken may remain" (or something very close to that). My foundations have been seriously shaken. It is very exciting, yet at the same time, very disquieting. This because just about everything I have considered as truth for the past 3 decades has been seriously challenged, drastically altered, or else totally reversed. I can only take so much at a time, then must let it settle. Nor can I speak of these things to my friends in any direct way, but only in the contextual framework of the belief system in which we operate.

The other thing that has given me cause for significant concern is that when it all comes down to it, in a state of "Beingness" nothing really matters. If one does not love, that's just as it should be: accept it. If one makes terrible choices in life, do not resist, it will all come right eventually. Basically, it all seems to boil down to the conclusion that reality is just God's high-stakes game: it doesn't matter if we win or lose because in the end we all win anyway because we are all God and He/She/It can't lose.

"Can I get a witness?'
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Postby YUDoodat » Sun Apr 01, 2007 6:08 am

Erict, your response was posted as I was composing my reply to kiki & webwanderer.

To answer your question, what I know and/or believe personally about God is worth little or nothing in the grand scheme. Knowledge of God MUST be experiential, and yet such personal experience is wide open to myriads of different interpretations, is it not? If so, the proof of 'ultimate reality' must be rather difficult to arrive at it seems.
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Postby jj » Sun Apr 01, 2007 10:03 am

Hi YUDoodat,

In addition to what has been said by others I want to say something too.

YUDoodat wrote:My main concern is the way Jesus referred to himself as the 'only way to the Father'. Also, he is referred to as King of Kings (we might say, King of Masters) and Lord of Lords. And that "every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."


The wording is important. He didn't refer to himself as the only way to the father. He said something to the effect of 'I am the way.' Am I correct? The important thing I emphasize is "I Am" I am purposefully capitalizing the Am word. "I Am" implies Being. It is the Christ speaking through Jesus. That I Am is what makes us Human Beings, not just Humans. It is Being, or Christ, our own inner essence which is so very familiar to us that we miss it for what it is and its importance.

I contend that this I Am, yes, is the only way. The way what? The way home. The home within. So I submit that this well known phrase by Jesus has been largely misinterpreted. He didn't mean himself as Jesus, he meant I Am, the inner Christ, or inner Buddha, or our own true self is the only true way.

The Christ can act through anyone it wants so I submit that the form is not important except as a pointer. The form is 'of this world' and not the Christ. The Jesus form was limited and mortal just as we all are, in the physical plane, so far as I know. The immortal part of us, the Christ within or whatever you want to call it, didn't die that day on the cross because it can't die.

Oh and the phrase "every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" sounds very war-like to me. How many people were killed, maimed, raped, tortured, etc for that sentence? It sounds to me like someone put that in there for just such a purpose. Even if it isn't it's so vague as to any true meaning that very few people would interpret it as peaceful. When something causes you to sin, cast it out, no?

YUDoodat wrote:If so, the proof of 'ultimate reality' must be rather difficult to arrive at it seems.


Not exactly, no. We are already there, but our minds are often making so much noise that we can't feel it. You have arrived already.

You never left Me. I Am always a part of you. I Am Life. I Am here. I Am now. I Am Love. I Am.
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Postby eseward » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:46 pm

kiki wrote:Setting aside all teachings and viewpoints (biblical, philosophical, and otherwise), what is the direct experience of what you are?


First thing that occurred to me as well. :)

Terrific post IMO.
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Postby eseward » Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:02 pm

YUDoodat wrote:The other thing that has given me cause for significant concern is that when it all comes down to it, in a state of "Beingness" nothing really matters. If one does not love, that's just as it should be: accept it. If one makes terrible choices in life, do not resist, it will all come right eventually. Basically, it all seems to boil down to the conclusion that reality is just God's high-stakes game: it doesn't matter if we win or lose because in the end we all win anyway because we are all God and He/She/It can't lose.


Hi YUDoodat. My experience is very different than what you describe here. IMO you are describing more fears of the egoic mind, rather than what actually occurs when folks find their way home.

For me, the sense of contentment, joy and connection to all things and all folks that occurs with homecoming automatically produces a fairly perfect morality: treating others as yourself is so much more automatic when all folks feel like your brothers and sisters. And as Eric has posted in another thread, homecoming/awakening does NOT preclude action, it merely provides for an inner acceptance of the current state of things so that the action that arises is more than just blind battle.

Also just a note that I totally agree with jj's interpretation of "I AM the way". Similar IMO to "split a tree, I AM there; lift a rock, I AM there". Not a statement arising from the egoic sense of self.

Best to you. :)
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Postby YUDoodat » Sun Apr 01, 2007 1:37 pm

Thank you, eseward, jj et al.

That stevie Wonder song "Superstition" is a good one. I appreciate that quote, eseward.

...I'm chewing. I'll get back to you all when I've swallowed.

Today (April 1st) is "April Fools' Day' here in the U.S. Seems rather apropos somehow.
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Postby YUDoodat » Sun Apr 01, 2007 9:26 pm

Okay, here is the main sticking point for me. (Please bear with me as I refer to the Bible. The fulfilled prophecies alone within it lends all the credence I need to consider it the chief authority I have found upon which to base my - yes- "belief system". If one tries to dismiss where I'm at spiritually because he or she has advanced beyond me, is that selfless love? Thanks.)

Scripture's three claims that 1.) Jesus was born of a virgin; 2.) lived a "sinless" life, and 3.)then rose bodily from the dead, are the very foundation of the Christian faith, as I'm sure most of you are aware. As far as I am aware, there is no other human being who has ever accomplished the same. There may be legends of this or that master (like Yogananda's master) of having arisen from the dead, but none so widely witnessed or documented as that of Jesus. If even ONE of these three pillars of the Christian faith is removed by demonstrable proof, then Christianity as we have known it more or less for the last 2000 years ceases to exist as a viable vehicle for the truths of life.

To my knowledge there has never been, nor does there appear to be on the horizon, any irrefutable negation of any of these 3 aspects of Christian faith. Of course there is no empirical proof for it either, therefore it IS 'faith' of which we necessarily speak regarding Jesus Christ and who he is.

To refer back to the prophecies I alluded to earlier - Jesus fulfilled over 600 old testament prophecies concerning his birth, life, and death. These are documented and verifiable. I have to ask myself, why is such a massive amount of attention being given to this one human being if he is NOT uniquely who he (as well as others who knew him) says he is - the only-begotten Son of God?

jj wrote that the verse that says "every knee shall bow..." sounded very warlike to him. What of that? The Old Testament proclaims in the Psalms that "the LORD is a man of war."

I don't want to get preachy here. Believe me that is not my intent. What I am struggling with here, and trying to bring out is that if there IS a great spiritual war taking place in the realm of the heavenlies, and that war is being waged between the forces of "good"(in tune with God) and "evil"(out of tune with God), is it not possible that in the warfare great tactics of deception are being used by the "evil" to confuse and overthrow those of the "good"? And, could not the enlightenment that is referred to be a colossal deception designed by the "evil" forces to waylay the forces of "good"?

What if the I AM that is being experienced through enlightenment is not actually Being or Presence or God or whatever one wishes to label it, but the created, yet deeply sublime HUMAN spirit that exists at the heart of each one of us as is taught in Christian theology?

If we are spirit CREATURES, created in the IMAGE of God (which the Bible seems to teach throughout); AND the duality that is referred to actually consists of higher beings who have rebelled against the King of spirits and are waging war against him by attempting to entice us (earth-bound spirits) down a path of pride subtlely disguised as Truth, then the whole Enlightenment/Presence/Being thing is a trap to lure us away from the one truth that is in Christ.

I hope I have made my position clear enough to follow. I have to believe there are others out there who, like me, have the gravest of reservations about proceeding down a path that would lead to eventual separation from God (which is the Christian concept of hell; I think I fairly well am familiar with other, less eternal concepts of hell as are outlined in certain posts here on this website). If one could attempt to address these fears without castigating me for having them, I would be most appreciative.
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Postby jj » Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:22 am

YUDoodat wrote:I hope I have made my position clear enough to follow. I have to believe there are others out there who, like me, have the gravest of reservations about proceeding down a path that would lead to eventual separation from God (which is the Christian concept of hell; I think I fairly well am familiar with other, less eternal concepts of hell as are outlined in certain posts here on this website). If one could attempt to address these fears without castigating me for having them, I would be most appreciative.


Thank you YUDoodat. Does your position of belief help you enhance a sense of self?

You have the gravest of reservations? What is the emotion centered around that? Fear? Yes I see fear. Seemingly limitless fear. I see it growing, morphing, shifting, controlling. I see fear of the future, of the past, of what is now. I see it as the human mind's conditioned reaction to reality. The fear of death or an imagined worse.

It's a personal thing why one makes decisions or does what he or she does. It is a reflection perhaps of one's inner reality. That inner reality can be one of fear, resentment, confusion, hatred, love, inspiration, etc etc etc. It's very complicated to into depths in a public forum about personal issues to this level.

Intellectual agreement probably won't be reached here. And, for me, intellectual agreement doesn't really matter. Also the seeking for intellectual agreement is highly prone to activate the ego. In fact, it is the ego that seeks. As far as I'm concerned, intellectual agreement is a high and mighty prize for the ego. It is an empty prize, full of nothing, shallow in depth, reeking of falsity because nothing here lasts forever, even agreement. Religious history has shown that to be true, for me. I find much religious history repugnant and to reek of unimaginable and continuous pain and suffering, but not much liberation. I have experienced that myself in many ways and from many people. I have seen it.

I ask that you make peace with your position and make peace with ours. We'll do the same for you and us as well. It is as it is. We are what we are. I have discovered underneath all of what we typically experience, is a profound love, a conscious stillness beyond comprehension. It echoes throughout this world, yet none seem to hear it. The chatter of this thread can cover it up.
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Postby jj » Mon Apr 02, 2007 7:19 am

Here is a video that describes how traditional thinking of highly noted religious figures can be unfounded:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzFEesUUX0s

Just because a lot of people think something, doesn't make it true. The whole BS episode goes into misperceptions of Ghandi and one other figure I forget who at the moment.
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Postby YUDoodat » Mon Apr 02, 2007 10:21 am

Thanks for your reply, jj.

I can see that indeed my questions can never be resolved intellectually. It is exclusively a matter of faith and experience with which I will have to come to terms before I shall be able to rest.

I will make peace with these positions as best I can as you have asked. Thanks.

P.S. The link to the video didn't work for me.
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Postby Webwanderer » Tue Apr 03, 2007 12:05 am

YUDoodat Wrote:
Scripture's three claims that 1.) Jesus was born of a virgin; 2.) lived a "sinless" life, and 3.)then rose bodily from the dead, are the very foundation of the Christian faith, as I'm sure most of you are aware. As far as I am aware, there is no other human being who has ever accomplished the same. There may be legends of this or that master (like Yogananda's master) of having arisen from the dead, but none so widely witnessed or documented as that of Jesus. If even ONE of these three pillars of the Christian faith is removed by demonstrable proof, then Christianity as we have known it more or less for the last 2000 years ceases to exist as a viable vehicle for the truths of life.


YUDoodat, there is one pertinent question that must be answered before any of the three claims you listed can be addressed. That is: what is most important, an understanding of the unvarnished truth of life, or loyalty to ones faith in God as taught by scripture? Another way to put it: which is a higher priority, knowing Truth or knowing God?

These answers may or may not be the same. “Truth” allows the existence of God, in all the various concepts, as taught by any given religion, to fall where it may. Truth is no respecter of mans belief, Truth simply is what it is. Acceptance of God first, on the other hand, is much more likely to be defined by religious teachings and dogmas. If what one believes as God is indeed true and accurate, then holding Truth as the more important pursuit will inevitably lead one back to that same conclusion already held. If on the other hand, ones concept of God has been distorted due to that given religions early leaders efforts to strengthen its position as authority, then holding God as more important could be a trap.

So again, what do you hold most dear?

Now as to the three claims:

1. Jesus was born of a virgin. You say no proof has been presented to discount this claim. But what is actually known about it to prove it as true in the first place? We only have written stories about it that wasn’t even written down until the only parties were long dead. That would be Mary and Joseph. And Joseph wasn’t even there, he was later informed by an angel. Is this demonstrable proof? Was the one who wrote of this even there?
2. Jesus lived a sinless life. What is sin? Its root word means to be “off the mark”. And who can testify to every moment of Jesus life? Did he not plead, “Father why hast though forsaken me?” Is this not a failure of faith?
3. Jesus rose bodily from the dead. No one to my knowledge actually witnessed this. The scriptures say the two Mary’s saw him on the road sometime later. But again this would hardly stand up in objective court with honest inquiry.

The issue in all three of these tenents are matters of faith and not evidence. There has always been, and continues to be, a great deal of competition between religions for faithful followers. The church created exclusivity in Christianity by making these articles more important than Jesus' actual teachings. The Christian church lives on who they teach Jesus was, rather than what Jesus actually said. By having "the only begotten Son of God" it gives Christianity an edge in the recruitment wars.

Islam does it too. Allah is the name of God and Mohammed is his "only" prophet.

The real truth is no one alive today knows what happened with Jesus from direct experience. It is all faith, and it is that blind faith that the church had a vested political interest in nurturing. There are many “Gospels” from that same time period that were ignored and vilified by the assemblers of the Bible, an assemblage that took place centuries after the fact. The church fears them to this day.

None of this however takes away from the Truth of Jesus. It may, however, free us from the subversion of the religion created in his name. Jesus was an awakened Being, and much that he said (according to scripture), demonstrates that truth. However the Truth that existed in his day continues to exist unchanged today, in this very moment. Why try to wade through all the potential distortion built up for centuries, by church leaders with questionable motives, about one being's expression of Spiritual clarity, to a people of a totally different culture and mindset?

The Truth is here now, in this moment, for anyone and everyone’s direct understanding. If Truth is what you seek, over and above religious dogma, then experience it directly for your self without intermediaries. The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand! That means here and now, closer than your breath. The Kingdom of God is within! Within what? Within what you are, Awareness.

Ask God, that is pray, with genuine open desire, between just you and God, that your heart be opened to God’s Truth, WHATEVER that Truth is. Be willing to accept where ever it may lead. Make this your daily pact, directly with God, free from any religious encumbrance. Let Omnipresent God, your very essence, flow through you and live you as God will.

Or stay with your religious denomination and trust someone else to guide your faith and your life.
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