What kind of God?

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Rebekah
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What kind of God?

#1 Postby Rebekah » Wed Jan 05, 2005 9:18 pm

Greetings Yahisha!

Yahisha wrote:
You express an existential fact that quite honestly angers me to no end! I mean what kind of God creates a world where one being is food for another, a world of suffering? I know that Kabbalah states that the chaos exists for our spiritual growth but I have yet to make peace with this.


'What kind of God' is an interesting question in itself; it could be that our concepts of God are insufficient and flawed. We seem to assign judgment to God that we ourselves hold, as if God should think the way we do. We tend to judge whether something is good or bad, and hold God responsible. Perhaps all is Perfect as it is!

The illusion that we are separate – from each other and from God – is the cause of much of our suffering. In truth, we have the power to exercise our free will and align ourselves with this Being-Consciousness-Force that moves through the universe. This provides us a tremendous freedom from the illusion of separation, from suffering, and from struggle. Yet without evil and suffering in the world, why would we choose to exercise free will?

And without free will, how could we consciously evolve? It is said that the endless cycles of transmigration lead to perfection in Christ Consciousness. Perhaps the suffering that humanity experiences is actually facilitating our evolution.

These are some thoughts that come to mind, but it seems there is much more that could be said...

Blessings and shalom,
Rebekah
Sophia Fellowship
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Phillip
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#2 Postby Phillip » Thu Jan 06, 2005 9:32 am

Well, I wonder if this is only the case when viewed from a material experience? I mean, from the body's point of view, this is true... and very disturbing! But are we our body? Is there a part of us that doesn't experience such loss? Jeshua said, "unless you eat my body and drink my blood..."! So he understood this nature of this plane of existence, however he accepted it and transcended it. How?

That I think is the important question in response to such a realization. Not to judge a different response, I merely wonder what the most productive response is? This very true and often very disturbing awareness that the material dimension is a process of energy consuming itself to re-create itself every moment to produce this eternal NOW might have the purpose of impelling us to recognize something about ourselves, and we can't recognize that until we notice the disturbing truth first. As it says in the Gospel of Thomas, "seek until you have found, when you find, you will become deeply disturbed, becoming distrubed, you will become astonished, becoming astonished you shall rule over all." So what is eternal throughout this becomes, I think a more interesting question....

And I can't say that I have a full revelation of such a truth, I too find the nature of this plane disturbing oftentimes... but I wonder if our responses to this inwardly and outwardly dictate whether we transcend it or are more engrossed in it...???

gnostic

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The Nature of Sorrow and Suffering

#3 Postby Tau Malachi » Thu Jan 06, 2005 11:12 am

Greetings Rebekah and Phillip!

I do not know that this question will be answered swiftly, but perhaps through cycles of co-exploration we can get at it and bring about some insight - how suffering and evil enter into the matrix of creation is a great mystery in the process of emanation/creation. Yet, at the outset we can say: There is purpose and meaning to suffering, darkness and evil - it has a significant role to play towards the fulfillment and completion of creation.

First it seems that we must note that, typically speaking, we are inquiring about the Real or God from a materialistic perspective; hence the perspective of our egoistic self, name and form, this present condition. We inquire from a dualistic state of consciousness in which happiness and sadness, wellness and illness, pleasure and pain, light and darkness, life and death, and so forth, seem completely distinct and separate from one another. In this dualistic condition we are bound by self-grasping, attachment and aversion, and we judge everything according to our attachments and aversions, our likes and dislikes. Thus, confronted with apparent opposites we grasp at one and avoid the other, and when we think about the Real or God we project the preconceptions, preconditions and expectations of this dualistic state upon the Real or God. In this state we cannot look and see Reality as It Is or God as God Is - all we "see" are our own projections or a view distorted by our projections. If we want to look and see, first we must become empty of ourselves - empty of our preconceptions, preconditions and expectations; empty of what we think we know about ourselves, others and Reality or God. Only then can we look and see Reality as It Is and God as God Is.

The question as to why God allows suffering or has generated a creation in which suffering exists assumes that the "reality" of our experience is inherently "real" and it is based upon the belief that sentient beings have an actual independent and substantial self-existence apart from one another and God. Generally speaking, this question arises in ignorance of the true nature of our existence, unaware that the "reality" of our experience is the radiance of our own soul or consciousness and that everything is transpiring in consciousness. You see, it assumes the world as we see it is inherently "real," or that it has an independent and substantial self-existence apart from us - but, in fact, it does not. In other words, generally speaking, the question is flawed.

According to the masters of the Tradition we (all sentient beings) are akin to quantum manifestations of the One (God); hence it is not simply God "out there" who is emanating/creating the great matrix of creation, but we are all co-creating the matrix. So as much as ask why God allows suffering to exist we may inquire why we allow suffering to exist, for the great Creative Power of God, the One Being-Consciousness-Force is in us and is us; we are the matrix and the matrix is us - we are the world and the world is us. :shock:

In a manner of speaking the fields of sentient existence and the worlds that appear in them are akin to a collective dream, one woven of the radiance of all spirits and souls in it. In the unenlightened condition it is as though we are asleep and dreaming a strange and fitful dream, and we do not know that we are dreaming. The Light-bearers who come are akin to lucid dreamers, awake in the dream and conscious they are dreaming. In the Gospel this is reflected by all of the wonder-working Master Yeshua seems to perform - he is not attempting to prove he is the only Son of God, but rather he is attempting to reveal the true nature of reality, that it is the radiance of our own mind, as in a dream. What appears like a "miracle" or "magic" to those as yet unaware of the nature of reality is, in fact, neither miracle or magic as we might think of it - it is simply the power of mind, a shift in consciousness. Consider the crucifixion and resurrection - this apparent suffering transformed into Pure Joy.

Emanation/creation is a process of individuation which occurs through an involution and evolution of consciousness; it is a process of individual centers of consciousness arising and awakening. In order for individuation to occur there naturally must be an illusion of separation; hence cosmic ignorance. Until an individual has fully come into being this illusion of separation is necessary, lest the individual fall into the oblivion of an unconscious union. Indeed, the individual must come into being, strong and true, in order to realizes its unity with the universal and remain an individual while united with the universal. This union is not simply the merging of the individual back into the universal, but is the universal pouring through the individual, so that in union the individual and universal are fulfilled and completed in one another - such is the nature of Supernal or Messianic Consciousness.

In this we see that there is a purpose for cosmic ignorance (the demiurge), for it is necessary for individuation. Yet, it is the cause of sorrow and suffering, the cause of admixture and darkness and evil - it facilitates individuation, for giving rise to admixture and darkness it facilitates free will. After all, apart from darkness, how would there be free will; likewise, apart from the play of light and darkness how would we recognize and realize the Clear Light Joy?

In terms of suffering we can say this: Suffering educates and motivates, and it leads souls to seek their enlightenment and liberation. In this sense the Garden of Eden represents a radical state of bondage, however heavenly it might seem, for apart from involution into the material dimension and the experience of suffering, Adam and Eve (human souls) would not realize they were in bondage to seek their liberation. Indeed! Were it not for the Serpent the advent of the Messiah would not have transpired! :wink:

There is certainly much more to be said on this subject, but perhaps this is enough for a beginning and we can see how our exploration unfolds through the input of others - however, this does provide some Sophian thoughts on the subject that we can consider in the process of our exploration.

Blessings & shalom! :)
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Yahisha
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#4 Postby Yahisha » Fri Jan 07, 2005 9:33 am

Greetings Rebekah!

Thank you for making this a topic of discussion.

I can remember a time when I was a little boy sitting with my parents and watching 'Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom' on T.V. That particular program was about Lions and showed a pride of them hunting a single wild boar. I was horrified when I saw the Lions catch the boar and literally rip the poor thing in half while it was still alive. This was a sobering moment for me that ignited the beginning of my questioning why the world is the way it is. I spent the majority of my young life feeling like a "stranger in a strange land" as I saw a different law at work within my heart than the law that was in effect within the world.

Charles Darwin's observations on nature were quite alarming for him as they contested the religious views popular in his day on God being a benevolent creator. Through a sort of negative theology he recognized that Nature is red in tooth and claw. Ants make slaves of other ants, wasp larvae feed off of their host until they kill them entirely, cats "play" with mice, etc... Lord Buddha identified this "Nature" as suffering and St.Paul echoed in unison, "All creation groans and travails in pain."

The first question that arises out of this existetntial dilemma is why do we humans consider the nature of this world to be suffering? What makes it suffering for us? It wasn't until I first came into contact with Vedic philosophy and later the Gnostic teachings that I began to understand the metaphysical implications of human suffering and natural evil.

The issue is that of the etrnality of the spirit-soul. As we are emanations of the Godhead we also carry all of the qualities of the Godhead most notably that of eternality. This world is filled with duality and as a result is in constant flux. Nothing here is permanent as the Buddhists would say. We are eternal the world is temporal. Our desires are eternal and this world is not created to facilitate our eternal desires (not to be confused with mundane desire). Thus suffering is inevitable.

The law of nature is "only the strong survive". Hence the strong exploit the weak. Yet the law of God is,"I desire MERCY not sacrfice!". So here we are caught in a kind of 'catch twenty-two'. Our biological selves (body) and our psychic selves mirror the law of nature, yet our spiritual selves reflect the Law of God. This then creates more suffering as we are bound by the domination of our senses (biological) and false-ego (psychic) warring with our spirit.

It is here where I find the Gnostic teachings on the Demiurge to resolve the apparent contradiction of a benevolent God creating an imperfect world filled with evil. All that is biological and psychical is the dominion of the Demiurge and all that is spiritual is the dominion of God.

There is one more controversey to contend with however. That of God's oneness. If there is only one God then all that is good and all that is evil must ultimately come from him/her. This is where we can see that evil has a place in the grand scheme of things. This is where evil shows itself as a great servant of the Most High. As Kabbaslit Rabbi David Aaron says, "Evil exists so that we will fight it". From this perspective we can see that evil does have a purpose, the question is are we winning the battle?

In the name of the Great Life,
-Yahisha
O:N:E

Phillip
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#5 Postby Phillip » Fri Jan 07, 2005 2:07 pm

Hello Yahisha!

I'm enjoying your posts and this topic, thanks for bringing it up.

In contemplating these ideas several considerations come to mind: Is the ocean at war with the land? Is the Day at war with the Night? I wonder if, metaphorically speaking, our physical existence is akin to the small sliver of twilight between night and day, the small sliver between land and sea? From the perspective of existence at this small sliver of existence, there may seem to be a "war", but when we stand back and look at the whole, is it so much a "war" as a display of rhythmic movements, an inflow and outflow, a giving and receiving?

This is not to dilute the challenges in our lifetimes. Even the greatest of Masters declared on his last day, "Father, why have you forsaken me!" Yet there is also Yeshua's teaching in the Gospel of Philip which describes Light and Darkness, Good and Evil as two sides of the same coin. In this sense, there is no "winning" and "loosing", all is a display of the whole, God's unity is Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, and none of them. We may be at a place where the rhythmic tide of darkness is moving into ascendence within humanity. Or, if we perceive darkness moving in the world, perhaps we are merely seeing this occur within us, and so naturally project it outward. But either way, are we "consumed" by the darkness, or do we hear a call to prayer, meditation, and contemplation? Are we consumed by such a movement, or do we hear a call to find the center within that is beyond such movements, and inclusive of them all?

Light and Darkness, Good and Evil move through all of us and are a part of each of us. They are a part of God and we are microcosms of the macrocosm. So Good and Evil will flow through us as long as we are here, this seems to be unavoidable. But we have a choice in how we respond to such movements. I would submit that if one has entered into a "war" against darkness, one has already been consumed by it. For the trick of darkness is that there is a war.

If there is a strggle, I think it is to maintain a peaceful response to these inner tricksters. Do we maintain vigilance to respond positively and uplift ourselves when "consumed" by darkness? In this "war," the battle is against our tendency to perceive an opponent, not a battle to defeat the opponent.

gnostic

Yahisha
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#6 Postby Yahisha » Sun Jan 09, 2005 6:37 am

Shalom Gnostic,

Thank you for your kind words. I always look forward to reading your posts and gaining your insightful perspective.

You said: "Is the ocean at war with the land?"

My response: Natural disasters come to mind. Look at the recent Tsunami disaster. However, I don't think you intended this statement to be taken quite this literally either.
Ocean and land are of the same nature (hyle) and do not possess consciousness. It is consciousness (spirit) that is at war with matter (hyle).

You said: "I wonder if, metaphorically speaking, our physical existence is akin to the small sliver of twilight between night and day, the small sliver between land and sea? From the perspective of existence at this small sliver of existence, there may seem to be a "war", but when we stand back and look at the whole, is it so much a "war" as a display of rhythmic movements, an inflow and outflow, a giving and receiving?

My response: What do you mean by "the small sliver of twilight between night and day, the small sliver between land and sea?"
In certain respects I can see the rythmic movements of inflow and outflow, of giving and recieveing in nature. For example, we cultivate the land, the land produces sustanence. Yet when the strong exploit the weak I see this as being contrary to this giving and recieveing, it is the imposition of one being's will upon another's. A sort of existential tyranny and theft.

You said: "Yet there is also Yeshua's teaching in the Gospel of Philip which describes Light and Darkness, Good and Evil as two sides of the same coin. In this sense, there is no "winning" and "loosing", all is a display of the whole, God's unity is Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, and none of them."

My response: Indeed, in the Bhagavad-Gita Lord Krsna says, "O'Arjuna, I give heat, and I withhold and send forth rain. I am immortality, and I am death personified. Both matter and spirit and matter are in me. And yet everything that is created does not rest in me. Behold my mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for MY SELF, is the very source of creation." Here we see that God is duality and trandscendent to it. Krsna then says, "Material nature consists of three modes- goodness, passion and ignorance. When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty- armed Arjuna, he/she becomes conditioned by these modes." Here he teaches how when the spirit-soul comes into contact with matter that there are different qualitative dualities that enslave us. He then says, "When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature and he knows the Supreme Lord, who is trandscendental to all of these modes, he attains My spiritual nature. When the embodied being is able to trandscend these three modes (goodness, passion, ignorance) associated with the material body , he can become free from birth, death, decay and their distresses and enjoy nectar even in this life!"
So it is our task to move beyond matter and embrace our divinity, our eternal heritage in God.

You said: "We may be at a place where the rhythmic tide of darkness is moving into ascendence within humanity. Or, if we perceive darkness moving in the world, perhaps we are merely seeing this occur within us, and so naturally project it outward."

My response: I agree in one sense. Yet did the Jews of the Holocaust perceive the darkness of the Nazi's, or the Russian people the darkness of the Soviet death camps in the Gulag as a natrual projection of their own inward darkness? Evil has a face. For them it was Hitler and Stalin.

You said: "But either way, are we "consumed" by the darkness, or do we hear a call to prayer, meditation, and contemplation? Are we consumed by such a movement, or do we hear a call to find the center within that is beyond such movements, and inclusive of them all?"

My response: Fantastic point! That really is the bottom line. Do we let the dark side of the force (darkness) consume us like Darth Vader did or do we move towards the light like Luke Skywalker and overcome evil with good (the cat's out of the bag, I am a Star Wars geek!). This can only begin with a radical transformation in consciousness.

You said: "Light and Darkness, Good and Evil move through all of us and are a part of each of us. They are a part of God and we are microcosms of the macrocosm.

My response: As I quoted Krsna earlier when he said, "When one properly sees that in all activites no other perfromer is at work than these modes of nature and knows the Supreme Lord, who is trandscendental to these modes, he attains My spiritual nature."
Good and Evil are only a part of us on a material level (body and ego) as they are merely inferior energies of God. Since God (macrocosm) is trandscendental to them it stands to reason that we (microcosm) are as well. This is our hope in Christ who exhibited our divine trandscendental nature and promised, "Behold greater things than these shall ye do!"

You said: "So Good and Evil will flow through us as long as we are here, this seems to be unavoidable. But we have a choice in how we respond to such movements."

My response: I agree 100 percent.

You said: "I would submit that if one has entered into a "war" against darkness, one has already been consumed by it. For the trick of darkness is that there is a war."

My response: I tend to disagree with this. Don't forget what Paul said, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms." The means of this warfare is this: the evil powers attack the human soul "through the body," in order to gain power over the soul and enslave it. Since the spirit-soul is the superior and darkness the inferior energy of God, it is inevitable that spirit will "war" with darkness and all that is thereof (matter, birth, death, decay, exploitation, suffering, etc...). I would propose that those who are "consumed" by darkness are those who are ignorant of their own divine nature in relationship to God.

You said: "If there is a struggle, I think it is to maintain a peaceful response to these inner tricksters. Do we maintain vigilance to respond positively and uplift ourselves when "consumed" by darkness? In this "war," the battle is against our tendency to perceive an opponent, not a battle to defeat the opponent.

My response: This wonderful lesson that you are conveying brings to mind a verse in the Buddhist Dhammapada called "Thousands" that says, "Though one were to defeat thousands upon thousands of men in battle, if another were to conquer just one- himself, he is the supreme victor."
Ultimately I agree. The "war" is an inner war. Regardless of what "forces" are at play around us, due to our free will we have the power to choose how we will live in the midst of "darkness". As I contemplate this lesson Yeshua's statement to the Pharisees comes to mind, "Know ye not that ye are Gods?". Within the context of this contemplation it says to me that if we exercise our divinity the Angel of Darkness (Satan) will smile and dance before us like a court jester before a King!
Peace be with you.

In the Name of The Great Life,

- Yahisha
O:N:E

Phillip
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#7 Postby Phillip » Sun Jan 09, 2005 11:36 am

Hi Yahisha!

What wonderful quotations from the Baghivad Gita! I LOVE that text! I often read it in conjunction with the Gospel of John, as well as on its own.

At war, not at war... ?? My perspective may have been tainted by nine years of martial arts training before coming to the Sophian Fellowship. Throughout the last ten years of my life or so, I sometimes feel as though I have made more enemies than friends. And not for good reasons most of the time. And so I wonder if this vision of the world as a battle ground that martial arts help train in me is in error. Ultimately, I see, that I am the real enemy of myself, and in my perspective of being at war and being in battle, I have done much to hurt myself, rather than to include these parts of myself that feel outcast. Rather than help to heal and include them, I have tried to destroy them, and therefore acted in conflict with my divine aims. So, in a sense, I have perpetuated this violence within myself, and taught these parts of myself to be very efficient warriors...against me! So now my attempts to re-train my inner responses are very challenging, and I often have great bouts with paranoia and end up contemplating the crucifixion quite a bit.

But vigilance is something I've learned through martial arts and this warrior perspective, and the critical nature of a vigilance of awareness. I, in my folly, crossed the line from inner vigilance to inner violence with this "at war" perspective, and am now re-training myself. So I guess it depends upon whether such a perspective is serving our soul or not. For me, it is a disease that I must learn to overcome. For others, it is an important lesson that must be learned and integrated, for in this world, there are forces that oppose our spiritual progress, and one must be vigilant in response. So such a teaching can be both "true" and "untrure" depending upon who is approaching it, I think.

Shalom Yahisha!

phillip

Guest

#8 Postby Guest » Sun Jan 09, 2005 3:01 pm

Hello Phillip,

You said: "What wonderful quotations from the Baghivad Gita! I LOVE that text! I often read it in conjunction with the Gospel of John, as well as on its own."

My response: Very cool! The Bhagavad-Gita is one of my favorite texts too and has influenced much of my thinking philosophically. Many theologians see a common thread between Vedic thought and The Gospel of John.

You said: "At war, not at war... ?? My perspective may have been tainted by nine years of martial arts training before coming to the Sophian Fellowship. Throughout the last ten years of my life or so, I sometimes feel as though I have made more enemies than friends. And not for good reasons most of the time."

My response: It seems that you and I have much in common my friend. I too have trained in the martial arts and like you have made more enemies than friends over the years.

You said: "And so I wonder if this vision of the world as a battle ground that martial arts help train in me is in error. Ultimately, I see, that I am the real enemy of myself, and in my perspective of being at war and being in battle, I have done much to hurt myself, rather than to include these parts of myself that feel outcast. Rather than help to heal and include them, I have tried to destroy them, and therefore acted in conflict with my divine aims. So, in a sense, I have perpetuated this violence within myself, and taught these parts of myself to be very efficient warriors...against me!

My response: These are very profound insights. I can relate to all of these and must confess that I go through them myself.

You said: "So now my attempts to re-train my inner responses are very challenging, and I often have great bouts with paranoia and end up contemplating the crucifixion quite a bit."

My response: Your awareness of this declares that your success is inevitable!

You said: "But vigilance is something I've learned through martial arts and this warrior perspective, and the critical nature of a vigilance of awareness. I, in my folly, crossed the line from inner vigilance to inner violence with this "at war" perspective, and am now re-training myself.

My response: I have also crossed the line from inner vigilance to inner violence and as a result spent some time in prison as a youth. My life was engrossed in darkness from the time that I entered this world. My parents physically and emotionally abused one another, my mother physically and mentally abused me, drugs, crime, violence all played a part and I played this painful illusion out for many, many years. So I have a tendency to embrace the darkness because I know it so well.
Then, in the midst of my darkest hour, at 19 years old while serving my jail sentence, I heard the call of Christ from within. An experience that I've since identified as an experience of Gnosis. My life has never been the same since and has been a constant struggle to fulfill all that Christ expects of me, all that he had done in his life. The struggle for me is to embrace the truth-light that Yeshua brought, to have faith that all is not lost and that we are more than our body and that there is another world that exists beyond the darkness of the world that I know. Christ asks me, "Do you believe?" The faith of the heart, the heart of Christ. Thank you for sharing such intimate information about yourself with me and creating the space for me to do the same!

You said: "So I guess it depends upon whether such a perspective is serving our soul or not. For me, it is a disease that I must learn to overcome. For others, it is an important lesson that must be learned and integrated, for in this world, there are forces that oppose our spiritual progress, and one must be vigilant in response. So such a teaching can be both "true" and "untrue" depending upon who is approaching it, I think."

My response: Amen. I find that what is true for me may not be true for others and vice versa. In fact this spiritual dichotomy is necessary for individuals as there are so many diverse factors that come into play regarding one's life's experiences in relationship to our individual spiritual evolution. You may be on the beach viewing the Pacific ocean from Northern Washington and I may be on the beach viewing it from Southern California. The climates are different, the landscape, the fauna, etc...but it is still the same ocean. It's all about our angle of vision and how we approach it.
Peace be with you.

Maranatha,

- Yahisha

Brother Christopher
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King of Peace

#9 Postby Brother Christopher » Sun Jan 09, 2005 10:02 pm

Greetings all

Sounds like some interesting contemplations. I thought it would be fun to circle back upon a point Malachi had brought up: "If we want to look and see, first we must become empty of ourselves - empty of our preconceptions, preconditions and expectations; empty of what we think we know about ourselves, others and Reality or God. Only then can we look and see Reality as It Is and God as God Is."

This is a very subtle statement and one that holds the key to the dissolution of the idea of conflict/suffering or war. For does the Mage of Light ever truly enter into battle or war?

After his return from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet him at the Valley of Shaveh (that is, the King’s Valley). And King Melchizedek of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, maker of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, who has delivered your enemies into your hand!’ And Abram gave him one tenth of everything.

What is the nature of this King of Peace or Melchizedek? It seems one that beholds this King of Peace, is one that is in movement and repose at one and the same time, thus confilict or war naturally dissolves itself.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms."

What is the nature of victory? What is putting on the whole armor of God?
It seems true peace or victory comes by way of Grace or by the Holy Spirit. If I enter thinking that I'm the doer or that I will accomplish anything, then I will truly become food for the demiurge. But "I can do all things through him who strengthens me." It is for the sake of Heaven as the Zohar states that we labor in the fields and bring Glory to God.

Praise be to the Holy One of Being.

Christopher :)

Tau Malachi
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The Good Fight

#10 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon Jan 10, 2005 12:08 pm

Greetings everyone!

It seems to me that the question from whence suffering, darkness and evil come has the same purpose as any inquiry into Ma’aseh Bereshit (the mysteries of creation). We look into the beginning to understand the end, we study and contemplate the process of involution so that we might understand the process of evolution – for by the same path the soul enters here it will also exist here, in a manner of speaking. Thus, in mysteries of creation we find the mysteries of the resurrection and ascension in Christian Gnosticism. In terms of the origin of suffering, the origin of admixture and darkness, we seek to understand the nature of suffering and evil so that it might be brought to cessation, transformed and redeemed.

The problem of evil is a complex one, and inadvertently we can easily fall into an oversimplification, or equally, in our linear mode of communication, fall into misunderstanding by taking aspects of more holistic teachings out of context – like many subjects of metaphysical inquiry, the problem of evil is most subtle and sublime, though its manifestations can be gross and obvious. I am always struck when writing the teachings how deceptive written words can be and how limiting, and this is even more so in a medium such as this forum where only “sound-bit” editions of teachings are possible. Nevertheless it is a good struggle to communicate as we co-explore together seeking what insights we might glean from our exchange. This very limitation, however, is the play of the restrictive power that is the cause of suffering and evil – the play of a power that is most obvious in the scheme of things.

When the masters of the Tradition speak of the generation of the demiurgos and archons, and the dark and hostile forces, they point us to Da’at in the Tree of Life, that great prism through which the Supernal Light passes in the emanation/creation process; specifically Da’at of Beriyah. There is something of a great mystery in the generation of the demiurge and the klippotic influences, however, for while these are generated in the process of creation as something “new,” it is also said that there are klippotic influences that enter from previous cosmic cycles; hence from some sort of primordial karmic continuum. What this points to is a dual-truth regarding the origin of evil: on the one hand, we can look and see the origin as a natural product of the restriction of the Infinite Light in the creative process – hence the dawn of ‘cosmic ignorance’; on the other hand, in looking into the beginning of ignorance we discover that no beginning can be found – hence what is called ‘primordial ignorance.’ In other words, we can look and see a relative beginning, but we find no absolute beginning. Quite literally it naturally and spontaneously arises in the creative process, and is integral to that process, as though without the play of light and darkness set in motion the cosmic cycles would not come into being.

When Gnostic teachings propose the demiurge and archons as the source of suffering and evil in creation, or the masters of the Tradition point us to Da’at on the Great Tree of Life as the “place” where the demiurgos and archons come into being, it does not seem to me that the question “what kind of God creates evil” is actually answered. Rather, it seems that our contemplation and meditation is pointed in a certain direction and a method through which we might look and see the truth of suffering is given to us – for really, we are talking about a great mystery that cannot be spoken. However, we can speak of the Way through which suffering and evil are bought to an end, the Way through which sorrow and suffering are transformed and transcended – as has happened in this very dialogue for in speaking of the origin of suffering and evil, we have turned to a discussion of how to respond to it.

The play of cosmic or spiritual forces apparently external to us or that seems to come from beyond us is obvious. In speaking of the Many as akin to a quantum manifestation of the One we are speaking not only of human beings but of all beings, including cosmic and spiritual beings-forces; we are not only speaking of an existence in the material dimension, but throughout numerous dimensions; hence the great matrix of creation. Yet, as much as this is external to ourselves, it is also internal; for we are microcosms of the macrocosm, and the individual and universal are completely interdependent and interconnected – as mysterious as it is to us, every individual center of the One is the One.

There is no question of the influence of the admixed or titanic forces, the demiurgos and archons who serve their own self-interests, some times in harmony with the Divine will and some times opposed to it. Likewise, there is no question of the assaults of dark and hostile forces that have their own self-chosen function of putting the condition of the individual to the test, as well as the work, humanity and the earth itself, the preparedness for the spiritual advent and fulfillment. The key word is “self-interest” or “self-chosen,” which is to say an exercise of free will, only in terms of unenlightened beings this freedom of will is enacted in ignorance and the self-grasping, greed-lust and fear-hatred that ignorance produces.

“Evil exists so that we will fight it” – perhaps this is true, though it has also been said, “Resist not evil.” If I am to speak of fighting evil, then I must inquire as to how it is rightly fought to attain victory. After all, the very nature of evil is the tendency to negativity and violence – the selfish and violent inclination in us, so that if “I” am incited to violence evil has already won. The truth is, if I do fight evil, then I am bound; likewise, if I do not fight evil, then I am bound – either way I am as a fly in a spider’s web, the karmic matrix, and in the play of attachment and aversion I am bound by every action I take, including the choice not to act which itself is an action! The only answer is to realize the Divine as the doer, the Life-power, as St. Paul says, “Not I but Christ in me,” or Krishna or Buddha, or whatever we wish to call the Light-presence.

The truth that all is transpiring in consciousness is rather subtle, and in this world the illusion power is potent; yet, for all that we can point to and say, “Look, that evil is outside,” souls have entered here by way of ignorance and a karmic continuum, and soul’s remain bond to the gilgulim (transmigration) on account of this dualism in consciousness. The situations, circumstance and events of the present life are largely determined by the thoughts, speech and actions of previous lives, and so it is that now we plants the seeds, as it were, of future lives – all in consciousness. It is true that admixed and dark forces exist in and of themselves beyond us, but it is the admixture and darkness in us that first and foremost we must deal with – for by way of self-knowledge and self-mastery comes Divine illumination and mastery of the play of spiritual forces.

Here, of course, we must note that whether internally or externally appearing, titanic and demonic forces serve to distract us from the Noble Ideal (the Truth and Light) and in so doing keep us in bondage.

Indeed! The spiritual, psychic and spiritual appear divided in the dualistic state of consciousness, just as do the material and spiritual words, and it is a cause of great sorrow and suffering. Yet, if we “bring down” the spiritual into the psychic and material, if we “bring down” the Supernal Force into the mental, vital and physical, a radical transformation occurs in consciousness and we discover that the spiritual and material were never separate and apart from one another. That Light which comes from above is everywhere below – that Supernal Light into which we “ascend” and that we “bring down” is the secret center of every particle of matter; the World of Supernal Light (the kingdom of God) is within and all around us. As Lord Yeshua says in the Gospel of St. Thomas, the Light-kingdom is spread out upon the earth.

How is evil to be fought? How is the battle to be won? It seems it can only be accomplished through conscious unification with the Divine and embodying the Divine – in the terms of Christian Gnosticism, through the Risen Savior and Holy Spirit ( or the “armor of God,” as St. Paul would say). As we read in many sacred Gnostic texts the nature of the Divine is Light, and in the Light-presence and Light-power no shadow will remain – when the Light is “turned on” shadows vanish.

If we wish to speak of fighting evil then we must learn to maintain one-pointed concentration (kavvanah); hence to abide in the presence of awareness without distraction. You see, there is one purpose and one purpose only for the spiritual life and practice – union with the Divine and embodiment of the Divine, the manifestation of the Divine will and Divine kingdom. This seems reflected by Krishna’s advice to Arjuna, and it seems reflected by Lord Yeshua in the Temptation and by Lord Buddha sitting under the Bodhi Tree.

The Kabbalah says that God restrains Godself and the cause of evil comes into being; likewise it says when we restrain ourselves, the cause of evil ceases to be in our experience. Perhaps this gives us some insight to the saying of Lord Yeshua, “Take up your cross and follow me.”

These thoughts were inspired by the contemplation as it has unfolded…

Blessings & shalom!
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dancing with dark and hostile forces

#11 Postby Marion » Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:18 pm

Shalom all!

When I used to practice the martial art Akido, the one thing that really stands out to me now, more than anything else is the taeching that my instrucor would daily drill into our heads: Do Not Fight. Instead she said that in all our endevours, and situations that we encounter in life, seek to dance with the forces at play, use the energy that they carry and dance with it. I think about this often, because it often occors to me that if a person is yelling or angry with you, and you respond with anger and yell back, What will happen? the other person will yell and be angry back, and this time with greater intensity and passion. Because now you have given them angry energy to them fight you with, and so it goes, sometimes for a very long time. Contrariwise, if someone is angry at you and you merely walk off, or stand there and stare at them, or even if they hurt you, and you do not punch back, typicaly speaking, the fight will end because there will be nothing to fight with. Granted, there are times when the full force of serverity is needed and good in that situation, but this seems to be the exeption, not the rule. Is murdering a murderer just? and if one does, is not one becoming what they are trying to get rid of? And, when severity is used is one transparent? Meaning, is one actualy fighting with something, as it might appear, or is one centered and abiding in repose inwardly? the next question is this, can one change the world by meaning to? My beloved Tzaddik often reminds me that if one looks at the world and feels it needs to change, then look inward and see what needs to change inside oneself first, only then will anything be accomplished in the end. So one sees chaos in the world, Fantastic! look and see this in oneself, So one sees violence and suffering in the world, Fantastic! look and see inwardly, So one looks out into the world and sees Hatred, Fantastic! look and see.

An extention off this contemplation: When one is being attacked by dark and hostile forces, what is being attaked? in order for this to take place, something must be visible to them. The kabbalah says that "Near to" on a spiritual level, on the inner planes, means close in vibration. For example, if one thing, like a demon, has a very low frequency of vibration, it cannot draw near unto a divine being, which has a very high frequency of vibration. Therefore, in order of dark and hostile forces to attack, some part of oneself must be at a lower vibration. Which is why, when one sees such things it is very important to go and centre within and see the thing that is being attached to and enact the tikkune (Healing) of that thing, a re-membering. this is how darkness is over come.

I was also contemplating the question, Is the world, and are the beings in it inherently dark or light? If the world is inherently dark then, how could there be light bearers? and why would they enter? conversly, if the world and everything in it is inherently light then where does the darkness come from? Then I was thinking, this is an over simplification of the situation, because as Malachi pointed out, there are many other forces at play here.
As Malachi also pointed out in order to really look into this, one must look into Ma'aseh Bereshit, the myteries of creation. In Kabbalah there are 5 parts of the soul, Nefesh (Bestial nature), Ruach(Intelligence, both the ordinary worldly mind and the spiritual mind), Neshamah (Holy or divine soul), Hayyah (life force) and Yichidah (unique essence). It is said that every living thing has a Yichidah, from a tiny fly to the great spiritual masters. Therefore, everything in its essence has this spark of the true God in it, even demons. We are also told that at this level, there is nither good nor evil, there just is. It is also said in the Kabbalah that in order for Creation to be created, God had to resprict Godself, a process called TzimTzum, because were God to imbue creation with his/her full light presence, creation would shatter, so it was out of compassion that God enacted Tzimtzum. We are also told that as a natural product of this, Evil came into being. So it is a question in my mind weather or not God actualy created evil, or it was merely a natural product of the creation
process?

Either way, it seems important to remember to pray for the liberation of all sentient beings here, and seek to be a sign of spiritual hope before the people in good times and bad.

Blessings in the name of our Io Adonai!
Marion

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a predatory universe?

#12 Postby Perseverando » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:31 pm

Greetings All!

This is the first post to catch my eye after logging on after a few weeks absence. This is heady stuff, and seems to go right to the heart of what spurs/lures/inspires/goads/tricks/forces/pushes/leads etc. all of us to the Path of Return.

What kind of God indeed! My first inner response to this question was: A God most inscrutable and ineffable, the Unity of which most of us can only know in the most veiled and abstract terms, a God whose continuity of consciousness is the ALL, the movement and evolution of which is a most elegantly complex loom upon which the layers of existence are woven. I can hardly begin to answer such a question as "What kind of God?" Like a single cell questioning what kind of human being it is part of... And that was just the first of many subsequent thoughts!

As harsh as it may sound, it has often occured to me that the manifest physical universe as we perceive it, and very likely the myriad levels of universes we may only perceive dimly with the brow star, are essentially predatory in nature. The lower forms feed and support the higher. As the well known kabbalistic axiom says: "From a stone to a plant, from a plant to an animal, from an animal to man, and from man to ...?" All this in an endlessly elegant, though no doubt tragic from the view of that which is predated upon, exchange of energy essence which directly supports the evolution of increasingly more complex forms of life and drive the evolution of the consciouness that pervades it.

This leads to a most difficult question: Are we, as humans, on the top of this cosmic/metaphysical "food chain"? Or do we serve as support and sustenance for a higher life, a higher consciousness? Something tells me that the "Harvest of Souls" Tau Malachi often speaks of is tied into this idea.

As Yeshua tells us in the Hymn of the Acts of St. John:

"I would eat and I would be eaten."

These were my first thoughts upon reading the first post in this engrossing topic.

Shalom!

Shane

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God?

#13 Postby Tau Malachi » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:44 am

Greetings everyone!

You remark is to the point, Shane, when you speak of an inquiry into "What kind of God" akin to an inquiry of a single cell into the entire body of the Human One. After all, isn't this an inquiry into the Body of Adam Kadmon, and are we not akin to luminous cells of that Primordial Body? In this sense we may gain insight into a curious teaching found in the Order of St. Martin, which calls Adam Kadmon the demiurge - it really is a most interesting contemplation, especially in connection with the idea of worlds and realms in the fields of sentient existence as akin to collective dreams - the dreams of Adam Kadmon.

Eating and being eaten, another interesting contemplation - a constant process of transformation, as forms are dissolved into one another in an endless succession, whether great horror or great beauty becomes a powerful question. Who is looking and seeing? Who is asking? From what vantage point is the one who looks gazing? You see, there is one appearance from the lower ordinary consciousness, and there is yet another appearance from a higher consciousness - the appearance of reality depends upon the state of consciousness of the one who is looking. The question is, if I look can I see? As long as looking occurs via the I-thought it does not seem it is possible to look and see Reality as It Is or God as God Is - we only "see" our concepts.

Lord Yeshua says that the Light-kingdom is spread out upon the earth but humankind typically does not have eyes to see it - hence, it cannot be seen in the lower or ordinary consciousness, the surface consciousness. It requires that we enter into a higher consciousness and live from a higher consciousness, which according to the masters of the Tradition is what it means to "enter the Divine kingdom." What must be said is that entering the kingdom is quite possible here and now, while in one of these bodies. In fact, if it is not found here and now, it is nowhere to be found.

This relates directly to our discussion elsewhere regarding ethics and morality, for you see, the spiritual person lives beyond the moral dimension - lives in a higher consciousness. By this I do not mean to propose that the spiritual person is immoral in any way, but rather that he or she lives from a superior view, one that transcends the moral dimension of the law. Quite simply, where there is love and compassion one has no need for rules of morality or a law, but love and compassion is one's supreme and perfect measure. Love and compassion is the light of the law, the very essence to which morality strives, and this love and compassion fulfill and transcend the law. What is the ground of this love and compssion? It is the awareness of Sacred Unity the comes with higher consciousness - it is this that invokes spiritual love and compassion.

Here we may speak of the grand illusion - this idea that the universe is inherently binding. What if its nature is liberative, founded upon mercy, love and compassion, regardless of appearances? Indeed! While death may be viewed as a adversary, it may also be viewed as an ally - for until ignorance is dispelled we are set free by death to move on into new experiences through which we might bring ignorance to cessation.

It is a powerful contemplation to consider the body of Chist, the body of the Risen Savior, and to contemplate the Rainbow Body Attainment - after all, according to teachings concerning this spiritual body it is a release of the light from within the material body, the material body simply being akin to frozen light (as it is put in the Zohar). Matter is something distinct from the Spirit, or Matter is something other than the Light? Such a view seems part and parcel of the grand illusion!

The Gospel of St. Thomas begins with a wonderful promise - whoever understands the meaning of the "secret sayings" will not experience death! Of course, the sayings point to the true nature of reality - thus, looking and seeing the true nature of reality one will not experience death; one will not experience the loss of awareness in transitions between states of consciousness. Indeed! One will see death never existed!

Truly, these are all just words - concepts in the mind. Now I may practice the presence of awareness and the transference of consciousness, laboring to develop consciousness beyond the body and to infuse the body with consciousness; on the day of my departure from this world we will see what I have been actually able to realize - that remains to be seen. Perhaps conscious living will empower conscious dying - it is our spiritual hope in Christ. But until all is said and done, who knows? I believe it is a good time to go practice...

Blessings & shalom! :lol:
Last edited by Tau Malachi on Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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reply

#14 Postby Nazorean » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:45 am

S'hlama Tau Malachai,

Greetings to you in Amin-Simat Hyya!

You said: "Evil exists so that we will fight it" - perhaps this is true, though it has also been said, "Resist not evil." If I am to speak of fighting evil, then I must inquire as to how it is rightly fought to attain victory.

My response: If we include the full purport of Yeshua's "Resist not evil" quote it will further read,"If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." And if we venture a little farther down the verses our inquiry into 'how evil is to be rightly fought' is already answered, "You have heard it said, 'Love your neighbor but hate your enemy.' But I say unto you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be 'Beni Amin' - Sons of your Father in heaven."
We should also consider that Yeshua resisted evil when he chased the money changers out of the Temple, although I will speak more about this in the next response.

You said: The truth is, if I do fight evil then I am bound; likewise, if I do not fight evil I am bound - either way I am a fly in a spiders web, the karmic matrix... :D

My response: To resolve this 'catch twenty-two' we must dovetail our desires and the objects of our desires towards God. In other words we must 'spiritualize' the senses by engaging them in God's divine service. Krsna has this to say in regards to this existential dilemma, "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear!" In this spirit Yeshua rejects the Old Covenant and its tyrannical Law that enslaves all to the wheel of birth and death in this world, when he says, "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Now going back to my earlier statement about Yeshua resisting evil by chasing the money changers out of the Temple we see that Yeshua's 'resisting evil' is not karmically bound because it was an act of transcendence in God's service!

You said: How is evil to be fought? How is the battle to be won?

My response: I would first submit the answer in the simplicity of Yeshua's following words, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself."

Second, the following verse answers both how evil is to be fought and won, "If anyone says 'I Love God', yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And he (Yeshua) has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother." - (1st John 4:20-21)

So the real question that arises from this is how do we fulfill Yeshua's command to Love God? The answer is given in the 'Gospel of 1st John'. Humanity reflects the personal face of God (Theomorphism - in God's image). Thus if we cannot Love one another we surely will not be able to Love God. Therefore 'evil' is fought through Love and the battle is won when humanity makes a conscious effort to love one another; to see and embrace the divine within ourselves and consequently see and embrace it in others as well! Now we understand what Jesus meant in the 'Gospel of Thomas' when he said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood: I am there. Turn over a stone, and you will find me there." Amensha Mahemna, amen. Peace be with you!

Maranatha,

- Yahisha Ha Nazorean
O:N:E

Thought for the day:
"A society that does not consider the progressive advancement of the immortal soul merely fosters a beastial life of ignorance"

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:-)

#15 Postby Tau Malachi » Fri Jan 14, 2005 12:01 pm

Greetings Yahisha!

Blessings...

I'm laughing because we were writing posts at the same time and it is interesting to see where we were going with our contemplation. I suspect you will also chuckle when you read the co-arising.

May the peace and joy of the Risen Savior be with you this day and every day!

Shalom
:D
Tau Malachi

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good vs.evil

#16 Postby Elder Sarah » Sat Jan 15, 2005 5:42 pm

Greetings all!

Upon reading all the post on this interesting subject what first comes to mind is the question if evil really exist. In asking if evil exist then I also have to ask if good exist, for the two seem to be polar opposites and the teachings say that for every pair of opposites there is a meeting place in which both are true at the same time. Both good and evil seem to be a product and matter of perspective, so in this reguard one would have to ask from which angle the label of good or evil is being applied? Something terrible that happens to one in this life could be the exact thing that facilitates a new awarness in a future incarnation. Likewise, something seemingly "good"in this life could be the one thing that caused forgetfulness and stopped one from coming into being in this life. It is true that we human beings experience sorrow and suffering in this plane, yet we also experience joy, happiness, Love, and the like. It seems the real question is where we direct our desire energy? Do we consentrate on the fact that we think we are suffering or do we sublimate our energy and direct it in a way that does not allow ourselves to acknowledge that we are suffering. It has been said that "things manifest as we expect them to", so what are we expecting?

It is said that the Taddakim exist in the world but not of the world, it appears that this awareness is what would allow one to experience both good, bad, happiness and sorrow, life and death ect.. but not attach to any of them. To be in the world but not of it seems to say, to exist in time/space but not in the time line. This circles around the idea, are we really our personal history? Or is personal history illusory, like last nights dream. If we aren't our personal history then who is in pain, who is suffering, who is happy, who is joyful? Can we abide in Oneness and multiplicity at the same time? After all is it not true that any time we are acknowledging sorrow and suffering is it not something that happened in history? How could any label be expressed in the moment? It is like when we say we are tired, or we are happy, or we are sad, are not all these statement said regarding a moment that has already passed, a moment that is history? So are we really these things?

It is true that we experience a variety of thoughts, emotions, imaginations etc. the question comes are we these thoughts, emotions and imaginations? It appears that we can and do become these things, like a leaf in the wind, if there is not a center in which we abide at one and the same time. THe curious thing about this is that abiding in the center does not mean that we do not experinece the variety that life offers, we do, yet we don't forget that from which we have come and are going. THis seems connected to how Yeshua says , "be passerbyers"


Many Blessings!
Sunny

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The Dovetail of Desire

#17 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon Jan 17, 2005 3:58 pm

Greetings everyone!

This comment that we must "dovetail" our desires and objects of our desire towards the Divine does seem to be the "secret" key, especially for the Western seeker. There is an interesting question regarding such things as the money-power, sex-power, fame-power, social or political power, or any other power in the mundane sphere we might mention: If we simply leave these things to the demiurge and archons, does that not facilitate darkness and evil (ignorance)? It would seem that all powers, mundane or supramundane, must be uplifted and redeemed, hence dovetailed into the desire for the Divine. It would seem all powers can serve the Divine will and Divine kingdom - it is all a matter of skilfull means.

In this sense the Sophian perspective is akin to a radical 'Tantric View,' one that seeks to transform all activities and powers into vehicles of the Light-kingdom; hence vehicles of the Light-transmission. According to this view, spiritual purity has little or nothing to do with anything external, but rather is something internal - the state of our mind and heart, and the intention with which we act. Indeed, it would seem, that the enlightenment is not dependent upon anything external, though external things could well be the expression of enlightenment - vehicles of the Light-transmission.

Granted, such a view could itself become problematic - a great pit into which the would-be initiate could fall. Yet, the love of Christ is a perfect guardianship, and ultimately we must follow in the way of the spiritual dimension rather than the moral dimension to bring about the dawn of Christ consciousness.

It seems that supernal or Messianic consciousness transcends the appearance of saint and sinner alike.

Blessings & shalom!
Tau Malachi

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katt

Pain and suffering

#18 Postby katt » Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:29 pm

To all in the discussion,

I find the subject of pain and suffering a good contemplation. It is interesting to think that the experience of pain in the physical body is actually a survival mechanism created by the nervious system. Pain is really a reaction created by the brain and therefor we think it is real. To some egstent it is real and to some egstent it not real. Prehaps it is not real in the way we think?

I feel that pain is produced by the body and emotions to tell us we need to be on alert. but these reactions are sometimes somewhat bestial, or are reactions to reality we feel we don't have control over. Suffering happens when we feel we overwelmed by these feelings of not being in control.

This has been a powerful lesson in my experience, the fact that suffering is not having faith in God's Purpose. Suffering happens when we resist the pulse of life. The nature of this world is eb and flow. Indeed the trantric veiw is both eb and flow are the face of the Beloved.


Shalom,
Kat

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#19 Postby Zeke » Sat Aug 20, 2005 8:29 am

Evil or Loyal?

The Rabbi Kagan, Chafetz Chaim, woke up on a cold winter morning to say his prayers. The Evil Urge said to him, "How can you get up so early? You are already an old man, and it's so cold outside." He replied to the Evil Urge, "You're a lot older than me, and you're up already." :wink:


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