An email I sent to Alicia turned into a religious sermon. Not my first. But I liked some of the ideas that arrived and leaked out of my fingers, so I will share them here with you.
"Eternal" in the Buddhist tradition (which usually refers to the Empty, Primordial Essence: your subtle consciousness or Buddha Nature which is birthless and deathless) means existing outside of time, NOT existing for a long long time, a rather horrible idea.
Eternal means that it never entered "time" in the first place. Eternal from the Greek I think is "above time". And life, actually, if we look carefully, doesn't exist in time either, because you can never find a past or a future in the present moment. The present is all there really is, and so, it is impossible to exist outside a timeless moment, or outside eternity.
SO, I sometime use this definition of Eternity-that is above time, not existing for a long long time- to open Christians' eyes to what "Eternal Life" or "Eternal Hell" could mean. If you are in hell existing outside of time, then it can be as "short" or a "fleeting" as a second. It's outside time altogether. It is not, however, a very long time.
I might even draw the conclusion that EVERYTHING exists in the ETERNAL PRESENT or PRESENCE, in an ETERNAL EMBRACE, and this very real Present Moment that we are all effortlessly plunged into, is actually GOD. The Omnipresence that is closer to you then you are to yourself. The Presence that is with you always. The Condition that is not difficult to contact but impossible to get away from. The Present out of which everything is created. IT is the most utterly obvious Present Presence that is God that is so clear and close and real that is it is actually reading this page, and criticizing these thoughts.
And then I might say "Praise God for the Diversity! The diversity is PROOF that God is creative!" HAH! Isn’t that amazing!? The more types of people and ideas and religions, the GREATER GOD is! Oh my gosh! I just came up with that and it makes so much sense. Obviously a creative God would want to have the most diverse universe ever! Praise God!
So, I have decided to "believe in God" and talk about the nature of God in Christian and theistic conversations. I meet a Christian and talk in their terms, in always a God Affirming tone, which keeps them in the conversation. This might be more useful, don't you think?
Also, and you know this one already I think..
Many Christians I have met are polytheistic; they actually believe in two powers. Sometimes even more. They believe in a good power and an evil one. And, then, on top of that, they might think that they, the individual creations, are in control too. They forgot that there is only ONE in control, only ONE Source and Suchness. In the beginning was God (or "the word”) (I love that!). The Bible did not say that in the beginning there was God and some darkness. If it did, then it would make sense that God created the universe and that the darkness wants control and in the darkness is evil and hell and whatnot. But no, it said in the beginning there was only God, and so, it would follow that now, to, there is only God. And God indeed judges Herself and sends Herself to hell which is actually existing in a corner of herself, as well as heaven, and everything in the universe is created out of her body, as a reflection of her body, for there is NO PLACE GOD IS NOT, for God has not limit, and in the beginning there was only God. Where else could God have gotten the energy to make the universe but out of Herself, the only Presence in the beginning? Anyone?
And yes, this means that on September 11th, 2001, God crashed plane-shaped parts of herself into herself; energy crashed into energy, and all is still moving and evolving in a painful, ecstatic way, full of diversity, growth, compassion, and suffering.
Man, sometimes it really does appear that Christians are polytheistic, and they put a limit on God, saying God is in this and not in that. And, on top of that, they loose faith in God's plan, and think that it is flawed and needs to be fixed or saved.
Classic polytheism. Which is, of course, also God in all her Glory. From atoms to angles.
I think I told you this already too, that it is seeing Good and Evil that keeps us locked out of heaven, which is the Freed Awareness that can embrace both "good" and "evil" as equally important and divine creations. Does God see good and evil? Or does God only see herself in all directions? Both, I presume. Both And. Because both are true in an infinitely diverse universe.
So, Recently I have adopted the word God and Godhead into my vocabulary. Of course, when I use it, I'm usually not referring to the mythic “Parent in the Sky” God that many religions pay allegiance to. An Atheist CAN use the term God meaningfully. And when they do, you know they are not talking about the Christian Creator, but are instead referring to the TRUE GOD or GODHEAD, which might represent TRUE REALITY, BEAUTY, EMPTINESS, FREEDOM, PRESENCE, or JUSTICE, or LOVE. "God" is a sign, or a word. Hah! IN the beginning was the word.
I recently had this idea. When "Jesus" said “I am the truth, the life and the way. You can only get to heaven through me,” he was not saying you can only get to heaven through Jesus. He said only through the Truth, the Life, and the Way, can you get to heaven. If he meant, “Only through believing in Jesus,” he would have said, “I am Jesus. You can only get to heaven through me.” But he was identified as the Truth, the Life, and the Way, and ten spoke from that identification. SO, we could restate his teaching as “It is only Through Life that you can get to Heaven. It is only Through Truth that you can get to heaven. It is only Through the Way that you can get to heaven.” Each of those can be non-theistic. In fact, they are all “this worldly,” life-embracing, clear, non-abstract teachings. The only thing that is iffy is the word Heaven. But, once we consider heaven to be a state of consciousness totally free and embracing (in this world but not of this world)…Heaven is where the heart is.
So, if you don't use the word God in discussions, and actually get uncomfortable and confrontational when that word comes up, try it out for a wile. Talk about god or the mystery with confidence. Since we are all manifestations in this universe, we can all talk about our source, which, in my opinion, is the glowing core of our very selves, shining a light through us unto all things, and then embracing all things, like a mirror its objects.
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