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tgalten last won the day on December 24 2014

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  1. So is it necessary that we put Jesus somehow above ourselves? If he actually existed in history (and I tend to believe he did not and is an entirely mythical figure - a sort of Jewish answer to the Egyptian Osiris) and was enlightened he certainly would not endorse Christianity. If, as I believe, he is a mythical figure, then he symbolizes transformation of consciousness. In either case, we must look within, not without, for salvation. I am that. Tat tvam asi. It is that simple.
  2. The pronoun "I", wherever it is used, refers not to an individual human body/mind organism, but to the One Self, Pure Consciousness, God. Enlightenment is simply the realization of this truth and the subsequent dis-identification from the illusory individual self and identification with the One (also known as God). Certainly the One Self playing the role of Jesus had this realization of itself as, through the body/mind known as Jesus, it said "I and the father are One". Again, this was not the realization by a person, but the realization of the Self by and through an apparent person. God, also known as the Self, is what awakens; Jesus did not awaken and neither does Tom (the name that is conventionally attached to the body/mind form that is writing this post). When this body/mind is no more (which will of course happen sooner or later), its loss will not affect the true me at all. I will have by then died to the old Tom identity and will have awakened to my true identity, which is God itself. Recall the Self's (God's) words by way of the body/mind known as St. Paul: "It is no longer I (as Paul) who live, but Christ (or God)". I am not Tom. I am the Self. And I have awakened to my true and ultimate identity in the time and place known as Tom.
  3. On one of Bishop Spong's recent question and answers, someone asked him "What is God?", stating that her granddaughter has asked he this question. Rev. Spong's admirable answer was that no one can say who or what God is. While I believe this is true at a certain level, I am not quite so modest about what we can say about God as is Bishop Spong. Borrowing here from Rev. Spong's response to the question asked him, I strongly endorse his statement that God is the "ground of being", using Tillich's famous definition. And it is here that I believe, with all due respect, that we can go at least one step further than Rev. Spong does. For while "ground of being" and "God" are both terms that can be used to mpoint to, or refer to, the ultimate, I believe it can be instructive to consider what eastern philosophers (not to mention Tillich himself) and religions, which do not share our visceral, western insistence that God is "wholly other" than the world, have said about the ultimate. Shankara, for example, the 7th century founder of Vedanta (usually classified as a school of thought within Hinduism), stated simply "Tat tvam asi", which is Sanskrit for "You are it". This means, of course, that the deepest aspect of you is identical to the dimension that we call God. Interestingly, Jesus said the same thing when he claimed "I and the father are one" and "When you have seen me, you have seen the father". Fact is, this experience of realizing one's identity as the ultimate (or God, ground of being, or the divine) is not limited to Jesus, as the most profound mystics have known for millennia. In short, I am the ultimate, as was Jesus, as is everyone. And I always have been (though I haven't always known it). To realize my true identity, moreover, is to experience transformed consciousness. And I am free and am privileged to identify myself with and as this level of reality (which some, in addition to God and ground of being, have called "the Formless", "Brahman", "Tao" and "the Void", among other terms used), to rest in it, and to simultaneously dis-identify from the illusory and egoic identity which goes, in my case, by the name "Tom". Realizing one's true identity and letting the old one go. This is the ultimate purpose of consciousness (or God) in the human species.
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