Jump to content

Introduction


matteoam
 Share

Recommended Posts

There is nothing substantial I can say about myself in the short space allotted here. I consider myself to be a spiritual person who is a Christian and embrace all other faiths as being valid paths to knowing God in whatever form, or non-form, that tradition perceives. Christian images are the most familiar to me so I stick with this tradition with all its human failings. I find there is a similar message proposed by all religions when it comes to disciplines, devotion, community, and relationship with the divine, despite different views in religious matters. These differences are to me nothing more than results of historical context and culture - both of which are relative. These are less important to me than the perennial truths religions espouse from the full spectrum of practitioners. In Christianity for example I believe the most conservative, orthodox, traditional and fundamentalist view of scripture is as valid as the most unorthodox and progressive. I believe this because ultimately everything in this universe is an expression of God. All then is maya - "the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled" according to Vedanta. I also believe that this is not to be thought of as negative or evil but merely as a play, a performance, of God, Brahman, or whatever image anyone wants to apply to it. I believe Jesus expressed that and he was incarnated and was resurrected. I may be wrong but whatever if anyone wants to hammer my beliefs have fun because u won't defend it because there is no- thing to defend.

 

I have cone to this belief by studying scripture, learning how to pray and meditate (still working in it) and listening to the Church Fathers, Ram Dass, alan Watts, and many others and trying to take the Dalai Lamas advice to explore the depths of my own tradition I was raised in.

 

I am someone who finds it difficult to be in community when that community does not seem to really be devoted to worship in spirit and truth, I find that I have little desire to be in community with people who barely look awake in church, who don't sing hymns, or who are more comfortable with unbelief than belief. I say this with full humility in realizing that these faults I might perceive in others are deep seated faults within me do I have a damned long way to go and slot of work to go.

 

What I hope to find in this community is more humility on my part and more understanding for my sins.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Matteoam,

 

Welcome to the forum and I hope you enjoy reading and participating here.

 

One question I have, if everything in the universe and all is maya, then what can your sins be except God performing as God does?

 

Cheers

Paul

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome Matteo,

 

Thanks for the interesting introduction.. I share many beliefs with you in that i also find much commonality in different religions. Only the words seem to change but inspiration and a deeper understanding seems to surface when each is diligently studied or practiced. Happy to have you among us and hopefully we will have many challenging and insightful discussions.

 

Again welcome,

Joseph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paul I think everything is a progression of spirit manifesting itself. I do think that karma is a more reasonable concept than "original sin", which, by the way, I challenge any Christian to show where Jesus says anything about. Karma is much more complex than the way it is portrayed in the popular culture. That all comes from St. Augustine, who, with all due respect, was, in my opinion, wrong. Do I think karma and Christianity can work together? Yes I do. Just look at the Christian mystics, The Cloud of Unknowing, St. Teresa, Meister Eckhart. Also Bede Griffiths did alot of work in the Christian Ashram Movement, along with others. I see alot of parallels with Zen and Benedictine spirituality also. Ultimately, I think everything is a play of consciousness. My sins are part of my karma and part of my own progress toward realization. The dualist model of Christianity just doesn't work for me. It really does make God out to be a capricious and moral monster-tyrant. I cannot just say that everything is an illusion and since there is no sin then everything should be permissible. That is a false paradigm. The "morality" of non duality arises from realization that there is no difference between "you" and "I". There is no-thing...just the Ultimate Reality, Brahman, God. Getting into the desert father and mothers, and meditating on the gospels, the church fathers, etc. and seeing the limitations in their perspective, when I "go beyond them" I see a God that is more "defined" as panentheistic. But I also recognize that even that is an image that needs to be transcended. Maybe I'll get there in this life. If we are to accept the Incarnation, then it has to be an ongoing process which never really "began". It always IS. The duality that Christianity has developed has been necessary, but like all human constructs, is limiting. My sin is my karma - my false perception of myself in relation to others, to myself, and to God. But, it is being manifested as a play - like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or The Glass Menagerie. It is through compassion - which is synonymous with following Jesus (or wanting to) - leads one through the illusion of the ego and Self.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi matteoam,

 

Thanks for the introduction. I have a deep respect for Benedictine spirituality. For about ten years I lived in the California high desert near a Benedictine Abbey. I attended Mass there nearly every Sunday, as well as a couple of retreats. So, I became somewhat familiar with the Benedictine world view.

 

Some time ago I came across a Zen koan that goes as follows: “If everything returns to the one, where does the one return to?” I thought this was very interesting, especially in light of the historical discussions and disagreements over duality/non-duality. It seems to me that conceptually, none of this will ever be resolved. Each term requires the other for its own understanding, and is therefore, highly “dualistic”. But koans never attempt to elicit a conceptual understanding; the solution is always non-conceptual. So, I personally prefer the terms conceptual/non-conceptual to dualistic/non-dualistic, with the understanding that non-conceptual cognition recognizes neither dualism nor non-dualism.

 

Peace.

Steve

 

Edited by SteveS55
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It still seems there is a dualistic notion there i.e. if you regard some of your actions as sins or that not every action is permissible, then aren't you saying some things are not of God (i.e. some actions) but at the same time saying that everything is God?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

God is a mystery and a paradox which cannot be fully comprehended. All I can do is remain silent before it. As I act in accord to it that action has to include compassion and the notion that there is no separation between myself an any other I perceive. This is nonduality. Advaita Vendanta is one ontogical system with deals with this. This is not an intellectual understanding. Why it is like that I am not aware of. Maybe others further down the path are. Read The gospel of sri ramakrishna and Rama Maharshi. They will blow your mind. Read Bede Griffiths for Christian Vedanta. As I meditate on the bible I see this permeating scripture not because some philosophy tells me but I experience this when I empty my mind and allow scripture to talk to me. When I experience myself as separate from you that is an illusion. Or maya. It is not evil or good. It is. I don't know why evil happens in the world except maybe it has something to do with actions and consequences of consciousness. Everything is not permissible because it will reinforce karma or sin that it might continue to have adverse effects further in time which I am not aware of. I don't see the reality of dualistic thinking when God is in the picture. If there is an a-theistic notion like Buddhism all is still Atman. No-thing-ness. This doesn't mean nihilism is a path because there is no- thing to be negating. There is all-in-one and not-all-one. I cannot claim to really get this but there are more conscious people than I (see my ego language) who "get it". I cannot consider God as an image or a person or as any-thing. God is (and is not) at the same time. So, what is the sound of one hand clapping? Before I was born again, the mountains were mountains. When I was born again the mountains were not mountains. After I was born again the mountains were mountains.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everything is of God as that is all there is. My sin my karma is my ignorance. Every thing is an aggregate then. I don't know why this is. If I do something there is a consequence to that action. Even non-action has a consequence. In a Christian context Jesus being the focus of our attention due to him being an incarnation of God is the one who saves. Save means heal. Save means destroying opposition. Save means deliverance from terror, torture, fear of death (death itself). Save means liberation from ignorance and illusion. This is why even in Christian context the orthodox Christus Victor is a more reasonable atonement theory (if one wants to go there). Hinduism has similar images of God (Shiva, Kali). In the western context, the Christ is the image to start with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can roll with Jesus being viewed as a worthy example to follow in order to try and life a rewarding and satisfying life. It seems to me that empathy and compassion are probably the two most useful and beneficial human emotions. God or no God, if we all practiced empathy and compassion more, we would have a better society.

 

But I still don't understand how one can say 'everything is of God' but then outline things that are 'bad' (eg ignorance, opposition, terror, torture, fear of death, ignorance, illusion, etc). If these things are of God, why are they something to overcome or get rid of?

 

Incidentally, the sound of one hand clapping is silence. :)

 

Cheers

Paul

Edited by PaulS
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, silence.

 

I think all those things are delusions of the ego. When I say that Jesus says it is like opening ones eyes.

 

I've heard that to practice yoga is not to make yourself better but to bring yourself to the realization of your true self that you've always been. Like waking up. Why shouldn't walking the Christian faith be the same thing? Our identity is a child of God. I can't explain why the world is the way it is. All I can do is see the suffering for what it is arising out of consequences and see past it as I involve myself in it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Matteoam, Welcome to the forum.

I hear you do not want to be in a community were people do not sing songs. Well that counts most of us silent none singing Quakers out :lol: .

 

I hope to know you better. I have often seen this life as the fertile soil for the growth of the spirit for the next life rather than a place of judgement for the next life. I look forward to hearing more about you journey and studies.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually I love Quaker meetings and attend them. Not sure where I said I don't want to be in a community where people do not sing. In eras of the experience with a PC church I attend it seems that people don't want to sing as the choir sings or don't even say the prays in the liturgy. I have also been to services were there is so much singing and joy that it's pretty overwhelming (not Pentecostal) but there is he sense that people are present as opposed to being there in body. The silence I see in the PC service is not the same silence in the Quaker meetings. Those I can compare. Community for me is not limited to is or that group. Community is the Indian families in my building., the gatherings of strangers at a sports event, and other places in my daily life. If I cannot see al of these as Christ what can I see them as.

 

Sunday is the most depressing day of the week for me because it's the most segregated day and the worst part is that it will never be otherwise.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I like Sunday because I don't have to go to work. I like the Quaker gatherings too because they have the freedom to sing, speak, shout, scream, get angry or be silent during the silent time. The good thing is it all comes out of the silence.

 

I like sitting in the old churches alone or with others. It seems prayers are being whispered as if a window is cracked and the wind is whispering "I am."

 

I feel I also need to open my heart to the Christians who are rigid and need to proclaim the truth without a capital. If it is a capital Truth I feel no proclamation is necessary, it speaks for itself. The proclamations seem to lock the church doors which challenges me to go beyond the barrior to the gateless gate concept beyond the concept of the pearly gates being closed so Christianity is still teaching me by locking doors that are not there to encourage me to go deeper.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually I love Quaker meetings and attend them. Not sure where I said I don't want to be in a community where people do not sing. In eras of the experience with a PC church I attend it seems that people don't want to sing as the choir sings or don't even say the prays in the liturgy. I have also been to services were there is so much singing and joy that it's pretty overwhelming (not Pentecostal) but there is he sense that people are present as opposed to being there in body. The silence I see in the PC service is not the same silence in the Quaker meetings. Those I can compare. Community for me is not limited to is or that group. Community is the Indian families in my building., the gatherings of strangers at a sports event, and other places in my daily life. If I cannot see al of these as Christ what can I see them as.

 

Sunday is the most depressing day of the week for me because it's the most segregated day and the worst part is that it will never be otherwise.

Please forgive me. Do not take me seriously here. I was just having a joke with your opening comment:-

"I am someone who finds it difficult to be in community when that community does not seem to really be devoted to worship in spirit and truth, I find that I have little desire to be in community with people who barely look awake in church, who don't sing hymns, or who are more comfortable with unbelief than belief. I say this with full humility in realizing that these faults I might perceive in others are deep seated faults within me do I have a damned long way to go and slot of work to go. "

 

Joking aside, I was very impressed with your opening comment. You appear to be someone who gives a lot of thought to you beliefs. Respect!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

well, I know you were joking. For me this is my sin. And I say this seriously. As much as I like being in the community, I find it hard to maintain myself in it. The reason being that I get depressed when I feel that I have to be a part of one group to the exclusion of another. I feel uneasy about this. I don't know why?

 

I bet I give way too much thought to my beliefs. This is why contradictions arise in my comments.

 

I just want everyone to get along. I feel insecure that I will be susceptible to spiritual pride. I feel that if I don't try to be inclusive I will be exclusive. Maybe it's a shadow part of myself which I'm afraid to really deal with. Maybe like Sartre I think hell can be other people. My biggest fear is what I desire most.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service