Which Life?

Full-of-Life

So what did Jesus mean when he said, “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth this life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal?” Preston Harold says:

In largest sense, Jesus spoke as symbol of Authority-Ego, and when He speaks as symbol He is speaking from a different level of being than that of the ego-group… Symbol of “I” in man cannot accept the insufficiency of Homo sapiens’ consciousness and all that ignorance and error cause to be manifest in life. If man’s growth into a larger structure of consciousness is to be insured, Authority-Ego must lead the ego-group to hate the mixture of love and lust its limited certitude expresses. An adjustment to, a reconciliation with, an acceptance of such insufficiency as is now exhibited in this world would hinder the growth of consciousness, evolution’s goal.

Different levels of life are automatically implied if we bypass the English translation and go right to the original Greek in which the gospel was written. There are 3 different words in Greek that mean “life.” The first is pneuma, which can also be translated as “spirit” and refers to the mental disposition or rational soul. The second word is psyche, which means the animal sentient principal. The third is zoe, which connotes vitality. In Jesus’ statement, both psyche and zoe are used. Here is the statement with “life” being used as it is in the Greek:

“He that loveth his psyche shall lose it; and he that hateth his psyche in this world shall keep it unto zoe eternal.”

It is important to note that in Biblical terms it is the psyche that is subject to death, and to the extent that we identify with it we identify with mere temporality which closes off our consciousness to further development. We must not identify with our lower self, for if we do we will not inherit eternal life.

But notice the paradox here. The goal is to keep the psyche unto eternal life; to make it endure in a highly vital, developed state. In consciously denying the psyche in this life, in not following it’s every whim and desire, we are intentionally subjecting it to the process of death and resurrection which it must undergo to enjoy abundant life in growth of consciousness. If we can hold this tension within ourselves, we are promised to reap an abundant harvest.  Delayed gratification, anyone?

Until next time, peace…

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Learning Experiences

Why does our knowledge of love’s fullness have to be so painful to obtain? Why doesn’t God completely reveal to us our full nature?

By giving His power, the power of the word, to man, God destroyed His absolute power to reveal Himself and the secrets of creation. But before man appeared on the scene, the secrets had been told in mammon – in the temporal – which reflects them oppositely and truly, as though in a mirror, itself material, a form that is real is seen, albeit its “mirror-image” is not its reality in being. Thus, truth-bearer must make unto himself a friend of mammon, “unrighteous” as mammon is, and he must reveal the working of the flesh, offensive and error-provoking though his words may be.

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Being part of the material realm limits us in coming to full knowledge of the reality and fullness of God. If we want LIFE, we must deal with the limitations and consequences thereof. The Apostle Paul says as much in his letter to the Romans:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits in eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Rom. 8:18-21) 

According to Paul here, we were not created by God already perfect, then fell, and now are in the process of regaining paradise. Rather, we have been subjected to futility from the beginning by our creator! Why? In hope that we will come to know the freedom of being children of God (being set free from slavery to mere mammon). It is the only way we can know love for ourselves. In other words, the Eden story isn’t a time-based story; it is rather an eternal happening, goading and guiding us into a better future. The story is a “trap” God sets for us, striving for the “beginning,” which in eternity is also our “completion.”

'Dad, I'm sure you're probably ticked about this, but when I tell you what happened, I'm sure you'll agree it's been a great learning experience for me,'

And here Preston Harold sounds like a modern day Paul:

Mammon is the mirror, and perforce the mirror lies – for it, itself, is not what it reflects in its being or as its being. God, First Cause, love, life itself, is not matter as revealed in mammon; God…is revealed through mammon’s examination to be “spirit,” or a type of “energy” unknown and unknowable in physical terms…. The reality underlying the world of appearances cannot be reduced to physical terms, it is only indirectly knowable as reflected in mammon’s mirror, and as it is intuitively experienced by man…. But in mammon’s mirror, in evil, or in pure matter, or in life’s temporal history with all its evil-doing, the image of good and its working may be beheld. This is to say, there is evidence that life is building into man a factor that will in time deliver him from evil without robbing him of its desirable aspects, and that this factor is in truth the saving grace of life.

Amen! Until next time, peace.

Spirit and the Serpent

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The devil is associated always with the “serpent power.” Jesus’ offensive words, “your father, the devil,” indicate that a “serpent power” fathers the flesh of man and its lusts, which is to say, man is involved with a powerful material factor that is resurrected in him generation after generation. (In 1928, scientists learned that a certain “coil” could be resurrected: when a batch of dead “S” bacteria were added to living “R” bacteria, the DNA of the dead “S” type somehow took over the “R” bacteria converting them to the living “S” type.) Jung observed that the devil is seen to be lord of matter. Evil is said to be of Satan’s domain which is represented as eternally burning; in this regard evil coincides with matter’s oxidizing. Satan is somehow a discrete play of energy, and so is matter. God has cast Satan, evil, out of His realm; God, good, remains as spirit only, spirit with dominion over evil, matter.

So there it is: Spirit/God = Good; Matter/Satan = Evil. Nice and tidy, wrapped up with a pretty bow. Isn’t it nice when we can have simple, straight-ahead black and white answers? That way we don’t have to think, challenge ourselves, or wonder about God at all! But hold on. Maybe it’s not so simple. Preston Harold continues:

Although Jesus saw that life itself is spirit, He saw that spirit is wedded to material being…by definition the word good is also deeply if not completely involved in the material realm. Good and evil are so intermingled in creation they appear to be that which the Creator has joined, both necessary to life in manifestation.

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Remember the parable of the wheat and the tares?…

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” -Matt. 13:24-30

And Jesus’ words from the Gospel of John?…

“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.” -John 5:28-29

Jesus says that God is love. Love does not, apparently will not or cannot, do away with evil. Evil too, is resurrected. Why?

Good question! We’ll look for an answer in our next post. Until then, peace…

Eating Our Way Out of Innocence

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Preston Harold continues describing the amoeba and why its course is humanity’s course…

There is no apparent reason why amoeba should ever die.  In the course of its division a new one is not produced: there are “only fragments of the original individuals, whose life has thus been continuous back to the time when life itself was first created…” Like an amoeba, Adam self-divided, and there is no immediately apparent reason why Adam and Eve should ever die.  But when amoebic animal life comes into the picture, innocence goes – as it does in Eden – and this is connected directly with eating.  Joseph Wood Krutch explains:

…all animals must eat something which is or was alive. …No animal, therefore, can be innocent as a plant may be. …And that, perhaps, is the deepest meaning of Original Sin.

The Eden drama relates that loss of innocence is directly related with eating.

And eating leads to death, which we will explore in our next post.  Until then, peace…

Recapping the Ego

Before we move on to the superego, we need to tidy up a few things about the ego…

In dealing with the concept of man’s ego, one finds many definitions of the word.  Philosophically, it is defined: The entire man considered as union of soul and body; the conscious and permanent subject of all experience.  Psychologically, the term is defined: The self, whether considered as an organization or system of mental states, or as the consciousness of the individual’s distinction from other selves.  In psychoanalysis, ego is seen as: The self-assertive and self-preserving tendency.  As regards ego, psychology speaks two commands: 1) lay down your ego, cast off your self-centeredness, you may identify yourself by becoming part of a group, by focusing your attention outside yourself – 2) build up your ego, be an entire man, fulfill yourself by knowing, being, expressing yourself, becoming an inner-directed and not an outer-directed person.

So, how do these definitions relate to the mission of Jesus?  Harold continues…

Jesus personified every aspect of ego, as the word is defined – and as it is defined, the two words, ego and life, are synonymous, so that ego must be seen as life to man.  Jesus used the word, life.  He said, simply, that man must lay down his life in order to pick it up again.  Conscious rebirth is implied, as well as rebirth into life.

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Our esteemed author then goes on to tell us of the ego’s role in the unconscious.  If the ego = life, and Jesus = life, then ego = Jesus…

Freud admitted to a sort of continuation of life in the unconscious.  In it “are stored up vestiges of the existences led by countless former egos; and when the ego forms its superego out of the id, it may perhaps only be reviving images of egos that have passed away and be securing them a resurrection.” Image Freud saw this sort of immortality as a “cumulative effect in History which gradually penetrates to “those depths of the psyche far below the ego level that actually can transmit patterns of behavior whether ‘acquired’ or not.”  Jesus posed the concept that life continues in the inner realm of the unconscious.  He says, “I have other sheep, too, which do not belong to this fold…” – this fold of consciousness known to those He addressed – “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them and they follow me; and I give them eternal life; they shall never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  A flock, not of the fold of consciousness, a flock to whom eternal life is given, must refer to that which is redeemed and immortal in man.  In this passage, Jesus indicates that man’s ego is not of the herd-instinct represented by the sheep.  Ego is not motivated by the impulse to belong and follow.  ImageEgo is shepherd: the sense of one being as self, and the differentiations of personality, the sheep, follow it – or, straying from this sense of certainty in being, are lost and must be found.

Man knows himself to be a flock of selves searching always to find the Self of selves to give direction to these composite lives.  Therefore, in this study the term, ego-group, will be used to designate the selves of the conscious domain and the term, Authority-Ego, will be used to designate the one governing factor of the ego-group, “I” in man which has its being in the unconscious.

I’ve never before entertained the idea or possibility that when Jesus is talking about His “sheep” He is discussing his own inner life!  Well I’ll be, huh?

As for the “resurrection…of countless former egos” and of man being “a flock of selves,” I will have much to say in the near future.  But for now we are ready to explore the superego and it’s role in our unconscious, which we will do in the next post.  Until then, peace…

THE PROBLEM, THE OBJECTIVE, THE CRUCIAL QUESTIONS – Part 3

It’s time for the last of our 3 foci, “the objective.”

To understand the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER, we will all have to become poets.  But what exactly is a poet?  Of all the definitions I’ve heard, I enjoy Dr. Cornel West’s the most:

The great (Percy) Shelly used to say that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.’ What did he mean by that?  He wasn’t talking about versifying.  To be a poet in the most profound sense is to have the courage to release your imagination and your empathy…

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True poetry is full of contradictions, paradox, mystery, conundrums, and riddles.  Many people say the Bible cannot be trusted because it contains many contradictions.  Others say “if the Bible says it, it must be so,” and can’t see any meaning beyond the plain sense of the text.  Both sides are barking up the wrong tree.  Harold says…

Dr. Henry A Murray writes that an “important fact not generally acknowledged is…the Bible is poetry, in its best parts, magnificent and edifying poetry….Some devout Christians overlook the fact that the stirring and sustaining power of the Book they live by depends on the wondrous emotive language, the vivid imagery and figures of speech, with which its wisdom is transmitted….If the New Testament…had been written by a modern social scientist in the jargon of his profession, it would have died at birth.”

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As does (George) Santayana, Dr. Murray sees that the playing down of the “crucial import of the Bible’s poetry,” hand in hand with the playing up of its historicity, is the greatest fallacy of Christianity, for thereby the scope of its traffic with and judgement of reality is severely limited.  Poetry does not obscure fact – it presents it in words that act as leaven in the mind to make room for it to house there.  Poetry is dazzling in its completely open and full use of words that have, as John Ciardi puts it: “…far more meanings than anyone thinks about in reading factual prose.  A word is not a meaning but a complex of meanings consisting of all its possibilities: its ability to identify something, the image it releases in making that identification, its sound, its history, its associations-in-context…” (emphases mine)

Plato equated poetry with creation: “All creation or passage of non-being into being is poetry or making.”  Poetry comes from the subconscious, and Harold sees in Jesus the universe’s Poet Laureate…

Jesus spoke poetically, but if His words are true they must be a correct, albeit poetical, description of reality.

Until a man has grasped the full implication of Jesus’ words, “the kingdom of God is within you,” he cannot begin to understand Him.  His every word is predicated upon this revelation.  It is the woking of the inner kingdom He reveals.  If the kingdom of heaven is within, there is no heavenly place of the abode for the “redeemed” to go – the realm of heaven is now an individual state of being, a potential mankind shall in time realize.  It is inward reality as opposed to the outward illusiveness of life (and of matter, which Jesus proclaimed long before the physicists discovered it).

Jesus saw life to be infinite, saw that man’s religions form one-to-one correspondences of truth, and that each man is a one-to-one correspondence with God, truth, life, and with each other man.

Jesus saw the Ten Commandments as classical psychic law.  He realized, however, that quantum psychic law underlies the classical law, and this secondary law governs the inner, real life of the individual – this is the law he enunciated.

In saying that the kingdom of God, an unknown realm, is within each person, Jesus proclaimed the existence of that psychic reality now called the unconscious – revealed its working and power.  He made of Himself a symbol of the Authority within this psychic realm: the vital Self-of-selves abstracted from consciousness for which man yearns – which is unto each his own, “the Lord, your God.”

Jesus strove to heal the breach in man’s thinking upon reality, strove to rejoin the divided physical and spiritual realms, saying, poetically, that the energy which gives life to man is, potentially, in a “stone.”  Identifying Himself and mankind with primordial energy, light, He dramatized and phrased in poetic terms the most important of the secondary laws of physics, enfolding His answer to the question of the universe in the sign positive (+)….whether by design or because he knew how to tap the fount of truth in His unconscious, He presented in drama, symbol, and poetry the underlying physical and psychic laws that are today being revealed.

From these observations Harold derives the objective of THE SHINING STRANGER:

The objective, then,  is not to present one or several new aspects, but rather a whole new concept of Jesus, for, as Albert Schweitzer points out, “What has been passing for Christianity during these nineteen centuries is merely a beginning, full of weaknesses and mistakes, not a full-grown Christianity springing from the spirit of Jesus.”

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One here is reminded of GK Chesterton’s quote: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Although THE SHINING STRANGER is a difficult work, we will not leave it untried.  I hope we are up to the challenge ahead of us.  Until next time, peace…