Living the Life of Christ

The idea of Christ has gripped my curiosity all of my life. I was born in the shadow of Christ as a Catholic child. In hindsight, I never truly believed the church, although I did feel committed to it and expected to forge a life of service as a priest. I was indoctrinated. When young, I accepted the normalcy of my circumstance with naivete. Trust was my blanket and the questions that naturally arise were kept behind its veil. As I consider who I am, and the child I grew from, I see that doubt was a constant companion. While trying to negotiate the articles of faith, I only ever considered Jesus as a man. The sort of person anyone might aspire to be.

That was the undoing of my religious faith. As I grew, the thin veil of trust dissolved in the floodwaters of reality. All who are delivered here by their mothers womb are human. God is not so enamored by the beauty of a woman that a child is born. If God could be insulted, blaspheme, that nonsense would pretty much do it. Of course, the God of Abraham is fiction, as is noted by this silly story and countless others.

That does not mean that the story of Jesus is fiction, just that it is obscured by it.

I see very little evidence that Jesus intended to or did found a church. From my reading of history, it was Constantine who hobbled together the teachings and texts that formally founded the Christian church. For over three hundred years people had told the story of a man named Jesus. He was deified and and set apart as some impossible sort, except, for his Godly heritage. That Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a woman so pure that even God was smitten and a child was born. After three hundred plus years of storytelling, that is what Emperor Constantine’s Council in Nicaea came up with.

No. I don’t think Jesus ever told this story. I believe that whomever Jesus might have been, his story was distorted with the passage of time and the retelling of his story.

Miracles? No, I don’t believe in the supernatural. I believe in magic and creation. I think magic and creation are the natural way things are and that we fit the rules of reality to create a static environment suitable for community and humanity. The life we share.

Explain Wim Huff.

The stories we spin around our memory of Jesus, and others, tend to forbid. Look what happened to Jesus. Humiliated, tortured and brutally murdered. Abandoned by all of his friends in his time of need. And he was God. That is the story. It is a clear warning. One, you are not God, two; humiliation, torture, murder. The Catholic Church, I was raised in, would even have you sent to an eternal Hell if you imagined Jesus was like you, an ordinary human being.

Assuming Jesus actually did live, he would have been as we all are, an ordinary person living an ordinary life. The extraordinary and supernatural are fiction, while being unusual is normal. Someone else will do and live as Jesus did. It is inevitable. It is likely certain that others have.

I believe much of the story is fiction. The allusion to the sort of God involved is too much for me. Hell, is a ridiculous notion and a person the likes of Jesus would have recognized that. That wrinkle alone destroys the Christian notion of God.

I do believe there is plenty of evidence, in our world, to support the miraculous claims attributed to Jesus. Not the specificity but what these claims allude to. I don’t believe in miracles. I believe in nature and its laws. I believe that some people are more in tune than others and the story of Jesus alludes to that. It is an example for others to follow.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist © 2018

Soul Survivor

Spirit. That which animates the animal is spirit and without it the animal is dead. As animals we create spirits that in turn animate us. We are the animal host for spirit. When the animal is gone, what then of its spirit? We are familiar with spiritual expressions that we share and have in common. Emotions are an obvious expression of the spirit we host. We have all known anger, grief, happiness, contentment, want, frustration etc. The spirit we choose reinforces itself emotionally, behaviourally, mindfully and we develop a personal psychology by which we are a known identity. We can and do choose the spiritual signature by which we are known. I believe that spirit is the creative force that is the life our animal knows. I believe it is life. Having said that, much of the spiritual experience we enjoy, I believe, is of a temporal nature and knows no durable quality.

I believe it is easy to make ourself, entirely, a temporal being of no durable quality and I consider that to be ownership. The notion that by any means we can deserve, or earn something. We can not. There is another way to consider ourself that does not include ownership; allowing the absolute quality of spirit, time and space. Life as the animal knows it, gifted to absolute-spirit, by the animal host. In Christianity, the culture I have been born into, we are taught that only a God can do this and we are taught that one man, and only one man, was also God. To be blunt, or as I believe Jesus would himself say, that is a lie. In Christian doctrine it is made clear that we should not even look for the truth but instead to accept it on faith. Faith being the only way the truth could be known and your faith must follow what you are told is true without question. Of course you are allowed to question within the parameters of the established faith; that is farce. Please accept my apology, I know it sounds rude to be so blunt, direct and honest. I have added these considerations up, as my lifetime, and have found my consideration, as written here, to be what seems to me to be true.

The story of Christ is meaningless if Jesus is God. Its only value is if it tells us of our human condition. Of who we are. A woman gave him birth, there is no mystery in that. If we can just be honest about that we begin to find our way. So what would Jesus do and does it matter?

I can accept what the New Testament alludes to as being true but not the testament itself. I know the history of the testament as well as the claims made about it and I can not accept the claims as true. As to what Jesus would do, I think he would do what I am doing, see for himself. Look, listen, question. Place all of his confidence in what is true, what is absolute, what is God, to have faith only in that and not what others claim about it. To accept that things can only be as they are and that a person committed to that discovery will find what makes an example and demonstration of itself, the truth. It needs no advocate and no one can take possession of it, yet, a person can make their self available to it by ridding their self of what displaces it. That is the message, the promise of Christ, that ordinary people do ordinary things even if it is unusual.

So what then of spirit, can we choose a spirit that is true? Did spirit create us or do we create spirit, and does it matter?

If there is a true spirit I think it would be the soul, a soul that can not be saved, but rather, is itself salvation. It does not belong to you, you belong to it. It created you and enjoys you, no matter what you do. You are forgiven and forgiveness is the narrow gate on the narrow path. The key to this gate is compassion. There is no compassion without forgiveness and compassion is an absolute because it knows only a single measure and can not be exhausted. Should a person truly be compassionate, and maintain forgiveness, they will also know, or be acquainted with, the truth, because the truth is absolute and all absolutes are of the same single measure. Certainly God is absolute, whatever God might be.

What of this forgiveness, this narrow path and gate? Who is it for? I can only forgive myself. When I have done that forgiveness exists in this world and anyone in need of it can find some measure of it in me. We are all the same, as likely to be one way as another and this is why forgiveness for the one, for the self, is forgiveness for the other. You remember, “There but for the grace of God go I”.

So then there is the spirit of forgiveness which is the gate by which compassion and its spirit is known. It is a narrow path and easy to fall from forgiveness. In the struggle to remain on the path we are taught how, what and who to forgive. Eventually we reach the gate.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

God Is Not A Mystery

God

Secular Mysticism; Faithless Confidence in God.

When I write that I am without faith, I am being specific. I am without religious faith. My faith is of a secular nature and is a confidence entirely and only in God. I believe in God. My life is dominated by God. I trust no dogma concerning God. No God I would care to know needs an intermediary and those who claim God does, implied or otherwise, are undeserving of my trust in this regard.

This God, whom I claim is my singular devotion, who is this God? I consider that God is inescapable. Even if God is naught, then that is the God that can not be escaped. It is not possible to remove yourself from the experience that is God and so I think God would know each of us personally. Directly, without intermediary, so I know God. We all do.

Like all people, influence runs roughshod over my life experience. I consider the influence that fills my life to be born of Providence, that is to say, it is directed by God, and through my devotion to God, this is how it has shaped me.  I am a Taoist, not because I have studied it but because that is the nature of my life. I live that way. I was raised a Christian under the auspices of Catholicism. I believe Jesus was as I am because that is the only Jesus that makes sense to me. Time alone, is what separates me from Jesus and so we are the same. He made an example of how any person might live. That was his purpose, his example and expectation of me. I do not believe the words, of others, who tell me who and how he is. I am confident that whatever he did, the same might be expected of any of us and so I live as if it is.

Did God create me? I believe God gave me permission to create myself and there is expectation in that gift, an obligation, or appointment to be kept. Only in keeping my appointment do I stand with God. I have not always been keen on keeping my appointment but I am making the effort again. I think that what each of us is capable of is largely ignored, and I, have a history of taking that as a personal insult, of being angry. The world we live in, the way things seem, we create. We are imbued with creative authority. We each use this authority, collectively for the most part, pretending all the while that we do not. This would be our primary, or original sin, ignorance, and the message Jesus endeavored to teach us. We are as he was and that is made clear because a woman gave him birth. There is no mystery in that.

What do I think of the stories that tell us Jesus performed miracles? I think they are stories. I do not believe in miracles. I believe if Jesus did, what people call miracles, that it was an example of our true nature. An example to emulate. Something that he considered ordinary, something anyone might do and so he did. He set aside his ignorance and the denial it creates. With that out-of-the-way he behaved as anyone else might, or, it is just a story. Fiction. The truth concerning this can be known, not as an exercise of sophistication, but rather as a matter of acquaintance. Knowledge, in matters spiritual, absolute truth and the like, is always by acquaintance and never by sophistication. The Tree of Knowledge is known for its sinful fruit, usually referred to as good and evil, but I have come to understand the fruit of this poisonous tree to be right and wrong. Right implies ownership which always corrupts the true nature of knowledge which is always, as a matter of truth, merely acquaintance. Right also creates wrong, it must because it does not exist without it. That is the nature of the Tree of Knowledge whose seed is ignorance. You can also read of the Tree of Knowledge in the Book of Genesis. I would not recommend it but as a reference I mention it.

It has been some time since I have added to my blog, not that I have not been busy, I write daily. Writing is a tool for my personal growth. It is always personal and at times unsuitable for publication. Of late that has been the nature of my writing, unsuitable for publication. I seem to have been taking a spiritual inventory that can serve only me. I hope to be back to The Mystic Tourist and wherever it leads now that I have made this contribution. We shall see. For a blog post this one is considerably longer than I prefer and so I will leave you with an apology for that and my hope to make regular, yet brief, contributions as we go forward.

Micheal, The Mystic Tourist ©2014

Our Miraculous Nature

We either have a miraculous nature, or we don’t. If we do it is not something that is particular to just one person, it must be a trait we all share. If we do have this authority, then the world we experience is its product. It is active and we are its masters. It would also be true that ignorance is the throne from which we rule. How then might a person retrieve this authority from behind the seal of denial, in the void that is ignorance? The tomb from which its ghost haunts us.

Why believe we have creative authority, a miraculous nature, that we are magical?

I abandoned religion some forty plus years ago but my interest in this lies in my Catholic upbringing. Today there are touchstones from that cultural tradition that stoke my curiosity. The story of the miraculous nature of Jesus Christ, of course, and the legend of Solomon. Francis Bacon is an interesting character of which many interesting stories have been told. A modern example of magic-like control, are the well documented talents of Wim Hof. My observations lead me to be sure that we control much more than we allow ourselves credit for.

How then might a person discover this understanding of our nature? Well the first thing is to accept that it might actually be true. People have profound experiences as a matter of everyday life. Stuff that seems supernatural. Much of this can be dismissed, by further investigation, and some of it can not. Basic communication is an interesting topic to explore. How many times have you wondered, who is staring at me, only to turn your head and see the person? That is communication, however, do we understand it?

There are a lot of exercises a person can do to develop intuition. One of my favorites is to know when a traffic light will change, to sense it, and be on mark. You can imagine what is in the mailbox, and be on mark. Whether or not the newspaper has arrived and so on. This develops intuition or psychic skills. For a time I was quite skilled at this sort of thing, now, it is all hit and miss. Not sure why. Subtlety is the rule. Any ownership compromises success in matters of spiritual truth. What have I owned? Maybe it is a variation, along the lines of ownership, that I do not quite understand. I have thought it might be reluctance and have worked to be more open, transparent, honest. In the meantime my success is sputtering along, waiting for the round peg in the round hole.

My life is no less spiritual. It is as if someone is standing beside me asking if I am going to come along with them. I answer yes and yet that does not seem to be the required answer. It keeps me wondering, is there an action, a behavior lacking? I know the answer is immediately at hand, but what is it? I will guess that my resolve is the answer and an epiphany is to be expected, a sudden realization of what has been obvious all along.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

The Definition of God

My beliefs run like this; I was born and raised Roman Catholic. My interests, curiosity and all of my personal drive are dominated by God. I have no interest in whether or not God exists or how God might be defined. I am sure that if I define God, then that is a God that I have created. I let God define God’s self without any interest in what that definition might be.

I am confidant that God is, or God is naught. Nothing can change that, my confidence lies with things being as they are and no other way. My devotion, to God, is such.

What about Jesus Christ? Jesus dominates my life as well. I am a mystic I think he and I have a lot in common. If there is any one person who is as a hero to me, it is Jesus as I understand him to be. He is my role model. I am certain that a woman gave him birth and am not confused as to how that happened. He was as you or I are, an ordinary human being and that is the power of his message. Those who make claims of his deity, have stolen his message and taken what they think is his power. They have profited and the church they claim was not founded by him. It is the work of others who came after him. If you or I would know what Jesus knew, we must take a similar path. That is the much alluded to, Way, Truth and Light. If we walk where he did, do as he did, we will be as he was and how else can we walk from our mothers womb to the grave?

I believe in absolutes. That if I consider what is absolute and work to incorporate that into my way, I resolve myself with God, because whatever God is, absolutes, must have their bearing there. I know of three absolutes and one gate that is also the narrow path. Truth, Compassion and Understanding are absolutes. The Truth is boundless, it knows no harm or injury. Even what is not true, a lie, gains its support from the Truth and the Truth remains unscathed. Compassion only knows a single measure and can not be exhausted. It also knows no boundary and we only need choose it to learn that. Understanding, there is nothing that can not be understood and all that is expresses that by its very existence. Nothing is organized well enough to exist without Understanding. It is absolute. The narrow path is Forgiveness and its gate is the opportunity to forgive. The key to the gate is the act of Forgiveness.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

The False Prophet

The name of Christ will be restored, it belongs only to Christ. Much has been said about Jesus Christ by those who never knew him. They tell a grand story, making great claims on his behalf. It begins with his mother, a woman, so pure that even God could not resist her and she gave birth to God’s son, Jesus. This man, Jesus, was in turn, no ordinary man, he was God. Being human we each can be certain of one thing, no man is God. All men are ordinary and Jesus was a man. We know this because a woman gave him birth. He taught us what ordinary men are capable of. He is not the only one and Christ will return. If you would know the true story of Jesus then know Christ, not the stories others tell about Christ.

It is an insult to the legacy of Jesus to suggest he was other than human.

I suspect many have known Christ in their lifetimes but not all are called to do what Jesus did. It is sad that we have taken the life and actions, of this man, Jesus, and reduced them to a fanciful tale we know is not true. A story we can not believe except by faith. We do not need faith to know God, to know Christ, we only need to ‘be’ and choose their acquaintance. This secret is known by each of us. It is an understanding we can not escape although we are free to ignore it. Mostly that is what we do, creating a fiction we call reality.

The fictional life of Jesus Christ is false and those who repeat it are false prophets. Have confidence and find your strength. Walk the path that Jesus did and you will know Christ.

It is this action of knowing Christ that tells the truth that Jesus knew. It seems there are different degrees, or appointments, in our acquaintance with Christ, ranging from ignorance/denial to full-blown companionship. A state where Christ makes an appearance as a person, a human being that anyone might know. It seems that Jesus was that Christ. Clearly few are called to do this but I believe this is what he did and I am confidant someone else will do the same. That was his message, the lesson, the example of his life.

What of the of the power of faith, of faith in Jesus? The good works done through faith and faiths ability to affect us. Faith is a mask for confidence  It pretends to be confidence but confidence has no need of it. For a healthier mind, and relationship with God, skip the faith and let all of your confidence rest with God. Make no claim on God’s behalf. Allow for naught and then God can present God’s self, as God is, or as God is naught. It is alright. What threat could you be to God and any God worth knowing is no threat to you.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013

The Ordinary Life of Jesus Christ

Ordinariness. I have written of this before. I believe in what is ordinary, that only the ordinary exists. Anything we consider extraordinary, most notably for the purpose of this blog, human endeavour, is the work of ordinary people. Conversely, I might consider everything to be extraordinary but I do not, I believe in ordinariness. That is not to say that we are all the same or that each of us has the same thing to do. We are just ordinary people, each of us, no matter what we do.

As a mystic this has always been my guiding principle. As a Catholic, a Christian, it is what drove me from the church. To my mind Jesus was as ordinary a human being as are you or I. That is the whole point of the story. Dogma and doctrine paint him as something much more than that, God incarnate. It is not true. A woman gave him birth, the same as you or I. The story of his deity is the story of power and undue influence wrought by those who tell such stories. It is not hard to believe that in the fourth century, around 326 A.D., when the Constantine ordered the Council of Nicaea, for the purpose of organizing the christian church, that these were the men who founded Christianity as we know it. They assembled the books that would become the New Testament. A small sampling of a larger collection, doctrine and dogma was set in place. Jesus did not do that. Others who claim to be his church did. Or course the books of the New Testament support their position and their claims. They were selected to do just that.

Churches, in particularly large churches, are political institutions. Designed to control people, often the result is violence and oppression. When a person or a group claims to be right, because of their ‘sacred text’, written words, they have undue influence. No words are sacred unless all words are. I do not believe any church. No truth can be written down. We write about it but the truth represents itself. It is its own evidence. Any who seek it can find it. It is important to first let go of what is not true and make no claim of ownership of what is true. Written words for example.

“I am the way the truth and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me”. I can not arrive at a beautiful vista and share it with someone who is not there. To share the view of anyone who has found anything, regardless of its relative value, you have to be there. You are also that way, that truth, and that light.

Michael, The Mystic Tourist ©2013