HERETIC ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sunday, August 04, 2019

Black & White, Yin & Yang

Being brought up Christian as I was, I learned to believe in absolutes. What the Bible ( our English translation ( ? ) of the Hebrew &' Greek ( Aramaic? ) Scriptures ) has to say about 'God ( the Father ), Jesus ( the Son ) & the Holy Spirit ( ? )' was one such absolute; in fact, one might say it is THE Absolute; it is irrefutable, we were taught! Don't get me wrong; there ARE absolutes, but those absolutes ( or Absolutes ) aren't necessarily what we think they are. One can have all the faith in the world, 'faith to move mountains', even, but that doesn't make it so; to paraphrase the Bible, 'Even the Muslims believe..........' ( but they're wrong, right??? ) The Absolute Truth is that the One who 'hung the stars', etc cannot be confined to the description of any human being, whether he or she claims to be inspired by the Jewish/Christian God, the Muslim God, or any other personified 'God' on the horizon!

'Embrace your darkness': repeat these words to most Christians & you'll most likely meet with a brick wall! 'Darkness', you might hear, 'is ( necessarily ) a bad thing, because the Bible says that we are to avoid the darkness & walk in the light'. They might quote Isaiah the prophet ( from the Old Testament-Isaiah 50:10 ), 'Who among you fears the Lord? Who obeys the voice of His Servant?
Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord a
nd rely upon his God.' More likely though, you'll hear any one of numerous quotes from the New Testament, like 'But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.', from the Gospel according to John ( John 11:10 ), or even the apostle Paul, in Ephesians 5:8, where he wrote, 'For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.' It should be noted here though, in fact, in all the above quotations, that though there is definitely some discernible Universal Truth herein, one must understand the context of these warnings. The 'darkness' ( Hebrew chashekah & Greek skotia  ) of which they wrote was metaphorical; not the absence of ( physical ) light, but the blindness & ignorance which enveloped the Hebrew people, later known as the Jews.

In all of life, there must be balance! For example, when one is down ( in the 'dumps' ), if that one is willing to see anyway, there is ALWAYS someone to lift them up ( out of the 'dumps' ). A plant grows best with the perfect balance of water ( nutrition ) & light ( yes, plants thrive with a necessary period of darkness as well-even plants need their rest ), Humanly speaking, one must learn to accept both sides of their nature ( EVERYONE has a 'dark side' )  before one can truly love his or her Self. Of course, if one doesn't love themselves, they have trouble loving others in balance & there is where many people get into trouble! Balance helps us to cope with many things in life; for instance, even positivity can get to be overwhelming at times. On the other hand, pure negativity tends to bring EVERYONE 'down'! Too many positive ions in the air have a negative influence on our physical bodies, but when we balance those positive ions with negative ones, we might find that it positively affects our negativity & so on & so forth!

The balance of which I write herein, though, in more of a metaphysical sense, is the balance within ourselves. All human beings bear within themselves the X & Y chromosomes. In fact, you might have heard that all fetuses, up to a certain point, are female. At what point one or the other chromosome wins out ( overcomes? ), even the best doctors cannot be sure, or even why! Call it 'Karma', call It 'the Almighty'; whatever name you give It, some babies are born female, while others are born male. Then again, there are some ( fairly rare ) that seem to be both ( androgynous? ). Also, how do we explain those, whether they remain in 'the closet' or not, who have a predilection ( seemingly 'against nature' ) for the same sex? ( I must admit here, that I was one of those who condemned such as 'perverts' & worse! ) Metaphysically speaking though, the necessary balance should be noted between that of our human nature & our spiritual nature. We are Spirit Beings, but we are also Human Beings. Unless & until we divine a way to balance our two-fold nature, we again, will find ourselves up to our ears in hot water!

In some sense, one might note, the spiritual side of our nature ( this should resonate with Christians, as well as certain other religious peoples ) is the Light side, while the human side could well be designated the Dark side. I have previously noted that this equation could be called, 'the Divine/Mundane'. Balancing the Divine with the Mundane within themselves is one of the most difficult ( yet simplest ) tasks that you can assign to a human being! Yet it is only through recognizing the Divine within the Mundane ( Heaven on Earth? ) that we can truly love ourselves & thus, our neighbor! There are many different ( religiously speaking ) ways of looking at this, but whether one perceives that they must look within or without, the end result is the rectification of the two. As human beings, we must recognize the Divinity ( our Spiritual Self ) within the Mundane ( our human (biological ) Self ) in order to share ourselves with a righteous balance. In all reality, It goes much deeper than this, deeper even than mere words can express, although some have done admirably well in the attempt.

 'To err is human, to forgive, divine': this quote from Alexander Pope conveys well the notion that it is not in our human nature to forgive others. However, through the Divinity Within us ( again whether one perceives it to be 'within' or 'without'; 'it is what it is' ) we are able to forgive those that sin ( transgress ) against us. Balancing our true nature helps us to empathize with others, again, humanly speaking, who have not been able to rectify their two-fold nature. Even though we err still, we can even forgive ourselves, being Human & Divine, recognizing that human beings, having to do with other human beings, will always clash, or make mistakes, but when we do, the Divinity Within goes beyond our humanity & forgives any perceived wrong. On a sad note, not all, indeed relatively few, truly recognize this glorious fact, but that is neither here nor there, in regards to this post!

Just as two horses, correctly balanced of course, in a yoke, pull better than a single horse, so life works better when faced with both our Divine & Mundane natures! My mother used to say, 'they're so heavenly-minded, they're of no earthly good'; the point being that some people are so intent on gaining what they perceive as 'Heaven' ( whatever that may be to them ) that they tend to lose sight of the day-to-day of life here on Earth. Balancing the two, however ( not that I believe in 'Heaven' as 'the Afterlife' ), helps us, both to live this life in a pleasant manner, as well as to make any 'Afterlife' even more glorious! 'The Afterlife', not being the focus of this blogger, however, let us not stray from the subject................

'As above, so below'; the Hebrew way of life was far different from ours, though one might note many striking similarities between our Western way of life ( culture? ) & what we can divine from our interpretation of a piece of Ancient Near Eastern literature ( AKA the Bible )! This is not to say, as many mistakenly ( gravely so, in fact ) have, that we here in the West ( British America? ) are the new Israel. This similarity should be noted only as far as the many Universal Truths of both the Hebrew & Greek Scriptures point to our human nature; on the other hand, though, these same Scriptures speak as well of our Divine nature!

The One Absolute Truth we can rely on ( absolutely ) is that we are, in our inmost Being, Divine! The Divine doesn't always manifest, in fact, in some cases it seems never to reveal itself, although, in many cases, one can see evidence of Its Presence, even in the darkest of places. I say 'Its Presence' because while most religions perceive this Divinity ( mostly 'without' ) differently, this Presence is neither male nor female, though, humanly speaking, we might perceive It as both, a Perfect Balance of the two; 'Yin & Yang', you might say!

In life, it may be noted, there ARE many gray areas, in fact, life is one BIG gray area, though, in reality, it IS truly black & white ( 'It is what It is' )! The Bible may say this or that & you may believe that it is the 'end-all' ( 'The Alpha & Omega' ), but this other person over here believes that their preferred 'Bible' reveals the Absolute; who's to say whether one is correct over the other? 'Oh, the Bible says that it is correct ( internal evidence? )!'? 'Well, how many other 'Bibles' point to the same 'truth?' How many different people believe differently about what is absolute? Are we all wrong? Are we all right? What is wrong? What is right? To simply know ( understand ) that 'it is what it is'-some might even say there IS no wrong or right ) makes life a whole lot easier.

Stress begins to disappear when we realize that life holds many shades of gray. Trying to separate the black & white, the yin & yang, in a manner of speaking is what so often gets us 'down', putting us in one ditch or the other. Let's just hold our course, avoiding both metaphorical ditches, as we travel down this road we call 'Life', knowing that 'it is what it is' & not what we, or any others believe it is!

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Meaning of Life, Revisited

"A man that I was working for at the time, about 15 or so years ago; asked me, kinda out of the blue, one day, “Charlie; what IS the meaning of life?”. Without really thinking about it, because at that time, I wasn't as mature as today; I replied; “Jesus is the meaning of Life!”. Looking back at that statement today, and thinking of the profundity and brevity of it, I can't help thinking, “where did that come from?”, but it is obvious to me, that God was guiding my steps from day one!

“What is the meaning of life?” is a well-worn phrase that many people, from all walks of life, have asked themselves, and others, over the course of the years. It it a question that, in all it's deeper meaning, could have 'eternal' consequences!

The Bible, I think that most of us would agree, seems to say that in Jesus only, is 'life' to be found!

Maybe the better question would be, and this is the subject of this paper; “What is life?”! Is 'life' simply physical existence; is it blood coursing through the veins, being pumped by a beating heart? Or is 'life' a spiritual reality, which comes only through a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?"

The above quote, written 20 odd years ago by this same blogger, comes from an article of the same title ( The Meaning of Life ). 'As above, so below'; I still consider myself a Christian ( if ANY label is necessary ), personally speaking, but, at the time of that first writing, I was still ensnared in the religiosity of Christianity. Currently; I have advanced beyond many ( most? ) of my brethren & presently consider myself to be 'Beyond Christianity'! This is not to say that I no longer follow or obey the main tenets of what is known in most circles as 'Christianity' although I now divine between what was instruction for the Ancient Near Eastern peoples of that age ( when the Hebrew & Greek scriptures were written ) & what is Universal Truth ( for all people of all ages ).

In the last few sentences of the quote above, I posed the question, 'What IS life?' The conclusion reached, of course, which MUST be 'reached' ( realized ) is that Life Is More that blood being pumped through the veins by a beating heart. It IS More than simply existing ( as a person ), Life IS a 'spiritual reality', though not necessarily in the terms I outlined those 20 odd years ago. Life, one might say, DOES come through the knowledge of 'God', the same 'God' that Jesus taught about & indeed, engendered, though the 'saving knowledge' part of that statement had reference to the 'instructions' above. In some sense, this 'saving knowledge' is a Universal Truth as well, because, when one realizes the truth of 'The Meaning of Life', a salvific effect tends to follow!

The Meaning of Life is somewhat two-pronged; on one hand, one may might understanding that by it, one is questioning the purpose, but on the other hand, the definition of 'Life': Life IS More than simple existence, with blood coursing through the veins; it IS a spiritual reality, but what is meant by a 'spiritual reality'? Is it simply that, in order to experience this spiritual reality, one must first have 'a saving knowledge of Jesus ( the ) Christ', or is it deeper than that? The apology herein is that one must have, not a saving knowledge of a historical ( or not ) Ancient Near Eastern person, but rather that they should realize, or come to know the Christ, or God Within. According to Orthodox Christianity, this kind of statement more than borders on the heretical. To most it is blasphemous & worthy of censure or even 'crucifixion'!

The Liberation brought by the knowledge of oneself, not as a mere human being, but a spirit being of the highest order, part of the 'God-head', so to speak, is glorious! Realizing that one has the Power to change their own situation, the manifestation that we know as physical existence, the knowledge that there is not 'An Angry God' up there in the sky ( 'Heaven' ) that we must appease by following 'His' Law, brings a joy to the soul that is almost unknown in most religious circles. We don't have to obey every 'jot & tittle' of some list of commandments ( just words ) written for an Ancient Near Eastern people. 'As above, so below'; this is not to say that these 'words' have no merit: on the contrary, there is much meritorious in following most of these tenets as a matter of principle! Loving ones neighbor as oneself, to say nothing of treating others like one wants to be treated are a Universal Truth which need no explanation. This, of course, is speaking on a personal ( individual ) level: when one realizes their place in the Universe, it's not too long before we realize that we are, in Essence, One; 'the Other' is merely a social ( cultural? ) construct!

'The Other', though a social construct, is a 'reality' that must be faced in what most people call 'Life'. 'Life' IS More than physical existence, but in the 'here & now', though we realize we are NOT this experience, it is in this biological construct that we MUST operate, as human beings. As More than Human, we understand that when our property, for example, whether it's our own body, the physical lives of those we love, or simply real estate is threatened, it is not us which is threatened, but merely our biological existence, something which, from all accounts, is temporary anyway. Those 'Others' who threaten our 'Way of Life' cannot harm us; they can only cause harm to this biology, which WILL bring ( negative ) 'Karma' to bear & they WILL reap what they've sown!

Individually speaking, there will always be differences which are cause for division, but must they actually cause division? Not to make light of questions like 'Why can't we all just get along', but why CAN'T we?! The reason we DON'T ( not 'CAN'T' ) get along is because of the ( personal ) Ego! Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all saying that the Ego is necessarily a bad thing; 'it is what it is', but there is always a choice of whether to reign over ones Ego, or to let It rule our actions. Here is where realizing ones true nature comes into play: once we understand that we are NOT defined by our Ego, but rather, that we define IT, it becomes second nature to treat 'others' as we ourselves would like to treated, we then realize what it REALLY means to love ones neighbor as oneself!

The original definition of 'heresy', condensed into a single word, might be 'division', It is the division of the One we are that is True Heresy! Division is not necessary, even on a personal level ( although many would probably disagree ) in order to exist side by side. 'As above, so below'; there will always be differences to deal with, choices to make, again, on a personal level, but they need not separate us; in fact of the matter, individual differences are what make this life ( physical existence ) worth living! When we allow our Ego, threatened by another's existence, to rule our actions, bloodshed WILL follow & negative Karma WILL kick in! By reigning over our Ego, we begin to understand that no harm is meant to us ( necessarily ) by what we view as another's negativity. For all we know, what we perceive as negativity might in actuality be a positive thing to them!

Life is not defined by our differences! Life is defined by our sameness, our Oneness! Our individuality, especially as human beings cannot & should not be denied, but we should not allow our differences to rule our actions when it comes to 'others' who may not live, think & talk like 'us'! For millenia now, the Ego has seemingly reigned supreme & thus we have what we have, 'wars & rumors of wars, people killing each other over a piece of dirt, or better yet, 'all the oil under the sand'!

This is not 'Life'; this is 'Death'!

Let's stop dying & start living; we need to stop spreading death & deastruction & start sharing life & prosperity! This should be an easy task, for we ARE Life itself; we ARE The Meaning of Life!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Sacred Space, Revisited

In the previous post of the same name ( a good three, almost three & a half years ago ), my readers may recall that I came to the conclusion that we ARE the Temple, 'a traveling 'Sacred Space' if you will. My conclusion remains the same as it was those few years ago, though it should be noted that my understanding has expanded! We ARE the Temple, yes, but maybe not in the sense one might get from reading the Holy Bible, which is, after all, merely the West's translation of an Ancient Near Eastern text. Having been there before, we will explore this avenue no further, except to quote a ( fictional ) wise man, who once said, 'I do not think it means what you think it means'!

The apostle Paul, according to the Greek Scriptures ( AKA, 'New Testament' ) quoted a Universal Truth when he wrote, 'your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit'. In the context of his writing, of course, he referred to the fact that, as opposed to the Judaistic notion that their Temple ( built by the hand of Man ) was the Dwelling of 'God' on Earth, they themselves were that Glorious Dwelling! 'As above, so below': Paul's statement is true enough, but not in the sense, maybe, that many Christians understand it! Our biological bodies ARE the Temple of what most Christians call 'the Holy Spirit', though not for the reasons we have been taught; we are not the Temple because we 'invited Jesus into our heart' ( ? ), not because we were adopted into the 'Family of God', but because as spirit beings, we are part & parcel with the Source of ALL Life. Call it 'Divine Energy', call It what you will, 'It is what It is', whether we, as human beings ( personally speaking ) choose to manifest that Divinity to the outside world or not, We are, at heart, in our inmost being, ALL Divine & so Temples!

'The Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic ) Scriptures were NOT written to us!' There; I said it ( again )! I will say it till I'm blue in the face if I hafta ( though I'm pretty much over all that )! The understanding ( of said Scriptures ) that's been handed down to us is therefore clearly a false one. It is more clear to some than to others that the current understanding of the Majority is in dire need of revision, but as the case may be, even in the case of most 'fulfilled believers' ( preterists ), the fact that our whole theology ( as Christians ) is based on a misconception, argues, even screams for a new Reformation. The Hebrew Scriptures, to begin with, although they too hold some Universal Truth, were primarily, if not wholly, written to & for an Ancient Near Eastern ( peculiar-Exodus 19:6 ) people. 'As above, so below'; these Scriptures, which we as Christians call OUR 'Holy Bible', DO have the effect of transmitting to us some Universal Truth, though great care must be exercised in divining what is Universal Truth & what was meant for the Hebrew people alone!

'Any theologian worth his salt knows the difference between the Law given on Sinai & the so-called 'cleanliness laws' ( 603? ). Okay, that was said kinda 'tongue-in-cheek'! The so-called 'Ten Commandments', that many Christians are ready to 'throw down' about if their freedom of display ( courthouses, parks, etc ) is threatened, are actually part & parcel with the 'cleanliness laws' ( all part of the so-called 'Mosaic Law', or 'Law of Moses' ). The 'cleanliness laws' ( 603? ) can even be seen to hold some Universal Truth! For instance, EVERYBODY ( well, those in their right mind, anyway ) knows that 'bacon makes everything better'! Most of us know, though we try to ignore it, that just like the 'Mosaic Law' says, it's actually not all that good for us, if at all! Muslims & Jews, whether they realize this fact,  or just 'blindly' obey the 'law', ( for the most part, anyway ) follow this instruction to the letter & thus are probably somewhat healthier than many Americans! I love bacon myself & will most likely continue to consume this 'unclean' meat, not because I believe, as most Christian do, that 'What God has [f]cleansed you must not call common' ( Acts 10:15 ). I used to believe, even teach this ), but because I ( personally ) DO love it, though in limited quantities.

Getting back to the subject at hand, just as the 'Ten Commandments' ( even the so-called 'cleanliness laws' ) hold Universal Truth, so we, as modern Americans, may divine ( 'glean'? ) Universal Truth from both the Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic ) Scriptures. Again, when the apostle Paul wrote the words quoted earlier, we should note that our ( biological ) bodies are indeed a Temple ( in fact, as much as I hate to say it, we probably SHOULD cut way back on our consumption of bacon, if not cut it out of our diets completely ). This means that much of our practices bear revision! As Christians ( in particular ), though, we NEED ( desperately ) to understand this, not because we are in some Covenant with YHWH ( the 'God' of the Hebrews ), but simply ( Divinely ) because these ARE Universal Truths & as that 'traveling 'Sacred Space', our bodies are the vehicles in which we present 'God' to the world!

It is interesting to note, in conclusion, that even in that first post ( Sacred Space ), over three years ago, it's clear that I was headed in the same direction as I am now! 'As above, so below'; in that sense, I have not abandoned my Christian faith ( although certain aspects of it have definitely 'gone by the way-side' ); I have simply followed its logical conclusions & progressed beyond Christianity! 'So, one might ask then, 'is it correct to refer to our biological bodies as Temples, since the apostle was referring to the misconception of the Jews?' To this I would respond with a resounding 'YES'! What is a temple but the place where 'Heaven' meets 'Earth', the 'Sacred Space' where ( a ) 'God' dwells?!

Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Junction of Heaven & Earth; the Temple

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body [g]and in your spirit, which are God’s.
I Corinthians 6:19 & 20 

Let me first make this caveat: quoting from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures ( or at least, an English interpretation of them ), as I do above ( quite often, too ) does not mean that I believe that they are  the 'end-all'! Both the Hebrew & Greek ( Aramaic ) Scriptures DO contain much of what I call 'Universal Truth' & we see an example of such in the first part of the quotation. It it when we reach the second part, however, that the line blurs. The apostle Paul's instruction here is a direct referent to the Judaistic roots of the Christian religion. While, as I believe I've said before, I will always call myself, personally speaking, a Christian; it should be noted that, again, personally speaking, I AM 'a heretic of heretics' & would likely be asked to remain silent in most Christian 'churches'!

As I understand it, first the tabernacle in the wilderness ( Exodus 26 ), then the temple of Solomon's time ( as well as Herod's ) were designed so as to represent the place where 'Heaven' ( as the dwelling of 'God ) & Earth ( as the dwelling of 'Man' ) met together. We read later, in the Christian or Greek Scriptures, such as the apostle Paul's quote above, that rather than this meeting-place being a building ( or tent, as the case was in the wilderness ), it had become ( or was it always? ) the people of 'God' or simply, 'just' people. Not only Christians, but all those who deal justly with their neighbor, love mercy & walk humbly with their 'God' ( whoever He/She/It may be ) thus fall into this category. 
( This is one area in which I have departed from 'Christianity'. )

Jesus of Nazareth, he who was born King of the Jews, is known in Christian circles, as 'the God-man'. He was/is 'True man, yet very God' according to Orthodox Christianity. The term 'God-man' ( maybe especially the concept ) does not however, belong to the Christian religion alone. As a conception, if not in such terminology, it is much older than Christianity, going all the way back to the ancient Egyptians & Mesopotamians.  Before the written record, no doubt it goes back even further than that. Greek mythology, for example, includes many stories of how the gods came down & had children ( interestingly, only sons ) with female humans. This is not to say that Jesus the Christ, the Jewish Messiah, was merely a myth; there seems to be some historical evidence that he did exist, but the point is that the Jews & Christians are not the only people that claim a 'God-Man'!

Eastern religions, as I understand, teach that it lies within all people to manifest the 'God-Man' ( or 'God-woman' )! The understanding ( knowledge ) of our true nature, that of Spirit, or Source ( Divine Energy ), rather than merely a human ( biological? ) being is the beginning of true wisdom. Even the Hebrew Scriptures iterate this truth; 'The fear of the Lord [ is ] the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One [ is ] understanding' ( Proverbs 9:10 ) Here, one must, of course, take into account the Hebrew context, first, with the ancient concept of a fear of the gods & secondly, with the double statement, whereas 'fear of the Lord' corresponds to 'knowledge of the Holy One'. 'The Holy One', of course refers, in my understanding, to our Higher Self, or more correctly, to knowledge of the Source & our intimate connection to it!

Although the term 'Christ', to my limited knowledge, was never used in any religion but Judaeo-Christianity, the concept is very nearly the same as the title 'Buddha'. The latter ( title ) means 'awakened one', while the former means 'anointed one'. The difference, it should noted, is that one connotes an inner action, while the outer refers to an outside influence. The necessity of the outer influence is based on the biblical notion that man, or human-kind, is merely a fallen creature & thus incapable of helping him or herself. This again is based on an English interpretation of Ancient Near Eastern ( Hebrew ) literature concerning the supposed 'Fall of Man'. The Hebrew story of the Fall of Adam & Eve, according to at least one modern scholar, was likely a later addition to the so-called '5 Books of Moses', written during the Babylonian Exile. What we read as Genesis chapter 3 then, would be the story, in metaphor, of how Israel disobeyed Yahweh & was sent/taken into Exile, East of Eden ( the Promised Land ).

'As above, so below'; we've already noted that it is when one realizes their true nature that the 'awakening' process begins. It cannot be by an outside influence, though that may help one in realizing certain truths; no, 'awakening' must be an inner process, followed by outward action, similar to becoming a Christian, except again, we run into the difference of the inner action as opposed to an outside influence. It is when a man or woman, realizing their true nature, their Higher Self, chooses to follow that Higher Self rather than their Lower, or animal nature, that one becomes 'awakened' & in that sense, 'the Buddha': this process has also been called 'Awakening the Christ Within'. In this sense, through their own choices, not by some outside influence, one either saves or damns themselves, becoming the 'Savior' or 'Satan' of their own lives!

As a veritable 'God-Man' ( or 'God-Woman' ), each of us-every human being-has the latent ability to choose for themselves whether they will do justly & love mercy or take dominion ( control ) over their fellow human beings, asserting their own will over that of another. It is a fairly well-known phrase, especial among those interested in health & fitness, based on the quotation at the beginning of this blogpost; 'treat your body like a temple'. In those terms, it refers to the fact that if we wish to have a pleasant experience in this life, we should be careful how we treat our biological body. In truer terms, we should note that we are in actuality the meeting-place of Heaven & Earth, or the Divine & the Mundane!

'Be the Temple!' Whether one follows the apostle's teaching above & acts as if his or her body is 'the temple of the Holy Spirit', or whether one simply realizes they are the 'God-Man', when we follow the dictates of our Higher Self ( 'Be still & know....................' ); we will naturally do justly, love mercy & walk humbly with our 'God'. We will take care of our biological bodies because they are the physical vehicles through which we exercise our love for all of Creation. We ARE the Temple where the Divine meets the Mundane, so when we allow our Divinity to flow through the Mundane, we will manifest 'Heaven' on Earth!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, July 07, 2019

Freedom to BE! ( 'What gives you the right.........................' )

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
 Cat Stevens - If You Want to Sing Out
This formerly great nation of ours just celebrated its official 243rd birthday just the other day-that is, it's 243rd year of independence from Britain. While most Americans continue to celebrate this holiday with a nationalistic fervor, many are realizing that we, legally speaking anyway, are not as free as we formerly thought. For example, the legal definition of a 'license', loosely speaking, is 'permission to do something which is otherwise illegal'. One doesn't have to think very hard to make a ( growing ) list of everything we 'need' a license for these days! It's 'the American Dream' to own your own bit of 'Heaven', but if you don't pay your rent ( taxes, etc ), just see how long you hold onto your 'dream'. One can barely even make any improvements on said property ( house OR land ) without first acquiring the 'necessary' permits ( permission ) for said improvements. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans, complaining about taxes ( etc ) all the while, can't seem to put two & two together, failing thusly to realize that much of what our Founding Fathers fought, bled & even died for has been slowly gushing down the drain! There are many 'freedoms' we still enjoy in this 'great' nation, but for how long & at what cost?!

The Founding Fathers, with their carefully thought out documents ( Declaration of Independence, Constitution ( a while later ) & Bill of Rights ( even later ), knew they weren't granting us any rights or freedoms; in fact, they wrote thusly ( along with other reasons ) to guarantee our inalienable rights & freedoms in preparation for what they saw looming on the horizon; the proposed 'rule' of the majority by an elite minority, which is what we have now. Those who are supposed to be governing FOR us ( in our place ) seem to have gotten it into their heads that they're governing US! As our indentured servants ( to use archaic language ), they're supposed to be subservient to us & instead, as it turns out, we're actually serving them, having created something called a 'career politician'. We hold 'elections' for them every year or so, to keep the illusion going that we actually have a voice still in who gets to be be 'set for life'. Legally speaking, we seem to be loosing more of our natural rights every day. But not really.............

Whether one is a Christian or a Pagan, Jewish or Islamic, we should ALL realize that we are not granted the right to 'Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness'; those rights, as human beings, are part of our very nature! What the majority fail to realize, though, is that we, as more than human, are thus more than our rights; in other words, when 'they' trample on our rights; they're not really doing US any harm, it's just a battle of Egos ( whose is stronger? ). The Ego has no rights ( that's where the 'illusion' comes in ), but since most people have been taught from day one that they ARE the Ego, the Person, this is the prevailing theory & thus, we have what we have; a disproportionate battle of Egos, where the greater the Ego, the better chance of winning & being 'set for life'!

'Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness' are a 'given'; if you're a human being, you HAVE those rights! The above-mentioned ( Founding ) Documents simply enumerated & reiterated those rights. Through them, the Founding Fathers strove to guarantee & protect those rights, but personally speaking, greed & the lust for power got in the way; those documents proved their worth. The Ego proved stronger than a mere document & Americans ( at least, the average Joe ) began to loose their rights. Again, humanly speaking, those rights can neither be given OR taken away, but legally speaking ( egoically, one might note ), they are slowly disappearing down the drain of human consciousness!

The ( personal ) Ego tells us that we have the right ( which IS correct ) to 'Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness', although we should know that we ARE those things! 'As above, so below';: we don't need a piece of paper or even our Ego telling us that we HAVE those rights: all we hafta do is just BE! If we harm none, we can do what we will! No one but the Ego will tell us otherwise, whether it be ours or theirs. Speaking of the Ego ( as we must ): it is what tells us that THIS makes us Happy, THAT is what Life & Liberty look like, but that is only illusion; only we, in our true, inner nature ARE Happiness; WE are Life & Liberty itself! We don't need any Ego, theirs or ours, to tell us that we have these rights; we should know to just BE, but sadly, the majority, for whatever reason, do not realize this glorious Reality!

While the fore-mentioned documents were meant to protect ( guarantee? ) our rights as human beings, they only serve that purpose as far as the Ego is concerned. Our 'rights', as above, are part of our very nature, inseparable & inalienable. We are, by nature, More than mere human beings: as such then, being spiritual in nature ( part of the Source ) we can only exercise those rights as human beings, through the ( personal ) Ego. We should not allow the Ego, however, theirs or ours, to dictate whether we will or even can exercise our natural 'rights'. When we allow the Ego to rule our actions, then Greed & the Lust for Power crop up & that is what causes fights & wars among ( in ) us!

When we realize, as many have begun to do, that we are NOT our Ego, with that realization will come the freedom to just BE! Wars, both within & without, will cease, for we will have begun to understand that, in order to enjoy our rights, we do not have to take a stand; we do not need to fight anyone for them: we must not fear lest they are taken from us. Now, on a personal level, lest some accuse me of dreaming of some fanciful Utopia; I'm not saying that this will happen anytime in the near future, if at all, but with the Ego put in its place, so to speak, people will no longer be ruled by it, but will live as they ARE, as Life, Liberty & Happiness!

Charles Haddon Shank

Sunday, June 09, 2019

We Are Gods?

You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum,[k] do also here in Your country.’
Luke 4:23

You who destroy the temple and build [ it ] in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Matthew 27:40 

Jesus Himself, along with the Psalmist ( Psalm 82:6 ), called the religious leaders ( judges ) of Israel 'gods' ( elohim ). This, as we've noted previously in this blog, is the exact Hebrew word translated 'God' in Genesis 1 ( 'In the beginning God created...................' ) This, as we've also noted, is not to say that we, or the 'judges' of Israel in Jesus' day, are on par, or even to be compared with the Almighty, the Maker of Heaven & Earth. On a bit of a side-note, a 'rabbit-trail', as a good friend of mine used to say; from the Hebrew point of view, in covenant context, the 'Heaven & Earth' that 'God created', at least as recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures, refers not so much to the material universe as to the priesthood of Israel & what might be called 'the common man'. In no way should this put doubt in the minds of my readers as to the notion of an Intelligent Designer. However, as the case may be, the point here is that though the 'creation' of a covenant people for Himself is attributed to the Hebrew 'God', He Himself acknowledged that we are 'gods' as well ( Genesis 3:22 )!

Could Jesus have saved Himself, even as the human being that He was? As the Son of God, admittedly ( ? ) God Himself, Jesus could doubtless have come down from the cross & kicked some Pharisaical ass! But He chose not to: 'why?' Even as a human being with the Power of God, as One who had walked on water, turned water into wine, healed the sick, raised the dead & yes, even forgiven sins, Jesus could have simply released Himself from His bonds ( nails ), jumped down & showed them beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was truly the Son of God, but as the Story goes; He chose not to. For whatever reason, He showed His power by, among other things, rising from the grave some days later. As a Human being, one might note, Jesus was not 'Yahweh' of Old Testament fame. According to His own admittance, He was the Son of 'God' & in trinitarian lingo, the Second Person of the Trinity. Having discussed 'the Trinity' before & this not being the subject of my post, nor having much at all to do with it, I will go no further than to offer this food for thought, that in somewhat the same sense, human beings are a 'trinity'!

The Pharisee's main problem with Jesus, though not their only issue, was that Jesus, a Man, claimed to be 'God'. Though He did many miracles that should have established the fact & this is where those other issues come in, Jesus did not come to bring physical, or political, salvation to Israel, which is what many in Israel looked for. The 'God' part, if you will, of Jesus was not His humanity, obviously; if It was, like an ancient 'Kal-el' ( 'Superman' ), the scourge would have had no effect & the nails wouldn't have pierced His flesh! No, the 'God' part of Jesus was His spiritual nature. Scripture records that He 'was in all [ points ] tempted as [ we are, yet ] without sin' ( Hebrews 4:15 ) A quick question here; 'can we be tempted ( as He was ) without sinning?' Whether we attribute it to the Hebrew 'God' ( 'Yahweh' ) or to our Higher Self, it is without doubt possible to be tempted but not yield to that temptation. That, One could well say, is the 'god' ( or 'God' ) part of us; the power to choose, the power to judge.

Human beings are NOT 'gods' ( or 'Gods' ), at least, not in their humanity; let me make VERY clear that is NOT what I'm saying! Though some human beings so let their Light shine that they DO seem almost God-like, it is still not their humanity, their biology, that is 'God'; rather it is the Spirit in Humanity that is 'God'. Though not all humans have shown their capacity to make good choices, good judgements, even those who choose to do 'evil' with all their power show the 'god' part of their nature, in that they are 'mighty to do evil'.

Human beings, as I've noted before, are strange creatures! Yes, they're creatures, created by the Gods for a certain purpose, that purpose being to serve as vehicles for our true Selves. 'As above, so below'; we are not primarily human beings, though that is definitely the most noticeable ( to the 'naked' eye ) part of our makeup. We are, at heart, in our innermost being, not physical creatures, but spiritual beings.  We are, in that Innermost Being, One with the Source of all Life, that Divine Energy that makes up the Universe!

As human beings, at least, to the 'naked' eye, we do not always act like we are One with the Source; in fact, some people act as if they are under the power of what Christians call 'the wicked one' ( ? ). The actions, the choices of these people, these 'creations', betray them & show that rather than living from their Higher Self, the Source, they have chosen to live as a creature, as a mere human being, being driven by their ego & lower animal nature. Some, however & history bears witness to this Glory, have chosen to bless the world by manifesting the Source, by showing their true nature; transcending their merely human ( animal ) nature & BEING the Love they ARE!

The Love that we are comes straight from the Source! Being what we are, in a manner of speaking, both human & God ( or god ), many people focus on their human nature rather than their Divine nature & thus allow their Ego to rule over them, making their choices, their judgements & thus acting according to the dictates of their human nature. Some, even while being being driven by their lower animal nature, not unlike most other animals, prove the Love that they are, simply by BEING. Being What we are, One might note, we, in that sense, do not have a choice; we ARE What we are! As human beings though, we DO have a choice! We can choose to BE or we can choose to DO. By DOING, we do not necessarily choose wrongly, though striving most often causes conflict, both within & without! By simply BEING, on the other hand, by being still & knowing, by observing, we allow our true nature, our spiritual nature to manifest in our human vehicle!

I'm sure that every Healer, in at least one point during their earthly existence, has heard words very similar to those aimed at Jesus; 'if you're Divine, why can't you just say the word ( meditate? ) & heal your physical body?' For those who say such things ( ignorantly? ), One might well refer to the biblical story & ask them ( rhetorically? ), 'why didn't Jesus come down off the cross?' 'Why did Jesus allow Himself to be treated so cruelly ( inhumanely? ), even to the point of death?' Might we not claim much the same reason?! For whatever reason ( there are many & varied explanations ), walking through this life in one form or another, transcending these weak human vehicles, this biology, in a manner of speaking, we can be more of a blessing to other weak human beings! In our Divinity, our Higher Self, if you will, can we heal our diseased human bodies? Doubtless we can, at least to some extent! The question we should ask ourselves though, is why we are in this biology ( diseased or not ) in the first place!

Charles Haddon Shank

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Crisis of Identity

Identity is a big deal! It's such a big deal, in fact, that some would kill or be killed over it! Wars have been fought over it! Of course, some people might take issue with me over that last statement, but that should make one wonder how THEY identify! So why is one's individual identity so important? Why should it make a difference in how we treat one another? ( In case some take issue with THIS question: YES; how one identifies DOES make a difference in how they're treated! ( I'm guilty of this myself ) Why DO we then, treat that person differently than the other, simply because he or she identifies differently? ( Not that ALL do this, but sadly, most do! ) Have we forgotten who we are? Are we not More than our humanity, or are we, after all, simply human beings that will go the way of all biology, our bodies returning to the dust, while our spirits rest for Eternity in some 'Heaven' or simply go 'poof' ( disappear )?

'Who are you, really?' This is a quote from one of my favorite Clint Eastwood westerns & is based squarely in the notion of identity, but it fits well into our theme here! In context, the actor had been playing a part which didn't really suit the situation, so he came back to play the part he had formerly played, that of a gunslinger. All that said, we should pose this question to ourselves; 'who are we, really?' While it may be rightly said, of course, that it helps to identify with something, for, as the old adage goes, 'if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything' ( ? ), it should also be noted that to identify with this rather than that, one ideal instead of another, has led to unnecessary conflict. 'Unnecessary conflict?, one might say; 'some conflict is necessary, for one must identify ( stand with ) us or them, or one stands for nothing'! This almost seems to be a valid argument & from a merely human standpoint, it would be hard to say that it's not ( valid ), but when we realize our true nature, everything else seems to fade in importance, if not entirely into the background, into the fleeting edges of consciousness, one might say!

The importance of Identify cannot be denied. One's true nature & the realization thereof is of utmost importance! This is not to say, however, that unless & until one realizes their true nature, he or she is of no use in this world, for there has been much that is good in this world that has been accomplished by those who did not realize ( consciously speaking ) their true nature. Until people realize their true nature, though, the good things they have accomplished will not last, for as generations rise & fall, the good that has been done may be corrupted & thus will become what many would identify as 'evil'! Although not necessarily 'evil'; to many, the 'good' will become 'evil', simply because it is different from what they identify as 'good'.

Lest I be falsely accused of vaunting relativity over Absolute Truth; I realize that there IS such a thing as Absolute Truth & while Absolute Truth MAY be known, it is not by reading words in a book that one may know this Absolute Truth, but it is only through the Spirit Within, the realization of one's true nature, that It can be known. There IS such a thing as 'faith', one might insist, wherein one believes ( blindly? ) that what some book says is Absolute Truth & indeed, Absolute Truth may be hidden within the pages of a book, though it should be noted that, all 'faith' aside, It is what It is, not what any certain book says It is!

What is 'evil' to one person ( or group of people ) may be identified as 'good' to another. The inherent problem with this ( if problem there be ) should be obvious! The problem is personal! Because of personal likes & dislikes, we encounter conflicts. One person enjoys this or that activity, one thing or another, over something else, while the other enjoys just the opposite. It must be noted that, while our personal differences are a necessary part of what makes us human, there is also the more integral part of us that IS no different from the other. THAT is our True Nature, what some call 'the soul'. It is what motivates us, without which our human nature could not perform even its most basic function. There is a higher & lower nature, what could also be called 'the conscious' & 'the unconscious' part of that nature, but that may constitute another story for another day!

As human beings, we feel that we MUST have our own ( individual ) identity; we need to SHINE! There is nothing wrong with individuality, not inherently, but as naturally selfish human beings, we tend to focus overmuch on our ( own ) individuality, often to the detriment of the other's. Rhetorical questions like, 'why can't you be more like your brother/sister?' most often have the effect of making the object of haranguement want to be LESS ( not more ) like their brother/sister! This in turn tends to cause conflict between the two subjects in question & my Christian readers will no doubt remember the biblical story of Cain & Abel: that conflict ended in the physical death of one of the brothers & the metaphorical death of the other, all because they were different & Cain let his Ego get the better of him.

We HAVE an Identity! There is no need for us to go searching for it ( outside ourselves ), nor do we need to DO something in order to BE identified. We are who & what we are. What we are, in our innermost being, is part & parcel with the same Being/Entity that 'created' us, in Whom 'we live and move and have our being' ( Acts 17:28 ). Lest I be accused, again, of saying that we ARE this 'Creator': we are not the One ( if THAT is even the correct way to say It ) that hung the Stars or made the Mountains rise out of the Seas, though we ARE Creators in our own right!

All that said, speaking of Absolute Truth, we are who we are! Humanity, in its varied individual nature, says, 'if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck'. Our True Nature, that of Oneness, says, 'though we be ( personally/individually ) different. we will not allow our differences to overcome ( consume ) us!' Our True Nature, along with St. Francis of Assisi, says, 'where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.' We do not find conflict in our differences, but rather unity in spite of or even because of our individuality! May we, as a race of selfish human beings, find within ourselves, in our innermost being, this True Nature, before we murder & destroy each other, indeed all created things, because of our individual identities!

Charles Haddon Shank