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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

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