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Of God, the gods, Jesus Christ

by Lindsay, for SOL, December 2002

It was a truly dismal Sunday with a grey sky and drizzle which turned into the occasional heavy shower: my poor garden was a sorry sight………and then I saw them - the Snowdrops, bright, beautiful and perfect among the gloom. And I though at once of Persephone emerging from the underworld and the little flowers springing up where her footsteps first touch the earth each year.

The week before, I had been talking to a learned Buddhist gentleman whom I was treating. Not the conventional Buddhist in a saffron robe, he was actually a stockbroker in the City wearing a smart suit. I asked him why the Buddhists never mention God, and his answer was quite simply: while a God presence was acknowledged, he/she/it was such a long way from the world as to be unknowable. The best we could achieve is what Buddha achieved - Nirvana and a state of bliss and universal compassion, which is accessible and as close to God as humans are likely to get.

I'd always thought that the old-man-God of my childhood, the-man-in-the-sky-with-a-beard, was up there with Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy as far as my ability to believe in them was concerned. It is often easier define what is wrong and that which we don't want rather than that which is right and what we aspire towards. Sometimes we never actually arrive and the journey is ongoing. This is how I write now, in the full knowledge that my thoughts and understanding of these issues is still developing. So if the old man in the sky doesn't fit, who is this that talks to me from inside of my head, without judging me and always caring for me regardless of the mire that I find myself in? Whoever this is, is me and isn't me, all at the same time. Or at least this is how is seems.

Cabalistic philosophy would indicate that there is, indeed a part of God in Kether (the highest point for those of you not familiar with the Cabala) which is just about visible from our human condition, and beyond this is the limitless light of the unknowable. Remembering back a few years, I once had an experience where I asked for a sighting of God during meditation. What happened was a growing 'presence' which continued getting bigger like Jack's Beanstalk, until I could feel my brain having to expand in an attempt to accommodate the enormity of what I was being shown. The big-ness of this being is limitless - no start, no end - just pure 'isness' and 'everywhereness'. There is nowhere that God is not and there is nothing which is not of God. There was a sensation that if I proceeded in this presence a part of me was going to break and I would have changed / broken irredeemably. You will not therefore be surprised to hear how fast I backed off!

And frankly, dear reader, I was spooked! I will be the first person to shake the hand of a human who is OK and comfortable within that presence. Good luck to them.

So back to my Buddhist patient and the festival of the Feeding of the Hungry Ghosts. What this is, as I understand it, is a method of distributing knowledge to those hungry for it - the hungry whose lack of knowledge is making them invisible in everything but the physical world, and therefore 'ghostlike' from the spiritual side. What this festival entails is symbolically putting knowledge into every conceivable form in order to make is make accessible to the hungry ones: so written information is symbolically torn into little pieces, boiled up, made into soup, roasted, barbecued etc. etc and taken to the symbolically hungry mouths. Not a bad idea, you might say, and I suspect that, like most things, it has been done before: hence the gods. If the concept of God the unknowable is freaky, it would make sense to make he / she / it as user friendly as possible. How about splitting him / her / it up into the gods and goddesses of various things and forms which are familiar, accessible and carry a bit of street cred? So here we have Mars, the god of war, Venus, the goddess of love, Jupiter and Hera, the mother and father of most of the gods and the archetypal married couple, and Sekmet, the first physiotherapist and healer. We have Isis, the Great Mother and mistress and magic, and the inevitable fly-in the-ointment, her brother Set, a bit of a Judas Iscariot figure. We have Osiris and Odin the sacrificed gods, (more of this later) and Bes, the god of the house you live in who stops everyone falling out with each other. What I like about the gods and goddesses is that God is brought down to a tangible form. They have strengths and weaknesses that I am used to and even sympathise with. They become ultimately user-friendly. And does it 'count' if you prefer to worship God in a more accessible form? As one who worships Isis on a regular basis, I can tell you that it is fully acceptable in the sight of God: it is the contents of the heart that is significant, not the modality of choice. Just watch the smoke of the incense rising straight up to the heavens!

I recently read a book in which one of the central characters says to the local priest 'I worship God made manifest in nature, and the saints be damned' Fair enough, if that's your choice. I can't really see it causing God too much of a problem: I remember looking at the Lower Yosemite falls and thinking something similar myself.

Jesus Christ as a historical figure is fine, but I had an issue as soon as some misguided Sunday school teacher got us to sing about 'little Jesus meek and mild' Yuck. And how about all of that gory stuff in the crucifixion? And it was supposed to have happened for me? No thanks. Then the final insult ' the only way to the Father is through me' - the last call of the last word in arrogance of the born again Christians - join us or fry, we've got it and you haven't, na na, na na na.

Well, that was me gone for many years until I rediscovered Christ as the sacrificed god of the Cabalistic Tiphareth, (for those of you not in the 'know'', the central point of all) the sphere of beauty, harmony and balance. Here I began to understand a bit more, of the unfallen spirit broken on the cross of matter, Christ, a person who reached a Sedona-like state of total and unruffled peace despite what was happening, a person completely OK in the now, a person without the want or need for approval or control. A person who had let go of his nature and nurture to the extent that there was nothing he could not be or do, a person whose love for mankind was unconditional: in fact everything that a lot of us aspire to be every day our lives. And historically plenty others got to this state such as the Buddha, and Lao-Tze. The message constant: being completely OK, just as we are, in the now, is accessible to all.

Now don't get excited, I mostly don't make it…and yet every now and then something quite extraordinary happens… like ultraviolet light arcing from the positive electrode to the negative one, just from being in the presence of the electric current.

I started to think about the idea of the Mystic Child. This child, like all children has two parents: one of its parents is a spark of God in un-fallen form, and the other parent is me with my human limitations. This is the part of me which is also a part of God, The Divine Spark, and this is what puts me above the angels and sadly, above the animals, if you are turned on by chronology. I realised that this is what 'he met us in his son and brought us home' is all about, and straight away I realise what it is that speaks to me in my head. I think that this is Christ's', Odin's and all of the other 'sacrificed gods' place on the Cabalistic Tree. -This is the pathway which may bring me to union with God, hence, 'the only way to the father is through me' - nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do the part of me that is un-fallen and also God. It may also be known in other philosophies as The Higher Self, The Holy Guardian Angel, The Conversion on the Road to Damascus, Enlightenment, The Mystic Marriage, that 'Eureka' moment, and quite likely something to do with Heineken lager. There's a lot of it around.

As soon as the Divine Spark, the Mystic Child starts judging you, you know it's something else, like you, like self approval, or just beating up on yourself for the hell of it. And a lot of us do this a lot, don't we? I put our great ability to do this down to The Fall - confusion, lack of communication and a feeling of being lost and far away form home.

The truth is that the Mystic Child radiates unconditional love, hence the aura in the paintings of the Old Masters, and hence the place of ultimate peace and

OK-ness within myself.

Is the world changing? I suspect that many conventional religions are in their death throws: a lot of them certainly feel tired and old to me.

I would never consider myself a particularly religious person, but I would consider myself a spiritual person in that I have an awareness of more than is in the physical world. I also suspect that me, like everyone else, play a role in what happen next: will man continue on the journey or will we all come to a sticky end? While I have never been a great one for 'having faith', and I am a real fan of having an individual experience which is personally meaningful. So at the risk of sounding like Frasier (Tell us about your dreams…), I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences. You never know, yours may be stranger than mine!



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