Follow the inner Way

Words from a great Mystic:

“Recognise your poverty. Let go of what binds you.
Direct yourself towards what is to come.
Remain patient.
Take on what suffering is given you. Trust.
Use all your strength to achieve justice.
Be compassionate. Don’t judge anyone.
Love all humankind.
Serve peace. Be clear cut.
Allow yourself to be persecuted. Avoid violence.
Ask for a pure heart and you will see God.”

Shalom
Bob

abridged version:
“desire is the cause of unhappiness”

Gee, Bob, which ‘mystic’ are you speaking of? :wink:

JT

Hi JT,

As if you didn’t know… :wink:

It is interesting that if you paraphrase Jesus, he sounds a lot like other Mystics. However, that wouldn’t have to surprise us, if we didn’t assume that he alone had found the ‘truth’.

I hold on to this ‘Way’, without being dogmatic about it. Inner Ways are always personal paths, but sometimes the paths of others can give us a direction for our own Way - if we are attentive. I am grateful to Jörg Zink for his work, he is an old man now and I would have liked to have a conversation with him. He has done a lot to help people find their own form of faith and brought out a book in the sixties called ‘How we can pray’ and even then brought many meditative aspects into Prayer.

"The Inner Way is dependant upon a principle that we can’t push aside, even if we don’t understand everything. When we go looking for something, it must be able to be found. What we want to gain must be available to us. Whoever we are searching for must come towards us. In religious language, we would say that finding God is dependant upon him looking for us.

And yet we try, even though we know that nothing is dependant upon our trying. We practise silence, we gather ourselves, we try to understand, and we try to be humble, even though we know that success is not dependant upon our trying.

When we encounter foreign religious practise, it would do us well to take it seriously… it could show us paths that we can assimilate into our Christian Tradition."

Zink differentiates between religious language and other language. He says that religious language is only for the purpose of the inner Way and cannot be taken literally. This is true of the language of most Religions. The description of the inner path is made with metaphors taken out of the physical world, but because it is an ‘inner’ Way, it describes something otherwise difficult to describe.

Even Paul quoted greek Mystic in Athens: “The God that made the world, and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is worshiped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also his offspring. Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like to gold, or silver, or stone graven by art and man’s device.”

He makes it clear that the physical and spiritual world are very much different, but “they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from every one of us.” This ‘feeling’ is not something that we do physically, but spiritually. Similarly, the pictures of the apocalypse and the visions of the ‘new Jerusalem’ are spiritual realities - not physical ones.

And yet, the physical world should feel the benefits of when the ‘Sons of God’ are revealed (Romans :sunglasses:: “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory about to be revealed in us; for the earnest looking out of the creation doth expect the revelation of the sons of God; for to vanity was the creation made subject—not of its will, but because of Him who did subject it —in hope, that also the creation itself shall be set free from the servitude of the corruption to the liberty of the glory of the children of God; for we have known that all the creation doth groan together, and doth travail in pain together till now.”

Paul saw the whole of creation waiting impatiently for the true humankind to be revealed and ‘make a difference’ - to be set free from the corruption it is now suffering under. Perhaps a conservationalist would agree. But the Inner Way is seen as the way to liberty, finally freed from the odd servitude to ‘sin’ - the alienation from creation and from our appointment as humankind.

Looking at our fundamentalists, who only want to get into heaven and hate this world, that may be a disappointment.

Shalom
Bob

…let us join hands.

Yes. The fundamentalist who think’s that words are the reality. Those that find themselves in this world but not of the world. The ones who salivate at words and visions of apocalypse. The true ‘true believer’.

It wouldn’t bother me if every person started with the limited understanding that permeates fundamentalism, You have to start where you’re at. But to block out all questions or any alternative answers is the end of growth. It’s so sad to see earnest desire culminate in living death. Make no mistake about it. These people are dead spiritually. They cling to their faith as a life preserver in an angry ocean without realizing that life is sustained by letting go.

The inner way, which goes beyond language is denied to the fundamentalist. Oddly enough, their rabid devotion to the ‘word of God’ is the demonstration of their lack of faith.

Will Paul’s humankind ever be revealed? I don’t believe it is possible. The fundamentalist will always be there as the example of those who fail their faith - and the mystery.

JT

Hi JT,

it took some time to do all of the things I had to do, but I think I was successful.

In modern times with a powerful country like America driven by fear of some apocalyptic attack, with the world in danger of being split into the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ (and the ugly?), most of us find that what is portrayed as Christianity is way off. I will explain why I think it is so.

There were always times when people lost their trust in social structures that had been reliable for so long, when there was no religious faith that could be called that, and when even a positive outlook was impossible for the majority of people. Not only today, but in uncountable cases have Christians been afraid and awaited the apocalyptic storm and seen devils everywhere, believing that Armageddon was just around the corner.

In the days of Jesus it was a comparable time. There were foreign soldiers of an overpowering Empire spread throughout the country, bleeding the poorer people with taxes. The leaders of the people were no longer trustworthy and in fact Governors of Rome. Even the main place of worship in Jerusalem had become a sacrifice-factory, in which the sound of coins could raise a smile and pedantism was thriving, whereas spiritual guidance was reduced to further burdening the people.

According to the Gospels, John the Baptist was critical of the upper class. His message was often coarse and rough, his tone was blunt and rough. After he was successfully removed, Jesus appeared with a different tone, as the proclaimer of a good news. He showed himself to be very much a spiritual counsellor who had good tidings for those who had little hope.

He didn’t harp in on the criticism of the occupation forces, but rather called his brothers to love their neighbours. He spoke of a time of change about to occur, when everything would turn upside down. He spoke of distressing times, but that they were only the labour pains of a better time. It was an old message of the bright morning after the darkest night, of the spring that follows deepest winter, and of a time of convalescence after illness.

It is good news, even without the teaching of reconciliation by means of the cross. Perhaps some of his words are interpreted as apocalyptic visions, but Theologians today doubt that his message was so very apocalyptic. Rather, we see Jesus as the ‘annointed one’ who has come ‘to proclaim good news to the poor, to heal the broken of heart, to proclaim to captives deliverance, and to blind the receiving of sight, to send away the bruised with deliverance, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord’. He is the counsellor, caring for the spiritual welfare of people, listening to their fears and worries, and showing them the way to overcome these trying times.

Paul seems to have been touched by this care of people. From being a diligent Theologian and Scribe, he becomes a spiritual counsellor too, and shows faith in building the church on small groups of people. He has no fear because he sees the fear of others, and he has a good news to combat those fears. This task of counselling to the poor and worried, to the ill and dying changes people and opens up new sources of revelation – which some theological theoreticians think to be dangerous.

Who hasn’t read Roman 9:3 and wondered how Paul could say something like this: „I have great grief and unceasing pain in my heart — for I was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ — for my brethren, my kindred …“
If the world were full of devils and salvation rare, the Paul would be saying that he would rather go into the eternal blaze, if it meant that he kindred could be saved. If the world is full of Grace, then it would be something completely different that Paul would be willing to take on – and his words would be meaningful and not just some pious saying, being based on hope.

It is this hope that we can find by spiritual counsellors in following generations, and it is this assurance that has repeatedly been contested by christian theoreticians. But nonetheless it is expressed by Mystics over and over again:
“Sin serves our being, serves God, and is the necessary shadow that helps the light glow all the more, it is the storm, in which the seed can flourish.”

This famous (or infamous) statement of Meister Eckhardt has of course a pedagogical aim: Humankind, the sinners, should not despair, but proceed through the middle of their sin towards God – there is hope! But the theoreticians of the Church denounced him, just as spiritual counselling has very often been denounced and contradicted throughout church history, because it doesn’t follow the letter of the Bible or Dogma, but has the cheek to love and become active revelation.

It isn’t surprising that the counselling Prophets were denounced by the official Prophets, because they wavered from the official line. Jesus was denounced by the Sadducees, those of the priesthood, because his priesterly counselling affronted their position by calling upon the labouring and burdened ones to find rest from the overburdening by taxes and temple sacrifices. Paul was insulted by his fellow scribes, because he turned from a theoretician to a practitioner – and Apostel to the ‘Goyim’.

We can see that we need to be freed from the readers of the Gospel, so that those who ‘live’ the Gospel, as Eckhardt said, can spread their good news.

Shalom
Bob

Hi Bob,

I’m pretty close to being out of the doom and gloom closet I’ve been in, and to coin a phrase, I think I can see “light at the end of the tunnel”. The events of the last few days have confirmed a few things. We’ve just discovered that we will need more troops in Iraq. More war and more death. Anyone who doesn’t see America doing Vietnam all over again is simply too young to remember. On the home front, the fundamentalist “Christian” activists are demanding their rewards for putting the republicans in power for another four years. GB’s cabinet members have resigned like rats deserting a sinking ship. Bush just announced that the world must become democratic - with America leading the way. So the news and happenings are pretty much in the negative column. Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Simple. Extremism destroys itself. Yes, there will be a lot of innocent victims along the way, there always is, but Americans are looking at another big collapse of faith in their institutions just like they faced in the aftermath of Vietnam. The difference this time is that it will take the fundamentalists with it. The “Christian” right has made a no-going-back error. It has identified itself with the insanity that has swept our nation.

A prediction: Within ten years the term ‘fundamentalist’ will be a dirty word and a mark of both stupidity and shame. It will carry the same onus as the word ‘hawk’ suffered after Vietnam.

Can the mainline Christian churches survive the backlash they will undoubtably share? It depends on what new institutions arise to replace those that are discredited. Perhaps religion will once again focus on helping its’ people live the intent of the scriptures.

So there is hope. The pendalum of irrationality has just about swung as far as it can go. The day that the little boy says, “the emperor has no clothes on” is just around the corner.

As to what is faith and how it will ‘play’ in western society is still an unknown to most of the people. The forces at work here make it almost impossible to predict an outcome. It does seem that traditional christianity will be greatly diminished unless it put’s up a serious challenge to the fundamentalist extremism. But perhaps it’s time for traditional christianity to be forced to re-make itself. Who knows? Perhaps it might discover the inner way?

JT