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Thursday, October 21, 2010

See it another way - Part 3

This is the final part of this 3 part series, so let's get to it.

SEPARATE THE MESSAGE FROM THE MESSENGER


I have a Shamanic teacher who is a very powerful channel for several entities. He is able to open himself to those energies and let their messages and teachings flow through him. When we see him do this from the outside it looks exactly like the human we know as ThunderCloud but there is often a subtle shift in his tone or speech pattern. As well as we know him often times it is difficult to detect the moment these shifts occur and even harder to identify which of the entities he has connected with and is channeling. When someone new sees him do this and they don’t know what is happening, it simply appears as if ThunderCloud is spouting forth information that is very powerful and deep. To them it is all just ThunderCloud and nothing more.

This is how it was with Jesus. When he connected with and began stabilizing the Christ Consciousness within his human consciousness, he would speak from that place and unless you were there and knew when this happened and that it happened, you wouldn’t know what was going on. When he made statements like “I am the Way, the Truth and the Light” he wasn’t speaking about Jesus the man, he was speaking from the Christ Consciousness. This is why it is important to be able to distinguish the message from the messenger.

The Christ Consciousness is an eternal energy field and not connected to any one person or soul. Jesus was a human born of flesh and blood and his body was only temporary. We are given stories which were created by those observing his actions and words and then passed on orally as stories to others before finally being written down. We can’t get bogged down in the semantics of any one statement or single word but rather we have to look at the bigger picture of the teachings contained in these stories. As history has proven, this is very challenging and leads to worship of the messenger rather than the embodiment of the message.



FOLLOWING THE STAR

Keeping the Yogic perspective in mind let’s have another look at the “star” that the wise men followed. Yogic teachings state that while we may perceive ourselves as physical and solid, we are in fact a field of pure energy. We are an individuated stream or portion of the Divine energy field (God, Allah, The Source, Zero Point Energy Field). As such we each have our own energy system that we use to perceive, process and transmit energy from the Divine, our environment and the Earth. This system has many entry and exit points and these places are called chakras. In Sanskrit, where the term originated, chakra means turning or spinning wheel.

I will be doing a series of blog entries discussing the chakras in more detail very soon but for now I’ll just touch on the subject enough to make a point here about the birth story. The human body has seven main chakras which bring energy to the body and each of these are connected to various organs, systems and muscle groups. These are the Seven Gates spoken of in the Bible through which we must pass to gain entry into heaven. In Yogic terms that is to say the seven energy centers through which our consciousness must pass as we move up the spine from the root chakra to the crown chakra, or Heaven. One of these primary chakras is the called the Ajna or “3rd eye chakra”. This energy center is where we process what is commonly called psychic information. It is our connection to the non-physical world of information or our connection to the whole.

Through training and personal work we can have conscious access to the information available via the 3rd eye. Through this energy center we have access to all the information we could ever need to know about anything. This chakra is also known in ancient Hindu texts as “the Star of the East”. The Yogis believe that Divine energy comes to us from the East; the direction of the rising Sun. This is the “star” that the wise men (or energy masters) were able to use and follow to locate Jesus. This is the same process that is in use today in Tibet and India to enable them to locate the new incarnation of the Master teachers (The Dali Lama, various Buddha’s and Sai Baba to give a few examples) when they reincarnate into a new body.



OTHER VIEWS OF THE JESUS STORY

The Tarot (an ancient oracle) is a divination system and philosophy which is based upon the use of archetypes. An archetype is “an original model of a person, ideal example, or a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated; a symbol universally recognized by all.” One of the archetypes from the Tarot is the Hierophant. In light of the above, I offer you this powerful excerpt from “Tarot of the Spirit” by Pamela Eakins.

“On the path toward understanding the mysteries of life, the Hierophant is known as the Sacrificial Priest. He embodies the strength and resolution to dissolve or to discard that which is no longer needed. As sacrificial priest, he also embodies the strength and resolution necessary to banish and therefore to overcome self-pity.


Thus he is the star of sacrifice as well as the star of manifestation, that which brings forth. He is also known as the guiding star of divinity. The Hierophant’s primary role is to illuminate. He illuminates sacred (inner) realities and teaches hidden laws. One of the most important symbols of the illumination of a sacred reality is the birth of Christ in a lowly manger. The birth of Christ-consciousness represents the consciousness of the higher self of all of us. This sacred birth represents the spirit made flesh, the descent of the Holy Spirit to the condition of Humanity. It is the merger of the macrocosmic will of the outer world with the microcosmic will of Self. When I say the spirit is made flesh, I am speaking of rising above, or lighting, the darkness of the unconsciousness or the darkness of ignorance. The light of super-consciousness is realized. That is why the birth of Christ is called the Birth of Light. The Hierophant represents such light. He is both the eternal life-force residing in the flesh and the guiding light. He is the eternal will of the babe in the manger as well as the light of the star that guides the Magi to the birth.


The birth of Christ-consciousness can be looked at figuratively or literally. The Hierophant – as the great macrocosmic force coming to Earth – is said to move in cycles of 2000 years. This means that the Earth is due for a new Messiah. The new Messiah is the harbinger of a new level of consciousness. During this phase of the 2000 year cycle, however, there is not one Messiah, but a multitude. A whole generation is rising up and embracing the female aspects of the God-head. A generation is rising up in defense of the Mother Earth and beginning to raise the vibrational level of the planet to receive the clear communications from the source, to which we shall all return. Even as you read this, you are being called as one of this multitude. You must realize this. You are a harbinger of the new consciousness.


The transition to a higher vibrational level, just as any transition in life, involves its share of pain and suffering. To make room for the new, we must abandon the old. There is a certain amount of sorrow inherent in this process. And the shaking out may not always be what we want or think we want. Nonetheless, it is always for the better. We must abandon self-pity. The Hierophant intervenes for our growth and development, both on the micro (self, inner) and macro (universe, outer) levels. He is eternally the triumphant intelligence. His will triumphs because it is the same as the will of God.


Even if we are wounded as we grow, we are nonetheless wiser. The Hierophant - which can also be seen as our conscience or the conscience of the planetary group – represents the force of light, the shaking out of ignorance.


The Hierophant is the inner ear. He teaches us how to listen. He shows us the path of understanding of the universal forces and our own place within these forces. He shakes us out of ignorance. We shake out our ignorance through binding with our higher self, through listening to our inner conscience. The Hierophant is the personal consciousness linked to universal conscience energy. He is the awakened one, the conscious one, the illuminated, the enlightened.”


It is important to remember that just like in the Bible, God is referred to as “he”, the Hierophant has no gender either because it is an energy field devoid of human characteristics. Using this type of gender pronoun (he) and giving the field human traits helps us to identify with it more closely. This archetypal consciousness of the Hierophant is the same as the “Christ Consciousness” that I’ve been discussing previously. Hierophant is just the label the Tarot uses to reference it.



EXPAND YOUR VIEW, DEEPEN YOUR PERSPECTIVE

To me it is important to find those parallels between systems because having that cross-reference awareness can help you understand both systems more fully. The more we can see these parallels between spiritual teachings, the more we begin to understand Oneness. Now rather than thinking that it’s two different systems referencing two unrelated topics, we can see it as two different views of the same target. The knowledge of one then becomes transferrable to the other and a new depth of understanding emerges within both of them. When that happens we are able to relate more easily to those who follow the other teachings because we see a connection to our own. This is especially the case with Christians and Muslims. They both are looking at God but using two different views.



LIFE MOVES IN CYCLES

One of the main points I’d like to draw out of that powerful passage is the 2000 year cycle of the Hierophant. So if we see the time of the birth of Jesus as the last time the Christ Consciousness, or Hierophant, manifested in the physical realm that puts us in the general timeframe for the re-emergence of that consciousness. While it may seem that technically we’re 10 years past that point, I should point out one important piece of information. It has been determined that when the current Roman calendar system was established, there was a miscalculation which occurred. Researchers now know that this miscalculation caused it to be about 12 years ahead of what the year actually should be. That means that technically the year 2010 should only be 1998. You can easily understand why we don’t just change the date globally to accommodate this information however.

The Yogi’s have long believed that the best way for anyone to learn spiritual teachings is by direct transmission from Guru (Master, Teacher, Sage) to disciple. They know that Guru’s of all levels and purposes emerge to illuminate sacred teachings and this knowledge is passed on. This process has been necessary because the knowledge was often lost because our consciousness couldn’t hold it as a species. This happened because those with the knowledge had no way to document and preserve it, or they and the knowledge were eradicated by those seeking power over them. That is changing now because knowledge is so easily disseminated now across the globe in a matter of minutes and it can be retained. The Yogi’s have also taught that the age we are entering is the end of the age of the Guru. Rather than only one Master (Avatar, Savior, Buddha) that consciousness, Christ Consciousness, will manifest in the masses.

As more and more of us awaken to this consciousness, we claim our power rather than denying it or believing that we have to go through some other human agency to access it. The more fully we claim our power, the more fully this Christ Consciousness will be able to manifest in the physical realm. As this happens the consciousness of the collective human species will expand to accommodate it and life as it we know it will be transformed. This is “critical mass” and works just like the “100th monkey effect”. Once enough of us know about something and we are able to stabilize that awareness, then we will all know about it. That is what each of us is being called to do, to awaken to the oneness of Truth. That is what I hope to help you to do and why I am sharing the information which has come to me.



KEEP AN OPEN MIND

You may be reading my words and connecting with parts of it or searching for some point that you don’t believe and then writing it off as all wrong but at least the information is getting to you. For a lot of people, Christians in particular, they will read the interpretations that I’ve shared above and immediately reject it because it isn’t in alignment with the belief system which has been handed down to them. It is not important at all that you believe everything I’ve shared (or will share) but what I do hope that you will gain from this particular mini-series (“See it another way”) is the awareness that while you may think you know all there is to know about something, you really don’t. I don’t either. None of us do. There is always another way to see things but you have to keep an open mind.

Once we believe “I know that” then you stop learning and you stop being open to the mystery that is life ever-evolving. By surrendering a limiting world view of spirituality and expanding your view of God and embracing the mystery of the Void, a new depth of wisdom is accessed and our individual and collective consciousness expands to accommodate it. What is true for the parts is true for the whole and what is true for the whole can become true for the parts but only when the parts drop their sense of separation and merge into the whole. Again we see that it is only our sense of separation from the whole which holds us back.

I do not want to prove or disprove anyone’s belief system. Rather I hope to show that by dropping limiting beliefs which cut you off from your power and embracing a sense of wonder and mystery, your view will expand to accommodate a deeper understanding. As your individual consciousness expands, you will be able to stabilize the Christ Consciousness which is emerging and that will indeed be the “Second Coming of Christ” which Jesus spoke of. Those whom are expecting a 2000 year old body to defy all the rules of physics which operate this reality and to reappear will miss out on the very thing that they’ve been watching for because of their limiting view.



TOUGH ONE

Thank you for sticking with this little mini-series. I’m certain it was as challenging for some to read as it was for me to write. I know if I had read this 25 or 30 years ago I certainly would have been challenged by it but now it makes so much sense and helps me see the Bible and the collected stories within it in a whole new way that isn’t scary. I can see it now for the teachings on Love which are at its core, rather than a thing which I should fear or be judged by. There is no room for ‘hate’ within Love because just like I said above “what’s true for the parts is true for the whole”. If there is hate, that energy is not a part of Love. So whether you hate the sin or the sinner, there is still hate and judgment. Holding on to hate keeps you from fully embracing Love.


Are you able to open your heart, mind and eyes and allow yourself to see Life in another way? If so, what do you feel when you do that? If not, why?

Friday, October 15, 2010

See it another way - Part 2

So let's continue this mini-series with the second installation.  In this part, I begin to explore the story behind the story that we're presented it. To understand a character we have to take their whole story into account. Who were they and what did they do and what was their life like?


SEE THE WHOLE STORY


An important factor in understanding the stories is understanding the characters and their stories. In the case of the Bible it’s important to know about what isn’t there as well. In following the narrative of Jesus, he disappears for about 18 years from the time of his early teens and then reappears as Jesus Christ, the healer and teacher. To most people this seems incidental but these missing years are critical to understanding the deeper meanings of the teachings passed on by Jesus and his disciples.

Anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that Jesus was a bit of a rebel. He was opposed to the established political structure and sought to change it. He was also well versed in spiritual matters even as a child. His thirst for knowledge and truth as well as his dislike of the existing power structure led him to leave the area and to ultimately go to India. His time in India, the missing 18 years, is well documented. Because a different language was spoken in India however the name Jesus translated into Isa. Jesus went to India to study the ancient texts and spiritual teachings of Yoga. These teachings had been around for thousands of years before the birth of Jesus. They also contain stories of their version of creation, the virgin birth of a Savior, Krishna, and his death and mystical resurrection. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_years_of_Jesus



THE SPIRITUALITY OF YOGA

The deeper spiritual teachings of Yoga are not about being able to contort your body into challenging positions or to use it as an exercise program. The physical poses are tools for moving energy through the body and to enable conscious control of the body and it’s functioning. To embody the deepest teachings of Yoga, all functions of the body have to be brought under conscious control so that the energetic changes necessary for spiritual embodiment can take place. The teachings of Yoga are about aligning the individual soul with the Divine and embodying that energy. In essence it is about manifesting the Divine through the vehicle of the body. “Yoga” literally translates into “yoking” or “union”; connecting the body with the Spirit.

When you understand the spiritual aspects and deepest teachings of Yoga and you compare that to the teachings of Jesus, it becomes easy to see how the two are connected. One of the most powerful books on this topic was written by Paramahansa Yogananda and is called “The second coming of Christ – The resurrection of the Christ within you.” In this two-volume masterpiece Yogananda studies the first four books of the New Testament from the Bible and explains at length how these teachings emerged from the ancient Yogic texts. While many Christians may initially feel uneasy about hearing that, if they take the time to understand the deeper truths behind the teachings of Jesus, it helps those teachings to become more accessible and applicable to real life.

The process which Jesus went through is a process which countless others have gone through as well. He wasn’t the first nor was he the last. At its core, it is about using certain energetic techniques which were (and still are) passed on from Master (or teacher or Guru) to student (or disciple or seeker). These techniques help the student learn to consciously take control of their physical bodies and all of its functioning. Once the body, breath and mind have been brought under conscious control then the main process of stabilizing the Atman can occur. The Atman is what we in the West might think of as our Higher Self. “Atmic stabilization” is then the process of physically embodying the Higher Self.

This process is one that anyone can embark upon but it may take them many lifetimes to complete it. The key process is about the evolution of the Soul and thus the speed and success level is dependent upon the individual’s own unique evolutionary process. Since all souls are eternal therefore there is no set timeline or deadline for this process. As is evidenced by the teachings of Jesus, he was clearly a very advanced soul and energy master who manifested in our world to accomplish all that he did. If this were not true, he would not be such a prominent figure in a world which exists 2000 years after his death. The same of course holds true for Krishna, the Buddha, Muhammad and any other being whose life has impacted our modern world.



KEEPING IT REAL

If we take away the magic and mumbo jumbo from the Biblical stories and examine the base stories of Jesus, we begin to see a ray of hope. If I see Jesus as a product of physics-defying magic which cannot be duplicated by a real human, then I am only left to wonder and believe that none of that could happen to me so why bother. However, if I see Jesus as a real flesh-and-blood man who through his own volition and study was able to achieve Oneness with the Divine, it gives me hope. If I know that there is a process which I too can follow, that gives me inspiration and motivation. This view of Jesus is far more accessible to me and is in alignment with all the rules of physics and therefore believable.

While I could never even begin to give you an almost verse by verse translation of the Bible verses into Yogic teachings as Yogananda did, I would like to touch upon the key points of some of the more well known aspects of the Jesus story contained in the core of Christian teachings. By seeing these stories as viewed through a Yogic filter, they take on a far more believable tone and reveal many deeper truths.

The stories in the Bible were written by the followers and observers of Jesus and not by Jesus himself. Their stories emerge from their interactions with Jesus and his teachings. Given that, it is important to remember that they did not have the knowledge that Jesus did because of his training nor the wisdom that he did because of his soul’s evolutionary journey. Those who passed the stories along were speaking about what they saw, heard and understood from the outside. Their own issues, fears, misunderstandings, faulty memories and personal agendas went into creating the stories they shared. They were sharing their stories the same way that you might share a story about your life. They weren’t submitting heavily edited manuscripts to a publishing house that was busy creating the Bible but rather they were simply passing along an account of their experience to those they knew.



YOGIC STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS

The deeper spiritual teachings of Yoga begin to delve into the various phases of consciousness especially those outside of our limited human understandings of the mind. Consciousness is that spark of life which separates the animate from the inanimate. They also teach that there are states of consciousness that one achieves as one advances toward Enlightenment. Enlightenment is the conscious awareness of Oneness with the Divine. The Yogis have labeled this state of consciousness as Christ (or Kutastha) Consciousness. When one is in this state they are consciously connected to all of creation as well as the unmanifest realm of Spirit.

Ancient Yogic texts which have been dated to over 3,000 years old (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedas) speak of the process by which advanced souls can achieve this state of Christ Consciousness through certain energetic and metaphysical processes. This process is based upon the belief in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the process by which eternal souls return to the physical realm repeatedly, each time taking on a new body at birth and dropping it at death. Through this process the soul is able to continue its learning’s from the physical realm as that soul advances towards Enlightenment.

Jesus was clearly an advanced soul but it is important to know that he was not the only soul at this level. As one advances spiritually, their purpose for incarnating becomes clear and they are able to consciously fulfill their destiny. Some souls have a larger and more visible purpose, such as Jesus did, but most may serve a much more transparent or obscure purpose where little or no recognition is necessary or desired. Unlike how things are in our modern world, it is not about who has the best job with the most recognition but rather it is about fulfilling the souls destiny no matter how large or small the task.

It is important to note that this state of Unity or Christ Consciousness was not named after Jesus but rather Jesus was given this name after he achieved this state of awareness. This is why Jesus of Nazareth became known as Jesus the Christ. His new name was given as recognition of his shift in consciousness from individual awareness into Cosmic Consciousness. As with any name, when one is called by that name then that energy will flow through them and to the one doing the calling. It’s a lot like when your friends call your name; they are addressing the totality that is you and not just you at some age or specific date on which you met them.

When Jesus obtained this enlightened state of awareness he then began to channel, or embody, that consciousness. His limited human consciousness became immersed in Christ Consciousness. It wasn’t an instantaneous occurrence but rather a continuation of the process of soul advancement that led him to that point. As he worked to stabilize that consciousness within himself, he began speaking more and more from that awareness. This is where I believe that a great deal of confusion has resulted in our understanding of the teachings he left behind.

 
END OF PART 2
 
That's it for this portion. I hope you are beginning to see how context is as important as content. Until next week I invite you to examine people in your life that you may have misjudged. Perhaps it is someone that you thought of one way until you got a key piece of information and suddenly you saw them, their actions and words in a completely new way. The key there is that they didn't change but your understanding of them did and that made them seem different to you. Or perhaps you were the one who was misjudged.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

See it another way - Part 1

Let’s take another look at some of what we think we know about the Bible and see if we can find some new, deeper truths there. As I share this, I invite you notice when resistance arises. I’m not asking you to change your belief system but for now just keep an open mind and rather than shutting down when you disagree with what I say just allow yourself to consider the possibility that perhaps there is more to the story than meets the eye.

This is going to have to be a multi-part installment because it is rather long. One thing I’d like to point out before I continue is that I am not looking to disprove or dismiss any religion or its teachings. Rather I want to encourage you to expand your view of them, drop your limiting beliefs and see deeper truths contained within the ancient teachings. The truth is there in all the religions but we have to sort out the message from the messengers and from manipulation. We are all human and religion is a product of mankind. The sacred texts from the religions are also a product of mankind and are therefore subject to human interpretation, misunderstanding and manipulation (consciously or unconsciously).

Since Christianity is the religion that I, and I believe most Americans, are most familiar with, it is the one that I will primarily focus on. I will also try to show you parallels in other dominate world religions but for sake of clarity I will try to hold my focus on Christianity. The principles behind what I hope to reveal will apply to any religion and its teachings. Truth is one, paths are many. In our ascent to Universal Truth we see that each religion is simply another path which presents us with a slightly different view on our journey. All paths are equal but each is unique.

I’m going to include a few links to sites for additional background information on the topics I’m touching on. These links are for your reference and should be considered an easy entry point for gaining deeper insights. I find Wikipedia to be full of useful info with many links to more detailed information so that is the main site I reference. I hope you’ll do your own web surfing to lead you to the information you need. To try and get all of the information into this blog would really be too much and detract from the main narrative, so please follow these links as far as you feel led to.



THE CHRISTIAN STORY

To begin, let’s take a look at the big picture story presented by the Bible in relation to Jesus. We are told that Mary was visited by an angel and told that she would become pregnant from the Holy Spirit and that she would be birthing a Savior for the world. As time for the birth arrived, Mary and Joseph were traveling and could only find shelter in a manger. Meanwhile, wise men from far away were traveling to where Mary was so that they could worship this newborn king. They were navigating to where Jesus was born by following a star.

The Bible then tells a bit about the childhood of Jesus up through his early teens. He then seems to be absent for roughly 18 years and then reappears as Jesus Christ. This is where the stories of his miracles and the main body of his teachings begin. We’re told stories of how Jesus rebelled against the political establishment and challenged the reigning religious beliefs with radical new teachings. We’re also introduced to his group of 12 disciples and told of his interactions with Mary Magdelain. In the current version of the Bible, Mary is basically written off as a trouble making whore and nothing more.

All of this ultimately leads to Jesus being betrayed by one of his followers, Judas, and being taken into custody by the local rulers, tried and sentenced to death for his rebellious actions. He is then taken along with other common criminals and nailed to a cross and crucified. After his death, he is put in a tomb and three days later, as Jesus had predicted, he arose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. Jesus said that his death would cause everyone’s sins to be forgiven and that he would watch over us and be back when the time came to bring an end to the world.

In the Christian religious belief system, they teach that the Bible is the inspired word of God. They are taught that the stories are literal and given to us directly by the hand of God. The believers are supposed to take all this on faith and follow the teachings in the Bible to the letter. By trusting in Jesus to cleanse them of their sins when they ask for forgiveness, they are all set to gain entry into Heaven at the time of the human death. Those who do not believe are instead sent to Hell to suffer for an eternity in an eternal pit of fire.



HARD TO SWALLOW

To the casual observer, that all seems like quite the story. When compared to the present day reality and laws of Nature, it becomes a bit hard to swallow. As the Dali Lama says “when you examine reality and it doesn’t line up with your beliefs, then it’s time to change your beliefs.” The reality that we know tells us that virgins don’t have babies and that dead people don’t come back to life after being dead for three days. This says that stories that we’re being given aren’t describing physical reality because the Laws of Nature have not changed in the 2000 years since the time of Jesus. If this is the case then what are these stories about?

To begin to appreciate these stories for what they truly are, which is metaphorical teachings, you have to look at the history of the Bible and Jesus and see them both for what they are. The Bible is a collection of stories written by humans for humans. These stories were selected by those in power, translated and edited by humans and passed on to the next generation. The Bible was created by taking the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, and adding the new stories about Jesus, the New Testament. It was used to define the budding Christian religion and hold its teachings. Historically, it was modified and used by those in political power to maintain power and control over the people.

Let’s take a closer look at the story of Jesus and put it into historical perspective and align it with the reality which we believe to exist based upon physics, scientific fact and experience. It is important to not only understand the stories but to view them in the context of the time in which they were written. 2000 years ago, Paganism was the dominate religious philosophy of the time in the area where Jesus grew up. In this belief system, Mother Earth is worshipped as the Creator of life. This belief led to the worship of the feminine and by extension females as the embodiment of the Divine. It was also believed that the Earth was flat, that we were the center of the creation and that all things revolved around us.



PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE

Our knowledge has come a long way since that time and we can use that knowledge to allow us to see the humanity of these writings. Our study of history and the history of the Bible, in addition to the content and context of the Bible, begins to transform what seems to be a supernatural story into something that we can more directly relate to. One of the cornerstones of the Christian faith is the story of the “virgin birth in a manger”. 2000 years the word virgin meant something entirely different than it does now. Then it meant “an un-wed woman” and had no relevance to sexuality. A “manger” was a regular home which had a place on the lower floor for the families’ livestock. The warmth of the animals helped to keep the house warm during the night.

If we take this knowledge and apply it to the Jesus story then things begin to come back into alignment with the physical reality that we know today. This means that Mary would have had to have sex to become pregnant and that could explain how protective Joseph was and it would seem to indicate that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Two humans having sex and producing a human child returns the humanity to Jesus and keeps the story in alignment with physical law. The humanity within Jesus is what makes the rest of his story then come alive in a new and more profound way. The greatest teachers the world has known have achieved their greatness by the quality of the life they live and by their actions not by the stories they tell.

So how did “wise men” follow a star to find and worship Jesus? Let’s use science to help us re-examine this part of the story. We now know that the stars we see at night are two things. Some of the bright points of light are actually other planets in our solar system reflecting the light from our star, the Sun. The other stars are actually just like our Sun, a giant ball of various gases which radiate heat, light and the nutrients essential for the creation and preservation of life as we know it. They are not simply tiny points of light which light up at night like a giant string of twinkle lights. If a star tried to come close enough to our planet to guide travelers, our planet would be disintegrated from the heat of that star. If you see it as “they used a star to navigate by”, then how would they know when or where to stop? Stars, when used for navigation on the sea, help sailors find their way back to land not to a specific place in the middle of the land.



THE STORY OF THE STORIES

It’s important to remember that all the stories from the Bible are filled with metaphors and symbolism. Metaphors are powerful writing tools which help to unlock different meanings in the mind of the reader based upon their knowledge level. They can tell a mundane story on the surface to the casual reader but hold deeper truths for the adept especially when combined with symbolism. During the time of Jesus anyone who disagreed with those in power, including for their religious beliefs, could be put to death. This is where symbols come in. Rather than use specific names in the story, and risk death, often animals were used instead and then when the story was passed on, the translation keys were shared from teacher to student. This is why Jesus is often referred to in the Bible as the Lion or the Lamb.

It’s also important to keep in mind that even the first of the stories involving Jesus were written 40 to 50 years after his death and the rest came much later. Most of the stories were written by people who weren’t even alive during that time because the stories were passed on orally until someone chose to write them down. Just like with Genesis, there was not a scribe running around following God and documenting his story from creation to up through the political workings of ancient Egypt. The stories were written by those wanting to bring forth the teachings to preserve them for future generations from a story-tellers perspective and not as an eye witness account.

The stories that we find contained in today’s Bible were written independently and later gathered together to create the Bible hundreds of years after the original writing of the individual stories. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon) The sands of time have presented us with additional insights into these stories as well. In 1946 a cave was found near the West Bank which contained ancient scrolls. These scrolls were original copies of some of the books used in the Bible as well as many that did not make it into the Bible during the canonization process. Researchers have learned a great deal about the story of Jesus from these documents. They were able to see how the current stories have been altered over the years as well as gain additional insights into the political, social and religious history of the people. These documents have become known as "The Dead Sea Scrolls" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea_Scrolls

Every religion has its own version of the story of creation but they are just that, stories.  http://peacefulmichael.blogspot.com/2009/04/whisper-game.html They are the attempt by the author(s) to explain how we got here and not an eye witness report of the events. Yes, the stories do contain factual components too but it is important to understand their origin and the climate in which they were created. It’s also important to remember that the original story may have been written in one language and translated and retranslated into others. Mistranslations were common as were intentional changes in the story to suit the needs of those using the stories to create the Bible. Changes have been made to the stories through the years as well to suit the political, social or religious needs of those in power. Again taking a historical perspective, these changes were easy to make because there were very few copies of the original manuscripts. The printing press had not been created yet and so only those in power had copies of the texts.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when reading these ancient texts is that the same rules of physics and nature were in force then as now. When you read these stories if there is something that isn’t physically possible now, it wasn’t possible then. Yet just because a story isn’t 100% factual, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t useful. We can’t get caught up in the meaning of any single word or quibble over statements or events but rather see the teachings contained in the stories and learn from them. Story telling is meant to grab and hold the reader’s attention. This allows the teachings to be passed along by creating imagery that unfolds in the mind of the reader in a way that it will be remembered more easily.

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That’s it for part 1. Part 2 will be up shortly so please stay tuned. In the meantime I invite you to look at stories which have shaped your life, your family, or the world and ask yourself this “even if it’s just a story and not based on fact, what can I learn from it anyway?”