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?


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.


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.


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.


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 ( 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.

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.


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