It is a story about you.
It begins with a boy who lost his shadow.
This is a parallelism to Christ’s warning about one evil spirit and the clean house.
The most unruly ruler believes rules get rid of unruliness. But getting rid of unruliness is impossible because ruliness and unruliness are like states of matter. They just are.
Unruliness is dependent on ruliness, just as ruliness can not exist without unruliness.
In the same way, it is wrong to say cleaning gets rid of dirt. Of course it doesn’t. In fact, it is just as easy to say cleaning makes more room for dirt.
Cleanliness does not get rid of dirtiness.
A set of external rules for right behavior does not get rid of wrong behavior. It does not do anything because it is just a concept. And a concept cannot do anything about something as real as evil. Or said another way, morality that has a motive to accomplish something, accomplishes nothing. It can neither create good nor destroy evil—if anything, it does the opposite. Rather, good and evil simply exist, in the same way high and low do—one only exists in relation to the other. The rules the ego learns to follow are not primary education. They are an epiphenomenon of existence. It is why it was essential that the Ten Commandments were inscribed by the hand of God Himself—not man. Just as it was essential that Jesus walk into the wilderness and stand in front of the mirror to face his brother—his dark self—Satan—not because he was told to do it, but because it was foretold by existence itself. At the very beginning, the moment man awoke to self-consciousness in the garden, exactly then, he beheld a core of poisonous fruit in his palm. From the tree that should not have been touched because it made the knowledge of God become the knowledge of man. The moment man ingested desire--wanting--value—he blinded himself to the only cure: to un-desire, un-knowing, un-holding.
The villain never really dies. He always comes back. By not speaking his name Voldemort only comes back with more horcruxes. So something else must be done with evil besides pretending its not there or it multiplies seven-fold. Somehow simply knowing of its close quarters in our heart, saps evil its power.
It is learning to live with dirt—incorporate it—accept it—in your life that makes a home livable.
An Evil spirit does not exist without the good. And good can not be understood without evil. It is in seeing this and incorporating this, that halts the multiplication of evil within.
Jeremiah 29:8 ff
“Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.
They are prophesying lies to you in my name.”
We who are in exile, hear what we want to hear...and then call that a message sent from God. But it’s not God’s message, it’s ours. The case is exactly this:
We mail a letter addressed to ourselves, then open it and are so amazed it says exactly what we were thinking that we say it must be from God.
But this is a lie.
God says, “I didn’t send that letter. You did."
Here is my message:
“Learn to live where you are now, in your exile, not the promised land where you think you should be. It is by always looking towards what you want instead of what is at your feet that you lost the promised land in the first place. When you shift what you should have into what you already have, you discover that plans do not do much for the man with no capacity for enjoying life right now, because when his tree finally bears fruit, he is unable to see it, eat it, or taste it. He can't even enjoy the fruit of his own labor. Because although he is there, he is no￼ longer there. He is already worrying about what to eat as his fruit rots on the ground around his feet.
If you really want to find me, I will be found.
The only way to find your way home is by accepting that you’ve lost it, because otherwise you won’t listen. It is the first step in discovering that the home of your imagination—the home your ego experiences (yes, even that actual address on the mailbox) is just a concept and not really home at all. It can be a hell-hole, a heaven, a haven, just one more frustration to bear, a way-station, a limbo, a hidey-hole...anything. If you can accept you have somehow lost your way home as you stand at your own mailbox, you begin to see finding your way back home is the point—that seeking your destination IS your destiny. In the same way, you can find me only when you accept you’ve lost me. Because then there is no more wasted energy on what you think is going on and what should be done about it. You will seek me with all your heart; in every nook and cranny; under every bush and behind every blade of grass; in every corner of the house; in every human face. And maybe you will discover along the way where it is you actually lost me.
Live first, plan second. Choose life—not your plan for life. You are not the plan maker. I am. I am the only one who understands how plans work and I know the plans I have for you.”
Is anyone born as a slave?
Or, as Jeremiah puts it: “Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?”
I mean spiritually, psychologically, individually. No. We are free. Born as free as a bird in the sky. Free of the burden of the ego. Free of enculturation. So, the answer is no, we are born free.
So who puts us into bondage?
Jeremiah answers: “Have you not brought this on yourselves?” v17
Which is similar to the profound idea:
What goes out of you comes back to you as what’s happening to you.
Psychologically, we flat out reject our responsibility in the negative aspect of that statement, but on its positive aspects we quickly seize all credit and inflate ourselves with air. Our psyche is wrong on both counts. We are double-blind: blind, both to the evil within us and to the goodness without us. Like Samson; blind in two worlds. The world above and the world below. Frankenstein’s monster is created this way.
In all our running around and moralizing, “I am not defiled. I am not defiled. I serve no Baals!” (v23ff). We loudly announce the approach our self-righteous morality to our own wicked spirits within us, so that they never have to fear being caught. These bandits can happily sit in our blindspot waiting for our inner moral police, our endlessly arguing attorneys, and our hypocritical judges (our entire mock self-judicial system) to leave so they can do whatever they want with our lives, our desires, our actions, and our thoughts. Just look around you, moron. Look at the inner and outer Gotham of your lives.
We have an invisible mole sitting right within our inner police force—spying out our morality. That is a HUGE problem to get around. (Impossible?) If my own moral bloviating to myself IS the thing giving Evil the upper hand in my life, what can I do? How can I hide from myself? How can I keep my exhausting thoughts on the rules of good and bad behavior secret from my evil self?
I must turn against my own moral system which I have corrupted—turn against the lawless laws of the pharisees; reject the unshielding armor of King Saul—and trust the hero. I must, deep within the walls, in the silence of night, give the justice of my broken city over to someone else. Someone that comes mysteriously both from outside and inside. I must trust in that which is both deeper and higher than I—that which completely transcends me. I must become less. I must remove myself and give up control as ruler of the city. I must trust in the one who knows what to do.
The solution to any problem is not to get rid of the problem.
Then the problem really never goes away.
The solution to a problem involves water. It is a “solution.” It is a solute dissolved by water into a mixture. Solid becomes liquid. One state of matter into another.
It is solvent. Liquid. It is mixture. It is admixture. It is integration of the problem INTO yourself. It is ingestion. To change. To change. To change. To grow. Which is life. Not sterility. Not shooing. Not eschewing. Change (real knowing, real growth, becoming new) cannot occur without acceptance of the problem. An answer given —as opposed to found or realized--is not a solution: it is a cheat. It simply sweeps the actual problem aside, stunting growth and multiplying the problem in the future. The answer to any problem is not the same as the solution to that problem. An answer is only a thought, an idea or a concept that sits all alone on the other side of an equation to null it out. The solution to the problem is the miraculous combination of the problem with the answer. This admixture must include two other elements: you and that which transcends you (that which without which there is no which). The solution includes the learning that came with it. It is the understanding that you must drink the poisoned cup you do not want as the antedate for the eating the poisoned apple you did want. It is now part of the body.
Here lies more firmament: The problems and these elements were always there, it is just that you did not know it. They can neither be created nor destroyed. It is what is called the problem of problems, and it always lurks inside your conscious awareness floating at the edge of your vision near the realm of the unconscious, waiting to become fully realized. The Answer exists completely in the realm outside of your vision…waiting to be let in…waiting to be part of the solution.
The profound questions to answer are not “what is the problem?” And “who am I?”
Rather, it is the reverse:
“Who is the problem?” And “what am I?”
Water--the living water--dissolves things. It tells you things you did not know about yourself. The woman at the well came into direct contact with a deeper well and drew forth the kind of water containing the unconscious elements of not so much “who she was,” but more fundamentally “what she was” and “whose she was.” Bringing what was once swimming in the darkness below, up to her conscious world.
This is the effect of living water.
It opens your eyes. It descales the build up of chalky deposits blinding the vision of eyes exposed to shallow well-water. Blindness is the result of eating the apple of “I can choose what I want for better or worse!” A power which opens the eye to one's conscious self, but shuts it to everything else. Only by drinking the cup filled with aqua vitae can the sleeping eye awaken.
Living water is a thermal barrier within the cold depths of the sea; the barrier between the death of beasts and life of fishes. It is a barrier that must be passed through to arrive where you always were.
Living water stops thirst. It quenches the fire of egoic desire. “I I I!” and “want want want!” finally become, “I’m not thirsty anymore. Do you still thirst?”
Living water is much more related to the afterdeath than the afterlife.
Living water turns the end into the beginning--and the beginning into the end. "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." It reverses conscious awareness’ tendency to separate these "two points" as far as possible on a line from one another; and then celebrate this long-distance marriage as a hard, crusty thing called an event. It turns the alpha and the omega of the Wedding at Cana into the circle it always was.
…to understand the Old Testament idea of the Judaic God and sacrifice as different from all others. Sacrifice crosses all cultures, barriers and continents. The idea is so fundamental to man that it simply pops into existence in the earliest chapters of Genesis without preamble or explanation. It is treated as an a priori concept. Somehow humanity—mankind—human consciousness—Adam’s spawn—had awakened worldwide to the idea that sacrificial behavior (“give up something now for something better later”) is linked to survival. But to whom, to what, how, and why? Out of all gods to whom sacrifice is made, the Hebrews miraculously discovered only one way works for life and eternity: God is invisible. He MUST be. Otherwise He is simply an image made by man, even if the image is in his head. Man shouldn’t even name God, which is to say, even concepts, thoughts and ideas of God are already wrong. He is the God that we CAN’T see. When the Lord says “They ascend for acceptance in Mine alter” (Isaiah 60:7), He speaks of the only alter in the world with NOTHING where an image should sit to watch—an empty seat—a holy place for one only with the truest heart to fill with the Glory of the Living God.
There is Living God and living man. A relationship marvelously and purposefully beautified in the enfleshed Jesus at the culmination of redemption. God and man. No image in between the Cherubim. A mirror for each other. The most perfect reflection of God requires wiping our conscious mind as cleanly as possible. To see. To see what can’t be seen.
Seeing your eyes limits your vision. Listening to your ears limits your hearing.
Being self-conscious limits your existence.
The gradual development of self-consciousness is almost by definition enculturation. Enculturation is one’s gradual ingestion of the surrounding culture until they become like it. It requires willing participation in the game. A child does not start out self-conscious but becomes so. It is when one begins to know that he knows, thinks, and judges that one forgets how it is he knows, thinks, and judges. He forgets from where his golden gift came. He breaks Samson’s rule and “lays a hand on his head.”
It is when you think you know truth—that you don’t.
It is when you know that you are the judge that you lose the ability.
It is the difference between feeling enslaved by your responsibilities in the world and feeling free to keep the temple and everything in it.
Are you weak? Are you enslaved? Are you pushing the millstone round and round?
Then…you are also blind.
The woman at the well:
“Come meet the man who didn’t tell me who he was—he told me who I was.”
“When I asked him directions on how to get there, he said, ‘Oh, yes, I know where it is…but I wouldn’t start from here.’”
I thought I might just say a couple of things that have helped me—in reading; in thinking; in life:
I don’t know anything.
And the place of “I don’t know anything,” is the place where all things are new. Because if I know it, then it’s not new any more—not “news” anymore. Jesus stands at the doorway between what you know and what you don’t know, ushering you into a new world— a new creation. This eternal newness becomes increasingly clear when reading John's gospel, because Jesus never answers anyone’s question directly. He can not abide assumptions, presumptions, and “what you think you know.”
The other thing is:
Everything is WAY MORE connected. Less separate. Way deeper. Infinitely deep. Which is another way of saying: resist the urge to disconnect. To cut and isolate. To flatten things to one dimension—one perspective. (Take it from a cyclops like myself—you turn into a monster when you see the world from one perspective). It’s why there are four gospels, after all. To see from different points of view. For example, Mark’s gospel is short, lean, and fast. It’s almost as if you can hear the Romans banging down his door as he scribbles down the story of Jesus. Whereas John’s gospel is like reading Steinbeck or Dostoevsky. It’s insanely, miraculously, creative and beautiful and personal.
Try to understand that each word connects—just like your life—to its neighbors, which are in context to other sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, and eventually the whole overarching story. Each part is just as important to the whole as the whole is to each part.
So, the word.
It is not like the written word. Like grammar. The greek word is Logos—which I say in my heart all the time now. It is something like “truthful speech. “ But more than that. It’s like a Way of Being. A way of being in the world. A way of being human—a real human. John seems to be saying that Jesus—the logos—was what God spoke into the void. To create everything. It’s like the origin of consciousness—the light of all man. It has some connection to consciousness itself—behavior itself—“how to act in the world.” We all stand at the cusp of the unknown at every moment. Potential lies before us—the void. And depending on how we act; as we hover before it; we can create heaven or hell, light or dark, blessings or curses. It’s like, you can either live—exist—act—speak—BE—in this singular, truthful, giving, loving, bright, spontaneous, courageous, vital way…or…not. And John is saying that God—who we are the image of—spoke the Logos into everything. But it is hidden—shrouded from us. The light of all man. But man can not see it. And John is not saying it in a finger-wagging kind of way, like, “You should choose the light.” He is saying that’s just how it is. And that’s just what man does.
Say to every moment as it envelops us: “let there be light.”
And there is light.
Suddenly, a light and a dark side to things. A chiaroscuro to thinking itself transmutes our lived experience as it emerges from the unknown and lands at our feet—a dimensionality not seen before.
To those of us simply flailing around in a gray fog; for so long not really caring that we knocked something over, just angry that it hurt; this is a vision so startling, that we simply can't imagine how it is we have never been able to see it before. Heretofore, hovering before each experience, we couldn't tell a mountain from a mole hill; much less a miracle. We couldn't tell blue sky from earth, plants from animals, sun from moon, friend from foe, Jesus from the devil. Standing at the brink of endless upon endless unknowns; we realize in a flash of bleary-eyed awakening: "My failure to understand what God does as His first act, at the 'Genesis of Moment,' coincides precisely with my failure to understand what I, myself, do not do at the genesis of each moment."
When God speaks, “Let there be light...” it is not so much His words illuminate the void like a radiant spotlight (which His words, indeed, and in part, do); it is more amazingly so just what it says it is—He speaks. It is something like a conscious thought or a humble command put forth to the void; as if God asks or calls upon the void to illuminate itself—and it does! Triggering a divine process as inexorable as the dawn. And then a light comes on somewhere as if somebody flipped a switch. And God's says: “Ahh, now that’s better!”
Speak into the void, mouthpiece of God. Reflect His voice, mirror of God.
Or do you want to be right?