Friday, February 11, 2011

Devotional reading 110211

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Thank God for another beautiful day in the Bay Area. God is doing His amazing work within and among us each day. I found myself interacting with God more as I re-read Kelsey’s book on meditation. His sharing made me engage in a deeper level of self examination and soul searching in terms of my relationship with God. God wants us to enjoy our relationship with Him and experience healing within our soul.

Eastern religions try to make the same opening and then give the person specific way to follow without considering the fact that one cannot lay one’s own culture aside and discard it. You may accept the Eastern approach, but you are forced to leave a part of yourself behind. The religion of fear does much the same thing. It cracks the individual open and then submits one to inner and social pressure to go a certain route. If one deviates, one will either be ostracized or condemned to hell. The effects of this kind of training are so destructive that one wonders how a religion supposedly concerned with love could have turned to this method. It defeats love entirely by walling off parts of every personality so that one cannot even know the whole person, let alone love that person. Many people have been scarred for life by the use of this method. They are so damaged by this kind of religion that they never learn the meaning of love or its healing effect on the personality. While a certain amount of fear may be healthy for some individuals, it is almost always destructive to apply any such religious idea wholesale, without considering individual differences.

At one time the survival of Christianity depended upon a fellowship who knew what it was all about. As long as the early Church faced the threat of being wiped out by a hostile empire, every Christian was given three years basic training before being baptized and received into full fellowship. The inner husk of old attitudes and old images was broken down and penetrated by a new reality so that every Christian knew both the need for God and the need for community. All Christians had to have a faith that prepared them to meet death, if necessary. Today, however, the pressures seem to be of a different type.

A great many people, however, find that ordinary religious practice 1 has lost its meaning for them, and they are threatened by pressures from within. They look for meaning and try to find some source of power or of the energy to put their lives in order. In the Church these people often feel only more pressure to art or to be something different from what they are. There is good reason for them to try the inner way of meditation. They have less to fear from being opened up further to the darkness within as they are already seeking something beyond it.

Then there is a group who have little tolerance for any kind of religious way, inner or outer. “These people often project their darkness onto others. Arousing the hatred and anger that lead to war and other violence. They have no approach to reality except through the outer world, and they slip easily into the delusions of psychosis…In addition, there is one group who, without exception, require this experience of direct contact with spiritual reality, both destructive and creative. These are the religious professionals, who undertake to mediate the realities of religion to others, often to people who have lost faith in what the religious institution stands for. Unless there are leaders who know the experiences for themselves, it becomes like the blind leading the blind.

The pressures on people today seem to be directed more and more toward greater consciousness. If the constant drive toward growth and consciousness does express our greatest need and wholeness, then certainly not everyone should be exposed to this experience whether needful of it or not. Many people are getting along with their task of growth quite well as they are, and the place to start growth is by examining their own lives and what their desires and expectations are. After this is decided there comes the need to find a fertile soil, to seek direction, fellowship and encouragement from those who have already gone this way, and, above all, to be sure one is following a serious goal and has some map of the inner world that one is entering. The inner meditative journey is not a weekend excursion to a land of sun and happiness. It is a way of life for people who actually feel a need for it and who have become conscious of their need. In the final analysis this is a way for people who have been unable to find meaning by other methods. It is important to break open the ego to deeper reality but it is nearly impossible to legislate one way for all people and one can only do it on an individual basis and with the greatest care.

I agree that meditation or contemplative prayer is a lifestyle. If it is a lifestyle in terms of how we relate to our Creator God, then it is difficult to confined ourselves to a certain way. Love finds its way to express itself. God created each one of us in a unique manner. He empowers us with ability to interact with Him in according to our unique mindset. By saying this, it does not mean all religious practices eventually reach God. Man-made religions have their limitation. They try to reach out to God through different kind of meditation, but God is beyond their imagination. We need God’s initiative and revelation. The Bible becomes a road map in our spiritual journey to trace back toward the source of revelation. The attitude of submission becomes our fuel or energy in moving forward. We wait upon the Lord in total abandonment of ourselves, and let the Word of God to guide us in our meditation. Once we develop this kind of daily interaction with God through His Word, we become more conscious in how to conduct our lives in every situation that we encounter with attitude of submission to His guideline or principle for life. This kind of meditative lifestyle will truly make us become channel of His blessings to others. Amen.

Have a blessed weekend to come,

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