Category Archives: Enlightenment

Gay Marriage: Buddha with TMichael

Gay Marriage, ‎
Gay marriage

Conversation with Master Buddha and TMichael: Gay Marriage

TM: I’ve been reading news accounts of the battle between those who favor gay marriage being sanctioned under law and those who oppose it.  Some oppose it on religious grounds and some on biological grounds in that it doesn’t facilitate pro-creation naturally.  What is your view on the religious grounds for or against gay marriage?

Master Buddha:  If a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, there is a probability pregnancy will result, and a second probability that child birth will follow.  This is commonly known and understood in modern society.  That wasn’t always the case—many centuries ago it was a mystery how offspring were conceived by the vast majority of human population.  There arose from the mystery many superstitions around conception and child birth.  Conception and child birth require the engagement of male and female contributing each their part.  This is a biologic fact.  It doesn’t require a social bond to be successful.  As a matter of modern fact, it doesn’t require that they ever physically engage in person (artificial insemination).

TM:  Ok, I’m with you so far.  Creating babies follows sex between a man and a woman, or by artificial means.  A long time ago, and I hope a very long time ago, people didn’t quite make the connection and so developed superstitious beliefs around baby-making.

Master Buddha:  So, by biologic fact a gay male marriage cannot produce offspring between the two partners, but can enlist a female outside the marriage to perform that role.  The same of course then for two female partners.  This means that gay couples are capable of producing offspring by proxy of a third partner if they so desire.  This is the same for heterosexual couples who are unable to conceive a child.  It merely accommodates the biologic fact.

TM:  If it’s a biologic fact, then how does it become a religious issue or even a social concern?

Master Buddha: I’m pulling this apart for you, because it can get very tangled.  At some point in human history there was a shift in social belief that the chief role of marriage between a man and woman was to create offspring.  To ensure that their offspring would not just be running around in reckless abandon they also created social convention around the single-family household and the early beginnings of property rights.  The child belonged to the parents and the household and was subject to their supervision and responsibility, and they together as a household subject to the larger society and community.

TM:  You’re saying it was a social evolution, not a religious one.  Is that correct?

Master Buddha:  It is difficult to separate religion from social, because religion is a social enterprise.  This is why this subject is so impossible for some people to intellectually grasp.  I will continue now to explain.

Religion is a social enterprise, which means that humans have created religions and formed into social sects in order to propagate their religious beliefs and social tenets.

TM:  Hold on a second, almost all religious people will say that religions were created by God, or Gods through prophets or enlightened intermediaries (present company included), and that they are followers of that particular religious teaching.  God laid the foundation and they followed his word to build on it.

Master Buddha:  Please refer to other conversations we’ve had on the subject of truth and how it is convoluted with faith and a state of not knowing everything.  Humans will posit truth on a great many things, but that doesn’t make it true.  It is merely their belief in what is true.  Let’s assume for a moment that religions were founded on direct expression of truth from God or Gods.  Humans, as you suggest, interpret that and build on it to make it a social belief system.  The filter applied is still of human origin, and therefore subject to the ignorance of humanity.

TM:  I don’t mean to stray from our topic, but this seems important to clear up, because so much of what follows is dependent upon this point.  You’re saying that religions are social institutions and are birthed and propagated as social tenets, not the word of God.

Master Buddha:  I don’t wish to belabor the point of origin of religious beliefs, and so for our discussion I said we could assume that religions spring from the word of God or Gods.  Humans the take that word and add to it their interpretations and filter it into social conventions by which they live.  That means that religions become social entities imbued with human constructs of socialized behavior.  May we continue?

TM:  Yes, but maybe we have to come back to this at some point.

Master Buddha:  The great problem for humanity in building laws that govern society is that they cannot separate social convention from religious teachings.  Gay marriage as it relates to law must pass through the filters of social convention, which is conditioned by religious beliefs.  So you can easily see the conundrum.  And this provokes a challenge to the truths held by those who believe that the word of God prohibits such human relations.

For them the syllogism flows like this:
God has said that the purpose of a man|woman relationship is to create babies and form single-family households and rear their offspring.
Gay couples cannot create babies directly.
Therefore, gay marriage is not sanctioned by God, and must be excluded from human options.

For religious believers, denying this logic is tantamount to denying the word of God.  It will then undermine a society based upon the word of God and eventually lead to the ruin of society.  How it reconciles with many other words of God in which it produces conflict and contradiction is inconvenient, but doesn’t cause their belief to waver.  They must default to the only intellectual escape possible, which is that God is mysterious and knows more than humankind, and so it isn’t the place of humanity to question this contradiction.  It is for humanity to follow the things that are clear as well as the things that aren’t without fail.  God will sort it out later.

TM:  Yes, I believe you’ve stated that correctly according to what they believe.  But is that correct?

Master Buddha:  The question is presented incorrectly.  Let me re-frame it.  What is the role of religion for humanity and what is the role of social convention in creating laws that govern human behavior?

TM:  So, you won’t just come right out with an answer to settle the question will you?

Master Buddha:  I’m taking an approach that will help you understand the issue and formulate an answer.  As we have stated previously in these conversations, the role of religion is to represent spiritual theories for individuals to ponder in an effort to expand their imaginations and range of possibilities for living a better life.  Religions form from spiritual ideas and concepts, that in the pure state apply to an individual.  Religions become social institutions because they are comprised of like-minded individuals.  The purpose of which is to share and discuss the spiritual idea and concepts.

Humans have taken religions in this social form and expanded them into governance entities.  Therein lies the problem.  It sets up massive conflicts between different religions and between members of society who subscribe to those different religious beliefs.  The only way for a system of religious-dominant laws to work without constant and violent conflict is too segregate inhabitants by religion and assign each to their own geographic place.  Since that isn’t practical today, you must have a different way.  Democratic societies have created a separation of religion and government.  Ideally, this should work in a pluralistic religious society.  But, it doesn’t work as perfectly as intended, because those who are aligned with religious beliefs that have been interpreted to guide their daily lives in an integrated society, immediately come in conflict with behaviors they find inconsistent with their beliefs.  The resulting dissonance cries for resolution.  They seek to alter laws to remove the dissonance.

TM:  I can see why you’re not so popular with Christians and Muslims.  From what I observe both religious groups would love for everyone to line up with them to rule the world according to their beliefs.  In that scenario they could outlaw all the behaviors inconsistent with their beliefs and presumably find the harmony in governance.

Master Buddha: Well, secretly all religious groups wish for that scenario, but some are more vocal than others.

TM:  Years ago when I visited Nepal and spent some time in Kathmandu, I noticed the incredible non-hostile melding of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.  But back to our topic.  How do we bring this conversation to a conclusion?

Master Buddha:  Gay marriage could only be subject to religious scrutiny within a purely religious context.  Religious context is confined to individuals and their peers for introspection.  Social institutions that are erected for governance must take into consideration that there are many types of life styles and it is the responsibility of government to create laws that promote harmony among the differences while removing violence.  The fact that gays must seek legal sanction within your laws informs us that the separation between government and religion is not yet a reality.

TM:  Will it ever be?

Master Buddha:  It’s possible of course, but only when people representing religions surrender to living peacefully with others with different beliefs and abstain from their agendas of hegemony in thought and behavior.

TM © 2015

Integration and Disintegration: Buddha with TMichael

Integration and Disintegration, ‎
Integration and disintegration

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Integration and Disintegration

TM:  I feel like for many years I have tried to integrate my human self with my spiritual self.  At times I feel I have reached some measure of success only to witness set backs in the form of failures in my life—failures to live purely in my convictions, or failures in relationships, etc.  How can we feel one moment in the complete bliss of integration and then later as if things have become unraveled?

Master Buddha:  There is a natural progression toward integration that includes disintegration.  It’s the same as when you try to affix one object to another and the seal is not set just right.  Maybe there is debris mixed in the seal.  Maybe there are gaps in the seal.  Whether it’s obstruction or space, the seal is not complete and can be easily pried apart with the least amount of stress to one of the objects.  Your human personality and your spirit work in a similar fashion.

Once you are inspired and begin to inquire about your spiritual nature you begin to receive information about spirit.  You begin to look at your human life through a new filter.  You begin to question your life and its meaning.  This is the beginning of integration.

Recognize what is happening even in this beginning.  There is a natural disintegration of your human personality, that is, due to new, incoming information from spirit your personality begins to fragment and parts begin to modify.  Some parts you may let go—destruction.  Some parts you may transform.  But what was before is no longer the same.  Disintegration within the personality has occurred.  At the same time, integration has begun between spirit and personality.  However minute that may be, it is an integration.

There is a series of cycles of integration and disintegration that occurs.  This may go on for a period of time until the tension resolves and you conclude that you have settled on a point of integration.  That is what you describe as the point of bliss.

That state persists for some time until there is a crisis, which disturbs that state.  New tension is created and you begin the cycle of disintegration—the tension must be resolved.  Suddenly you may realize that all the beliefs you adopted in your quest for spiritual alignment where somehow off.  You shed them as a snake sheds his skin.  Now you are disintegrating your spiritual concepts.

The process is one by which personality disintegrates, spirit disintegrates, the combination of the two in relationship disintegrates and then it begins a new cycle of integration.

TM:  So when do we know we’ve reached the final point of integration?  How long will this go on?  It’s tiring and almost maddening.

MB:  It is no different really than my opening example.  It continues until you have properly removed the debris or space between the two objects of integration.

TM:  Won’t there always be things we can’t or don’t know about ourselves, personally or spiritually?

MB:  This is the great challenge of enlightenment—when do you reach that point?  Who can know, perhaps one who is fully enlightened?  But how do you know who that is if you are not fully enlightened yourself?  Is that not the basis of faith?  Faith covers the gap between what you know to be true and what you don’t know.  It is the motivation to continue, because you believe in the process.

TM:  Makes me want to give up at times and say this is bogus, a waste of time.

MB:  Yes, and for a while you might do that.  That’s a point of disintegration between your personality and your spiritual self.  When faith or belief in the process can’t be the salve to satisfy the tension, then abandonment is a choice.  That’s natural.

TM:  So, that happens, then what?  Why would I get on the treadmill again?

MB:  You may not.  You may decide to live from the perspective that your personality is all there is.  That the state of personality is all there is for everybody and that is your world.  You may find some new evidence that pushes you back into inquiry, which starts the cycle of integration and disintegration again.

TM:  I’ve done both of those things.  It’s wearing me out.

MB:  Yet it continues.  So, something within you pushes through the haze and says try again.  What pushes?

TM:  I don’t know, something happens and it starts again.  Maybe I should pay attention, but it seems like before I know it I’m inquiring again.

MB:  Well, let that be a mystery for now.  As you progress through the cycle maybe that is revealed for you.  Then it will be okay for a while until something else happens to disturb it.

TM:  So, basically you’re saying that it is a struggle forever and I’ll either engage the process or I won’t.

MB:  I’m not saying it’s a struggle forever.  I’m saying that it’s a struggle for as long as it is and that it doesn’t really matter how long it takes.  Until such time that your spiritual self can tap into its essence within your personality and transmute it into a reflection of spirit, you will go through various stages of integration and disintegration.  Your impatience may serve you to keep trying or it may persuade you to abandon the process.  Your choice.

TM:  Yeah, I always come back.

MB:  One simple truth is that you don’t really have a choice in the long run.  You can abandon the process for a while or you can push too hard and feel frustrated.  But your spiritual self is never dormant or absent.  Spirit isn’t time-constrained, as is your personality.  And that may be something you have to take upon faith.  Maybe you already accept that, but have to just not think about it for a while.  It doesn’t matter.  You will eventually resume the cycle.  That is the natural order of life on earth.

© TM 2015

It Simply Is (Part 2): Buddha with Zoe

It Simply Is Part 2, ‎
It simply is part 2

Conversation with Zoe and Buddha:

It Simply Is Part 2


Buddha: The aim of my discussions with you, Zoë, is to bring stillness into the lives of many, and as I was on earth, to relieve the suffering of the many. The suffering that is just and unjust. By that, we mean the suffering that is created by us and that which life unfolds for us.

Man was not made to suffer. So why does he we hear you ask. Over-development of the intellect: plain and simple. It has become a muscle that has become too strong, too strong for the creative urges of man, too strong to be able to let go with any ease. Intelligence was given to you as your species came down to exist here on earth. Your gene pool was taken from that of the animals and you were developed, given the gift. Yet though the gift was given from God, from all that is, it has become what has taken you away from all is, and fundamentally this needs to be rectified. We need you now to use your minds to learn to train and control your intellect. To take that muscle and through work, through dedication, allow its control to become flaccid and its repartee- its ability to distinguish what is right and wrong in a situation- to remain. So if you like, what is needed is a lobotomy and this muscle needs to be halved in size. Once halved in size it will become equal once again and be able to balance with mankind’s other gifts, its creative urges, its flows, the intuition, and the instincts. There is nothing that cannot be achieved on earth. Not through the intellect but through the creative flow and then the utilization of intellect henceforth.

I listen to the suffering of many. “Why, why, why, why, why, why, why, why?” No answer comes. However, “Why, why, why? This hurts, this pains, this hurts, this pains, this hurts, this pains. I wish for, I wish for, I wish for, I wish for, I wish for.”

What does this get?

“Why, why, why, why, why, why, this hurts, this pains, this hurts, this pain, I wish for, I wish for, I wish for.”

The resolution to suffering is not within the mind it is in the end of mind.

This is short today Zoe and it is very straight. We end this suffering from the cessations of mind. By this we mean the cessations of mental desire. Pointless mental questionings that are incapable of answers. “Why?”, “Because.” “Why?”, “Because.” “Why?”, “Because.” “Why?”, “Because.”

From now on when someone asks, “Why”, say, “It simply is.” This need not be pain, this need not be suffering. Accept the simply is and find the peace there in. There is no movement from this point for mind, except to take you away from this point. When you are taken away from this point the suffering and pain will begin once more. “Why, why, why?”. “It simply is”. Find the peace from this point and be aware that only the mind can take you away from this and you will resume pain and suffering. “Why, why, why?” I needn’t go on now Zoe.

Do you know that all enlightenment is this simple? Goodbye for now.

© Zoe 2015

For It Simply Is Part 1 click here.

For It Simply Is Part 3 click here.

For It Simply Is Part 4 click here.

Money: Buddha with TMichael

Money, ‎

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Money

TM: I’ve received quite a few inquiries about money and requests to talk about it.  There has been a great body of writing on this from a spiritual perspective.  What do you say to someone who asks, “What is the proper relationship to money, how much to have, how to use it, how to get it, etc.?”

Master Buddha:  First of all, there isn’t just one way to view this because each person has his or her particular orientation to money given his or her life path.  Anything I say must be understood as general statements and then I can offer examples of individual circumstances to show how some principles may apply.

As viewed from the spiritual perspective, meaning from a non-material realm, money is as worthless as a bicycle would be for travel across an ocean.  It is purely a human creation.  So your question presumes a spiritual oversight that doesn’t exist except in the form of advice and counsel that may be offered from time to time.  That is the spirit in which I present these ideas today.

Let me attempt to simplify the concept of money in relation to a person.  Humans have decided that money shall represent a value of some thing.   Those things may include the physically inanimate object (house, car, etc.), a personal action (one’s labor), a promise for future delivery of value (speculation), restitution for past value (grievances resolved), a gift of love or social obligation, so on and so forth.  The second premise is that the value of money shall equal approximately the value of that thing in the exchange.  Sometimes the values are not equal, and if they are too unequal, then one or the other person feels either elated or cheated.

The third premise created by humans is a system of ethics regarding transactions between one another using money or the thing valued as the currency.  This is a point of departure between the diverse cultures of the world.  The one dominant force has been the Western philosophy governing the use of money.  The ethics of the Western system have varied over the past two hundred years, but for the most part they have represented an idealism that while noble in its aim has not achieved its goal.

TM: So is it possible to answer my questions?

Master Buddha: I’m getting there, but needed to frame my response for clarity.  The proper relationship to money must take on a general perspective representing larger society (we’ll call general ethics) and the particular relationship of an individual to money.  From the general ethics, the idea of freedom to choose one’s occupation and one’s level of income and expense, is I think the best arrangement.  As we have discussed in these conversations there is a point that one must consider that individual freedom intersects with group harmony.  This means that it is necessary for individuals to contribute to the whole in a way that brings harmony to the whole and doesn’t disturb the peace of the many.  This is the greatest insurance for all.  The current system in Western society doesn’t achieve this goal, but with modification it could.

TM: I’m not clear on what you mean.  Are you saying that there needs to be a balance in interest between the range of individual freedom and the needs of the whole population?

Master Buddha: Yes.  For example, in Western society a person is permitted to amass unlimited wealth.  On the other end of the scale a person is permitted to starve to death or die due to exposure to the elements because he cannot afford shelter.  What is preventing Western society from implementing safeguards at the bottom end of the scale?

TM: We don’t allocate budget for it because we’ve determined other things are more important.

Master Buddha: And the contradiction is that your idealism states that you cherish life above all.  Your military runs to all ends of the earth to rescue those in peril.  Your governments send aid to foreign countries in an attempt to prevent starvation and lethal diseases from spreading.  Yet in your own domestic domain you have families living in such poverty that their lives are at risk daily.

TM: It isn’t a perfect system for sure and most Westerners will agree that we can do more to clean up our domestic programs.

Master Buddha: What do you think is stopping you from doing this?

TM: We have an overly complicated and increasingly corrupt political system that can’t philosophically agree on just how much we are our brother’s keeper.

Master Buddha: It is first and foremost the obligation of your governments, using the general treasury, to prevent starvation and health-related problems derived from poverty.  This cannot be left to the generosity and goodwill of individuals.  It must begin with your domestic sphere first.  It is there that you work out the ethics of being your brother’s keeper as you phrased it.  Once you have mastered that step then sharing that wisdom with other cultures is a natural extension.

TM: We have the resources to do what you suggest, but not the collective resolve to do it.

Master Buddha: This is true, but you asked for a perspective on the proper relationship to money.  You will have to work out the politics in order to deliver a just relationship.

TM: Okay then, maybe you can state what a person should be required to do in order to receive assistance that raises his status above poverty.  That’s where we fail; we can’t agree on that.  Some people say we should be self-reliant and others want to give to others with little or no requirements for self-responsibility.  So, what is the answer?

Master Buddha: Ah you see, now you are into the business of designing a society that grapples with such ethical obligations yet stumbles at the final step failing to complete the mission.  If the US government felt the collective will of its citizens favored a system whereby no citizen would be permitted to fall into poverty, could they achieve that?

TM: Yes.

Master Buddha: Then it must be that the collective will of its citizens do not favor such a system.

TM: How many citizens create a collective will?

Master Buddha: Enough that under your political system you could legislate and implement the system.

TM: Then you must be correct.  Sadly it must be true.  But you still haven’t answered my question of self-responsibility.

Master Buddha: Unfortunately, there is no easy answer.  Your society has through its own design created an array of citizens from the genius to the infantile.  Your society is responsible on a par level with the individuals that make up society.  It will take many generations of enlightened governance to correct the mistakes and injustices created by past policies and practices.  It will likewise take time for individuals to climb out of their ignorance or unfortunate circumstances due to conditions beyond their control.

Wandering your streets are the insane and the helpless.  They cannot take responsibility for themselves in any way.

You have many people who are indolent and averse to responsibility through personal predilection and familial training.  They will have to be educated on a new understanding of their responsibility.

You have a growing number who have turned to crime and are either incarcerated or among the general population.  They will have to be educated, and until they are they will remain incarcerated because you have no other way to assimilate them.

There are those who through no fault of their own have fallen upon hard times due to major shifts in the economy.  They will need to be retrained in new occupations and helped along the way.

When there are enough enlightened citizens there will be a more enlightened government and they will realize the long-term commitment required to correct your system.  It is a race against the clock.

If you do nothing to correct this situation, because as a society you think it isn’t your responsibility, then you will suffer the consequences of doing nothing.  The consequences will include a greater divide between the economic classes, thus more poverty; less efficacy in minimum education achievement among the lower classes; increased criminal activity; reduction of individual freedoms due to crime prevention measures; compartmentalization of community along class lines further reducing the efficacy of government and the erosion of community infrastructure.  You can probably project from there what will transpire next.

If however, you find the collective will to make a long-term commitment to correction, then you will begin to see minor changes for the good.  It will take patience beyond one, two or three generations.  That is perhaps the greatest challenge for a society that has come to expect immediate gratifications of its goals (even though this hasn’t really been the case).

TM: What can you say to the questions regarding individuals and their relationship to money?  What are some guidelines to follow is really what I’m asking.

Master Buddha: As individuals you must graduate through levels of ethical refinement regarding the role of money in your life.  What is good for one person may not be good or right for another.  For that reason do not be hasty in judging others for their view in earning or handling their money.

As Master Jesus and I have maintained throughout these conversations, release judgment from your view.  Find your relationship to money based upon your path and your understanding and allow others to do the same without inveighing their choices.  When you have come to peace with your relationship to money then you may offer a helping hand to others who may wish to hear from you.

© Zoe 2015

Sensual Pleasures & Enlightenment: Buddha and TMichael

Sensual Pleasures and Enlightenment,…-enlightenment/
Sensual pleasures and enlightenment

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Sensual Pleasures and Enlightenment

TM: I’d like to talk about one area that seems to be rejected by Christianity and Buddhism (maybe for different reasons) and yet Hinduism embraces it in part.  And that is pleasures of the flesh. Two questions come to mind.  When you say give up the pleasures of the flesh, or give up the sensory pleasures, what do you mean?  Why do we have to forego pleasure in order to appreciate and live a spiritual life in the flesh?

Master Buddha: Those questions allow me to clarify some misunderstandings that have arisen from my original teachings and Master Jesus’ teachings too.  Let me emphasize too that those teachings were provided for an earlier time in which the conditions of the time were different than they are now and so adjustment is required.

First of all for context, the questions posed that aroused the teachings had to do with achieving enlightenment or salvation.  They were intended for disciples who had dedicated their lives to tread the path. Those who recorded the essence of the sermons and discussions were biased by their own personal beliefs toward the ideas presented.  This doesn’t mean they are completely inaccurate, it just means that one must make allowances for the bias.

Secondly, we were in our own time biased by our own lives while incarnated.  While it is true that Master Jesus and I achieved states of enlightenment beyond the norm we could not escape the effects of being human.  This is often forgotten or is dismissed because we are elevated above our actual experience in the flesh by devotees and followers.

Now let me address your questions.  Sensuality is a natural part of being human.  It is so natural in fact that it can be mistaken as the primary aspect of ones being.  It is in reality a reflection of higher consciousness.  For those treading the path I ask, do you wish to play in your reflection in the pond or do you wish to know the one casting the reflection?

This was not and is not to be interpreted as an admonishment to those beings who are playing in their reflections.  It is saying to the one upon the path, this is the way.

TM: So you are saying that one can’t find their way to enlightenment by exploring the pleasures of the flesh?

Master Buddha: It is knowing the distinction between the true self and the one who pretends to be the self.  One will not find the true self by only exploring the reflection.  Likewise one cannot deny or ignore the reflection and truly know oneself.  I think what you want to know is can one experience and appreciate the pleasures of the flesh and pursue enlightenment.  The answer is in each ones heart or center of ones intent.  The non-self is a trickster beyond belief.  To answer yes means that it is possible and to answer no is to exclude that which is possible.  It will be different for everyone.

TM: So it is possible but it depends on the individual?

Master Buddha: Yes.

TM: How do I know if it is possible for me?  How do I know what is the center of my intent?

Master Buddha: You will know when the power of your heart and your true desire for enlightenment out weighs all other considerations.  All that isn’t from that place melts away and leaves the purity of true self.  In other words until that point you won’t know.  You will try this and that, and mostly you will try to strike bargains and negotiations with the true self to bring with you all the things that are important to the non-self.  Until that day when you realize what you have been doing and it all falls away and leaves who you are.  Then you’ll know.

TM: It sounds like what you’re saying is that the pleasures of the flesh are the parts that the non-self is bargaining to keep and that they will be the parts that melt away.  Is that what you mean?

Master Buddha: I believe you were one of the ones who recorded these teachings many centuries ago.  Why don’t you just find out for yourself?

TM: Well, of course I will.  But I’m asking you as a teacher for a lesson that will guide me along the way.

Master Buddha: And I am a teacher along the way who is offering a lesson to a student who wants me to provide shortcuts that obviate his own need for experience, which in reality cannot happen.  What more can I say except that you will have to find the way to the center of your heart to know your true self and in time know that which is not the true self.  The pleasures of the flesh represent the reflection, but are not the true self.  Is that clear?

TM: Humbly, yes.  Although, I must say you are being forceful and adamant about this in a way I haven’t before experienced in your teaching.

Master Buddha: Sometimes that is what is needed.  I am adamant that you experience life for yourself.  A teacher shall point a way, but shall be cautious about dictating precise directions.  It is through discovery that you truly learn the lesson, not through intellectual comprehension.  The motivating force that propels you into discovery is from within yourself.  There is no harm in vigorous stimulation of the mind on spiritual matters.  But ultimately it is living experience that counts.

©  TM 2015

Health and Balance: Jesus and TMichael

Health and Balance, ‎
Health and balance

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Health and Balance

TM: Can you speak to issues of health?

Master Jesus: Yes.

TM: How is human health affected one way or another by our degree of spiritual awareness?

Master Jesus: As you become spiritually aware you make different choices.  You will make different choices regarding things directly affecting your health as well as those things that affect your health indirectly.  We have talked about the role of judgment.  Even those at the higher levels of spiritual awareness can possess the characteristics of judgment, which can adversely affect their health.  That’s an example of how choices that may seem unrelated can affect health issues.  The more obvious choices most people know about, but they may choose to continue unhealthy behavior.  Or they may become so opposed to those behaviors that they develop unhealthy reactions to themselves or others engaging in those behaviors.

It’s not so easy to provide a list of do’s and don’ts.  Having a set of rules seems the right thing for many people, but in the long run it only runs a greater danger of producing intolerance and a judgmental nature, which can and is more dangerous to the health of humanity.

Spiritual enlightenment is not so much about one right way for everyone as it is about discovering the right way of living for each one.  There will indeed emerge a set of principles to guide society in everyday affairs, but I wish to point out that without a spiritual awareness on the individual level, the societal guidelines will suffer.  As individuals progress in understanding and spiritual intelligence, they will raise the standards of societal behavior.  Society cannot rise higher than the largest group of enlightened beings in its ranks.

TM: How does disease, as we describe it, and the health issues you’re describing intersect?  Aren’t there viruses and bacteria that wreak havoc with our bodies that have nothing to do with spiritual enlightenment?

Master Jesus: There is a host of factors to consider when examining the full spectrum of human health issues beyond spiritual enlightenment.  But that will be the bedrock that all systems can be built upon.  Bacteria and viruses are living organisms as are humans and animals and plants and so on.  If you truly want to understand the role of each organism in the evolution of Earth, then study the past.  If you want to know the future roles of organisms study the present.  Humans have so upset the balance in nature that microorganisms are reacting in record numbers.  You have only begun to see the potential of these organisms.  The present path will force a collision of humans and microorganisms on a scale that is beyond your imagination.  Much of this is unavoidable at this point, but much can be done to avert disaster on a large scale.

TM: Are you talking about epidemics?

Master Jesus: Yes.  You remember our discussion about Armageddon?  This is one of the ways it will work out.  This is a result of humanity’s actions, not that of a vengeful God punishing you.

TM: I remember a quote, “You are not punished for your sins as you are by them.  And the same for your virtues, in that you’re not rewarded for them as you are by living them.”  So, how did we create the ground for epidemics?

Master Jesus: Ecosystems are in balance when all living organisms operate within their sphere and natural tendency.  Humans have taken the role as lead and dominant species because of divine right.  With that right comes responsibility.  Humans are made up of all that exists in the world; so, there isn’t a thing that isn’t you.

TM: I must interrupt.  You’re saying by divine right?  What does that mean?

Master Jesus: Let me restate that to say by divine order.  There is a hierarchy of life, both on Earth as there is in the universe at large.  The hierarchy is determined by characteristics inherent in each species that create specific roles to maintain harmony and balance in the whole system.  It allows that there are times of disharmony and imbalance, but the correction comes as a result of each species finding its role.  Despite the belief that the universe is largely random and chaotic, which it certainly appears to human observation, there is an order beyond your comprehension.

TM: Beyond our comprehension or beyond our ability to see?

Master Jesus: Both.  It is something you must take on faith, or belief without evidence.  Among those of us who witness wonders in the universe beyond anything humans see, we can barely glimpse the order even as we comprehend it.

TM: Suddenly I feel like the dumbest kid in class.

Master Jesus: Someday humans will comprehend it, but first things first.  For now, and this is what makes it such a challenge to teach as well as to accept as truth, it will be a matter of faith.  Humans do as well with matters of faith as any being.  It always comes down to trusting the motivation and knowledge of the source.

TM: Back to what you were saying, there is nothing in the world that isn’t us.  I skipped too many science classes to understand that one.

Master Jesus: There are basic qualities of energy that compose life on Earth, which are in turn reflected in the chemistry of material existence.  Humans are composed of all those basic qualities of energy found in every species on Earth.  The two most abused beliefs by humans are that humans have dominion over all species and survival of the fittest species.  The unremarkable intelligence that springs from those simplistic notions is creating your own Armageddon.  Your role as steward has been usurped by your pride as being superior.  Your role as spiritual leader has been sabotaged by your fear of spirit.  Without a turnaround in these conditions, you will have to experience the consequences of these beliefs carried to their natural conclusion.

TM: To clarify, are you saying that humans don’t have dominion and that survival of the fittest is inaccurate?

Master Jesus: Humans have reduced the meaning of those truths to rationalize behavior that is inconsistent with the integrity of those truths.

TM: So, what I’m gleaning from these discussions is that we’re pretty much screwed on a number of fronts from economics to epidemics if we don’t change our ways.  Is that it?

Master Jesus: You will experience the reality you have created.  The masters and I want to give you every opportunity to recognize that you are creating the reality and that you will experience it as you create it; so, pay attention to what and how you’re creating.

TM: When you say masters, that sounds very Eastern.  It may not be understood in the West.

Master Jesus: It means teachers.  We use it as a way of deference to one who has achieved a high degree of understanding and enlightenment.  And while some prerogatives of authority come with the title, it is largely a title of achievement.

TM: Whom do the Masters teach?

Master Jesus: They mostly work with disciples on the spiritual plane, who in turn work with disciples on the physical plane.  However, we have begun to teach directly to those on the physical plane as a matter of expedience and some small measure of experiment.

TM: What kind of experiment?

Master Jesus: We want to see how rapidly humans can assimilate spiritual knowledge if a master administers it directly.  If this successfully accelerates the process, then we will organize group sessions for those who are ready.

TM: Is this the first time this has happened?

Master Jesus: Periodically we test for receptivity along these lines.  This happens to be one of those times.

TM: Lately I feel these discussions have taken on a stream of consciousness, that is, flitting from one thought to the other without ever finishing one thought.  I wonder if this will deter from what you need to convey.

Master Jesus: What would you like to conclude?

TM: All this Armageddon business spurs more questions than answers to me.  Please summarize the health issues relative to spiritual progress.

Master Jesus: I’m expressing these ideas in the most accessible way for most people to understand it.  It’s time to expand beyond ideological boundaries and reach common understanding.

Spiritual progress is needed on the individual and group levels at this time.  The time is critical due to the fact that humans have created a reality that is headed for disaster.  Before it reaches the point of no return, you are given a chance to become aware of your actions and the consequences.  Then you must decide what you will do.  Health issues are wrapped up in the whole system.  I can’t separate them for you or explain their nature out of context.  Deterioration of human health is and will ensue at an increasingly rapid pace despite the illusion of medical advancements to cure disease.  The root cause of this can only be corrected at the spiritual level, because it is from there that the physical level will conform to new understandings.

TM: People don’t understand disease and “why me” is the big question.  I know folks who live very pure lives; healthy attitudes and diets, and yet they suffer through all sorts of physical maladies.  How can you tell them the root cause is something spiritual?

Master Jesus: I can’t tell them the cause of their illness is spiritual unless I know them.  I’m speaking in broad terms for the bulk of humanity, not for specific individuals.  Having a healthy diet and being spiritually inclined is helpful, but there are so many variables that can trigger an illness.  Often, for spiritual people, an illness reflects a clearing that they are ready for; meaning that they have reached a point that they can clear energy from their body that they have been carrying for a lifetime perhaps.  It may be clearing from past lives.  Very few people are so spiritually advanced that they create a shield from illness.  But they can handle an illness better than if they were spiritually ignorant.  And healing is about understanding spirit and using it practically.

TM: Does prayer help?

Master Jesus: Yes it does.  But really the person who is ill must have a will to heal or nothing is going to heal him or her.  Healing begins within.  External assistance then accelerates healing by strengthening that which already exists and is in motion.  There are some excellent studies addressing these claims.

TM: What’s happening in cases where the ill person wants to heal and his family and friends are praying for healing, yet he dies anyway?

Master Jesus: Again, you’re asking a very specific hypothetical question that really is impossible to answer.  I know you want to know these things and yet I can’t provide the answers.  This puts the burden on you to investigate for yourself in these very specific cases.

TM: How would I do that?

Master Jesus: Truly know the person fitting the description above.  Do you really know what is in his heart?  Do you know what is fear of death and what is true yearning to live?  Do you know the guilt one feels as one nears death, and that it is at times unbearable?  Do you know the longing for a life fulfilled and whether he is satisfied this is done, or there is more to be accomplished?  Is there a gentle acceptance of death?  Does he feel the pull of loved ones to keep him in this life for their sake?  You must ask these questions and many more to fully understand an individual case.

TM: Are natural disasters prompted by humanity’s decisions too?

Master Jesus: Humanity has an impact on the environmental well-being of Earth.  Weather patterns are most affected by humanity’s impact as the population grows.  Earth is a living entity and as such has its own physical responses to that life that will occur with or without the presence of humanity.  Earthquakes for example are purely geologic events.  Global warming though is largely caused by humanity’s impact, but in other times has been naturally occurring.  So while humanity must take responsibility for its impact on the health of the planet, it is in your own best interest to do so for your health.  You are not separate from Earth.

TM: I know I’m asking questions out of the realm of education and religion, but I’m curious.

Master Jesus: I can speak on a number of topics, but I will bring it back to spirituality.  This is the time for education to take center stage; otherwise, the age of synthesis will be missing parts to compose the whole picture.  Humanity must see the whole picture.

TM: There are a lot of new spiritual books, conferences and workshops.  Are they right in what they teach?  Some of them seem to contradict other teachings, or at least present diverse ways of accomplishing the same end.  How do we know which ones are accurate?

Master Jesus: Choose the ones that feel right for you.  There is so much diversity because there is diversity among humans.  Do you really believe for a moment there is one right way for everyone?  At the same time, while you are choosing the right method for yourself, allow others to do the same.  Blend your way with others.  Any method that teaches that it is the only way is the one to avoid.

TM: We’re such social creatures though; we like to belong by identifying with sets of values.  But then we make the mistake of thinking our way is superior and we want everyone to follow that way.  If we could accept what you are suggesting I can see how it would work.  I don’t see how to undo what is done.

Master Jesus: It will be undone by substituting a new understanding; the one we’re discussing; one that allows each person to select his or her inspiration without judgment or ridicule.  The social connection must be viewed from the perspective of identification with the whole of humanity rather than the provincial identification.  This is happening already within many circles and it will expand with time.

Ancient civilizations could not imagine human organizations spanning the entire world- they had no definition of the entire world beyond what they could see, and what they could see was limited.  This civilization sees into the universe and yet still suffers the myopic view of its own insular world made up of petty prejudices and grievances.  This will change.  It will change because of a disaster that will create an environment that forces unity, or it will occur because of an enlightened populace.  You choose.

© TM 2015

The Passion of the Christ: Jesus and TMichael

Passion of the Christ, ‎
The passion of the christ

Background to Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: The Passion of the Christ

This was my (TMichael) first conversation with Master Jesus and was prompted by the film, The Passion of the Christ.  In this dialogue, Master Jesus describes his point of view surrounding his death and the role of those who played a part.

I saw the film The Passion of the Christ not too long after it opened.  First, I saw the movie marquis and thought this should be interesting.  I’ve been on a sparse mainstream media diet for many years and so I didn’t know anything about the controversy surrounding the film. Natural curiosity pulled me in.

Later when I asked some friends if they had seen the film I learned of the swirling debate.  I jumped online and discovered more commentary than I had imagined.  Then I attended a panel discussion hosted by Tikkun magazine that featured an array of Christian and Jewish clergy.

All in all, what I was hearing seemed predictable.  Depending on the perspective of the speaker or writer, the grievances with the film reflected that singular point of view.  The same with the supporters of the film; it was somehow proof of their faith.

Try as I may I couldn’t resolve whether I was under-reacting or whether others were over-reacting.  After several days of deep meditation it became clear that what I wanted more than anything was to hear directly from Jesus.  The following conversation occurred with Jesus and me.

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: The Passion of the Christ

TM: What do you think about the recent film, The Passion of the Christ?

Master Jesus: Hmmm…sounds like you want to draw me into the highly charged controversy over this film.

TM: Actually, I’m hopeful that you can clear up things for everyone.  You can sort of have the final word.

Master Jesus: I’m not inclined to pose as a film critic, but I am inclined to speak about the content and subject matter in a way that can shed some light.

TM: Please do so.

Master Jesus: There are a few things that must be said at the onset of this conversation.  I’m as present today in the world as I was 2000 years ago.  I serve among the Masters in world service to humanity. The record of my ministry is incomplete and at times incorrect, owing to the great number of interpretations through which it has passed. Nevertheless, the essence of peace and love remains the focal point for all who will embrace the teachings.  The records of the life and times of humanity during those days are also incomplete and at times incorrect owing to the authors’ bias and inability of present day people to grasp the cultural mores of the time.  There is much scholarly and layman speculation on the missing parts—a natural and admirable intent to make complete the story and an understanding of history.

TM: So, the fact that so many people are grappling with the meaning, context and impact of this film is natural and striving for a complete understanding is a good sign?

Master Jesus: It is natural for humanity to desire familiarity with their religious icons by interpreting the messages as best as they can.  Naturally in that process there will be disagreement about the interpretations.  When the level of disagreement reaches the point of personal and group acrimony, then it has moved beyond serving humanity and begins to destroy the fabric of unity among all beings. Unfortunately, the discussion over this current film has been divisive to that degree among some groups.  However, we can note that some groups have bridged gaps in their relationships as a result of examining the meaning of this film.

TM: Some people have told me they wouldn’t see the film because they think it is too violent.

Master Jesus: Then they shouldn’t see the film.  Seeing the film has nothing whatsoever to do with understanding the message I brought to humanity then and that I’ve brought through the intervening periods of time and into the present.  It is merely a creative expression of the filmmakers and their interpretation of certain events.

TM: What about the claim that the film portrays Jews in a historically incorrect light to the point of making them appear evil, which in turn perpetuates hostility from Christians?

Master Jesus: This is a misunderstanding that arises from the causes I mentioned earlier, namely incomplete and incorrect reporting of my teachings and of history itself.  Let me strip away the word evil and present a new word to describe what is meant by it.  Ignorance coupled with fear produces what is referred to as evil.  Scholars have devoted much time and energy to defining evil.  The term itself has become too emotionally charged to accurately reflect a meaning that can be applied to human behavior.  If it can be used to describe a political regime, religious leaders or a serial murderer, then its meaning has become too broad.  I offer a way out of this labeling.  To look upon a group or individual whose actions appear horrific to you and label them evil no longer suffices.  The labeling as such shows a lack of comprehension on the part of the one applying the label.  To label someone in a way that separates him from you destroys the fabric of unity in the same way I mentioned earlier.  To default to that label implies ignorance of the one labeling and a signal that hatred has sprung from ignorance and fear.  You can see the vicious cycle—ignorance, fear, hatred, separation, and destruction.  Evil is in the eye of the beholder. Where hatred is present, one will see evil.  But, I tell you it is already in the heart of the one producing the label.

TM: It sounds like your turning the tables and calling the righteous one hateful and the other, offending one justified, or at least free from scrutiny.  Does this mean that one’s actions are justified and permissible and not subject to scrutiny by social standards?  That if I brutally beat someone to death that I can expect society to embrace me and let me go unpunished for my actions?

Master Jesus: Society can and must define codes of conduct consistent with freedom for all.  It is not necessary to label one evil in order to create a just society.  What you asked in the previous question relates more specifically to a problem of labeling an individual or group as evil in order to justify all sorts of acts of retribution toward them.  Do you not think for moment that I didn’t choose my death?  The Sadducees played their role as did the Romans and as did all connected with me.  It was my choice to allow that to happen the way that it did.  No one was evil in my eyes because I love them all. I see into their hearts and minds and know them well.  I am their elder brother and know their mistakes and love them still.  Why would you do less in my name?

TM: I feel inspired and sad at the same time. So what can we do to better understand the role of this film and what it provokes emotionally among so many different people?

Master Jesus: The film itself is not important, as I stated earlier, it is a representative view of that time and those events by filmmakers.  It provokes discussion that could occur with or without the film.  It provokes emotions that already exist.  It provokes ancient prejudice and guilt that already exist.  The film doesn’t need to do these things, but it does because of the subject matter and what is in place around it.  The subject has been contentious on so many levels for so long now that it doesn’t take much to provoke an outcry.

The Jews didn’t kill me anymore than the Romans did.  That will be confusing to many who wish to pin the blame on someone so that they can seek justice in the form of revenge.  Again, this isn’t necessary in my name, and I’m the one presumably wronged here so my wishes must be weighed.  The longstanding enmity between Christians and Jews over this episode is unnecessary.  Jews are reluctant to drop their defense and Christians are holding on to a grievance that isn’t true.

TM: Forget about it.  Is that it?  If the Jews and the Romans didn’t kill you, then who did?  Are you saying you took your own life?

Master Jesus: I had a plan when I came into physical life just like every human being before me and since.  I carried out my plan just as every being before me and since.  I was consciously aware of my plan in the flesh.  Nevertheless, I faced the same obstacles as every being, namely, staying in my conscious awareness.  The greatest test for me was in my final hours before my death in physical form.  Could I remain conscious of who I am and what my purpose is on this earth?  Isn’t that true for every being?  Those who judged me acted out their own conscious awareness.  Their ignorance and their fear filtered their judgment and prevented them from embracing me and my teachings, just as it has done since and that it is now for the vast majority of beings. Will you judge your ancient brothers for their acts and claim yourself to be free of ignorance and fear?  My mission and purpose is not complete until I can demonstrate to humanity the strength of love and wisdom and the power of conscious awareness.  It is judgment that has been and will be your downfall.  Forever will you remain separate from one another.  It is worse that you take part of my teachings and use it to condemn your fellow beings.  It is better that you take all or nothing.

TM: To make sure I understand this, you’re saying that to be in full consciousness of whom I am and what my purpose is on earth is only possible when I let go of judgment of others?

Master Jesus: And to let go of judgment of yourself, which is equally important.

TM: So I’m not sure how to answer the question of who killed you and I have a feeling you’re not going to go there.  I guess what you’re saying is that it doesn’t matter.

Master Jesus: It doesn’t matter in the sense that you think you have to judge others and avenge my death in the flesh.  To do that is to oppose everything I represent.

TM: Why do we make such a big deal of these things?  The film I mean.  Why such dramatic hoopla about the risk of Gibson’s career and the actor who played you may never “work in this town again”?  That frenzy spills over into the religious circles as well.

Master Jesus: Because people think it’s important to be right.  Right in their point of view, right in their understanding of reality, right in their relationship to me and to God.  Being right often means making others wrong.  It’s that simple on the surface, but runs much deeper on racial hatred or religious intolerance.  Not only is it important to be right, but one must also weave a measure of justice into the arrangement by punishing those who are wrong.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  There is a movement among the enlightened teachers of all religions to put aside dogmatic differences and embrace the oneness of all faiths while still practicing the rituals of each.

TM: Are you behind this movement?

Master Jesus: Yes, along with other Masters.

TM: Will this recognition bring peace to the world?

Master Jesus: It’s a beginning.  Politicians have often used religious differences and the strong emotions of those differences to fuel their wars.  If there is a general sense of spiritual unity and religious peace it will make it more difficult to wage war among countries. Powerful leaders intentionally determined to wage wars to achieve their goals know that to control the emotions is to control the minds of their followers.  Our work begins with the heart.  A strong heart with pure intent of love and peace will withstand the sophistries of mental concepts put forth by those seeking after power.”

©TM 2015

Humor is Essential for Spirit: Buddha with TMichael

Humor is Essential,…e-human-spirit/ ‎
Humor is essential

Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Humor is Essential for the Human Spirit

TM: What does it take to live a spiritual life?

Master Buddha: Dedication, perseverance and a sense of humor.

TM: Did you have a sense of humor during your life as Siddhartha Gautama?

Master Buddha: Not at first.  I was spiritually ambitious and burning with desire.  That’s not very fertile ground for humor.  Later in that life I developed an understanding of the importance of humor.

TM: Is it as important as dedication and perseverance?

Master Buddha: In some ways maybe more so.  The ability to laugh at one’s self is priceless.  I see so many lives that tread the path of holiness and they are so miserable because they cannot laugh.  So much seriousness kills the spirit.

TM: I’ve learned to laugh at myself more recently and I can say it makes a big difference in reducing the amount of judgment I have for others and myself.

Master Buddha: Life is for experience and for fulfilling purpose.  That can be pretty serious.  It can also be very funny if you know that all of the mistakes and all of the pain go to the same place when it’s all over.

TM: Where is that, where do they go?

Master Buddha: They go to hell of course, right with the soul who created them.

TM: I take it that was a joke.

Master Buddha: Is it funny?

TM: Sort of, if you don’t believe in hell.

Master Buddha: And if you do?

TM: Well, you might not find it too funny.

Master Buddha: I tell you there is no hell.  Furthermore, I tell you that the idea of hell was created to keep you in line.  Has it worked?

TM: Maybe it has for some people, but probably not for most folks.  It seems there are a lot of loopholes to slip out.  It never seemed too enlightened a concept to me.  I mean it sounds like something humans would do to one another, but it doesn’t sound too godlike.

Master Buddha: Yes, but don’t you know about the battle, or perhaps feud I should say between God and the Devil?  God gave the Devil his due by giving him the real estate of hell and all the sinners that go with it. That’s a fair settlement wouldn’t you say?

TM: Okay, now I know that’s supposed to be funny.

Master Buddha: I’m doing my best to break your reverence for everything.  You can stop pretending that you believe everything must be taken so seriously.

TM: You’re right, I’m afraid of offending people, so I tend to show respect for all points of view.

Master Buddha: Does that mean that you cannot find the humor in all points of view?

TM: No, but like I said, I’m afraid some people will be offended by you or me finding humor in their beliefs.

Master Buddha: Do you find offense if someone finds humor in your beliefs?

TM: Well, since I find humor in my beliefs I don’t get offended.  But I don’t know if others feel that way about their own beliefs; so, I just avoid making light of their beliefs.

Master Buddha: That’s very polite and considerate of you.  Do you have thoughts about their beliefs and do you usually think funny thoughts, silently to yourself?

TM: Yes.

Master Buddha: Then maybe you should share them with others and let them tell you if they are offended or not.  Maybe they would have a good laugh with you.  Did you ever consider that option?

TM: Not really.

Master Buddha: I’ll tell you a story about a man who traveled the world in search of the perfect religion.  He stopped in every village in every country and sought out the priest.  He asked each and every priest, what makes your religion so perfect?  And after each description the priest gave he would laugh uproariously, falling over on his side, rolling on the ground.  At first the priest would recoil in horror and offense that this stranger would be so rude to laugh at his religion.  But eventually seeing and hearing the stranger laughing so uncontrollably, the priest would crack a smile at first and then after a few moments he would start to gently laugh and then he would also fall over with laughter.

The villagers in seeing this would think that their priest had gone mad.  They would try everything they could to restrain the priest.  But to no avail.  The priest would laugh and laugh for hours until he would fall unconscious in sleep.

This happened in one village after another as the man traveled throughout the world.  When he at last he had covered all known villages and had laughed with every priest, he decided to compile his notes about every religion on earth and why the priests believed them to be the best religion in the world.

When he examined his notes he began to laugh uncontrollably again. In every language and in every way the priests gave him the same answer.  Their religion was the greatest because the Supreme Being, God, had decreed theirs the best, the greatest and the one that all men should follow.

It was this news that he shared with each priest he encountered after the fits of laughter.  In that state of ecstasy, they all embraced him and thanked him for reminding them of their own arrogance.

TM: Thank you for that story.  But, really I think the man would have been hung in some places.

Master Buddha: You underestimate the power of pure enlightenment. Laughter is one of the best pathways to pure enlightenment.  At any rate it is necessary from time to time to keep one’s balance.

TM: We use humor to ridicule oftentimes- to belittle others and their ways.  I think that is what feels bad about humor and then it takes on irreverence, especially as it relates to one’s religion.

Master Buddha: Ridicule would be ineffective unless one has a powerful attachment to the importance and inviolability of one’s religion.  It seems to me that if one is so sensitive to receive ridicule, then perhaps the weakness is in his faith that his religion has any value at all and must be held together by his defense of it as being beyond reproach.

I once encountered a monk who delivered the most eloquent and beautiful sermon on the virtue of humor.  He told of his journey to a foreign land and of his many blunders with language and custom.  His audience was all smiles and laughs as they recognized themselves in each anecdote.  Why can’t we have that acceptance about religion?  Is it somehow more important than its adherents?  There is a problem here that goes deeper than offense at irreverence.  There is a problem that a man can only resolve by finding his true spiritual nature through a religion that he so identifies with that he has the strength and the courage to laugh at himself and his religion occasionally.  Life is experience and religion is also experience.  This means that it must be accepted as fallible and in need of evolution.  Man must not guard it as if it is a treasure that belongs only to him, and is so fragile that it will break at the slightest injury.

Religion is a living thing.  It is nurtured in the way all living things are nurtured.  It must learn.  And to learn it must not take too seriously what it already thinks it knows.  Otherwise there is no room for new insights.  Without new insights how is it to grow and learn and allow for nurturing?

TM: What about humor in our popular culture; it reflects where we are socially, but often in a mean-spirited way.

Master Buddha: You’re correct in your emphasis on ridicule and mean-spiritedness, but really this is the stuff of children.  It hurts one’s feelings to hear such things because of the attachment you have to the importance of such things.  The more that you clutch onto your beliefs, whether religious in nature or secular, the more offended you’ll be at the suggestion they are unimportant or faulty in some way.  There is no escape then from the mode of defense.  And to be in the mode of defense requires much serious vigilance.  This excludes humor from one’s life.

Without humor, expressions that should effortlessly pass through get stuck.  When you have a thought or a feeling at the level of consciousness and you stuff it, what do you think is happening to the energy behind it?  Humor allows for the movement.  Otherwise in its place we have judgment.  And with that we have stuck energy.  With stuck energy we have the root cause of disease and physical distress.

TM: I think I’m afraid to let go of the beliefs and I defend them because I don’t know what will replace them.  Maybe it will be worse than the ones I eliminate.  And then where will I be?

Master Buddha: You’ll be stuck if you don’t release the attachment to your beliefs.  Yes, certainly you could adopt beliefs that are no good to serve you and your fellow beings.  But remember, that at the point you have decided to openly question your beliefs, you have opened the door to your spiritual nature in a way that can and will inform you. It will not lead you astray.  It will take you where you need to go regardless of your opinion or protestations.  You may at any point stop the course, but if you feel that despite your discomfort or resistance, it is the right path, you’ll continue.

It is rare to find one who has no doubt whatsoever.  There is a difference between doubt and denial.  A strong attachment to beliefs relies on denial to guard its gates, so to speak.  Doubt can leave the door ajar and permit examination.  There can be a gradual release of belief as one becomes familiar with a new idea.

TM: It seems like there must be some value to the fact that the majority of the population holds steady with certain beliefs as a sort of social glue.  What would happen if everyone just shed his beliefs and tried on new ones?  No one would be able to function in a society where you couldn’t anticipate anything.

Master Buddha: This is quite the conundrum for people who begin to tread the path to enlightenment.  How does one explore new beliefs while remaining in the world that is governed by set beliefs that demand conformity?  This is not so hard to understand once you accept that everything will be okay if you are out of sync with the collective consciousness of humanity.  The mass of humanity is in sync with this collective consciousness and it is this fact that terrifies you and holds you back; yet at the same time it urges you to rebel against it. Remember this, most of humanity is subject to the magnetic pull of the collective consciousness.  They have no awareness that it should be any other way—they are present with it and do not question it from a philosophical perspective.  It is the way of life for them.

Those who have crossed the threshold of awakening and sense there is more to experience in life will not be satisfied.  They will agitate for change in their lives and also in society as they press against the forces of conformity.  This is the tension that is necessary to move the mark of progress for humanity.  It is the birth of new consciousness and it struggles to break free from the confines of its womb, which is represented by mass consciousness.

TM: Is this break more difficult in Western society than in Eastern?

Master Buddha: Yes, largely because in Western society, the individual surrenders much authority.  The irony is that while that is true, the individual is encouraged to compete and excel at the cost to everyone around him.  On the one hand you are worthless and not capable of making your own decisions about life and on the other hand you must lift yourself up by your bootstraps in order to prove your worthiness.

It is a system of behavioral conditioning that says that you are incapable of excellence except through the authority of (fill in the blank).  You may do your own thing, so to speak, as long as you don’t cross this boundary that has been established by the authority, be it religious or governmental.  The great problem for Westerners is that they feel they are the freest society on Earth, and yet their happiness seems to spring only from being in a position of economic and military dominance.  That again reflects the notion of being “the world authority”, which satisfied their belief system of being free.  If they are the authority, then they must have overcome some other authority, which means they must be free.  It is a convoluted psychology and one that will require a good deal of working out.  With the spreading of Eastern thought, many in the West are beginning to question this foundational belief system.  That takes us back to your question.  Yes it is difficult to break with a system that breeds insecurity and at the same time encourages development of the little ego to compensate.

TM: What about dedication and perseverance?

Master Buddha: Human nature changes slowly, in the individual and in the group.  Dedication and perseverance provide the counter balance to the insatiable impatience of humanity.  It isn’t more than a mental discipline to favor patience.  It is also a matter of the emotional nature in regard to one’s desire, but the impetus of impatience comes from the mind.  Dedication and perseverance represent the noble virtues that humanity identifies with, and so can provide the strength of character needed to thwart the ill effects of an impatient mind.  It is a bridge technique and once greater understanding is reached, it too shall be cast off.  Humor endures beyond the shedding of dedication and perseverance.  That is why I say it is the greatest of the three, yet they work together at one stage to assist humans to the next level of understanding.  Where a healthy sense of humor can dissipate despair, dedication and perseverance keep despair abated because of the promise of a better life earned.  Humor eliminates it immediately.

TM: We really admire dedication, loyalty and perseverance.  Those are character traits held dear by most people aren’t they?

Master Buddha: Yes, but your question began with what does it take to live a spiritual life.  Not what do most humans admire in one another. I’m saying that humor is a compassionate, loving way to accept one’s ignorance—of oneself and ignorance of others.  The opposite of humor about these things is judgment.  That means defending against your lessons, which in turns makes the lesson nearly impossible to accept without accepting blame for ignorance and the consequences associated with ignorance.  That means that one is shamed as one consequence, or one must feel guilt for being ignorant, or one must feel she is lacking in some way that points to self-inadequacy.  The intent of judgment is to undermine self-confidence.

TM: This always gets around to judgment is seems.

Master Buddha: It’s important to understand the harmful role judgment plays and that there are other options to using judgment.  Humanity has relied on judgment because it has been believed that humans are inherently evil or at least bad and that judgment is the way to keep everyone from enacting the evil things in their hearts.  If you could stand back from humanity as we can, you’d see how steeped you are in this belief and this stuck position.  You cannot advance any further by using the system of judgment.  This is the end of the road for it.  It will only bring destruction on a huge scale if your systems of thought persist in this way.

TM: That sounds gloomy.

Master Buddha: It is.  Judgment is the root of hate, for oneself and for others.

TM: Others might say it’s the reverse.

Master Buddha: They go together and so what difference does it make, where there is one there is the other and their presence makes it impossible to embrace love.  That in turn makes it nearly impossible to learn, to evolve.

TM: Yet, arguably humanity has evolved, and quite rapidly in some ways, wouldn’t you agree?

Master Buddha: The speed and progress of humanity is relative and really you haven’t anything to compare it with unless you are suggesting that perhaps you could compare it to the progress of a rock.  In which case I could agree that humanity is faster in progress.  But what does that suggest?

TM: I don’t know.  I’m not defending the use of judgment, I’m expressing that most humans probably believe we’ve come a long way in a relatively short period of time.

Master Buddha: Whatever role you believe judgment played in that progress is now over wouldn’t you agree?

TM: It won’t be so easy to just throw it away if you believe that it was instrumental in the progress you’ve made.  Aren’t there different levels of judgment, like this is good and useful and that isn’t?

Master Buddha: That is a different context entirely and one, by the way, that can be used to subtly judge while pretending to be open and neutral.  So, you’re right in stating there are different levels of how judgment is applied.  So maybe we can start with the most obvious way regarding human behavior.

This method of judging one another’s behavior as to good or bad has it roots in an innocent and useful social practice.  Early agrarian societies needed standards of behavior in order to coordinate the community toward those practices that would yield the greatest results for survival.  This included provisions for food, shelter and defense. It wasn’t too long after that however that some people, mainly priests and rulers, discovered that if they could devise, interpret and defend the judgment of behaviors intended for the good of the community then they could derive much power for themselves.  And it was from that point that political interests and greed for wealth and power became the motivating force behind the creation of the principles men and women were to be judged.  It has only grown more distorted and corrupt ever since that time and it will only grow worse.  So, that is why I say it has run its course.

© TM 2015