Jesus: There is much concern over which way the earth will turn in the coming years. The answer is towards us.
Form yourself now in our direction and you will escape the perils of a mortal life ruled by self gain and self deception. For when aligned in truth and spirit to us, All is well, All is peaceful, All is love. Our compassion and love for you holds no ends.
Background to Conversation with Buddha and TMichael on Smoking Cigarettes
Note from TM: This topic may be a bit off from the typical spiritual topics we talk about, but it’s one that I have been wondering about for some time from a spiritual perspective. Many people I know, including myself, have struggled with trying to quit smoking cigarettes. We all know about the health issues associated with smoking, yet continue. Is there an understanding about smoking cigarettes that could help people quit?
Master Buddha: It’s a good topic because it bridges the material and spiritual realms. On the purely physical level smoking cigarettes is well known to create a physical addiction. That is not so difficult to understand or accept.
It weakens the breath capacity and reduces the nutrients that can be carried by the blood. Additionally, it carries with it potentially harmful chemicals throughout the body. This is the part that is established. Just a small amount of common sense can grasp this and say that it is not necessary to smoke cigarettes to achieve good health and that to the contrary it degrades health.On the emotional and mental levels other addictions are at work. Smoking also creates an illusion of power. And this is much harder to give up than the physical addiction. Power can mean different things to different people, but I mean it I the sense that one feels powerful to do whatever one needs to do. If one feels weak in some way, he will compensate by finding some way to feel powerful. This is why so many people begin smoking as a teenager—a time in which a great sense of weakness is experienced. Others experience the attraction to smoking during emotionally upsetting moments. Still others enjoy smoking when they are drinking alcohol (this is more complicated because the source of weakness is not so apparent).
It should be obvious that real power is not gained from smoking cigarettes, but that is exactly what makes it a illusion. For those who derive power from it, it is real, and thus an effective illusion.
There is a proverb that states, “The best way to eliminate is to substitute”. In order to do this in a way that supports substituting real understanding for an illusion, one must understand that the apparent weakness for which the illusion is compensating, can be addressed through self-awareness and contemplation. Some people, when quitting smoking, will substitute another substance or activity that supplies the power they seek. This could be substituting one illusion for another; perhaps one that is less harmful in other ways. The real benefit will come from a true understanding of the weakness perceived in the first place, and then proceed to cure it. Some people can make the behavioral change without this deeper understanding I’m speaking of, and for them this is a success. For others it requires the deeper contemplation and cure. Most likely the underlying feeling of impotence, or weakness, is affecting them in other ways as well and this approach will be more helpful.
The worst thing that can happen is for one to come from an approach of judgment, self-loathing, guilt, shame or anger at oneself. Be gentle with yourself as you begin to unravel the complexities that lead to behavior that is inherently harmful. At one point, however erroneous, the smoking habit derived from an intent to cope by providing a power that compensated for a weakness. Seeing that error in choice and seeking a new one confirms self-love and care.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Sexuality in Western Society (Part 1)
TM: I realize that we may not be able to cover this topic in one conversation, but at least we can start. Please talk about the role of sex in Western society. Specifically, what do you observe as the general state of sexual health among our population?
Master Jesus: This is sure to provoke more than a few people who stand in judgment of sexuality when it deviates from their spectrum of acceptable behavior. Likewise, those who feel that anything goes will likely rise in defense of their personal honor if Master Buddha or I speak disapprovingly of their behavior. You’re right in that it will require several conversations in order to present a full picture of the state of sexuality in Western society. It is not our intent to approve or disapprove of human sexual behavior, but we can speak to what we observe from a perspective of what is serving humankind positively and what isn’t.
TM: Okay, that’s fair enough. I didn’t expect either of you speak from a judgmental perspective, but certainly some folks hope that you will. So, back to my question, do you want to begin with an overview?
Master Jesus: Ask a more specific question and let it lead us into what you really want to know.
TM: It seems that over the past century we’ve come through some dynamic changes from a moralistic and conservative view of sexuality to a liberal, more open view. Even though I know that doesn’t represent everyone, I’m referring to the norm. Has that shift been beneficial to our society?
Master Jesus: Yes, Western society has made a dramatic turn, more so than you are implying in your question. Observing from our perspective it is quite astounding. Most people will agree that there have been some benefits as a result of the shift, while others believe it has planted the seeds of ruination for your society. As with most subjects, there is a little bit of truth found in all points of view. But let’s see if we can shed some light on the various parts to indicate what has been beneficial and what needs to be adjusted to provide future benefits.
First of all, it’s difficult to speak about human sexuality without carefully painting a context for each part. For this part, let us talk about heterosexual conditions within the institution of marriage and romantic relationships in which there isn’t a marriage.
It’s clear from our perspective that many benefits have accrued to married and unmarried men and women from the shift in attitudes about sex over the past fifty years. However, with the relaxing of judgment and guilt around sexual behavior there has sprung up a great deal of confusion. This confusion has contributed to a lot of stress and tension between men and women over their respective roles. Over time this will work out and the major benefit will be a sense of equality. This was missing before the shift and has been slowly coming after a sudden lunge forward. The natural reaction has been two-fold. One is an opening of the floodgates to celebrate the release of age-old restrictions and the second is a recoiling of restriction to maintain the old ways. There is a growing middle that represents the balance between the two extremes.
TM: I agree with your observation. But there still seems to be a guilt-shame axis running through sexuality.
Master Jesus: Yes, this is true. But keep in mind that it is less than it was only fifty years ago. And fifty years from now you will observe even greater erosion in the role shame, judgment and guilt play in the enforcement of restrictions in sexual relations.
TM: But there are some folks who will argue that shame, judgment and guilt are sturdy enforcers and that we shouldn’t allow them to erode. If anything, we should reinforce their power to keep good people in line and get bad ones back in line.
Master Jesus: Shame, judgment and guilt have been the faithful servants of a philosophy that people are inherently bad and need the threat of punishment in order to deter them from wrongdoing. The problem in that philosophy arises in that it forces a belief contrary to the true nature of humankind, which then conditions you to perceive yourselves in constant need of redemption. The fatigue that comes from such an exercise is understandable. But the greatest harm is that it stunts your growth because you are constantly vigilant for wrongdoing and judging one another in an effort to correct or prevent wrongdoing. Add to that you have identified things as wrong that are social conventions created out of ignorance in some cases, and then perpetuated through superstition.
TM: But some things that have become social conventions regarding marriage have served to build families and then community, haven’t they?
Master Jesus: Shall we keep the context to sexuality so that what I am saying does not get confused with statements about marriage in and of itself?
TM:Yes, that’s what I meant.
Master Jesus: Let’s take the social convention of sexual monogamy, or partner exclusivity within a relationship. This is for the purpose of forming a family unit comprised of a husband and wife with one or more offspring. It provides a tight unity and strength to weather challenges on many fronts, economic, health, etc. It does that while at the same time connecting to families once removed from the immediate family. This forms a larger family unit that again provides reinforcement to the core family unit. Containment of sexual partners to the husband and wife ensure this family unity by restricting the likelihood of offspring from various sexual relations.
What protects this arrangement is fidelity to one sexual partner during the lifetime of the family. What has disrupted this pattern is a loosening of the shame grip on divorce and the subsequent remarriage and combining of families from more than a single pair of parents. In some cases this new family unit shares the connection with as much grace as a family unit from single parentage. In other cases, this is not true. Infidelity is the chief cause of hostility between marriage partners and can last a lifetime. Fidelity is considered a sacred trust and when one partner betrays that trust, the sense of betrayal is felt by the extended family and in some instances by the community at large.
TM: I think wounded pride, loss of self-esteem, shame, embarrassment and ego also play a part in this.
Master Jesus: Without question this is true. However, those personal components are activated because of the larger context of social convention that defines what causes shame for an individual or disgrace upon the family.
TM: So, you’re saying what some folks argue is that shame of getting a divorce kept the family together through tough times and in turn preserved the family values of unity and strength.
Master Jesus: You keep leaping over the sexual issues and grasp for the marriage issues beyond sexuality. We can have that conversation if you like.
TM: Thanks for keeping me on topic. Let’s stay focused on sexuality because it’s expansive enough as it is. So, you were saying that infidelity, that is, marriage or romantic partners who don’t honor sexually monogamous agreements, create discord within their relationship and the family and is likely the eventual cause for divorce. Most people would agree. What’s the point?
Master Jesus: The point is that if you take the social convention of sexual monogamy as a sacred trust and then violate it, you begin the breakdown of that institution. If it becomes widespread, then more rapidly does it breakdown. Once shame is removed as a barrier to divorce the offending mate, then you compound the acceleration of breakdown. Shame and guilt once prevented the infidelity, but in most societies males were often excused from this public humiliation. Although, this isn’t entirely the case. Witness the standard that your politicians must withstand in this regard. The general public still holds the sacred trust of fidelity as an accepted standard for your leaders, while lessening its application to your peers. And divorce is still considered a shameful failure in some circles.
To summarize, you began with the question of what is the health of your general population in regards to sexuality. We have taken a part of that in order to avoid generalizing across all relationships. Now we are only talking about heterosexual relations; specifically long-term monogamous relations. We are discussing the role of fidelity to a monogamous agreement and the results of infidelity. Are you ready to continue?
TM: As usual I want to know where this is going.
Master Jesus: I ask for your patience. In order to have some understanding you must go through the exercise of discovering what your beliefs are around sexuality in marriage. There must be some context in order to gain that understanding and to draw out your beliefs.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Spirituality and Governance
TM: Neither of you have ever taken much interest in politics and government in our conversations. And yet both of those activities have such a major impact on humanity that I wonder why you have stayed away from those areas.
Master Jesus: There are Masters who work directly with those institutions and we coordinate with them of course. Religion and spirituality must be transcendent, from the perspective of teaching, while incorporated as a matter of practical application. Humans must be free to explore their personal spiritual nature without encumbrance. If the process of spiritual self-discovery is intertwined with politics and government there is no way to allow complete freedom to the individual and control the many variables of a society.
Governments must be able to curb freedoms of its members to the extent that it is necessary to preserve peace and remove violence from their daily lives. But spiritual freedom is absolutely necessary to the individual if he is to reach his pinnacle of potential. He will in turn contribute mightily to society through his daily activities, like work and governance. It’s a mistake to think that spiritual understanding is a code for social governance at the group level, especially as diverse as are the populations of Earth.
TM: Yes, but governments are made up of spiritual and non-spiritual people who have to draw upon some code that is embodied in the laws of the land. Are you saying that the spiritual people shouldn’t suggest using spiritual understandings to guide the creating, enforcing and regulation of laws?
Master Jesus: I’m saying there is a fundamental difference between an individual understanding spiritual realities and a society choosing a code of conduct for its members. One is based upon complete freedom to explore and delve deeply into personal matters, while the other is dedicated to finding the most superficial level of engagement across a diverse array of personalities that must live together in peace and harmony. Without peace and harmony there is no point to governance because there is no point to living in a community. Humans congregate because it serves them to do so. Governance preserves the value of the community from a social perspective, not a spiritual one. By its nature, governance will have spiritual overtones if it consists of spiritual individuals. But it shouldn’t consciously strive to integrate spiritual codes into legal codes.
TM: I’m not sure I’m grasping this concept. Let me state it and you tell me- so if the members of a society tend to be spiritual themselves, even though they may not consciously try to mirror their internal spiritual nature in devising laws, it inevitably will mirror their spiritual nature. Is that what you mean?
Master Jesus: That’s close. But let me put it another way that may help you to understand. If I am a member of a society, I am also an individual. I accept that my social freedoms intersect with other members of my society and I accept that I may not express all of who I am all the time in the context of society. There is a governor so to speak on my actions in order to preserve the peace of my society just as others are doing the same. We agree to blunt our expressions to the degree that it is in the best interest for us to do so.
I am an individual who is permitted complete freedom to explore my spiritual nature and so are the other members. I can choose my beliefs and can worship whatever or whomever I choose in whatever way I choose. Now the big qualifier is that I can do this so long as it doesn’t involve me violating anyone else’s right to enjoy the same freedom. This means that my personal spiritual experience serves me individually and others who consent of their free will. But it shall not be imposed upon others.
The US and Canada have the closest approximation of this arrangement, as do some European nations and other democracies throughout the world. It requires a general sense of overall freedom in order to allow freedom for religious or spiritual pursuit. Governments that are authoritarian will not permit those freedoms because there will be an imbalance between the secular and the spiritual and eventually human nature will push for freedoms in the secular. Dictators know this and thus control religious freedom to a level equal to or slightly less than the secular freedoms.
The measure of a government’s willingness to permit spiritual freedom for its members can be seen in how it treats secular freedoms. Presumably in the freer societies, members openly participate in the adoption of codes of governance. More and more in your country have the leaders and powerful influences begun to strip away secular freedoms under the guise of security for all. You can see how this is working out and they understand that they must maintain the balance with religious freedom, i.e. religious freedom cannot expand beyond the secular boundaries. It will be a matter of time before small efforts will be made to curb religious freedoms. Without an adjustment in this way, they risk losing the ground they have gained in reducing the secular freedoms.
TM: I can see why you stay out of politics. So, I do understand the balance required. But it seems like a difficult thing to measure when changes are subtle.
Master Jesus: It’s a difficult thing to measure under any circumstances because of the complexities of modern society. But you do have a baseline of freedom from which any deviation can be marked. Just as there is a political outcry against reduction of personal freedoms, so too will there be a rejection of loss of religious freedom when that moment arrives. It is less subtle to those affected and they will signal the deviation from the baseline. Just listen.
TM: Will you speculate on a motive for reduction of freedom by those in power?
Master Jesus: I think that it is a mix of motivations, some are consciously aware of what they are doing and others’ motivations are so ancient that they are operating on automatic reactions of fear and greed. In modern societies, at least the past 2500 years, there has been recognition of this balance required between the secular and the religious, even when the religious right and might is used to govern the secular, and even when the secular powers have tried to extinguish or marginalize religious power. Politicians and rulers have learned that there must be balance even when it is slightly skewed to one side or the other. That may sound like a contradiction, but balance doesn’t always mean equal portions or weights; it isn’t needed to govern if your intent is to control others for your purposes. There is point at which one can push his agenda to achieve his goals while permitting just enough freedom to keep the whole system from falling over. The above statements, notwithstanding, the thing that cannot happen is that religious freedom cannot be greater than the secular freedom without the system toppling.
TM: Why not?
Master Jesus: There are two reasons. The first is that religious leaders can be prone to the same corruption spurred by power and vanity as secular leaders. If they are too much in a position of power because of an imbalance in freedoms it is more likely they will grab for the secular domain to pull under their power, which will force a reduction in the religious freedoms that helped them gain their power in the first place.
The second reason is that individuals are who free to pursue their spiritual life and spiritual understanding will eventually recognize the injustice in a system that too strictly rules their secular life and they will rise up against it.
So you can have a system whereby the secular freedom is equal to or slightly greater than the religious freedom and there can be balance. But the opposite is not true. There must be a relative balance up or down the scale in the ratio of permissiveness to restriction.
TM: Well, wouldn’t the result then be a balance, i.e. secular freedoms would rise slightly and religious freedoms might stay the same, but drop relatively?
Master Jesus: Yes, that is the point of my statement. A system whereby the religious freedoms are greater than secular freedoms cannot be sustained. There will inevitably be an adjustment.
TM: So, how do you coordinate then with the Masters who work in the area of government?
Master Jesus: We coordinate very much in the same way you on the physical plane would coordinate such an effort, but without the politics of egos and fear. We meet on a regular basis to discuss our respective plans and we identify areas that we can focus on together to bring about specific results that accomplish our respective goals. Please remember that we follow a plan that has been created by beings who are the creators of this world. So, in that sense we are working within a general framework that has anticipated many of the variables that exist today and has also provided many of the solutions for us to follow. There is a range of experimentation though and that is how we learn.
TM: I followed that, but want to know what you mean by “beings who are the creators of this world.” That sounds like we’re back to the alien discussion when you phrase it that way.
Master Jesus: I won’t repeat ground that has been covered in that conversation. But let me say that it takes awhile for you to accept the concept that there are other beings in the universe and that they just might have something to do with this planet and all its inhabitants. When I use the term ‘beings’ I am of course referring to beings of a spiritual existence who have created all the worlds in this universe. You cannot yet accept that this is true, yet you can’t offer an alternate explanation for how all this came to be. This assumes an acceptance that there is more than just the physical existence of what one can identify through the five known human senses. There is a great body of human scientific work to explain the purely physical part, and there is only religious work to explain what is behind it all. And that work is antiquated for the times and is now being updated through release of new information.
TM: You’re right, repetition is needed to help me get to some of the larger ideas. But I think I represent a lot of folks who have heard the same story for so long that it is difficult to let go of it even if we want to. Most of us struggle with balancing our checkbooks and finding quality time with our kids and friends, or just quiet time to contemplate these matters. I know you and the other Masters have compassion for us, but every once in awhile I feel I have to defend the difficulties of human life.
Master Jesus: All of the Masters who are in a position to lead humanity at this time have all served at one time or another in human form and well know the rigors of daily living. We also know the stubbornness of the human ego and how it clings to beliefs and attachments to desires of the flesh for comfort and a sense of security. We are reminded of our time in human form and what a struggle it was to go to sleep with the worries of the day upon one’s mind and how difficult it was to wake up and start the day when those worries had not receded through the night.
But don’t mistake our compassion as an excuse for the inherent laziness of the ego. We appeal to the soul of humanity to rise above the petty grievances of the ego and recognize your true selves. It is your ego that frets over the checkbook and whether or not your hair is clean enough, thick enough or pretty enough. It is your ego that wastes time and energy fretting over the million and one things that have to do with your self-image and how others see you that make you attractive to one another. There are deeper issues that will satisfy the soul’s longing for connection with each other, but you must drop your infatuation with the appetite of the ego and embrace what is important to your spirit. That is the role of the Masters, to bring you to that realization.
TM: Is it laziness of the ego or just ignorance? I know that when my ego runs on mind energy it tirelessly pursues its agenda; there’s nothing lazy about it.
Master Jesus: Yes, perhaps you are correct on this point under certain circumstances like worry or anxiety. But then there are the states of contentment for creature comforts that bring a wave of self-satisfaction to the ego and create an attachment to its comfort zone. This is more to my point of laziness.
TM: Would you say that the ego is the biggest problem in getting to the realization you’re referring to?
Master Jesus: The ego was born with the endowment of mind and elevated mental capabilities of humans. It has grown in proportion to those capabilities. Therefore, you see magnificent sized egos who also possess great powers of creation. Likewise you see powerful creators with virtually little egos. The ego is the primary impediment to realization of the true self, but it is not a permanent barrier. Nor is it in most cases absolute. That makes our work possible to succeed. For you as an individual to determine your success, it is a matter of allocation of personal energy, i.e. how much goes to ego manufacturing and maintenance and how much goes to integration of the self and higher creativity?
The ego is a creation of the personal self, meaning the corporeal-self. It is, in and of itself an amazing creation, except that it also insane and that negates the ingenuity of its creation. What human has not confused the ego for the true self? That is its power. It supplants the identity of the self and runs the show so to speak. The problem of course is that, since it isn’t real it requires enormous energy to create the illusion that it is real. It enlists the emotional nature because this allows it to manipulate the desire aspect, which it needs to preserve its own control. The physical body, to the extent it is capable is the servant to the ego and emotional desires. Thus one can see the corporeal-self and its identity as the ego.
TM: Okay, that’s a lot to absorb. One piece at a time. If the ego has been created by the corporeal-self, then it exists and is real, right?
Master Jesus: We have covered reality versus illusion, but can do it again if you wish.
TM: Maybe the lite-version to help with this.
Master Jesus: If I write a novel and create a character, is that character real or imagined (an illusion)? Would you expect to encounter that character on the street in front of your house?
TM: I could argue that the character is real within the context it was created. But for me walking down the street, no it is not real.
Master Jesus: Your ego and everyone’s personal ego are the characters created by you and everyone else. Your ego seems real to you as you live within the context that you have created for the ego and it will furnish you with other characters that it will script into your story for the purpose of maintaining the profile it wishes to maintain. In this vein, everyone is living within the context of a script written by her ego, who starts out as the character but transforms into the author. It is the filter through which you and everyone else lives. This is a personal reality in the way the novel is a personal reality of its creator the author. But from an objective observer outside that personal reality it is seen for the fiction that it is.
To summarize, the ego is your personal illusion, which all humans share and collectively create an entire field of illusion. Your true self lies hid behind the curtain of this performance waiting for reality to take the stage. The soul must make the recognition that the ego is not the real, true self and begin to dissemble the illusory world created by the ego. The ego of course believes that it is the real self and has already built in defense mechanisms for this attack on its existence. This is a great period of time of tension between the soul and the ego as the soul struggles to let go of the ego and the ego struggles to maintain its place of reality. The spirit is ever planting clues for the soul to recognize the truth in order to keep its appointment with reality and throw off the ego as impostor. Maybe this goes for thousands of lifetimes until finally the soul breaks free of the illusion and embraces the spirit, which begins the phase of integration.
TM: So, we’re all insane and live in an illusion because you and other spirits are our objective observes and tell us so. And your work is to teach us how to escape our illusion and arrive at the reality that you show is reality. How do I know that’s not just another illusion and one a damn sight worse than the one I’m in?
Master Jesus: As a teacher I don’t define reality for you, but I help you reach your true self who will inform you about reality. I can witness for you the truth, which I present and you can decide. And yes, at some level there is a truth, beyond which, we are incapable of knowing reality. That of course means that we are by some measure, in an illusion, but that point is so far beyond where we are today that it isn’t worth much to ponder.
TM: Damn, this system requires a lot of trust doesn’t it?