Category Archives: Western Culture

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

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

Sexuality In Western Society (Part 2): Jesus and TMichael

Sexuality Part 2,…society-part-2/
Sexuality part 2

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael on Sexuality in Western Society (Part 2)

TM: We left off in the first conversation talking about infidelity, divorce, and the role of guilt, shame and judgment within a heterosexual marriage (also monogamous relationship).  What would you like to add to that part before we move on?

Master Jesus: What do you wish to know?

TM: Is there anything that husbands and wives, lovers, mates can do to better understand the contemporary shifts occurring around sexuality within their relationships that would help them provide more joy for themselves and their families?

Master Jesus: First of all, they can stop and recognize that there are many changes going on in Western culture and that as much as each one is a part of the shift each one is also affected by the shift.  This requires compassion for all, even when one feels more affected and less the one producing the effects.  This wouldn’t be so difficult if there weren’t so many changes occurring simultaneously in your society.  The compounding of so much cultural shift is devastating to sensitive ones and challenging to everyone.  There was a time when most people knew their place in society and knew the code of behavior that went with it.  This has been disintegrating for some time now and it is blurry for most people.

This is why you see a severe clinging to groups and organizations that emphasize the ways of the past.  It’s an effort to put the brakes on rapid changes.  So, for those of you who feel changes are not happening quickly enough to satisfy your desires, have compassion for those who feel it is happening too quickly and they want relief from the compression of fear.

I can tell you the number of prayers that are uttered each day to slow down society’s speed of change and to return to better days.  Also, I can tell you the number of ones that wish for it to speed up to get to the point of new awakening and joy.  The goals are the same; both types want peace and joy in their lives.  They have different tolerances and notions of how to get there.  Have compassion for each other.

TM: So, what is the most significant change with sexuality between marriage/life mate partners?

Master Jesus: The most significant change will be equality between the genders.  The imbalance of male dominance as the authority will give way to equality.  This is not easy, as has been evidenced over the past one hundred years and more specifically in the past fifty years.  Some men are reluctant to give up this power and some women are all too anxious to take it from them abruptly.  It will work out steadily over time.  There are a great number of people of both genders who embrace this and make it work in their daily lives even though they don’t see it routinely supported in society at large.  That will change as more and more people shift into this mode and more examples and reinforcement are evident.

TM: What kind of time frame are you suggesting?

Master Jesus: I’m not suggesting a time frame, but pointing out the process.  Time is shifting according to the acts and acceptance of all those beings in the process.  Understand the process and where it is going and do what you can to support and encourage it with love and compassion for how difficult it is for everyone.

TM: To continue with heterosexual relations, is sexuality between men and women more about social adjustment right now rather than sex acts (physically speaking)?

Master Jesus: It always has been, it’s just more exaggerated now given the major shift we just discussed.  There are the basic physical acts between partners and those are important in conveying intimacy, tenderness, comfort, passion, intensity, joy and an array of emotions that spring from each person and from togetherness.  But sexuality is not confined to those acts and represents attraction on all levels.  Whether or not this is registered, depends on the conscious awareness of the partners.  In other words, there are energetic exchanges occurring on many levels and some people are aware and others are not.

You’ll witness the current interest in tantric sexual practices, which is an effort to connect to the many levels of consciousness available.  The emotional level most people experience, but many still are blocked in this way.  Others are primarily attracted to the mental level.  These are represented by fantasy exploration and imaginative experimentation.  The spiritual level is rarely if ever experienced by humans.  Those who do experience it have a difficult time describing it to others because it is beyond your normal sensual range.

TM: Is the spiritual level more related to the emotional level?

Master Jesus: Yes, in that it is a hyper-feeling sensation.  Yet it is beyond the one-to-one experience of the physical sex act; meaning that what many mystics reported in their experience of rapture, a feeling oneness with all, is closer to the reference.

© TM 2015

For Sexuality and Western Society Part 1 click here.

Sexuality in Western Society (Part 1): Jesus with TMichael

Sexuality Part 1,…society-part-1/
Sexuality part 1

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.

TM: Okay.  Let’s continue.

© TM 2015

For Sexuality and Western Society Part 2 click here.

I Want My Spirituality Now: Jesus and TMichael

I Want My Spirituality Now,
Spirituality now

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Spirituality and Patience

TM: Oftentimes I feel the undercurrent of impatience in spiritual matters.  I want it all to happen immediately and in complete fullness.

Master Jesus: The knowing is not of the mind or of logic.  It just is and you know it by feeling it, not thinking it.  It is a hard corner to turn if the mind is doing the driving.  For the ego and the mind, knowing from the heart represents self-destruction, which in turn, goes against survival instincts.  The mind is so clever in that way.  It’s a house of mirrors.  Everywhere you see a way out; that is indeed just another mirror.  There is no escape through the mind or by the mind. That is my point and yet it appears I am appealing to your logical mind to embrace this, but that isn’t the case.  I’m strengthening your soul to tap your spirit that holds the key to your power that unlocks your heart that alters the mind that frees you from the illusion.

TM: I suppose the biggest frustration I experience with spirituality is the shroud of secrecy surrounding it.  Of course, we are fascinated with what we can’t sense in our physical world.  But it seems like you could make things appear in our sensory form that would make things much clearer and universally understood.  Why don’t you do that?

Master Jesus: Have you never the noticed the many similarities found in all the world’s religions and customs?  Throughout the centuries, humanity has received the transfer of knowledge from the spirit world.  This has been in many forms including human incarnations of master teachers, appearance of masters in visible spirit forms, demonstrations for non-believers of feats beyond human ability and inspiration channeled directly to humans in all fields of earthly creation.  Remember that until recently the population of humans worldwide has been relatively developed in isolation.  In the last few hundred years has commerce between continents developed to such a point that sharing of cultures has become more prevalent and thus an education in how other people interpret social and religious events.

The stage is being set for what you are clamoring for, but it can only come when there are universal points of recognition and understanding.  Again, it is human tendency to view things from a present and provincial point of view without the longer time interval needed for events to ripen.  We are making more revelations worldwide now than in any period of human history.  You take it for granted because you don’t have the memory of all the other epochs.  Also, you have instant communication tools that never before existed, which makes news travel so much faster.  What was once a communication barrier is slowly being lifted to make it possible for teaching to be at once universal in language and delivered to people worldwide instantly.  That’s quite an opportunity, wouldn’t you agree?

TM: I agree it’s an opportunity.  But where’s the evidence of revelations in a universal language and experience that everyone can breathe the big Ah-ha at the same time?

Master Jesus: It’s coming.  There has to be preparation.  That’s where these writings and many others are going to lead.  You have to accept that revelation of truth is not an easy task, because it generally differs from what the majority has accepted through faith and experience as truth.  You have already said so yourself in your own wrestling with what we have to say.  Do you think you’re so unique in that regard?

TM: No, I know what you mean and it’s very frustrating and so I keep putting my hope in the spirit world to be so awesome in power that you can instantly overcome these obstacles in human ignorance and make it all better.  Childish I know, but it’s part of me nevertheless.

Master Jesus: When someone is in the pain of the moment it’s natural to want relief immediately.  But what if the pain was due to psychosomatic causes instead of real flesh and blood injuries?  You would take a different course of treatment wouldn’t you?  Emotional distortions and mental delusions require a longer time period to work through.  It isn’t so cut and dried as strapping on a bandage or committing to surgery.  Humanity has evolved to the point that these other issues are predominant and that’s the field we’re working.  The chief reason why physical wars and threats are no longer sufficient to quell dissent and discord within and among nations is that people will no longer accept the servitude explicit in that arrangement.  They will literally die fighting against it.

TM: But in Iraq and Afghanistan people were living under horrific oppression of their freedoms and they did nothing but endure it.  Where was the revolution?

Master Jesus: Had the US allowed it to run its course you would have seen the revolution.  Everything within its time and when outside interests force revolution before its time, then the forces of premature revolution become the new oppressors and will have to reckon with real agents of revolution eventually.  The US will discover this is true.  The old ways of command and control through wars and might do not work any longer.  You are witnessing the decline of those methods in this generation.  Just three generations ago if anyone had made these statements it would have been received with such incredulity as you cannot imagine.  But today you sense that it’s true, even if you’re not sure, you know it’s possible.

TM: I don’t know.  I hear what you’re saying and I believe it to some degree, but we still witness so much violence that it’s hard not to see the opposite condition.

Master Jesus: Your impatience is staggering at times.  And it’s not just your impatience, it’s all those who wish for immediate solutions to problems that are ancient.  That’s not an excuse, but an explanation that what has been created by humanity over millions of years cannot be rectified in one generation without the will of the entire populace behind it, and that simply isn’t happening.  So, your hoped for solution is that there be some sort of divine intervention to set things right, to speed up the process.  We have covered this and you understand it, right?

TM: Yes, I do.  Thanks for reminding me though.  You know what I really want?  I want for you and Master Buddha and all the rest to walk among us; sit in the chambers of our governments and address our leaders and representatives; visit our religious institutions and seize the pulpits; lead the classrooms in our schools; and really just be among us everyday to provide the guidance we need.  It’s the physical presence I want.

Master Jesus: All in good time, my friend.  The leadership you’re seeking is already among you.  It’s just that their voices cannot be heard at this time.  Well, not entirely heard, but they are growing in number and positions of strength.  For one who listens they can be heard.  Soon all will hear and then you can decide what you want to do.  I repeat, it is humanity’s decision and will that determines the next stage for Earth. As much as you would like to shuffle it to others it is yours.  You will be given a fair and informed opportunity to make your collective decision.  Don’t look for someone to take that responsibility for you.

TM: Our orientation to spirits, gods, heroes and the lot is deeply engrained.  We like being rescued in the final hour.  You’re saying that’s not going to happen?  There is going to be an Armageddon?

Master Jesus: That’s a loaded question in many ways.  The struggle is within humanity—it is your Armageddon.

TM: In reference to biblical scripture and even esoteric revelations, there is a war in the heavens between light and dark forces, good and evil, the mark of the beast, all that stuff.  A lot of folks say it’s happening now.  Explain what you mean by ‘humanity’s Armageddon’.

Master Jesus: Humanity has created crisis within itself.  It’s the crisis that has been prophesied.  But it’s not external forces using humans as puppets as your stories are telling.  That is part of the illusion created.  Humans have so convinced themselves that there are forces of evil and darkness that are in constant pursuit of them that they literally believe it is a race to the finish between good and evil.  The problem is that they can’t decide if they are inherently good or inherently evil.  Which is it?  If they are good, then Satan (or any substitute for him) is using every trick in the book to lure them into devilish insanity.  If they are evil, then they must use all their being to return to God and forsake their wicked thoughts and ways.

I’m not going to pretend that there isn’t a real experience of evil at the level of illusion, but it simply isn’t real on the spiritual plane and ultimately it is the spiritual plane that counts.  We’ve been through this discussion and I understand how difficult it is to accept that much of what you experience in life isn’t real.  Eventually you’ll see and that’s all I can say for now.

TM:  It’s very frustrating to hear that.  Because I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t.  You say love is real and everything else isn’t.  But how do I know what is real love and what is the illusion of love?

Master Jesus:  You don’t know it; you feel it.  But you can’t feel it if you live inside your mind.  And your mind manufactures the belief system to keep you in the illusion because knowledge is perceived as power and safety.  As long as that is the cycle then that is your trap as well.  You are imprisoned by your beautiful mind; that mind that is so wonderfully creative.  You have to admire it.  That level of creativity is astounding.  But it isn’t serving you to stay there.  Love is from the heart and uses the mind in a reality that isn’t inverted like humanity’s.  That is the next stage of evolution.

TM: That’s a hard corner to turn it seems.  I don’t trust that I know my heart from my desire that may spring from thoughts or my lower nature.  How do I know the heart and trust that is the source of my desire?

Master Jesus: The knowing is not of the mind or of logic.  It just is and you know it by feeling it, not thinking it.  It is a hard corner to turn if the mind is doing the driving.  For the ego and the mind, knowing from the heart represents self-destruction, which in turn, goes against survival instincts.  The mind is so clever in that way.  It’s a house of mirrors.  Everywhere you see a way out; that is indeed just another mirror.  There is no escape through the mind or by the mind.  That is my point and yet it appears I am appealing to your logical mind to embrace this, but that isn’t the case.  I’m strengthening your soul to tap your spirit that holds the key to your power that unlocks your heart that alters the mind that frees you from the illusion.

TM: In other words, that understanding is buried within me?

Master Jesus: Your spirit knows all that I’m saying.  Your soul struggles in the space between spirit and human consciousness.  Integration is the aim and the purpose of life on Earth.

TM: But what then?  What happens when there is integration?

Master Jesus: That is for another time.

TM: One thing mastered at a time?

Master Jesus: That’s right.

TM: So what can people do to help this process along?

Master Jesus: It’s different for each person, but let me offer stereotypical descriptions.  For those beings who are on the path so to speak—they have stimulated their spiritual awareness and are questioning their everyday experiences looking for spiritual significance in what they do—the path will lead to actions that set an example for others who have not yet awakened.  Those actions will consist of sharing, compassion, non-violence in relationships, acceptance and a willingness to separate their identification with aggressive materialism.  They will exhibit an increasing kindness in their daily affairs and less concern for what they own.  As a matter of fact they will feel that they have too much and begin to sell or giveaway many of their belongings without any effort to replace them with new items. Material acquisition will no longer satisfy their emotional needs.

It is no secret that many people in the West have buried themselves under mounds of debt in order to acquire vast stores of material items.  As this trend reverses it will bring relief to the pressure that many people feel to keep up with the pace of spending and earning.  At first it may feel a little painful or lacking in some way, but very soon after that brief phase they will find gratification in the challenge of living within their means and reducing their means in order to enjoy the many insights they are now experiencing.

TM: Our US economy and to a growing degree the world economy is based upon increasing consumption and production.  The fear, of course, is that if it stops or slows down real economic problems go into effect.

Master Jesus: This is truly the belief and one that has been carefully planted to keep the factories rolling.  The group of people who will at first experiment with reduction and gradual separation from this practice will discover that the economic destruction and collapse is false.  Your economy has these periodic problems anyway.  Those episodes seem more severe because you’re still in the old paradigm of earn and spend without cessation.  Once enough people do it willingly and with a sense of grace, the severity will not be a part of the experience.

TM: As a brief aside, who planted the idea “to keep the factories rolling”?

Master Jesus: It’s just part of the story of developing materialism and wealth and power.  There is nothing sinister or improper about how the story came to be.  Commerce through the advances of the industrial period has served humanity in many positive ways.  It has run it’s course in its current form and now it’s time to change it.  The citizens of Earth have created this and are the ones to change it.

TM: What can other people do who may not fit into the description you gave?

Master Jesus: Witness.  They may not be ready to do anything other than observe and that is okay because eventually they will see that their fears are unwarranted.  For the more advanced souls, teaching the ones in the middle will be their role.  Thus you have these three major segments.

TM: It sounds like it’s more a profile of Western society and countries with strong economic positions.  What will it look like in the weaker economic countries?

Master Jesus: The profile will shape up to be similar, but the pace will be delayed.  They will not spend as much time at the levels experienced in the stronger economic countries.  And by stronger and weaker we are clearly referring to a definition that measures production and consumption.  Since many people in the weaker economies have not developed habits of over-consumption they will not have the same sort of withdrawal fears that people in the stronger economies face.  For many, just having the basics will be satisfactory.

© 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

Fear of Death and Life: Buddha with TMichael

Fear of Life and Death,
Fear of death and living


Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Fear of Death and Life

TM: How does one accept death and the will to live at the same time?

Master Buddha: That’s not so easy to explain or understand.  The reason is because of attachment to living and then attachment to accepting death in order to be free from fear.  There is, in between the actual truth of acceptance of death and the first step, a period of elation at no longer sensing any fear around dying.  When the fear of dying has so long ruled the physical life it is quite a relief to no longer walk in fear of it.  However, there will come a test.  And that test will present an option to die or an option to live and that is when you’ll discover how attached you are to the notion of dying versus the notion of living and which one actually carries the most fear.  There are two parts to the fear aspect of living in the flesh.  The first is fear of dying and that preoccupies all your thoughts, emotions and energy to avoid its actuality.  Then there comes the fear of living, which exposes all the painful self-inadequacies.  That’s enough to make one embrace death, now no longer feared, as an escape from the fear of living.

Just as one has to face the fear of death, one has to face the fear of living.  The fear of living is the more difficult of the two because it is more difficult to imagine.  Death is universally the same, except perhaps in the actual method or circumstances of death.  Living on the other hand can be a slow form of death or a joyous expression of all that is.  You can choose which it is.  Again, just because one has the power to choose doesn’t make it easier.  You must understand what it is that you are choosing and have the skills to choose according to your individual nature.

TM: So, my question assumed there was no fear of living, only fear of dying.  How does the will to live then resolve with the fear of living?

Master Buddha: The will to live requires no effort because it is your innate spiritual will, which in the flesh is instinctual.  The fear of living is concerned with those matters of quality and choice.  How shall one live?  What occupation shall one choose to provide the essentials of living?  Shall one create a family, a marriage?  What will engage my thoughts and my energy?  Those are the questions of living that determine the quality of one’s life.

TM: Where do the self-inadequacies come in?

Master Buddha: That is the lifetime struggle for most humans.  It depends greatly upon the wisdom of one’s parents and the living environment that one is exposed to during one’s formative years.  But even under the best of circumstances it is unavoidable to deal with self-inadequacy to some degree.  In the middle, that which is normal, one sees that before a child reaches school age already the seeds of self-inadequacy are planted and many more shall also be planted during the years of attending school.  This is a tremendous challenge to change because parents are still struggling with their own self-inadequacies while trying to raise children, schools are populated with adults who are struggling with their own self-inadequacies and of course the children are in the thick of it as well.

TM: So, if I understand what you’re saying, it is self-inadequacy that is the root of our fear of living, not fear of dying.

Master Buddha: Fear of death is first, but it’s a mask for fear of living based upon self-inadequacies.  One must first confront fear of death and then begin the process of awareness of self-inadequacies and correction in order to reach the joy of living instead of the fear of living.

TM: What similarity is there between self-confidence and self-adequacy?  In Western culture anyway, adequate is mediocre and not good enough if one is to get ahead in life.  So where does this reconcile?

Master Buddha: Well, adequacy is a relative term in this case.  If the standard in Western society is excellence then that is what is meant by adequate, that is one must be excellent to be self-adequate.

Self-confidence can be genuine or a rationalization that one has created to cover for self-inadequacy.  There are only a handful of truly self-confident people, those who have mastered the fear of death and the fear of living.  Most people are spread along the spectrum of self-confident, yet still self-inadequate underneath, to self-inadequate as a constant in their daily lives.  The meaning of self-confident is to be truthful with one’s self.  So, in that case, there can be a conscious level of self-confidence and fears around self-inadequacy at the same time.  What I mean, is that you can be aware of your perception of self-inadequacy and still be self-confident in an honest way.  That is the point of transition that many people find themselves now.  They are exploring self-awareness, which leads to coming face to face with their self-inadequacies, which is giving them a genuine self-confidence that they are progressing toward joy in living.  It’s not always perfect and there is still illusion, but it is in the right direction.

TM: Can any of us really be inadequate?

Master Buddha: That’s for each person to determine.

TM: Yes, but we’ve determined for the most part that we are inadequate and you’re saying that’s a problem.  So, clearly we’re incapable of making this judgment.

Master Buddha: And by what standards have you determined that you are inadequate?

TM: We set the standard by looking around us and seeing the ones among us who are adequate and then compare ourselves to them.

Master Buddha: And how do you know what makes someone adequate?

TM: We’ve determined through our social consensus the traits that are desirable and those are the ones that form the foundation of our adequacy.  Then there are individual traits that one can have that deviate from the social norm that enhance our adequacy.

Master Buddha: So, under your system the guidelines are derived by social consensus and then measured by each of you as you see it in others in contrast to yourself.  Do you see others who are less adequate than you are?

TM: Of course we do.  There are others who are more and some who are less.

Master Buddha: Have you ever heard someone say really flattering things about you and you felt those things weren’t true?

TM: At first it feels good to hear those things, but there have been times then when I doubt those things are entirely true, maybe a little.

Master Buddha: Do you tell yourself about your qualities that make you adequate?

TM: Not often, but sometimes.

Master Buddha: Do you tell yourself about the times you are inadequate?

TM: Probably more so than the other way.

Master Buddha: Why is that?

TM: Because I’m inadequate more often than not?

Master Buddha: Well, you were a good sport to fall into my trap on this one. Although I know that a part of you believes there is much truth in what you said.  It’s hard in this world to counter the many messages of self-inadequacy.  And that’s what everyone wants the most, to feel adequate and have others recognize them for this.  It’s understandable that if you are telling yourself than you are inadequate that you would turn to others to get the feedback that you are adequate. What happens though when they confirm your belief that you are inadequate?

TM: That’s the worse when it all coincides to tell you that. That’s the worse kind of depression and despair I think; to feel worthless and incapable of living a good life.

Master Buddha: You have a fairly simple prayer that you recite to accept yourself as you are and know you are loved.  Because ultimately adequacy has to do with being lovable, don’t you think?

TM: Are you saying they are synonymous?

Master Buddha: I think so, even though adequacy has to do with a performance of talents that in total can make you lovable, what is someone if they are adequate but unlovable?  Are they happy?  What if they conform to all of the social standards of adequacy, yet they don’t feel others see them in that light and they don’t experience love in their lives?

TM: Well, that pretty much sucks.  So you become bitter or you try harder and harder to prove your adequacy, and lovability I guess.

Master Buddha: What is the prayer that you recite?

TM: It’s Love in Abundance.  There’s one line in particular that resonates with me in terms of self-acceptance and self-love.  “I am that I am and thus receive the blessings of love in abundance.”  If I’m feeling critical or judgmental of myself, I often recite that line with a substitution for “that I am”.  It could be, “I am selfish and inconsiderate and thus receive the blessings of love in abundance.”  It has the effect for me of embracing the worse things I could think about myself in love and then I just feel love and not the power of the criticism or judgment.

© TM 2015

Loneliness and Love (Part 2): Jesus and TMichael

Love and Loneliness Part 2, ‎
Loneliness and love part 2

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Loneliness and Love (Part 2)

TM: Is it an addiction?

Master Jesus: Of course it is.  You cling to the old story out of comfort in the fact that it is known, while the new story isn’t known. Humanity has struggled with this dilemma for eons.  Always there are those who support change and those in the majority who resist it.  This is built into the evolution of the species.  If change was too rapid, the status quo might never reach its peak of efficacy.  Remember the status quo was selected as the story to abide by at some point.  When it begins to wear down in efficacy a new way is discovered.  Those comfortable with the old way resist the new way while the others champion the cause of the new way.  The tension is created and at some point things change.  The addiction is the rationalization that something is good for you when it has passed the point of being so.

TM: So loneliness is an addiction?

Master Jesus: Loneliness is an experience of what love isn’t, which leads to a bridge experience of hope that leads to the promise of love.  Back and forth it goes.  It is the story that is addictive; the experience of loneliness is part of the story.

TM: Easier said than done to change it.  How do we just let the old story go?

Master Jesus: That’s not easy.  But consider that it starts with awareness that the new story may be true. Then gradually you begin to notice evidence of the truth.  Over time as you welcome the truth the old story wears down until it no longer holds you in its grasp.  The ones who understood the truth and who agitated for change usually go through this process too.  The timing is different for everyone.

TM: It seems overwhelming at times, the idea that we have so much to understand in order to alter our present course.  Sometimes the will to keep things the same over powers the forces of change.  But you’re saying it has always been that way?

Master Jesus: Yes, and every generation thinks it’s worse for them; that the stakes are higher.  By the way, the forces of change challenge the bedrock of status quo.  The energy of the status quo is not so fluid, having crystallized over time.  I say that metaphorically to underscore how thought forms behave.

TM: May I change the subject given the subject of change?

Master Jesus: See how easy it is?

TM: What are the greatest expressions of love that you observe in our culture of modern times?

Master Jesus: There are expressions of love through individuals and through institutions and they are in abundance throughout the world every second.  Believe it or not it is the predominate emotion.

TM: Really?  It doesn’t seem that way.  I thought you said in our last conversation that the other energies were stronger right now and that you guys are trying to strengthen love to make it dominant.

Master Jesus: We are strengthening the manifestations of love, so that when the force that comes in behind it comes, love will be expressed so fully that everyone will experience it.  It’s not what you observe so much because of the filters of observation.  To many, expressions of love are signs of weakness, or at the very least non-productive.  I observe the intimate moments between a parent and child, which is possibly the most intense expression of love.  There is romantic love that for some is the only expression of love that they have ever known.  There is the expression of love between friends; that love being rooted in loyalty and forgiveness and most closely imbibed with no conditions.

When I witness communities coming together to help one of its members through a crisis; that is an expression of love.  An act of creation inspired by love can be a beautiful song, a painting, a home crafted with the hands of its inhabitants or a building 50 stories high that embraces the dreams of its residents.  I find expressions of love in the works of many.  You call it survival, but I say that it’s love. Providing for one’s survival is love.  It has been distorted and made into a material quest for more, but it is nevertheless the ultimate expression of love for one’s self.  It doesn’t matter if it is used to gratify the ego or punish one’s neighbor or competitor.  It is an act of love to survive.

TM: Hang on just a second.  You’re saying that love can be used to gratify egos and punish people and that’s okay?

Master Jesus: I’m saying that survival is an act of love, perhaps the ultimate act.  The act itself is not diminished by misinterpretation.

TM: So, if someones intent is to survive, that’s love. And if they happen to kill a few people along the way, that’s okay?

Master Jesus: Hmmm…. that’s a bit extreme isn’t it?  We’re talking about love and you’re mixing in attributes of what love isn’t.  I appreciate the confusion that exists around absolute rules and definitions.  That is what humanity wants you know, precise definitions and guidelines. I’m sorry to disappoint you in that regard, but it doesn’t work that way.  Every time you create a black and white answer to a complex system you inevitably end up with contradictions in practice.

Let’s take these one at a time.  Survival is an act of self-love. Providing for one’s loved ones for their survival is an act of love. The next part of your question then moves to the means of survival; how one goes about securing the provisions for survival.  The means to an end debate has gone on for some time, but hasn’t really been decided has it?

TM: It has for me, although it is a major struggle at times depending on how refined you make it.  I wouldn’t kill someone in order to get food or water.

Master Jesus: Let’s say a group of people in your community formed a militia and commandeered the food and water supplies.  They are determined that only certain people are entitled to these supplies and the rest shall perish through starvation.  In a sense, they are killing you and others like you. Assume you have no other outside resources. Is it self-defense for you to harm them in your quest for survival?

TM: I don’t know what I would do.  To do nothing means I would die and if killing them was the only means to survive myself, then that doesn’t seem right either.  What’s the right thing to do in that case?

Master Jesus: There isn’t a right thing to do in this case.  There is only what you would do and what they would do.  We’re assuming this scenario from your perspective of survival.  But what if we peered into their perspective and discovered that their actions are necessary to the survival of the community because they have discovered that there is a lethal, communicable disease running rampant throughout the community and they are able to isolate the infected ones from the healthy members.  The food and water provisions are likely to be disrupted because of this calamity and so a quarantine of the sick ones and rationing of the scarce provisions is the only way for the healthy members of the community to survive and rebuild the community.  Should all the members of the community perish because they haven’t the will to allow the ones with a lethal disease to die without wasting their means of survival?

TM: These are the scenarios we pray we never have to face; the stories of stranded expeditions where people resort to cannibalizing to survive.  It hurts to even imagine what I would do.

Master Jesus: We have examined an extreme case that most people never have to face.  But by degrees from this, people do experience it in some form or another.  That is why it is so difficult, for example, for a wealthy person who is many degrees from starvation to understand the plight of those who are inches from starvation.  People don’t know to whom they should attribute their good fortune to survive comfortably. Some thank themselves, some thank God and some thank others.  Others don’t know whom to curse for their misfortune.

TM: As of this writing, the aftermath of the tsunami that struck countries in the Indian Ocean bears witness to much suffering and at the same time much compassion by wealthier countries.  What can you say to this situation?

Master Jesus: You’re right the suffering is immense and the outpouring of aid once it was realized the amount of devastation has also been immense.  This is an example of what I’m talking about.  The next step is to recognize the chronic suffering by hundreds of millions of people throughout the world every day.  In some cases emergency aid is warranted, but for the most part it is the long-term commitment of resource sharing that is needed.  The tension exists between the aggressive tendencies of humanity against the tender heart of humanity.  This can be measured by the level of fear in the minds of those in control of the resources.  The greater their fear, the more they rely on aggressive tendencies (even though they’re couched as defensive).  As fear is diminished, so they are open to loving response.

It’s rare to find an individual with the capacity to share what they have with others.  Sometimes their sharing is limited by their fear that maybe they won’t have enough for themselves when the time arrives.  Sometimes it’s because they don’t know where to begin. Sometimes they follow the institutional giving route that makes it easier to identify to whom to give and how much.  Groups behave in a similar manner.  To the government sharing add the component of strategic politics.  Sharing starts with increasing individual capacity for sharing by reducing fear.  For this reason individual awareness is a major focus of spiritual work.

© TM 2015

For Loneliness and Love Part 1 click here.

For Love and Loneliness Part 3 click here.

Loneliness and Love (Part 1): Jesus and TMichael

Love and Loneliness Part 1,
Loneliness and love part 1

Background Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Love and Loneliness (Part 1)

This is the third conversation with Masters Jesus and Buddha.  I’m never sure how it’s going to start.  I sit.  And wait.  I think of things to say but they’re not really the things to say only forced ideas that my mind impatiently pushes into the foreground to get it going. But then a question springs up and that’s the beginning.

Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Love and Loneliness (Part 1)

TM: Why are people in my culture so lonely and are people in other cultures lonely too?

Master Jesus: That’s a good question.  Relevant for many people, yet misunderstood in this age of plenty and hectic daily living.  As I look at the times that have passed and note that throughout human history and human suffering, never has there been as much loneliness relative to so much material and social progress.  How could this be?

TM: That was my question.

Master Jesus: Don’t you have an idea why it is so?

TM:  I don’t really know.  I observe people who are lonely and I feel sad for them.  Sometimes I see people who are surrounded by friends and family and still they are lonely.  They’ve somehow lost contact in a way that they don’t know if they exist or not I suppose. I’ve had moments when I felt alone, but they seemed fleeting like a day or two and then I remembered something that connected me and I was back.

Master Jesus: Do you imagine hope has anything to do with the feeling of loneliness?

TM: I don’t think so, but since you brought it up I imagine that you think it has something to do with it.  Do you?

Master Jesus: No I don’t.  But I can tell you that people who are experiencing loneliness feel as if there is no hope for them.  They are hopelessly isolated.

TM: If that’s so, then hope does have something to do with it.

Master Jesus: Really?  And how is that?

TM: Well, if there’s an absence of hope, then hope has something to do with it then hope has something to do with it—the reason why they’re feeling lonely.

Master Jesus: What if they’re wrong?  What if hope is just something that fills the gap in a perception of life filled with holes?  What if hope merely replaces for a moment the underlying sense of despair that is the theme of a disjointed view of life?

TM: Yes, but that is the point of hope.  It’s sort of a wild card, a get out of jail free card.  It bails you out when you don’t know exactly what has you down, whether it’s loneliness or depression or sadness.  Hope is a handy antidote.

Master Jesus: That’s an interesting way to view it.  I see love fulfilling that promise.  So is hope a bridge then to something else?

TM: I guess so in a way.  It’s getting out of someplace, an emotional place that feels yucky.  I’d say it’s more of an escape “out of” rather than a bridge.  Although I think in order for it to work, obviously it has to be a bridge to something better than the thing that one is getting out of.  But since you brought up love, how is that different from hope?  Isn’t it the promise of something better but in a more generalized way?

Master Jesus: Love is more than the promise of something better.  It is all there is.  Any other state is a creation of someone who isn’t connected consciously with the only state there is.  So that that doesn’t confuse you, let me state it another way.  When you are experiencing loneliness, fear, doubt, depression or sadness, you have created those states, but they’re not real.  They’re illusions.  Love is real and the only state.

TM: When you say they’re not real and love is, what do you mean?  What does ‘real’ mean?

Master Jesus: The limitations of language are real.  ‘Real’ means the genuine thing, the enduring, absolute thing.  It is the be all, end all.  There can be no other.  Something is unreal when it poses as something real. Sadness poses as reality, and so does loneliness.  Those states pretend to be real to give you the experience of what it would be like if they were real.

TM: That’s fine for you to say, but how can we know that is true?  When people are lonely or sad they are those things.  That is a real experience.

Master Jesus: I see how you trap yourself in believing that those states are as real as love.  Let’s say that only one thing can be real.  Let’s also say that everything other than that thing is unreal. The only reason you would believe that the unreal things are real is that you believe the real thing is unreal.

TM: Now you’re messing with my head.  I don’t follow you.  I know love is real.  When I experience love I know it and it’s real. Then there can be a moment when I experience loneliness and it’s different than love and for that moment it is real and love isn’t activated or present, at that moment, so the other thing is and it’s real.  Why can’t they all be real?

Master Jesus:  So, by your reasoning all things are real and none are unreal?

TM: Yes, I guess that’s true.

Master Jesus: But only one of them can be real at one time, is that it?

TM: For the most part, yes.  But I think there are times when I experience more than one state at a time, or there’s some overlap. Often I can sense the transition from one state to another.

Master Jesus: What causes the shift then, from one to another?

TM: I don’t know, it just shifts.  Thoughts trigger the shift I suppose.

Master Jesus: And you create the thoughts, is that correct?

TM: Yes.

Master Jesus: And you create the thoughts with the intent to shift from one state to another, or is it involuntary?

TM: Well, mostly I think if you’re depressed or lonely then you’re motivated to shift out and so it’s a conscious act.  If you’re in a happy or joyous state and you start to slip into another state it seems more of an unconscious act.  I mean people basically want to be happy and so they strive to stay that way.  If they’re sad they try to get to the happy state.

Master Jesus: I noticed you used happy and joy, not love.  Why is that?

TM: I remember what you’ve said, that happy and joy are states of love.

Master Jesus: So does that make love a meta-state?

TM: Could be I guess.

Master Jesus: If love is a meta-state and happiness and joy are states that reflect love, then what meta-state does loneliness and despair reflect?  Or do you consider them to be meta-states?

TM: I consider them to be undesirable states.  But I don’t know the answer, maybe they reflect evil.

Master Jesus: Now we’re getting somewhere.  So, you believe then that love and evil are the meta-states and from those the others come into momentary reflection?

TM: I wasn’t aware that I thought that, but maybe I do or maybe I just don’t know and you’re putting words into my mouth.  I have never thought that deeply about it.  I guess I’m like most people I just live my life from one state to the next trying to stay a little longer in the good ones and avoiding the undesirable ones.

Master Jesus: Well, that’s an honest answer and one that represents the majority, if not all, the human race.  But surely you have thought deeply about these things, as have others.  Is it that you don’t trust the conclusions you’ve reached?

TM: I think it’s more like I’ve never really concluded anything.  I resort to the old story of love and evil, good and bad, happy and sad, because that’s easier than risking a new story that may not be true.   And at least the old one is accepted by nearly everyone.

Master Jesus: It’s time to risk a new story.  I think you already have, but you’re not sure whether or not you want to tell it.  What if you’re wrong, right?  Then you’ve duped yourself and everyone else who believed you.  I’ve told it and others have told it.  It gets changed a little here and there so that it looks more like the old story to make it more comfortable for everyone.  So, I’ll tell it again.

TM: Please do.  I’m willing to listen.  Is this going to answer my original question about loneliness?

Master Jesus: Yes, and more.  Love is all there is in this universe. It is the meta-state.  Every other state of emotion you experience is either a reflection of love, or it is a state you have individually and collectively created in order to experience that which isn’t love. Evil is the creation of humanity and is unreal.  It appears real because you believe it is as part of your collective agreement to do so.

You experience life one moment at a time on Earth.  You experience life on more than the Earth dimension.  The meta-state of love is on all dimensions.  You create within the realm of Earth during your incarnation here.  Your creation does not extend beyond this dimension.  You can choose to create with love or you can choose to create with that which is not love.  At the point when your creation is purely from love then your boundary of creation will expand.  That is the moment we are all waiting and working for.

The challenge of humanity is to synthesize all that is in your human nature with all that is in your spiritual nature.  Love is in both and will temper the fusion.  Give up your addiction to your own creation when it isn’t in alignment with love.

© TM 2015

For Love and Loneliness Part 2 click here.

For Love and Loneliness Part 3 click here.