MJ: What happens to people when they lose their minds? It is an ancient status to ponder. Man has always questioned his sanity. Any given day he could become insane. Any given day he could regard himself as lost.
Oftentimes it is preceded by an emotional state of depression, despair or anxiety. Any of these things can trigger that feeling, that question that says, “Am I okay?”. Am I sane or insane?
This question is not lost on the soul. The soul represents to the personality a certain point of choosing, at that fork in the road to choose unity or disintegration.
This is the process and we have spoken of it before in conversations about integration and disintegration. It is a cyclic change that is meant to refine. If you can think of the human consciousness—personality, soul, spirit combination, as a refinery for experience that produces wisdom and knowledge.
It’s a learning exercise to be in human form and human consciousness on Earth. It requires a synthesis. It also requires the ability to disintegrate and reintegrate. The two great changes that occur—integration and disintegration allow this refinery process to purify the essence of what is love-wisdom. Love-wisdom is the term that reflects the heart-mind connection.
It’s this connection, the two in tandem that produces the wisdom by which one can live. The wisdom reflects ease and simplicity. The higher the wisdom, the more refined the process. Applying that wisdom resolves into the easy. In response to that will be the simple choices that facilitate the easy way.
MJ: Not too long ago there were several people standing around a bridge. And near that bridge was a large cargo truck they noticed that looked very suspicious to them. It looked suspicious because it had been parked there for some time. The windows were covered, the trailer was covered, it was quite conspicuous in its presence, but one could not tell much about it.
The people who gathered around the bridge began to speculate about the truck. They began to speculate about what cargo it might hold. And whether or not that cargo might be dangerous to them. They talked about the origins of the truck and who could have placed it there—who intended to do harm to them.
And so the speculations increased about who might have placed the truck there and may have put the hazardous cargo there intending to harm everyone. And before you know it the small crowd had grown.
They had enlisted others to their cause about this hazardous cargo truck they saw parked near the bridge; convinced the truck was there to blow up the bridge and to harm them and to prevent them from leaving their city. This speculation grew and grew until the crowd had grown so immense it surrounded the truck and demanded to know who was inside and what was inside and to dismantle this hazard immediately. As they approached the truck and tried to peer through the windows, through any opening to try to see the cargo, they could see nothing. This remained a mystery—what was in the truck and who put it there?
It wasn’t before too long that a car made its way through the crowd very slowly to the truck. Exiting the car was a tall gentleman around 6 ft. 5 in., slender, dressed impeccably in a Western style dress suit. He walked up to the truck, raised his hand and asked the inhabitants of the truck to step out. He couldn’t see a face, the window was blacked out, yet opaque enough to see movement inside the truck. Slowly the door opened and out of the truck stepped the driver, a short portly man, a full foot shorter, looking quite frightened and scared. Sheepishly he climbed down from the truck cab and stood facing the tall gentleman with hands raised.
The gentleman asked him, “These people are concerned about you and your truck and its contents and about what harm you intend to do.” The driver was quite surprised and also one could see it expressed in his face. He was quite relieved because he knew the cargo of his truck was not intended to do harm. It contained supplies for the people of the city. It was donated supplies the people needed. He was bringing it, but stopped before crossing the bridge because he needed to rest. He’d been driving all day and all night and was tired.
He wanted to enjoy delivering the supplies to the people of the city when he was fully awake; so he decided to rest before he crossed the bridge.
Learning of this the people dispersed and returned to the city and he drove the truck across and delivered the supplies. Everyone in the city rejoiced at this good news.
So, what do you make of this? What do you make of the story and the people involved in the story?
TM: I’m not sure what to make of it. I’m curious about who the tall gentleman was with his hands raised and why it was significant to the story. He broke the escalation of fear and anger of the crowd because he resolved the curiosity driving their speculation.
MJ: Yes, this is what happened. The tall gentleman who raised his hand to stop the crowd from speculating on the truck representing the danger and threat. He decided to take their curiosity and explore it. What is the truck, what is it for? And rather than presuming danger to ask, he ventured to ask. It was that simple to resolve by asking.
It was that simple to stop the speculation, stop the suspicions, stop the escalation of fear, to produce ideas and thoughts about the threats.
He was no one special. He wasn’t an official. He was just a person who interjected exploration, questioning and understanding in the place of ignorant speculation.
TM: Do you think we’re in a place where we are very quick to draw conclusions about things in the events we see; that we draw conclusions based on our fears?
MJ: If you look at all of the events unfolding in the world right now, most of them are local or regional conflicts, with very specific causes and with very specific aggravations within the local cultures and local populations. How much of that can be understood on the world stage?
How much of those local customs and those local histories of conflict are known to you, and can be known by the vast majority of the world population to form an opinion on these things?
TM: Unless one is willing to study vigorously the facts and reports regularly, I don’t know how one could possibly keep up. So, you have to have a trusted source tell you. But, I’m not so sure I can keep up with all of it with enough knowledge to form an opinion. How important is it for us to have an opinion about all the conflicts?
MJ: It’s not important to have an opinion on the specifics of these conflicts. But you can see the patterns. It’s important to see the patterns. That’s what you are looking for. Not the nuance of subjective facts to do with a particular situation. But the patterns that emerge from all of them. And which of those patterns are similar? And are the causes of those patterns similar?
TM: Well, are they? What patterns do you see?
MJ: I see the same patterns that you do. I see the same patterns that nearly everyone sees; the ones they are unwilling to stop. Everyone sees the problem, but no one wants to make the changes that it takes to stop. And therein lies the bigger problem. The perpetuation of the problems that exist will continue until the ability to stop is achieved. And people everywhere can look at their behavior and look at the way they think about things and can say the way that I think about this, the way that I believe in this is that helping me? Is that helping the situation?
The truth that may come from that understanding may arouse suspicion that you came about it without as much effort as you needed to apply. And so you study the facts even more to reach that understanding. You’re not willing to jump to conclusions that have scant evidence. You’re not willing to overlook certain things that would be clues that might be otherwise too horrible to consider.
Conveniently we look at these situations and we bend the truth to the thing we can most accept, or to the thing we can be most horrified we can reject. Often the truth lies between those two points.
TM: I’m not sure what you mean by the truth lies somewhere between these two points.
MJ: I mean that humans at this time are feeling narrow in their choices. They must choose sides because of uncertainty. The choosing of a side feels like resolution to the anxiety present in uncertainty—it resolves the tension between the opposites. It feels like choosing is being decisive. It’s committing oneself to a certain belief, certain agreement of facts and truth. And gives that feeling. It restores certainty, because now one is certain what one believes, one can be certain in a situation, and one can conclude and put it aside.
TM: So, you’re saying that the polarity of differences is extreme enough that it creates the tension where we feel obliged to resolve that tension and so we just change the view of the situation, the truth of it in order to make that fit for us?
MJ: I’m saying that it distorts perception, that the bias creates distortion.
TG: But isn’t that true for most things? Isn’t it true that our distorted view of things our missing facts, our misunderstandings, our describing and speculating on the intent of others has always rendered us more ignorant even though we feel more informed?
MJ: Yes, that is true.
But it doesn’t stop people from doing it. If it did, everything would be okay and we wouldn’t need this discussion. But it is true that all you just described is what happens. It introduces a false narrative that people then commit their beliefs to.
MJ: There are many things in this world right now that are confusing, confounding, bewildering and frightening everyone. It’s become quite commonplace for conflicts to arise on the slightest provocation.
People are setting their nerves on end. People are fraying at the edges; afraid to touch the sensitive parts. Afraid to touch the tender emotions within themselves for fear that they might take over and make them weak and vulnerable. Afraid to drop those defenses that they must constantly summon to fend off the day’s anxieties, the day’s anticipations of something going wrong, of some calamity happening, some disaster somewhere and the news reports circulating of conflict around this and that.
The times that are unfolding see much pain, suffering, and discomfort. And yet in spite of all of this pain and suffering, in spite of all the conflict, in spite of all the things that would transpire to make this an unlivable, unsurvivable environment; a truth peeks through the curtain. The curtain on the stage where all this calamity is unfolding. There sits ready a truth, a light to shine onto the stage and expose the calamity, the conflict, the fear of the nothingness that it is.
This is the way to the light. This is the way to the truth.
TM: What do you mean by the “light”? What is the light?
MJ: The light is the essence of wisdom. And what is wisdom? The light is the essence of truth. What is truth?
TM: I only know from my own experience what I think wisdom and truth is, but I don’t feel like I have an objective measure of what it is. I know that it is subjective to me and I have no way of knowing whether others have the same or similar experiences. So, how do I know the light, how do I know the truth, know wisdom?
MJ: You enter into objectivity in higher consciousness. Higher consciousness is infinite, it is eternal. It is from where you came, your origins—your birthplace is within the higher consciousness state. On Earth you are in time-space. You’re confined and constrained by time and by space. Most consciousness in the higher realms is in the emptiness of space. Which is most of what consciousness is.
In a three dimensional world it is time and space. Things unfold much slower; they’re slowed down for the benefit of experience and learning. Creation is slowed down for experience and learning. It is consciousness with training wheels, let’s put it that way.
The more refined you make your consciousness on Earth, by opening to light, truth, wisdom, the more you experience the one consciousness beyond time-space. Within the bounds of time and space, consciousness becomes differentiated for the purpose of experience. To slow it down allows for the experience; allows for mistakes. It allows for wrongdoing, it allows for free will to explore what is not love. What is not love is there to experience; so, that when you make your choice you’ll know for sure. It is true, it is subjective, yes. But it is subjective through experimentation.
If I say to you love and light and power are the combinations of energies from the realm of higher consciousness that are also available in time-space. But you come to them through your choosing through your coordination and alignment, through conforming to the higher perfected standards of your creation. You as a created body, you as a created human form stand in perfection created in the image of God.
And by image I don’t mean appearance only. The image of God is a full-functioning, integrated human being psychologically and spiritually. The time-space being of consciousness of the experiential world connects to the higher consciousness of one. Your identity is not your name, your job role, your role as parent, grandparent, brother, sister, son, daughter. Those are roles and identities of your time-space self.
But not of your spiritual self. Not of your one consciousness.
TM: So, how do we live in this world of experience that has weight and pressure, which seems intense at times as if it creates a barrier to the understanding of what you’re talking about? I don’t understand how we’re supposed to deal with that. We’re not experts at this, how are we supposed to deal with the differences between these two realities?
The truth may be the same, but the realities are so different.
MJ: Indeed the realities are different and distinct, as they were designed to be. The differences provide a contrast between the two states, which motivates you to choose.
It is a difficult existence in that survival is based on clarity. A clarity of yourself and your surroundings. And of the way you interact with the world to remove those frictions that are an obstacle to your survival. And you must move along with them. You must harness the energy inherent in everything to survive. This is made all the easier with a spiritual alignment and integration first within oneself.
The psychological integration of physical body, emotional body and mental body—those three bodies that make up the personality. Those parts that make up the personality must be in alignment. They must be integrated so that a single action moves through all three without tension, friction or obstacle. That’s what makes it easy.
And once the personality has aligned and has sorted through all those behaviors that bring alignment so that an emotional desire for a particular food or particular drug or something that is perhaps harmful to the physical or mental bodies is regulated without discipline or deprivation.
It shifts through love and through the heart to a matter of devotion. A matter of devotion to one’s love for God. If one loves God and knows that God loves you, then you love yourself.
And as you love yourself you will not do those things that harm yourself. It isn’t a resistance, it’s an embracing of love. And therein lies the difference. Love knows cooperation. Love knows self-care. Mental discipline to not harm yourself, and to refrain from harming yourself requires a discipline and structure of behaviors and rituals will not endure.
Without the heart and devotion it has not the power to complete the mission to success. It takes more energy at some point to maintain discipline, than the capacity of the individual to sustain it. Devotion is forever and requires no effort.
Opening the heart is all that is required. Keeping the heart open is all that is required. And all of that is a presence of acceptance. Acceptance of oneself without judgment.
TMichael: Tracey submitted the following questions. Your sincere questions are welcome and I’ll do my best to include them in a conversation for publication from time to time.
Q: Tracey N. asks:
“My counsellor has directed me to some books. In one, they talk about Adam and Eve’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden and how this changed everything for future humanity-we became sinners and “since the Fall”, we come out of the womb empty, terrified and isolated. I have a hard time grasping this concept of sin/sinners, etc. How one “selfish” action created problems for all that follow. If we are our own creators and extensions of God, who is pure love, how is this possible?”
A: Maitreya answers:
This is the classical Christian story. It’s not so easily dismissed because it is not entirely false, yet it is so greatly simplified as to be misleading. This is a great problem for humanity, it’s teachers and those who have sincere questions and longing for truthful answers. No human can know the answers for certain. Only those on the spiritual side know what occurred during the time of Adam and Eve, and know whether or not there are demons and devils. And yet there seems to be no relief from the questions and speculative answers. The chief longing is to have answers that can be recognized as certain truth.
I’m afraid the truth will remain as it is, a mystery until such time as each human is someday on the other side and can see the answers free from the constraints of time. That won’t be much comfort for someone who believes that knowing the truth will help guide her life today.
Is it necessary to know in order to live a life beautifully? If devils and demons exist to terrorize humans, then what is a human’s defense against harm? To hire a priest or minister who claims falsely to know a demon’s nature and exorcise them?
Do you need to know that your original parents sinned by disobeying God and therefore all offspring forever are doomed to be visited by punishment for that sin?
The questions are directed at the wrong line of inquiry. Instead of seeking to explain why there is misery and disappointment in your life, seek instead to find joy and accept that misery and disappointment are your teacher, i.e. an alternate state. Understanding why something exists in a state doesn’t always guarantee a remedy for change. This may sound harsh and uncaring for a person’s misery and heartbreak, but it is not. A person can get stuck going in circles by asking the wrong questions and listening to answers from the wrong sources.
That in and of itself may sound fatalistic too. A dead end of sorts where one is left without a turnaround, a way out. There are only a few knowledgeable humans on Earth at this time who could begin to tell you what you are asking and they are secluded. Even so, if you spoke to them you’d be disappointed in their answers, because they would require a comprehension beyond your own capacity to grasp.
Seek your inner guidance and counsel on these matters. That is not to mean to say that you won’t have times in your life when another can help you through a situation through counseling. Focus your thought and inquiry on where you want to be, not on the presumed obstacles blocking your way.
Why Do We Need To Trust Non Allopathic Healers?- TMichael with Jesus
TM: Why do some healers ask us to take it on faith that they are competent?
MJ: Which healers are you referring to?
TM: I’m primarily referring to healers from the non-allopathic spectrum, but also include some M.D.s. Mostly I’m speaking of healers who use techniques that are non-verifiable.
MJ: The scientific realm of medicine is relatively new as reckoned by time of humanity’s place on earth. Most people today are horrified to hear of past practices administered by “medical” men; even within your lifetime some practices now seem brutish. Technology has changed medical practice immensely.
TM: It has in some ways I think. But you’re referring to allopathic medicine. What technology is there to advance non-allopathic techniques?
MJ: It depends on what you define as technology I suppose. There is technology that serves both methodologies. Why for instance would a device that measures blood pressure serve only allopathic medicine? It’s measuring a result. So, if a practitioner applying acupuncture to a patient to reduce blood pressure uses the same device to monitor his result as an M.D., then the device serves both methods.
TM: That’s true.
MJ: I think I know what you’re talking about though and I’ll go into that. You’re talking about people who profess to be healers, but don’t claim to produce results that can be objectively measured, but instead rely upon the testimony of the patient to report results. Those can prove to be unreliable at times. Do you think that happens too within the allopathic realm?
TM: It does. I think non-allopathic healing practices refer to non-physical causes to physical symptoms in presenting an illness. And allopathic care has focused on the physical realm almost exclusively. Measuring results tends to cover the physical symptoms and points to physical causes.
MJ: You’ve identified a major point of consideration: since the technology of measurement happens in an environment of allopathic care it tends to confirm the validity of the methodology that it serves and the underlying assumptions supporting its principles. Most non-allopathic practitioners don’t have access to MRI equipment or other expensive technology to support their practices. That means any results they achieve either go unnoticed, or rely upon the testimony of the patient, or must be used in conjunction with an allopathic practioner that does have access to the technology and can thus claim credit for the positive results.
TM: It seems you’re leaning towards support of the non-allopathic healers by saying that the decks are stacked against them, kind of a Rodney Dangerfield “get no respect” slant. What does this have to do with spirituality by the way? You must admit that this topic was prompted by you and I merely accepted it because I wonder about it from time to time.
MJ: I simply chose a topic that I know you’ve pondered for many years as a suggestion for us to have a conversation about it. Its connection to spirituality is a tricky question, because it presumes that some things are related to spirituality and some aren’t. Can you think of something that isn’t connected to spirit?
TM: Uh, not really, if I’m thinking as a spiritually inclined person. But I doubt an atheist would answer your question that way. Maybe they would say nothing is connected to spirit.
MJ: But you’re not an atheist by virtue of having this conversation with me, and perhaps this conversation and all the other ones in this series are for people who believe in a spiritual existence.
TM: I accept that.
MJ: You are quite argumentative at times without a genuine connection to the essence of the matter. Are you feeling conflicted about your own understanding of spirituality and whether or not you accept it as a truth to live by? Is that why you usually reject healing practices that claim to base physical symptoms on non-physical causes? And may I add that you don’t trust allopathic methods either, and so where does this leave you when you are ill?
TM: There is truth to your insinuation that I’m self-contradictory on this issue. And maybe you know what I want to talk about before I know. Yes, I tend to not trust most healing methodologies because of a combination of past experience and I’m predisposed with a suspicious nature. And finally you’re right that I’m conflicted on applying spirituality to human affairs, because I don’t see much proof of spirituality’s existence, or least I just don’t know what is or isn’t proof. But are most people that sure?
MJ: That’s a good question. With advances in scientific explanation for things, spirituality has taken a backseat in answering the questions posed in all areas of life. This was a necessary step in the evolution of humanity to separate the spiritual from superstitions. But I’ll suggest to you now that science will gradually learn to measure phenomena beyond the physical or material and then there will be a convergence of sorts. This is already happening within the field of physics and subatomic properties, as well as the nature of energy. Superstitions can be expelled by science, and this is good. Spirituality cannot be expelled nor disproved; but also it can’t be proven. There will come a day when this will be much clearer.
TM: I think your last statement is the one that causes me the greatest concern—it’s always in the “future” for spiritual realities. Why can we send spacecraft beyond our solar system, but we can’t prove the existence of the soul?
MJ: Your question serves two different issues. If the scientific community wanted to apply the same resources to proving the existence of the soul as they do to space travel, then the proof would be available. Until proof of the soul serves an economic end it won’t happen. Or I can say it another way—until humanity has exhausted it’s curiosity of the material realm to such a degree that spiritual understandings become more important, then we will have the disparity you see now. We’ve had this discussion many times and it hasn’t resolved for you. You’re concern is targeted to the spiritual realm and why we haven’t produced more proof for humanity. You can understand that it is humanity’s will to provide this proof to its own satisfaction as has been done with scientific inquiries.
TM: You’re right, I do blame the spiritual realm for not driving the point more assertively. I forget that humanity has to do it and I deflect my frustration onto the spiritual realm. In fairness, the spiritual realm has given humanity plenty of direction and we tend to bog down in religious dogma. I think I’ve strayed from my opening question, but appreciate the way you guide the conversation around to what really is at the root of it.
MJ: You often know the answers to questions you ask. It’s a matter of helping you see that. Make no mistake there are fraudulent practitioners within the populations of allopathic and non-allopathic healers, and they only serve to undermine perception of competency and trust. There are many who do good and effective work. We’ve witnessed a convergence of healers from both camps who can appreciate the value of both methodologies and work together to produce positive results. It is through that collaboration that we will see better application of measurement that shows the efficacy of both methods.
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.
Conversation with Master Buddha and TMichael: Faith
TM: What is the nature of faith as it relates to matters spiritual or religious?
Master Buddha: The nature of faith rests on the premise that there are things one can’t know for certain through direct observation, and so one must imagine that given a strong feeling that something must be true, then it is accepted as true. It becomes a belief in one’s truth based upon the strong feeling.
TM: So what we consider to be evidence of truth through direct observation of facts is not faith?
Master Buddha: Well, that is faith also to some extent, because has one ever experienced absolute proof of truth? Can you truly say that even the things you thought you proved to yourself through direct observation have always been really true? Have there been occasions where you observed a thing to be true and later discovered your observations were not so accurate? There is usually some element of doubt and faith fills in the gap.
TM: Aren’t all these considerations about truth relative to time and our progressive understanding of many things that change over time?
Master Buddha: Yes, of course. Your understanding of truth changes as you grow to reach new understandings about yourself, others and the universe. There is always a measure of faith thrown in to close the gaps and to bridge your doubt and what you perceive is truth in that moment. Once you think you have reached some absolute truth, you will soon discover the illusion inherent in that notion. It is better to say, for now I think I know the truth of this matter and I’ll take it on faith as I continue searching for new information, new knowledge, new understanding about this.
There are those people who believe in a mechanistic universe. That there are physical laws that behave in a way that explains all the phenomena that surrounds you. You might say that even for those believers there is a measure of faith to fill in the parts that are missing.
TM: Some people allow more room for faith and some it seems allow less room. But you’re saying that we all allow some room for faith regardless of our beliefs?
Master Buddha: Yes, I’m saying that. As science has progressed, it has revealed the vast knowledge that humanity has amassed in understanding your world. It has also revealed the vast ignorance. If you plot that on a time continuum you can see that the more that you know, the greater your understanding that there is so much more you don’t know. So, you take what you know and you project a little further into the future of the possibilities of things that could be true. That is a form of faith. If you act upon faith by assuming the projections are true, then it is meaningful. To speculate is to explore ideas about truth and to act upon faith that something is true is commitment.
TM: It seems to me that people of religious and spiritual faith rely upon teachings of the past to form their foundation, which requires faith that the teachings were accurately recording and interpreted.
Master Buddha: And that the projections of those truths are applicable to humanity today. There are many new teachings brought forth today and they are received similarly as were the teachings given long ago. There is a resistance to new teachings by humanity, because they cling to the old ones, the ones they were taught are true. There is a lag in time for new beliefs to be accepted.
TM: No way around that is there?
Master Buddha: Not likely it will change any time soon. It is human nature and probably a good characteristic if it is moderate.
Background to Conversation with Buddha and TMichael on Smoking Cigarettes
Note from TM: This topic may be a bit off from the typical spiritual topics we talk about, but it’s one that I have been wondering about for some time from a spiritual perspective. Many people I know, including myself, have struggled with trying to quit smoking cigarettes. We all know about the health issues associated with smoking, yet continue. Is there an understanding about smoking cigarettes that could help people quit?
Master Buddha: It’s a good topic because it bridges the material and spiritual realms. On the purely physical level smoking cigarettes is well known to create a physical addiction. That is not so difficult to understand or accept.
It weakens the breath capacity and reduces the nutrients that can be carried by the blood. Additionally, it carries with it potentially harmful chemicals throughout the body. This is the part that is established. Just a small amount of common sense can grasp this and say that it is not necessary to smoke cigarettes to achieve good health and that to the contrary it degrades health.On the emotional and mental levels other addictions are at work. Smoking also creates an illusion of power. And this is much harder to give up than the physical addiction. Power can mean different things to different people, but I mean it I the sense that one feels powerful to do whatever one needs to do. If one feels weak in some way, he will compensate by finding some way to feel powerful. This is why so many people begin smoking as a teenager—a time in which a great sense of weakness is experienced. Others experience the attraction to smoking during emotionally upsetting moments. Still others enjoy smoking when they are drinking alcohol (this is more complicated because the source of weakness is not so apparent).
It should be obvious that real power is not gained from smoking cigarettes, but that is exactly what makes it a illusion. For those who derive power from it, it is real, and thus an effective illusion.
There is a proverb that states, “The best way to eliminate is to substitute”. In order to do this in a way that supports substituting real understanding for an illusion, one must understand that the apparent weakness for which the illusion is compensating, can be addressed through self-awareness and contemplation. Some people, when quitting smoking, will substitute another substance or activity that supplies the power they seek. This could be substituting one illusion for another; perhaps one that is less harmful in other ways. The real benefit will come from a true understanding of the weakness perceived in the first place, and then proceed to cure it. Some people can make the behavioral change without this deeper understanding I’m speaking of, and for them this is a success. For others it requires the deeper contemplation and cure. Most likely the underlying feeling of impotence, or weakness, is affecting them in other ways as well and this approach will be more helpful.
The worst thing that can happen is for one to come from an approach of judgment, self-loathing, guilt, shame or anger at oneself. Be gentle with yourself as you begin to unravel the complexities that lead to behavior that is inherently harmful. At one point, however erroneous, the smoking habit derived from an intent to cope by providing a power that compensated for a weakness. Seeing that error in choice and seeking a new one confirms self-love and care.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Integration and Disintegration
TM: I feel like for many years I have tried to integrate my human self with my spiritual self. At times I feel I have reached some measure of success only to witness set backs in the form of failures in my life—failures to live purely in my convictions, or failures in relationships, etc. How can we feel one moment in the complete bliss of integration and then later as if things have become unraveled?
Master Buddha: There is a natural progression toward integration that includes disintegration. It’s the same as when you try to affix one object to another and the seal is not set just right. Maybe there is debris mixed in the seal. Maybe there are gaps in the seal. Whether it’s obstruction or space, the seal is not complete and can be easily pried apart with the least amount of stress to one of the objects. Your human personality and your spirit work in a similar fashion.
Once you are inspired and begin to inquire about your spiritual nature you begin to receive information about spirit. You begin to look at your human life through a new filter. You begin to question your life and its meaning. This is the beginning of integration.
Recognize what is happening even in this beginning. There is a natural disintegration of your human personality, that is, due to new, incoming information from spirit your personality begins to fragment and parts begin to modify. Some parts you may let go—destruction. Some parts you may transform. But what was before is no longer the same. Disintegration within the personality has occurred. At the same time, integration has begun between spirit and personality. However minute that may be, it is an integration.
There is a series of cycles of integration and disintegration that occurs. This may go on for a period of time until the tension resolves and you conclude that you have settled on a point of integration. That is what you describe as the point of bliss.
That state persists for some time until there is a crisis, which disturbs that state. New tension is created and you begin the cycle of disintegration—the tension must be resolved. Suddenly you may realize that all the beliefs you adopted in your quest for spiritual alignment where somehow off. You shed them as a snake sheds his skin. Now you are disintegrating your spiritual concepts.
The process is one by which personality disintegrates, spirit disintegrates, the combination of the two in relationship disintegrates and then it begins a new cycle of integration.
TM: So when do we know we’ve reached the final point of integration? How long will this go on? It’s tiring and almost maddening.
MB: It is no different really than my opening example. It continues until you have properly removed the debris or space between the two objects of integration.
TM: Won’t there always be things we can’t or don’t know about ourselves, personally or spiritually?
MB: This is the great challenge of enlightenment—when do you reach that point? Who can know, perhaps one who is fully enlightened? But how do you know who that is if you are not fully enlightened yourself? Is that not the basis of faith? Faith covers the gap between what you know to be true and what you don’t know. It is the motivation to continue, because you believe in the process.
TM: Makes me want to give up at times and say this is bogus, a waste of time.
MB: Yes, and for a while you might do that. That’s a point of disintegration between your personality and your spiritual self. When faith or belief in the process can’t be the salve to satisfy the tension, then abandonment is a choice. That’s natural.
TM: So, that happens, then what? Why would I get on the treadmill again?
MB: You may not. You may decide to live from the perspective that your personality is all there is. That the state of personality is all there is for everybody and that is your world. You may find some new evidence that pushes you back into inquiry, which starts the cycle of integration and disintegration again.
TM: I’ve done both of those things. It’s wearing me out.
MB: Yet it continues. So, something within you pushes through the haze and says try again. What pushes?
TM: I don’t know, something happens and it starts again. Maybe I should pay attention, but it seems like before I know it I’m inquiring again.
MB: Well, let that be a mystery for now. As you progress through the cycle maybe that is revealed for you. Then it will be okay for a while until something else happens to disturb it.
TM: So, basically you’re saying that it is a struggle forever and I’ll either engage the process or I won’t.
MB: I’m not saying it’s a struggle forever. I’m saying that it’s a struggle for as long as it is and that it doesn’t really matter how long it takes. Until such time that your spiritual self can tap into its essence within your personality and transmute it into a reflection of spirit, you will go through various stages of integration and disintegration. Your impatience may serve you to keep trying or it may persuade you to abandon the process. Your choice.
TM: Yeah, I always come back.
MB: One simple truth is that you don’t really have a choice in the long run. You can abandon the process for a while or you can push too hard and feel frustrated. But your spiritual self is never dormant or absent. Spirit isn’t time-constrained, as is your personality. And that may be something you have to take upon faith. Maybe you already accept that, but have to just not think about it for a while. It doesn’t matter. You will eventually resume the cycle. That is the natural order of life on earth.