Jesus: There is much talk about “Race” in your culture today. So much associated with this. Your past dictating your social future, etc. In spirit we are all one with no concern over pigment of skin, caste and creed, kith and kin. Unite as one and you shall find peace within. Your skin is temporary. It sheds, renews and eventually will lose its form and you will find yourself with us, without any thought of it. Rejoice for this truth can be yours now. Celebrate the differences in form that you have for so few years. Work today to let go of mind or social based judgements. We are all one. Learn to look for this in those that are “different” and you will move closer to us.
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 Zoe: Uniting with the Body Using Breath
Buddha: Today we are going to focus on respiration: in and out. Why have so many of my teachings, and those who have followed me, focused on the breath? Firstly, as everyone is aware, breathing happens with or without you. Secondly, when you consciously engage your breath you are consciously engaging with the state of being that is happening whether you are aware of it or not. This is one of the easiest, and always the most successful, way of being in the present moment. You cannot escape your breath for breathing is happening to you. But when you join with what is happening to you and offer no resistance, then oneness is developed. There is nothing quite like this. There need be no association with thought. So observation of breath and conjoining of being is my favorite tool for teaching people to become still and whole.
After a few breaths the system becomes energised. Energised not only from the oxygen it has been breathing, but from the release of energy that happens when one becomes present in any given moment. By being conscious of the breath, conscious and conjoining with what is happening and offering no resistance, a huge energy release is borne. It’s akin to a star burst. This is you, one, in ones full potential in any given time simply by being aware of the breath conjoining with being, activating energy. It is from here and only here that transcendental states can be reached.
And what is the message? The message is that one does not ever escape the body to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One doesn’t ever go anywhere else than where one is to achieve greater levels of spirituality. One simply stops, observes the breathes, star burst happens, and the transcendental experience can take place. Simple isn’t it?
In my life as Buddha, I tried everything I had ever heard of to achieve greater levels of spirituality, to reach nirvana. I tried everything that meant leaving the body, in some ways looking back now, killing the body. I also had had from my previous times experiences of indulging the body and all the body was doing was being! Simply responding to what I did with it. If I ate it would digest it, if I drank it would absorb, if I fell it would bruise, if I laughed it chortled. What a close relationship you have people, spiritual beings, with your body. This is something never to be overlooked, but something to be nurtured. This is your best friend. Look after it, but more importantly be one with it through oneness with it. The star burst happens the transcendental state can take place. Care not for what it looks like only its levels of health. If something needs fixed or restored work towards that goal in whichever way you know how. Do not criticise and judge it for being something that it is not, for it is and your development will happen through your uniting with the body, not from desecrating it for it being not something that is a construct of the mind.
So for all of you breathe, enjoy, relax, come and meet me [Buddha laughs].
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?
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.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Anger Management
TM: May I ask about anger and its role in our lives and relationships? Will you begin with offering a definition of anger?
Master Buddha: What may seem obvious to most everyone is that anger is a reaction to not getting what you want when you want it or in the way you want it. It can be your fault, or it can be someone else’s fault. The second reflex of anger is retribution or evening the score to recover what you didn’t get plus a bonus for having suffered the agony of anger and inconvenience. There is also anger once removed, meaning on behalf of an injustice done to another for which you have a connection or affinity. The reflex of retribution is the same.
TM: I have a difficult time knowing when to express anger, that is, when it’s appropriate and when it isn’t. Sometimes I wonder whether or not anger is necessary or not, even though it seems to arise as an involuntary reaction.
Master Buddha: Let’s start with the involuntary reaction part of your statement and then move to the rest. Anger is a natural human emotion just like love, sadness, grief, joy, happiness, bliss, disappointment and others in the spectrum. They arise spontaneously as a reaction to what is happening in your life. This as a general statement is true for every human on earth. Then how do we account for the differences in reactions among people? Why do some people react violently to the slightest provocation and others almost not at all to severe events?
Humans share in common an emotional body that works in concert with your physical and mental bodies. There is an influence based upon one’s past life history—what must be experienced this lifetime? There is group connection—what must be worked out for this group of beings? There is the influence of parents, family and community that impacts one’s emotional body and conditions its reactions. Beyond these local influences, there is responsibility from humanity’s role on Earth.
The confluence of these many factors produce differences in reactions from one being to another.
As a social concern, there must be a range of acceptable reactions and for that humans have erected laws to regulate behavior. Within those laws one will find instances that permit retribution resulting in death of the offending party that passes as justifiable because of the provocation of anger and the acceptance that that person is not liable for such reactions, or as is in some cultures, entitled to the justice of the extreme reaction. Other cultures don’t condone anger reactions to that extent, but make some allowance for it that support the concept of it being involuntary if acted out spontaneously. There are also social customs below the threshold of laws that regulate behavior.
To answer your question of whether or not anger is necessary, we must ask to what purpose is it necessary.
TM: Some people I’ve spoken to about this usually say that expressing anger is natural and involuntary and that it releases the energy from you and that’s a good and natural thing, then you move on. Their assertion is that anger is within the constellation of natural human emotions as you just said and that we eventually evolve to the point that we can freely express anger without killing one another, but express we shall just like any other emotion.
Master Buddha: Would you say that as a rule, expression of anger has the potential to be more destructive in its effects than the expression of joy or sadness?
TM: In some cases yes. But maybe that’s because people overreact to some things due to repression of anger until they explode disproportionately.
Master Buddha: That’s possible, but let’s go back to your question to what purpose it serves and so is it necessary. If our definition of anger described the circumstances of anger, then let’s answer what is anger energetically? What purpose does the delivery of that energy serve?
Anger, energetically speaking springs from the desire nature, which in turn reflects human survival needs, and desires beyond the necessities of life. Anger is the defender of those personal and group needs and desires. If they are threatened, then anger arises to defend. Energetically, it is linked to desire and it does not discriminate between basic needs and frivolous wants without the help of the mental body. Anger at its root level, just is the defender that can be, when combined with mental energy, an impetus to aggression.
TM: In the desire nature and its list of wants, do you include things like dignity and respect?
Master Buddha: Yes, of course. That is a matter of ego interpretation of necessities that we have covered elsewhere.
I wish to draw your attention to the fact that anger derives its force and origin from its role as defender within the human realm of physical, emotional and mental.
TM: From that are you implying that anger doesn’t exist in other realms, such as spiritual?
Master Buddha: I say emphatically that anger does not exist in the spiritual realm because there is no need that goes unfulfilled.
TM: What about the whole Lucifer rebellion? That sounds like some needs unfulfilled.
Master Buddha: That was a matter of pride and desire, not of anger. It was a calculated, creative execution of a perceived right of domain. It failed.
TM: So spirits in the universe weren’t angry with Lucifer and his minions for disrupting and corrupting everything? I mean it seems like a major conflict and you’re saying there was no anger involved and I find that hard to believe.
Master Buddha: What can I say other than what I know to be true? There was disappointment in the whole affair, but not anger or retribution associated with anger. There were consequences that were accepted with responsibility by all involved.
TM: Okay. Please go back to your line of thought.
Master Buddha: Anger finds its origin in the human realm. Given that, we can look for its necessity there. Its purpose is to defend. But is that necessary?
TM: I think I know where you’re going. You’re going to argue that our desires aren’t necessary, neither is defense of them; so, anger isn’t necessary.
Master Buddha: That would be a difficult argument wouldn’t it? Many people would disagree that desires are unnecessary. What about basic survival needs? Don’t those need defending? Can’t anger be necessary for that?
TM: Yes, I suppose so. But couldn’t they be defended without anger? Why is anger necessary to arouse defense?
Master Buddha: Because it is. This is where humanity is right now. As the human race evolves closer and closer to its spiritual nature there will be a diminishment and eventually a disappearance of anger as the impetus for defense. Over time there has been and will continue to be this gradual receding of anger.
TM: I’m surprised. I never would have guessed that the official ‘Master’ position is that acting out anger is okey-dokey.
Master Buddha: Well, we have to cover this a bit more to qualify that position. I think what you’ll discover is that our understanding of human nature encompasses a realistic perspective of long term evolution of human characteristics and traits. The expression and use of anger as a defense mechanism is one. There are others.
TM: I think I need some elaboration on this, because it goes against what I believe.
Master Buddha: And you believe?
TM: Anger is a natural emotion arising from our attachment to what we desire and feel entitled to have. I don’t believe it’s necessary, but we are conditioned to express it, violently sometimes, and to accept it and actually be entertained by it. I believe there are ways to express anger without being harmful to others and that seeking revenge and retribution create more attachment to the experience. I agree this is an evolutionary process, but surely we at the point where we can see that anger isn’t necessary so that we can explore other ways of providing for our survival.
Master Buddha: Does it make you angry that others can’t see this point and share your belief?
TM: A little.
Master Buddha: This is one of those conundrums for which we can’t assert what should be based upon what we’d like it to be—it just is what it is. And at this point in human evolution there is a substantial number among the world population that experience anger differently from the belief you have stated and it’s going to take some time for the weight to shift. In the meantime there is progress toward peaceful solutions among people who have recognized, if nothing else, that peaceful solutions grant more security to the protection of needs and wants than it does by using anger and retribution. It’s a start. You don’t make the shift by being angry or judgmental towards those who still regard anger, violence, war, or force as the natural solution to feeling threatened. It is the natural solution for those grounded in the materiality of humanity, and that is the majority population of the world.
It will change over time through the enduring examples by those who have mastered peaceful solutions to threatening situations. It will happen. Patience is required.
TM: It always requires patience doesn’t it?
Master Buddha: Patience and a non-judgmental perspective.
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.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Sexuality in Western Society (Part 1)
TM: I realize that we may not be able to cover this topic in one conversation, but at least we can start. Please talk about the role of sex in Western society. Specifically, what do you observe as the general state of sexual health among our population?
Master Jesus: This is sure to provoke more than a few people who stand in judgment of sexuality when it deviates from their spectrum of acceptable behavior. Likewise, those who feel that anything goes will likely rise in defense of their personal honor if Master Buddha or I speak disapprovingly of their behavior. You’re right in that it will require several conversations in order to present a full picture of the state of sexuality in Western society. It is not our intent to approve or disapprove of human sexual behavior, but we can speak to what we observe from a perspective of what is serving humankind positively and what isn’t.
TM: Okay, that’s fair enough. I didn’t expect either of you speak from a judgmental perspective, but certainly some folks hope that you will. So, back to my question, do you want to begin with an overview?
Master Jesus: Ask a more specific question and let it lead us into what you really want to know.
TM: It seems that over the past century we’ve come through some dynamic changes from a moralistic and conservative view of sexuality to a liberal, more open view. Even though I know that doesn’t represent everyone, I’m referring to the norm. Has that shift been beneficial to our society?
Master Jesus: Yes, Western society has made a dramatic turn, more so than you are implying in your question. Observing from our perspective it is quite astounding. Most people will agree that there have been some benefits as a result of the shift, while others believe it has planted the seeds of ruination for your society. As with most subjects, there is a little bit of truth found in all points of view. But let’s see if we can shed some light on the various parts to indicate what has been beneficial and what needs to be adjusted to provide future benefits.
First of all, it’s difficult to speak about human sexuality without carefully painting a context for each part. For this part, let us talk about heterosexual conditions within the institution of marriage and romantic relationships in which there isn’t a marriage.
It’s clear from our perspective that many benefits have accrued to married and unmarried men and women from the shift in attitudes about sex over the past fifty years. However, with the relaxing of judgment and guilt around sexual behavior there has sprung up a great deal of confusion. This confusion has contributed to a lot of stress and tension between men and women over their respective roles. Over time this will work out and the major benefit will be a sense of equality. This was missing before the shift and has been slowly coming after a sudden lunge forward. The natural reaction has been two-fold. One is an opening of the floodgates to celebrate the release of age-old restrictions and the second is a recoiling of restriction to maintain the old ways. There is a growing middle that represents the balance between the two extremes.
TM: I agree with your observation. But there still seems to be a guilt-shame axis running through sexuality.
Master Jesus: Yes, this is true. But keep in mind that it is less than it was only fifty years ago. And fifty years from now you will observe even greater erosion in the role shame, judgment and guilt play in the enforcement of restrictions in sexual relations.
TM: But there are some folks who will argue that shame, judgment and guilt are sturdy enforcers and that we shouldn’t allow them to erode. If anything, we should reinforce their power to keep good people in line and get bad ones back in line.
Master Jesus: Shame, judgment and guilt have been the faithful servants of a philosophy that people are inherently bad and need the threat of punishment in order to deter them from wrongdoing. The problem in that philosophy arises in that it forces a belief contrary to the true nature of humankind, which then conditions you to perceive yourselves in constant need of redemption. The fatigue that comes from such an exercise is understandable. But the greatest harm is that it stunts your growth because you are constantly vigilant for wrongdoing and judging one another in an effort to correct or prevent wrongdoing. Add to that you have identified things as wrong that are social conventions created out of ignorance in some cases, and then perpetuated through superstition.
TM: But some things that have become social conventions regarding marriage have served to build families and then community, haven’t they?
Master Jesus: Shall we keep the context to sexuality so that what I am saying does not get confused with statements about marriage in and of itself?
TM:Yes, that’s what I meant.
Master Jesus: Let’s take the social convention of sexual monogamy, or partner exclusivity within a relationship. This is for the purpose of forming a family unit comprised of a husband and wife with one or more offspring. It provides a tight unity and strength to weather challenges on many fronts, economic, health, etc. It does that while at the same time connecting to families once removed from the immediate family. This forms a larger family unit that again provides reinforcement to the core family unit. Containment of sexual partners to the husband and wife ensure this family unity by restricting the likelihood of offspring from various sexual relations.
What protects this arrangement is fidelity to one sexual partner during the lifetime of the family. What has disrupted this pattern is a loosening of the shame grip on divorce and the subsequent remarriage and combining of families from more than a single pair of parents. In some cases this new family unit shares the connection with as much grace as a family unit from single parentage. In other cases, this is not true. Infidelity is the chief cause of hostility between marriage partners and can last a lifetime. Fidelity is considered a sacred trust and when one partner betrays that trust, the sense of betrayal is felt by the extended family and in some instances by the community at large.
TM: I think wounded pride, loss of self-esteem, shame, embarrassment and ego also play a part in this.
Master Jesus: Without question this is true. However, those personal components are activated because of the larger context of social convention that defines what causes shame for an individual or disgrace upon the family.
TM: So, you’re saying what some folks argue is that shame of getting a divorce kept the family together through tough times and in turn preserved the family values of unity and strength.
Master Jesus: You keep leaping over the sexual issues and grasp for the marriage issues beyond sexuality. We can have that conversation if you like.
TM: Thanks for keeping me on topic. Let’s stay focused on sexuality because it’s expansive enough as it is. So, you were saying that infidelity, that is, marriage or romantic partners who don’t honor sexually monogamous agreements, create discord within their relationship and the family and is likely the eventual cause for divorce. Most people would agree. What’s the point?
Master Jesus: The point is that if you take the social convention of sexual monogamy as a sacred trust and then violate it, you begin the breakdown of that institution. If it becomes widespread, then more rapidly does it breakdown. Once shame is removed as a barrier to divorce the offending mate, then you compound the acceleration of breakdown. Shame and guilt once prevented the infidelity, but in most societies males were often excused from this public humiliation. Although, this isn’t entirely the case. Witness the standard that your politicians must withstand in this regard. The general public still holds the sacred trust of fidelity as an accepted standard for your leaders, while lessening its application to your peers. And divorce is still considered a shameful failure in some circles.
To summarize, you began with the question of what is the health of your general population in regards to sexuality. We have taken a part of that in order to avoid generalizing across all relationships. Now we are only talking about heterosexual relations; specifically long-term monogamous relations. We are discussing the role of fidelity to a monogamous agreement and the results of infidelity. Are you ready to continue?
TM: As usual I want to know where this is going.
Master Jesus: I ask for your patience. In order to have some understanding you must go through the exercise of discovering what your beliefs are around sexuality in marriage. There must be some context in order to gain that understanding and to draw out your beliefs.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Truth and Trust
TM: I can see upon reflection of what you have said about reincarnation and karma that I had a notion that it was a form of punishment to correct wrongdoing, or reward for good things done. And one has to come back time and time again to get it right. That’s not it though, is it?
Master Buddha: Getting it right, meaning purifying your essence while in material form, and consequently purifying your material form would be one way to see it. Punishment and reward is wholly a human concept.
TM: But we have so many stories of God(s) punishing people for all sorts of things they did wrong, or for disobeying God(s). How do we change our orientation toward that model?
Master Buddha: I don’t know. You could just give it up because it no longer serves you.
TM: Well, that’s just too easily said. Much harder to do I think.
Master Buddha: You have to make that choice whether to hold on to what you once knew and cherished as truth or to embrace a new idea that better suits your current state.
TM: How do you know when it’s time to do that?
Master Buddha: Ask yourself, what is the worst that could happen if I embrace this new thought? Can you not retrieve the old one? Who gave you all these rules that you must rigidly follow?
TM: I suppose at some point I accepted them as truth and have clung to them because I want to live according to truth.
Master Buddha: Truth shifts with you. It is not a fixed thing that you can cling to and drag it around. Truth represents reality. But remember that your journey on Earth in material form presents you with an avalanche of illusion. You must be adaptable and truth seeking, not truth-clinging.
TM: Don’t you have to have something to hold onto for just a little while? I mean, isn’t truth-seeking a truth to follow? When would you give that up?
Master Buddha: As soon as I believe it no longer serves me. And service to me could mean something very different than when I adopted truth-seeking in the first place. You like many others are afraid of losing control and so you place limits; you reduce meaning and experience. Reincarnation and karma allow for a non-judgmental experience of life in material form. If you are fluid enough in your orientation you can experience all that there is in the world of illusion in a very short time. If you’re not, then you can take a long time to spin around in the same space until you realize that is what you’re doing.
TM: How do we know which truths to trust and to follow?
Master Buddha: You don’t know based upon trust do you? You know based upon deliberation in a mental process. You know based upon what has been handed down through the ages in the form of teachings and social norms. You know according to your familial orientation. And you know according to what serves your ego.
If you knew based upon trust, you would not need those other inputs would you?
TM: So you’re implying that I need to find trust first?
Master Buddha: The ego does not trust; it scans. It searches high and low for signs of agreement or disagreement with its agenda. It will play any role that serves to maintain its primacy. It is, in fact, the most worthy foe of any one you could meet. And it is who you think you are.
Trust is incongruent with ego. That is, unconditional trust is in congruent with ego. Trust based upon conditions and waivers abound with the ego. To seek truth with such a handicap is nearly impossible if not maddening.
In ancient cultures, trust was based upon instinct. With modern civilization, the mental faculty has replaced instinct. Beyond the mental faculty you will discover the true seat of trust for your purposes of living on Earth. Then you may choose truths based upon trust.
Conversation with Buddha and TMichael: Reincarnation and Karma
TM: Yesterday we were discussing reincarnation and I asked you if we could include karma. Will you explain karma and whether or not it affects reincarnation?
Master Buddha: Karma does factor into reincarnation. It does so by the nature of what karma is. Let me explain. Karma is simply the eternal spirit of a human taking personal responsibility for his or her life experience. There is an ethical element of course, but not to the degree that many believe. The intensity of the ethical element is an effect of the person herself emphasizing this aspect. That is to say there is no external force determining which acts of the individualized self are subject to karma and which are not. It is the person who decides.
If for example a person commits an act of violence, a consequence is set in motion. Let’s say that the violence is acted out against someone. There is the consequence of injury to the victim and there is the consequence of how the violent actor feels about this act.
TM: What if the violent actor feels good about the act; it was an act of vengeance? What is the consequence to that?
Master Buddha: It depends on the victim’s collaboration in this particular incident. Believe it or not, there are acts that are requested by victims, even horrific acts that you would say that you would never wish on anyone. But let me explain, because I can hear your mind protesting this claim.
From the time of mind endowment for humans, a sense of right and wrong began its slow development. It was at that time that karma also began for humanity; once humans were able to discern and feel ethically, they were responsible for their actions and consequences. Religion in its many forms became a guide as well as an enforcer and judge of unethical acts and their consequences, and also the reward provider for ethical acts. This system of informing humans of what is ethical and what isn’t, however crude, was the first step toward recognition on a social level of the responsibility accorded to an experiential life on Earth.
Karma has nothing to do with the justice meted out by human institutions. If a person commits a violent act toward another, then justice as administered by fellow humans shall determine the consequences of punishment, and retribution if any for the victim. This is as it should be for now. But this is not karma; this is humanity providing justice for itself as a social act. Karma reflects responsibility of the eternal essence of being and is determined by that essence through its personalized spirit relationship with its creator. This is only possible because the eternal essence is one with its creator ultimately, yet is differentiated for the purpose of experience. It is never in reality separate, but has the experience of being so.
TM: So, I’m not clear yet on how a victim asks for it, so to speak.
Master Buddha: Yes, I know this one is difficult for you because in your conscious human state you can’t imagine that you would ever ask for such a thing and that it is just a way for wrongdoers to justify their actions. On a spirit level there is communication between beings that is not evident in their conscious human awareness. Sometimes you recognize it, but not very often. Personalized spirits, such as you, are at once one with your creator and yet separate for the purpose of experience. It is in the state of separation that experience leads you to that which is not your true spiritual nature. Karma is the correction, harmonizing or balancing act. When you take responsibility, of your own volition, your divine nature leads and no external force or judgment is required. This why karma is acted out over many lifetimes. The eternal essence corrects that which is not of its divine nature by its choice in time, place and lifetime.
The difficulty for you to accept this is that you are accustomed to the human ethical nature, which operates in the norm of “don’t get caught”. For you to imagine that you would deliver your own justice is nearly impossible.
TM: You’re right it is nearly impossible, but not entirely. What if human justice is experienced, does the essence still have to do a correction, or karmic experience, separate from the human one?
Master Buddha: Yes. But again I emphasize that it may not be in the way that you will interpret based upon your code of justice.
TM: In the case where the victim doesn’t arrange to be the victim, what responsibility does the perpetrator have in karmic terms?
Master Buddha: As I said, it is up to the personalized spirit essence to determine that. That means it is specific and particular to that essence in bringing relationship to his creator back into harmony and unity.
Conversation with Jesus and TMichael: Health and Balance
TM: Can you speak to issues of health?
Master Jesus: Yes.
TM: How is human health affected one way or another by our degree of spiritual awareness?
Master Jesus: As you become spiritually aware you make different choices. You will make different choices regarding things directly affecting your health as well as those things that affect your health indirectly. We have talked about the role of judgment. Even those at the higher levels of spiritual awareness can possess the characteristics of judgment, which can adversely affect their health. That’s an example of how choices that may seem unrelated can affect health issues. The more obvious choices most people know about, but they may choose to continue unhealthy behavior. Or they may become so opposed to those behaviors that they develop unhealthy reactions to themselves or others engaging in those behaviors.
It’s not so easy to provide a list of do’s and don’ts. Having a set of rules seems the right thing for many people, but in the long run it only runs a greater danger of producing intolerance and a judgmental nature, which can and is more dangerous to the health of humanity.
Spiritual enlightenment is not so much about one right way for everyone as it is about discovering the right way of living for each one. There will indeed emerge a set of principles to guide society in everyday affairs, but I wish to point out that without a spiritual awareness on the individual level, the societal guidelines will suffer. As individuals progress in understanding and spiritual intelligence, they will raise the standards of societal behavior. Society cannot rise higher than the largest group of enlightened beings in its ranks.
TM: How does disease, as we describe it, and the health issues you’re describing intersect? Aren’t there viruses and bacteria that wreak havoc with our bodies that have nothing to do with spiritual enlightenment?
Master Jesus: There is a host of factors to consider when examining the full spectrum of human health issues beyond spiritual enlightenment. But that will be the bedrock that all systems can be built upon. Bacteria and viruses are living organisms as are humans and animals and plants and so on. If you truly want to understand the role of each organism in the evolution of Earth, then study the past. If you want to know the future roles of organisms study the present. Humans have so upset the balance in nature that microorganisms are reacting in record numbers. You have only begun to see the potential of these organisms. The present path will force a collision of humans and microorganisms on a scale that is beyond your imagination. Much of this is unavoidable at this point, but much can be done to avert disaster on a large scale.
TM: Are you talking about epidemics?
Master Jesus: Yes. You remember our discussion about Armageddon? This is one of the ways it will work out. This is a result of humanity’s actions, not that of a vengeful God punishing you.
TM: I remember a quote, “You are not punished for your sins as you are by them. And the same for your virtues, in that you’re not rewarded for them as you are by living them.” So, how did we create the ground for epidemics?
Master Jesus: Ecosystems are in balance when all living organisms operate within their sphere and natural tendency. Humans have taken the role as lead and dominant species because of divine right. With that right comes responsibility. Humans are made up of all that exists in the world; so, there isn’t a thing that isn’t you.
TM: I must interrupt. You’re saying by divine right? What does that mean?
Master Jesus: Let me restate that to say by divine order. There is a hierarchy of life, both on Earth as there is in the universe at large. The hierarchy is determined by characteristics inherent in each species that create specific roles to maintain harmony and balance in the whole system. It allows that there are times of disharmony and imbalance, but the correction comes as a result of each species finding its role. Despite the belief that the universe is largely random and chaotic, which it certainly appears to human observation, there is an order beyond your comprehension.
TM: Beyond our comprehension or beyond our ability to see?
Master Jesus: Both. It is something you must take on faith, or belief without evidence. Among those of us who witness wonders in the universe beyond anything humans see, we can barely glimpse the order even as we comprehend it.
TM: Suddenly I feel like the dumbest kid in class.
Master Jesus: Someday humans will comprehend it, but first things first. For now, and this is what makes it such a challenge to teach as well as to accept as truth, it will be a matter of faith. Humans do as well with matters of faith as any being. It always comes down to trusting the motivation and knowledge of the source.
TM: Back to what you were saying, there is nothing in the world that isn’t us. I skipped too many science classes to understand that one.
Master Jesus: There are basic qualities of energy that compose life on Earth, which are in turn reflected in the chemistry of material existence. Humans are composed of all those basic qualities of energy found in every species on Earth. The two most abused beliefs by humans are that humans have dominion over all species and survival of the fittest species. The unremarkable intelligence that springs from those simplistic notions is creating your own Armageddon. Your role as steward has been usurped by your pride as being superior. Your role as spiritual leader has been sabotaged by your fear of spirit. Without a turnaround in these conditions, you will have to experience the consequences of these beliefs carried to their natural conclusion.
TM: To clarify, are you saying that humans don’t have dominion and that survival of the fittest is inaccurate?
Master Jesus: Humans have reduced the meaning of those truths to rationalize behavior that is inconsistent with the integrity of those truths.
TM: So, what I’m gleaning from these discussions is that we’re pretty much screwed on a number of fronts from economics to epidemics if we don’t change our ways. Is that it?
Master Jesus: You will experience the reality you have created. The masters and I want to give you every opportunity to recognize that you are creating the reality and that you will experience it as you create it; so, pay attention to what and how you’re creating.
TM: When you say masters, that sounds very Eastern. It may not be understood in the West.
Master Jesus: It means teachers. We use it as a way of deference to one who has achieved a high degree of understanding and enlightenment. And while some prerogatives of authority come with the title, it is largely a title of achievement.
TM: Whom do the Masters teach?
Master Jesus: They mostly work with disciples on the spiritual plane, who in turn work with disciples on the physical plane. However, we have begun to teach directly to those on the physical plane as a matter of expedience and some small measure of experiment.
TM: What kind of experiment?
Master Jesus: We want to see how rapidly humans can assimilate spiritual knowledge if a master administers it directly. If this successfully accelerates the process, then we will organize group sessions for those who are ready.
TM: Is this the first time this has happened?
Master Jesus: Periodically we test for receptivity along these lines. This happens to be one of those times.
TM: Lately I feel these discussions have taken on a stream of consciousness, that is, flitting from one thought to the other without ever finishing one thought. I wonder if this will deter from what you need to convey.
Master Jesus: What would you like to conclude?
TM: All this Armageddon business spurs more questions than answers to me. Please summarize the health issues relative to spiritual progress.
Master Jesus: I’m expressing these ideas in the most accessible way for most people to understand it. It’s time to expand beyond ideological boundaries and reach common understanding.
Spiritual progress is needed on the individual and group levels at this time. The time is critical due to the fact that humans have created a reality that is headed for disaster. Before it reaches the point of no return, you are given a chance to become aware of your actions and the consequences. Then you must decide what you will do. Health issues are wrapped up in the whole system. I can’t separate them for you or explain their nature out of context. Deterioration of human health is and will ensue at an increasingly rapid pace despite the illusion of medical advancements to cure disease. The root cause of this can only be corrected at the spiritual level, because it is from there that the physical level will conform to new understandings.
TM: People don’t understand disease and “why me” is the big question. I know folks who live very pure lives; healthy attitudes and diets, and yet they suffer through all sorts of physical maladies. How can you tell them the root cause is something spiritual?
Master Jesus: I can’t tell them the cause of their illness is spiritual unless I know them. I’m speaking in broad terms for the bulk of humanity, not for specific individuals. Having a healthy diet and being spiritually inclined is helpful, but there are so many variables that can trigger an illness. Often, for spiritual people, an illness reflects a clearing that they are ready for; meaning that they have reached a point that they can clear energy from their body that they have been carrying for a lifetime perhaps. It may be clearing from past lives. Very few people are so spiritually advanced that they create a shield from illness. But they can handle an illness better than if they were spiritually ignorant. And healing is about understanding spirit and using it practically.
TM: Does prayer help?
Master Jesus: Yes it does. But really the person who is ill must have a will to heal or nothing is going to heal him or her. Healing begins within. External assistance then accelerates healing by strengthening that which already exists and is in motion. There are some excellent studies addressing these claims.
TM: What’s happening in cases where the ill person wants to heal and his family and friends are praying for healing, yet he dies anyway?
Master Jesus: Again, you’re asking a very specific hypothetical question that really is impossible to answer. I know you want to know these things and yet I can’t provide the answers. This puts the burden on you to investigate for yourself in these very specific cases.
TM: How would I do that?
Master Jesus: Truly know the person fitting the description above. Do you really know what is in his heart? Do you know what is fear of death and what is true yearning to live? Do you know the guilt one feels as one nears death, and that it is at times unbearable? Do you know the longing for a life fulfilled and whether he is satisfied this is done, or there is more to be accomplished? Is there a gentle acceptance of death? Does he feel the pull of loved ones to keep him in this life for their sake? You must ask these questions and many more to fully understand an individual case.
TM: Are natural disasters prompted by humanity’s decisions too?
Master Jesus: Humanity has an impact on the environmental well-being of Earth. Weather patterns are most affected by humanity’s impact as the population grows. Earth is a living entity and as such has its own physical responses to that life that will occur with or without the presence of humanity. Earthquakes for example are purely geologic events. Global warming though is largely caused by humanity’s impact, but in other times has been naturally occurring. So while humanity must take responsibility for its impact on the health of the planet, it is in your own best interest to do so for your health. You are not separate from Earth.
TM: I know I’m asking questions out of the realm of education and religion, but I’m curious.
Master Jesus: I can speak on a number of topics, but I will bring it back to spirituality. This is the time for education to take center stage; otherwise, the age of synthesis will be missing parts to compose the whole picture. Humanity must see the whole picture.
TM: There are a lot of new spiritual books, conferences and workshops. Are they right in what they teach? Some of them seem to contradict other teachings, or at least present diverse ways of accomplishing the same end. How do we know which ones are accurate?
Master Jesus: Choose the ones that feel right for you. There is so much diversity because there is diversity among humans. Do you really believe for a moment there is one right way for everyone? At the same time, while you are choosing the right method for yourself, allow others to do the same. Blend your way with others. Any method that teaches that it is the only way is the one to avoid.
TM: We’re such social creatures though; we like to belong by identifying with sets of values. But then we make the mistake of thinking our way is superior and we want everyone to follow that way. If we could accept what you are suggesting I can see how it would work. I don’t see how to undo what is done.
Master Jesus: It will be undone by substituting a new understanding; the one we’re discussing; one that allows each person to select his or her inspiration without judgment or ridicule. The social connection must be viewed from the perspective of identification with the whole of humanity rather than the provincial identification. This is happening already within many circles and it will expand with time.
Ancient civilizations could not imagine human organizations spanning the entire world- they had no definition of the entire world beyond what they could see, and what they could see was limited. This civilization sees into the universe and yet still suffers the myopic view of its own insular world made up of petty prejudices and grievances. This will change. It will change because of a disaster that will create an environment that forces unity, or it will occur because of an enlightened populace. You choose.