Have you ever been to a place that seems familiar, but you can’t quite remember if you have ever been there? Life can be very vexing at times. There are more things in our world that ask questions that we are incapable of answering, at least on an intellectual level, but are very answerable on a spiritual level.
If there are no answers on an intellectual level, where can we find answers. I am reminded of Yogi Berra’s comment, “It’s Deja Vu all over again.” Funny, isn’t it? But maybe not. Have we been there before, or is it a place that just reminds us of somewhere we’ve been?
I am reading William Walker Atkinson’s A Series of Lessons in Gnani Yoga, published in October 1906. It is the Eastern view of how Western religious philosophy has drifted so far away from the teachings of first century Christianity. There are explanations explaining some of the mysteries that are not answered in the King James Bible, or any modern translation. I have done considerable reading about first century Christianity; what the Apostles of Jesus taught throughout the then-known world. These are the men who traveled with Jesus, or traveled with those, who did travel with Jesus.
What we learn today differs greatly from the teachings of these apostles. Their lessons are far removed from the alterations and edicts from the Western Church that have come down through the centuries. For instance, women were an important part in Jesus’ ministry; after all, the first appearance of the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection was to women. The women in the New Testament play an important role in His healing and His preaching. But, throughout the centuries, western religion has usurped the role of women and placed them in the subservient position, which is not much better than the slaves in the history of the USA.
How can we accept these ancient teachings? Henri Nouwen has a classic but often forgotten idea: solitude and meditation. When we are alone and in meditation to get closer to God, we open our minds and hearts to hear God speak to us. Nouwen says that solitude is the garden that allows our heart to flourish in God’s good news of Love. Our being alone (with God) will calm our anxious minds, erasing the stressful unhappiness that seems to control our waking hours. Solitude and meditation is essential for our spirit to grow in God’s Love and accept the confines of the hectic world we live in. This is in line with what the 1st century Christians did. It brought them closer to God.
How does this ancient set of Christian beliefs evolve from remembering a place you have never visited? Good question.
Christian teaching has always been that life extends beyond the grave. The question is, how, to what extent. We have placed little thought to where, when, and how this occurs. Are we reborn to new bodies and remember bits and pieces of our former identities? Or, do we learn a collective knowledge, such as the instinct that is so noticeable in dogs and other four-legged beasts?
I must think more about this. Maybe when I discover a reasonable response I will return to this topic.
Have a great day.