He (Jesus) asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: What does it mean to die before you die? How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself? From Richard Rohr’s Email: April 9, 2017.
These are questions Father Rohr poses as what Jesus would ask and comment on as he was here in this world telling us of a different world, one that we could hope for but not stay in the one we’re in while hoping we could be in that other world. The world we seem to be in holds nothing we want. The other holds everything. Jesus simple message is always that the way to transcend this world and live in God’s world is to leave this world mentally where we found it. There is nothing here that in anyway looks like God’s world, except that the Holy Spirit is without exception transforming us through forgiveness here: the practice of our own forgiveness of ourselves and others and His forgiveness of us, although there is no need for his forgiveness because He doesn’t condemn us and there’s no punishment for our mistakes here. Stating this we are already into a very kind of world that accepts these concepts completely. God’s world is nothing like what we think here, with our condemnation, judgment and vengeance as a part of just about all we do.
Let’s look at “die before you die.” When addressing this question, Jesus would mean that there is no death to begin with. He did not die on the cross, let alone come down here and do the mightiest reparation for our sins for us. He did come to take away the sins of the world. And he tells us he did this by showing us there’s no sin. No such thing as sin. We do make errors and mistakes. We are insane in thinking then God corrects them by punishment. No, they are corrected the instant we make them by the Holy Spirit in his work in the world. Make a mistake, its corrected. Moreover, a sin implies something has taken place that has more power than God, in order to take place. That cannot be. And the fact that mistakes are corrected is simply not what we think about them. As sin we think wrongly, think we did something bad and we need to make some kind of retribution. In our thinking, punishment is justified by a false fact that God condemns and we have to carry out the necessary next steps to pay for what we did. God doesn’t do that. We think we must, even to the extent that our correction by punishment is not enough. Sex offenders pay for the crimes and then are punished long after payment, which is a reflection of how we think about crime. It is never really corrected, just punished justifiably. Yet there can be no justification for anything that is absent of love.
The Holy Spirit sees the mistake and it is all over the instant we think we acted out our wrongmindedness. All other thinking leads to the ego’s final act of punishment, which is a belief in death. But without sin there is no death. We do leave our bodies at some point, but we can be alive when before and after we leave them. The innocent never die because it is only our impression of sin that tells us we die and go somewhere. Some believe we go to hell to carry our punishment beyond the grave. Others believe we go to pay for our sins in purgatory, once paid we are free. We are, however, going nowhere. Heaven is in the Mind that created us, exactly where we are. The guiltlessness in us, which is what we are in God’s mind, is perfectly opposite of death and suffering. We think we are guilty and therefore die. This has nothing to do with God’s creation, which only creates the eternal. We are as God created us and what He creates cannot die. Even Jesus closed his eyes on what we call life here. Yet he demonstrated that nothing in this world is capable of killing. “Thou shalt no kill means” mean thou can’t kill. For if killing were possible God would be other than God is. Which of course is exactly what we make God. The god that pursued Adam and kicked him and his wife out of the Garden is not God. When we feel guilty for what we think we did we get pretty crazy — and try to bring God along with us. It is pretty lonely without Him. Yet we are not without Him. Surely, we can think whatever we want, along with deciding whatever we want. None of that makes what we think or decide true.
Jesus message on the cross is we don’t die. While he surely closed his eyes, he didn’t ie and came among us after the crucifixion to prove it. He is still doing that. We are still clinging to death. He clings to us. We love death. He, God and the Holy Spirit love us. If you don’t believe we love death, go to the movies. Our made up world holds death as the ego’s final masterpiece of decption, its last ditch stand, its trump card, never to be given up.
You may wonder why it seems so real, death. The answer is we think with the whole power of God’s mind. The only Power there is in the universe. We can think wrongmindedly. But that does not mean what we think is real. Jesus did not die, nor do we. We are exactly like him, exactly as God created us. He has gone before as an older brother, waiting for his brothers and sisters to join him, us. Although, he would probably say that we already have. Its complicated for equivocal minds like ours. His message is unequivocal, however, because he hears only One Voice, God’s. Not that that Voice is not still in us. We are noisy mind’s trying to not hear it most of the time. Our work here in this world is to wake up and watch the show: the work of the Holy Spirit in us, and most important as we live in this world, in others. When Jesus said to love one another as he loved us, that is what he is talking about. To love means to see life as it truly is, as God created it. We can see this in others sometimes a lot easier by stating, “I see you as God’s perfect child,”, or as some religions instruct, “I salute the Christ in you,” no matter what the message is coming from the eyes that do not see, or the ears that do not hear.
“How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one?”
First, there is no little self or little life. Nothing exists outside of God’s creation. How could it? Without diminishing God’s power? Little lives don’t exist. They are a dream state of mind. God could never allow “littleness.” God wills for us otherwise, although there is no “otherwise” opposing God. As soon as we think there is a little life we fall to sleep and dream whatever we want. That is the world around you you made. God does not enter dreams and that is why it is foolish to think we can find God anywhere than where He is, in Heaven, where we are and have never left. Jesus so wisely says “Thy will be done in earth as it is in Heaven.” God’s will is not negotiable. Like Jesus’ mind, it is certainly not in anyway equivocal. Christ in union with us and God is the only non-duality there is. Jesus of course knows that perhaps more than anyone that comes here. His whole reason for coming is to tell us that, the good news. Our foolish thinking in a dream will never touch it. That is why in our insanity here we keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. This war will end all wars!. How is it possible for such a terrible mistake, acted out in opposition to God’s will to change God’s love for all of us. Because this is so, we (our ego’s) will never “find” anything. the ego does not even know what it is looking for. It’s motto, according to Jesus is, “Search and do not find.” We are susceptible to all kinds of conning, without God.
God’s will for us is grandeur, not littleness. We cannot make this happen because we, tied to our ego, can’t ask any questions that make any sense whatsoever. We are, therefore, completely incapable of planning our salvation. Fortunately, God has provided the Holy Spirit for us to follow, if we listen. Actually, it doesn’t matter if we listen or not. That’s just a choice we make, one that could make us more comfortable here; however, it is also a choice that could make us terribly uncomfortable. But one thing is certain, God’s will for us is perfect happiness. The ego has no idea of how to manage that state of mind. Once we recognize that we will give up our little minds in favor of what is.
We will “lose our littleness” by truth, nothing else. The Holy Spirit will transform our experience (perception) to such a degree that how we perceive everyone will be of the highest order, holiness, and at that point God will in an instant bring knowledge into our minds and what we see now in this world will be gone forever. That is Jesus’ teaching, through miracles of forgiveness, which can only bring truth into our minds to find its home there. God will take the final step in this process. Miracles, hope and work toward what we are have no place there because they have never not been there. Salvation is according to God’s plan, certainly not ours. It is a process by the way that has already taken place because our decision to separate from God (Genesis) has never taken place. Our thinking it real is our problem not God’s, although he always sees that His children are taken care of without question. That is the meaning of the parable of the Prodigal Son in the bible. It is and will work exactly the same, our journey of return to salvation. There will be no further arguments between what is right or wrong. The brother of this forgiven son will find not contradiction. The contradiction told in the Bible is us.
We will leave our insanity behind and never think again that it ever existed. God would not have His son live another second in pain. We still decide otherwise. We can’t “find” a larger self here in this world because the world we made is too insane to contain knowledge. God has not taken knowledge from us, nor truth, but out work at keeping the illusions we try to make real cannot house what is of God. The only way to God is here in this world, as we have chosen it, but just as Jesus said, it is transformed through forgiveness. Something we seem to forget about Jesus. We are so adept at closing off truth to defend our selves from it, we change the very meaning of the words he used for us. Forgiveness as we think we know it here is a travesty of God’s love. Yet real forgiveness is all we have left of the real concept of God’s changeless love for us. Forgiveness can never include condemnation for one thing. I have never met anyone here who thought this was true. However, the Holy Spirit understands everything about us and if we ask Him to teach us how to practice forgiveness, He will — as He goes about teaching us whether or not we ask. God never leaves His children to insanity. In this, we have no choice really. Yet things get a lot better when we consciously choose heaven instead of hell, for there is nothing in between the two.
Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself?
This is like asking whether God’s will, will be done, or not. Jesus lived all these ways. And if he did, and he did, so can we. Jesus asks us to remember that he is no holier than anyone of our brothers and sisters here, but strongly reminds us never to think we are. It is his wonderful way of saying, we are part of the Trinity. There isn’t some mysterious concept out there involving 3 gods in one. No, there is One who has all Power, which is Jesus tells us the only Power there is and that Power is love. I think we hate the idea of love so much, we make up some mumbo jumbo about the Holy Ghost (as we used to call Him) to not understand God’s Love for us. Jesus makes so much sense to us because he demonstrated that, yes on the cross, but far more important through his resurrection. He looks upon the brothers who seemed to be killing him and thought, while undergoing terrible pain, you are doing nothing to me — the only me that can exist. Me is God’s creation. There is nothing else. How would it be at all possible that another human being could put a stop to His will? His Creation? If we think there is, we diminish God’s power. Of course that is the whole reason behind the course of our lives here. We believe we did the impossible, separate. Adam did it consciously when asked by God, “Where are you?” In spirit. Adam made the choice of evading the question by blaming Eve. (Herein starts the whole profession of marriage counseling!) Adam could have said “I made a mistake.” God and Adam might then both have laughed at the littleness of the thought that this could be done. And the whole notion could have been dismissed. Instead Adam makes it real for us, and we keep that one impossible thing alive. We surely believe we have separated. That is why we are immersed in guilt, and the need to do what we do trying to give our own guilt onto others. Jesus so wonderful says, “What God has joined, let no man put asunder.” That statement wasn’t just for the wedding he was attending. Separation from God is impossible. Guilt is insane.
Yes, we can live on this planet any way we want to. We can do whatever we want. That is a part of God’s creation. If we want to question His authority, we can go at it. He will always ask, however, “How’s that working for you?’ We need only open our eyes to the world we live in, which is a blood bath of incredible suffering, as I sit here and write this, looking out at one of the most beautiful and rich cities in the world. I can do that but I cannot think anymore that I can separate. Don’t misunderstand. I can act as though I’m separated form God and you. I can only do this if I think separation is possible in order to live with dissociation, cruelty and utter disregard for others, even though what I see is minds in bodily form. On the other hand, I can rejoice in the truth, along with the most empathy I can muster, this isn’t happening. God does not allow suffering. We want it, so we get it. We can misuse His Mind, but we can’t leave it. And in that we are safe, as we dream otherwise. Not because God sends suffering, but because we want it. We must want what we dream, for why do we spend such resources on killing machines, rather that healing machines.
The answer to Father Rhor’s question here, which I’m sure he will address splendidly over the next few weeks, is yes, of course, we can live with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself. We just don’t want to. However, our seeming wants only affect the work of the Holy Sprit as He would have them be. These capacities are not just a mirror of God’s Love, they are God’s Love for us. Having is being in God’s Mind.
We seem only to be stuck. God’s Will is, well God’s will. It cannot be opposed. Jesus is the only psychologist that ever lived here. With us, to teach us, without reservation, unconditionally. While we believe he performed some small miracles here, that is only the belief of an ego-centric mind. His miracles were and continue to be without limit. There is no order of miracles, he tells us. We think that some errors take a bigger approach. Yet, all are the same in magnitude. As insane as this world is, he exists to us. He does not need to deal in time as we seem to know it, but as it suits our needs. All will be correctly similarly, as the Holy Spirit knows all about everything we think we know. Everything mirrors God’s love. We just think there’s good and bad stuff going on. That is how we defend little selves from truth. Its all the same. God is in everything. There is no order to miracles. One seems harder to us than another to support our own defense against the truth. We must remember we don’t want the truth, we will, with our own devices, push it away, as a child who doesn’t want to wake up, holding on to his sleepiness, warm and comfortable. It is all the child knows.
As Jesus tells us our work is to see in each other what we truly are, created as God created us. The only way God can see us. That is what forgiveness is. Not what we think. Love is the only way to do this here, as love is reflected in forgiveness. This world holds nothing we want. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” means there is no need to do anything here but lie down in green pastures and walk by the still water. Everyone is called to this, few choose to listen. We need do nothing.