Good ol’ Jesus

“I seek not my own will, but the will of the one from which I come.”

I came across this quote in a video about Tai Chi.  One might ask “Isn’t this a strange place to find the Christian Messiah?”  The answer to this depends on the vantage point from which you search.  Oddly enough, this is also the divergent point that separates the god-fearing churchgoer from the spiritual devotee.

Jesus and I have had a weathered relationship.  It began with Catholicism.  As a good half Filipino boy, I went to church (about half the time).  I also went to Catechism, which later turned into Confirmation.  For those unlearned in the Catholic ways, I spent one night a week for 4 school years  learning the ins and outs of Catholicism.

As a curious young boy, I had many questions.  I was also a mischievous little twerp, who enjoyed pushing buttons.  And it just so happened that my favorite button was the how-does-god-exist-if-fill-in-the-blank button.  If it weren’t for the kind Christian morals of restraint, I believe I might have been the one hanging from the cross.

=)

Despite the enjoyment of giving hell to the sisters, I was genuinely concerned with the lack of answers I was receiving.  Nobody could explain concepts that conflicted with the church.  I got plenty of “because God says so’s” and faith was often used as conspicuous deterrent.  I was not convinced.

Later down the line, with my sights of skepticism aimed directly at religion, I stumbled across Zeitgeist, an independent film based heavily in conspiracy and cynicism.  The first part of the documentary tears apart religion and attributes Jesus to nothing more than a repeated fable.  In fact, the director ultimately claims the fiction of Jesus and all other messiahs are metaphors of the sun. Convinced it was all a plot to control the world,  the idea of Jesus was nothing more than an elaborate story.  That was until I had a visit to Iowa that re-aligned my beliefs.

In a very spiritual town, based on principles of Eastern meditation, I was rapidly learning about my spiritual consciousness.  I was surrounded by many consciously aligned people who were adept in the language of experiential spirituality (as opposed to professed spirituality).  In learning to meditate and by having my own spiritual experiences thought to be unobtainable in religion, I naively gathered anti-religious ammunition.

One morning, I was talking to the mother of a friend who was hosting me for the summer.  In the conversation, Jesus came up.  She described a man who was an exalted teacher—much like the teacher who brought me this form of mediation—who wanted to help humanity find their true strength from within.  I was shocked.  How could a super conscious person who I greatly respected believe in the myth of Jesus!?

Praying = Meditating

Much like a germinating seed waiting to break through the dirt, this idea laid dormant in my consciousness for the next few years.  As I began to grow and understand more, my eyes began to see the full picture.  Hints of Jesus in spirituality arose and I began to draw connections between his teachings and the teachings of others.  Now better seen as a flower ready to bloom, my understanding of Jesus was on the cusp of realization.

The final straw that broke my dogmatic doubt was a book by Paul Ferrini entitled, Love Without Conditions.  Ferrini provides an invoking re-interpretation of the words of Christ that echos the teachings of every other greatly accept truth: God is within.

After reading his book, I began to accept that my rejection of both Jesus and religion was my own problem.  Religion and all its characters were born out of the same underlying principle: to enlighten.  My problem with religion and Jesus was that I did not have the eyes and ears to hear what they were saying, nor the compassion to forgive the trespasses of the church.  As I reread some of the Christian scripture, I began to identify the unifying message of all spiritual paths.  Everything I was learning in Eastern philosophy was reflected in Christianity.

So why didn’t I get it the first time?  Well that could be an entire article on its own, but summed up quickly it is because I was not ready, I needed to find my own path, and the ways in which popular religion has grown did not properly translate its eternal message.

So did Jesus exist?  Who really knows.  All I know is that if he did, it was to teach humanity that we are beings of unlimited power, capable of miraculous action.  In this light, I see him as a friend rather than a foe.

As he said,  “The kingdom of God is within you.”

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The Night I Left My Body

As an avid Kundalini Yoga practitioner and teacher in training, part of our preparation consists of long weekends dedicated to nothing else but yoga.  From 4am sadhana to closing meditations, we as students participate in communal spiritual education.  Along with this learning comes deep exploration.  And so it was that tonight I explored the depths of the universe and left my body.

The first sensation was that of a vacuum.  My entire existence was swiftly sucked out of my body.  A deep pressure was instantaneously released and I could feel the the soul-less cavity of my body, right under the sternum, give way to the deliverance of me.  Suddenly I found myself floating at unconceivable heights, an elevation indescribable by any modern system of mensuration. I had risen to the ethereal realm.

A few breathless moments passed before I realized there was no need to breathe.  I was able to choose whether I wanted to feel the sensation of breath or not.  I found it much more pleasant experiencing the existence up above.  I say up above because literally my vantage point came from great heights.  Although I could not visibly see my body, I understood where it was in relation to my existence.  I was simultaneously aware of both my body and myself.

There was no fear.  Only a great sensation of liberation and freedom.  I was soaring through endless space, yet I was also the space being soared through.  With this freedom came not one instant of apprehension of not coming back, not making the return flight home.  I felt an undeniable chord-like connection joining me to my body.  It was obvious that I was not leaving my body for the last time.

I was a kite effortlessly exploring the airs of the ethers.  And I was not alone.  The penetrating vibrations of the meditational gong – being played by one of our teachers – synchronically danced across the infinite horizon.  Cascading tiles of gold curved around me in endless helixes as they formed in accordance to the birthing sound currents.  The sound of the gong changed from exterior to inclusive.  There was no distinction between the gong and myself.  We were merged into completion and existed as one, yet were experiencing each other in a very tangible way.  As I watched the forming ripples physically manifest the sounds of the gong, I was also watching myself.

Unlike a drug-induced high, this feeling was solid.  It could not be ruined in any way.   There were moments of fleeting mental chatter that in any other transcendent situation – drug induced or otherwise – would have completely grounded my ascension.  Yet during this experience, the expressions of the ego were accepted and surpassed, as if carelessly blown in and out by the wind.  It was only after the disappearance of the deep vibrations of the gong that I felt the return to my body.

Slowly and without struggle, I came back to my body.  I entered somewhere between the heart center and the crown of my head.  I am still unsure of the details.  Frankly, I was too consumed by the experience of divinity.  I was not the least bit concerned with the details of returning to earth.

Once completely in my body, a previous intuitional feeling was concretely confirmed: something had changed.  Still the details escape me, but it was beyond any measure of doubt that during my vacuum-like extraction to the ethers, something aside from myself had left my body.   Inside my chest an immense feeling of weightlessness was observed.  My breath was much fuller and cleaner.  The clarity of this space was very apparent and is still even now.  Something else was extracted, something heavy and dense.  Something I am glad to be rid of.

When I finally came back to an existence resembling full consciousness, I was unsure of a lot.  My legs seemed to lag behind my intentions.  I had trouble collecting my belongings.  After I took a few frightful steps, I was in utter confusion as to where I was stepping.  Any attempt at conversation was baffled and I am positive the look on my face was priceless.  Picture space cadet meets modern day ’69 hippie.  It took me a glass of cold water, a walk around the block and a good 45 minutes to feel grounded enough to drive home.

Once I got my earth legs back and driving, I was in an awesome state of satisfaction.  Whatever happened to me felt amazing and left me with a lasting and exceptional calmness.  I am very excited for I still have much to experience.  I am hardly halfway through my teacher’s training and only at the beginning of my lifelong spiritual journey.   I am very thankful that tonight I could experience such profundity and bliss and I am very glad to write that tonight was the first night I left my body.