Sunday, March 31, 2019

Install clarity, then comes health and prosperity

“This is a bit like a river that is flowing quite strongly, in which you cannot see the riverbed very clearly. If, however, there was some way you could stop the flow in both directions, from where the water is coming and to where the water is flowing, then you could keep the water still.” – Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama's teaching is significant and worth expanding on. Buddhist teaching is that we simply look beyond the suffering and the stories that tell who we are, and we will find the underlying reality. This is a valuable teaching. 

I always go further than the Buddhists, though. Two thoughts occur to me. 

1. If we can stop the flow of the stream of consciousness, we can also control which direction it flows. 

2. Energy flows where we focus. 

Mostly people focus on the external, constantly dispersing their energy into many things, weakening their life force.

Instead, I suggest we deliberately focus internally, so that our energy goes to our center, condenses there, and we fully embody our self. We practice to build energy from our center outward, and thus, we expand our life and our living. Health, peace, purpose and prosperity appear. – Christopher, March 31, 2019

Monday, March 25, 2019

Dwell in True Wholeness

I want you to understand clean clear that we distinguish two things: negative, or sinful, and positive. Attachment, or desire, can be negative and sinful, but it can also be positive. The positive aspect is that which produces pleasure: samsaric pleasure, human pleasure—the ability to enjoy the world, to see it as beautiful, to have whatever you find attractive.

So you cannot say that all desire is negative and produces only pain. Wrong. You should not think like that. Desire can produce pleasure—but only temporary pleasure. That’s the distinction. It’s temporary pleasure. And we don’t say that temporal pleasure is always bad, that you should reject it. If you reject temporal pleasure, then what’s left? You haven’t attained eternal happiness yet, so all that’s left is misery.

But you should not make the mistake of trying to actualize temporary pleasure [as an end in itself]. You can enjoy it while you have it but you should not squeeze yourself striving for it. The problem is the mind that believes temporary pleasure to be the best there is. That’s a total delusion, an over-estimated conception. Like looking at a cloud in the sky and thinking, “What a beautiful cloud; I wish it would last forever.” You’re dreaming. ~ Lama Thubten Yeshe, “Teachings of Lama Thubten Yeshe,” Facebook, March 23, 2019

Chad Foreman, Australian meditation teacher - "I agree, the wisdom of meditation sees clearly the limitations of temporary pleasure, and therefore, one can enjoy them without getting attached or addicted. However, it's difficult without training. It's easy to get addicted and obsessed with temporary pleasures."

Christopher Aune - Yes. Of course, this also implies there is a permanent expansion of a joy beyond addictions and obsessions.

Yet we tend to do meditation in reaction to the addictions and obsessions, in reaction to suffering and sorrow. This is a sad state of affairs.

So, what is the way beyond? Some want us to believe that - at some point before we are born - we planned the challenges of our lives so that we could learn a great lesson that we need to integrate into our being. That is a story, an explanation, that helps us feel comfortable with our thinking and our mental construct of the world. Another story is that we are to try to escape our body and suffering, and transcend: Another mind-satisfying explanation.

It may be that we are much more powerful than that. Maybe we exist as a spiritual energy being that forms a body, and our job is to smooth out the already existing combination of the spirit and the physical body. When spiritual energy moves smoothly through the body, it is then whole and functioning as designed. It isn't a reaction to challenges or an attempt to escape. It is a beautiful, fully alive being, not caught up in addictions and obsessions, challenges or escapes.

I am that I am. The alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. Pure spirit is truth and love in one being. I am one. A joyful bubble in a churning wave of bubbles. 

Diarmuid Sweeney - 
Not-knowing is true knowledge.
Presuming to know is a disease.
First realize that you are sick;
then you can move toward health.

The Master is her own physician.
She has healed herself of all knowing.
Thus she is truly whole. – 71, 'Tao Te Ching' by Lao Tzu,
Translation by Stephen Mitchell.

Christopher Aune - Yes. Excellent translation! I love these old philosophers' insights. They are supported and further explained by modern science.

When we stop ego-knowing, we become purely aware. Our awareness is not distracted or disrupted by thoughts or feelings. We see reality as it is: an unceasing movement of energy or liquid light.
Energy movement generates waves: a line of force across the universal field. Lines intersect to become patterns: order. In the fact of this patterned order, there is information.

In our perfectly still "not-knowing," we become aware of "true knowledge." Even the ancients knew this.

Notice where it leads: a human being who is "truly whole." Too cool. – Christopher, March 25, 2019

Monday, March 18, 2019

Is the Bible the final authority?

Some Christians continue to teach that their religion is right because the Bible is the full and accurate message of God without error “so they can know for sure what (God's promises) are and where to find them.”

After 47 years of study, I think we can find what Jesus really teaches in the Bible, but it’s good to understand what you’re reading. 
  1. When the Hebrews were taken captive to Babylon, they wanted to hold together as a people. To that end, the priests and scribes collected together all the known writings, studied them, and edited them into a more cohesive story. The Old Testament began at that time; before that there were just a bunch of scattered writings.
  2. Jesus never wrote anything down.
  3. Jesus spoke Aramaic. The New Testament contains very little Aramaic, and is written almost entirely in ancient Greek, which is different from modern Greek.
  4. More than 30 years passed between when Jesus preached and when the authors of New Testament books began to write them down.
  5. Paul never knew Jesus while he was alive, but he is the author of most books/letters in the New Testament.
  6. Paul’s disciples weren’t known as Christians until about 40 years after Jesus death. Jesus never belonged to the Christians.
  7. In the hundreds of years after Jesus departed in the clouds, there were dozens of writings about the teachings of Jesus, used by hundreds of churches throughout the known world. There were many conflicting teachings between churches and even within churches.  
  8. At the Synod of Hippo in 393 CE, in an attempt to unify the church behind the most popular doctrines, the Paulist bishops identified 27 books/letters for the New Testament. Fourteen of the 27 books were written by Paul. These books were also edited to support the unification. 
  9. Around and after the Hippo gathering, there was a concerted effort to destroy all other books throughout the known world. The earliest complete copies of single New Testament books come from around 200 CE, and the earliest complete copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus was produced between 300-400 CE. None of the original writings exist. 
  10. The earliest English translations were Old English (~600s-1066), then Middle English (1066–1500), Early Modern English (1500–1800), Modern Christian (1800– ), and Modern Jewish (1853– ).
  11. Modern Christian Bibles were not just translated, but were interpreted according to the denomination doing the work, so that the translation would support the dogmas and doctrines of the denomination. By one estimate, there are about 40,000 Christian denominations.
  12. Most of Jesus’ teachings are contained in the New Testament, but some are inaccurate or incomplete, so that they remain ineffective. I have not found any Christian church that teaches what Jesus really teaches, but I admit there may be one out there.
  13. Jesus says, “Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.” Christ is an ancient Greek word that literally means “anointing” or “anointed one.” It refers to the anointing of the Holy Spirit, as Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me.” (KJV)
But somebody started teaching that everything that God has to say is accurately and completely recorded without error in one or the other version Bible (most popularly the King James Version). They get a thrill out of repeating this teaching of man, and arguing the meanings, but they entirely miss the point. – Christopher, March 18, 2019

Friday, March 15, 2019

My name is Christopher

My name is Christopher. Frankly, I hadn’t thought about it too much until last night.

There’s the old myth about a tall, strong man who made his living carrying people across the river on his shoulders. One day he gave a child a ride. When Christopher picked up the child, he seemed light enough, though a little solid for his size. They set off across the river, and as they approached the middle of the river, the child seemed to become heavier and heavier until Christopher was struggling to take the next step. Slowly, he made his way back up to the other side. The Christ carrier set the boy on the shore, climbed up and stared at the boy with wide eyes.

“Who is he?” he wondered out loud.

His mother replied, “He bears the sins of the world.”

Many people know that old Christian story. Apparently, my parents knew that at some unconscious level, since I was the made the scapegoat in my family.

But last night, I was dreaming about what to write next, and I was reminded that Christ means anointing, or in the case of Jesus, it’s been used as a title, meaning the anointed one.
When Christopher was carrying Christ across the river, he was bearing the anointed one, and by extension, he carried the anointing.

But it doesn’t end there. Most people don’t know the background of the word “anointing.” Anointing refers to the pouring of oil on something to set it apart, sort of like what I did by placing quotation marks around the word. But it is not the act of anointing that sets it apart. There is already something special about the person, place or thing that is anointed; and the pouring of oil is sort of a proclamation of that specialness.

Obviously, the people who knew Jesus, thought he was special, so they called him Christ.

Anointing first showed up in the Bible when Jacob wrestled the angel and saw the ladder to heaven.

He said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Because it was already a special place, Jacob marked the spot by pouring oil on the stone he had used as a pillow, and he made a vow.

So, the anointing with oil is not special, but the thing anointed is.

But in Jesus time, they referred to the anointing of the Holy Spirit. In fact, when Jesus was starting his ministry, he quoted Isaiah.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
So, Jesus may have been anointed with oil, but he was definitely anointed with spirit. This is the anointing that Jesus had for which he was titled Christ. It is the same anointing that the name Christopher carries in the dream I dreamt last night. Interesting, no? 

Now, I wonder what spirit means, so I can understand what the anointing of the spirit is. A story for another day. – Christopher, March 15, 2019

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The More Trap

A friend asked me, "How can I appreciate my current situation without feeling the need for more?"

I read some study recently where only people with income over $70,000/year report being content with what they have, while people making less than that are still struggling to achieve their dreams.

A lot of times, people get caught up in winning approval from others. They try to jump through the hoops others hold up, but once they achieve that, the hoop is raised higher. It gets moved higher and higher until they can’t get through the hoop, so they think they’re a failure. And the people giving the approval laugh because they can’t believe how stupid you are.

I live simply, but I wear high quality clothes, eat prime foods, and have a nice home with my own office. I love what I have, and I don’t necessarily want more. But I enjoy pursuing the next step in building a great life.

So, I think you have it backwards. First, stop trying for the unreachable goal of “more.” Then, you can appreciate what you have.

It’s kind of like the old saying, “Always do your best, then do better.” Similarly, “Always appreciate what you have, and enjoy pursuing greater things.” - Christopher, March 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019

Human nature is not bad … again

People say it is human nature to focus on what is bad, but I emphatically disagree.

We grow up with normal life challenges, and pretty much every time we make a mistake – or what is perceived as “not right” – we get our mistake pointed out and corrected. We learn to focus on the bad. We are taught to focus on the bad. It is learned, not naturally inherited. 

In the rare family where parents keep things positive, they take time to prepare their kids for challenges. They don’t just tell kids to do the dishes, and then criticize when they find dirty dishes. 

The parents include the kids in everything they do. The parents stand next to the kids and talk about what they are doing. They show the kids while they’re educating them. After, the kids have seen the example several times, the kids get a shot at it. They get praised for their effort first, and then for the results. Mistakes aren’t ever failures, they are opportunities to learn and improve.

The motto in these families is, “Do your best this time and do better next time.”

Failure does not exist because there is always a chance to do it again, to do it better. This is reality.

However, there is an abundance of people who are eager to set you up to feel like a failure.
When my son was in seventh grade, he was unable to get a homework assignment completely finished on time. He had 70% of it done, so he turned that in. The teacher refused to take it and told him to finish it by the next day. When my son brought it back the next day – as instructed – the teacher gave him a zero because it was late. He had turned it in on time with 70% completed, but the teacher set him up for extra-ordinary punishment, as though he had never done the work. This is unrealistic and cruel.

This never happens on a job. We express our disappointment and simply adjust the timeline.

But this kind of thing happens every day. People are always eager to “teach you a lesson” because that’s what they have been taught. Focusing on the bad is not human nature. It is a learned behavior. 

It is misguided because rewards for performance is always highly successful, while punishment is proven to be successful only as long as someone is watching.

To change “human nature,” all we have to do is teach kids the healthy way. – Christopher, March 2019