The traditional interpretation of Jesus' story is mankind is sinful and needed a savior. Some denominations teach that we are born with original sin, inherited from Adam, and there is no hope of being sinless. The sinless part is important because God can't tolerate sin and must punish the sinful. This is where Jesus comes in. He is a human sacrifice for the sin of the world. So the manger picture is a reminder that this child was born to be killed as a sacrifice to God for the shortcomings of mankind.
What if we missed it? What if that isn't what Jesus' intended as his message?
Read more Faces, vases and mangers
Your brain is a great separator. It separates stuff into categories. It separates good from bad. It separates likes from dislikes and desires from repulsions. We need it to survive. We need the thinking mechanism of the brain tool to keep us well and safe and fulfilled. It is not however a good tool for waking up, enlightenment, satori, salvation, being born again or any other way of describing the experience of heaven on earth or nirvana. You can't discover ultimate truth with a conditioned brain.
Read more Correct tool for the task
What you are is not just your story. You are the source of your story. You are the consciousness that is aware of your story. Jesus would say you are spirit and flesh, source and manifestation. You are already complete exactly as you are including everything you think you are not...
Read more Perfection
"The world as it appears to us now is, as I said, largely a reflection of the egoic mind. Fear being an unavoidable consequence of egoic delusion, it is a world dominated by fear. Just as the images in a dream are symbols of inner states and feelings, so our collective reality is largely a symbolic expression of fear and of the heavy layers of negativity that have accumulated in the collective human psyche. We are not separate from our world, so when the majority of humans become free of egoic delusion, this inner change will affect all of creation. You will literally inhabit a new world. It is a shift in planetary consciousness. The strange Buddhist saying that every tree and every blade of grass will eventually become enlightened points to the same truth. According to St. Paul, the whole of creation is waiting for humans to become enlightened. That is how I interpret his saying that “The created universe is waiting with eager expectation for God’s sons to be revealed.” St. Paul goes on to say that all of creation will become redeemed through this: “Up to the present. . .the whole created universe in all its parts groans as if in the pangs of childbirth.”
Read more A new world…
From the contemplative point of view, being lost in thoughts of any kind, pleasant or unpleasant, is analogous to being asleep and dreaming. It’s a mode of not knowing what is actually happening in the present moment. It is essentially a form of psychosis. Thoughts themselves are not a problem, but being identified with thought is. Taking oneself to be the thinker of one’s thoughts—that is, not recognizing the present thought to be a transitory appearance in consciousness—is a delusion that produces nearly every species of human conflict and unhappiness. It doesn’t matter if your mind is wandering over current problems in set theory or cancer research; if you are thinking without knowing you are thinking, you are confused about who and what you are. “Waking Up” Sam Harris
Read more Pointers to the Formless: lost in thought
To be awake is to be free of the dream. To be enlightened is to live as a transparent form emanating the eternal light from within. To be conscious is to be aware of the awareness you are. To be free is to no longer identify with ego and discover your true self.
We use words like transcendence and transmutation and transfiguration to describe in concepts what is the emerging of the formless within the illusory world of form. We let go of our identity with form, ego, body, mind and the person. We wake up to see the form, body, mind and person as manifestations of our true self.
Jesus described this awakening of consciousness as being born again. Isn't that description appropriate for waking up, being enlightened, becoming conscious and finding freedom? We are born again of water (entry into the physical realm) and spirit (awakening to the true self). Jesus described awakening as salvation. The word he used in its various forms was "sozo." This word means "to make whole."
Read more Pointers to the formless: BOREDOM
Jesus used a few different words that are translated as "knowing" or "to know" in the Christian bible. In the original language the Greek words can be translated as other than "knowing" or colors of knowing. Sometimes Jesus "knew" something as an observation or an understanding or a perceiving. Sometimes his "knowing" was like our modern expression of how we would describe our relationship with form. He "knew" concepts just like we do. But sometimes he used a special word. This word (translated as "to know") is a word that implied intimate experiencing. As an example: "Adam knew Eve and they had a child."
This kind of intimate knowing is why the formless manifests as form to know the formless.
And they said, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven
Read more Pointers to the formless: KNOWING
When we think of the Thanksgiving holiday maybe we think of turkey and dressing and pies and pilgrims. Maybe we think of historical traditions and sharing meals with Native Americans on a cold day when food was scarce. Maybe our minds have those mindful thoughts, but deeper down we have a connection to the formless that bubbles up into our form. The structure of life is a manifestation of eternal life. The formless takes form so the formless can know the formless through form. Take our families as an example.
The "warm feelings" of "graciousness" and "thanksgiving" are really the formless manifesting as form as a result of how the "world works" for the human form. We have parents and siblings and extended families. The warm feelings of the season are really something that we sense from beyond form. We have "blood connections" to our families. This may seem like a physical, scientific fact of human procreation but on a deeper level it is a sharing of like energies that take the form of procreation.
Read more Pointers to the formless: Thanksgiving
Life reveals contrast. Life brings us conflict. Life can be a struggle that we resist or an eternal life we live. We can flow with the river or be a rock eroded over time. Life is like our body when it is trying fight a virus, there is an internal struggle, a war really, that is taking place to bring harmony back to the body. The way of life is as it is so that consciousness can experience perceived separateness to know oneness. When we are presented with opportunities to flow with life we get to choose which path we will take. The path of resistance is struggle but eventually leads to surrender. Life can be a fire that burns away what is temporal, revealing what is eternal. The path of eternal life is living as a human form in harmony with life to enjoy the miracle of life. As eternal consciousness, we manifested as form to experience the formless.
Read more The way of life
Years ago I was flying an event as a test pilot evaluating and measuring the response of a new aircraft under adverse conditions. The aircraft was a F/A-18E/F Super Hornet (the Navy's newest fighter jet at the time) and the test was to simulate loosing an engine while launching off the aircraft carrier. As I slowed down in airspeed, loosing an engine was more difficult to control. On the last test point I couldn't control the aircraft anymore. The aircraft departed i.e. the aircraft rolled upside down and I wasn't in control. My starting altitude for the test maneuver was 2000 ft (pretty low). Upside down, out of control and that close to the water, my first instinct was to eject. A lot happened in just a few seconds. The details are pretty boring and technical (unless you are pilot). In the end I didn't eject but I did miss hitting the water by only a few feet. That was an extremely intense day sprinkled with moments of sheer terror. Almost crashing a jet is a pretty serious life event. Today many of the details of that day are a little foggy but the intensity of that moment is still with me.
Read more Pointers to the formless: MEMORIES