Tag Archives: transcend

To Love and Live Free

I went to an opera this past weekend for the first time at age sixty-two. The story was as old as time. The subject presented was one of love and freedom. As we were leaving the house, my wife explained the opera’s synopsis to my son, and he replied that it sounded like a hallmark TV show. When my wife told me of that conversation, it made me smile. My mind immediately thought of the many women on that same rainy Saturday demonstrating at the Lincoln Memorial not far from the Kennedy Center opera house for the right to live free and not be criminalized for terminating their pregnancy. The opera I saw is titled Carmen, who lost her life because she chose to love and live free.

On a spiritual level, I deeply relate to this story. Whether religious or secular, human cultures do a great job transmitting values from one generation to the next. However, I find them very judgmental when a violation of its boundaries happens. The maintenance of these boundaries is the lifeblood and identity of that culture. Every member and generation in that culture must translate those values and borders.

Sometimes we reinterpret the cultural values and visualize new possibilities. Today we possess a global consciousness, and our technology provides an awareness of cultures outside of our birth culture. Today the gatekeepers in our religious and secular societies are working overtime to keep us inside our borders. If you are not old-school, you probably have membership in multiple cultures, and if you are like me, each culture has gatekeepers trying to pull us back into the fold. And one of their favorite strategies is to have you guard the borders to prove your loyalty.

At the opera’s end, Carmen is killed by one of her lovers. Spiritual transcendence is always about dying at one level to get to a new level. Freedom never comes without death. My original religious culture retells the story of Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, and my new culture teaches us to see reality through a new lens. As one of the teachers in this nondual movement loves to quote: “Matter is not what you see, it is a way of seeing”

My spirituality also reflects the insights found in the culture of science and scientist, who may not see themselves as a culture. However, science has its dogmas, based on science but still dogmas. Quantum entanglement is faster than light communication, also known as prayer, and has always been a function operating in my life. However, I now see that there are no walls between what some call God, other people, and myself. I am beginning to understand and live in a reality where the very substance of life is the same for God, all humans, and everything in the universe.

Spiritual transcendence makes possible freedoms at new levels. As we remove separations walled by our old cultural beliefs, new possibilities bubble forth. As we change the way we interpret life, a new reality emerges, kind of like being born again. The Washing National Opera (WNO) has a close relationship with the Ambassador community in the DC area. Most of these good women and men would be considered gatekeepers of their international community. The WNO was also hosting a gala to coincide with the two-year restart of opera performances after pandemic restrictions. The audience was full of embassy staffers, and I hope their takeaway from the story of Carmen was a little more nuanced than my son’s comparison to a Hallmark TV show.

Transcending one’s culture is an evolutionary process. Human spiritual development will continue, and new human cultures will rise and fall. New interpretations of truths will find their way to the light. New boundaries will replace the old ways of seeing, and those that were once criminals will live in new freedoms. To love and live free is a human story, played out every day in every human life.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, Church, Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence, Evidence Locker, Faith, God, Jesus, Mystic, non-duality, Religion, Spiritual, spiritual but not religious, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Without Imagination Tradition is a White Washed Tomb

2015-07-03_418616_2932If there is one thing that I have learned after thirty years of marriage,  it is that if I fail to use my imagination  when expressing my love towards my wife, her response to my actions will be less than enthusiastic. But if I get it right an actually touch the strings of her  imagination then I get a response that I could have never imagined. That my friends, is the life engine for every kind of relationship.

1 Corinthians 2:9  But as it is written:  “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

Marriages are designed for a life-long race and the vows of the contract provide the structure and framework that enable the relationship to transcend the physical limits of each partner.  However if either partner in the relationship quits using their imagination, for the relationship, the union loses one or both of it’s engine’s life giving energy cells. Bread without wine is no fun. Bread and water is the diet of prisoners and wine is the fruit most associated with Jesus who is an example for human possibility and our relationship with God.

Luke 6:40  A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.

Philippians 2:5-6 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

Matthew 26:39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.

It is funny or sad, how all relationships start with two partners dreaming of a future together. With imagination people willingly give themselves to be a prisoner of love to another. They desire to be with the other and they are willing to give up their life and will to be with the other person. In Jewish tradition, God and Jesus act out in the Garden of Gethsemane, a marriage supper, where a cup of wine is pushed back and forth across a table until the marriage contract is agreed by both families.  When the Father of the Groom takes the cup passed by the bride’s father it is deal for a lifetime.

If in my marriage, I used no imagination and express the same words, make reservations at the same restaurant, and give my wife the same birthday and anniversary card, one or both of us would be serving out a life sentence instead of celebrating 30 years of happiness. There is an expectation on me to use my imagination to express the relevance of my life shared with my wife. Why, because it is alive and the definition of life is expression. If I got construction paper and glitter and made a different card every year I would still miss the point, because I am not eight years old and maturity is function of my expression to my partner in life.

There is an obvious realization that human expression during worship and devotion will transcend with each generation.  Have you ever visited your grand-parents church? Have you ever visited your parent’s church? I am assuming they are different from your current church. Depending on your perspective and age you can literally smell the tradition in the pews, in the walls, in the windows and in the people. Museums work very hard to capture and express the presence of authentic reality, and with one step across the threshold, there it is, “Tradition”.

The sense of tradition reverberates to the core of our being because it is a part of who we are and there is no denying it. It is part of your parent’s being and it is part of your grand-parents being therefore it is part of who we are as humans.  Tradition has a tangibility that words fail to express but it plucks the strings at the core of our being. In our materialistic world our proximity to tradition, is measured in time and space, and it either awakens or conforms the imagination of our consciousness.

As we enter a sanctuary our senses are overwhelmed by the artifacts and the order of service that scream you are in the presence of tradition and thus you must conform. Even if that tradition is in a warehouse, a 100-year-old church building, a Starbucks’ that has not opened of business that morning  or an online internet teleconference.  After we have sat and experienced the presence of tradition our senses remain overwhelmed with the conforming spirit of tradition until we step outside of the door of the sanctuary or disconnect from the internet conference. What a difference a simple change in proximity can make.

If that first breath upon leaving and crossing that threshold is an experience that desires imagination and possibility then thank God because we are alive. If we sensed imagination and possibility when we entered the sanctuary, thank God the tradition is alive. Truth when expressed through tradition has a way of transforming the expression of reality into its form.  The love two people share becomes a child and that expression is bound by the human body.

Why is the tradition when a man asks a woman to marry her seem so over the top as compared to when I proposed 30 years ago?  The answer is simply “imagination”. Hopefully my proposal was over the top as compared to my dad’s proposal to my mom 27 years prior.  We live in a technical world and the guys and gals that fail to implement imagination and today’s resources may get a rejection to their proposal.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Bread and water represent pure existence but Jesus offers Bread and Wine to those that want to live abundantly. 50% of marriages end in divorce because things become routine and imagination moves outside of the relationship. Traditions that use imagination will have life and transcend physical limits. Traditions without imagination become as Jesus put it “white washed graves”. As humans and Children of God were not designed to live in graves but live in gardens which spiritually represent constant renewal.

Each generation is bless with the opportunity to express love according to its own imagination. The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s each produced a different expression and the American nation was transformed. However, each generation had to overcome the traditions of the preceding generation.  The beauty of death is that it provides a renewal for us when we fail to use our imagination. There is nothing like a change in proximity to bring renewal. God is patient and is not bound by time and space therefore He is willing to allow a generation to continue and die off before the next generation enters into the promises of His imagination.

Numbers 32:13 So the Lord’s anger was aroused against Israel, and He made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the Lord was gone.

Jesus died and legally removed all obstacles that created an idea of separation in consciousness of human understanding of our relationship with God. Jesus death also awakened us to the reality that we are all children of God and therefore we are all brothers and sisters. Jesus provided a new DNA structure and a spiritual life that cannot be contained in old wine-skins, for any human willing to eat His Bread and drink His Wine. However most religious traditions attempt to put limits on who are members of God’s family.

But God remains patient and many are emerging from the current traditions unto life. It is only when we courageously step out of the doors of the old traditions do we get a fresh breath of imagination and possibility.  However if religious traditions embrace imagination they can also become life for the next generation and transcend all physical limits.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian, Christianity, Church, Emergent, Emergent Church, Evidence, Evidence Locker, Faith, God, Jesus, Kingdom of God, Mystic, Religion, Spiritual, Spirituality, Uncategorized