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Posts Tagged ‘God’

Thanksgiving has just past – my very first one here in America!

In Australia we don’t celebrate this holiday, as this is traditionally an American holiday based on American Indian appreciation and to give thanks to God for the harvest and express gratitude to others for our many blessings.

This is an interesting and very worthwhile thing to do – to give thanks to God for our many blessings. But what does it mean to give thanks to God? How do we show we our gratitude and appreciation all that we have been given in life? Do we think about God? Do we pray?

For me, to really show gratitude for this life and everything in it is to live in the present moment, to really live. By this I mean to open up all of our five senses and really take in all that is life.

For example; when we eat our meals (Thanksgiving or otherwise), to be present and conscious as we do so; savoring the flavor, the taste, the texture, and being present for all of it. How often do we eat on the fly? Quickly scoffing something down so we can move onto the next task. Perhaps we consume our food in a total daydream, completely unaware and sometimes even surprised when we find our plate already empty before we even knew it – or we find ourselves so full that we could burst, because weren’t present enough to realize we should have stopped long ago. Maybe we eat while we are doing something else, like watching TV or being in front of the computer, and do so in an unconscious mechanical fashion. Where is the gratitude in that?

Or when we walk down the street – to be present and aware, taking in everything around us – to see the trees and hear the sound the leaves make as the wind moves through them – to feel the wind and the sun against our skin, to look into the eyes of passers by and smile, feeling love for humanity. To me this is gratitude. How often do we rush from place to place, lost in our thoughts and paying no attention to the reality around us? How often is the destination more important than the journey? How often do we really look? Listen? Feel? Smell? Because if we don’t, where is the gratitude in that? We often take for granted these simple things, but these simple things are SO valuable and should be savored. Just ask the blind man, or the man in a wheel-chair, or the man confined to prison.

When we take a shower which can be such a wonderful pleasure, how present are we? To feel the water running over our skin, to take in the scent of the soap and to really feel the texture of the lather over us, to really enjoy every moment of this luxury… or do we spend our time thinking about all we have on for the day, about what we are going to wear, replaying conversations we had the day before, fantasizing about conversations we should have had or are going to have, stuck in a daydream of thoughts.

We are given this amazing life, but just how present are we for it? How are we living it?

For me, showing gratitude is to live in awareness, to be present and conscious of everything around us and of every precious moment; making the effort to break free of the perpetual daydream that clouds us from reality and to really live this precious life we have been given.

Prayer is a wonderful thing, but if we just forget ourselves after we have given thanks to the Divine for what we have, and don’t pay attention to this precious moment we are in, then it seems to me we are not following through on our words, and our words are just empty.

I believe this is what giving thanks is all about – not just giving it, but living it too!

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christ5Despite my family being non-religious and us never going to church, as a young child I had much love for God and Jesus. I didn’t intellectually analyze what or who God or Jesus were, they just were, I just felt felt love for them. I felt this love went both ways too. It was simple, and it was pure. I can’t remember who explained them to me, maybe it was Mum, or maybe it was religious instruction at primary school. But I remember the feeling.

One Easter when it was way past my bedtime, Dad fell asleep on the couch and in glee I stayed up to watch T.V. Being Easter there was a movie on about Jesus (it was probably Jesus of Nazareth, I’m not sure). Anyway what started off as glee turned to horror as I watched what we did to him and how he suffered on the cross – up until then I knew ‘he died for our sins’ but I had no clue we tortured and murdered him. I was absolutely mortified and traumatized by it, I felt so much shame for the human race and what we had done. I cried about it for days, and I remember Mum’s frustration at Dad for being “irresponsible” and letting me see that movie when I should have been in bed.

As I grew up though, I slowly lost that loving feeling, and the word ‘Christ’ began to represent something to almost be ashamed of. It certainly wasn’t ‘cool’ to be Christian put it that way. All the Christians I came across were a very peculiar type of people – they would preach about sin and heaven and hell, yet they themselves were some of the most judgmental, unforgiving people I had ever met. Often they were extremely fanatical about their faith, even aggressive about it, and the term “Christian” became tainted for me.

I began to question the Orthodox view of God and Christ, things just didn’t add up. How is it fair that these individuals who called themselves ‘Christian’, who were such horrible people underneath their preaching, go to heaven because they went to church on Sundays to be forgiven for their sins, when others of different faith would go to hell, no matter what they were like inside? They could be saints and the door would be shut to them. Where is the love in that? That just didn’t make sense! That wasn’t the God or Jesus I loved as a child, and eventually I turned my back on them, just as one dismisses Santa Clause when you discover he was never real in the first place.

But in recent years I have began to learn a different view of what ‘Christ’ actually is, different to what is portrayed in mainstream Orthodox Christianity. And the teachings of Jesus now make a whole lot more sense in this new context.

To truly live without sin is to eliminate it within, to fundamentally change. It is not enough to outwardly act a certain way if within you there is negativity, hatred, judgment, anger, frustration and so on. These negative aspects need to be removed so that the truly spiritual can manifest in their place.

Many people consider themselves ‘spiritual people’ and ‘good people’ or even ‘Christian’, however if they were to observe what is actually within themselves, they would be horrified by the harsh reality of who they really are. You can profess to love Christ all you like, but in those moments of negativity towards another human being (and we all have those moments) what is manifesting is far from spiritual.

By observing ourselves, we can see this harsh reality, and we can begin to change. With the help of the Divine, we can eliminate these negative aspects and increase our capacity for love, peace and to truly experience the Divine. But we cannot change what we cannot see.

The Christ is a Divine force that can live within. Jesus had this force within him and was teaching us how we could incarnate this force within ourselves, how we can change and become truly spiritual people. And what I am talking about goes far beyond simply going to church or ‘believing’ in God or Jesus.

“Now, since it has been said that you are my twin and true companion, examine yourself, and learn who you are, in what way you exist, and how you will come to be. Since you are called my brother, it is not fitting that you be ignorant of yourself … For he who has not known himself has known nothing, but he who has known himself has at the same time already achieved knowledge about the depth of the all.”

Jesus,

The Nag Hammadi Library

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This awesome 3-part documentary has just been released by the Gnostic Movement.

It explains what Gnosticism is, and delves into the history of Christian Gnosticism. In doing so, it begins to tell the story of how conventional Christianity was let astray and isn’t true to the actual teachings of Jesus.

The Christian Gnostics have emerged in different forms throughout history, walking the hidden path towards spiritual transformation. Starting with the early years of Christianity, this video explores the Gnostic origins of Jesus and his disciples, and the secret aspects of Jesus’ teachings. It tells how the theology of Paul of Tarsus diverged from the Gnostic teachings of Jesus and came to compete with the Church of Jerusalem, which was led by Jesus’ disciples.

With the fall of the Church of Jerusalem, Pauline Christianity became dominant. Those who knew and practiced the secret heart of Jesus’ teachings went underground — hidden from view but continuing their quest for spiritual enlightenment.

Christian Gnostics, such as the Knights Templar and the Cathars of the middle ages, were deemed heretics and faced lethal persecution from the church, which was then at the helm of a powerful empire. Despite their continued persecution, the Gnostics continued to emerge and strive, as individuals made efforts to seek knowledge and enlightenment.

It’s a very interesting little documentary!!

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