January 18, 2012

Jesus is My Homeboy.



“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.  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 used to incite fear amongst followers. The director ultimately claims the fiction of Jesus and all other messiahs are metaphors of the sun. I was convinced religion was just a big plot to control the world and that the idea of Jesus was nothing more than an elaborate story.

That was until I had a trip 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 that I thought were 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?

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 and 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 qualms with religion and Jesus were because I did not have the ears to hear the validity of their message, nor the compassion to forgive the trespasses of the church. As I reread some of the Christian scripture, I began to identify its unifying message identical in 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 in summary it was because I was not ready, I needed to find my own path, and the ways in which popular religion had grown did not accurately 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.  He was not an agent of fear, but a companion of love. 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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