On Saying Yes to God

We want to say yes to God, but how? We want that yes to be transformational – the end of grief and conflict, the beginning of eternal peace and joy.

But how?

It is such a good question . . .

Release your vise-like grip on Jesus – emotional, historical, spiritual, intellectual – and what happens?
Nothing happens but you are lighter and the space in which to perceive and love God widens and deepens.

One of the insights over the past year or so has really revolved around the value of moving away from religious language and rituals. This feels important to me, because it clarifies the essential process of awakening which is about being human – not being an enlightened member of this or that tribe.

A Course in Miracles is – despite the many protestations to the contrary – Christian. Its language, its symbols, and its mythology are all firmly embedded in the western Christian tradition. The fact that the course differentiates itself from other tributaries of Christianity is beside the point; it remains ensconced in that overarching river.

When I first read Tara Singh one of the things that was both puzzling and attractive – maybe even frightening – was the fact that he tended not to rely a great deal on religion. When he did draw on it, he drew on Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam in roughly equal measure.

But it was clear that he did not view awakening as being the sole province of a particular religion. Rather, it was an personal and interior process undertaken and completed without reference to what was external.

It is important in reading that last paragraph to remember that for Singh – as for many thinkers and teachers – thought itself was external. So my thoughts about Jesus and Catholicism and A Course in Miracles and Sri Aurobindo are all external.

If I am serious about awakening, I am going to have to see the illusion in those thoughts. And it is very very hard!

So hard, in fact, that more and more I am seeing the wisdom in simply letting them go. Release your vise-like grip on Jesus – emotional, historical, spiritual, intellectual – and what happens?

Nothing happens but you are lighter and the space in which to perceive and love God widens and deepens.

All we are really talking about is thought: what it is, how attention is given to it, what its effects are, where it happens, what is aware of it and so forth. If we bring some order to our lives and begin to devote ourselves to those questions, the undoing happens very quickly.

The complexity that we call both self and world owns a pretty shoddy foundation and what lies beyond it wants to be remembered, and is infinitely strong and gentle. Given even a hint of invitation, it will gather on us like a slow tide.

Many years ago Bob Dylan observed that “you don’t need a weatherman/to know which way the wind blows.” Sooner or later we have to come to that space where we see that we don’t need ACIM, don’t need Jesus, don’t need the rituals of Lent and Easter, don’t need zafus, or ten thousand books or anything.

The gift is given and our responsibility – our sole work – is to accept it. We are ready now. Everything after “yes” is unnecessary.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • JayCee April 18, 2014, 6:42 am

    Sean thank U. All we need to remember is that we have made everything up; ACIM, Jesus , world, Bhuda , everything merely to re mind ourselves of the Vow “I will remember I can never separate from God”. Never!

  • Cheryl April 18, 2014, 7:46 am

    Ah, Sean, a much welcome antidote to my “God’s Not Dead” hangover. Sometimes I am astonished at my own naivete.

    In reading your words, I remembered a moment I had many months back right on the edge of sleep. I “saw” Jesus sitting, leaning against a rock and felt his presence as a man discovering his divinity. And very clearly I felt I WAS him, having both the opportunity and the ability to make the same choices he made. Even if the path seems difficult, just about impossible at times, in that instant I saw I COULD do it, that I, too, could BE Christ or light or unconditional love — the description is, as always, irrelevant.

    The moment has faded, of course. Indeed, I hadn’t thought about it for a while. But your writing, coming on the heels of my funk from the film, brought it back.

    Sitting here right now it feels as even more of my whole thought structure is coming unraveled. I don’t believe I truly realized until this moment how much already has come undone.

    Thank you, dear friend….
    Cheryl

    P.S. Not familiar with that Dylan song, but really liked it. And loved the “Suckcess” card. 🙂

    • Sean Reagan April 18, 2014, 9:21 am

      Lovely image of Jesus and precisely the way I experience him myself – images fraught with feeling, like dreams I can’t forget. And yeah, a man discovering his divinity. John Crossan has written very eloquently and helpfully about this, making intelligent and informed connections between the man, what happened to the man to draw him out of anonymity and into history, and then what his “program” actually was. Discovering – recovering – and offering – divinity. No big thing and the biggest thing ever, all at once. It is wonderful to perceive that, to see that the same gift is offered us . . .

      I teach that Dylan song! My students are always amazed – rhymes delivered with attitude. Did you catch Allen Ginsberg & Peter Orlovsky in the background? Adding their own silent commentary. It’s a crazy video, resonating on so many levels. That phase of Dylan’s work is breath-taking.

      Thank you, too, of course. We are undoing together.

      Sean

  • Cheryl April 18, 2014, 7:34 pm

    I think it is the offering that is the hardest part — we are so terrified of rejection, as if it negates a part of us — yet it is only when we can actually move beyond that we can find transcendence.

    And, as always, I am both humbled and delighted by the lyrics that poured forth from the hearts of young songwriters of the 60s and 70s … and yet, why should I be? We all are connected to God … and to one another.

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