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Monday, April 17, 2006

Love & Possession

I spent the past few days in the canyon. Around Easter in Moab is insane, so I always try to escape town. It’s Jeep Safari time, and thousands of four wheelers come from all over and tear things up and make lots of noise and throw Budweiser cans everywhere. Fortunately, they rarely walk more than 50 ft from their vehicles, so it was very peaceful at the cave. It’s been springy warm, partly cloudy, with sometimes a slight chill in the air. Some days it’s been way windy.

Last night I came to town & meditated in the treehouse. I went through intense doubt, then intense clarity. Things are crystallizing, more & more!

So last night I started out discouraged & fatigued, like I’ve been going in circles and after all these years haven’t progressed an inch. Here I am, houseless, money-less, & nothing to show for it, I think. Am I wacko or what? I start thinking that I’ve worked, and what do I have to show for all my years of work? Then I realized: this is my credit-and-debt self. It tries to take credit for what it has not done, and then it asks, where’s my credit for all my work?

At this moment of truth I realize the Beyond Time, when the splendor is magnificent and the sight of the whole universe is right before my eyes, so indescribably beautiful & peaceful. And it amazes me how could I have overlooked it when seeing it is so simple & free & unworked for.

Love! That’s it! This idea really started crystallizing for me last night. That splendor, that free gift, I realize, is love!

Love & Possessions, Sex & Money

We are in a world that believes possession is love. This is a world that believes love is a purchase. Husbands possess wives. Wives possess husbands. Parents possess children. And parents shower possessions on children. Lovers shower possessions on each other. When a child feels empty and rebels, or a relationship goes sour, how many times have you heard, “After ALL I’ve done for you, this is how you repay me?” In this very statement is the answer to the parent’s failure, or the lover’s failure!

Our families & relationships aren’t truly families & relationships, they are professions. Our families & relationships, like our jobs, are The World’s Oldest Profession!

When you give somebody a gift, are you offended if they pass it on or get rid of it for whatever reason? Then you know you didn’t really give a gift! It was a bargaining tool, with strings attached. It was a manipulation, a power trip, not a gift! If you receive a gift and can’t get rid of it because of “sentimental value,” you are under its bondage, tied by its strings, controlled by its manipulation. Sentimental value is most insidious, because it parades itself as love. Sentimental value is why you can’t follow truth, can’t follow your heart. Children are bound by the sentimental value of their parents, not by the love of their parents.

Once in a while a person comes along like Siddharta Gautama. He was in line to inherit a great Kingdom with all its wealth. But he saw the bondage of the world and recognized it as his own bondage. Then he gave up all his wealth & royal inheritance, despite the protests of his parents, “After all we have done for you, this is how you repay us?” But he knew it was only by this that they could know true love. He proved it by becoming the Awakened One, the Buddha. And this is the story of Jesus Christ, the Awakened One, giving up all possessions, right down to his body & even his thoughts, so that he says, “The words I speak are not my own.”

Possession makes us think that sex is sin, that sex is debt.

I was once in love, and my heart was shattered. What I thought was love died. But what I overlooked as love from that relationship is still with me, forever. I hold the real him with me forever and the real me can feel no regret.

Do you want somebody to make love with you out of obligation or simply because they love you? Is your relationship exhausting or restful? If it is exhausting, isn’t exhaustion based upon work, on obligation, on possession, not love? Aren’t you trying to get something, trying to possess, grasp, rather than simply give freely?

We all know this is when sex becomes debt. Debt is another word for sin. (Remember, “Forgive us our debts…”). This is why many religious people, under Credit & Debt, are so hung up about sex. They have to be (so don't judge them) because sex really is debt for most folks in the world, because we are bound in a world of Credit & Debt. For them it’s good to stay away from sex, until they learn how to do it with love. "To the pure, all things are pure."

Love that is not free is not Love

Can love be mustered, forced? Our common sense tells us it comes on its own good time, doesn’t it? But our impatience makes us ignore common sense. You can’t grab love, you must fall into it. And when you fall in love, your mind is incessantly on your lover, is it not?

One of the most profound verses in the Bible, the very key to enlightenment, is in the Song of Solomon:

"I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
By the gazelles or by the hinds of the field,
That you do not arouse or awaken Love until She pleases."
(Song of Solomon 2:7)

This is the very key to meditation, to Union with the Divine!

Divine Enlightenment

If you’ve meditated or prayed for some time, you realize that you cannot even hold your mind upon the Divine by your own power. Your mind strays from the Present.

Only Love can hold your mind upon the Divine, just like when you are in love you can think of nothing but your lover 24-7. And the whole world becomes pure when you're in love, doesn't it?

This is why Tibetan Buddhist sages constantly emphasize keeping your mind rooted in compassion while meditating. Only the Divine can love the Divine, through you! However, if you strive by your own power enough to hold your mind on the Divine, you can reach the highest heavens and even be a guru with lots of disciples, but then you drop again to the deepest hells, because you did it by your own works, not by Love flowing through you. You find that your “Divine” was simply an illusion, an idol. But Love never fails. If it fails, it is not love. Love has no beginning and no end. It is outside time progression, outside work & credit. It is pure gift, or else it isn’t love.

Make a decision that nothing else in the world matters but Love. Doesn't the Bible state more than once, "God is Love"?

However, last night I realized that the times of striving & doubt are also my blessing. Yeah, Belief & Doubt, Credulity & Doubt, Credit & Debt, are my blessing. They keep me from getting self-righteous & judgmental, because the whole world is under doubt, debt. And they make me realize that the splendor is a gift, when I see it. I can do nothing to obtain it but be open for it, wait for it, watch for it. No works, simply waiting, watching, without judgement. Wait & watch come from the same Indo-European root. The Jewish scriptures implore us to incessantly wait on Jah:

“Wait on HaShem; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

In the Christian scriptures, Doesn’t Jesus implore us to incessantly watch for Christ’s coming? And doesn’t the Buddha implore us to incessantly watch and wait?

But, then, even watching and waiting can be work! This is the dilemma. You see, I never could erase from my consciousness the heart of Evangelical Christian teaching I'd heard since a baby, from the Bible:

“For by grace (gratis) are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any person should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Actually, this verse was at the heart of Martin Luther’s thesis which spurred on the Protestant Reformation, since the church had sunk so deep into corruption it was actually selling literal tickets to heaven! Luther, for all his other faults, was only bringing to light the heart of true Catholic Doctrine, which the Catholic Church had forgotten, such as the sublime teachings of Saint Augustine, St Theresa of Avila, and St. John of the Cross.

And you Hindus know that this Grace is at the heart of Hinduism. For example, the Upanishads, written long before the Bible's New Testament, say:

Brahman is not grasped by the eye, nor by speech, nor by the other senses, nor by penance or good works. A man becomes pure through serenity of intellect; thereupon, in meditation, he beholds Him who is without parts. (Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.8)

Your own works can take you high to heaven, the Baghavad Gita says, but then you have to fall back down again. But how do you give up your own works?, The Gita asks. By giving up all credit for what you do, by giving up the fruit of all your actions. Then you realize it isn’t you who are working, but Nature working through you.

Hallelujah means, “All Credit to Jah”, or “All Praise to Jah”. Let this be your mantra.

Is this not also the heart of Taoism? Read anywhere in the Tao Te Ching, and you’ll see. The Tao gives freely, taking no Credit. The Sage gives freely, taking no Credit. Is this not the heart of every relgion? Enlightenment is beyond Credit & Debt, Good & Evil.

From your very own heart to the politics and the banks of the world, can you now see that our control of Credit & Debt is our own bondage & destruction? It destroys the environment, families, friendships, economies, mental health. I don't need to dredge up statistics, because all we need do is look within.

So we are all Prostitutes. How do we become free from our own Prostitution?

Prostitutes are slaves, stuck in their trade, aren't they? Aren't you? Especially in poorer countries, you can see that prostitution is the only way of life for many women. It’s the only way they know to feed their children. It was this way in Biblical times, which is why Jesus had a special place in his heart for prostitutes. And he had a special compassion for rich people, even as he said riches kept us from the Kingdom of Heaven.

I find that I am often stuck in my striving, in bondage, in debt. I can’t get out. I just have to wait, and find the love lost somewhere within my striving. Whatever situation we are in can be our tool of enlightenment. Prostitution can be a spiritual path. A prostitute may one day find love in her work. Yup. She may find that she falls in love with her client, and her client falls in love with her. There have been a few stories & movies on this theme. When she falls in love, all the sudden she finds that she can no longer take money, and her client finds he can no longer give her money. Both realize they cannot desecrate their love, because it is a pure, divine gift. Then the prostitution ends.

I have many friends that say, "But I love my work." They are stronger than I. Anybody can find that they are doing their work simply because they love their work, regardless of whether or not they are getting paid. To love our work, this is our goal of living.

When work and play are indistinguishable, isn't this enlightenment? It is then that our money becomes obsolete and our love becomes real. This is when “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”