Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To Be Yourself Is To Be Perfect

I'm house-sitting for my friends Phil and Ann, with a couple dogs and fish in the outskirts of Moab. I don't get into town often on a dysfunctional bicycle, leaving me time to practice guitar and philosophize. I'm going to philosophize about religion a lot in this post. Religion contains the memes that drive whole cultures, including influencing those who are not religious. Religion is the most powerful tool for influencing culture there is, for good and for bad.  I know, it's usually bad.  But I'm taking a chance with it again.

Generosity is Artificial Institution,
Re-generosity is Life! 

I've been involved in some activist movements sprouting up in Moab.  And I just attended a weekend permaculture workshop taught for free to all by Joel Glanzberg from New Mexico, offered through Moab's local Community Rebuilds.  It was amazingly inspiring. 

I'm feeling in my bones that permaculture is a key to bring in gift economy, for whole populations to live moneyless.  I've never honestly cared for traditional agriculture, which I'm sure arose with money and barter, and was the beginning of our imbalance.  My ideal has been the hunter-gatherer model, which obviously wouldn't work today without a major die-off of people.  That leaves us permaculture, which is about creating a self-regenerating system, not only of agriculture, but of everything connected to it.  Machinery is generation.  Life is regeneration.  

This got me super excited, taking the principles of permaculture into social interaction:

Generation is generosity (which we see as a virtue). 
Regeneration is re-generosity - Gifts that keep giving. 
Generosity is a thing of artificial institutions. 
Re-generosity is a thing of living communities!
Generosity has a sense of self-righteousness, self-credit.  "I did my good deed for the day", stacking up credit points.  

Re-generosity is perpetual giving, such as breathing, having no thought of credits or debt.  You don't expect praise for every lungful of carbon dioxide you freely give to the world, you just egolessly do it.  And you don't feel guilty about every lungful of oxygen you take. Generosity comes from stores of excess, from possession.  In re-generosity, there is no possession, only perpetual flow. 

It makes no sense to "own" air in your lungs. 

When you own nothing, there is no effort in giving, no sense of self-righteousness. 

Life is not a charity, it is constant giving.
Permaculture is allowing everything to be its natural self, for greater efficiency and productivity with minimal effort, as all of nature works.

This  all connects with things I've been philosophizing on for a long time:

To Be or Not to Be, that is the Question  

There is one and only one reason we are imbalanced and our world is messed up:

we are not being ourselves!

Our true selves are perfect

To be yourself is to be perfect.

Be.  Perfect.  Even as I Am.  Perfect.

I'm talking about every single human as well as every single living thing in the world.

Is this unrealistically-optimistic thinking?  Before you judge it so, and even if you think your religion teaches that humans are inherently evil or flawed, from an ancient idea of "Original Sin," I ask you to hear me out.

The Virus of Wrong

Just the other day I had a debate with a friend.  He says not everybody knows what’s right and wrong. But we both know he knows everybody knows what’s right and wrong, but we pretend we don’t know.  Our pretense is so refined we convince ourselves we don’t know we're doing something wrong, and we pretend we don’t know that people don’t know that they’re doing something wrong!  This is how the virus of wrong excuses and perpetuates itself.

from Dungeons & Dragons

Whenever you find somebody doing something that both you and they know is disagreeable, you usually hear, “I’m just doing my job”, or, “That’s how business works.”  Everybody then goes silent, as if this were a valid argument for doing wrong. But just the fact we say "I'm just doing my job" or "that's business" shows positively we know it's wrong.  The idea of excuse comes from the sense of wrong. And this shows society has a common, unspoken agreement.  We’ve agreed that business trumps truth.  We believe Mammon is more powerful than Truth.  We say we believe in God, but our actions prove we believe Mammon is greater than God, meaning we believe Mammon to be the only God.

But maybe it's not so simple.  People have families to feed and rent to pay, after all.  Over and over I hear this:  “I don’t like doing this, but I have to make a living.”  Or,  “I don’t agree with this, but I have a family to feed.” 

In other words, we are not ourselves, because we think we have no choice. 

We believe ourselves so helpless that our actions are dependent upon our employers, leaders, corporations, the drugs of our addictions. 

Do you see it? 
We have given up all responsibility for ourselves.

It's strange how this would be considered radical:  What if we all decided to simply be ourselves?  I mean total sincerity. 

What if we decided we’d rather lose our jobs or starve or die or be ostracized than to not be ourselves? 

With full confidence I say we can never be happy and at peace until we're willing to give up all to be ourselves.  To be ourselves, we must give up all that we think is ourselves, all that we think we possess.  Our true selves possess absolutely nothing, and when we realize this, we are completely free (un-possessed by anything or anybody, un-possessed by the thought of possession). 

Lungs that possess air cannot breathe.  

What if we did everything, I mean every thing, not because we are getting paid, or for the credit of peers, or because we want to barter for something else, but simply because our hearts tell us to do?

We Think We Need Authority

And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? (--Jesus)

Why are rabbits and ants and monkeys able to manage themselves and know what to eat or not eat, when to have sex, where to go, without bosses or governing authorities or contracts, without scriptures or instruction manuals or schools?  Consider the ant… who has no boss, no overseer or ruler.” 

If they can manage themselves and we think we cannot, why, then, do we consider ourselves more intelligent than other animals?

When I say this, many professed Christians often respond, “but we’re born in sin, have a fallen nature.  We're evil, flawed.”  They say it’s hopeless, and all we can do is wait for Jesus to come and rapture us away from this mess, completely ignoring the most basic of all basic Christian doctrines, that "Christ is in you, the hope of glory."  The usual religion gets us hoping for a future reward and day of recompense.  Stacking up credit.  This idea of original sin has had a grip on western civilization for eons. 

But, as one who was raised under evangelical Christian doctrine, having intensely studied the Bible since I could first read, I ask, is this really Christian doctrine?  Does it bear good fruit?  Is it Jewish doctrine?  Is it any religion's doctrine?  Since the Bible is the world’s most common book, a meme driving civilization, that doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon, let’s shine some light on its principle doctrines.   

“Original Sin”

The very first chapter of the Bible says everything God creates is good, and after Adam (male and female) is created, all creation is pronounced not just good, but very goodVery good is the Seventh Good, the Complete Good.  Adam (male and female) is created in the Image of God. Yes, the most fundamental message is that the Image of God is our true nature, and the Image of God is perfect goodness.  It’s that simple, the very foundation of all that follows!  The next chapter of Genesis proceeds to describe the fall from our True Nature.  It’s a simple description of how we decided to try to be something other than ourselves. 

Sin means debt.  And the "original sin" we've inherited is no more our nature than a debt we inherit from our parents' estate.  We've inherited a way of thinking, thought of credit and debt, which can be changed.  Our innate nature cannot be changed. 

When we do for the sake of doing, we return to our true nature.  The doing itself is the fruit, the reward in itself, enjoying right now.  Because it's always here, not future, it is fruit everlasting, the fruit of the Tree of Life.  It's the bread of life that perpetually satisfies.  When we act for the sake of getting something in the future, our fruit is forever future, never truly attainable, fickle, the fruit of the Tree of Thought of Credit and Debt, knowledge of Good and Evil.  If you doubt this is what the Garden of Eden story is about, you may want to read  The Seven-Headed Dragon: World Commerce ”  in the website,  showing how the Hebrew text confirms these things. 

The Core Principle of the World's Religions

Lao Tzu
Giving up thought of credit and debt, giving up working for the sake of future credit, is the core principle of the world’s religions.  If the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, as Jesus constantly teaches in the Gospels, rather than some future far-away place, then we work for Present Reward, and our work is the reward.  Then we are content in whatever state we are.  Invariably, good ideas are hijacked by the marketing mentality and take on opposite meaning.  Marketing mentality turned the present Kingdom of Heaven into some future heaven that really will never ever come.  Notice how we are so programmed that when we find something beautiful, the first thought in our heads is, “we could make a lot of money from that.”  Always thinking about future heaven.      

What is the central theme of the Baghavad Gita?  Do not work for future fruit.  The Tao Te Ching?  Virtue gives expecting no credit.  The Quran?  The same.  If you doubt this is the fundamental of the world’s religions, check out  Here's the One Point We Know the World's Religions Agree Upon.

When our doing is its own reward, this is when we become real, Real, Royal.  And we can say, I Am What I Am, no more, no less. 

I Am What I Am
The Way, the Truth, and the Life

This is a doctrine you can prove for yourself by direct experience.  There is no way to Peace, no way to Perfection, no way to Harmony except being exactly who you are, when you can say in perfect truth and confidence, I Am What I Am!  When you are who you are, you are the Light of the World.  Jesus said both:   “I am the Light of the world,”  and  “You are the Light of the world.”  The slave of the system will ask you,   “So who sent you?”   “What religion?”  What authority?”  “What scripture?”  “What organization?”  “Who employs you?”  If you want to short out their brain circuits: simply say,  "I Am What I Am; no one else sent me."  The only way to say this is to simply Be, with or without talk. 
The Burning Bush
Byzantine Mosaic
(Exodus 3:14)
(Quran 20:11)

When we leave the System of Slavery and escape to the Wilderness where there is no money, no government, our eyes suddenly open to the Burning Bush, and we finally hear our Name, the Name by which all life is called, I Am What I Am.  And we will understand true human nature and love it so much we will want to return to our fellow humans whose true natures are oppressed under slavery.  And we will proclaim the Name, I am what I am, liberating us to say, “Let my people go.”

Only when I am who I am can I ever see you for who you are.  This is love.  If I can't see my neighbor as myself, I can't love my neighbor. It is utterly impossible for me to love you if I am not myself, if I’m trying to be something else or trying to be what I think you want.  When I am who I am, I am love.  Love is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  There is no other way.  Love is the one and only Image of God.  Love is God incarnate, here and now, your True Nature, here in the flesh.  I am who I am, the Name above all names, the name by which every created thing is called.  All other names are just words, illusion.  "The name that can be uttered is not the Eternal Name" (Tao Te Ching 1).

If you believe what I'm saying is blasphemy, I challenge you to look at those who harp the loudest that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Do they keep Jesus’ teachings?  If they truly believe Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, they will keep his teachings.  By their fruit you will know them, not by their talk.  If you actually practice Jesus’ teachings you cannot help but see Jesus is your own true nature.  Yes, what do you see in the mirror but the Image of God, universal, “Christ is all and in all”?  If you practice Jesus' teachings, you can't help but see that Jesus is Krishna, is Buddha, is the Tao.

With the heart concentrated by yoga,
viewing all things with equal regard,
he beholds himself in all beings
and all beings in himself.
He who sees me everywhere
and sees everything in me,
to him I am never lost,
nor is he ever lost to  me.
He who, having been established in oneness,
worships me dwelling in all beings,
that yogi, in whatever way he lives his life,
lives in me.
Him I hold to be the Supreme Yogi,
who looks on the pleasure and pain of all beings
as he looks on them in himself.
(Bhagavad Gita 6:29-32)

Muhammad, in the Hadith, says,

Allah made Adam in his own image (Sahih Muslim 40:6809) 

[and this Hadith passage mysteriously says Adam is 60 cubits long, refering to the length of the Jerusalem temple, dwelling place of God, in the same way Jesus refers to his body as the temple, in the same way the New Testament refers to the human as the temple]

Early Muslims had no problem saying Adam is in the image of God.  But later Muslims have tried to explain this away,  partly because they didn't want to be like Jews and Christians, partly because the Quran, like the Bible (the Torah and Isaiah) say there is nothing and nobody like God, seemingly contradicting the Hadith and Genesis. 

Hmm, yes, it is contradictory, that is, if you believe God and the Image of God are two different things!  Either the Image of God is God, which revolutionizes Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, or else the Bible contradicts itself and the Quran contradicts Muhammad and we continue with the same bullshit for another few millenia.  Either or.   

The Quran mysteriously repeats a story several times of how God made Adam from dust, then after breathing the Spirit into him, commanded the angels to bow down to Adam (Quran 2:34,7:11,  15:29, 20:116.  [Note how this is the Quran's commentary on the same idea in the Bible, Hebrews 1:6, even to the point of referring to the angels as fire]) .  Everybody bowed except Satan.  The Quran says over and over to worship, to bow, only to God (2:83, 3:64, 7:206, 16:49, 22:77, 25:60, etc).  Satan, appearing to be righteous, refused to bow, because he saw only dust, only flesh (15:33, 7:12). 

Again, the Quran says that God alone, referring to himself as We, will inherit the earth (Quran 19:403:180,15:23,19:40, 28:58).  Then it turns around and says people will inherit the earth! (Quran 39:7410:14, 21:105, 27:62).  This alludes to Jesus and the Psalms saying "the meek shall inherit the earth."  Then the Quran says that God alone rules the world.  Then it turns around and says Adam is his vice-regent to rule the world!  (Quran 2:30, 6:165, 38:26).

Now, compare these two mysterious Quran passages:

Once I perfect him, and blow into him from My Spirit, you shall fall prostrate before him
(Quran 15:29)

Lo! the likeness of Jesus with Allah is as the likeness of Adam. He created him of dust, then He said unto him: Be! and he is.
(Quran 3:59) 

In other words,
Just simply Be, and you will be the Image of God, and you will be One with All and rule the universe.

Become Master of the Universe without striving
(Tao Te Ching 57)

If there is a good store of Virtue, nothing is impossible.
If nothing is impossible, there are no limits.
If a person knows no limits, he is fit to be Ruler.
(Tao Te Ching 59)

Why is the sea King of a hundred streams?
Because it lies below them.
If the Sage would guide the people,
He must serve with humility.
If he would lead them,
He must follow behind.
In this way when the Sage is Ruler
The people will not feel oppressed;
When he stands before them,
They will not be harmed.
The whole world will support him
And will not tire of him.
(Tao Te Ching 66)

And he sat down, called the twelve, and said to them,
"If anyone desires to be first,
he shall be last of all and slave of all."
Then he took a little child and set him in the midst of them.
And when he had taken him in his arms, he said to them,
"Whoever receives one of these little children
in my name receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but him who sent me."
(Mark 9:35-37)

Do you believe in that cross hanging around your neck? 

He who takes upon himself the humiliation of the people
is fit to rule them
He who takes upon himself the country’s disasters
deserves to be King of the Universe.
(Tao Te Ching 78)

"But I would follow truth, I would be myself, if I could,” so you say,  “but I have to make a living.   I have a family to feed.  My family and my church will ostracize me if I follow my heart, if I do what I know to be true, if I simply Be Who I Am.”  We all have been trapped into not being ourselves and feel this way, and breaking out of this into truth is what makes life scary and exciting.

This is where faith and the Cross come in.  Do you really believe in that cross hanging around your neck? 

First, you must make the decision: 

I will be myself no matter what, even if it means I lose my job and starve, even if it means I get crucified by my peers. 

If you honestly believe that God is good, then you start knowing that if you follow good, against all odds, against the world’s logic, that everything will fall into place and everything will work out for you and your family.  If you grow a bit of a spine, have courage, then you’ll figure it out, I guarantee it.  You have no more excuses.  Take responsibility.  Good is your nature and good will carry you through.  Good is God.  Love is God.  If you think you can’t live by being true, your faith is false, a pretend show.  Then you are an actor.  The Greek word for actor is hypocrite.

Sect and Political Party:
Seeking Credit of Peers

As soon as we join a sect or political party, calling ourselves a club name, we cease being ourselves, cease using our minds.  We can no longer say, I Am Who I Am.  We start parroting our club, not our hearts.  This is ego.  Ego is our put-on self, and ego’s sole purpose is to gain the credit of others.  Credit is praise.  Credit is money.  Credit is barter. 

We cease cooperating and start identifying ourselves by what "they" are not.  For example, do we think bailing banks out is wrong because a democrat bailed out banks, or simply because our hearts tell us it’s wrong?  Do we agree with bailing out banks because republicans are against it, or are we going against our hearts simply because it means not being like republicans?
And look what
Popeye could do!!
This is starkly clear in religion.  The ethical teachings of Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Krishna, for example, are the same.  All teach giving up possessions, all teach loving enemies, all teach overcoming evil with good, all teach keeping the mind in the present.  But as soon as somebody says, “I am a Christian” or “I am Muslim”, etc., they become ego, false, actors, hypocrites.  They identify themselves by what the other is not.  A self-proclaimed Christian, for example, is willing to completely trample on his or her own Jesus’ teachings in order to not be like Buddhists or Hindus.  This is why Christ’s fundamental teachings are mysteriously absent from classic"Bible-believing" churches.  This is why even the self-proclaimed Christian’s own Bible forbids taking on labels, including the label "Christian."

I appeal to you… that all of you agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. …there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I am Paulian," or "I am Apollosian," or "I am Cephasian," or "I am Christian.”  Is Christ divided?

How much proof do we need? History shows us over and over that peace and rational thinking are impossible when we call ourselves anything.  You cannot be Christian if you call yourself Christian.  You cannot be Muslim if you call yourself Muslim.  You cannot be Hindu if you call yourself Hindu.  You cannot be Republican if you call yourself Republican.  You cannot be Democratic if you call yourself Democrat.  You cannot be Socialist if you call yourself Socialist.  You cannot be Libertarian if you call yourself Libertarian.  You cannot be Universalist if you call yourself Universalist.  How much more disaster must sectarian religion and politics wreak on the earth before we get it?

When will we get it that all we can be is ourselves?  I am what I am, nothing more, nothing less.  Only when we are each uniquely ourselves do we realize we are all One.  “My people who are called by My Name:  I Am What I Am

Our actions tell who we are, not our labels, not affiliations.  By doing nothing more than being myself, I declare the unspeakable Name, when I am who I am.  All energy, all liberation, all reality derives from simply Being.  How can we think we can be anything else than Who We Are?