One of Christ’s favorite visual aids
was a child –
whenever his disciples got into head games
Jesus put a child in front of them –
the only one who can understand God
is the one with a mind like a child
a ‘beginner’s mind,’ a mind that says
“I know nothing.”
A child’s mind is a Zen mind –
empty of deep thought and ego.
“Say to your distracting thoughts
which completely scatter your mind
‘You are powerless to grasp God. Be still.’”
– Cloud of Unknowing
The basis of Confucian philosophy
is concern with the ethical Tao
the ‘way of man’ (‘natural law’ in the west)
but the deepest Taoist concern
is with the metaphysical Tao
the inscrutable ‘way of God.’
“God is qualitatively different from humans.
Although false prophets try to domesticate God
God cannot be identified
with anything we worship as God.”
– Karl Barth
Only when we fully grasp this will we be ready
to receive Jesus as the inscrutable one
the Surprise God who both exposes and bridges
the gap between God and humans.
But fortunately, God is patient and understanding
of our misunderstanding of God.
Unfathomable mystery is where faith comes in.
Experience, no matter how great
is worthless compared to faith.
The only valuable mystical experience
is one that deepens our faith and love –
faith totally transcends experience.
Losing the contemplative tradition
on the Left
and fundamentalism/tribal thinking/cognitive rigidity
on the Right
have both triumphed over the contemporary mind.
This has come about due to small religion.
Every major religion claims
to be major ethical transgressions
but those same religions traditionally ignored
the slow killing of the whole human race
by destruction of the planet and all Earth’s life forms
on which we depend.
Sometimes religious people are so heaven-bound
they are no earthly good.
Fascination with extraordinary religious experience
can be a way to escape the problems
of everyday life. A better solution is to find
the riches in the seemingly ordinary.
However, the ordinary and everyday can be painful.
The motive for facing pain and death courageously
is that it is noble to do so.
The courageous person does what is noble
for the aim of virtue is to be noble.
For Carl Jung, the unconscious and dreams are
and very helpful in alleviating painful spiritual problems.
Dreams are the major route to the unconscious
and to becoming a whole person.
Dreams are symbols common to all people
but personally meaningful to each individual.
“The eternal truths that heal and save us
cannot be transmitted mechanically –
in every epoch they must be born anew
from the human psyche.”
– Carl Jung