Saturday, May 21, 2011

Want to experience the end of the world? Stop, drop and roll

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnets...Image via Wikipedia
The kind of end-times views, the eschatological madness that has become standard in assumptions about Christianity (and unfortunately too often as a part of Christianity), that has had people riled up over and over again about "the rapture", is a non-starter. The second-coming of Christ, the rise of the future Buddha, and "the end of the world" have a central flaw. They still rely on the idea of "the world" as merely physical things, that is, the material plane or the empirical realm, whatever term one might wish to use. Yes, these things, which are called "form" in Buddhism and Hinduism, are indeed part of the ephemera of phenomenal realm, and they are in constant flux. But "the world" is more than that. It is our conceptual and egoic framework as well, which is referred to in Christianity as "the flesh". The eternal present, the constant root of awareness, the peace of God (or "of the Lord" or "of Christ"), is not something which comes or goes. The end of world comes when we rediscover and permit this peace. The world falls away. We no longer dwell in sin, in the delusion that everything we are is summed up in our concepts, thoughts, feelings, perceptions or bodies. There is no birth and death, even though outwardly from a relative perspective phenomena still continue their perpetual cycling and change. This union with God, the becoming and joining with Christ, is available where it has always been. Here and now. In the stillness of the depth of our true nature.

The appeal of rapture stories is easy to understand. It is the kind of excitement and drama that the flesh, the ego, craves.  Fear and danger and safety. Punishment and reward. All kinds of judgement, of discrimination of this and that, good and evil, of us and them, of moralistic certitude. These concepts and their attendant thoughts and emotions are a seven course banquet for the flesh. It gives the ego a sense of its own solidity and importance as the primary point of reference. God and Jesus become objects of ego's wish fulfillment, of its desires for control and validation. It isn't surprising this is so popular, that people are willing to take apocalyptic language and take it at its most literal reading; that instead of a poetic account rooted in a particular culture and community showing an inner process at work, it is taken as a snapshot of the future. It isn't surprising because God, and Jesus and the rest are already seen by so many people as objects, and in particular as objects of ego's wish fulfillment. To fulfill our egos' desires to be all important and substantial in an eternal way, to justify it's sense of separation, to bless it's need for rank and status, to support it's urge to label and judge, and on and on. Want to see the end of world? Stop, drop and roll. Stop seeking, drop your expectations and labels, and roll with whatever comes your way.

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1 comment:

  1. Good thoughts, as always, sir!

    I said to a friend today "Whether one believes in a literal return of Christ or not, Jesus' main emphasis was to live as if it could happen right now!"


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