So, I was up late the other night trying to wind down and I got sucked into watching the Discovery channel -- always an educational end to a long day. When the Easter bunny starts to round up his chocolate eggs, the Discovery channel cues up the Christian documentaries. Brushing up on obscure historical and spiritual insights has become a seasonal tradition enjoyed by millions.
When I was 5 years old, I wanted to be a nun. I had an innocent love for all people and felt best when I was helping someone. The job description seemed good to me too. I'd help people all day, never worry about what to wear, and get free room and board too. I was ready to sign up. By first grade I started to see the cracks in the system. The people and the buildings didn't live up to the feeling and seemed to stand for something else altogether. I had had enough of the sit-stand-kneel routine, and felt weird about confessing to an old man (who reports to God) in a tiny room separated by a screen. Independent thought, questions, and suggestions aren't good for maintaining the system. Things work a lot better if people stay in line and do what they are told. The spark I felt shifted some gears and my eyes opened to a power hungry side of human nature. I'm pretty sure lots of us have had a similar conflict between the connection to God we feel and what we are told that connection should be.
No wonder Constantine decided to omit the Gospel of Thomas when he was choosing which gospels to include in the nationalizing of Christianity. Unlike the other gospels which talk about the life of Jesus, the Gospel of Thomas primarily talks about his teachings. Many Christians believe this gospel is heresy because it isn't part of the traditional view of Jesus. That "traditional view" however was decided about 300 years after Jesus was around, by a Roman ruler whose primary interest was to centralize power of the state.
"When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."
That sounds a lot like meditation to me. Krishna Das tells a story about how Maharaj-ji told them to meditate like Christ. Maharaj-ji said that Christ lost himself in love. That's what you should do. Lose yourself in love.
"Jesus said, '"f your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and it is outside you."
So, if the kingdom is inside all of us and we find this when we know ourselves, then we should move toward losing ourselves in love and knowing ourselves. There doesn't seem much of a need to go to Church anymore, does there? It seems like we have a lot of work to do that we can do on our own. Organizing in groups is good for discussion, community service, learning, meditation, and yoga. But looking to an external higher authority in a person could be distracting from the path Jesus may have been suggesting - which is to go inside to find God.
What would a world be like that is filled with love? Would we be able to hurt ourselves, each other, or our planet? What would a world be like if we all loved ourselves, practiced self-awareness and consciousness? It seems like it would be a wonderful place to be.
Who would have thought that late night TV can get the wheels turning? If you find yourself clicking around, see what's on Discovery.
10 Things I learned from the Discovery Channel
1. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
2. Jesus was probably not a Caucasian man. Well I figured that one out on my own. It's annoying how he's always shown as a lanky white boy with Calvin Klein modeling potential.
3. Jesus was a yogi.
4. Some bully with a sword (Constantine) decided which gospels stayed and which were banished. He then made sure the banished ones were destroyed along with the people who continued to read them.
5. Judas and Mary Magdalene also had gospels.
6. Banana peels really are slippery. (from Mythbusters)
7. It's impossible to get tired of watching Planet Earth.
8. Dirty Jobs is an awesome show.
9. Jesus is the most widely depicted figure in the history of art.
10. You should never microwave an egg.