Deciphering the teachings of a great master

May.3. 2017

Ancient teachers tend to teach in symbols and metaphors.

Most of the time, their teachings are not meant to be taken literally, but to be understood it at a deeper level, a spiritual level.

This is particularly true of the great teacher who lived two thousand years ago.

Teaching to simple peasants and fishermen, he had to distill his wisdom into simple stories and allegories.

His genius was such that he was able to frame his understanding of the universe into simple concepts.

It’s these concepts he taught that have preoccupied me.

At one level, these concepts are Santa Claus type metaphors.

We all know that there’s no overweight white guy dressed in a red suit living up in the North Pole. But we also understand that this fictional character is really a metaphor for giving.

So we celebrate this fictional character every year understanding it’s the spirit, not the figure behind the metaphor that is important.

But a Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

(Interestingly, the concept of the Trinity was created by early church bureaucrats. From references to a spirit of God, they somehow extrapolated that God must be made out of three entities.)

At a deeper level, it’s easy to see that Father here is taken to mean the Creator, the One who gave life to us all.

Which makes us all His children, or in the male dominated world of the time, His sons. Son here is not to be taken literally. It just means we are His creations, which of course is absolutely true.

So when the teacher said he is the Son of God, he’s saying that he’s a creation of God, like the rest of humanity.

Taken literally however, it implies he’s asserting he is God himself. If you were to read the few books chronicling his teachings (including those banned by the early church bureaucrats, you will see that he never claimed to be God himself.)

Now the Holy Spirit is a bit more problematic.

Often depicted as a dove which symbolizes purity and goodness, the Holy Spirit is often seen as something outside of us, a separate entity.

But going back to the material vs the spiritual.

What happens when we see the light? When we are “born again” (in itself another metaphor, not to be taken literally to mean to re enter the womb) into goodness.

Our spirit becomes holy.

Or that goodness have entered into our hearts.

So when they say, the Holy Spirit descended upon them, it’s really a figure of speech to mean that goodness has entered into their heart and their spirit has become holy.

Which brings us to what the term “holy” means. Some people seem to think that being holy is to pray a lot. (I know people who pray more than four times a day but their spirit is not necessarily holy.)

(The physical act of praying belongs more to the material world rather than the spiritual, especially when it’s done as public spectacle or when it becomes a ritual.)

Holy, as I’ve written earlier just means not doing anything to downshift our reality and the reality of those around us.

Seen in this way, the three metaphors begin to assume a special meaning.

They summarize our very essence and existence (which is the genius of this great teacher).

God comprises the Creator, his creations and the spirit of goodness which creates rather than destroy.

(This is really the difference between good and evil. Good creates and evil destroys. Good uplifts and evil downshifts.)

Next, how he explains a basic energy of the universe and teaches us how to harness this energy to create a “kingdom” of “heaven” here in this world.


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