Responses to +quot;Discover the Power Within You+quot; by Brad Jensen This text file is a

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Responses to "Discover the Power Within You" by Brad Jensen This text file is a series of 10 essays. Copyright 1990, 1991 by Brad Jensen The author reserves all publication rights to this work, however you are hereby licensed without charge to copy this work up to 50 times, to distribute this text by electronic bulletin board, or on diskette. * A note from the author. * Before you begin reading this, I'd like to take a moment and explain what inspired these essays. Recently I attended a class centered on Eric Butterworth's book, "Discover the Power Within You". As a part of the class, we were asked to write weekly response papers centered on our understanding of the ideas presented in that book. During these assignments, I experienced many developments and changes in my own consciousness. Just the process of writing these brought many new and useful ideas to light. Eventually I started sharing the papers I was writing with friends and relatives. Not everyone will find these words new and stimulating, but chances are there is something of value in them for you. Some of you may even find some thoughts presented here, as threatening or upsetting in some way. Even so, trust in your own mind's ability to accept what is good and useful for you, reject what is not, and grow in the process. Nothing has existence for you but what you share your love with, to the degree that you give it presence and life. Chapter 1 "How Am I Like Jesus Christ" I am like Jesus who expresses the Christ awareness, in the only way that I can be, in thought. The link between personal man and spiritual principle is meaning. It is what ties together thought as it manifests from abstract law outward to physical experience. Like Jesus, I see outward circumstances not as the validation of my life, but as the reflection of my inner life, expressing through mind action. I believe as Jesus does that all of life is meaningful, each situation, every idle dream. I no longer ignore God by believing in luck, coin- cidence, or random chance. I have stopped seeking excuses to condemn myself, but instead I seek to take those aspects of myself that are out of harmony, and reintegrate them in my total self. I do this through love and unconditional affirmation of my life, as I experience it within, as well as through my relationships with others. I understand that I manipulate meaning through symbolism, and that my firm foundation is in understanding universal or spiritual law. It is through this I declare my responsibility for my total Mind, and my willingness to grow through expressing greater wisdom and truth. I know as Jesus does that faith is nothing more nor less than the firm understanding of spiritual cause and effect, and that this causation both supports and determines physical causation and outward reality. It is in seeking the spiritual cause of each outward expression that I turn my attention to that within myself that is the source of the expression. I worship God through my willingness to express our understanding as my own. Jesus is willing to take universal principle and express it as a personal relationship. I also understand that to share this awareness with all the aspects of my being, both inner and outer, requires me to include the quality of personality in it. I am willing to give up seeking the approval of men (who represent the outer consciousness) for the awareness of the Father, who is the inner consciousness. I am willing to fast from rationalizing and intellectualizing, in order to lay ahold of the law, and claim my relationship with the total self. I have given up the need to have spiritual truth proven to me. My existence and my ability to learn is proof to me of God's love for me. I will not reject that love and birthright by seeking to give my authority or power to choose to another. Giving and receiving are the turning of the same wheel. Like Jesus I set the wheel in motion myself, for each of us is complete and the creator of our own joy by our willingness to express unconditional love. I rest in my understanding of divine justice, knowing that as each of us is a light, there is no need for darkness. I recognize that my aware- ness of my need for growth is not indication of a lack, but rather of a developing and unfolding perfection in my total self. The true and honest picture of myself is to see myself as God sees me. Looking outward, I see that God affirms the absolute value of each individual, despite man's preferences and prejudices. Looking inward, I dare to accept myself as I am, and express the Amen: Lord, I am willing to change. Chapter 2 What About Evil? To believe that evil exists as a force in the world is to believe that in some small way God hates us. It is a rejection of faith in God and is an assumption that universal law acts intermittently or erratically. Suppose for a moment that God did create a devil to torment us. What could be his motivation in doing so? The idea that he has done so to strengthen us in our love of God is nonsensical and poorly thought out. It also directly contradicts Jesus' teachings, both literally and symbolically. Jesus points out that God is like a loving father, without the limitations of an earthly one. "Which of you, if his son asks him for a fish, would give him a serpent?" If you honestly seek true understanding in a situation, will you settle for egoistic rationalization? Of course not. If your child needed to learn something, would you try to teach him through fear, or love? Would you set yourself against him, set stumbling blocks in front of him, dig a pit in his way? Of course not. "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" Nowhere in this image of God is there room for a Father who looses torment on his child. The concept of an active force of evil reminds me of the classical paradox, can God create a stone so big he can't move it? Those who believe in a devil have implicitly answered this question yes. Evil has often been compared to darkness. In this formulation, evil is an absence of good as darkness is an absence of light. We can say light exists and darkness does not, because light is a measureable energy, the presence of photons. Darkness is just a place where photons have not yet penetrated. Perhaps we would have a more complete understanding of evil if we saw it this way, as incomplete. Evil is incomplete understanding, it is pausing on the journey to the truth. If you go out into outer space, there is light everywhere. Even the side of a satellite that is in shadow, is illuminated faintly by the billions of stars. Only that area that is completely enclosed by walls is truly in darkness. The rest is only in shadow. The universe itself is more than half full of light. I believe that most of what we take as evil, is more like shadow than true darkness. I believe that the love of God, which is the true light of creation, is strong enough to penetrate into the depths of every situation. If we give ourselves a moment to let our spiritual sight adjust to the experience we are in, we will see the love of God and the gift of goodness that the situation has for us. Why would God give us stones instead of bread, serpents instead of fish? He is too busy leading us into light, to ever lead us into darkness. A stone represents mind substance hardened by the application of will power, or in other words, something that you have already made a part of your permanent understandings. There is no nourishment in it for your mind. God is continually giving you new opportunities for learning, new challenges, represented by bread. If you hesitate in reaching for your new understanding, then you are choosing the stone instead of the bread. Some people have misconstrued the phrasing of the Lord's Prayer to indicate the existence of an active force of evil. "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." But this misunderstanding comes as a result of forgetting the true function of prayer, one that Jesus certainly knows and affirms. Prayer is not meant to reform the thoughts of God, but of man. The Lord's Prayer is a spiritual snapshot of God, designed to change our consciousness of spirit into a right relation to God. Suppose you add one word to the statement, and turn it into a descriptive phrase. "You lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil". In other words, you are saying, "God, I understand that by loving you, I center my awareness on growth, rather than limitation, and commit myself to unconditional love of my situation, and complete responsibility and understanding of it." You love God by doing his will. His will is expressed as spiritual or universal law. So by choosing your thoughts to express according to spiritual law, you are choosing the light of God, which is goodness, and the darkness, the optical illusion of evil, evaporates in the fullness of light. Does evil exist? It exists for you as long as you continue to pretend it does. Fortunately no one has the strength to be this foolish forever. Chapter 3 What is Heaven and Hell "Hunger in the Kingdom" Many of us hunger after a truer understanding of the meaning of heaven and hell. Even the metaphysical interpretations we have taken in, are less than fully satisfying. It is a good idea to turn to our source of spiritual sustenance in the outer world, the Bible. Surely heaven, and how to enter its kingdom, must be the most important topic covered in its pages. It would make sense in writing any literary work to put the most important idea at the very beginning, and then develop and expand on that idea in the following chapters. This is how the Bible is organized also. The most important idea in the Bible is contained at the beginning, in Genesis. The rest of the Bible, through all of the prophets and to the last word of Revelation, is a continuation of the same divine idea. Many of us have come from a religious tradition that sees the Bible in a certain way, and we are used to having blinders on so tightly that we carry thru these assumptions even as we attempt to interpret the Bible metaphysically. For example, it is easy to think of Genesis as an explanation of something that happened long ago and perhaps far away. The literalist thinks of the world being created physically in seven days. (Can you see God sitting down after six days and saying, "Thank Me It's Friday!") Even as we rethink the seven days of creation as the develop- ment of the structure of Mind, we may still think of it as a process that is now more or less complete. "God created these seven layers of Mind, and now we are here, and it's over." But the true metaphysician sees the Bible in a greater Light. He or she understands that the Bible is a description of each individual, and that the Bible describes that individual now. If the Bible is a spiritual work, then it is so because it describes our spiritual existence. As spirit, we exist before the foundation of the world and even to the end of the age. This means we are more than Mind, more than even spirit describes. The Bible, in describing us as existing in spirit, soul, and body, is a timeless work. It is helpful in thinking of and using the Bible to consider it to be describing your current state of being, how your mind exists, now, in this moment. The seven days of creation are the seven layers of your mind, the light, and the I Am. They exist and operate in this moment and in every moment of your being. This Genesis picture is of what is occurring now, inside this moment, from this beginning of a quantum of time, to its completion in your understanding. Now God is saying, let there be light. Now he is dividing the day from the night. Now he is separating the waters by a firmament. Now he is creating the plants and animals. Now he is creating man, and giving him all fruit-bearing plants to eat, and every animal to name. Now he is pronouncing it all good - that is - his domain. In each moment, you are created anew. There are philosophies today that take the new wine of metaphysical thinking, and attempt to place it in the old bottles of original sin and dualistic thinking. To the thirsty man, even muddy water tastes sweet. To think that there is a spiritual world, which is real and good, and a physical world, which is illusion and somehow lesser, is to falsely enthrone self-pity and self-delusion as spiritual law. To think we have somehow offended God, and therefore are sentenced to live on Earth until we learn to submit to his will, is to fatally confuse guilt and grace. We are here on Earth, in the kingdom of the heavens, because we have worked hard for the right to be here. It is in this place that God rests, not because he is tired, but because he wants us to grow up and make choices ourselves. Hell is the desire to escape from this responsibility. It feels so bad because it is unnatural. Anything that goes against the Tao, the way the spiritual laws work, cannot persist. This explains why so many spiritual seekers are still unhappy. They seek to have God be responsible for their decisions. They do not realize that you "Let go and let God" AFTER you make the value judgement of what you want. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the Christ awareness, the understanding that you are responsible for every part of your mind. It is the willingness to take on this responsibility that is the kingdom of the heavens. Although they should know better, many metaphysicians take the phrase "the kingdom of God is within you" to refer to a place, even if it is a place within mind. They then unconsciously or even consciously desire to go there, and preferably stay there. But Jesus was saying that the "control of mind is within you", in the sense that the innermost parts of your mind are already functioning in this state of consciousness, and you can take your conscious attention there to learn how to bring this state of being outward. The mustard seed mind picture is designed to show us that the kingdom of God is not meant to be either hidden or analyzed into a tasty paste, but to be planted in our outward awareness and allowed to grow and develop until it becomes our greatest growth. If you leave the kingdom of God within you, you are missing the message of Christ. Bring it out and share it with every part of your being. Break the bread and feed the five thousand. Then no part of you will go hungry. Chapter 4 What is Non-Resistance We are made of the love of God. It is the warp and woof of the fabric of our lives. Yet when faced with a new challenge in our understanding, our first reaction is often to come unravelled. The movement that is change occurs solely on faith. If we seek and embrace new understandings, no matter the form or outward circumstances that surround us, then we have faith that our will is God's will. If we hesitate, procrastinate, and vacillate, then we are operating out of faith (often unconscious) that what we want will be denied us, or is bad for us, or is not God's will. We have faith at some level that what we want shall not be. Faith is not something that operates part of the time. It is always present. It is the only way that change occurs. To be non-resistant is to recognize that God's will unfolds through our will. It is to recognize that the outward circumstances of our lives are temporary, that we are always leading ourselves on to greater good. If we reject a learning experience because it seems unpleasant or beneath us, then we are practicing resistance to the higher self within us. God only gives us what we ask for in thought. When we lack understanding, the higher self arranges the opportunity for us to develop that understanding. Non-resistance is not a passive acceptance of our situation or some supposed destiny. It is an active expectation of good, it is a seeking of the spiritual clothed in the physical. If we can say, "Spirit led me to this", that may be good. But recognize that Spirit only leads us where we first ask to go. It would be better perhaps to say "I am doing this", recognizing and taking responsibility for the God in ourselves. There is no such thing as a negative thought. Is it a less-than- nonexistant thought? There are only thoughts we like the con- sequences of, and thoughts we don't like the consequences of. To worry is the ultimate form of resistance. It is to become lost in thought, to deny our own value and ability to deal with the present moment when it comes. The antidote is to remember that we are made of the light of God, the eternal flame of truth, and that no one and no thing can blow us out. Non-resistance is not indifference to, but rather confidence in the will of God. Chapter 5 To Whom Do We Pray? Is God Principle or Personality? Does Anyone hear our prayers, or are we just trying to cheer ourselves on? We know that Abraham, the father of the Jews (who represent spiritual seekers), worshiped the living God. He did this because he realized that God existed in his awareness, and his awareness was within himself. As he was living, he recognized that God must be living too. I always suspect those who say God must be this or God must be that. Too often they describe the limitations of their own patterns of thought, and nothing more. For example, some people say that God never changes, because God is perfect, and perfection is changeless. But they are only describing the small circle that their dependence on words takes them in. They make the same mistake as a child who thinks that infinity is a number like a million, only bigger. Infinity is a concept, not a number, and a mathematician would be happy to tell you that there are many different kinds of infinities. Perfection is also a concept, in the same way that infinity is. And there are many kinds of perfections. When we apply the concept of infinity, we decide to stop counting the items because we recognize the concept of limitation in the quality of magnitude no longer applies to the situation. When we apply the concept of perfection to God, we must recognize that the absence of limitation in the quality of expression is present. We can say God is in this and God is in that, and we can say it until we have named every thing in the universe. But we are no closer to God. The perfection of God is that he is changeless and yet is the source of all change. What is changeless is the universal law or principle. We all agree there is God. We do not all agree what the nature of God is or his relation to man. Now some would say, what about the atheists and the agnostics? They reject the concept of God, or say it does not matter. And even some respected theologians say God is dead. What about the scientists, who seem to worship dead matter? They have the greatest faith of all. Suppose for a moment you believe only in the physical universe, complete and in itself. Your greatest concept of perfection would be the entire universe, taken as a whole. Yet even the most casual observation would tell you that every part of the universe is changing every moment. And by careful observation, you soon see that the process of change occurs in cycles, and that principles seem to be in action in every case. This is the point to which the modern scientist has been led by his powers of observation and the application of his reasoning to those observations. The scientist investigates the universe by assuming that there is a principle behind every change, that he can learn those principles by observation and reasoning, and that he can find a way to apply those principles to cause the change he wants. If we each had this degree of faith about our own existence, what magnificent lives we would all lead! The scientists' concept of perfection is that principle or law applies in every situation. Nothing exists in the universe we live in except according to the laws of that universe. Those laws apply every place equally and without favoritism. That is what God is for a scientist. An individual might balk at applying that label to his conception of the operation of the universe, but we can apply it for him. In its simplist form, we can say the awareness of God is the recognition that the universe operates according to cause and effect, and that we can apply the cause and produce the effect. Even the less disciplined mind of the indifferent agnostic knows better than to drive his car off of a cliff. The law of gravity is a perfect law that needs no judge nor jury. The universal laws are always true, and we follow them to the degree of our understanding and ability. To some degree, this following takes place unconsciously. We do not stop and think that air is necessary for our health, that we need more air, and then take a breath. We believe as we breathe. The spiritual seeker takes the concept of God and expands it to be more all-encompassing. He believes that there are laws that underlie the physical laws, and that these laws operate within himself as well as in the outer world. He believes that he can investigate these laws thru observing his own life, using the instrument of his own mind. He believes he can apply what he learns, and increase the effects he desires, and decrease the effects he does not want. The scientist investigates physical laws with physical instruments. He then builds machines that correspond to the laws he has discovered. These machines do useful work for him. The seeker investigates mental laws with his own mental instru- ment, his mind. He then builds new thought patterns that take advantage of the mental laws he has discovered, to do useful work for him. Our scientific revolution began because men dared to question what everyone already knew. They admitted the possibility that what they had already learned might be in error. They applied a method of investigation to everything within reach, and came up with new ideas that served them better. The true spiritual seeker would be wise to follow this example. If you would increase your spiritual progress, review your own thoughts and behavior in the light of the spiritual principles you have come to accept. This then is the first part of prayer. The scientist rejects prayer because he misunderstands it to be seeking favoritism from the law. How could the principle of gravity favor one person over another? What nonsense! But a serious study of gravity and of motion led us to rockets, which go up and never come down. We did not violate gravity, but we studied to understand its consequences and mode of action, then used our understanding to produce the effect we desired. We can do the same with our lives and our minds. Are there principles that go beyond physical law to produce consequences in our lives? This question is too important to leave to another's investigation. Find out for yourself by experimenting with your own life. If you do discover mental or spiritual principle operating in your life, and you want to increase your understanding of this process, what can you do? Pray. Set your thoughts to thinking about thought. Seek spiritual cause for each effect you see in your life. Look for consistent principle, impersonal law, acting through your mind. We would be benefitted by seeing prayer in a new way. Rather than seeing prayer as a certain quantity of thought, we could see prayer as we see infinity or perfection, as a quality. Every thought contains the quality of prayer, because it reforms our thinking process itself. If we recognize that the spiritual laws work from within us, it would make sense to take our attention inward to the point where those laws begin, to see and use the laws at their source. This is prayer. If we acknowledge and accept the operation of law, we strengthen and accelerate its effect in our lives. This is because we apply the same law consistently, without changing direction. This is prayer. We begin by pretending that what we desire has already come to pass. This places our attention in the future, where the operation of the laws begins. We think in pictures, because that is the method of communicating meaning to the inner part of our mind that exists before words have their birth. We pretend, because this is the creative aspect of our thinking. It is inaccurate to think that you will be limited in the future to what you have expressed in the past. Take responsibility for the creative process of your thought. This is prayer. Many metaphysicians are stalemated by the question of whether God has the quality of personality. Certainly we come from God, and we definitely have this quality. Jesus called the God of the Jews (who were so impressed by this question that they refused to speak his Name) DaDa. Not a stiffly formal Father, but DaDa (Abba). How can the kingdom of God express fully in the physical world that is so often ruled by the whims of the conscious ego, without taking on the quality of personality? To share your awareness of God with all the parts of your mind, allow this awareness to be personal. Try it for a while and see if it works for you. If it does, continue to use it. This is prayer. Recognise that a part of your mind lives and moves and has its being in the place where the universal or spiritual laws operate directly and purely. That part of you has the ability to create anything you desire, when you make up your mind and are ready to receive it. This is prayer. To pray is to align the inner and outer parts of your own mind in a manner that allows your inner thought to become your outer reality. It is a communication of outer desire and its transformation into an acceptance of the form of expression that your inner good is able to provide. When you accept the operation of the law, then your word becomes law. This is prayer. Chapter 6 What is Prosperity? "Big whirls have little whirls, that feed off their velocity, and little whirls have lesser whirls, and so on to viscosity". This chemical formulation applies to mind as well as to physical liquids. Each thought is a miniature whirlpool in mind substance. The larger, universal thoughts or divine ideas occur in the superconscious mind. They are individual- ized and particularized into discrete physical expression in the densest part of mind, the physical level of conscious- ness. We can erect barriers in our outer consciousness that turn the divine ideas aside, or cause their expression to be warped and stunted. These barriers come from fear, anger, and self-pity. The consciousness that blocks prosperity is the consciousness of lack. The affirmation that supply does not exist is always temporary, because it is untrue. Sooner or later you run out of lack, and you become desperate enough to hope for some good. The consciousness that permits you to experience prosperity is wealth consciousness. It is recognition that the universe contains every thing you need. The world is made of energy, according to the physicists, and we only need to learn how to release the energy trapped in matter. I am prosperous, because I believe that the only permanent truth is God, that I am made of God-stuff, and that the world reflects my thoughts as a creator. I know that there is no limit to substance, and that I am worthy to manipulate and use that substance. My wealth is my confidence that I will be able to see and use the good in every situation, that I am an eternal being, that beyond every thunderstorm is a rainbow, and I will live to see that day. One of the secrets of the universe is that everyone is wealthy. You may have a wealth of prosperity, or a wealth of poverty, or somewhere in between. But your life is always full of something. You can direct the big whirls in your mind by taking hold of the largest, most all-inclusive ideas that you can think of, and continually rethink them, adding to their energy and power. You direct the smaller whirls by examining each thought, and accept and reinforce those thoughts that fit your larger idea, and let go of and turn away from each thought that doesn't fit. Finally, do everything with a consciousness of your own wealth. Feel rich while you do the dishes. Polish your shoes as a reflection of your bright inner self. Look for ways to let your wealth out into your physical experience. Self-confidence or self-pity: every moment you choose. Confidence in your own inner self leads to prosperity. Chapter 7 The Law of Cause and Effect What if there were a universe created without law? Each event would be random, there would be no value or opportunity to learn, since each event would be unique and unpredictable. There would be no evolution of individuals, no evolution of the universe as a whole. This is the Hell that many people live in today. They believe that life is arbitrary and capricious, that the best philosophy is to just keep your head low. But this universe is formed according to law. Law means "rule of action". We should stop and think about what the existence of spiritual or universal law implies. First of all, law is principle. It means each event that occurs may be observed according to the principles that operate to bring it about. As reasoning beings, we are able to abstract from similar specific incidents, and infer a general principle. Second, law is universal. It does not operate in only part of our lives, or inconsistantly. Constant law operates in every situation, in every place within the created universe, at each level of mind. Third, law is knowable. The law is more than the words we use to describe it, but we can understand it by its operation in our life. We can create a mental model of the principle and how it works, and use this model to predict the consequences of any proposed decision. Fourth, law is useable. We can act according to our under- standing of the law, and apply the principle in any given situation. We have the ability to place the law into motion, through idea, emotion, and physical action. We use the law of cause and effect by creating a desire, following through with thought, word, and deed, and then experiencing the consequence. Karma is the law of freedom. Through experiencing the results of our own understandings, there are no shortcuts, no one is favored, and we can't kid ourselves about what we really know. If you want love, give unconditional love. If you want to receive the truth, then give the truth. Chapter 8 What is Healing? My picture of healing is of bringing together, as the edges of a wound, and of becoming one again. It is an overcoming of separation, and the re-establishing of the unified nature of the body. The word religion means to re-tie. It represents the overcoming of the separation of spirit, soul, and body, and the recreation of the Adam consciousness in man. The Adam consciousness is the awareness of one's responsibility and command, under law, of all of the being, all three parts of the total mind. I believe the name of our group is Unity for an important reason. It is easy to analyze each thought and action, break it down into its component parts, and rationalize your way to conclusions of how the world must be and should be. But you must realize that your process depends on your preconceptions, and if you depend only on reason, what you will have in the end is just a self-fulfilling prophecy, one that may only reflect your self-doubt and lack of self-worth. The concept of Unity enfolds and overcomes the concept of duality that is so prevalent in intellectualized spirituality. It is the animating spirit that gives life to the thoughts, even the thoughts of the self. I accept and recognize as true each thought, to the degree that it affirms and acknowledges my present oneness with God. As you resist your oneness, you lose track of your health. As you seek to condemn the physical, you set your thoughts against the inner thought of perfection. Your house is divided against itself, and cannot stand. To regain your health, you must start practicing the concept that you are one with God. That means you must take on and affirm the point of view, "I am that I am." Each moment you are pretending your future. You can choose to pretend your oneness with the Creator, and restore order to all of Creation. Chapter 9 The Meaning of Easter "The Greatest Parable" Over the past two thousand years, millions of individuals have studied the recorded words and deeds of Jesus Christ, and yet we have no consensus about what it all means. Was he God, or man, or both? Are we like him, or was he a special case that we can never completely imitate? He utterly transformed the world forever. He innoculated the literal-minded masses with the microbe of metaphor. We live in a world of symbology because of him. By his example, we have been taught to transform our thinking. He destroyed and replaced the complacent relation to God of the spiritual thinkers of his day. Surely he destroyed and rebuilt the temple of the Lord in the three days of his death and resurrection. What does this resurrection mean? To some, it is the proof of God's ability to resurrect a physical body after death - but usually those people who are so literal minded also believe that Jesus was by nature different from any other man who has ever lived, so it is not proof after all. To truly understand Christ's message, we must use Christ's method. His method is to speak in parables. Each story is a picture that conveys an inner meaning. Certainly, if he forsaw and directed his own death and resurrection, he planned it as the greatest parable of all. I believe that Jesus came to teach us how to change. He was born into a highly structured society that had great spiritual pride, and yet had been humbled by the Romans, who were much more primitive spiritually. By his condemnation, death, and resurrection, he showed us the example of our own process of change. Through fear, we surrender the inner understanding to the outer ego, and try to kill it. Yet the idea that animates this change, the principle, lives on. We identify so much with our thoughts and their outward expression, that we get confused. We think "If I change what I think, then I will no longer be me." Jesus, whose name means "conqueror", wants to show us that the real self continues through the outer change. To change what I think does not change who I am. When the outer consciousness asks us, "are you the Christ?", the inner spirit that integrates and loves the total self, we can answer with Jesus, "I Am". Chapter 10 What Is Reincarnation "Born-Before Christians" Though Jesus never stated that he was a reincarnation of Elisha, he did refer to John the Baptist as the reincarnation of Elijah, who was to come before the Messiah, according to prophecy. Each of us has to decide for himself, the degree of his or her own acceptance of reincarnation. My continually developing point of view, is that reincarnation is the essential ingredient needed for Christianity to make sense. If we do truly reap as we sow, then God is not mocked, and the principles Christ declared are true for every man. Without reincarnation, both theologians and the common man have had to resort to absurdity to explain God's creation of man. If God has created us to live a sinless life, or else spend eternity in hell, then God is like a small boy who tears the wings off of insects. Who among us can live a life without blame? If one in a billion attains it, I am amazed. Faced by the guilt of having placed a vicious face on God, different sects have confronted the problem by variously declaring that priests can forgive sin, or that once you declare your faith in Jesus Christ, you are saved forever. Both of these ideas are so absurd that they must be swallowed like camels. They are beyond faith, because even faith follows spiritual cause and effect. These thoughts are attempts to patch over the absurdity of our limited earthly views of God. Those who hold to these thoughts are like the man who told Jesus, "let me go home and bury my father." They have made tradition their God, and must value everything by how they think it sounds to the neighbors. They have buried the Father, under the weight of their limited perception of God. They have separated themselves from Jesus by making him a special case. There is no sense in attempting to imitate Jesus unless he is exactly as we are. If you only take Jesus literally, then you ignore his example of teaching through parables, and you have turned your back on his gift for you. When asked how to pray, Jesus said, "pray like this", and gave us the Lord's Prayer. He said, pray as I do. What good would it do us to imitate him, unless we truly are as he is? If we are in the same relation to God that Jesus is, we must be as he is. And in a sense, isn't the entire set of four Gospels a form of prayer? Over and over, Jesus says do it this way. Put on these thoughts, and reform your relationship to God. Jesus stated very plainly and directly that we would do greater things than he had done. If we are to do so, we need more practice. The only way to get more practice is through more time on earth. A physical scientist will tell you that every particle of matter in the cosmos has existed since the beginning of the world. It may have changed from energy to matter and vice versus several times, but the total of matter/ energy is conserved. Only the form changes. If even the physical universe is eternal, is it hard to believe that we who experience as mind, are also eternal creations? When we say God must be this, and God must be that, we are not describing the limitations of God. We are describing the limitations of our ability to conceive of and accept God. If we accept the all-encompassing love of God, perhaps we can accept that he has given us all eternity to find and develop our true nature as his image and likeness. When we look around us, we see constant change of form. Every plant and animal, as well as man, changes in a constant process of evolution. The change of child to man is not random: no one grows smaller and younger. The child goes through many days, and many changes of awareness, to become the adult. He does not remember all these days, even as we forget our earlier lives, but the influence remains. And though the child may look nothing like the man, and may have many changed attitudes and feel very differently about himself, yet he is the same individual. If we do decide to believe in reincarnation for the time being, until we can prove or disprove it to ourself, then how can we apply this promise that we can be as Jesus Christ expects us to be? To make Christianity come alive in you, take each thing Jesus said about himself, and pretend it is true about yourself. Pretend it is you saying it to and about your own self. If you have the courage to do this, you will find Christ in yourself. Jesus himself told us, "Seek and you shall find". Do not accept anyone's limitation of what you are or can be. Find out for yourself, within yourself. Afterwords There are some powerful ideas presented in the above essays. You might want to read them several times, giving them at least several days to sink in between readings. After writing these words, I read them daily for several days, then once a week as I wrote the next paper. I think they became stepping stones for me in the changes I continue to make. These are my own thoughts. I offer them to you freely. To the degree that these ideas make sense to you, and you use them, you are creating them in your own mind. If they are of no use to you, then forget about them. If you are wanting to get the greatest good out of them, then share them with others. If you received this as printed text, you could xerox them. If you received them on diskette, then copy the disk for someone else. Most of all, if they are useful to you, then use them. If you will look, then you will find. Each of us is personally connected to God. Not through someone else, or even through some idea. You are made of truth. If you would like to respond, please send your comments or questions to Brad Jensen,PO Box 470385, Tulsa Ok 74147. ----A book offer by Brad Jensen---- If you would like to do more with the ideas I have presented here, I have written a small book of transformational thoughts. These ideas are thoughts I have collected that help me remember who I am, and provide stepping stones for change. Each paragraph is designed to stimulate your discovery of who YOU really are. The book is called "Now and Zen", and is a little over ten thousand words long. It is not about Zen Buddhism. It is not a collection of quotes by other authors. It includes many thoughts that you will recognize the moment you hear them in your mind. Each thought is designed to help you think about thought, and about who you are. Whether you agree or disagree with them, you will find them stimulating and thought-provoking. Here are some examples from "Now and Zen": "You end the cycle of rebirth by realizing that you never die. Death is separation. You have never experienced anything but your self. How can you be separated from this?" "Go to sleep, and trade one dream for another." "The only price you pay for life is attention. If you want a better life, be prepared to pay the price." "You can't prove anything to anybody. When you try, you lose the ability to convince even yourself." "We forget, because we have not yet developed the courage to forgive." "Stop trying to create perfection in yourself, and instead begin to experience the perfection of yourself. Then you become the perfect creator." "Even if you do not believe in a life beyond the physical, there are things here for you. You know the inner workings of your mind are beyond the limits of speech, and that whatever the workings of your brain, your mind is shaped by thought even as it shapes thought. There are thoughts here that serve to unlock greater potentials within your mind, however it is that they work." For your own copy of "Now and Zen", send check or money order for $4.95 plus $1.00 shipping and handling. OK residents please add sales tax. Additional copies $4.00 each (buy several for friends!). Allow 3 weeks for delivery. Include full name, address, city, state, and zip code. Make check payable to Brad Jensen, and send to "Now and Zen", Box 471404, Tulsa OK 74147. PLEASE PRINT! I also have a book on dream interpretation from a metaphysical point of view. It is called "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" and it will help you understand your dreams. Order "Dream Book", for $2.95 plus $1.00 shipping and handling, to the above address.

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