Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Kingdom is not of this world

Perhaps more than any other word of Jesus in the historical literature, this expression became the frequent victim of level confusion, in one of the ego's favorite defenses against Jesus' teachings, in which it always substitutes the concrete for the abstract, the specific for the concept, the thing for the idea.
Plato already understood that the ideas, the mind, is infinite and forever, and cannot be traded for one or another expression of the idea, as much as you can steal a table, but you can't steal the idea 'table'. And therein lies the rub...
In Margot Krikhaar's Awakening in Love, she deals with this issue extensively, and as always in a thoroughly practical manner, particularly in Chapter 10 of the second part of the book. She covers all the variations of ego-distortions, including one of the ego's favorite games, of rejecting the world, pointing out that all such ego-strategies do nothing but make the error real. As a result they make it harder, not easier to follow Jesus to his Kingdom which is not of this world, as in fact they obfuscate the choice by substituting a specific action for the acceptance of the idea.

What makes the ego so upset are notions like 'I need do nothing' (ACIM:T-18.VII), not to mention the level of insult it feels at passages such as these:
It is this that makes the holy instant so easy and so natural. You make it difficult, because you insist there must be more that you need do. You find it difficult to accept the idea that you need give so little, to receive so much. And it is very hard for you to realize it is not personally insulting that your contribution and the Holy Spirit's are so extremely disproportionate. You are still convinced that your understanding is a powerful contribution to the truth, and makes it what it is. Yet we have emphasized that you need understand nothing. Salvation is easy just because it asks nothing you cannot give right now. (ACIM:T-18.IV.7)
It should finally dawn on us that the reason a camel will sooner go through the eye of a needle than a 'rich man' will enter the Kingdom, is simply because you cannot hang on to the values of the world, and seek first the Kingdom all at once. It is one or the other, so as long as you maintain your investment in two mutually exclusive strategies, you will lose your investment. Ask any trader on Wall Street.

The point is that when we do become aware of our own contradictory investments, we should not consult with our ego, but ask Jesus or the Holy Spirit. There is nothing we can do to flick the switch, except flicking the switch, and that means asking the Holy Spirit and not the ego to look at our resistance a different way. Looking at it with Jesus or the Holy Spirit is what will whittle down the resistance, any actions the ego comes up with will only postpone that one choice by always again substituting something that will never work.

Thus the 'other' choice is not doing the opposite in worldly terms, but it is not getting trapped in the choice that never is a choice, by not making the choice by ourselves, but referring it to One Who can guide us out of the maze, exactly because we are then giving our ego the day off. We can always know we've chosen the ego if we are once again engaged in rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, and caught up in believing that this time it will make a difference. The ego as always is the magician, Maya, who makes it seem as if the choices it offers are real choices, yet either choice always means we chose the ego - that is the ego's 'gotcha'. The choice for 'another way' and a different teacher, simply means not buying into the ego's choice for two sides of the same coin, but stepping back from buying in altogether by referring the matter to the Holy Spirit for guidance, which means we are withdrawing our investment from the conflicts of the world, and putting our faith in the teacher whose Kingdom is NOT of this world. Whatever we then do on the practical level is done without investment, only because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and thus comes without the hidden price of sin, guilt and fear.

To come back to Chapter 10 in Margot's book once more, in it she shares a visionary experience she had as part of her process, which makes it very clear again that experiences will come to us, in the exact form that is most helpful, to help us along the way. In the process it becomes equally clear why in the end it is inevitable that we all choose for Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as the experience grows that the options the ego has to offer aren't any real choices at all.
Logion 47 of the Thomas Gospel (Pursah version) says:
A person cannot mount two horses or bend two bows. And a servant cannot serve two masters, or that servant will honor the one and offend the other.
Nobody drinks aged wine and immediately wants to drink young wine. Young wine is not poured into old wineskins, or they might break, and aged wine is not poured into new wineskins, or it might spoil. An old patch is not sewn onto a new garment, since it would create a tear.
The Course puts it this way:
The alternating investment in the two levels of perception is usually experienced as conflict, which can become very acute. But the outcome is as certain as God. (ACIM:T-2.III.3:9-10)

Copyright, © 2011 Rogier F. van Vlissingen. All rights reserved.