Our actual spiritual state trumps our philosophy every time. Whatever we are thinking, whatever we are believing, whatever images are going across the screen of the mind, it’s all happening in the overarching context of our spirituality. The spirituality I am talking about is not just our religion. It is what’s really happening for us spiritually, our real spiritual connection. Our actual spiritual state determines our life experience.
I remember a conversation I had with a friend. We have all kinds of ideas about what spirituality is, but this conversation demonstrated to me that we actually know what it is at some kind of intuitive level. We had been speaking about more or less trivial things, and in the middle of the conversation I asked, “How’s your spiritual life going?” And the answer came back immediately, “Oh, not good.” It was the beginning of a deeper interchange between us.
At deeper levels of our Being, we know if we are connecting and empowered and if we are accessing the wisdom and the strength, the happiness, the delightedness of what it is to be alive. We know if our primal spirituality—the spirituality we had when we were born—is intact or if it has been ruptured so that we are not connecting spiritually. And then we can philosophize. But all the philosophizing in the world won’t make up for a compromised spirituality. All the belief in God or belief in whatever you want to believe in—the lack of God, the scientific method, aliens, quantum physics, and I could go on—mean very little if a person is living with a compromised spirituality. Except that some beliefs have a correlation to what is true and may lead a person on a path to repair what may have become broken.
Believing the belief doesn’t fix your spirituality. You can believe in Jesus and you can believe in God and you can believe in the Buddha but, of itself, that belief does not change your life. What changes your life is your spiritual connectedness, your spiritual knowing. Not belief knowing but your actual innate knowing, your reclaiming of your primal spirituality. If a mental belief leads you to that, wonderful! A belief about what is true can lead us on a path of change so that we embrace our primal spirituality.
At this time of year, there is all the religious iconography of Christmas. As beautiful as it is—the shepherds and the wise men, Mother Mary, the Christ child and all—the iconography itself doesn’t take us very far, no matter how sentimental we may feel about it, unless it provides a window through which we can reclaim our primal spirituality.
By primal I simply mean “first”—our first spirituality, the spirituality that we were born with and the spirituality that’s behind all of the true religions of the world. All of the true religions of the world started with somebody who was having an actual experience of their primal spirituality. They tried to share it and teach it, not so others could have a belief about what they were teaching but so that others could have the experience they were having, so that others could claim for themselves what was real and true about their lives, so that others could experience themselves in a vast context that transcends all the trivial things of a human life.
So what is the significance of the iconography of Christmas? Ultimately, the story is of a beautiful Being of supreme love who was born into the world and came to know who he was and why he was here, and sought to share that with other people.
As I reflect on this story, I’ve discovered that I’m a fundamentalist Christian. I hope nobody is too shocked. What do I mean by that? I believe in what is fundamental about what Jesus brought, what’s primal about what he brought. And what’s fundamental and what’s primal is his actual teaching, his actual sharing of his knowledge, and his invitation for us to know with him. I’m a fundamentalist Christian because I want to be a first Christian, a primal Christian. I want to be the kind of Christian who comes as close as he can to sitting at the feet of the master and listening to his words, receiving them for real, in earnest, for the meaning that is plainly and clearly in them, before they’ve been corrupted by some church or priest or minister. And I know that the closest I can come to that is to read the record of his words that still carries his spirit and teaching, and the primal experience he sought to share.
I want to, as much as possible, sit at his feet and hear the teachings and accept the teachings and say what so few have been willing to say:
Yes, I hear you! I get it. I get that there’s something profound that you’re knowing, that you’re calling your Father. I receive your teaching of profound surrender. I hear your teaching that there is the magic of spirituality, the magic of the Creator, which is at hand. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, and I get that that means right here and now—not tomorrow, not a century or millennium from now.
I take you at your word when you say, “Follow me.”
He’s recorded to have said it many, many times. “Follow me… Follow me… Follow me.” And if I could have any illusion about what that might mean, to follow him, he made it so clear.
He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.
So I understand that believing on him relates to actual experience and being an active participant in Creation. This is not just a worshipful, adoring following. It is a courageous kind of following.
Yes, you are my savior because you showed me the Creator within me, the Father within, as you said. And it is the greatest gift that a human being could give to another, to show them the Creator, the Father within.
I get that he taught us not to pray to him. He gave an instruction on prayer, and it wasn’t to pray to Jesus. I defy you to find any place in the four Gospels where Jesus Christ said, “Pray to me.” He taught us how to pray. He told us to pray to the Creator, who he spoke of as the Father—the creative power within you and within me. He taught us to access that, be that, and let the will of that be done in this earth, as it is in the realm of potentiality, the realm of heaven. Let that will be done in this earth, this physical body. “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth,” in this physical body, in this physical manifestation of my life, in this person next to me. Father, Thy will be done.
Every true spiritual teacher and leader who has walked the earth taught us our primal spirituality. They taught us what was already present for us, but which has been compromised in the human experience. They taught our primal spirituality as something that is available and accessible for you and for me; something that transcends all the baubles, all the toys of the world in which we live, all the booby prizes of what it means to be a success as a human being, as it’s usually thought of. Embracing our primal spirituality is embracing our primal spirit and embracing our place in all of Creation. We have a place in Creation. And from that place we can live and work powerfully in all the dimensions of the human world. But when we define our reality by the place that was given to us in that human world, we’ve settled for the booby prize.
So I say, in this Christmas season, we have an opportunity to be masters of iconography and not slaves to it. A slave to iconography either embraces the icon as if it were the thing itself or rejects the icon because it clearly isn’t the thing itself. I say that we are here to be masters of iconography. It could be Christian iconography; it could be existentialist iconography or Buddhist iconography. But whatever kind of iconography it is, we should be masters of it, because we are coming from the standpoint of a real, known experience of our primal spirituality. We’re living our life embracing that. And we’re taking the true teaching of that spirituality, not as another philosophy to theorize about or to believe in. Was that the purpose of Jesus’ teaching? If you look at it, I think it would be pretty hard to weave it together as some kind of clearly articulated philosophy. Maybe somebody could do it. But of how much value is that?
What he said is a clear window into our primal spirituality. The words that he spoke, of themselves, aren’t particularly the point; neither is whatever philosophy you might want to derive from them. It’s the living experience that is the point, the opportunity to be an instrument of Creation and an instrument of the Creator; in fact, to be the Creator in human form.
This is from the Christmas card we are sending out this month:
From the stillness at the heart of Creation,
Feel the ever-expanding field of Love.
It is the spirit of our Lord,
Being born into the world on this day.
May we be His Bethlehem.
There’s a need for what Bethlehem represents in the story. It is the House of Bread, a place of life, a place where the Most High can be born. We are Bethlehem for the Most High. We are its manger. We are the place of its birth. When we each do that for the spirit that’s within, together we hold the space for the birth of God through us collectively.
Let us be the manger for that. Let us come together, drawn together by cords of love, to be the manger for that larger coming forth. And if we can do it together and prove that experience together, we can reach out to the larger world and say, “Stop it. Stop all the craziness. Let’s come together. Let us be Bethlehem. Let’s let this world be Bethlehem. Let it be the manger for his coming forth.” In the larger birth of the Christ Spirit in human experience is our coming forth.
We have a world full of people who are interested in their own success, their own shining. What we find is that when we are his Bethlehem, we come forth, that we share in his victory. His victory is our victory. When we surrender to the Creator, we find we are creators. We’re part of that reality, and we surrender up our human flesh to the Creator within us. And then we become the Creator in living expression, pounding his drum, sounding his trumpet, bringing the vibration of spirit into this world through human consciousness.
David Karchere (Sunrise Ranch, CO)
Teleconference Service of the Creative Field from Sunrise Ranch
December 6, 2015