Many years ago, I had an experience which I understood at that time to be a “past life” awareness. Now, however, I see it more as symbolic of my life’s path, what some might call my “hero’s journey”. In this vision, I saw myself as a young Native American maiden who had the ability to sense and understand the “unseen” as well as the “seen.” Because of this, many in my village would look to me for guidance and emotional support. This quality did not appear harmless nor helpful to one in the village, however, and that was my father. (I saw him as the same birth father I had in this life). As the Chief of the village, he felt threatened as he saw his power potentially diminished or threatened by mine.
Being advised from my inner guidance, I left the village, my relationships and everything dear to me behind one night, knowing that I must… in order to preserve my life… as my own father, I was shown, was plotting to secretly have me killed. I crept off silently into the shadows, finally having a white horse appear that I gratefully viewed as a personal gift… and climbed upon.
Though the vision appeared to close at that point and re-open at another, I have come to understand that much time passed (or, in scriptural jargon: “It came to pass”) as I found my way, mostly alone, through the wilderness, learning from experience and meditation as I gratefully lived upon that which made itself available to me.
The next scene opened with me coming to a great chasm and needing to cross. As I wandered and wondered how I would get from one side of the cleft rock across the vast distance to the other, I came upon a bridge of sorts. This bridge was made from rope and wood and crossing it would be very precipitous. However, I knew that my only future lie on the other side. Saying good-bye to my dear horse companion, I began the careful maneuvering as I inched my way forward. Surprisingly, towards the middle of the bridge and coming from the other side was a man, and not just any man. I knew at once that this man, coming from the great beyond, was my one and only “soul mate”… the one that I had been seeking all of my life. Together, we finish the crossing and make a new life… beyond.
Curiously, in many ways this story seems to parallel that of Lehi in the first part of the Book of Mormon. Although much of his early experience was not made available until recently (known as the “Book of Lehi” which was the first “one hundred and sixteen page manuscript” that was stolen by Martin Harris’ associates and not made available with the rest of the story in the Book of Mormon), it is now included in “The Sealed Portion.” According to the story, Lehi, a “High Priest” in “The Church” has his heart pricked by two messengers, “Zenos” and “Zenoch.” He realizes that he has been living and endorsing a very corrupted form of the pure Gospel of Christ. Upon this realization, he makes major changes in his life and instructs his family according to his changed views.
Ostracized now by his community, he is “warned one night in a dream” to take his family and “flee into the wilderness.” He does, though his two oldest sons have a very difficult time leaving society and their materialistic things and ideas behind. Upon further thought, Lehi sends his four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Nephi and Sam back to their former city of Jerusalem to get “the Plates of Brass” which contain the learnings of their fathers. This story is replete with amazing symbolism; however, I will leave the unveiling of much of that for another time.
I would like to focus here on a few key details relevant to this work. Though Lehi had a mighty change of heart which caused him to make significant life changes, it was not complete. As Jesus purportedly repeatedly stipulated, one must “become as a little child” and let EVERYTHING go! Lehi, instead, still felt the need to cling to the scriptural understanding of his youth (as represented by the “Brass Plates”). Because he did, most of the rest of the Book of Mormon, in parallel sync with the Old Testament, contains the stories of “wars and rumors of wars” that his posterity were engaged in as they continually fought for dominance and supremacy in what they each thought was *right* as well as how they had (and later their children viewed their fathers as having) been *victimized* by their brothers. Thus, we have nearly continual battles (filling about 2/3 of the Book of Mormon) between the “Nephites and the Lamanites”.
Finally, one group is shown to have a total change of heart, will not be “set apart” as any better or more “special” than any other, nor take up ANY “label,” referring to themselves instead as the “ANTI-Nephi-Lehites.” It is this people who, finally, understand the injunction of Christ to not judge, live in peace, view everyone (even those who consider themselves one’s “enemies”) as their “neighbor” and “love their neighbor as them self.” This group finally exemplified what Christ later taught as letting go of every attachment and going through “the eye of the needle” (over the bridge or through the door) to find “the Promised Land” (heaven or JOY in THIS LIFE, THIS MOMENT… NOW!)”.
The contrasts between my personal vision and that recorded as the experience of Lehi and his family is that in my vision I left my people behind and took nothing. As a little child clings to no egoic supremacy in his understanding, realizing instead that he “knows nothing” and being open to direction continually, this was a pivotal discrepancy. Lehi instead clung to the idea that the teachings in the “Brass Plates” (a.k.a. the “Old Testament”) were necessary for his future and his progeny’s proper understanding. Likewise, most of those who endorse the Book of Mormon as “another witness of Jesus Christ” today, do also cling to the views of society and their former lives, especially to family members (“Lamans and Lemuels”) who bring no peace… bearing personal and collective witness of an incomplete change of heart and non-willingness to live by the pure gospel of Jesus Christ. This is like trying to flow with the warm, pure water of the stream while holding onto the shore. Impossible to get very far… or to enjoy the ride!
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me.”
John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The earliest recorded stories and myths, even and especially those revered as “scripture” were previously geared to the largely hunter/ gatherer/ herder societies of which the intended audience were mostly involved. Some of these were eventually written and compiled into “The Bible” and recorded elsewhere, being passed down from generation to generation as “clues” and hints, even templates to pattern one’s life after while going through one’s personal life experiences, going from living and looking on the outside of things and events to a more inward and clear focus.
The one known as “Jesus” changed the parables and allegorical stories into those which people of a gardening/ vineyard society could more relate to. The “Father” then became a “husbandman,” planting seeds and pruning with wisdom. Jesus referred to himself often as “the vine” in which mankind are “branches” and the “Father” is the “root” which feeds the plant.
Although translated in Revelation 3 as “standing AT the door,” Jesus spoke of himself AS the door, the way, the truth. Symbolically in my vision, I saw “the Real Truth” (the life of the man “Jesus” is a testimony of that Real Truth) as a “bridge.” Elsewhere we are told that he is “the mediator;” again, the “bridge” or go-between linking two separate places or individuals.
So… if Jesus, allegorically, stands as or at the door inside each of us and is continually “knocking,” what does he represent? (HINT: Pa-pum, pa-pum, pa-pum….) ANSWER: The blood which circulates within the human body, carrying life-giving oxygen and nutrients (and is allegorically portraying our ‘’desires”) is continually “knocking”… as long as one is alive… upon the “door” of one’s heart. Have we consciously opened it? Is our heart warm, expansive and responsive? Or, like so many in our society, has it become hardened and mostly closed, covered with fatty deposits which calcify and close more and more to the gentle stirrings of our deepest desires, the stopping of which is the number one source of death in today’s society?
Mis-translated because of the heavy symbolism being “veiled,” Christ said that when we enter in through him (“the door”), we will sup together. Hidden within the veiled language of the “sacrament” or “Lord’s Supper,” as we partake of his “body and blood”… do his “works” (bread or body) with the same “desire” and “will” (blood) that he has… we become more and more like he is and then, leaving even him behind (having crossed and stepped off of the “bridge” and over the “threshold”), we continue on to become more and more like our own original self (or, in scriptural terms, our “Father” or “God”). Thus, our works and desires become delicious (“very good”) to him and he, metaphorically, partakes of the joy that our life and actions offer the world. Vampires and cannibals… NOT. Enjoyers of the same feast… ABSOLUTELY! 🙂
Long symbolic of part of the marriage consummation ceremony, the new husband (remember, our “Father” is the “bridegroom” and “husbandman”) carries the bride (we each are either a wise or foolish virgin and potential “bride” to the “bridegroom”) over the threshold as we cross through the doorway into our new home or “kingdom” (“of heaven”).
All of these metaphors paint the picture that our animalistic nature cannot possibly transform itself into its wholeness of powers and, thus, enjoy “eternal life” or the “fullness of joy”… without leaving all of the bestial appetites and attributes behind (as Lehi was not completely willing to do, nor is the current LDS Church exemplifying). Truly, the “things and relationships of the world” have tremendous pull upon the hearts of mankind. Yet, when one realizes that the REAL, VALID life is the one lived with the inward focus of peace, life unfolds itself, turning “inside out,” and peace and joy flow strongly. However, upon the hinges of this awareness hangs the self-fulfilling expectation: I AM that which I THINK I AM; that which I DO; that which I TRULY DESIRE.
All the beautiful, lasting promises both promulgated from without by those who espoused “knowing,” and felt deeply within (referred to variously as “bliss,” “nirvana,” “eternal joy,” “immortality”) are realized only upon the crossing of the bridge or opening of the door of “Christ.” This bridge or door are his words, his teachings, and are recorded and available in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 of the Bible as well as 3 Nephi 12, 13, 14 in the Book of Mormon. (See the link to the right.) However, in their uncontaminated form, they are also recorded in each of our very hearts. Indeed, the door of one’s mind swings open to the greater awareness of who we are (the *I AM*), thus bringing forth (true) Self-Realization.
Once that door is opened and the threshold is crossed (or, as in my vision, the bridge is traversed), one is really able to enjoy life, basking in the freedom availed by holding onto nothing of the former world. In fact, once YOU open this door, then let’s chase planes together. We can (figuratively) fly and soar through life, over the storm clouds that threaten and ravage those still clinging to the surface as we travel as “on the wings of eagles” and “in the light of the sun/ son.” 🙂
Crossing the bridge or threshold is symbolic of, as Jesus did, offering up our own personal will, not for an excited moment but in a decisive, everlasting decision, for “thy will be done.” Our “little i” focus changes so that the lens with which we view the world (our eye) has as its mark (the center of the target that we are aiming for): “What is best for the least among us?” Gone is the selfish ego. Its replacement is the eternal identity (the “I AM”) and the awareness that we are all connected. That which I do to or for another affects me. This is a place of deep surrender. Proven through vast experience and “experiments upon ‘the Word’” is the certainty that the “one” guiding us in our deep reflective moments really does want the best for us.
Hannah Whitall Smith, a Quaker-turned-Christian who lived in the late 19th–early 20th century and wrote about true happiness coming from submission to the greater will, tells of an experience she had. While visiting an “idiot asylum” (or as we would call it a “mental institution”) for children, she attended their barbell exercise class one day. She shared that each child in the circle was badly out of sync with the proscribed regimen, clumsy and in various stages of wanting to be there in attendance. All except one young girl. She, weaker than the others and unable even to close her hand around the metal bar, had totally surrendered her body, her musculature, her attempts to “try” to “get it right” to the mentor behind her who was holding his hand over hers, leading her in rhythm and grace from one movement to another. She, alone, had a vibrant smile on her face. Obviously, she was garnering far more enjoyment out of the experience than any other. All because of her complete and total submission.
As eloquently stated in Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord; “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Often, in my teetering moments while crossing my precipitous rope bridge, I have reminded myself: “Be not afraid, for the battle is not mine but the Lord’s.” Indeed, I do not have to know where I am going nor even how I will get there. It is for me to heed always the words of Christ (again, see the link at the right for Matthew 5-7) and follow the warm promptings coming from withIN my heart and mind, as my focus is continually and peacefully on the needs of “the least among us.”
Only as one lets go of EACH and EVERY attachment, every relationship, every thing, every former goal or ideal, every belief, and lives those pure words implanted in our heart, do we become, as the young “idiot” girl, full of grace (grace-ful) and truth.
Like Pinocchio, upon graduating from being a puppet to becoming a “real boy”, we can then sing and dance to:
I’ve got no strings to hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings but now I’m free
There are no strings on me.
I’ve got no strings so I have fun
I’m not tied to anyone
How I love my liberty,
There are no strings on me!
Hi-ho the mer-ri-o, I’m as happy as can be.
I want the world to know nothing ever worries me.
I’ve got no strings to hold me down
To make me fret, or make me frown
I had strings but now I’m free
There are no strings on me.
Without any relationship, time constraints or “shoulds” “pulling our strings” or “pushing our buttons,” we then are freed from being a “puppet to the demands of the world” and can now move, think, feel, and function as “a REAL boy!” One has cut and mended the false “umbilical cords” of society and others that had acted as our feeders (false or immature gods or husbandmen) and healed, taking as our compass the inner direction of our own peaceful heart.
We are then truly free and able to twirl, bend, leap as conducted from withIN (by one’s own “God” or the “Lord of the body”/ Christ). One is then also, as Jesus mentored and instructed concerning the “bride,” “One” or “married” with his “Father,” the “bridegroom.” Our body and life itself have been corrected and transformed into the original blueprint, now reflecting the perfect “image of God” while allowing the one giving the quiet and behind-the-curtain-prompts… from deep withIN… to truly “direct our path.”
We are then prepared for anything and to be taken anywhere we are needed. Since the “little i” ego has “died” or been “crucified” by our choice to live our life “in the service of others,” we have, in essence, “awakened” from the “deep sleep” or “dream state” of mortality and have taken up the cross of living heaven on earth and helping all the rest of sleeping mankind to gently awaken, thus becoming “immortal.” “Thy kingdom (is then) come” and “Thy will (is now) done… in earth as it is in heaven.”
Which one of us, by worrying, “taking thought” or going to a plastic surgeon can “add one cubit to his stature”? Yet, our “Father” (or original DNA blueprint) being allowed to be put back together and then firmly connected to the temporal body upon our “awakening,” can re-create the outside of our body, even “every hair of your head” to match the simple perfection of the now heeded pattern inside. Having “dumped” out all former outer attachments and knowings, we are now free to know and be capable of performing all that will ever be required of us while “in the service of our fellow beings.” Indeed, “I can do ALL things through “Christ” which strengtheneth me.”
If life is about experience, then our truth should not be based on the truth of others. It should be based on the magnificence of ourselves, our true selves. A common game played by children in western culture is “The Hokey Pokey.” While interacting with others, we “put our right hand in, we put our right hand out, put our right hand in and we shake it all about…”. Then we try using other parts of our bodies in various ways as well. This action song exemplifies the principle of learning through our own experiences in life. By trying various ways of interacting with others and the world while “taking note” and really paying attention to our inner compass as to how we lastingly feel through those experiences, we are able to figure out that which most serves our deepest desires, and in the process, we determine what our true desires really are. As we listen to and say “YES!” to this inner guidance, we draw closer and closer to our real nature. And… “That’s what it’s all about!” 🙂
Lost long ago from conscious understanding, and yet conveyed symbolically even to our babies, is this truth of exploring and experiencing our lives through our desires while becoming more and more clear just what those desires are. As we learn to focus on the inner reality and purpose of our lives and just what our own “journey” is all about and leading us to, we draw closer and closer to our true state of being, our “home.”
Taught as a play-on-words with the toes (“piggies”) of our little ones, is this truth. “This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. This little piggy ate roast beef, this little piggy had none. But… THIS little piggy went “Oui, oui, oui!… (“Yes, yes, yes!”) all the way HOME!” This “toe-play” is a parody of the prodigal life which is the grand template that each essence must pass through; having vast experience by trying one thing after another, after another. (Materialism, isolation, gluttony, poverty… finally serving others correctly by listening to the inner voice and arriving “all the way HOME!”) By saying “Yes!” to our pure desires, which requires patient and respectful listening to that voice within… we make it safely and finally to our most-desired destination. With comic insight, this fifth little piggy says “Oui…” (“Yes!”), but he also says “WE…”. Only as our focus is on following our own peaceful desires for what is best for ALL OF US can ANY of us “cross the threshold” and arrive “home.”
We, too, join as a “savior of the world” as we begin to “savor” and be grateful for each moment. THIS is eternity! This stepping out from the bondage of time demands and slavery to others to living life immersed in our JOY is the realization of eternity… here and now… that has hitherto been held back from us.… by our formerly “blind” self. We have, however, now stepped off the treadmill of existence according to the scripts and demands of others, to the continual string of “awe” and blissful moments, like beads upon our thread of life. Each moment spent smelling the roses or surrendering to what truly is blissful to us personally, lies beyond time and is, instead, a piece of eternity. And from the Upanishads: “When before the beauty of a sunset or of a mountain you pause and exclaim, ‘Ah,’ you are participating in divinity.” Eternity lies not beyond life, but within it… but only when we are flowing with and creating from our own pure and blissful desires.
Finally…! Science is proving the origins of all pure religion. Who would have known that “Quantum Physics” would be the welding link between the religions of the East and the West? Our way of thinking in the West is to see God as the “Creator”… some one or being *OUT THERE,* the “final source” or “cause” of the energies and wonders of the world. Many, in fact, picture God as an old man with white hair and a beard, a very personal God, often patterned after one’s personal relationship with his earthly father.
However, the Eastern and natural viewpoint is to see “God” as the manifestation and purveyor of an energy that is impersonal. Their God is the vehicle of its energy, the “creation;” a God “without body, parts or passions,” who is “so large He can fill the universe, yet so small he can dwell in your heart.” This God is seen as lying within me, within you, within the rocks, plants, air, and indeed is all there is. Indeed, this God IS me, IS you, IS all things, all energy and matter that is used to create all things.
But, as the two world views meld and the opposite poles or ends of the spectrum close the link and become a circle, life attains an entirely new focus and purpose. Then, being the creator and the creation, the united worldview collaborates that “God” is in all, through all, and truly IS… ALL There Is… YOU, I, and every “thing” and “non-thing” in existence. Yes, as “quantum physics” has demonstrated: light or energy is BOTH a wavelength (“Creator”) as well as a particle of matter (“Creation”), depending upon the need. We can thus walk, talk, interact and enjoy life as an immortal God living amongst other Gods… in peace, harmony, and creating the world as we choose it to be. NOT from an egoic perspective of what is best for ME as we would have on our prior side of the bridge, but by continually asking “how can this *light* which is *ME* and acting through *ME* scatter more joy, harmony and light upon this world as a true son/ sun ?” Thus, the “Quantum” creates the “Infinite” through and with JOY and by following the pure and unattached desires of one’s heart.
In my pursuit of Real Truth, I have given up everything. Crawling through the “eye of the needle,” I have learned the *mysteries* and am now giving my life to assist YOU to dis-cover Who *YOU* really are, along with your unique gift to offer humanity. As you learn to seek (in the right place and with purified intent), you WILL find treasures of lasting value, along with every promised reward. Together, we will establish a society of humane beings and live life ALIVE, on PURPOSE, and with a sociality unequaled… because we will each BE and view each other as equally and profoundly DIVINE! Please… catch this Hope and Vision and join with me.