Religions boggle my mind.
Why anyone would conscript themselves to a prison of thought that places judgement on natural ideas, phenomena, and states of being is nonsensical to me.
But I have tempered my viewpoint somewhat in the past few years. I can now see the wisdom of the great teachers, such as Buddha, Jesus, etc, without feeling to need to condone or participate in the perversion of those ideas, in the form of organized religion.
So with that in mind, I heard a phrase the other day which resonated deeply with me:
Be IN the world, but not OF the world.
If you have Christian friends or family members, or maybe you were raised as a Christian yourself (like me), you have probably heard that statement before.
Although I haven’t subscribed to the Christian label for about a decade, I can now see the wisdom behind what was being said. In fact, I understand it, not DESPITE my non-identification with the label, I understand the meaning behind the words BECAUSE I am not a subscriber to any religious ideologies. The religion is the bit that makes it foggy and we miss the simple principles.
“And he (Jesus) said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” – John 8:23
So what does that mean?
Firstly, we are all IN the world. There are many different opinions about why we are here. I’ll share my ideas on the meaning of life in later posts, or that would be a 10-paragraph digression.
I’m on this astral plane. You are reading this, which means you are too. We all agree that we are here, IN this world. So what does it mean to be OF the world?
It all has to do with where you are getting your perspective. Let’s use an analogy.
I love playing video games. Almost any game would be suitable for the purpose of this example, but let’s use the Sims.
For those who haven’t played the Sims, it’s a game where you control a character (or family, or whole village), and you decide how they make decisions, what they do for a living, who they marry, etc.
Yes, it’s basically a complex, virtual dollhouse game. Or as I prefer to call it for the sake of my masculinity, God Simulator.
But if you are playing this game or any similar virtual reality game, controlling an on-screen character, do you, at any point, lose perspective of yourself sitting in a chair, eating noodles (perhaps) and amusing yourself with this game? Do you ever get so immersed in the game that you lose all concept of things in the real world, where your concept of time passing is completely skewed?
I do. The number of times that I have started playing a game in the evening and become totally immersed in it, and then realized that the sun was coming up in real life is quite high.
Not only was I playing in the game, I became OF the game. Albeit temporarily. That’s what we call “escapism”.
So what Jesus was saying is more along the lines of, I’m here playing with you, in this MMORPG (massively-multiplayer online role-playing game) called Life, but the difference between me and most of you is this: I realize that this character is not who I am. The only difference between the two is where you are getting your perspective from – either from beneath (in the game), or from above (in the computer chair).
God is a gamer, and Jesus was his character. Ha!
“Blasphemy! You can’t say that!”
And that is where religion gets in the way of itself. As soon as you start limiting what people can say (like Jesus is a video game character of God, who is sitting in a chair eating noodles), you are limiting the perspectives that people can have. That keeps us from who we are, because God is infinite perspectives.
It goes deeper than that too. Get this:
We are God!
Jesus was no different to any of us. His witness, his consciousness, his controller, is the same as ours – it is the same as everyone’s. It is what has become known as the collective consciousness. He wasn’t any more “special” than us – he just knew that he wasn’t his name, his body and his experience!
“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” – John 12:49
In other words, “It’s not me, you muppets! It’s my “father” – the consciousness flowing through me!”
Another perspective is offered by the Bahá’í faith, who refer to the individual as the hollow reed. What we are is the wind moving through the reed, making the sound. Without the wind (us) the flute, or hollow reed, doesn’t make any music.
That’s the point that so many people of faith (and I’m picking on Christians here because it is what I know) miss. They are so busy worshiping a video game character that they do not think of the guy with the noodles who is acting through that character. Only when you acknowledge the guy with the noodles though, do you realize that you ARE the guy with the noodles.
We are ALL collectively God.
But I’ll stop making pasta references in case you think I believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or something.
My point is you just need to change your point of observation. Instead of BEING your name and body, just realize that you are witnessing it. It isn’t you at all.
But with God, The Universe, Collective Consciousness – whatever you want to call it – flowing through you freely, you can achieve great things. Even better than Jesus.
He says it himself:
“… He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” – John 14:12
So, start advising yourself as though you were in a video game. Sure, you only get one life (for the sake of this example), so don’t be reckless and go full Grand Theft Auto. But at the same time, you may notice most of your fears and anxieties dissipate as unimportant and even irrelevant with this perspective.
And all you need to do is change your point-of-view. Simple as that. Just enjoy the game and enjoy the noodles.
You don’t have to pray harder, give more money to your church, or lead a Bible-study group on Tuesday nights.
It’s, quite literally, a game-changer.