Saturday, November 21, 2009

Light Body

During one of the discussions around the Abwoon prayer and the transfiguration of Jesus, someone asked why it would be important for us to undergo the same transformation. It seems that all of us have a lot of emotional hang ups and practical problems that keep us busy enough. I thought this was an interesting comment and wanted to devote some time to responding to this. For one, I do think that there is what Avagosha called, "an awakening of faith". You study some spiritual teaching and you have have a conviction that something is both possible and important to do. When I studied Avagosha, I did have an awakening of faith about Buddhist meditation. I came to the conviction that it was possible to become enlightened and that if I sat in meditation long enough that it would happen. I found that it took four months of sitting for 4 hours per a day. Some of the sitting sessions were difficult, stressful, and painful, but I learned to sit through the pain and come out the other side. There was a moment when the mind dropped away and something deeper than the mind emerged and radiated in all directions. I could feel stars being born and galaxies whirling around, and a crystal clear sense of radiant empty space. If someone asked me why it was important for me to have this experience, it would be difficult to really answer, other than something called from inside me and wanted to do this. I think that evolution is not merely about natural selection and survival of the fittest like Darwin thought or inheriting positive traits from our ancestors like Lamark thought. There was another theorist who even came to the idea that it was about survival of the most cooperative (which makes a lot of sense from the viewpoint of Buddhist interdependence). I feel that more than one mechanism drives evolution forward and that all these theorists are observing valid mechanisms. But beyond all these mechanisms, there is a vital force permeating all life that is pushing itself to grow, to evolve, and to fully realize its deep potentials. When we hear of a teaching that expresses this potential and shows us how to actualize it, it can quicken us to respond and live this process. Something deeper than the mind recognizes itself in the teaching and awakens. It is interesting that the original Greek word for "church" is "ekklesia" which means "call out". The original church was not a building or a club, but people who are called out of the mundane world and who respond to this evolutionary call to be reborn from above, to be reborn into a higher level of life.

The teachings of physical immortality and light translation are like this. They define an evolutionary arrow to a possibility latent within us that can be actualized. Meister Eckart called it the "divine seed" within us. Looked at from this way, much of deep spirituality has to do with people activating and manifesting the potentials in this divine seed. Different saints and enlightened beings manifest different aspects and degrees of this potential. Not everyone goes all the way to the very end. Very few seem to accomplish the Light Body level. Many settle for merely being a good person, a healthy person, a saint, an enlightened being, or work on developing a few miraculous inner potentials. It is okay to do this, because I feel that the purpose of life is still realized through these partial actualizations of our potential. We move from lifetime to lifetime developing different aspects of ourselves. We do not have to accomplish everything in one lifetime. Whatever gains we achieve in one lifetime go with us into the next lifetime.

There is some advantage, to me, of embracing the goal of attaining a Light Body. This is because the attainment of the Light Body includes all the other goals within itself. It is a symbol for the full realization of our divine potential. In Buddhism, they teach that even raising the thought of enlightenment is very healing and liberating. Even though merely thinking about enlightenment does not fully enlighten us, since enlightenment is about transcending thought completely, when we think about enlightenment and feel that it is possible, it stirs up something deep inside of us and calls it to life. It is the same with the Light Body. For some who are ready, this idea will call up something inside us and stir it to life. For others, they might even have "light episodes" where their bodies might momentarily shift into light for a short period of time. It has happened to me more than once.

I would like to present a metaphor about jumping. If you decide to only jump a few feet forward, let us say 10 feet, you may or may not attain it. You probably will given enough time, effort, and practice. But if you decide to jump 30 feet, you might just jump 10 feet more quickly and easily. If you try to shoot an arrow as far as possible, you will probably shoot further than a person who is only trying to shoot an arrow a few yards away. When you aim for the farthest target, some lesser goals are automatically accomplished. Whether or not we succeed in actualizing the Light Body, we still grow very easily, rapidly, and peacefully in other areas of our life. There is some meaning to this when Jesus says, "Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven and its balance, and all other things will be added on to you." I am translating "diki" (normally translated as "righteousness") as balance, which is, again, more literal, and fits the context of the discussion (about trusting life to take care of us, even economically). The idea is that if we align with the evolutionary call, everything else in our lives falls into place. Whether or not we succeed is another story, because once we respond to this evolutionary call, then something wakes up in our present moment and comes to life. We eventually learn to trust that this will unfold over time and fully liberate us. When we respond to the call, too, it is not us as isolated beings trying to do something. Life around us supports this process, mobilizes synchronicities to help us, and literally fuels this process inside us. Two parts of the prayer of Jesus have to do with trusting this kind of support from life and trusting the process itself.

This kind of view makes the resurrection of Jesus into something more than a mere parlor trick miracle to prove Christianity being the "right religion". In the writings of Plato, he clearly and philosophically dismisses the idea of miracles as proofs for some message being true. If I say 2+2=5 and levitate in the air, it does not make what I say true. Our level of scientific and technological knowledge would be miraculous to human beings who lives 2,000 years ago. If I time traveled back with some of our technology, I could appear as a miracle worker and say a lot of untrue things, and even probably be believed. But the miracles do not really prove anything I say to be true. The miracles do not even prove that I know what I am doing. Many people have used a technology invented by someone else who did know something, but only knew how to use the "on" button. If Christianity or any other religion is basing its validity on miracles as proofs, then it is on a shaky foundation.

But, to me, Jesus was more of a spiritual scientist than a stage magician. He demostrates that something is possible for us by transforming a mortal human body into a Light Body. It is not a miracle meant to prove something else. It is a demonstration of the very thing he was trying to teach. This view of the resurrection does not require the event to be anything other than it was. It does not require a belief in a god who is so wrathful that it has to torture an innocent person to not throw everybody into a lake of tormenting fire forever (which I do not believe really exists). The Buddha, too, was also a spiritual scientist and the essence of what each of these taught dovetails well together because of this. One of the gifts of Buddhism is the technology of meditation and many have been able to attain a Light Body through some of the advanced meditation practices like Tumo Heat Yoga. The teachings about the kind of breathing prayer that Jesus was doing are harder to find, though I hope to give enough information in the blog for people to experiment with it if they want to try.

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