Sunday, September 23, 2012

Part 2 - The Subtle Spiritual Sickness that Stems from a False Enlightenment

Continued from Part 1
Then I remembered the tale of two Islamic mosques here in Tennessee. One, in Murfreesboro, had been there for a long time. They had plans for moving and expanding the mosque into a larger Islamic Center – much of which would be open to all the public. Plans were approved and the project moved forward. In the aftermath of the 2010 elections, anti-Moslem tensions were escalated and the reactionary portion of the community wanted to shut it down. It has been delayed and repeatedly taken to court. Finally, it is moving forward again. The second occurred in Memphis. A mosque was moving to a suburban area in order to expand, a process similar to many evangelical congregations. When the land was purchased and the building permits approved, they held a ground-breaking ceremony. As the Islamic congregants gathered, they noticed a sign in the yard of an evangelical church across the street. The sign simply stated: “Welcome Neighbors.” Later, when construction delays were threatening the mosque’s ability to hold Ramadan services in the new building, the evangelical church opened its doors and offered their sanctuary to the Muslims for use. Now, the two congregations work together to provide food, health, and other services to the most vulnerable of Memphis.
I had another little flash: Maybe, if God really has wanted America to be a shining light to the world – then maybe it is the image of Memphis He wants us to project. He wants America to represent the values of acceptance, tolerance, inclusivity, openness, charity – these are the values God wants America to stand for. Not the image of America represented in Murfreesboro.
Then I had a third flash of insight. Rather than seeing this “vision” of the marriage between the ultra wealthy and the ultra social conservatives as an attempt to reduce their fearfulness, I was seeing their vision as an extremely “bad” interpretation of history as I understood history.  I was chastising their perception of reality because they didn’t agree with my perception of reality. After all, I’m right, aren’t I? Wrong!
What I couldn’t (or didn’t) see was their remembrance of reality was meaningful for them because it offered them assurance, peace, security, reduction of fear, and confirmation that their concept of rightness is, for them, true and correct. Are not these the very things I long for? Yes. Are not these the very qualities that provide valued meaning to my life? Yes. What, then is really different between them and me? Other than our different perceptions - nothing.
The power of my Egoic thinking never ceases to amaze me. My higher mind will receive a glimpse of a message from the Holy Spirit and – rather immediately – my Egoic mind will step up and say: “Oh! I see more clearly now. Thanks, Holy Spirit, I’ll take it from here.” And off I go into the eddy of my own thinking.
I just finished studying a text in A Course in Miracles with our local ACIM Group (TXT, 2, V, 1-10) – fearful Egoic thinking cannot heal because it cannot see the Christ in someone else. Whenever I can see the Christ in someone else, I can see the Christ in me. Whenever I fail to see the Christ in others, I fail to see Him in me. The choice to see the Christ in others occurs not as an act of willpower and restraint on my part (this, too is of my Egoic thinking), but as a function of the Holy Spirit who provides me with true vision rather than physiological sight.
What is so complicated about that? Not much, but it is enough for me to continue to need gentle reminders all the time.
Thanks for listening, and – as always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 September, 2012
Copyright, 2012

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