The Kingdom of God (7)
Feb 10, 2019
The Kingdom of God (7)
“Truly I tell you,” He said,
“Unless you change and become
Like little children, you will
Never enter the kingdom of heaven”.
“The kingdom of heaven
These two saying of Jesus spell out the core of the meditative or prayer practice prescribed for the Christ follower. We have looked at the advantages of the humanistic approach to meditation and its wonderful healthful results, but how does this come to fruition in the realm of intense spirituality, especially for the follower of Jesus? Or, for that matter, of the spiritual or God-centered (or whatever name you have for that being that is the core of all that is) seeker, using what is called contemplative prayer?
While meditation, or contemplative prayer, has many human and health values, it was developed among the wisdom traditions as a means of achieving a relationship between the physical world and the hidden world of the inner spiritual. This occurred between three and four thousand years ago. There has always been a separation between those aligned to the spiritual world and those aligned to the physical world. What Jesus did was to join the two forces into a single unit. The Buddha did somewhat the same thing, but, in my opinion, missed out on the reality of the force that we call the Living God. That is, the God of the Judaic-Christian lineage believes strongly in the immediacy of the presence of that ultimate force that breathes through the universe that we call God.
Christianity is not the only faith that spells out that relationship, and the entire body of faiths that follow that tradition is called the Wisdom Traditions.
The teachings of Jesus centered themselves squarely on the potential ability of the human to be able to strip away the shields of the physical world and to see what lies underneath all reality. The ultimate core of reality lies in the wonder and beauty of the unity of all in the field of nature that contains all that is. The problem humanity has is that, because we can only physically touch and sense the course clumps that we have learned to call reality, we fail to sense the unity that is all, and our puffed-up sense of importance culls out that sense of wonder that should be present.
That sense of wonder is the wonder of a child. That is what Jesus meant: we have to achieve the wonder of a child to be able to sense that glorious ‘kingdom of heaven’ that lies around and within all that is. We firmly believe all that our dualistic approach to life tells us, and the wonder of the universe which should lead to inner wisdom instead, in our arrogance, we choose to say that it shows that we are the supreme beings. Almost all of us have that opinion, as we live with that as our life aims in all we do, despite what we think and say we believe. Yet Jesus understood that level of thinking, thus his words: “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” The child has not learned that level of arrogance, and trusts those around them to hold them lovingly and treat them gently, and this love is what they feel at all times.
This is to be like a little child; and when we have this trusting level of just knowing that God, or that infinite power, will always and ever hold us carefully in love, we will enter that Kingdom of Heaven that Jesus says is within (and without) us, right here and now. Yet is very difficult under most circumstances to reach that level of trust in this unseen power in our normal life circumstances.
To reach that level of trust we almost always have to have an event in our life where there is nothing else left to do but surrender. Most of us can assent to this in our heads, but that is not what Jesus was talking about. It is our heart that must change, that part that lies deep within that is so very difficult to reach. Just thinking about it does not work for most of us; no, it requires a gut-wrenching moment that peels away the façade we have built on our life experiences up to this point.
We will continue this next time.
My God, Your good news seems so strange: the kingdom of God is right here right now, not something we have to wait until the next life to find and live. But you added that caveat: unless I become like a little child and TRUST, I will not find that wonderful promise. My years of searching really is for naught: it is not searching that is required, it is surrender to Your Love that is right here and now that is required. Nothing outside of that, just giving myself into the wonder of Your Love that is always right here and now. I ask for help in that letting go of myself an joining myself within Your Love here and now, in this moment and in all future moments.