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Jesus Christ

Diamond Approach

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

From the teachings of A.H. Almaas

What is Jesus Christ?

Diamond Approach Teachings About: Jesus Christ

Christ Represents All of Humanity

Christmas is not the celebration of the birth and life of one individual; it is the celebration of the birth and life of the human individual, the true essential person. Christ represents all of humanity. He was not just a special person. His specialness is that he recognized and embodied the true meaning of being a human individual. He let himself be open. He had the courage to do that, and gave us a model. When he says, “I am the Son of God,” I understand him to mean that every human being is the Son of God, that every human being can know that he or she is the Son of God. When he talked about God as his father, he was saying what is true for all of us. 

Christ: "I Am The Life"

So when Christ says I am the Life, I don't think he means life the way people normally think of it as being either animate or inanimate. He doesn't say I am life; he says I am the Life. What is the Life? The Life is the Absolute, the ultimate Truth, becoming living. The Sufis actually say that one of the names of God is the Living. The Life is when the Absolute, the ultimate Truth, manifests as a living existence, a living conscious existence. You can't say the Absolute is the Life. You can't even say the Absolute is conscious. But as the Christ, as the Logos, as the first manifestation, it is Life, it is Living. So the Christ is a Cosmic Life, a Universal Life. And the life that we know is a particularization of it, a very specific perception of it, a development of it.

Christ’s Contribution to the Understanding of the Human Situation

So this is the redemption: In the course of our path of realizing what is beyond mind, the forms that came to be seen as only conceptual, empty, and unreal, now become full and real, filled with the truth. Here we can speak of a whole dimension we call the Cosmic Christ. In the way I understand Christian revelation, the person Christ, or Jesus, taught and embodied this perspective more clearly and more completely than anyone else before him. Christ taught that the kingdom of heaven has arrived here and now. When we go through the redemption, when the original sin is released, we realize that the kingdom of heaven is here. When we release the original sin, we experience the resurrection, and not only are we resurrected without the separate self, but the whole world is resurrected. Human life as a whole is resurrected, including the human mind, including the human heart. So Christ’s contribution to the understanding of the human situation is to show the truth and thus the value of the world, of existence, what in religious traditions is called creation. At the beginning of the spiritual path, the world is a big problem, being an individual is a big problem, the mind is a big problem. And from the perspective of beyond the conceptual mind, these are simply constructed concepts. Christ’s revelation teaches us not only to go beyond apparent reality to the knowledge of the Father, but to come back from and with that knowledge, resurrecting all that we had to drop in the course of discovering our fundamental nature. So the revelation shows the value and the truth of human life, of the human individual and of the human mind, which participates in the forms of the world. 

Christ’s Teaching Doesn’t Contradict Other Teachings but Gives Us a More Complete Picture

The way I see it, Christ’s message is not simply another way of stating our spiritual situation, not simply a different version of what traditional spiritual paths address. Christ’s contribution is actually a unique and specific understanding of the reality of the human being. This contribution is part of the evolution of our understanding of human beings. So Christ’s thought about reality is different from other traditions, not in the sense that it’s an alternative to other understandings, but in the sense that it is a new development. Christ’s teaching doesn’t contradict other teachings but presents us with a more complete picture. It brings forth a new dimension of our understanding of human beings. Many statements attributed to Christ point to the truth of this new understanding. For example, Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” and “I am the light of the world.” What is Christ saying here? Understanding these statements will help us to see what Christ’s unique message adds to the global realization of our spiritual nature. We’ll begin with his statement that “no one comes to the Father except through me.” If we understand this, we understand what Christ is. So what does it mean that we have to go through Christ? What does it mean to go to the Father? The Father here is obviously the ultimate truth, the most absolute reality.

Everyone is Christ’s Body and Christ’s Body is Love and Fullness and Harmony and Beauty

If you really accept that you could lose everything, after a while, you realize that all the things you have given up do not truly exist in the way you thought. You don’t really have a car. Nobody actually has a car. You know why? Because they’re all Christ’s cars. He’s got all of them. If you really let go of all that you’ve got, that’s what you will find out; that all your cars belong to Christ. All your houses belong to Christ. All your parents belong to Christ. All your kids belong to Christ. And all the activities are Christ’s activities because there is only one truth. One unified total wholeness. This is what we can come to recognize. If we give up all that we think is real, we will see the truth of oneness When that happens, it’s not that you will no longer see cars. For a while, maybe the car will disappear; maybe everything will disappear. That is the death, the crucifixion. Then there will be the resurrection, when you realize everything is back, but not back the way you thought of it before. The resurrection will come about out of the annihilation, the loss of everything, including your life, including everything you see around you. If you really let go of all that, you recognize that all is gone, all is dissolved in the Absolute. From there, can arise the resurrection, which is the Christ, which is the life of Christ, in which you recognize that everything around you is life itself, is life, harmony, love, gratitude. You regain your life. You save it, in some sense, that way. Then the body we see, we see as an expression of harmony. It is Christ’s body. Everyone is Christ’s body, and Christ’s body is love and fullness and harmony and beauty.

Jesus Christ Put the Relationship between the Essential Person and Pure Being in the Form of the Relation Between the Son and His Father

The relationship between the Essential Person and Pure Being is between the unique personal individuation and the ultimate ground. Jesus Christ put it in the form of the relation between the son and his father. When one is the Personal Essence then one is a person supported by, and is an expression and extension of, Pure Being. When one is Pure Being then only nondifferentiated pure Being is. In the world of differentiation Being exists as the essential person. There is no human life, nor any life at all, when there is no differentiation. As Being, one is beyond life and death, form and formlessness. This resolution and understanding of the relationship between the Personal Essence and Being opens the door to the process of the latter’s personalization. This is a very subtle, and usually difficult, process. It deals with extremely subtle perceptual and cognitive considerations. However, the main barriers are mainly issues relating to ego structure. The deepest and most subtle defenses of ego are resolved here. These are the borderline defense of splitting, and the schizoid defenses of isolation and withdrawal.

Many Things Have to be Developed in the Soul Before Christ-Consciousness Becomes Possible to See

There is much talk about selfless love, selfless giving, selfless existence and so on. But the majority of human kind does not know what “selfless” means, let alone that it might be a beneficial state. Since most people do not even know what it means to have a self, how can they know what it is to be selfless? So, when we preach selfless love, we are not communicating to most people. We are not taking into account how they think and live. This is inconsiderate, for to them, selfless love and selfless existence are quite alien, both in their minds and their experience. The development and realization of selfless love, of Christ-consciousness, will liberate the individual, will bring about fulfillment. Christ's understanding of human suffering is very deep and true; his solution is universal. But it is not an easy thing to understand, to learn or to embody. Many things have to be learned first. Many things have to be developed in the soul before Christ-consciousness becomes possible to see. And then more inner work and refinement is needed before selfless love arises. The issue of self or no-self does not become a personal issue for the student until he is near the end of his inner development and spiritual growth. Before that point, the question of self and no-self will be experienced as irrelevant. Buddha saw that many people around him were very conscious and highly developed spiritually, but were still suffering; their realization had not freed them completely. He saw this for himself too. And only at this point did the issue of self or no-self become important to him. Solving this issue was his final accomplishment, the acme of his realization and his contribution to humanity.

On the Level of Christ, the Christ Consciousness, there is No Such Thing as a Separate Self with an Independent Life

In the phrase, “let him deny himself,” there is an implication that the demands of the self are either contrary to the needs of truth, or in competition with the needs of the truth. If we understand it clearly, deeply, we will see what it means to say, “I want to do this for the self.” If you have an understanding of what the self is, you realize it is contrary to the truth. The truth is that the self is not something that exists the way the self believes itself to exist. So it is false even to say, “I am this self that has a life, and this is my life,” whether you think you are compromising with the truth or in contradiction to the truth. Most of us believe, “This is me, this is the self that has a personal life. And having a personal life is for the person that is me.” Simply having that belief means you are not living for the truth, but for yourself, which you are taking to be something other than the truth. On the level of Christ, the Christ Consciousness, the Logos, or the Universal Mind, the truth is that there is no such thing as a separate self with an independent life. In reality, it is not there. It does not exist. So to live for that self, even a little bit, is worshipping a falsehood, worshipping something that is not there. It is not easy, of course, to see that what we call the self, that what we think of as our own selfhood, our own personality, does not really exist in the way we believe it does, and that what we call our life is not exactly our life. The concept that we have a life is not exactly accurate. In his statement, Christ does not simply say the self is a falsehood, is not the truth. He conveys it in a way that is characteristic of Christ, a way that can give us more insight about the resolution of this situation. Do I live for the truth, do I live for God, do I live for Christ, or do I live for myself? The way he actually says it is, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever will save his life will lose it. Whoever loses his life for my sake, he will save it.” The idea here is to be a follower of the truth, so much so that what I call my life is to be constantly sacrificed to the truth. To be constantly sacrificed to the truth is the meaning of carrying your cross daily Daily, it is sacrifice: It is given away It is given away to the truth, to the way of truth.

Original Sin is Not Something to Feel Guilty About

Original sin is the fundamental problem that all human beings have from the beginning, a problem that is not dependent on whether we are good or bad, whether we do the right thing or the wrong thing. Although Christian scholars explicate the notion in various ways, in my view original sin is the belief that we are an independent entity, that we are a separate human being. So the belief in separateness, the belief in entityhood, the belief in being a separate entity and having our own will and mind and choice is the original sin. We grow up believing we are an individual with our own mind and will and so on. If we accept that sense of separateness, that sense of isolation, that concept of complete independence, we are not Christian. To be Christian is to recognize that sense of separateness as the biggest problem; it is to recognize our original sin. So original sin is not something to feel guilty about or something we can remedy by trying to do good. It doesn’t work that way. Original sin can only be resolved through Christ’s help. It is said that Christ came to release Christians from their original sin. That is his help. If you turn to Christ, you are cleansed of your original sin. Christ does not cleanse you from the cardinal sins, the seven deadly sins. That is your own work. You have to do that work, the work of purification. To work through the original sin, you need Christ’s help. You can’t do it on your own. The way I see it, a Christian is not simply someone who is born to a Christian family, but someone who recognizes original sin, understands why it is a sin, and through this understanding sees that the only way out is through Christ. Simply saying that you are a Christian is not enough. The Christian path involves recognizing original sin, and recognizing Christ’s role in freeing the soul from that sin. It is not a question of belief but of truth. Christ said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Christ is the way in the sense that he is the way to go beyond original sin. Christ is the way to overcome original sin. But what is Christ? Why is the Christ the only possibility for the release from original sin, from the sin of believing that you are a separate soul? This question points to a very deep truth of what Christ is. 

Rebirth of the Totality of All Existence as Reality

It is true that the world we see every day is not the real world. From the perspective that is more fundamental than our mental constructs, the world we have been seeing is revealed as an empty illusion. Just as our individuality is revealed on the inner path to be an empty illusion—not ultimately real, only a mental construct—so the world that we see is revealed to be a mental construct. We define through the mind not only ourselves but the world. In the course of our realization, as we go beyond ourselves to discover our true essence, we also need to go beyond the image of the world to discover the true nature of the world. Just as the soul is reborn with its essential qualities when the ego dissolves, when the world construct dies, the world, too, is reborn as an oversoul, a universal soul with essential qualities. This is what Christ represents. So what I see in Christ is not the rebirth of an individual but the rebirth of the totality of all existence as reality.

Seeing Christ as the Personal Embodiment of the Logos

The Sufis associate this dimension, the Logos, with the prophet of Islam, Mohammed, just as Christianity associates it with the Christ: “Wahdat is the reality of Muhammad; and the world is a manifestation of that reality.” [Ibid., p. 130]

True knowledge regarding this dimension is rare in the modern world although it is the spiritual reality emphasized by the Western traditions of Hellenism, NeoPlatonism, Sufism and Christianity. Christianity actually makes this dimension, the Logos or the Word, its main source, and sees Christ as its personal embodiment, as in the following excerpts from the Gospel of St. John:

In the beginning was the Word:

The Word was with God

and the Word was God.

It was with God in the beginning.

Through it all things came to be,

not one thing had its being but through it.

The Word was made flesh,

it pitched its tent among us,

and we saw its glory,

the glory that is its as the only Child of the Creator,

full of grace and full of truth.


It is beyond the scope of this book to discuss this reality further, except for two points. The first is related to functioning beyond the individual. The flow of the beingness of the Logos is seen as cosmic functioning. It is the same as the process of continual creation, which is a manifestation of all existence from the Absolute.

The Creator gives up his immobility, his stillness, and points—through the Word—to creation. In pointing with the word, he shows himself, and is revealed. This is the primal revelation, creation itself. [Georg Kühlewind, Becoming Aware of the Logos, p. 26]

This kind of functioning can be perceived or experienced in different ways, depending on what formless dimension we are perceiving this flow from.

Seeing God

Jesus, however, does not say we experience God. He says the pure in heart shall see God. He does not say you are with God or relate to God or will be God. He says you see God. What is significant is the matter of seeing God. You are not with God because you are not; there is only God. You do not relate to God because there is no other than God. You are not part of God because God has no parts. You see only God. You are not created by God because there is only God. God doesn't create anything else.

Seeing the Work from Christ’s Perspective

We need to recognize that all of us have that part, the instinctual, survival-oriented self. It’s part of being human. This part functions in the physical world to help us survive. It is needed, but it wants to take over the whole show. It is supposed to be a follower, and it wants to be the master. Until it is educated and developed, its nature is always to try to be the master. But education is the whole of the Work. To understand this issue is to see the Work in a deeper way. We have explored the Work for a long time in terms of seeing truth, objective reality. Now we are seeing it from Christ’s perspective. We need to be willing to sacrifice the self-centered self because, in some sense, we can’t see it any other way. For that part, the Work is a sacrifice. For that part, following Christ, the truth, is giving up life. There is no other way that that part of us can feel about it. So our first point about this process is that we can come to see that, objectively; there is no sacrifice. There is not a giving up of one’s life because the self you are sacrificing and its life do not truly exist the way you think of them. So it is not truly a sacrifice. The second factor we referred to, however, deals with the fact that it is almost impossible to live from that perspective, so subordinating our will to the will of the truth will always feel to us like a sacrifice. It will feel like being a servant to reality, like giving up one’s life and one’s needs and one’s desires for the truth. So there will be a sense of giving up one’s life, even though we are gaining the true life. 

The Action of Christ is the Action of Unification and Union

Even the perspective of service is different in this work from religious perspectives of service. Our notion of service has to do more with objective reality, with the laws of how the universe functions. For us, service is more of an attunement to reality, an attunement to the truth, to how things are destined to be, to how they can be in their fullest realization. There’s no idea of serving in order to be a good person or to please God. We serve from a deeper kind of love, from an attunement to our objective function in this world. Our attitude in this work is “I want to serve because I love the truth, not because I’m good. And in serving, I’m quite willing to see how bad I am.” So when Christians say, “First you have to see your wretchedness,” I take that to mean that we first need to recognize our impurity, our deficiency, our emptiness. And even after we have seen our wretchedness, to be saved we have to believe in the Christ. Seeing through our wretchedness is the work of purification. But the purification alone is not enough to completely attune us to the truth. In the Christian tradition, we need to be saved through the action of Christ, through the resolution of the original sin. The action of Christ is the action of unification and union, realizing that we’re not separate. The original sin is the belief in separateness. To see through the separateness, to realize that we are not separate from the truth but an integral expression of the truth, is true service. We are not only a servant but an actual slave of the truth. When we serve the truth and become God’s slave, we don’t lose our independence, we don’t lose our life; we gain the true life. As Christian mystics say, the true life is the life in the Divine Being, life lived as part of the Divine Being, the Cosmic Truth.

The Paradox of Being Poor in Spirit

That's the paradox to which Jesus was referring. If you become poor in spirit you will be in the kingdom of heaven. If you are completely poor, you get nothing absolutely, which ontologically is the same thing as having everything. The switch point, the transition, is the sense of the existing self, the feeling that there is a me who has or who doesn't have. The transition is that sense of self goes. Before that goes, you have things or you don't have things. That central sense of self who is going to have this, who is going to be enlightened, who is going to experience God, who is going to get rich, who is going to have pleasure is what ultimately goes. Everything else will be left. God will be left, pleasure will be left, fun will be left, everything will be there without you. Then everything will be experienced purely. Pleasure will be pure pleasure because you are not there to contaminate it. As a separate self that possesses things, you are an impurity. Without that self, when there is love, there is pure love. It is not you who says, “I love you.” Sometimes when you feel love you can actually sense a little, dark, murky cloud sitting somewhere and looking at this ocean of love. When you feel, “I'm loving and I'm going to save the world,” the world needs to be saved from you. As long as there is a you that wants to save the world, the world needs to be saved from you. You are just making trouble for people by pretending to save them when in fact you are asserting your own deficiencies.

The Potential of Every Human Being to Realize Himself as the Son of God which is the Personal Essence

This third way of perceiving the nature of everything as consciousness has many implications:

The manifestation of Cosmic Consciousness as a human being appears in the form of the Personal Essence. The Personal Essence is seen directly here to be the real individualization of Cosmic Consciousness. This is in contrast to the ego individuality which is cut off from everything else by its separating boundaries. It is obvious from this perception that the Personal Essence is the real human person, the true development, which is nothing but the individuation of the divine. This is what we feel Jesus Christ meant when he said that he is the son of God. It is the potential of every human being to realize himself as the son of God, which is the Personal Essence. The relationship of the Personal Essence to the Cosmic Consciousness will become even more clear when one goes completely beyond identity, as we will discuss shortly. 

The Quality that is Called Divine Love, Conscious Presence, Universal Love, Christ Consciousness or Christ Love

What determines whether a soul has basic trust? Basic trust is the effect on the soul of a particular aspect or quality of Being that we call Living Daylight. We call it this because if one’s perception is subtle enough to visually see and kinesthetically feel the substance of one’s consciousness, it actually looks like daylight, and is felt as an alive consciousness. It is experienced as something boundless, in the sense that it is not bounded by one’s body but rather is experienced as something that everything is made of. It is a universal sense of presence in that it pervades everything and is everywhere. The first level of experiencing it is to perceive that it is everywhere; the second level is to see that everything comes out of it; and the deepest level is to know that everything is made of it. At this deepest level, everything in the universe is seen to be originating in, bathed in, and constituted by, Living Daylight. This quality is called by many different names in different spiritual traditions. It is called divine love, conscious presence, universal love, Christ consciousness, or Christ love. In the Hindu tradition, it is called satchitananda, which expresses the experiential qualities of this aspect of Being. Sat means presence or truth, chit means consciousness or awareness, and ananda means bliss, pleasure, or love. These three qualities are the experiences of Living Daylight in each of the three centers. When it is experienced through the mind, it is experienced as light and consciousness. When it is experienced through the heart, it is experienced as universal boundless love. When it is experienced through the belly, it is experienced as a pervading conscious presence. When you feel it in the belly, you feel that you are held, contained, enfolded by a loving presence, and that this presence is what really exists in the world.

Facets of Unity, pg. 33

The Resurrection of Christ is Not Simply the Rebirth of an Individual Person

The realization of the truth from this perspective involves seeing the world as unreal and valuing the escape from human life. Our life is as unimportant as our thoughts, and is part and parcel of the overall illusion. The value of life is as a way station where we learn something and depart. Human life in itself has no intrinsic value, nor does the material world. To be spiritual is to go beyond life and the world. Most traditions ascribe to this general view. I believe that Christ understood this view and went further. To know Christ is to go beyond the world to the Father, but there is something new in the story of the resurrection. I think the resurrection is the resurrection of the world. In spiritual realization the world dies and is revealed as ephemeral and unreal. We experience the death of the whole world. The resurrection of Christ is not simply the rebirth of an individual person. It is the rebirth of the world, of the totality of existence, of the totality of the universe. The resurrection is the rebirth of life and the rebirth of humankind. So Christ is a redeemer in that respect. He redeems not only the individual but the totality of human life. He redeems the world. Christ’s resurrection is from the death of the world, from the death of the universe, after we recognize its illusory nature. In that death of the world, there remains only the Father, only the Absolute in its majesty. That death is the complete annihilation of everything else. But from that death, there is the possibility of a new arising. The world is reborn, but reborn as the real world. Just as an individual can die and be reborn and redeemed, the whole universe is reborn and redeemed. Through this rebirth, the whole universe is seen in a different light, a light that was not seen before the spiritual realization and not seen during the spiritual realization. We do not see the real world when we have not yet seen through the naive belief about the absolute reality of the apparent world. We also do not see the real world when we see the apparent world only as illusion. When we come to see the real world, it’s the same world, except now it is redeemed. It is no longer an illusion. It is a new world.

The Revelation of Christ Brings Back, Full of Life, the Concepts, the Forms that We Had to Let Go of to Free Ourselves from the World

This is Christ’s message. For me, when we celebrate Christianity, this is what we celebrate. We celebrate that the actual world, including our true nature and our concrete lives, is goodness, is love, is harmony, is peace. Christ is not bringing peace from somewhere else to some spot in the world. Understanding Christ’s message, we see that the whole world has the nature of peace, harmony, goodness, and love. We see that the world as a whole is heart. The Buddha saw that the world is mind. Christ saw that mind and said it is made of love. The world is heart. So the whole universe is revealed as the heart of the Absolute. And that whole universe as the heart of the Absolute is Christ. And to see the universe as heart is to see it as harmony, to see it as love, to see it as goodness, to see it as forgiveness, to see it as beauty, to see it as peace. So the revelation of Christ brings back—full of life—the concepts, the forms, that we had to let go of to free ourselves from the world. Through this redemption, through that resurrection, we can see the significance of human life, which is not simply a matter of being free from the world but is actually about living in a real way. This realization can bring harmony between human beings, and between human beings and the rest of reality, because we see that we are all made of one thing. We are all made of joy and love and peace, not only light. Everything is made of that.

The Sense in Which Christ Is the Son of God

So being both the Way and the Life is important, but being the Life is the specific contribution of Christianity that's not talked about much in other traditions. Christ’s message is the redemption of the totality of all existence, seeing the Logos as the Cosmic Logos, as the Cosmic Christ, giving existence a true value. Christ happened to be a complete embodiment of that level of consciousness in being a person. So you could say that the Logos itself, true nature as a dynamic creative active living indivisible presence of realness, got incarnated as an individual. And that’s the sense in which Christ is the son of God, because the Logos is what first comes out of the Absolute. The Logos is the first radiance, the first light, the first intelligence. Think of the resurrection as happening all the time. The Logos is the first born, the first emanation of the Absolute. Christ the Logos is the oldest of the old.

The Understanding of What It Is to Be Oneself Unifies the Spiritual and the Mundane

When a person learns what it is to be oneself, the process of inner development, realization and understanding of truth involves continual discovery and expansion, with surprises and celebrations during the whole process. There is no end to the exploration and discoveries. Many of you can feel a very deep yearning, a subtle flame, a longing for that true life—to live our life as a continual celebration and freshness. In some part of us we know this is possible, and that it is the way life should be. If we don’t live this way, there is always a feeling of incompleteness. The understanding of what it is to be oneself unifies the spiritual and the mundane. It unifies the teachings of people like Christ and Buddha with the yearning of the ordinary person. The enlightened masters and teachers talk about renouncing the world, about being free of ego, and about their desire to live a true life. But an ordinary person is always wanting such things as pleasure and the fulfillment of his desire. We want the experiences of the physical world. Why do we have all these desires and dreams? If there is no such thing as a life of abundance and celebration in a personal, ordinary way why do we desire them? These desires must come from somewhere. There must be some truth to both the universal spiritual teachings and the personal longing experienced by the majority of people. There must be something which unifies these so that they are not in contradiction. And to really make that unification, not theoretically or mentally but experientially, to see the two as one, is the door to knowing what it is to be oneself. Without this unification of spiritual and personal, even cosmic and divine experience lacks the aspect of celebration. People who are oriented toward the impersonal, universal spiritual life have a certain misunderstanding. It’s true that to forget about your personal life, to forget about yourself and become a monk or nun, can lead to liberation and enlightenment. But is that why we have a life? Are we supposed to abandon our life on earth to go somewhere else? The majority of humanity rejects this path, and continues to seek happiness and fulfillment here, in this life. So even though it’s not possible to have a fulfilled life the way most people try to get it, there is something very deep and true in that striving for personal fulfillment. In that yearning there is a seed of understanding that all of this life, including the universal and divine, is for us. Why are we here if the abundance is not our lot in a personal life, if we are not going to enjoy it? The way the ego goes about it doesn’t work, but the original impulse is not false. This is a mystery that is rarely understood.

The Way Jesus Saw Himself as Both the Son of Man and the Son of God

Examining the Middle Eastern traditions, we find the personal element becoming more important, and sometimes central. The Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition is much more personal than Buddhism or Taoism. Although the absolute reality (or God) is seen as a universal and impersonal power, He is related to personally. Moses argues with Him, Christ calls Him father, and Mohammed receives personal communications from Him. In Christianity Christ is considered to be the son of God, and hence he is both personal and divine. He is a human being, but both man and God, the son of a human and of a deity. This is precisely the experience of the Personal Essence. It is of Being, hence divine; and it is a person, hence human. The way Jesus saw himself as both the son of Man and the son of God, is a religious way of understanding the Personal Essence. The experience of being the son of Man is normal for the Personal Essence. Most individuals experience themselves then as purely human, the essence of being human. The experience of being the son of God usually occurs at an advanced stage of the development of the Personal Essence, after the entry into the universal, divine and impersonal realms. When one understands the relationship between the Personal Essence and these realms, the image of son and father is seen to be very apt. Most Christians take Christ to be divine in a special way, a way not accessible to themselves, even though Christ showed clearly what it is like to be the Personal Essence, and thus through his example showed man his true potential. He showed that man is both human and divine; he is a person but his nature is of the divinity of Being.

To Follow Christ Means to Follow the Truth, to Follow what is Real

Even when you are doing the Work, even when you are very deeply into it, you are still doing it for yourself. There is something you want to gain, something you want to happen for you. Even when you think of union with God, you need to wonder, why do you want union with God? You want to feel good. You might feel you can be God’s bride. This perspective is normal; for most people it is how life is. It’s how everyone lives. You come from the place of being that self, and you live mostly for that self. You might be serving others, but the self stays at the center. You are the center of your life. It is not only that your self is the center of your life—your life is your life. The life you live is for you. It’s your life. It’s related to you. From my perspective, when Christ says, “If you follow me,” I don’t think he meant following him as a person, walking around Jerusalem. To follow Christ means to follow the truth, to follow what is real, with Christ as a representative of truth, of the real. To follow the real is to follow the truth and to recall its essence: God, reality. So to follow the truth, one must deny oneself and take up the cross daily This is a very advanced, tricky, and subtle statement because we generally believe that we can have two masters, even when we are committed to the truth. We believe we can live for the truth, and at the same time we can have what the self wants. We can fulfill and gratify the self. A large part of the Work is working out this struggle. What are the demands of the truth? What are the demands of the self? We basically compromise most of the time. Christ’s statement says that if you live your life for the self, or try to compromise and serve two masters, it won’t work. You will lose the life that you feel you are saving. You will lose the life that you think you’re going to have. To lose your life means that whatever life you are living will not be a real life. It will be a false life, an empty life, a meaningless and unfulfilled life. So it is not a life in any real sense. You might as well be dead.

To Give One’s Life to Christ Means to Live According to the Truth

To give one’s life to Christ means to live according to the truth, which is to live objectively and to act according to what reality is. There is not a sense of self-sacrifice when you recognize that the self you are sacrificing is not you anyway, not the depth of you. It is not your heart. It is not your center. It is not your reality. By sacrificing that self, you are in some sense gaining something much more fundamental, much more real, much more fulfilling. After a while, you may say, “I don’t want to be fulfilled. I only want God to be happy. I don’t want to be happy. I just want him to be happy.” So you don’t pray to God, asking, “God, give me this, make me happy.” You’re always telling God, “Tell me what to do so I can make you happy. What will make you happy?” But the moment you think you want something for you, that’s separation. Then you are living for that external self, which means you are abandoning the deeper truth. Christ calls following him a sacrifice: taking up the cross. But if we understand the situation from the perspective of the truth, it is not a sacrifice. It is the realization of what reality is. And because it is the realization of what reality is, it is saving your life, your true life. You recognize there is no sacrifice at all because what is given up is not you anyway. The package you come in is not you. We take the package to be who we are. But the package is not important—it’s what is inside that is important. The package is to serve what is inside the package. What is inside the package is more important than the package, but it needs a package. We think the package is the true self, and everything—including what’s inside the package—is for the package. We believe that package, the surface part, is the self because that’s what everyone believes.

Understanding Christ Love, the Universal Love that is an Overflowing Expression of Abundance

Teachers in many traditions call all of essence love. They say that when you know yourself, you know you are love because essence as a whole is a loving presence. Seeing that all of essence has a loving quality and can only act lovingly will help us to understand another kind of love that I want to talk about. All aspects of love can coexist with the personality, and the identity can be maintained, except in the presence of one particular aspect of love. This is called universal love, Christ love, or divine love. When our beingness manifests as universal love there is no personality. It is this love that spiritual teachers refer to when they say that as long as there is ego, there is no love. They are talking about universal love. Universal means it is not restricted to you; it is not individual. When you feel universal love, there is no “I” that loves. Universal love is needed to melt the identity and self-centeredness. When you experience universal love or Christ love, you understand what love really is. Until then, all other qualities of love can be perceived as accomplishments, because the personality will claim them. Finally, you will see that what gets in the way of love are not issues of liking and rejection, of merging and separation, of desire and passion, but the presence of the ego—the presence of the identity, what you call your self. You see that the real issue ultimately is you. You are in the way. To understand this is to understand the Christ love, the universal love which does not come from someone or go toward someone, but is an overflowing, a love which is the expression of abundance. It is still a sweetness and a presence, but more expanded. What do I mean when I say the personality or the identity is the barrier? This is not easy to understand. To understand the barriers you must be genuinely dedicated in your desire to exist as that kind of lovingness. You have to be willing to give up everything, all your ideas, all your beliefs, all your accomplishments, all your self-image, all of what you think you want or dream. Only then can you know this most expanded kind of love. Issues of relationship do not exist within this perspective because there is no me and no you.

Understanding the Teaching of Christ

So we understand the teaching of Christ when we realize that the individual, separate, bounded soul is a belief in our minds, and we relax and realize that soul becomes continuous with the rest of reality. That soul continuous with the rest, as that totality, is then the Logos or the Christ or the Word. This is an exact and specific resolution because we don’t simply let go of our boundaries and become pure consciousness, pure awareness, or the Absolute or something like that. We let go of our boundaries without losing our sense, our uniqueness. We continue to be a soul, to be an individual, but are continuous with the rest. We are an individuation then out of a totality. So it's a very specific resolution.

Universal Christ Love Brings the Greatest Vulnerability

Love is the highest, the deepest, the most intense, the most expansive possibility of feeling. Love is the heart. Beyond love is the supreme reality, which is beyond feeling or no feeling. So vulnerability is vulnerability to love, and extremely deep vulnerability is love. If you really are vulnerable, you’re loving. You can’t help but be loving. And if you’re very loving, you can’t help but feel vulnerable. If you allow yourself to feel, your heart is completely open. The love which is the first emanation from the supreme reality is Christ love, or boundless love. It is like a boundless heart, a heart with no barriers, no boundaries, no defenses. Heart with no boundaries at all is boundless love. There are no boundaries at all, no barriers at all, no defenses at all. So you are completely vulnerable. This is why love, completely divine, universal Christ love brings the greatest vulnerability: when you experience it, you are at the maximum of vulnerability before you feel yourself as invulnerable. You have to open yourself to that level before you can be invulnerable. And you can’t do it by saying, “I’m doing this so I will become invulnerable.” That very thought is a barrier. You have to be vulnerable with no defenses, without even the thought of a defense. One way I see our situation is that creation or the universe is like a tree. Love is the flowers of the tree, and the human being is the final fruit of the tree, the final fruit of creation. The thick nectar of the ripe fruit is gratitude. Gratitude for how things are, gratitude for being vulnerable, gratitude that you can be completely influenceable. Gratitude for being human. 

We are All Christ

The sense of identity separates us and prevents our perception of the ocean. When the identity relaxes, what you experience is love, and no separation. Each of us is a wave of the same ocean. We are all connected on the most basic level. We are one. It’s not an issue of going back and forth, or getting anything. Love is an overflow; it is what is there, nourishing everybody. Without it, nothing would exist. But you cannot perceive this as long as you believe in the reality of boundaries and ego. This is why we say that universal love cannot coexist with the ego. What is your cosmic identity? It is universal love, the feeling that “I am love.” Even the strongest memories you hold on to are actually vague reflections of the real thing, of the real cosmic universal identity which is universal love, Christ love. In a sense, you are Christ, but not as Christ loving someone else. Christ said, “I and the Father are one.” The Father is universal love. We are all Christ, but we choose instead to believe in ourselves as separate structures. We see here that the true nature of love is not a matter of giving, it is a matter of being yourself. And this self is not you as different from another. It is everyone, it is everything. It is the actual goodness in life, the goodness that is everywhere, the nourishment. It is life, and the energy of life itself.

What Christ is Saying is that to Live the True Life, Certain Real Concerns Should Not be Primary

If we look at it from the perspective of nonconceptual reality, we see that the self is really a concept in the mind—an idea that we have believed for a long time. We have believed it for so long that we are convinced that it is absolute reality. This idea is based on seeing that the body is separate from other physical objects, and concluding, “I exist as a self, as an individual with instinctual needs.” We find that many of our needs, if not directly instinctual, are just modifications or elaborations of, or reactions to, those basic needs. Those needs are real, but if they are what you live for, then as Christ says, you will lose your life. You will not have a true life. But if you lose your life for his sake, for the sake of truth, you will regain it. For most of you, that would feel like the loss of your life. But what is your life? It is basically the life of your instinctual self. That is what you usually think of as your life—being concerned with how to survive in the physical world, how to have pleasure and security, how to have some social comfort and recognition, companionship, and all these things. These things are real concerns, but what Christ is saying is that to live the true life, these concerns should not be primary. They should not be the source of your actions, nor the center of your life. The center of one’s life, then, is the truth. To follow Christ is to follow the truth, and to live according to it and for it. Christ’s statement is an indication of what is of value. It is also a statement about depth. If we live to satisfy our usual worldly self, we are living a superficial life, a dead life, a life without true aliveness of spirit. Aliveness of the spirit is something much deeper, more intrinsic, more fundamental, than physical life and its needs. Aliveness has nothing to do with the satisfaction of those needs. Material needs do need to be satisfied to some extent, because we need to survive, we need to have some kind of comfort in our life so that we can discover what true life is. Life is for realization, not the other way around. We don’t have spiritual realization so that we can have better relationships or better jobs. We don’t have spiritual realization so that we will have more or better friends, or be more successful in life. Spiritual realization is something deeper, and what Christ is saying is that if we want to follow him, it should be the center of our life. And those things—the instincts, the instinctual self—must follow the truth. To sacrifice one’s life, to carry the cross, means that if it happens that your sexual, social, or preservation needs seem to be in conflict with the truth, or in competition with it, the choice should be obvious: You must abandon those needs, not just once in a while, but with consistency, daily, always.

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