Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Am The Way

In John 14:6,  "Jesus saith... I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Throughout the centuries many have taken this to mean that unless one accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they would never go to heaven.

For example we find in the Raleigh Baptist Examiner :

"If a person tries to know God or worship God in any other way than through Jesus, they are 'thieves and robbers' and will go to Hell. This is basic Christianity."

But let's look at this quote for a moment, beyond the superficial level.

Jesus starts with 'I am' the way, the truth and the life.
This is an ancient form of wisdom that goes back to Ancient Egypt or Kemet.  It is the 'I am' formula. The 'I am' formula contains the recipe that produces spiritual enlightenment. It is the stage where a true devotee unites with his beloved.
Reciting 'I am'  tends to connect a person to the object or concept they are identifying with. The ancients knew this and taught this practice to their students.

One can affirm an illusory physical connection - "I am a body", "I am American", "I am a New Yorker," or one can attune to a more expansive, cosmic consciousness, "I am God", "I am the all", "I am truth."

When we are young we are taught "God sees everything we do and knows everything we think."
As adults, we have to ask how is that possible? Really, how can that be? It's because we are God, we just don't realize it. As Alan Watts said, "you are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing." The separation (between us and God) is only an illusion; God is One, or God is Oneness. What we see, what we feel, what we remember and record, God records, as we record because there is no difference between us and the divine. What we, see God sees. What we do, God does. We are his expressions.

In ancient Kemet there are verses from the Prt M Hru (Book of Enlightenment) which show an initiate’s gradual realization that the gods are in reality aspects of (him, her) self. Thus he recites, “I am the great God, the self created one, Nun.  I am Ra…I am Atum... I am Asar (Osiris)."

Vedanta Hindu philosophy includes the utterance, "I Am Brahman, (the Absolute.)"

So Jesus said, I am the way. What was his way?
His way was  the attainment of oneness with the father. He was saying, the way to the father is to become one with the father. Is there any other way? The way to realize truth is to become one with truth.

This tradition was expressed by master teachers in many different cultures  although it was not always understood or appreciated.

It is evident in Muhammad's saying that, 
"He who knows himself, knows Allah."

And by Mansur Al Hallaj, the legendary Sufi master who said, "I am an expression of the eternal. I no longer feel any boundary between what I consider me and all reality." 

He also once announced in a public square, "Ana al-haqq" ("I am the Truth"), which, like Jesus, got him in a world of trouble with those who didn't understand this principle. Nevertheless the echoes of this truth have always existed...

"When my servant loves Me (Allah), then I love him and I become the ears by which he hears, and the sight by which he sees, the hands with which he holds, and the feet with which he walks and the tongue with which he speaks.” ~ A traditional 7th century Middle Eastern saying.

Next, Jesus says, "no man come unto to the father but by me."
We who were raised Christian were taught this means when you worship you have to pray to Jesus and he will carry your prayers to the father. Or that he was an intercessor for your prayers. But how did Jesus tell his disciples to pray?
"Our father who art in heaven hollowed by thy name." That's direct. So he couldn't have meant you can't approach the father without mentioning him. Some say this quote shows you have to be Christian to get to heaven. 
Nope. Jesus wasn't Christian. Neither were his disciples. There are many who follow Jesus' teachings and examples who aren't Christian. A Christian, rather, is one who follows Christianity -essentially the  doctrines established by Constantine and the Church. (Keep also in mind 'Christ/Kristos' is a Greek word and Jesus by all accounts didn't speak Greek.)
Also Jesus doesn't mention heaven in this quote. 

"[N]o man come unto to the father but by me."

It’s as if his disciples asked how do you get to the father? And Jesus said, the only way to the father is through love. And when they asked, how do you love? Jesus said I am love! Everything I have done, everything I have said is the very manifestation of love. The only way to experience the beloved is, naturally, through love. That’s how the union happens.

At some point we have to ask, is this really about the person of Jesus or the indivisible essence of the beloved?

Jesus answered that - a few verses down.

John 14:10, "The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me."

He was trying to teach us, 'oneness is the only way to see God'. When we dissolve all illusions of separation and become one with the ultimate reality, we will come to know the truth, and the father.

John 17:21 - "That they all may be One; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us."

So in the end, while Western Christianity, for the past 18 centuries, has been trying to show how God became man, Jesus was actually teaching man how to become God.

Matt. 5:48 - "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

John 10:34 - "Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are Gods?