Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dying to Live ...

Are you living? I mean REALLY living? Is your life Abundant? Are you dying to live? You can really live you know ... and the way to get there IS by dying.

There are SO very many clues in scripture that the Kingdom is a topsy-turvy experience...! First is last, last is first, serve to lead, weakness is strength, those who self-exalt fall, humility lifts up, down is up, and in dying we live...!

What we cling to we lose ... what we let go of we gain.

And we're all, in various ways, dying to live ... to really live, to abundantly live. What if we're going about it backwards? What if the traditions of man (those collectively-egoic teachings) nullify the word (urgings/promptings/whisperings) of God?

During Jesus' ministry years, two men came to see Him, and here was Jesus' answer to them:

24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25 He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Jesus talks in parables ... He teaches us how to see the unseeable, do the undoable, and know the unknowable.

Here's what I'm getting out of that passage:

"Be willing to let go of your present/current understanding of life, of God, of yourself. Let go of the egoic desire to preserve your own status quo life ... be willing to live in such a way that fulfills the purpose for which you have been created: to display the Life of God - the Abundant Life. Be willing to let go of what you think you know, no matter how compelling it may seem to be, appear to be, and let the Author of Life define Life to you ... die to the old ways of thinking, so that the new can emerge and LIVE."

This is not about behaving into a new way of being ... religion does that -- it seeks to control behavior, through shame, through fear, through group-think pressure, as if that actually changes someone on the inside (look at history, and see for yourself whether that actually *works*). This is about changing an awareness, a consciousness, a way of seeing, believing and thinking, that cannot HELP but manifest in a way of behaving.

God doesn't want better-behaving people ... God wants a people who sees with His eyes, thinks with His Mind, and responds out of His heart.

And the way we get there is by dying to what we think we already know.

Let's look at how this message is being announced to us, loud and clear, through nature. We can see a clear pattern, if we look at it ... every day, the night covers the land, and we are plunged into darkness ... flowers fold up, birds cease to sing, all life seems to suspend ... fears increase, crime flourishes, nightmares ensue, shadows are turned into menacing appearances, by our imaginations. Even pain and disease seems to take on a more intense presence, in the dark. And YET - without fail, Light appears each morning ... and night recedes without a bit of resistance or struggle ... it's absorbed by the Light, effortlessly.

Every fall and winter, life seems to cease, as the world goes to sleep ... plants stop production, nothing grows, birds fly away, and animals go into a deep coma ... the entire land seems to go dormant. Days grow short, nights increase, the climate turns violent and harsh. And YET - without fail, Spring appears after winter, days increase, Light floods, life bursts forth from its slumber, without a resistance or struggle. Winter gives way to the power of growth.

Caterpillars appear to die, even being "buried" within the cocoon, and the insect turns to "goo" while it's in there ... but it is reformed within, and emerges as new life.

And so it is with the seed ... the seed falls from the plant, to the ground, encased in a hard protective shell that keeps out light ... that protection has to fall away, to die, and the seed appears to die, to go dormant, to be hidden in the ground, seemingly dead, for a time.

But there is a Life Force within that seed that cannot be denied, and from within, it breaks free from its enslavement, and emerges up, led always up, toward the Light, toward breaking free from all that would keep it down, toward its Source. It does not rest until it appears.

That seed had to let go of what it previously knew (the mother plant), to plunge into the unknown, to fall to the ground ... if it had remained on the plant, it would have whithered uselessly ...

That which appears to be dead, that which falls to the ground, gives way to new life ...!

Do you see...?

Let's look at some scriptural examples of this principle:

- Abraham took years to come to the end of his own attempts to fulfill God's promise of a son ... it wasn't until he quit struggling that the new life came.

- Moses spent four decades in the wilderness (dark thinking) before he received his revelation in the burning bush -- truth from God -- that transformed his life, and gave him purpose.

- David lived in isolation, letting go of what the world defines as success, learning that in God is his power and strength and wisdom.

- Jesus lived for 30 "normal" years, until he was able to say, "by my own self I can do nothing - I do as I hear, as I see the Father doing."

- Paul spent 3 years in isolation after his blinding conversion, letting go of what he'd been taught, having his mind renewed.

There is no "Book of Dena" (though it seems I'm attempting to write one, LOL!), but in my own life, I spent 21 years trying all that medicine and religion told me to do, in order to overcome bulimia ... but when I finally gave up (exhausted!), God met me where I was, changed my perspective with truth, and set me free.

Now, it's interesting to me that when Jesus raised folks from the dead, He told everyone that the dead were "sleeping" (as the night sleeps? as the winter sleeps? as the animals hibernate? as the butterfly and the seed sleep?)...! And it's interesting that Elisha *saw* (spiritually saw) Elijah being taken away "by a chariot" ... it seems to me that we have much to question about what we call death ... if the nature of life is God's life, which is eternal, then what we call death isn't really death -- it's not the end -- it's a transition from one form of life to another (just like the seed doesn't really die, it is transformed).

If we cling to what we think we know, we forfeit the Abundant Life ... if we die to what we think we know, we live the Abundant Life ... for it emerges out of what has died. Out of what appears to be death -- life always comes forth!

Death where is your sting?

There must be a death to our old way of thinking/seeing/believing/behaving, so that real life, God's life manifested in ALL that is, can emerge to our awareness. His life is in and all around us ... but we have to have eyes to see. Our old ways prevent us from seeing.

22`The lamp of the body is the eye [the perspective], if, therefore, thine eye may be perfect, all thy body shall be enlightened,

23but if thine eye [perspective] may be evil, all thy body shall be dark; if, therefore, the light that [is] in thee is darkness -- the darkness, how great!

24`None is able to serve two lords, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to the one, and despise the other; ye are not able to serve God and Mammon.

(Mammon is defined as the "god of this world" ... or our own egos, and the collective ego of mankind.)

If we see through the evil-perceiving lens of the ego, we will experience evil (including dis-ease, disease). If we see through the lens of Light (God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all), then we experience all that comes with Light: wholeness, harmony, abundance, goodness, peace, joy, love ...

We have a choice.

We need to die to those thoughts/teachings that tell us that God sees us as a failure, as someone who needs suffering and punishment to "fix" us ... if we cling to those, we are the seed clinging to the tree, whithering away. We can take the plunge, fall to the ground and "die" ... so that real Life can emerge and grow.

God is asking us to look, REALLY look at our lives ... at the consequences we're experiencing, at the fruits we're displaying (fear? love?), to take stock of how we're living.

God asks, "Do you WANT this, which you have chosen by your beliefs?"

If the answer is "no," then God says,

"Then choose again."

And THIS is what repentance really means: to choose again.
Shalom, Dena


marianne said...

Just finished two books by Michele O'Donnell (The God that We've Created" and "When the Wolf is at the door) that you recommended, as well as one by Joel Goldsmith called "Invisible Supply" I am so "there" where you are and love your ability to articulate the power of the spring of life within us. No doctrine, no judgement, no power other that the one power of good (God). We need to be walking in it and elevating the level of human consciousness until it truly and fully becomes what we see as well as what we believe. Glad to be joining you on the journey ;-)

Dena said...

LOL at God's uncanny timing - aGAIN!

You keep on being His instrument of confirmation, Marianne...!

(& it sounds like you devour books as fast as I do!)

I had reached one of those "low spots" last night ... challenged by some physical and emotional symptoms ... you know, one of those "have I gone and gotten duped" moments. Ahhhh, the power of the ego, both individually and collectively...!

So, I asked God for one of His confirming "signs" (He's so utterly lavish and accommodating!).


You show up and remind me of what I know.

Grinning and dancing now ... thanks!

Thanks for responding to that inner Prompt! Thank You, God. But of course.

cwtpmom said...

Dena - You haven't been "duped" if you are on the path with God. You have a lot to go through and in my opinion you are doing fine. I like how you describe repentance.

You are getting very close to an understanding of "agency". Forgive me if I sound preachy or authoritative here, but I am so excited to read what you are writing lately about the nature of God, and about repentance, ego, and how seeds become nourished to grow.

Agency absolves God the Father from being the bad guy who punishes through His wrath. Agency puts each one of us in charge of our own outcome, with a kind and generous Savior to do that which we are not able to do for ourself, and the Holy Ghost to guide us into all truth. Even though we receive guidance, we still have agency to make the choice.

I am so thankful to God for giving us agency. Even in the midst of oppression we can have it.

marianne said...

The power to choose is a helpful concept to me. O'Donnell talks about 2 choices in the garden of Eden...the path of the tree of Life, where there is ONLY life, the power of God, beauty, order, perfection, unlimited supply OR the path of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, where you acknowledge then recognize then fight against either good or bad. It presents the concept of duality. The tree of life knows no duality: good bad, rich poor, healthy sick. It is such a concrete concept to me and easy to visualize.
This morning I got an email about a man who is a very famous pastor whose wife has cancer and he said that God has chosen not to heal her and then went on to explain how struggles strengthen us and we need to accept them, so I found myself doubting what seems so right to me. Then I thought that he was talking about God (outside) choosing not to heal her. I thought "wait a minute, what about the God in her having a choice and choosing healing?!?!" I think sometimes we think that "God out there" has the final say, but forget that "God inside of us is where the spring of life is that brings the cleansing flow" Anyway..I think this fits with the last comment about "agency" concept. Just a thought ;-)

Dena said...

cptmom -- thanks for your encouragement ... I do believe I'm not duped, but when surrounded by those who deem me to be a heretic, the question arises from time to time. But God's assurances are uncanny, and non-manufacturable...!

I remember heaing about "agency" from you, years ago, and not having a file for it. Now, I get it more clearly ... which shows me that all "camps" have access to God's truth, and we learn best when we bring our insights together.

Dena said...

The understanding of two trees really speaks to me, Marianne ... I see it so differently than in my previous perspective!

Like you, that "we must suffer" mentaility keeps trying to assert itself, but it no longer fits how I see God. Does God *use* suffering, if we insist on seeing/experiencing it? Sure! He uses all things, meeting us where we are. But is that His heart, His nature? No, I no longer believe that. It's not how I'm experiencing God now.

The power of the traditions of man is eNORmous...! But only because it appeals to my own ego, my own inner drama-queen/brat! It's getting clearer and clearer, as I trust God to reveal what's of man, and what's of God.

Shedding the old stuff ain't easy -- that's why it's called "dying".

Dying to live... I'm willing to die to live.

MysticBrit said...

Dena - last night I watched The Matrix for the first time, and it blew me away. Boy... 135 mins of pure parable!

The power of personal choice, the pain and joy of new birth, opening of the eyes of the heart to see what is real and what isn't... so much to relish.

And at the end, when Neo saw that he didn't even have to dodge the bullets because they aren't real! Yeah!

Dying to Live indeed!

Namaste, my friend


Dena said...

Love it!

I watched "The Matrix" for the first time just a couple of months back ... watched all 3, 3 nights in a row -- blew me away. Annoyed the kids -- kept stopping to take notes!!!

Yeah - pure parable inDEED!

If anyone here has *not* seen "The Matrix", rent it! Have pen and paper ready! And if you did see it a while back, watch it again -- you'll be amazed at how much truth is in there!

MysticBrit said...

I've only seen the first one, and I'm just 'assimilating' it. I'll get to the others when I'm done:)

You have one fine, longsuffering family, Dena. Bless 'em for it!:D

It strikes me that the most basic parable in the film is that we created The Matrix. It was self-inflicted - our choice!



Dena said...

You've nailed it, Harry ... we created it. We chose it, and we choose to keep it in place, whether knowingly or unknowingly ("forgive them, they know not what they do,"). When we know better, we do better.

AND, if we chose it, we can choose again...!