So, the first in the Awful Truths category, one of my favourites to write, but necessary for the 4th way? No, not at all…
Now, I hear you say, …is it really necessary to pick apart organised religion, you have made your point already, plus I’ve seen Zeitgeist, everyone knows that all organised spiritual traditions are based on ancient astrology, and the historical stories have no real truth in themselves…. Well, YES and.. NO. Frankly some of these stories DO have ‘some’ truth in themselves, should you wish to search long and hard for it, but that is not the point.
The point is this… over the years I have found it useful, indeed important to break people’s delusions about modern religion, about what it is, principally to get beyond their resistance to the Left Hand path. Some people, like the priests of organised, modern traditions themselves, will continually come back to criticising the so called ‘mix and match’ approach of the left hand path, contrasting it to their own ‘original’, ‘set in stone’ tradition, handed down from this or that God, himself. They do this while being blissfully unaware of the overwhelming irony of the ‘lashed together’ origins of their own traditions, and that this criticism itself is all one, big and bad projection.
So, yes none of this is important to progression, that is true, UNLESS you are still, in some small way clinging to an ideal that makes you DOUBT this, clinging to a childhood memory perhaps, of something that does not exist. That NEVER existed.
And here is why..
Awful Truth: Overtime a number of pervasive and highly destruction mechanisms have played havoc with the spiritual path, but the granddaddy of them all is the political organisation of spirituality into highly structured Religions, into hierarchies with Priests, layer upon layer of officials. Nothing destroys a spiritual path quicker than this, than the pervasive chipping away and watering down of any real message by any number of personal and political mechanisms that, in time, make even the founder a stranger to his own ‘religion’.
However, before we start, I want to make one thing clear – folks like me have tremendous respect for the traditions of old, indeed we rely on them, some more than others. Therefore its important both to me and to ‘you’, that you don’t see what follows as undermining what is STILL of value in those traditions, as many of they now discredited religions were once much closer to the bedrock than the pale shadows you see before you. Hence, for example, just how often people like me come back to the Bible, both old and new testament, trying to read between the lines, and find the big bloody chunks that are missing. The Sumerian ‘fairy story meets narrative history’ that is much of the Torah does not diminish our respect for the Kabbalah, and the allegorical mess that is the new testament does not diminish our respect for Gnostic Christianity, the belief system followed by Carl Jung.
Now there are many mechanisms that have distorted the truth we can discuss, many of which are ‘accidental’, ie ‘lost in translation or transliteration’ is a fave (and its effects are much worse than your think, the new testament is half destroyed by it). Mistaking analogies for facts/facts for analogies is confusing as hell, as most genuine teachers use them to hide their secrets, explain them to the gifted only… Personally I’ve come to hate (because it is SO easy and hence pervasive in English) the largely technical issue that generalizations of our overly flexible language cause acts to be renamed/confused with feelings, moods, and the names of pre-existing spiritual emotions that are supposed to follow them. And don’t get me started on the propensity of ‘confirmation bias’ to be white washed as the result of blind faith in the meaning of the ‘book’ – people will work hardest to ‘believe’ what they ‘want’ to, out of petty self interest.
However, in an organised political structure, with its egos, power grabs and ‘bad actors’, you see so much that is wilful, with short term culturally driven Revisionism being by far the most brutal process of them all – to re-interpret, even rewrite the facts to suit the ‘current’ social norms, political direction, or personal preferences, over and over again, with the New Testament the poster boy, as it’s a VERY bare reflection of what it should be. And yes, its was Constantine who started this process, much as he did his best.. with his Nicene Creed and its Anathemas.. the early Christian church was at war with itself, people got killed for their ‘heretical’ views, and god love him, he had to pick a side just to keep the peace, therefore he chose his ‘heresy’ wisely, but for entirely political purposes…
Make no mistake, if you walked into an early Christian church circa the 4th century AD you would not recognise a single thing… And that is the point, there was no ‘Christ on the Cross’ for example, see the Romans did not crucify people with devices that needed large and expensive tree trunks, they did it with whatever old branches were kicking about, formed into a simple ‘X’ and lent it against a tree or wall. Hence the ancient symbol of Christianity is the Chi-Rho, itself an allegory of something else, not the romanticised white human form, under going horrific medieval torture, you see them worshipping today. Make no mistake however, next time you are standing in front of the Vatican, to pick out the Chi-Rho carved into the stone high above the ground, in perfect condition to this day… cause maybe they know, as we do, that ‘X’ rotates… notice the way the alpha and omega are positioned…
So, relevant examples, lets steer clear of the obvious, sure you know the Red sea is actually the Reed sea of the Nile delta by now. Sure you don’t want the whole moral charges against the War God of the old testament speech, the multiple organised genocides, the murder of his own followers for any disobedience, the stomach churning medical precision of the instructions regarding the sacrifice of individual breeds of animal, what to do with their blood, flesh and organs, all detailed to a horrific degree in Exodus. Sure you don’t want to think that God actually had a personality, that Moses could talk him out of some of the madder stuff, as that would just be a bit too pagan for you. Then the Christian father god would sound a little too much like ‘our’ Norse Gods of old (yes, the original Gods of the ‘English’, are the Norse Gods, NOT the Celtic gods..) and that would be too ironic, given how much his priests hated them… And the Irony that you, and me, and THEM still call on these heroic Scandinavians every damn day, as the day of the week (in English) are named after them. Yep, hint for the future – the use of names matters more than you think.. why did the Anglo-Saxons convert to Christianity but kept the names of days, I wonder..
No, lets go to the core of my argument up front… simple, do you know how many names for God there are in the Old Testament, how many different ways the ‘same’ god is referred to in the original texts, with actually different words.. over a 100, with 20 plus major ones. There are so many and its sooo odd, they have had to make a thing of it, make it part of the devotional practises, cause otherwise why are they there.. Why are they so different, why are some of them plural, why do they change at odd times. Answer – they are different gods, they are multiple gods, from different times, different peoples… a lot of them even pre-date the Jews, including some of the important ones, they come from the peoples they massacred. Its a collection of stories from multiple traditions, all wrapped up as a history of people in ‘time’. So look at it that way now.. NOT as the revealed truth of ONE religion, ONE God, cause its not… Frankly it was never actually meant to be. Hint, in the left hand path the only name of their God we care about is ‘I AM’.
How about a secret teaching one, or rather why teachings ‘become’ secret over time…. nothing too earth shattering, just to prove the point.. So, did you know Jesus is a made up name, what bible scholars call an ‘acceptable’ transliteration.. a sound-a-like. Jesus the name, as given and spoken at the time in his own language, Aramaic, was ‘Yeshua’, pronounced as it looks, which is a derivative of Yehoshua, transliterated as ‘Joshua’. Yep, Jesus and Joshua are the same name. They are also incredibly common names because Yeshua is a prophecy name, a name that is a calling, ‘he who saves’ or ‘deliverer’. It’s a VERY special name in terms of the Old Testament, its a ‘power’, a magical name.
Now, most folks kinda go – Ok, that’s no big deal, is it, it’s just… English…? Yes, it damn well is a big deal – it’s NOT an English issue, it’s a bloody NAME, so why not use the real one… How many names you use everyday that are not English in some sense, probably about half of them! See the Church knows this at a fundamental level, knows that its the WRONG name, but continues to use it in public teaching. Yet not in private, Priests use either Yeshua or its ancient Greek/Latin equivalent Iesous (also used at the time as they sounded identical), they don’t use Jesus. Indeed the most ardent followers of Jesus, Messianic Jews (I know you have never heard of them but it’s a biggie in Judaism), use Yeshua, and mock Christians for their stupidity.. cause as Jews well know, from long ago, that names, actual names as ancient symbols of belief, MATTER. Indeed even Christian Priests think people are stupid to use it, but they keep mum all the same. Why? Cause they don’t want you to use it… Ohh, do you know when this happened? when, by ‘accident’ or design the name got changed.. right after people started mass market printing of books, in the 16th century, for the public.. Before then EVERYONE, who was lucky enough to be able to a: Own and b: Read the bible, everyone who sat in Church and heard a Priest say it, used the RIGHT NAME, whether they spoke English or not… Trust me, should you be a practising Christian, just ‘day-tripping’ on this site, stop NOW, and only ever use ‘Yeshua’ again. It may help.
Another one, let’s keep it Christian shall we… how about that line in the Lord’s Prayer, the given form of public worship from the mouth of Christ himself, that magical demand of the Lord our God himself, that’s even largely consistent in the x2 Gospels it appears in, to give us this day our ‘daily’ bread.. But it don’t say ‘daily’, it uses a word that has never been recorded in usage before or since the writers of the Gospels used it.. A word that does not exist – epiousios. Most scholars now accept as they did in ancient times that this word is a combination of others that suggest the word ‘supernatural’, even supersubstantial. Yes, Christ is asking his key followers, his disciples to pray every day for supernatural food, for the essence of spirit. But we get ‘daily’ bread, we are asking just to survive. See the difference? Cause it’s a big one..
You can go on and on with this, there are literally thousands of them through both books. Even, and possibly most important for the spirit work we do on the Left Hand path, the key ‘Love Thy Neighbour As Thyself’, the central guiding principle, (after loving God of course – it’s the Right Hand path), is flawed, as the word used does not mean ‘Neighbour’ and ‘As’ is actually ‘Of’. And what about the bizarre ‘Holy Trinity’, that only appears ONCE in the bible with a VERY different wording than is used in the religion, almost the very definition of ‘Energy Work’ in fact, but I’m sure by now you get the point.. The received traditions of old are torn apart by time itself.
Over and above these, one of the most interesting types of issue that occurs is people forget what something was meant for, the original meaning of a written phrase or text is lost in terms of its usage, its point… It is that much of a problem, such a big deal, that many of Middle Eastern and Asian texts that are used as guides these days were never intended to be that. This is a particular issue in Zen, where texts designed to be used as confirmations of progress AFTER the fact of progress being made, actual spiritual ‘tests’ (largely referred to as Koans) are now read as a guide to practice itself, to the philosophy of Zen in the West, which is bloody ridiculous. They are purposely designed to be impenetrable, total nonsense UNLESS you have had a direct, personal spiritual experience that is similar to them, and therefore you know what just happened.
To end this post I must mention one important aspect of these misinterpretations – the fact that many other types of mistakes are predicated by the evolutionary aspect of humankind – ‘we’ have changed in the last 2 thousand years. Being a man or woman is simply NOT the same as it once was, when humans were MUCH closer to the animal kingdom in their sense of themselves, particularly violence and death, than they are now.
Much as most of this is for better, there are aspects of the male and female energies of life that are far more confused for us now, far ‘softer’ than they ever where, then when much of the spiritual doctrines were written down. This is a specific issue with what you might call the ‘will to live’ being totally absent in the Western experience – we EXPECT to live, we expect the state to carry us, to protect us, for our life and health care to attended to. That’s a given, a human right, even though frankly back 2 thousand years ago it really wasn’t. And it’s a much bigger change in our ‘attitude’ toward life than you would think, we have literally lost a large chunk of ourselves this way…
Therefore we simply don’t ‘get’ the meaning of so much of the ancient texts, of how as it was INTENDED to be read, we are putting it through the filter of the radical changes in human society that has occurred in the last 300 years. For all of the benefits of that progress we are now in fact far more in-experienced in the ways of violence, competition and death than we ever where, yet we are far more anxious, more fearful, more precious, more entitled. And in spiritual terms, that’s a bad thing – its effects on our ‘character’, in so much as we are all becoming desensitized – much, MUCH softer, weaker, apathetic, we lack determination, drive, focus, and are lives are focused on getting more ‘leisure’ time, on relaxing, zoning out and doing NOTHING.
Strong wind makes strong trees, as the saying goes, yet even at school these days we barely experience a light breeze.. And it’s a particularly big problem for men – the raw masculinity of old, the ‘get rich or die trying’ mind state, is a much rarer thing now..
Summary: Modern religion, modern religious ‘practise’ is destroyed, so whatever (and often valid), starting point ‘it’ once had, whatever real spirituality it once contained is LOST, and what remains are simple echo’s, shadows of the truth. Most are not even a valid path of practise anymore, modern spirituality in this sense is just a fan club for normal people, a social club, a part of society’s norms. It is not in ANY WAY, shape or form a method of spiritual cultivation.
What you know is wrong. Modern spirituality is a mess, its incomplete, vague, fluffy. It’s become meaningless, only presented as medicine, at best a form of light entertainment, at worse a form of social control. Never doubt this, as even what I’ve written above barely touches on the overall depth of it.
Quote to end as always, this time a simple one, perhaps the only time I’ll use one of his in fact.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” – Yeshua, the Christ.