Friday, May 10, 2013
MINDFULNESS---THE LIGHT THAT SHINES AND SHINES AND SHINES
‘But everything exposed by the light becomes visible--and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: "Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you."’ (Eph 5: 13-14) [NIV]
Vipassanā (insight meditation)---also known as mindfulness---is different from all other forms of meditation. Only mindfulness affords insight. How important that is! Without insight, without understanding of ourselves and reality, there can be no possibility of growth or change of any positive kind.
The word vipassanā is composed of two parts---vi, meaning ‘in various ways’, and passanā, meaning seeing. So, vipassanā means ‘seeing in various ways’ ... as well as seeing things as they really are.
In the Bible passage set out above we are told to ‘wake up.’ That was also the advice given by the Buddha. Wake up! That is the meaning of enlightenment. One wakes up, and perhaps for the very first time in one’s life one sees things as they really are. Enlightenment. Insight. Light. Truth. They are all different words used to refer to the same reality.
When we practise mindfulness---that is, live mindfully from one moment to the next---everything ‘exposed by the light’ becomes visible. When, conversely, we live mindlessly, we are in darkness, so to speak. It is as if we were dead.
Now, there will be certain readers who will say, ‘Ellis-Jones, that is not what those verses mean at all. The verses are talking about what happens to you when you accept Jesus as your Saviour and Lord, and you're born again, or born from above, so that when you die you will go to live with Jesus for all eternity. It’s about being saved once-and-for-all from your sins, that is, from everlasting punishment, which is the fate we really deserve, and the fate people will receive unless they make a personal decision to turn their lives over to the Lord Jesus.’ (Note. This rather mechanical evangelical four-step ‘plan of salvation’ [i.e., confess, believe, repent, and receive], with its emphatic insistence on the supposed need for a one-time, life-changing decision, is not accepted by all Christian denominations. In my view, this so-called plan of salvation is an unwarranted imposition upon Scripture, and is completely unknown to the Bible. Rather, true Biblical salvation is an ongoing process of being 'healed,' that is, made spiritually 'whole'---and it is a past reality, a present reality, and a future reality, all at the same time.)
Well, as I see it, the evangelical interpretation, with its emphatic insistence upon a person's profession of faith in Jesus, is a gross distortion of the true position propagated by people who divide the world into the ‘saved’ and the ‘unsaved.’ More particularly, it is a carnalization, literalization and personification of a myth---and yet still the truth---in the person of the man Jesus.
You see, the reference to ‘Christ’ in the verses I quoted, as in many other verses in the New Testament, is in the nature of a metaphor referring to the light of truth that indwells and infuses the life of a person---any person---when they have come to see things as they really are, that is, when they wake up. The experience described is not one that can be experienced only by Bible-believing Christians. No, it is a truly universal experience. The ‘Christ’ indwells every one of us as our potential perfection. For the most part, this ‘sleeping giant,’ this inner power---for that is what it is---lives undeveloped, hidden, dormant, and asleep in our human spirits (minds), but it is ever seeking release and perfect expression and unfoldment in our daily lives.
‘Resurrected living’---so called ‘rising from the dead’---is not something supernatural that supposedly happens at some time in the future, whether at the moment of our death or otherwise. The resurrected living expounded in these Bible verses, and of which Jesus otherwise spoke, is something in the here-and-now. It’s waking up, that’s what it is. And when we wake up, we find that we are living in a new ‘land,’ a new ‘place.’ In the Bible this ‘place’ is referred to as the ‘Kingdom of God’ and the ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’ In some forms of Buddhism it’s called the ‘Pure Land of Buddha.’ And here is some wisdom from the Upanishads:
There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth,
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in your heart.
Regardless of any religious beliefs you may or may not hold, please know this. (Note. I didn’t say ‘believe’---just know.) If you choose to live mindfully, you will see things as they really are. When you see things as they really are, you have insight and understanding, as well as compassion. Your whole being becomes suffused and illumined with light. Indeed, you become a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world. You are then living in the Kingdom of Heaven … the Pure Land of Buddha.
But pleeease don’t just take my word for it. Try it for yourself … really try it---and then you will come to know and understand.
So, wake up! Shine! Rise from the dead!