God and Religious Toleration/The basics about God
| A Wikibookian questions the neutrality of this page.
You can help make it neutral, request assistance, or view the relevant discussion.
|This book's factual accuracy is disputed.
Personal experiences[edit | edit source]
After I finished my studies I became a lawyer. At the age of 30, I found the spiritual path. In addition to my professional duties, I did three hours worth of spiritual exercises.
In November 1986, I had my first big enlightenment experience. During a meditation while lying down, a warm energie column rose from the lower belly to the middle of the body. As the energy reached my head, my ego consciousness dissolved. I was suddenly one with the all-encompassing love of the cosmos. I reached a state of the highest happiness. I was able to understand the holy scripts of mankind at a deep level.
The highpoint of my spiritual experiences compose what I consider communing with the Holy Ghost. A thick beam of energy flowed from the heavens downward and into my crown chakra. The energy flowed through my whole body and filled it entirely. A little energy flame appeared over my head. This was comparable to the experience with the Pentecostal occurrence, where energy creations appeared over the heads of the first Christians. The thought that I had been blessed by the Holy Ghost suddenly appeared in my mind.
A little while later I had another astounding experience. As I went for my usual evening walk, I suddenly had the feeling I was seen by the heavens. It was as if there was a big eye in the sky that could see me. The message of this eye was: “you can tread your path with trust. You have been seen.”
One day I lay in bed and meditated. My thoughts came to rest more and more. Suddenly, Jesus Christ appeared as a light filled being in my room. I knew that this being of light was Jesus. He came to me and his energy flowed into me. I was filled with happiness. I rested in an unimaginably great energy of love, peace and light.
In 1991 I visualized a cosmos full of happy beings. I wished that all beings on earth were happy. I identified with all beings and their wish for happiness. I thought the mantra : “may all beings in the world be happy.” I opened my heart to all beings. Suddenly, I was in a dimension of all-encompassing love. The landscape around me had changed completely. It was full of light. The thought “I am love” appeared in me. The entire cosmos consisted of pure happiness and love.
God is a mystery[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: In monotheism and henotheism, God is conceived as the Supreme Being and principal object of faith. The concept of God as described by theologians commonly includes the attributes of omniscience (infinite knowledge), omnipotence (unlimited power), omnipresence (present everywhere), omnibenevolence (perfect goodness), divine simplicity, and eternal and necessary existence. In theism, God is the creator and sustainer of the universe, while in deism, God is the creator, but not the sustainer, of the universe. Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one God or in the oneness of God. In pantheism, God is the universe itself. In atheism, God is purported not to exist, while deemed unknown or unknowable within the context of agnosticism. God has also been conceived as being incorporeal (immaterial), a personal being, the source of all moral obligation, and the "greatest conceivable existent". Many notable medieval philosophers and modern philosophers have developed arguments for and against the existence of God.
God is a mystery that is experienced best when enlightened. We can only say that it is good to live in God. It is better to be enlightened than not enlightened. Enlightenment is the deeper purpose of life. Through enlightenment, we reach the kingdom of God. Enlightenment means inner peace, inner happiness and all-encompassing love for all beings. An enlightened person lives in God. He or she sees God as a kind of light in the world. He or she feels God in him or herself and around him or herself. He or she feels God as inner happiness, inner peace and inner strength and is aware that he or she is in a higher truth that can only be described as universal love.
In each of the major religions, there are varied definitions of God. In the religions we also find the personal and abstract term of God. Many enlightened mystics think of God as a person and some others as a higher dimension in the cosmos. In Buddhism and in Hinduism the abstract term of God dominates. In Buddhism, the highest principle is called Nirvana and in Hinduism it's called Brahman.
Jesus referred to God as father. Moses referred to God more in an abstract fashion. His central definition of God was described with the words “I am.” These words refer to God as a happy state of being where one experiences enlightenment. In the words “I am” we find the main way to enlightenment. People need to develop a cosmic consciousness, a consciousness of the unity of all things. Thus the ego consciousness is lost. Then one experiences pure consciousness, is one with everything and can only say: “I am.” He or she cannot say “I am so and so.” He or she identifies with everything and everyone and is personally nothing and is simply consciousness. God as a being who can take action helps us along the spiritual way. All enlightened beings are an incarnation of God. If you connect with God or an enlightened being daily, you will be lead in the light.
Ways to God[edit | edit source]
There are different ways to reach God. If we look at the Bible we find Moses and Jesus at the center of it all. Moses took the path of solitude. He lived alone in the desert for 40 years and did his spiritual exercises. With enlightenment he saw the light in the world (God in the burning bush) and recognized attachmentless being as the way to God.
Moses threw his stave to the ground, which transformed itself into a snake. This is a symbol for the exercises to awaken the kundalini energy (which is typically portrayed as a snake). The stave is the spine of the person who is activating his or her kundalini energy. Inner happiness and enlightenment can then appear in the person, and he or she gets special spiritual abilities like healing, the transfer of energy, the fruit of the Holy Ghost.
Moses was an Egyptian prince. He received knowledge for taking the path of enlightenment during his education from the Egyptian priests. To simplify things, we can say that the way of Moses consists of contemplation and meditation, prayer (or visualizing God or paradise and connecting to them with a mantra).
In comparison, the path of Jesus was totally different. Jesus got enlightenment energy from John the Baptist. If you practice as a yogi for many years, you get special spiritual energies and can transfer these to people who are ready to receive them. John the Baptist activated Jesus’ kundalini energy by baptizing him. Jesus then meditated for 40 days and nights in the desert, and then he reached enlightenment. The devil (the ego) disappeared and the angels ( his energy) served him. He could learn from his inner wisdom and help other people with his energy.
We can develop in solitude like monks and nuns do. Or we can receive energy from more spiritually developed people. That is the way of priests, to see it from a Christian perspective. The energies come directly from God. An enlightened person (a saint) doesn't get the energy from himself, but from God. He lives in God and shares the energy of God with others. That is clear with highly developed saints. (Pater Pio, Frere Roger).
Which spiritual path does Jesus recommend for us? In the Bible, it says that a rich youth came to him and asked him what is the way to perfection. Jesus said that the way for a normal person consists of prayer and to follow cultural rules. The way of perfection is the way of sainthood and enlightenment. Along the way to perfection, we have to let go of all material trappings and follow Jesus. How this takes place, Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus gave his life to save others. That is the way of all-encompassing love. You put others before yourself, and so you reach ego-sacrifice and live in enlightenment (in light, in the kingdom of God).
A complete ego sacrifice cannot take place if you only take people to be as important as yourself. The Bible says: “love your neighbor as yourself.” The Bible assumes that everyone loves him or herself. You need to love yourself before you can love others. That is a difficult thing for some people as a lot of people are so broken on the inside. The idea isn't wrong. I need to be happy and at peace before I can bring happiness and peace into the world. Otherwise helping people can start to become neurotic and forced. If that becomes the case, it becomes impossible to sacrifice the ego. Giving and all-encompassing love is more of a natural expression of one's own happiness.
I can sense exactly within myself just how I can reach light via the way of all-encompassing love. I send all beings light, wish for a happy world and reach the dimension of unity. I forget myself and my personal problems. I don't take myself as seriously. I concentrate on others and my mission in the world. I see the suffering in the world, identify with other suffering beings and help as best I can. I don't only send light, but I do one good deed each day. I live for the happiness of others. And all others. Otherwise you can't reach unity consciousness.
It's important though, to take care of oneself. I have to be careful to not stress and to not use up my energy. I live in calm, and act from this place. You could also say that I love myself. I take care of my outer needs and my inner happiness.
The Christian desert fathers had an interesting discussion about the relationship between prayer and good deeds. Which is more holy: those who help others or those who concentrate on prayer to God? They are both fundamentally important. Helping is more holy than prayer, however. Those who live as helpers reach the all-encompassing love of God via their love to others. However, he or she could use up all of his or her energy and then lose the sense of inner calm. Therefore, those who help others need to rest and to pray, if they want to find their way to God.
Suffering[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, may be an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual. Suffering is the basic element that makes up the negative valence of affective phenomena. The opposite of suffering is pleasure, or happiness. The religions deal with the questions ”why does suffering exist?” ”What purpose does suffering serve?” and ”How can we overcome suffering?” The Abrahamic religions mostly consider suffering to be a punishment for not following the will of God. The suffering of Christ, and the dying of Jesus are considered salvation for Christianity. Master Eckhart said “the fastest animal that can carry you to perfection is suffering, no one can understand blessedness as deeply as those who stand with Christ in the deepest bitternes. “
Those who are enlightened can rise above suffering entirely (like Buddha) or partially (as in the case of Jesus). Those who follow the spiritual path can help themselves using spiritual techniques such as meditation and thought work. Suffering simply is. Where there is life, there is suffering. If we want to live, then we need to accept that suffering is a part of that. We can only try to avoid it to the degree it is possible. If we accept the given suffering in life, and come to attachment-less being (ego-less existence) then we can integrate suffering consciously.
The deeper purpose of life is to come to enlightenment. Outer suffering can help us to find our spiritual way, to let go of the ego and to develop our inner happiness. God means to become happy on the inside. The outer world is fleeting. The inner bliss of enlightenment lasts forever.
Even if inner happiness is the main point of life, we can also work toward happy outer circumstances and on the world. Jesus sometimes drank wine. We can enjoy life. But we should put God in focus and not outer enjoyment. Then we can rise above the suffering in the world. We can enjoy life even if there is a lot of suffering in the world. We can be happy despite the suffering we have, if we tak e the path of love and of giving.
If we imagine God as a kind father or loving mother, then that helps us to have trust in the cosmos. A personal image of God reaches its limits when we see the suffering in the world. We people on the earth are responsible for most of the suffering in the world. We can't give God fault here. We need to take action in a positive and wise way. God works through our hands. God isn't a person. God is a higher consciousness of peace, happiness and love that needs people on earth to develop. The cosmos what it is.
God and Enlightenment[edit | edit source]
Enlightenment cannot be described. In order to be able to begin to comprehend it, we need to consider it in terms of a stairway. At the first step, you feel peace, happiness and harmony within you. You are in harmony with yourself and the world. As the spiritual energy within you grows, there us a consciousness shift. You enter enlightened being. You lose your ego. You become pure consciousness and feels that you are everything. You think from the point of view and unity and not from the ego.
You can't comprehend that if you've only ever thought from the ego. When your ego is gone, you reach great inner peace. You aren't as affected by what happens. You don't take yourself too seriously. You feel a deep sense of positivity. You think positively.
But you can also continue to develop from that point. You can open the chakras and grow in balance, strength, happiness and love. You can achieve special abilities, such as omnipresence. You can connect with other people energetically, heal them, and send them strength, until you one day are able to help all beings spiritually and bring them all to the light who connect with you mentally.
Enlightenment is a special type of happiness. I call it a joyful energy. This energy is above worldly experience of happiness, joy and suffering. One can have this joyful energy within, and go through a time of mourning or sympathy for others. You don't get as thrown off by worldly suffering and go beyond the suffering through enlightenment energy. You can experience worldly joy and enjoyment, but go beyond it. An enlightened person experiences times of rain and sun, but at the same time is independent of it. You live in a dimension of light.
Caro: For me, God is the father of the cosmos, father and mother of all beings. My home God as the son is Christ, he became a person as Jesus from Nazareth. My friend, who lived through human existence himself.
Nils: For me, every enlightened being is a blessed being, a helper of all beings. The title Christ is equivalent to the title Buddha in Buddhism, and the term Avatar in Hinduism. I use these terms exclusively for enlightened masters who are at the highest level. Christ is one of those.
Caro: God as the Holy Ghost brings comfort, is the inner leader, the fulfillment of the heart, living water, the unity between God and people, the creater and the re-creator. God is also in me.
Nils: I'm talking simply about enlightenment energy. But you can also formulate it using your words. It's interesting to consider whether the Holy Ghost only comes out of mercy or through spiritual exercise.
Caro: By the way, Nils, what is enlightenment really for you? You write a lot about it, and a lot of people talk about it. Fulfillment of the spirit? God within you? Paul prayed, “God enlighten our hearts so that the length, width, depth and height of the love of God can be recognized, that goes beyond our understanding.” But, in Christian circles people don't actually talk about enlightenment.
Nils: Enlightenment is holiness for me. Inner healing, and being filled by the Holy Ghost. There are many levels of enlightenment. It begins with love, peace and happiness, that you are in harmony with yourself, God and the world. At higher levels of enlightenment you get spiritual abilities which for example allow you to heal other people and to feel what they feel. Real enlightenment begins where you can go beyond the ego and achieve consciousness of unity. In a Christian sense, the term enlightenment is referred to in a myriad of ways. When the light of God enters you, you start to be filled with enlightenment.
Caro:. Do you pray for enlightenment? I don't, but maybe I should.
Nils: My way is to strive for spiritual goals and to combine that with the grace of God. I do my part and God does his part. My spiritual exercises are a daily prayer for enlightenment. Going for walks, reading, yoga, meditation and my work for the well-being of all beings are my prayer. I don't directly pray for enlightenment, but I ask for guidance and help along my way.
How Can You Feel God?[edit | edit source]
Mion (Jesus.de): I don't really feel close to God. Maybe that will still happen.
Nils: You just have to find the way that will bring you close to God. There are lots of spiritual techniques. Find out which ones work for you. If you really want it, you will find your way to God.
A good way to feel God within is to strive to become an enlightened person. I went to Frere Roger from Taize when he was in Hamburg. It was a big event. I sat in the back in the big hall and Frere Roger sat in the front with his monks. And suddenly a strong energy came from heaven and filled me. I passed on that light to all of the people in the hall.
I don't know if anyone felt that. At any rate, I believe Frere Roger made the God experience possible for me. Perhaps you should travel to Taize. Everyone can enjoy the holy atmosphere there. Maybe you will experience God there. Or with another saint. There are so many enlightened people in the world. I’ve received enlightenment energy in their presence many times now.
GreySoul: And if I meet God, how do I know it's not just my imagination? If you search for God in meditation, then you can also find him, but that doesn't mean that it isn't your imagination.
Nils: It's an important question, whether God is just imagined or not. It's not easy to tell the difference. Both are possible. I have two criteria to test, my understanding and empirical examination. I ask myself what is just something I imagined and what can be considered real experience. I compare my experiences with what it says in the Bible and other holy books.
Spiritual experiences are often connected with special abilities that can be tested. If I feel what's going on with a person who is far away from me, I can call them and ask them. In the US, there was an examination where clairvoyant abilities were compared with normal people and with known spiritually developed people. The spiritually advanced people had a success rate of 93% and the control group only had a 36% success rate.
I would like to try to clear up some things.
1. Enlightenment occurs when the tension in the body and the mind are dissolved. In the Bible that's described “God is found in silence.” Tension can arise through stress and false reactions to that stress. Tension can lead to mental attitudes (neuroses) and psycho-somatic illness.
2. Meditation and contemplation are the two main techniques to dissolve inner tension. There are varied techniques within meditation. One can work with images. Positive images can help to dissolve inner tension and mistaken attitudes. The point of meditation is inner rest. Then stress situations from the past arise, and dissolve on their own. “An enlightened person is light on the inside.”
3. Enlightenment is found in the calm. God isn't just the product of the imagination, rather the inner calm is developed through the higher consciousness. A person can suddenly think better. The outside influences are gone.
4. Through purified thinking, you can recognize what God is. God isn't the product of the imagination, rather the comprehension of the essence. You see things the way they really are, in context with everything. Where the person was fixated on the ego, the person is ego-free and feels at one with the cosmos. An enlightened person sees God as the light in the world and recognizes that there is a higher consciousness that is in everything and is connected with this consciousness.
5. Once the tension in a person is gone, there is a deep inner peace and happiness that takes its place. The person is at one with the self and the world. He or shee feels peace, happiness, strength, love and clarity. He or she has a higher sense of perception.
Sin[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: In Abrahamic contexts, sin is the act of violating God's will.
Every non-enlightened person lives from the ego. The ego blocks the enlightenment energy. It prevents inner peace, lasting happiness and all-encompassing love. In this way, every person is a sinner. Inner tension and inner conflict hinder us in our pursuit of enlightenment. They hider us to feel God and to live in God. They block the flowing of enlightenment energy and life in the light. Inner tension arises through attachment to outer things (other people, on oneself, on one's imagination, outer enjoyment), through the rejection of suffering (fear, rage, depression) and through the stress of life.
If we follow Jesus as a positive spiritual role model and lead a spiritual life, then our inner blockages will dissolve and we reach the light. Adam and Eve lived in paradise (enlightenment, knowledge of unity) as long as they were with God (in the essence). They lost their unity consciousness by becoming attached to outer things (the apple). They put sex, their relationship and outer needs at the center of their being, instead of God. So they lost the life in God, inner peace and happiness.
If we want to come back into a life in paradise, we have to bring peace, love and wisdom in our inner world and in our outer world. We can create a paradise on the world, if we overcome the extreme ego of some people and put the common welfare in the middle of mankind. We can create a paradise consciousness in ourself, if we think positiv and follow positve spiritual role models. We have to live out from rest, love and spirituality.
The Book of Thomas[edit | edit source]
(3) Jesus spoke: The Kingdom is within you, and is located outside of you.
(8) And He spoke: Man is like a wise fisher who throws his net into the sea. He pulled the net and found it full of little fish, and beneath them a big, beautiful fish. He threw all of the little fish back and chose the big fish without thinking twice.
(10) Jesus spoke: I’ve thrown a fire onto the world, and see to it, guard it, until it has caught flame.
(25) Jesus spoke: Love your brother as yourself.
(27) Jesus spoke: If you don't abstain in the world (stay away from worldly things), you will not find the Kingdom. If you don't practice the Sabbath like the Sabbath (if you don't practice spiritually the correct way) you will not see the Father.
(42) Jesus spoke: Be intermediary! (Don't become attached to the world).
(47) Jesus spoke: It is impossible for a servant to serve two masters. (You have to choose between a spiritual or a worldly path. You have to live as a spiritual person if you want to come to the light.)
(49) Jesus spoke: Blessed are the lonely, and the chosen, for they will find the Kingdom. (A life in God is achieved through solitude and grace.)
(50) When they ask you, “Which sign of the Father is in you?”, say to them: “It is movement and stillness.” (The optimal way to meditation consists of rest and motion, sitting and walking, constantly interchanging until the thoughts come to rest and the person reaches happiness. This way the inner tension dissolves, the soul becomes pure, and the light of God flows into the person.)
(75) Jesus spoke: There are many who stand at the door, but it is only the lonely and alone that will enter in the bridal garments. (Many stand at the door, but only those who live in stillness reach enlightenment, to the mystical marriage with God).
(77) Jesus spoke: I am the light that is everywhere. Split the wood, I am there. Lift a stone, you will find me there. (God is a higher dimension of consciousness that is in everything and everywhere.)
(89) Jesus spoke: Why do you wash the outside of the drinking bowl? Do you not understand that the one who made the inside, also made the outside? (Outer ritual is pointless. We must cleanse the inner world)
(94) Jesus spoke: Those who search, they will find, and those who search the inner world, the door will open. (Those who search for God will reach their goal one day.)
The Book of Philip[edit | edit source]
4. Those who reach truth through faith have found life.
7. Those who sow in the winter, harvest in the summer. The winter is this world, the summer is the other world.
27a. Do not disdain the lamb (modesty). Without him there is no way to see the king. (God).
32. Three women were constantly with Jesus: his mother, his sister, and Magdalena who was named his partner.
55b. Jesus loved Maria Magdalena more than all of the disciples.
57. Jesus spoke : “Good are those who exist before they become. “ (Those who live unattached reach the light. They live in God and in happiness).
62. Do not fear the flesh, you should love it! If you are afraid of it, it will rule you. If you love it, it will bow to you. (You shouldn't totally reject sexuality, but you should not become attached to it either.)
67b. There is rebirth (in the body) and a negative of rebirth (rebirth in the spirit). It is necessary to be reborn in the spirit (to become a new person inside).
82b. It is necessary that every disciple (follower of Christ) goes into his solitude.
86. You do your work through your strength. But from your stillness you create your children. (Through meditation you find inner happiness).
88. The children of the bridal garments (the mystical path) have one and the same name: stillness.
108. The holy person is entirely holy, including his flesh.
110a. Those who have the trut hare free. Free but not sinful.
115. The farming of the world takes place through water, earth, wind and light. The cultivating of God takes place through faith, hope, love and recognition.
123c. If we recognize the truth, we will find the fruit of truth within us.
127. If you become a son of the bridal garments (if you reach the mystical marriage with God) then he will receive the light. And he can be harmed by no one, even if he travels through the world.
The Desert Fathers[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: The Desert Fathers (there were also Desert Mothers) were male Christian hermits, ascetics, and monks who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD. The Apophthegmata Patrum is a collection of the writings of some of the early desert monks and nuns, representing the Divine Wisdom they received, still in print as Sayings of the Desert Fathers. The most well known was Anthony the Great, who moved to the desert in 270–271 and became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism.
The desert monastic communities that grew out of the informal gathering of hermit monks became the model for Christian monasticism. The eastern monastic tradition at Mt. Athos and the western Rule of St. Benedict both were strongly influenced by the traditions that began in the desert. All of the monastic revivals of the Middle Ages looked to the desert for inspiration and guidance. Much of Eastern Christian spirituality, including the Hesychast movement, had its roots in the practices of the Desert Fathers. Even religious renewals such as the German evangelicals and Pietists in Pennsylvania, the Devotio Moderna movement, and the Methodist Revival in England are seen by modern scholars as being influenced by the Desert Fathers.
The main teaching of the desert fathers was that one sits down in his hut and then feels out the effective method to practice spiritually from the inside. They called it “your hut will teach you.” Holiness (enlightenment) arises through the way of calm, love and thought work. God is to be found in the quiet. With the modern happiness research we could say that stillness makes you happy.
The art of the spiritual path is to find the personally correct amount of stillness and quiet. Too much stillness makes you feel lazy. The desert fathers didn't recommend just sitting in the hut waiting for the spirit of God, but also to work on something. At the same time, they warned against working too much. If you pull a bow to hard, you will break it. If a hermit or monk is too active on the outside, then God, who needs a lot of peace and quiet, cannot develop within him. The stillness needs to be great, so that the body and the spirit can heal from inner tension.
The hermits in the desert had already attained the correct amount of stillness for themselves through their solitary lives. Too much stillness feels intolerable, and that is what sets the inner processes in motion. Problems with sufficient stillness are more typical in a monastery, where there is a danger one might work too much, or be distracted by others (and not feel the inner processes enough) or to get lost in outer formalities. A basic rule with the desert fathers was to work only as much as the body took up space when lying down. God is the focus, and not the work. The work should only serve to realize a life in light in God, and to stay in that state. A hermit needs to sensitively feel out how much work will bring him or her forward.
Along the path of God, it's important how we deal with our thoughts. A spiritual person has to find a way to dissolve inner tension (blockages) as much as possible. He or she has to overcome fears, addiction, and anger. At some point there will be a turning point, and that person will find happiness. Everything is in the light. The victory over suffering is the awakening in inner light.
The Desert Fathers dealt with the question, whether it is more important to help others or to pray. Who is more holy, those who help others or those who concentrate on praying to God? Both are important. Helping, though, is more sacred than prayer. Those who live as helpers reach the all-encompassing love of God through the love they have for others. But it's possible for a helper to also lose their inner stillness and use up their energy. For that reason, a helping person also needs stillness, calm and prayer if they want to find God.
An important problem of the Desert Fathers was how to deal with sexuality. They talked about it openly and tried to find an inner solution and to be rid of it. Those who repress their sexuality block inner healing. At the same time, living out sexuality to a too great extent strengthens addiction and takes a person away from the spiritual path.
A Desert Father has the conviction that a relationship takes a lot of work. Life as a hermit is calmer and more pleasant. Another Desert Father tries to see women just as people and not as sexual beings. A third has a girlfriend in a nearby place. As his fellow monks came to visit, he hid her in a woven basket. A holy father found her, but didn't mention it to the other monks. He simply took him aside after the visit and told him to pay better attention.
The desert mother Amma Synkletika knew that the hermits who would like to live a life in God, have a lot of work and a hard fight in front of them, but that in the end there is an indescribably joy. In order to get through the inner fight and to successfully take the path into the light, the Desert Fathers concentrated on death. Those who think of their death, overcome their weaknesses. The thoughts of death and paradise give a spiritual person the strength to go his or her way until reaching the goal.
At the same time, a monk or a hermit shouldn't overwhelm him or herself. The desert fathers had the nice example with the flower. Some hermits needed a flower in their huts, others didn't. Those who need a flower should plant one. Those who need some joy along their way should give that to themselves.
How can you be successful as a monk or hermit? Thomas Merton is of the opinion that today's people can't simple do what the Desert Fathers did. We should be just as thorough and decisive in order to find our true self. Anselm Grün taught that we should find our own main problem that keeps us from a life in light and then work on that problem. There where the biggest problem exists, is also our biggest chance. One should recognize this and then build the ascetic way around it. We need to observe what causes attachment and blockages. How can we dissolve that with the right methods. Then we can use the grace of God to develop.
Diskussion at Jesus.de[edit | edit source]
Hesse23: Christians don't strive toward perfection.
Nils: Jesus encourages an effort to be perfect (enlightened, holy) in Mat. 19,21: "If you want to be perfect, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor so that you will have a lasting treasure in heaven.”
hhi: What are spiritual exercises for you?
Nils: Spiritual exercises for me are life in stillness, going for walks, reading the Bible, praying, avoiding negative thoughts, developing positive characteristics such as love, peace and happiness. At the core of the spiritual path there are two things: the love to God and the love to other people. God is found in the stillness (meditation). Love to others is found in positive thinking and by doing good deeds.
Prayer is especially important in the context of spiritual exercises. Prayer can be a type of thought work and a type of meditation. Teresa von Avila called meditation the prayer of stillness. She prayed to God and connected with him. Then the spirit of God flowed within, her thoughts came to rest and she stayed without thought in the joy of God.
Momoko: It sounds too much like ”save yourself”. It's enough for me that Jesus died for me.
Nils: Self-salvation isn't possible. Enlightenment takes place through grace. But we can purify ourselves. Then God will fill us with grace at some point in time. “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.” God loves the hard-working and not the lazy. If you don't work on yourself then you can wait a long time for the grace of God.
There's a debate among Christians if one's work can lead to holiness. The Catholics emphasize could deeds and many Protestants like to do nothing. In my opinion, both positions are right. You have to take the spiritual path with understanding. Mostly it is right and important to practice intensively spiritually (prayer, contemplation, helping others, reading the Bible, visiting Church services). There are many people who reach God through intensive inner cleansing. But sometimes it's correct to just live relaxed and leave things to God. Those who pray to God and listen to their voice of inner wisdom will find the right way for themselves. My main principle is the personalized way for each person. People are varied and live in different situations. What is good for one person can be bad for another. I find that its good to practice spiritually. But it doesn't help me to be too dogmatic. A middle road is helpful, that includes spiritual exercise (meditation, prayer, thought work ) and trusting God.
Momoko: How do you interpret “oriented toward God”?
Nils: People have to choose between God and the world, between the spiritual way and the worldly way. Being focused on God means living spiritually. It means putting inner peace, all-encompassing love and God as the center of life. How that's done varies from person to person.
Momoko: The Bible doesn't say anything about working on ourselves. It says that GOD changes us. Of course, that's only possible if we stay in contact with him (pray, meditate, etc.) but it seems that the focus with you is that YOU do things YOU work on yourself instead of letting GOD work on you.
Nils: I pray and allow myself to be lead by God. I let God work on me. But my inner voice can also advise me to do certain exercises. There is an active and a passive spiritual way. It depends on each person, as to which way is correct for him or her. An active person will interpret the Bible in a different way from a passive person. If we take the sentence “blessed are the merciful, for they will be given mercy.” I interpret that as a call to do something. And this will change a person on the inside. The core of my spiritual way is the double commandment of love to God and to all beings. I translate that to calm (contemplation, meditation, enlightened being, centering the self in God) and love. In order to not get lost on the spiritual way, we have to find our personal balance between stillness, calm and love. If we use up our energy along the way of love then we end up burnt out and not in light. At the same time, all-encompassing love is a good way to overcome the ego and to come to unity consciousness.
Sanduhr: Those who love from God will become stronger the more they love.
Nils: Exactly. If someone really does so, then they grow in the light. In my own words I explain it this way: if we anchor ourselves in God, let his light flow into us and give it to other people, we don't use all of our energy when we give, because we give from God. If we lose our inner peace when taking action, then we are no longer rooted in God and use our own energy when giving.
Sanduhr: Your ”neighbor” (as in love your neighbor as yourself) are those you meet directly, and not all beings on earth.
Nils: That's an important point that's often misunderstood. In order to have the mystic's experience of God, then you have to love all beings, including your enemies. Only all-encompassing, unconditional love can take you to the all-encompassing love of God. At the same time, this deals with the people you read about in the news, who live nearby you, those you have seen in your life. The people you haven't seen yet whom you don't know exist can't be counted toward them.
Your neighbors are those who are near you in your world. And that includes those who are starving in Africa and the victims of many gruesome wars in the world. We know them from the news at least. They all need our help and our love. We help them as much as possible. We wish for a world of love, peace and happiness. We want for everyone to live in light, to be enlightened and to come to paradise after they die. If we think, feel and act from this unconditional love, then it brings us to love, to God and to happiness.
Momoko: There are many saints. The forum here is full of them. I'm one. They belong to God.
Nils: A saint, in my view, can only be an enlightened person. Only they have the fruit of the spirit in them, about which Paul spoke (love, joy, peace, patience, friendliness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control). The rest of us are only on the way to perfection, but we’re not there yet.
Momoko: Grace is something one cannot work for, per definition.
Nils: That's right, but there's a connection between doing things and the gift of grace. That's often expressed in the Bible, that people must choose between God and the world. To choose God means to live spiritually, consistently. That means inner work. And that takes place through grace.
Momoko: The term ”enlightenment” isn't biblical.
Nils: The Bible speaks of perfection, of following Jesus, becoming a saint, becoming full of light, living in light, and radiating light. There are the following passages in the Bible: “God is that which illuminates my darkness.” (2, Samuel 22:29). “The true light that illuminates every being came into the world.” (Joh. 1.9) “For with is the source of life, and in your light we see the light.” (Psalm 36:9) “ Then Jesus spoke to them: I am the light of the world; those who follow me will not turn to darkness, rather they will have the light of life in them.” (John. 8:12) When your flesh is so full of light that it has not a single bit of darkness, so will it be completely light as when a light illuminates you in a bright flash. (Luke 11:36)
Momoko: God doesn't want perfect enlightened beings who are always nice and good and calm, but he loves us dirty, and weird and spiteful too.
Nils: An enlightened person can have imperfections, and mostly has them too. What differentiates them is the light of God. They are full of the Holy Ghost, full of peace, love and happiness. They feel the light within and radiate it. In the Book of Luke it says: “Jesus stood with them to pray. And while he prayed, the appearance of his face and his robes became an illuminated white.” Luke 9:28-36 EU. And that is how it is with enlightened people too.
Momoko: Who is Jesus for you? Just another enlightened person?
Nils: Jesus is an enlightened being. That is the result of my contemplation of the Bible. But he isn't “just” an enlightened being. There are many steps to enlightenment. Jesus is the incarnate of the highest level, because he taught all-encompassing love. Enlightened people have varied spiritual abilities. In my view, Jesus had the highest abilities, among which was omni-presence and the ability to lead us all spiritually.
Momoko: I'm not a physicist, but I'm pretty sure that you could convince physticists with your quotes from quantum physics about everything “paranormal.”
Nils: I’ve discussed these topics with physicists in great detail. In physics there are two groups, the atheists and spiritual people (like everywhere in society). There is a growing group of spiritual scientists, particularly among quantum physicists. Professor Hans Peter Dürr is a well-known scientist.
Meli77 (Atheist): What makes Jesus a believable witness for you?
Nils: I believe in Jesus. Jesus described experiences that I’ve also had.
Meli77: How can you tell the fakes from the real enlightened people?
Nils: A good indication is whether they are believable. We have to look at the whole behavior of a person. We can compare the experience with what it says in the Bible. Which fruits of the spirit does the person offer? Inner peace, all-encompassing love, mental clarity, joy?
When Moses saw a burning bush, I knew he was enlightened. An enlightened person sees the light of God in the world. Moses saw it in the bush and everywhere around him. When Moses threw the staff to the ground and it transformed into a snake, I know that it is a symbol for the awakening of spiritual energy.
When Jesus was surrounded by light during the prayer on the mountain, I know he was enlightened. You don't see the light directly, but you feel it. You feel it in you and around you. Sensitive people feel it too. They notice that a saint is nearby. Jesus had an aura of light, because he is an enlightened person.
Paul described criteria such as joy, peace and love. That is how we can recognize an enlightened being. Unity consciousness, or consciousness of God is among these criteria. You feel connected with God, the world and others.
Sanduhr: In my Bible it says that the angel of the lord appeared to Moses in the bush.
Nils: The angel of the lord is God himself. That's clear, in that God also answers from the bush.
Sanduhr: What did Adam and Eve do wrong?
Nils: In my opinion, Adam and Eve were at the level of a child. They were enlightened, without being aware of the strong energies within and without being able to deal with them. They had to lose their enlightenment and go out into the world, to grow and to learn, to connect enlightenment with life. One can easily stay enlightened when in solitutde, but when confronted with worldly energies, it isn't easy. Many hermits lose their enlightenment when they go out into the world. It is a great art to stay peaceful and enlightened when being attacked by aggressive people. I practice that in a lot of internet forums. Also with sex addiction one can come out of enlightenment. That was perhaps the problem with Adam and Eve.
GoodFruit: God promised us that if we search for him, he will let us find him.
Nils: I believe that too.
Discussion on Facebook about Jesus[edit | edit source]
Wikipedia: Resurrection (from Latin resurrectio) is the concept of a living being coming back to life after death. It is a religious concept, where it is used in two distinct respects: a belief in the resurrection of individual souls that is current and ongoing (Christian idealism, realized eschatology), or else a belief in a singular resurrection of the dead at the end of the world. The resurrection of the dead is a standard eschatological belief in the Abrahamic religions. In a number of ancient religions, a dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the central focus of Christianity.
Nils: There is a theory that Jesus didn't die on the cross. Those who would like to hear about how Jesus lived on in India after his crucifixion can watch videos on YouTube. The arguments have convinced me. It's easier to believe that he was numb on the cross, taken down, and later met his disciples than to believe he rose from the dead.
Sinra: I’ve also heard about that, and I can imagine it to be so...
Michael: Without a death on the cross and a rising from the dead, then the Christians have a major problem at the gates of heaven.
Ulrike: It's of course easier to believe this theory than to believe he really rose from the dead, and it's true- the entire Christian faith is based around the notion that Jesus rose from the dead after being crucified.
Nils: For me, the rising from the dead isn't the important part of Christianity: the teachings of Jesus are. Jesus didn't say that his rising was the core of the Christian faith.
Norbert: The rising of Jesus Christ is the core of the faith, for Christians.
Sinra: For me, regarding Jesus, other things are more important than the rising of Jesus, which I never really believed in.
Daniel: If that's supposed to be true, then all of Christianity needs to be reconsidered.
Norbert: Only a third of Germans believe Christ rose from the dead. The final hours of Christianity in Germany have begun.
Nils: The resurrection is a legend. All scientific thinking people will recognize that. Christianity has to change. The core of the faith remains, however. It is certain the holiness, that sainthood is real. It is highly probably that life after death exists. Many indications point to this. I imagine God as a person and a higher consciousness. The higher consciousness deals through enlightened beings such as Jesus. They are the personification of God. Jesus is a person and God at the same time.
Norbert: That's exactly what the Christ-dogma says, too. Christ is a true God and a true person.