This is an article about transformation. It uses a lot of Bible references, and speaks freely about Jesus (among other spiritual icons). Many people who end up in New Age come here still recovering from the abuses of early Jewish or Christian "indoctrination." Often they bristle when a writer mentions a frame of reference that might include insights found in the formal Scriptures. If this is your situation, I assure you that I know your plight, and will gladly hold your hand as you "bite the bullet" and make your way through this!
IN THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK
by Daniel Jacob
There is a story in the Old Testament with which most people are, at least, somewhat familiar. It is the account of Moses' meeting with the Lord, on Mt. Sinai, during which he received the tablets that contained the Ten Commandments. The Bible says that Moses' experience of the presence of God was filled with incredible awe and wonder. In fact, the Scriptures say that Moses could not bear to look directly into the face of the Almighty. The account says that he (Moses) hid, during the writing of the tablets, "in the cleft of a rock."
I can just imagine what that whole scene would be like. Out of a dark storm cloud comes this bolt of lightning ("the finger of God"), writing legibly on the side of a mountain. Not only would I be hiding, if I were Moses, but I would probably be shaking so badly that I couldn't carry those tablets down the mountain! How HANDY it was to have that rock there, providing a sense of safe SEPARATION between my physical form and the Creator of the Universe.
Later, in the New Testament, there is again an exposition of the whole idea of "hiding" behind a rock. One New Testament writer speaks of Jesus Christ as our "rock," behind which a believing soul can find safety and peace. He (Jesus) is further described as a "mediator" (a kind of attorney or deputy judge) who COMES BETWEEN US AND THE FATHER and pleads our case before the throne.
When I was intensely absorbed, between 1970 and 1980, in the technical study of the books of the Bible---these references kind of stuck with me, and provoked me to examine more closely exactly what was being taught in the above mentioned passages. Knowing, on the inner planes, that I was headed for far more than a mere "superficial working knowledge" of these teachings---my mental bookmarker was intuitively cataloging the themes and issues that would later be my springboard to enlightenment, my recognition of the oneness of All That Is.
We can see the symbology of the "rock" all over literature, both sacred and secular. It is a sign of stability, of strength, and of protection. There are precious "rocks" (gems) that are treasures to be enjoyed, and there are common "rocks" (stones) that are used to build foundations for tall buildings.
In one conversation with the Apostle Simon (Peter), Jesus asked the fisherman to declare who He (Jesus) was. Peter's reply was "thou art the Christ...." Upon hearing this, Jesus said: "Thou art Peter, the Rock, and upon this Rock I will build my Church."
Roman Catholics believe that the "rock" there was Peter, himself. After all, the word "petros" means "rock." They feel that this passage was the beginning of papal authority. Protestants feel differently. They feel that the "rock" in that statement was Peter's declaration that Jesus was the Christ.
The important thing to note is the establishment, or setting up, of a ROCK behind which the people can HIDE or upon which they can form a foundation to build their organization. In all religious systems this "rock" is what stands between THEM and the living presence of God. Have you ever told someone that he has "rocks in his head?" What you were saying, partially, was that you could not RELATE to him, that there was something that SEPARATES the two of you. Carl Jung was once quoted as saying: "Organized Religion is a defence against a religious experience." And so it goes.
What represents Divinity in your life? Is it a man? Where does that man live? Is it an organization? Is it a book, a philosophy? Is it, like in Moses' day, a fiery cloud that leads you and your people across the desert?
In Catholicism, the Pope is the living representative of God on the Earth. In matters of faith and doctrine, his word is INFALLIBLE. Reaching back to the afore-mentioned verse, these believers draw security from knowing that their leader has a direct conduit to the Almighty in these matters. They need not worry, for their "belief issues" are solved.
Many people feel that the Bible is the Word of God. They follow what's written there, complete in the knowledge that whatever is written there is "true and right." Any decision that is made, be it employment or marriage must have a chapter and verse to back it up. In such a case, the Bible becomes their ROCK, the foundation for faith and practice.
In some countries, people will use idols to represent their Divinity. They build a temple, set up an idol, and go there to worship. Some of them can't feel holy unless they go to the temple. Some people travel for miles and miles to be in these sacred places. All over the world, people make pilgrimages to sacred sites, secure in the knowledge that visiting there will, somehow, activate them and make them whole.
OUTSIDE ANSWERS, INSIDE NEEDS
Carl Jung was once quoted as saying: "organized religion is a defense against a religious experience." When you think about it, he's right. To join a church, be instructed in it's beliefs, and follow it's precepts, is to ABDICATE your right to decide for yourself what's true.
Once a person has been properly "schooled" in the beliefs of his church, he will often close the book on the matter. He says to himself: "This is how things are." Then, when something contrary to those beliefs happen, he will not always be open to embracing the experience. Why? It is because to do so would mean he would have to start over, and build his house again. Not everyone is willing to do this.
Set beliefs tend to discourage discovery. They cause us to miss any signs or indicators that things might not always be what we have believed they were. Many branches of Christianity and Judaism discourage investigation into areas of esoteric knowledge. Down through the ages, they have frightened people with stories of demonic possession or rampant evil. Consequently, many of the "masses" never dare to investigate what is not printed in their Bible or their books of Catechism.
What does this do to a person's spirit? I believe it causes the spirit to atrophy. You know what a "rut" is? It's a GRAVE with the ends kickout out! When a person walks around, declaring that he "knows" what he believes (in all circumstances), he is closing the door on ALL OTHER POSSIBILITIES for belief that might exist. To me, this is a form of death.
COMING BACK FROM THE DEAD
I love that story of Lazarus, in the Bible---the guy who Jesus raised from the dead. Here was a man, the brother of Mary and Martha, who had literally died. He had been dressed for burial, put in a tomb, and had the lid put on him! Then, during a time when people normally were tearing at their clothes and weeping, Jesus came to the tomb and cried: "Lazarus, come out!"
Following the appearance of Lazarus at the entrance to the crypt, the Bible says that "Jesus wept." I used to wonder why, after He had done such a great thing, that Jesus would cry. Was He happy? Well, I'm sure He was. But I think there was something more. I think that Jesus was crying because He intuitively knew that He was seeing an ADVANCE SHOWING of what He, personally, would eventually do.
To be RAISED from the dead is the ultimate in personal transformation. It means casting off your grave clothes, throwing aside your (already) rotting flowers, and going forth to see the light of day. When it comes to personal consciousness, coming back from the "dead" is to THROW OFF all old conceptions about life and truth---opening yourself to all the possibilities that life has to offer.
When Jesus rose from the dead, and jumped off the slab, do you know what the first thing was that He did? He ROLLED AWAY THE STONE that kept Him locked in His tomb. It was the ONLY WAY that He could get out of where He was being "held" and go to where He needed to be. In truth, it is the only way that ANYONE can get out!
WORSHIPPING "ROCK STARS"
For 2,000 years, Jesus Christ has been the ultimate "rock" star. People have been following Him, hiding and cringing, calling HIM "God," while still thinking of themselves as "poor sinners." HE is the (risen) star, and they are the (grateful) dead. As He watches all this, I can hear Him now, crying as He did back then: "Lazarus, COME OUT!"
Not too long ago, a wonderful book came upon the market called "If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him!" What a wonderful book! The gist of it was that Divinity and Reality (which is often called by many The Buddha) does NOT exist OUTSIDE of us. Therefore, if someone comes along the road, telling you that he carries ultimate reality, he has to be lying, because everyone's ultimate reality is found INSIDE of him, not outside.
When Jesus was physically present upon the Earth, He often said to people "Follow Me." Of course, we did this gladly. Like Moses, Jesus offered a bright alternative to the dreariness of the lives we have known. We followed Jesus to the pools of Siloam, we followed Him to Jerusalem, we even followed Him (reluctantly) up to Calvary. Then we stopped.
Though He moved forward, into eternity, we are still back here in time and space. Sure, we have preached ABOUT Him. We have sung His praises across the land. We have fought for Him, died for Him (again and again), and we still keep coming back.....HERE. Why? Why do we stop.....here?
Copyright, 1996, by Daniel Jacob. May be copied and shared, for purposes of personal growth and/or research. All reproduction for profit requires the written permission of Reconnections, Inc.
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