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Friday
Aug192016

Having Jesus in Your Heart 98

 

After the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Matthew 28:1-4

“The ‛great earthquake’ that occurred when the angel descended from heaven and rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulcher symbolizes complete change of the condition of the church, for the Lord then rose again, and His Human acquired complete dominion over heaven and earth, as He Himself says in Matthew (28:18). ‛The angel rolled away the stone from the mouth and sat upon it’ symbolizes that the Lord removed all the falsity that had shut off peoples’ access to Him, and that He opened Divine truth, ‛the stone’ meaning the Divine truth which had been falsified by tradition.” Apocalypse Explained §400

 

 

Most days we go about our ordinary lives, and the laws of nature operate without our awareness. We walk upright, use leverage, see, hear and taste, all with no thought of gravity, mass, light or sensation. So, too, our ordinary spiritual consciousness operates by rules we do not normally notice. We awaken in the morning, and begin to think, and feel, and our expectations are met without resistance. Our thinking happens without effort or attention. Our feelings come and go without interfering with our interactions with others. That is, when circumstances in and around us are our normal.

Now, it is true that an addict’s life is never so routine. An addicted brain is trapped in a cycle of neediness, then satisfaction, then the loss of that “normalcy,” and then the compulsion to find the next resolution to the ever present neediness. And, in the same fashion, people whose brains are hijacked by their emotions have the same cyclic process. The desire for approval, or the fear of failure, or the anger at denial, will compel the person to seek a resolution, and an achievement of what is a temporary satisfaction, and reduction of discomfort. For such people, the spirit is denied access to the control of emotions by a malfunctioning brain. How a person gets this way is beyond our scope here. However, the path to healing, rescue and eternal satisfaction has been provided by the Lord. And a significant moment in that process is revealed by the description of what Jesus did, and what happened when he did it.

Jesus could have avoided the entire ordeal, but he went through it precisely so that he could be buried, and rise. The earthquake was the physical manifestation of that accomplishment, which was also a fundamental change in the entire creation. This was not normal. It was uncomfortable. To this day, we are processing that shock, sometimes cooperating with the process so that we are healed; sometimes doing whatever we can to relieve the discomfort, but then scuttling the process of our healing.

The invitation is to practice awareness of the present so that, when the earthquakes happen – even small tremors! – we will notice and cooperate with the process. These abnormal days, or climactic moments, that jar our experience of reality are called “conscious shocks” by George Gurdjieff. Swedenborg calls them “separation of good and evil.”

We all can think of examples of the mix of good and evil in our thoughts and feelings that we are normally unconscious of. I accept the accolades of my coworkers without telling them what parts of my plan I “borrowed.” I will enjoy some pleasure so long that I must drive my car way above the speed limit to make it to a meeting on time. I will lie by omission because things do indeed run more smoothly if I leave that information out of it. I will think that my anger was justified, even as I placate those around me who were frightened by it.

And then at some moment, after perhaps years of practice at being aware in the present, you separate the good and the evil. Actually, it is the Lord’s power that does this, but it feels like the life of something in you is threatened. There is a conscious shock, there is an earthquake. And you have another opportunity to rise into a new life, if you let the old idea, desire, or sensation die.

We all build safeguards to protect our fragile egos. We may even assign specific strengths to protecting the status quo. It is wonderful to realize that the Lord’s creation abhors the mixture of good and evil, and so there is always a subtle, mostly unseen, pressure to separate them. Our task is to do the normal daily work of practicing non-judgmental attention to the present, so that when our experience becomes abnormal, and so uncomfortable, we have the opportunity to respond differently. As we seek a different attachment to our self and the Lord, the result will be a new life, as we experience the Lord alive in our hearts and minds.

 

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