Freedom in a nation of Laws is a relative term. To say we in The United States are “free” is using a very narrow element of that word. Own your own business and you will quickly discover how “free” you are not. We are a nation, a society of LAWS and PUNISHMENTS that dictate almost every aspect of our living. LAW is not freedom. Law is needed when a people choose to live together as a society or is it? Could it be that Law is needed because people have not yet evolved to a place of living together in freedom?
Over 2400 years ago Siddhartha, Jesus and Paul spoke and wrote in opposition to religious laws over internal faith. Living from within, or as it was referred to as “laws written on the heart”, instead of living controlled by external laws of morality.
Freedom is a birth-reality and the mystics of many different traditions all teach that religions should be a place where that “internal knowing” our natural moral and creative compass is nurtured, supported and explored.
Moving minds from external laws to internal freedom is not an easy or quick process but it is the goal of progressive religion to do just that. This is the meaning in the words “you must be born-again” and “I will put my laws in their hearts”. A baby is born free but without understanding of what freedom is. An adolescent and adult both come to understand law, both experience it everyday, telling them how fast to drive or what is appropriate to wear and often loose the connection to the free voice within them.
In today’s world, Advertising tells us what we can’t live without, entertainment news tells us what we should be upset about, our education systems teach us how to do certain tasks and religion gives us a connection to the past and each other through tradition? But what do you, without any of those influences, want? What do you, without any of those influences, think? Without the input of the external world, who are you?
Laws are a function of government and could it be that today’s government’s are simply a crutch used in the evolutionary process of human beings much the same way that training wheels are first used to learn how to ride a bike. Each of us was born with the ability to balance; the training wheels just keep you from falling over as you discover and manifest the ability to balance on the bike. Freedom like balance is not a function that government can produce. At best the government can keep us from destroying ourselves as we discover who we actually are in freedom and what we can be free together.
The highest a functional government can be is serve the will of the people and let freedom be. How can a government be the servant of the will of a people who don’t live from the freedom they are born with? How can one expect “good government” when its people’s minds are controlled by something other than the freedom they possess within.
The top rated show today is “The Walking Dead”; a show about people fighting and killing people who have become zombies and fighting others who are killing to survive and have more. It’s based on the thought of the survival of the fittest which is the base or lowest of human collective thought – us and them. If a people’s collective thought is centered on the “us and them”, and the will of the people is to “destroy them”, what kind of a servant government will be produced?
Raising consciousness i.e. connecting to your inner knowing is the role of both our religious, educational and possibly even our entertainment systems. Today many of our religious systems teach tradition instead of introducing you to higher thought. Our educational systems teach methodology over free-thought and entertainment is more about fighting and competing than cooperating.
If government is just the “will” of its people, then, in order for the government to change, first the people need to know who they are, and what they really want. People need to rediscover the freedom they were born with so they can live from it and be free.
Growing up in church whenever I heard the story of the prodigal son it always seem to be told from the perspective of someone who strayed away from the Lord and then comes back. I don’t know how many parents I have heard hold onto that story as hope for their children who grew up in church and then left it. Now the Parable Jesus told that we title “The Prodigal Son” is one of my favorite parables. I could probably speak a different message from this parable for a whole year. The beauty of the Parables of Jesus is that they don’t have only one meaning but many depending on what you are conscience of and what you are able to see. So here goes another perspective.
The story is found in Luke 15:11-32
It starts with “A man had two sons “. We begin with three people, a Father and two brothers one older one younger. The younger one asks the Father for what he has coming to him, his inheritance and with his inheritance in hand he goes and travels to a distant country.
Anyone familiar with the Old Testament should recognize immediately the motif here. Abraham left home to search for God, Jacob left home in search of God, Joseph leaves home in search of God, Moses leaves home in search of God. Jesus left home and went into the wilderness to be tested by God, Paul leaves home for Arabia to discover God. The idea of leaving home goes all the way back to Adam who is sent out of the garden of Eden to discover……….
When you leave home you are leaving what you “know” or think you know to go to the unknown.
Whenever someone goes in search of God he is headed to the unknown.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. Heb.11:8
The story continues by describing the living style of this younger son as simply foolish and wasteful. After this wasteful living a famine strikes and this young son finds himself so hungry that he begins to crave the waste food given to the pigs but no one would even give him that.
The next statement is the big one here – the scriptures say “ When he came to his senses” The Greek word here is ἑαυτοῦ “heautou” and it means “himself” HE CAME TO HIMSELF who he really is and always was.
Self discovery is not about discovering yourself apart from the whole but discovering that you are part of the whole and always have been.
Wither it be Abraham, Moses and even Jesus each one when they leave home they return with a knowledge of God yes, but that knowledge is one with the knowledge of who they really are. After Jesus Baptism and wilderness testing he returns home and enters the synagog and reads Isaiah’s description of the Messiah and Jesus says “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk.4:21). To leave home, go to an unknown place and return home is the story of all those who seek God’s kingdom, who seek the reality of what is.
Back to the story – He comes to himself and says “’How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’So he got up and went to his father.” This son sees for the first time the love of his Father – He always had know the facts of what his Father did but he hand not known the reality of the wholeness that he had with his Father. When stripped of everything he was able to see what things really were and how his Father had been a vital part of his life that he could not longer deny or be without.
So the younger son begins his return home, the same person but no longer foolish and wasteful but one who has gained understanding about himself his Father and the wholeness of life. He left a young boy but was retuning a mature man.
It was not only the son who could no longer live without the Father but the Father also did not relish life without his Son. As this younger Son is still finding his way back the Father runs to meet him and it says he was filled with compassion this is the experience of complete empathy where you feel what the other feels and like magnets you are drawn together to form the whole that is so needed in that moment.
The younger son realizes he is not worthy or equal to his Father.
You see Oneness is not about equality its about unity, wholeness, community.
From the smallest to the greatest everything and everyone is needed and wanted. Nothing is left out, nothing is wasted everything has a purpose and need.
Of Jesus it is said: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,” Phil.2:6,8,9
The response of the Father to his younger son was “this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate. The comparison of the Prodigal to Jesus is too rich, Here is a story of revelation, growth, wholeness and love. This from a man who left everything he knew only to discover the riches he had always had but never realized. In order to know the glories of light you must experience the depth of darkness all of it is needed and for your own good. God did not cast Adam out of Eden as a punishment he did it so Adam could discover what he needed to see and understand and then return to the wholeness that is. The choice to walk down the path of good and evil is a choice to walk down the path of what is good and worthy what is bad and waste.
Back to the story, Now the older brother over these years had been working even slaving away for his Father. Sacrificing his fun to do work for his Father, he never disobeyed any of his Fathers laws. He was the most righteous of all men. He was returning from work when he heard a celebration of music and dancing so he asks one of the servants what was happening and was told that his younger brother had returned and his Father had slaughtered the best cow he had for a feast. At this the older brother became enraged and would not be a part of the celebration.
Ego is a powerful creation of man’s fleshly mind. Ego creates an understanding of the way things are and should be. When things are not as they should be Ego raises its head, and with a hissing sound declares itself to be Lord and judge of what is happening. Ego considers itself to be equal with God to be equal with Life itself. You see Life is God’s creation and the Ego is man’s creation. Life display’s what is and Ego redefines what it wants it to be and declares what it should be and shouldn’t be with no regard for what actually is.
Back to the story – Just as the Father had gone to meet his younger son the Father goes to meet his elder son. The scripture says he” pleaded with him” but instead of the elder son coming to his scenes or coming to “himself” he lets his Ego speak and the Ego lays out what is ‘Look, I have been slaving many years for you, and I have never disobeyed your orders, yet you never gave me a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your assets with prostitutes, you slaughtered the fattened calf for him.’
Ego does not operate in the world of wholeness it has no place or purpose for darkness that Life has. Life does not look at the assets wasted on prostitutes but as a necessary event of the less honorable. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen 1Cor.12:23
In the world of the Ego there is much waste and much that is unwanted. Equality not unity is what the Ego desires. Sacrifice not love is Ego’s action. Law is Ego’s way not Life – Law is what you follow and as long as you don’t break it you are good. The Law declares that home is the place you are to be so you could never leave it like the younger son did. The Ego earns everything it has where life accepts everything it is given. In wholeness and unity its not about earning its about living life together realizing that each part is important and needed and when one is lost or hurt we all suffer and when one is found we all celebrate. If life where about earning then the bigger and stronger parts could get more than they even need leaving the smaller, weaker parts of the whole without and in fear of death. If the weaker parts die off then what would happen to the whole?
Back to the story – The Father then replies to his elder son “ ‘Son,’he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
The Ego is incapable of accepting something undeserved in its own estimation. The reality of love and wholeness is not able to be seen in the world of good and evil, black and white, God and Satan – the world of the Ego.
Life sees purpose in everything
the Ego only sees purpose in good, white and God. The Ego is separated from life itself because it dissects life and takes the parts it wants and leaves the parts it does not deem worthy. The Ego comes up to you and says I like your hair, your eyes, your chin, your waistline and your feet but the rest needs to go and walla you are a clump of hair with eyes,chin, waist and feet dead on the ground because although Ego, with its lack of wisdom and understanding did not like the other parts they were necessary to sustain your life here on earth.
You see in the parable of the prodigal son the elder brother is left outside the party not because he is bad but because Ego will never be at the party. The Ego, your minds creation is what has to die in order for you to come to yourself and be who you always have been but were not allowed by Ego’s orders. Ego calls you a sinner and undeserving of your Father’s love. But the Life of your Father within you sees you as the needed part you are. He does not think as Ego does in division and unworthy waste. In Life all is needed all have a part.
Men with Ego’s have titled this story the “Prodigal Son” even though Jesus only called him the younger brother. Ego’s will attack what it deems unworthy and unnecessary. Are you willing to walk down the path of unworthiness? The Prodigal Son left home and discovered who he was and what the meaning of Life is. Are you willing to be a Prodigal Son to the Ego’s of the world and a younger brother to Christ?
What is True -Websters definition 1 a: fidelity, constancy b :sincerity in action, character, and utterance 2 : the state of being the case : fact : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality
In english we express the concept of total truth by saying that something is true “from A to Z” In Hebrew the word for truth is Emet (spelled alef-mem-tav). Its first letter is the very first letter in the Hebrew alphabet (alef). The last letter is (tav), the end of the Alef-Bet. The exact middle of the 27 letters of the Hebrew alphabet is the (mem).
Truth demands total accuracy from start to finish, including every point in the middle as well. pg.61 The secret of Hebrew words by Blech
In simplest of terms “Truth is what really is”
To really understand the meaning of Truth we need to look at what Truth is not.
Truth is not an idea
It is not a concept – concepts are not real, they are just mental play things
It is not a thought – a thought is simply a mental exercise
It is not something taught – teaching can at best introduce you to truth
It cannot be given to you – Truth is never not apart of you
It is not a standard – Again, truth is never detached from you
It is not something that is divided in any way. Truth is the whole, complete totality of everything.
So what are we to do with Truth?
Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
What does it mean to “know the truth”?
Know – Websters Dictionary says – verb (1) :to perceive directly :have direct cognition of (2) :to have understanding of (3) :to recognize the nature of :discern
The greek word for know is 1097 ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance)
Both truth and knowing have this one thing in common with each other, they both are contained within the person and are not something that can be given to another. It is direct personal experience not second hand. A teacher at best can give you secondhand knowledge only you can experience “true knowing” yourself.
Jesus therefore said to those Jews that had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Jn.8:31,32
To abide in my word meant to to wait, to ponder the words Jesus used to describe the things He had seen with His Father and had demonstrated before them. Jesus was speaking and demonstrating before his disciples the Way to Truth. This Way he called “The Keys to the Kingdom” (Matt.16:19)
Jesus was the closest thing anyone had experienced to seeing the unseen with physical eyes. He was making the invisible God visible and even with this, the reality of a second hand experience displays itself to Jesus when he says:
John 8:43,45 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. “But because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me.
Even the words of Jesus spoken to physical ears was not enough to set men free – To see, hear and even believe Jesus was not the same as knowing the truth that could set you free. To know thew truth for yourself and not through second hand knowledge required what Jesus refereed to as “waiting upon the Lord” and after days of waiting….
Acts 1:4;2:2,4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, said he, you have heard of me. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders. Lao Tzu
This first hand experience changed these men and women who had been in bondage to what they thought was truth but was not. – This personal experience that happened when they were waiting upon the Lord set Peter free from the fear that had gripped his being. For the first time Peter came face to face with Truth and like Jesus said “and you will know the truth and the truth shall make you free”
The truth will shall make you free – Will make Free: 1659 eleutheróō – properly, set free, release from bondage
How can we know that Peter was set free?
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said to them, You men of Judaea, and all you that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known to you, and listen to my words: Acts 2:14
We can know because he acted as a man without fear – He displayed the Truth he now knew!
You may ask
“What truth did he learn to be set free”?
It was not a metal knowledge that had set him free but a release of the Spirit of God within his own being. Peter had found the treasure of truth that had been buried deep within him – the pearl of great price was not something outside but was within him. This had been Jesus message all along. In the upper room while they were waiting they pondered the words of Jesus and these words worked like a shovel removing the teaching and concepts they had heard and believed since they were but small children. Layer upon layer the teachings and concepts about God had buried the reality of who Peter really was, simply put, a child of God. A being in the very image and likeness of God or as Jesus said it “I and the Father are One” . This discovery of oneness with no separation, this face to face intimacy, this realization of truth sets men free! And like a mighty rushing wind it explodes from within the deepest regions of your being and burst forth from your mouth in praise of the reality of I AM.
You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here’s how – guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality. Fake your faith. Sneak around and pretend your spirituality. Train your children to do the same. Embrace a long list of do’s and don’ts publicly but hypocritically practice them privately… yet never own up to the fact that its hypocrisy. Act one way but live another. And you can count on it – emotional and spiritual damage will occur.
Charles (Chuck) Swindoll
Insight For Living
Following a set of rules is not freedom
Living by a standard is not freedom
To be fearful is not freedom
To live in terms of good and evil is not freedom
To believe that my identity is “sinner” is not freedom
To be divided internally and externally is not freedom
Paul said: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. (Rom.7:15)
A life of Integrity –
IntegrityDefinition of INTEGRITY
3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided :
Only those who have discovered the Truth can live in Integrity.
Only they know the state of being complete and undivided.
As John said: If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 1Jn.4:20
To know the Truth is to know God to know yourself and to know your neighbor. This is the great mystery the one new man. Bad Religion makes men pretend to be something they don’t believe they are – True Religion help men discover who they are. Bad Religion demands conformity – True Religion leads you to transformation.
How does one live a life of Integrity? It starts with honesty
Honesty – Websters says – adherence to the facts
To know something is different than knowing facts about something. Honestly ask yourself “Do I know who I am?”
Do I know who I am without realigning on what I have been told or read about from others. Do I say I am a child of God because the Bible told me so or because I have met God face to face in a way that I know because I know.
Ask yourself – Why do I do what I do? It it because I think I am supposed to or it it because I really want to?
Until we can be honest with ourselves we will never be open to hear or experience Truth face to face.
“He who knows others is wise. He who knows himself is enlightened.” -Lao Tzu
This above all, to thine own self be true. ~ William Shakespeare