A demonstrator at a rally outside St. Paul’s Cathedral had written on a placard, “What would Jesus do?” It was a demonstration against capitalism and the situation involved a leading clergyman, whom they accused of compromising Christian values. He later resigned his office. The media, always with a keen eye for a story, seized upon the slogan – a popular saying for anything that panders to the moral ambiguity of the rational mind.
It’s no use asking what Jesus would do. Jesus is an historical figure; and there’s no truth in the past. Whatever is attributed to the man as an aspect of God or truth has to be present and demonstrable in this moment for it be spiritually effective in the lives of ordinary men and women. Furthermore, since nobody knows what the living man Jesus looked like, any form or artistic impression stored in the memory, being unreal, is ignorance and creates a distortion of reality. Implicit in the doctrine of Christianity is that we’re all sinners with not a chance of ever realising the power and the glory as the master of my self. Well not until we’re dead anyway. But isn’t it here on the earth in the land of the living that love is needed?
I was raised in a Christian society and went to Church of England schools, where it was the normal practice to sing hymns and say prayers in morning assembly. More than anything else this provided the opportunity for boys to play pranks, with particular kudos for the boy who could say “amen” the loudest. It was all a bit of fun and nonsense – or so it seemed at the time. It wasn’t until many years later that I experienced the absorption of religious emotionality within myself reacting to the scrutiny of my deepening self-knowledge. I had never been a practising Christian but religious indoctrination at school, as well as society’s quasi holy morality, had been subconsciously influencing my choices and actions for most of my life. This had resulted in feelings of guilt and self judgement – and, most damming of all, a conscience.
During a period of intense spiritual crisis in 1992 I had a vision which instigated a complete reversal of direction from the way of life I was living at the time. The vision appeared as the traditional image of Jesus Christ in the style of El Greco, the Spanish master of the Renaissance period. After the exaltation and euphoria, the dominant sense was that I’d been reborn and that Jesus had indeed been resurrected within me. I did endeavour to impart my experience to others but even the abbot at the local monastery suspected I was somewhat deluded.
What had happened (and this is typical of this kind of experience) was that pure energy or spirit had entered my psyche, and my brain began to frantically search for a suitable image consonant with this extraordinary energy. The brain is compelled to give form to any energy it registers. It wasn’t Jesus who had entered me; but the image did provide something tangible for me to give meaning to what was happening at the time. As a former student of art at college, the stored image of El Greco’s painting was deemed a suitable match to make sense of what was happening. Had I been born and raised in India the image may have been of Krishna or some other deity of the Hindu religion.
Pure energy or spirit cannot be received as direct knowledge unless prepared by some kind of meditative discipline that involves stilling the mind’s restless activity. To communicate in existence, spirit must pass through the human psyche. Entering an individual’s personal subconscious, spiritual energy passes through matter and enlightens the nucleus of cells that are able to be penetrated. In my experience this is a continuous process that gradually transforms the emotional attachment to anything outside this moment Religionists create a barrier to the truth by converting the simplicity of direct knowledge to intellectual notions of reality that rely to a great extent on rituals and traditions of the past.
There can be no truth in the past or in any religious ceremony. Anyone who has ever been with a genuine spiritual master will know that the master’s pleasure is for I, the individual man or woman, to be free of any impediments (including the master) that would attach the being to existence. The fact is nobody knows what Jesus would do since nobody alive was ever in the company of that master. All the evidence of the life of Jesus written in the gospels presents a life of a man whose message to anyone who would embrace his teaching was to give all worldly possessions to the poor, take up the cross and live in purgatory. This is the Christ’s life, a simple and effective way of self sacrifice and devotion to God.
But how many Christians actually live their master’s teaching? It’s impossible in the western culture unless you’re a fanatic or self-deluded. A master’s teaching is applicable to his times. The material values at the time of Jesus were the complete reversal to our modern consumer society. Two thousand years ago, to give someone your coat would be equivalent to giving your car, or even your house, to a stranger today.
It may appear in this article that I’m against Christianity and religion. But that’s not so. Over the years I’ve encountered many Christians who have come to me for consultations, many of whom were obviously good and kind people, and earnest in their faith and worship of Jesus. However, without exception, they have all been terribly confused and racked with guilt particularly in their personal relationships. Whenever they endeavour to apply the teachings of their master and the church in everyday life there is inevitably a sense of failure in not being able to get it all together and be the living glory and wonder of Christ in these times. The inability to put into practice the teachings of Jesus in modern living conditions gives rise to endless interpretation, distorting the simplicity of the master’s message.
So, what would Jesus do? This is what I hear the master saying in reply to the question:
“You ask me what I would do but I’m not sure it will do much good since you didn’t take much notice of what I said last time. But to those who can hear, this is what I have to say.
You have been misled by priests and fancy ceremonies that have not one iota of truth to them. I am the transcendent one and not some figment of a man hanging on a cross. I am always here in all things. I have no name or face, so don’t imagine me when the form I temporarily speak through disappears. Be responsible for who I am within your own being by being grateful, whenever you are reminded, to God the most high.
Don’t be attached to what you do but know there is a consequence for every action. Take no thought and trust not in any truth or statement of love that cannot be demonstrated now in your own living experience of the blessed earth.”
Lance Kelly 2011