Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now 2

Brad Harris is our guest blogger continuing his theme - A New Way of Seeing God.

In my last blog, I said that ‘The Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle had totally changed my way of thinking about God, Jesus and the Bible. Whilst this may not be totally true (I have been reading lots of books in this area, and can’t always remember where ideas come from) Eckhart did ‘kick start’ a radical change in my thinking.

As you read my thoughts on each of the Bible verses quoted by Eckhart in ‘A New Earth’ you may only notice a subtle change in my thinking. But these changes resonate strongly with my new spiritual growth, and have helped me to integrate my Christian faith and spirituality. I hope sharing them will be of interest to you.

So here goes. The first verse is Matt 6:28-30. Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith?

My old thinking about this verse went something like this: Even flowers have enough ‘faith’ to trust God for their care and protection and to help them grow. Therefore I should be developing sufficient faith to trust that God will always care for me. If I am faithful enough, I will always ‘bloom’ despite the adverse circumstances that inevitably happen in my life. I will have everything I need. God will provide my food, clothes, house, car, and job - all the good things in life.

I could see God’s hand at work in His creation (who could deny the intricate beauty of the ‘lilies of the field’?), the trouble was I would often become despondent because I knew in my heart I was never good enough to please God.
It seemed to me that I could never have enough faith to deserve God’s protection and nurturing. Why was I so selfish and untrusting? I needed more faith, but it was always a constant struggle to develop and maintain faith during the trials and temptations that life brought me.

Instead of being encouraged by Jesus words I felt like I was being condemned.

In A New Earth Eckhart says, “Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. We could say that the totality – Life – wants the sapling to become a tree, but the sapling itself doesn’t see itself as separate from life and so wants nothing for itself. It is one with what life wants. That’s why it isn’t worried or stressed. And if it has to die prematurely it dies with ease. It is as surrendered in death as it is in life. It senses, no matter how obscurely, its rootedness in being, the formless and eternal one life.

… Jesus goes on to say that if God clothes simple flowers in such beauty, how much more will God clothe you. That is to say, that while nature is a beautiful expression of the evolutionary impulse of the universe, when humans become aligned with the intelligence that underlies it, they will express that same impulse on a higher, more wondrous level.” (P.268, 269)

In light of what Eckhart says I have chosen a new way of living. I have chosen to be at one with life. I’m not striving anymore for what I don’t have. I’m not wishing I were a ‘better’ person. I am just accepting what is. ‘What is’ must be God’s will otherwise it would not be. In this new way of being I am more peaceful and worry has largely become a thing of the past. Now I know that it is not so much a matter of a test of my faith in God but a realization, a knowing, that God is real. He is less ‘out there somewhere’ and more ‘inside’ me and surrounding me in every moment of my life.

How could I want anything more? Now I KNOW that “the LORD is my shepherd -and I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1).

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