Monday, July 19, 2010

Christianity and The Power of Now 4

Another entry by our guest blogger, Brad Harris.

The next Bible verse quoted by Eckhart Tolle in ‘A New Earth’ is from the gospel of Matthew. It records Jesus as saying:
‘ if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well’. Matthew 5:40

This seems a simple piece of advice but the implications of it are enormous. It goes far beyond not taking people to court to rectify disputes. My understanding of what Jesus was saying used to be that, in order to please God I needed to discipline myself to always put
others’ needs first. This in itself is surely not wrong. Who could question the need to be considerate of the needs of others in every thing we do. Our actions, if based only on selfishness and self-satisfaction are inevitably going to cause harm to others - either directly or indirectly.

In taking this view of Jesus’ teaching I came to think that I didn’t deserve success or wealth and that I shouldn’t even expect happiness. In fact my life always had to take second place to others. I felt that my life should be dedicated to constantly giving in to the will of others. I began to devalue my own life! And what’s more, other people began to take advantage of my ‘good nature’ and I became somewhat of a ‘door mat’.

In ‘A New Earth’ Eckhart Tolle records his conversation with a dying women. He tells her “Whatever the ego seeks and gets attached to are substitutes for the Being it can not feel. You can value and care for things, but whenever you get attached to them, you will know it’s the ego. And you are never really attached to a thing but to a thought that has ‘I’, ‘me’, or ‘mine’ in it. Whenever you completely accept a loss, you go beyond ego, and who you are, the I Am which is consciousness itself, emerges”.

The women replied, “Now I understand something Jesus said that never made much sense to me before: ‘If someone takes your shirt, let him have your coat as well.’”

Tolle replied “That’s right. It doesn’t mean that you should never lock your door. All it means is that sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on”. (p. 41)

When I can understand that ‘my’ coat (or anything else that I call mine) is not really mine in the first place, I can’t feel hard done by at having to give it to someone else. I go with the flow of life more easily by accepting what comes and accepting what passes. Every moment, no matter how it appears on the surface is a blessing from God and I rejoice in it. It’s not a matter of taking second place to everyone else. It is a sacred realization that everyone and everything has equal value in God’s eyes. We are all a part of His creation and in ‘letting go’ we get more than we could ever realize. Amazing!

No comments: