How a non-believer moves as the man, not the myth
“Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth–penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.” ~ Joseph Campbell
While we most often associate spring and the Easter seasons as times of resurrection and new growth, the solstice and Christmas season offer the same opportunity. Winter is more than time for hibernation and vernalization. The sun is reborn, the divine human birthed, internal fires are stoked, and as we move into the new year we create intentions to renew ourownfineselves.
The focus of Christmas has long been the physical birth of Jesus and the celebration by the heavens and Magi alike. There are philosophical and religious schools of thought that broaden the birth of Jesus from a singular, virginal experience to a incarnation of the divine spirit–a pre-existing Christ as it were. A timeless expression of the divine nature that began long before biblical stories were conceived, ceaselessly moving through what we know of as time and space while being beyond the limitations of what we know. If I understand the crux of these philosophies, the shared idea is that who we identify as Jesus was one physical incarnation of this being-ness. I will go a step further here and include the notion of a recurring Christ, one who wasn’t born just one day, but one who is born again and again, in each age, in multiple people through the course of time and at the same time.
Here, relying on my own experiences and knowing, I don’t mean to use the notion of reincarnation as we think we know it whereby the soul of a person who has died comes back again as a newborn infant to relive his or their life. Does that happen? Probably. But this ain’t that. Also, to be clear, I am neither referencing what is commonly called ‘the second coming’ nor the notion of people attaining ‘Christ Consciousness’. Those ain’t this, either.
During my second integrative experience, when I was flooded with hundreds of energies, the first and instantaneously recognized energy was that of Jesus. How did I know him? I don’t know. I just did. In the same way I know who it is that is calling me before I pick up the phone, in the same way others can say to me “I see you but I see him at the same time.” Before this experience, I only knew Jesus as a name, a pictograph or tortured sculpture, and an exclamation point. I’ve already mentioned that when this process of giving myself over into this way of being began, there was no religious, spiritual or metaphysical background or field of knowledge. When I was a child my parents exposed me to the Southern Baptist Jesus in the summer, the Methodist flavor when I went to church with my best friend’s family , the occasional jaunt to the Unitarian Universalist in Oxon Hill and Fairfax, with a smattering of Roman Catholic masses, and the one-off (or three) visit to the synagogue but that was about it.
But there’s a thing, though, that we think of, seek, and ask for when we engage with not just Christed-ness but with the man we know of through myth. That same ‘thing’, what I call an energetic signature, is what I felt and knew. Just knew. I had actually felt before outside of myself. I’d talked to it–when talking to myself in the kind of conversations that you’re sometimes sure are the most intelligent you’ll have. Because I’ve not prayed as an adult outside of asking ‘why’ when I felt shat upon. When I was a child I prayed. I prayed. A lot. I prayed that my brother not get hit (or that I’d actually hit him because, let’s face it, he was three years younger than me and a brother). I prayed that I not get hurt. I prayed that I’d never see peanut soup again. I prayed that my parents wouldn’t fight. I prayed that the Redskins would beat Dallas (whaaaaaat?! It’s happened!). I prayed that God would love me when I didn’t feel loved. I prayed that we’d not go on another Sunday country drive. I prayed that I wouldn’t have to wear those gross purple Toughskins. I prayed for bacon (and that bacon would, indeed, be a sign God loved me). I prayed that I wouldn’t smell like cigarette smoke. I prayed that my father wouldn’t notice the odometer change. I prayed that my mother would never cut my hair again. I prayed that next Sunday I’d hear Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I prayed that I’d be allowed to shave my legs soon. I prayed that the angel I saw would save me. I prayed Travis Clayborne would kiss me. I prayed that I’d understand algebra. I prayed that I would die. I prayed a lot when I was a kid. I’m still alive. Travis kissed me when I was in college, not when I was in the seventh grade and letting him cheat off my math and Spanish work. My father saw the odometer, I heard JL Seagull many times on a Sunday morning and I never did get algebra. I now appreciate not having to shave, my mother never touched my bangs with scissors again but spent a lot of time trying to smash my head in–blessedly, without using the scissors. And it took a long time to feel loved. Turns out that I had no idea what prayer was or Jesus is. And the latter had nothing to do with the former.
Many people believe in Jesus as the man, myth and legend; some, the man as non-myth who has died and will return at some point in time; and some, that the man never existed. And within each group, there appears to be a standard line about the potentiality of Jesus-in-the-now. It’s repeated over and over in a variety of contexts. It goes something like this: “You wouldn’t know Jesus Christ if he sat down next to you.” I remember an encounter the afternoon of our earthquake in Virginia in 2011. I went to the local watering hole to see if they had power or phone because ours was out. And conversation began (because they did have electricity and alcohol) with everyone present. When I happened to mention I was a healer, one of those people began to share her story of knowing that Jesus was being held in the center of the Pentagon and would be released when the United States military thought the world was ready for him. Followed by “well, no one would think he’s Jesus because he just looks like one of us”. You might imagine my response (after a Bloody Mary) was.
In our prayers, preaching about, seeking to achieve his consciousness, and even disbelief of Jesus’ existence as god, as spiritual representation of godliness, or as a regular ol’ political pot-stirrer healer-dude, we have expectations how he should appear. The appearance is reflected in our unique histories related to faith & religion, culture and continent on which we’re raised, and the propaganda of our times. Those factors rarely tread far from the comfortable reliance on the archetype and concomitant expectation. The definition of archetype is this:
ar·che·type 1. the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype.
2. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea, pattern of thought, image, etc., universally present in individual psyches. 3. a perfect or typical specimen.
When frameworks lead to the dependence on structures that alleviate the room for growth, transition, curiosity and, yes, doubt, there isn’t even room left deepening of faith or belief. So when we combine our backgrounds with unwavering rigidity, the outcome can resemble this exchange with a few Southern Baptists: “So, you say you’re a healer”. “Yes, I am.” “You know you’re doing the work of the devil, right?” “Healing is the work of the devil?” “Yes.” “Then I guess Jesus and I keep good company.” “You’re going to burn in hell.” “Because I’m a healer?” “Yes.”
Or, this from a skeptic: “You’re a liar! Healing without medicine can’t happen!!” “It has happened around the globe long before medicine became what it is today. It also works beautifully with medicine and, in some places ‘medicine’ is the alternative.” “Prove it!”
I’m going to borrow from a painted conversation between H. Warren Kelly and Father Bill McNichols’ in Taos for a paragraph or two. In this ‘conversation’ between artists, Father Bill describes religious icons as “glass torches, or lit with a Taboric light…the light of Jesus on Mount Tabor during his Transfiguration. They appear at first distant, abstract, unrealistic with no attention to anatomy or earthly light source. But when you spend time with them, they allow you to enter in the heavenly presence of the being they represent.”
Warren followed with this: “Icons…are abstractions that in our eyes “disregard” many rules–perspective, proportion, light sources–of representation…that deliver the viewer directly to meaning. “Don’t look!! calls the icon, “See!” with a “light of mindful reflection and openness to intuition.”
They Father Bill and Mr. Kelly both call this ‘the light invisible to my eyes’.
That ‘light invisible to the eye’ is what those of us with this energetic signature are imbued with. We don’t look the way you think we should, much like those icons, but you can see us with all of your senses if you’re open to us. We are beyond archetypes and stereotypes. We’re recognizable by how we feel, not how we look to you at first. And sometimes we feel scary because our energies often provoke physical, emotional and mental responses for which many have no ‘system’. We may “appear at first, distant, abstract and unrealistic” without an ‘earthly light source’. But when you spend time with us, [we] allow you to enter in the heavenly presence of the being[ness] [we] represent.”
When people ask me how to achieve Christ Consciousness, they often receive the eyebrow and a ‘what exactly do you mean‘. And they don’t seem to know exactly. Only that it seems that’s where they are supposed to be or who they are supposed to be like. So I tend to share that I’m more interested in them knowing their own consciousness and it’s interplay with the universe, rather than leading them the expression of the universe, that as we purport to know it, is merely myth.
“The very nature of myth is such that one level of meaning lead to yet deeper levels”, say Philip Gardner and Gary Osborne. A journey of sorts. There are many ways of perceiving them, even beyond the archetype, and those of us with this capacity are here to create that deeper held level here and now. Joseph Campbell said, “We need myths that will identify the individual not with his local group but with the planet.” I think one of the reasons we are here now (and the reason we’ve been around all this time, I suppose), to help others re-identify, not just with the planet but with the universal connection that births and rebirths us all, but not as mythical creatures–as human ones here and now. In doing so, we shake things up and loose at the individual level and offer the experience of the individual transfiguration for reconnection-that deeper level or sense of being that is reflected in the stories of Jesus.
We appear as gardeners and garbage haulers as much as we do as guru or healer. You will know us as brother, lover, teacher, and sista-from-anotha-motha. We may very well show up in the psychiatric ward where you do your residency, the visual or sound artist whose creations crack your heart and make you weep in grace, or the stalwart in the midst of chaos. There is nothing typical or perfect about us. You won’t find us on this top 10 list. We don’t require others to call us ‘master’ and know that there is much we will never know. We are human vehicles for sharing of the divine made in no one’s image but our own. We merely bring that thing to allow you to see and love your neighbor, the homeless guy at the four-way, and the person who believes differently, as yourself. We are rare creatures peppered around the globe, often living unseen, or being seen and castigated because we dare appear.
I’ve not met another like me other than those that have merged within me so my experience and expression of this beingness, this reflection of divinity that goes back beyond the ancients, may be a one-off shot. But here is how I imagine my compadres to be: of different faiths, creeds, and having different definitions of a creator (or none); coming as we are, in the skin we’re in, sharing the idea of moving myth past the boundaries of any ‘type’ so that when we say, “Don’t look! See!”, that you:
See not just our connected humanity but the connections between and within all things.
See through fear into the heart of all matters.
See past painted pride and prejudices into the heart of your own self.
See the capacity in all to create meaningful community.
See that peace and love are tangible energies, that when combined with effort and grace, are the catalysts for great change.
In this course of the past three years of repeated transformation and learning how to dance anew with the universe, I have been asked many times, “Do you believe in Jesus Christ?” My response has been, “I know him. Do you?” Because, no matter when he was born, if he was born, or under what circumstances, he is within me (and others), fully alive beyond myth through us as stewards of that distinct energy, and it can be reflected in everyone; not by practicing to achieve a separate consciousness, but by simply knowing there is no separation.