20 April 2013

Reconciling Jesus

Yesterday in my morning meditation practice I envisioned Jesus before me as a representation of the embodiment of Truth, a spiritual meditation as cited in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche as guru yoga practice: merging with the wisdom mind of the master. Previously in my meditation practice I had always tried envisioning more universal or outwardly Buddhist masters in keeping with a Buddhist practice, but after many fuzzy or less concentrated attempts I decided to dig deeper in my personal history for an image of a spiritual master. Having been raised Catholic and Buddhist, some aspects of these distinct faiths have reinforced each other universally since my childhood while most details I have instinctively compartmentalized into separate and admittedly unequal camps.

As I have grown into adulthood, coming out of my sexual, social, and political closets, my relationship with the Catholic Church and Jesus has been one of alienation, one of the great tragedies that reinforced dogma has and continues to inflict on alternative thinkers, especially the gay community. I will always remember that I came out to my parents on a Saturday night because the following Sunday was the first time in my life that no knock came on my bedroom door to call me to Mass. Though at the time I recall a sense of profound relief and often re-tell this tale of my history as a turning point marked with humor and laughter, I also must admit that deep inside, that separation from the Church severed aspects of my own spirituality and essentially ended by relationship with Jesus, the Catholic saints, and Christian spiritual counsel for many years. Although it sounds ironic or contradictory, envisioning Christian imagery in my Buddhist meditation practice not only makes harmonious sense, but brings a wholeness to my spiritual journey, a perfect reconciliation of past pain into loving directions. Letting go of political jargon in my spiritual development feels like releasing an enormous, material block that I had subconsciously and consciously built around my heart as a defensive wall, as an enforced concept of exclusion.

When I relaxed my mind in meditation and invoked the image of Jesus, he immediately appeared bright, clear and beaming from the clouded chatter of my thoughts and I held the image unwaveringly, something that generally has been difficult when I invoke images of masters from other faiths. Deep inside me, my relationship with Jesus has had the longest influence on my life and his image arrived almost effortlessly. Despite all my socio-political positions in life, I have always insisted that Jesus loves me, that Jesus as a spiritual master and teacher spoke truth in his journey, a truth that I still contend has been and continues to be manipulated by people in positions of power. Calling upon Jesus in my meditation, he arrived bearing a lamb of God in his arms and told me that this lamb is me. He then lovingly placed the lamb of God into my arms. I felt the warmth and weight of this delicate creature and embraced the lamb to my chest, holding in essence myself as whole, my spirituality as whole with peace and loving kindness.

I encourage all people to reach for their spiritual essence with the courage to let go of the social and political layers that may disguise the true, universal nature of our diverse faiths. Looking beyond and within we each find our unique paths to Truth, strengthen our spiritual development, and help end suffering in the world one revelation at a time.


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