Surprise - It's not what you think.
I. Light - BE!
"Light and matter are both a single entity, and the apparent duality arises in the limitations of our language." -- Werner Heisenberg
Here's a little conundrum: When I look at something I don't really see the thing itself but see only the photons of light that are bouncing off the thing into my eye. So, how then do I know there is a thing there at all? Maybe all there is are photons dancing in front of my eye, which means that what I see really is the thing itself! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!
"Let there be Light"
"I am the light of the world."
Unless there is light you can't see a thing. Until the light comes all you see is no-thing. When you see the light you see the thing. See?
II - Maps
"A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness." -- Alford Korzybski
There is the thing itself and there is a perception of the thing. We assume the perception is in my mind while the thing is not my mind. Maybe it is and maybe it isn't, but how would we ever know? For the most part we assume our perception is of a real thing that is external and independent to ourselves. We act based on the belief that our perception is accurate.
Our accumulated perceptions and experiences form in our mind a kind of map that acts as our guide to reality. We fuse together the perception and the thing and act as if the map is the territory. Then something very interesting happens: we use our map of reality to make choices on how we should act. Because of that, we will choose to do the things that our map tells us we should do and because of those choices we will construct a reality that matches our map! Oh yeah. It's true!
Take a drive through a suburban neighborhood and what do you see? All the houses are pretty much alike. The houses did not just appear spontaneously nor are they that way because they have to be that way. They were constructed based on a set of choices that someone made and those choices were guided by the builder's and buyer's preconceived idea of what a house and neighborhood should look like. True enough that there are some law of physics to deal with, but the idea of building a bunch of houses all in a row all much the same comes solely out of our mind. That's what I mean by saying that we construct the reality that we live in based upon what we think that reality is. The same is true of our political, social, economic and religious structures. We build them based on what our internal map tells us reality should be like.
A map does not contain all the details of the territory down to every blade of grass or pebble. If it did, the map would be useless anyway because it would have much too much detail. And besides, the map is located in the territory being mapped. So if the map was totally complete it would need to contain a copy of itself. The map is always incomplete at some level. But if the map is accurate enough to reliably predict what will be the result of my action we assume the map is correct never realizing that we make it correct by our assumption that it is correct. (Confusing isn't it?)
It's a big funky circular thing. We have an idea of what we ought to do, and then base our actions on that idea thus making the idea reality. It's self-reinforcing and self-fulfilling and so it seems soooo true and it just couldn't possibly be any other way. Or could it? The world is full of surprises and often things happen differently than we think they will or should. Unfortunately, the tendency is to reject what we see rather than reconstruct our little map in the mind.
Just as we filter our perceptions based on the existing map in the head and we direct our actions based on that map, people do the same with the Bible. They don't try to let it speak to them. They read it to confirm what they already think is true. You've seen it even if you didn't realize what the person was doing. They come to a conclusion and then snip and clip Bible verses that appear to prove what they say. They conveniently ignore the ones that cannot be force-fit into their idea and so it appears that they are correct because of the copious use of scripture.
The Pharisees were wrong about Jesus because He didn't fit their preconceived notions of what the Messiah would look like. They had a "map" all drawn out that didn't describe what Jesus was and how He acted. So, they assumed their map was right and Jesus was wrong. Big mistake, that was. Surprise! Jesus was not what they thought the Messiah would be like and so they missed it.
When I really study the Bible with a mind open to inspiration, I find I get some surprises. What God is doing is usually not what we think.
III. Mind Control
To change the reality you live in requires drawing a new map in your mind that reflects a different reality than the one you live in. This can be done on a personal level by simply changing your choices. You decide that you don't like the reality of being overweight, so you redefine your map of what foods are acceptable to eat, how much physical activity you should engage in, etc. That' what I'm talking about -- change your map that directs your choices and your reality will change.
You cannot construct a new political, social or economic system unless you first have the idea in the mind of what that thing is going to be. Now, some may object that things don't really turn out the way we plan. True. But remember that the map is an abstraction that leaves out some details. The details get filled in along the way according to only what the overall structure allows. Not only that, but we have several map-makers working at the same time. Our plans may or may not coincide with someone else's plans and there can be conflict and collision in the attempt to build a 'reality'.
To change a society you have to get others to go along with your idea. That means you have to rewrite their map of reality as well. It's called "propaganda" and "mind control." Repeat certain ideas over and over again until people simply repeat them back unthinkingly. If you get people to believe a certain way that will determine how they act. You control them indirectly not by force because if you try to use force they might resist. Much better to brainwash them into believing a certain way. They will do what you want without any force.
This is what conformity is all about. Get everyone to believe the same way and they will act the same way and then everything is controlled and predictable. They don't like surprises. Once you buy in to the map of reality of the world controllers your actions will become dictated by that map. You become, in effect, a slave of the mind-set of the world
Those who don't conform are perceived as a danger since they might do something unpredictable. What's worse, the fact that the non-conformist gets along just fine kinda blows the whole deal. It all goes back to the carnal mind and it's desire to control the future in an attempt insure it's own survival. If people are unpredictable, the carnal mind says, that might mean they would do something that I don't want done and thus threaten the reality I am trying to construct.
It's not much different with religion. Most religions think they have it all figured out. They have a big complex map of righteousness so that they can know what they must do to insure their own eternal survival. They don't like surprises, since it means they can't get it all worked out. What's more they constantly are checking to see if you look like the map they have drawn out. Do this, don't do that, because you must conform your mind to our predetermined idea of what righteousness is. If someone can "get away" with what they consider sinful behavior and still be considered righteous before God, it threatens their carefully controlled reality. Well, surprise! It may not be what they think.
"Do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the indwelling of a new mind."
If we took Paul seriously, we would not be trying to force a strict frame of reference onto peoples minds. Rather we would work diligently to breakdown the tendency of the carnal mind to construct a rigid, predictable map of reality that only serves the purpose of self preservation. Forcing a fixed set of ideas into someone's mind is simply brainwashing. People with a ridged frame of reference make good slaves. So both education and religion are captured and used by those who want to rule the world or simply control their local society. Truly teaching them means opening up the closed areas of the mind so that they can consider new possibilities. It's frightening to some people, though. You tend to get surprised a lot as you realize that things are not as you thought they were.
IV. Looking at the outside
"Do not seek honor among men"
If you want someone to respect you and give you honor, you will end up conforming your mind to theirs. To get their honor means that your outward appearance conforms to their internal map of what an honorable person looks like. That means their map of behavior becomes your map of behavior. If you agree with their map, it may seem honorable for you to do that. If you think they are wrong, you become a hypocrite that simply conforms the outside to expectations while living a different "reality" inside.
"Know no man after the flesh."
Likewise, to judge others by their outward appearance is to force your own mind-set onto them. It is to assume that what you are doing is "perfect" and if the other person doesn't do what you do then they must be immoral, false or just plain "crazy." That's exactly like what the Pharisees did with Jesus.
But what matters is not what you think. It's what God thinks of them that matters. I would rather be surprised at the vast and unique differences in God's children than to live in a world where everyone is just like me. To love someone is to see them as God sees them. After all, He loved them enough to send His Son! He didn't send His Son to die for you alone, you realize. He came for all God's children. So there must be something in that person worth loving, and I figure it is good to try and find it.
V. Whole Faith
"Your faith has made you whole."
Jesus said that. He said it a lot in fact. What's more, the gospels say that in some places Jesus couldn't do any miracles because of their lack of faith. In one case, the woman sneaked up on Jesus and touched him to get healed. Jesus doesn't seem to have intentionally done anything. Weird, huh?
It makes me wonder what is it about "faith" that it is required for healing. Why can't Jesus just run around touching people going "Tag! Your healed!" It seems that we have to enter into an agreement with Him to be healed.
Here's one explanation: we have to reorient our map of reality so that the possibility of Jesus' healing power is included. If we live in a false reality, the possibility of being healed by His spirit is excluded. It's not just healing though.
"God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will be saved."
The words "believe" and "faith" in the English Bibles are really the same word in the original Greek versions, so don't let that fool you. It's faith that heals and faith that saves. Our salvation requires the same faith. Whatever the reason, if all these things come from faith, I want to know what it is, how to get it, and to get as much as I can.
Something I found out in my studies is that the English word "faith" comes from the Latin "fide". The Greek words "pistis" and "pisteuo" and the Latin "fide" all come from an indo-european root word that means to "bind". It's binding the mind to that of another that is faith. Remember that the set of mental constructs you have is what controls your reality. The Hebrew word is "aman" (or maybe "amin") and is related to the word "amen." To have faith is like saying "AMEN!" to what God is trying to do.
If you bind your mind to that of God, you bypass the limited, false, virtual reality map in your head and start seeing the reality of the world as God sees it. This allows piercing through the false reality that we construct in the carnal mind and gaining the spiritual mind that Christ had. We have to get rid of what we think and replace it with what Christ thinks. In other words, we need to get the mind of Christ, and, that is what faith is.
Jesus could rearrange and reshape the world around Him. To do the same requires the mind of Christ. When we have that oneness of mind, then truly we can move mountains.
About two years ago Jesus spoke to me and said, "You will see . . . in one week." (What He told me I would see is personal and not relevant.) So for the next week I watched and waited and became more and more agitated that nothing had happened. By the end of one week I began to think I was going crazy and maybe needed to find a padded room for a while. Then on the last day, it happened exactly as He said. It was something I could not have controlled or predicted. Boy was I surprised!
Some months later, Jesus spoke to me again and said, "In seven days . . ." and then described some things that would happen in my life. (Again, those things are personal and not relevant.) I immediately began to think that this would happen at the end of a week, just like before. But, He stopped me and said, "NO! I SAID SEVEN DAYS." Like, dude, get with the program here. It's not what you think! One and one-half years later the events have not yet happened. Because of the delay, I prayed for confirmation and all Jesus would say is, "Boy are you going to be surprised!"
So, you see, sometimes a week is seven days but seven days is not a week. We can't let our limited idea of time control when the Lord does His thing.
Much of prophecy is written in this manner. Things are described in metaphor and allegory and without reference to a specific time. To try and figure out exactly when things will happen will take the surprise out of it! It's another kind of map. Only this time we don't know what territory it fits. We just have to wait and see and when the map fits the territory then we will know.
Remember that the carnal mind wants to be in control of the future and always wants to know when things will occur. All I have ever seen is that it's never like we think. We are to walk by faith.
VII. Infinity and Beyond
What do you get when you add one to infinity? Yeah, stupid question, but there's a point here. Infinity is not a number; it is an attribute of numbers. We can use infinity in an equation to represent that there is no bound, but if we try to treat infinity like a number, there are problems. All the rules of arithmetic break down. The same is pretty much true with zero. Adding or subtracting zero has no effect. Multiplying by zero gets you nowhere except back to zero and dividing by zero is undefined. There is something interesting about the boundaries that is not true about everything else in between.
Philosophers run into the same kind of problems when trying to reason about God. If God is all-knowing He can never be surprised. If God is timeless then He can never experience change. If God is infinite then He cannot also be finite. If He can't be surprised and can never change and cannot be finite then He is limited in His action. So, at least within the boundaries of human reason, God can't be both omniscient and omnipotent. Yet we say He is. How does an infinite being experience things that are finite? Now this is a mystery to be sure!
"Let us make man in our image."
There you go. God can create a finite universe and then create a finite being to exist in that universe. By projecting His spirit into that finite being and receiving back the senses of that being, He remains infinite while experiencing the finite. (You may need to read that a few times to get it all.) Another way to look at it is that God projects His glory into man so that it is reflected back to Himself. When we encounter another of God's children we see His light in them. If God is in us, He sees it too. See?
(Satan's game is to try to stop this. He thinks that what God is doing is wrong, or at least won't work. It also appears that Satan wants God's finite creation for himself and is upset that God gave "mud-men" dominion over it instead. If he can get man to do something that will cause God's plan to fail, then he proves himself smarter than God. If he can get men to live by a limited, conformed set of rules, he gets to control and thus act as a god over things. He can draw off the spiritual power of man to glorify himself. The adversary constantly tries to get us confused, to live in a limited world of illusion, and thus limit God's entry into this creation. The book of Job is a story that demonstrates the contest between Satan and God. Of course, it's not much of a contest in the end. God is right, Satan is wrong and God will achieve what He wants done despite Satan's interference. You see, God did have it all figured out from the beginning. Jesus was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" and was part of the plan in case things went awry. Satan apparently never believed it would work. Surprise! It did work and is working. Man is rescued out from under Satan's control to the extent that our minds are set free.)
Now if that is what God is doing, then I seriously doubt that He intends mankind to act like lab rats that just run around in little mazes doing exactly the same thing all over and over again. Where's the fun in that? In order for God to experience these things, man must have both a limitation of perception and an ability to be unlimited in his choices.
Without a limitation in perception there can be no surprise. Our perceptions are limited by time - we can't fully know the future - and by space - we only perceive a certain range and magnitude of frequencies.
Likewise, if we are only automatons with everything programmed from the beginning, then there is no surprise either. There must be in us a capacity to do something different than what we have done before. We call it "creativity" and often say it is the nature of God in us.
Now where does all this idea of "morality" come in then? If we are to reflect back to God by our experiences, it would be all too easy to assume that we just do whatever we want. Think on this: if we interfere with the life of another of God's children, we interfere with God's experience of that person. We have no right to control what the other person does or take from them what God seeks to experience through them. Furthermore, we cannot bring into our "self" something that is corrupt. Though we have the choice to do so, if we do, God must step back so that He does not join in our corruption.
"Love the Lord thy God" -- don't shut out the Creator's desire to experience Himself in you.
"Keep the Sabbath" -- Cease from spending all your time trying to manipulate reality for the purpose of your physical survival, but rather rest in Him with full assurance that He has made provision for you.
"Thou shalt not kill" -- don't take away from God the life of one of His children.
"Thou shalt not steal" -- don't take away the things that God wants that person to have.
Well, I think you get the picture. We are to love God and love one another as God loves us. In so doing, we allow the Father's will to be done on earth as in heaven.
The map that is called "moral law" is a description of this. As the map is not the territory, moral law is not morality but is just a description of what morality looks like. To live by moral law is like living in the map. To BE MORAL is like living on the territory itself. We are fully free to explore and create -- except that we are not to interfere with what others are doing in that regard and we are not to thwart God's will to live in us.
We are to fully experience God's creation. We should be in constant wonder, amazement and awe at what God has done. We are not to live within a limited map of that creation that exists solely in the mind. That world in the mind is but an illusion and a fantasy created by a mind that does not trust God. See it? It's not what you THINK! We must truly learn to live by faith. Then all things are possible.
Surprised? You should be!
All that I have written here is merely a description based on my experiences. None of it is "real." Someone else may describe the same thing in a totally different way. That doesn't mean that one is right and the other is wrong. It just means we see different parts of the territory or from a different perspective and choose different symbols to represent what we see. It all depends on how the light is shining at the moment.
It is not my intent to tell you what you should believe or what you should do. It is my desire to break down mental barriers and get you to consider the possibility that things are not as you think. And, to suggest you get rid of a rigid frame of reference that limits what God can do in you.
I told you, it's not what you think.