The Light of Christ As I Understand It
“Enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true”. – Adyashanti
For several days I’ve felt a building in my bosom. Sometimes, like anyone, I can be lazy and ignore it. There comes a point when that tension needs release. That tension, in this case, is a testimony that needs be witnessed. When I first played with the idea of God and Divine Love, I found that I had very simple archetypes in which to view something so magnanimous. I am but a man after all. As a man, I have limited ability to conceptualize things in any innate manner. So I push myself to stretch my ability to conceptualize great ideas.
Perhaps the greatest idea that came to me was when I was lost, looking for a lighthouse to guide me in the darkness, and listening to Jordan Peterson secularize the bible as if it were told from oral cultures who have, for generations, passed down wisdom and are just now able to articulate it in a written language. And it stunned me. You see, I have been raised secular most of my life. I have identified as an atheist or agnostic for the majority of that time as well. I have, while serving in the Army, had my share of heartfelt investigation into divinity and God’s path for me. Often what stood in my way was my own need to strawman the gospel and those described therein.
I was eventually met with ideas that I could not reconcile and it drove me away. There was a hole that needed filled and I found ways to do that. Ways that often were destructive and in no way a boon to my life. I certainly made friends and learned along the way. I studied philosophy but always managed to rob myself of any sort of spirit of redemption. I found myself feeling guilty with no real way to put to words exactly why. I understood that I walked away from the Church, but at the time I also thought that meant I walked away from God. It took Jordan Peterson to unpack the idea that Jesus is the ultimate archetype for goodness. And as you follow the greatest conceptualization of divinity that you can understand, you will at some point find that the more you explore it, the better you can explain it. Which then pushes that which you can’t articulate even further into the fringes demanding further exploration. As you explore divinity, you invite divinity I have found.
It helped me to understand that if I have an idea of perfection in the exact same way as I did when I was a child, I am doing myself a severe disservice. Language is a tool. Most difficult things to do in life require tools. Interacting in the world with language not only unlocks opportunities externally but it can also open the door to your heart to fully appreciate feelings that you can explain, even if not comprehensively. Growing up to be a well measured person in what seems to be a more and more insane world is difficult. The more you can identify the difficulty the more you can conceptualize it. The more you can conceptualize it the more you can figure out how to adopt or adapt as the situation requires.
Jordan Peterson went on to say that the bible is not meant to be taken literally. These are anecdotes and stories about wisdom of the ages that help people conceptualize their own difficult and tragic circumstances, and play with ideas of great people and how they overcame their struggles. It at once redeemed my ancient ancestors and my not so ancient past. No longer was I required to think of them as some underdeveloped culture that thought the most simplistic ideas. Instead, it immediately allowed me to steelman their ideas. It allowed me to realize that I am a descendant of people who have been grappling with ideas of greatness for ages and the stories of those struggles reside in me. In my spirit and in my blood. And it allowed me to look at myself as someone worthy of greatness and it has transformed my spiritual outlook beyond anything I could have imagined.
“You either get bitter or you get better. It’s that simple. You either take what has been dealt to you and allow it to make you a better person, or you allow it to tear you down. The choice does not belong to fate, it belongs to you.” -Josh Shipp