Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. We all wish for world peace, but world peace will never be achieved unless we first establish peace within our own mind.
– Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Kia ora Carmel:
It was lovely to have the time to sit and talk, and to share our own perspectives on the journey of Jesus.
Of course, you have your own perspective, one which resonates with you and your specific branch of the Christian faith. I have a little understanding of it, as curiosity has compelled me to look into it, so I can better understand why you believe what you believe. I know that your journey is one into which you have put- and daily put- a lot of effort and thought, and one which you are happy to share. My gratitude to you for listening to my own theology and my own understandings, even though I know you were struggling with them.
However, I would like to take the time, if you are willing, to share the mystery of his life and work as I see it, and the gifts given to me along the way which have filled in gaps in the giant jigsaw puzzle which is his journey as a man towards the complete manifestation of the Christ within him. Of course we both had completely different beliefs here, and who is to say which one of us is correct, and perhaps therein lies the wonder and mystery of his life. I suspect you found my own views quite radical, however I am comfortable with them, since my life has been a quest to find answers to a puzzle laid before me when I was a boy.
My mother sent me to Sunday School somewhere around the age of 10. I must say I didn’t last long. I was too troublesome and inattentive. One day our teacher was telling us about the Holy Trinity. Can you please explain that more? I asked. She gave me an answer suitable for a child, but something about her answer left me dissatisfied. It just didn’t make sense. There seems so much more to it.
Later, when I studying the bible at secondary school., I asked my teacher, an ordained priest, To Explain it. His answer still left me none the wiser. And all along I felt this pull towards Jesus, but a rebelliousness and unwillingness to obey. I simply didn’t want to blindly follow just because I was told I should.
So, most of my adult life was a drawing nearer and a conscious pulling away. I was the prodigal son who returned home, saw nothing to keep him, and left for the road the very next day.
I would come and I would go. I tried different Christian traditions but I couldn’t knuckle down to any of them. Pentecostalism was too surface for me, Roman Catholicism too cold and paternalistic. I did this for a religious home for years.
However, I couldn’t stay away from the Light of the World, and and I couldn’t stay.
Then I realised that there was a mystery buried in the Gospels. Jesus is preaching in the Temple at the age of 12, astonishing everyone with his wisdom. Then he disappears for about 18 years and when he returns, he is teaching at the he height of his powers, which he does for a few short years until the crucifixion, when he disappears again and the mystery resumes.
So where did he go for all that time? Where was he and why isn’t that recorded in the Gospels? For years, I wondered about that.
One day about 10 years ago, a friend who had become Buddhist suddenly emailed me after 15 years of no contact between us. He sent me pictures of the monastery he visits from time to time. Buried in the email was a virtual stick of dynamite. O, by the way, he continued, there is something you should know. It is recorded in the ancient scriptures in the temple that Jesus sent several years there.
I was stunned. The implications were massive. I asked an Anglican priest I knew what happened during those missing years. His answer was that Jesus spent the time working as a carpenter, helping his father. Really?????? The Son of Man, the Light of the World spent 18 years installing kitchens? I couldn’t buy it and left him shortly after that.
I went back to being a spiritual pinball, ricocheting off the flippers of further traditions.
Then I had the opportunity spend time in an ashram. The swami and I spent a lot of time talking, and have since become great friends. You do know, he said archly one day, that Jesus is your spiritual guide. I remember sitting in silence for a time, as I turned the idea around in my mind and examined it from every angle, looking for a point of denial. However, I couldn’t find one. Yes, I murmured, you are correct. Of course, it is written in our ancient writings, he replied, that he lived in India for some time. I sat in silence, trying to make sense of this.
As time, has gone by, I have felt more and more like a bird following a trail of spiritual breadcrumbs, laid before me by a wise and loving hand, each one appearing at the perfect time.
But wait, there is more. Much more. So much more.
I will continue in my next letter.
And in the meantime, may I share one of my favourite prayers, a wonderful Buddhist one, to close this letter.
Sky is free.
Ocean is blissful.
Trees are divine.
Rocks are enlightened.
So are we.
Who is still searching …
– Anam Thubten Rinpoche