In a previous post, the issue of something’s existence vs. how it “is” was discussed. The whole subject danced around the topic of “emptiness.” In thinking more on the subject, it dawned upon me that a few topics should be added.
Influencing Goes Both Ways
In the previous post, the issue of changing the image (by internalizing it in the egoic mind) was focused upon. But really, influence can go both ways. A person who is struggling with problems, may bring to mind an image of a religious icon (Jesus, etc.) and they may feel relief. Or the image may convict them of behavior that is outside their ethical paradigm.
So yes, one can be influenced by their faith based image. A person who hold’s their country in high regard, might surround themselves (and their mental states) with symbols representing their nation. For such an individual, the icons will hold a standard that they might attempt to live by.
While the racist might embrace the image of Jesus, it could influence them to be less hateful of others. But in time, the image (being simply an abstraction of the real thing) will take on characteristics of the individual. This is often seen in those who change faiths. On the onset, a person who leaves one religion for another undergo’s a conversion process. They cast off the old “ways” and embrace the new. It’s a very cathartic experience (I’ve experienced it several times.) It can be powerful enough to throw someone out of depression, negative thoughts, addictions and so forth.
During a conversion process, the power one feels is often misplaced as the power of the new faith. So the converted Christian, Muslim or Buddhist initially thinks, “I made the right decision. This path is so much better. I need to convert more people so they can be like me.”
Quite possibly one’s faith is just fine as is, but the feelings that go along with conversion are not from the faith itself. It isn’t that “this is the right path and that’s how I feel this way.” Rather it is simply doing something new. This didn’t dawn on me until I changed faiths several times. Point of fact, I’ve been in a dozen religions and just as many spiritual societies. Over time I realized the feelings were not about the path, but about me.
Conversion relates to this issue, in that the new aspirant/devotee is taking the icon/articles of faith as internalized images, symbols or doctrines. At first they are so happy, they are doing something new. They think: This is good. Better than before. Much better.
The power of psychic release, can cause one to let go things holding them back (addictions.) A person feels a sense of improvement, or spiritual gain. Perhaps they join an occult order or a spiritual group and begin having paranormal experiences. Or perhaps it’s a traditional religion, and they feel the surge of power to overcome any problems that where holding them back.
In time the aspirant/devotee attunes to a state of “normalcy.” No longer is it new. It is now common practice. They might decide it’s time to jump ship again for the next new spiritual path. Or they might (as most do) plod along and acclimate their life to their internalized view of the religion.
If it’s a new Christian, in time they will see their ego identity in Jesus – or perhaps the Christian church. Yes, one’s self identification can shift and change. The problem with the ego, is that it is limited and rooted to some degree, in the physical world. A pure faith becomes impure, when it mixes with the ego.
Consider this problem in countries throughout history. In Japan Shintoism and Buddhism were bound to government, and an odd view was birthed – one in which the religion’s ideals were now a reflection of nationalism. Germany and India had similar issues. In America, again we see the same problems. The faith no longer stands for what it did. The members of the religion see the articles of faith in a light that is far different then the original intent.
It can become quote confusing. While people like this may hate “outsiders,” they may still find some conviction in the faith symbol to give to the homeless in their local community. It may impart the tenants of faith still, and yet reflect the ego mind of the devotees, to declare war and hate others.
Relationship of Ego and Symbol
No longer is it Jesus, Buddha, God, Krishna. Instead it is something material. It is a hybrid of one’s ego and the faith itself.
The moment you read the names of Holy beings, you internalized it. What part of your mind internalized it? The part of you that feels you are a body and nothing more. That part is the ego.
A limited sense of self is now saying, “I get it, that word is God,” and by doing so, it limits God. “God,” “Jesus,” or “Buddha,” becomes a projection of the mind alone. The eternal being is no longer understood, because the ego can not comprehend something greater than itself.
The Ego Mind is Limited
While true, the mind is unlimited, the ego is very limited. The ego is the part of you that says, “I’m me.” But it references your identity based upon your physical senses. What you can feel, smell, taste, touch… how you look in a mirror – that is your ego identity. It could, I suppose, extend to a sense of spiritual wisdom as well (i.e. “my psychic sense is me.”)
The ego mind is very limited.
If a spiritual tradition or concept is as vast as the ocean, the ego mind in comparison, is like a saucer or bowl. It can’t possibly hold the totality of the Universe. So it takes what it can and let’s the rest overflow about it. Then with it’s limited collection of the spiritual, it says, “this is all there is, and guess what, it’s like me!”
Limitations by Example
Have you met the Bible believer who tells you how their God is “All Powerful,” yet they are scared and nervous about not having enough supreme court justices to back up their faith in government? Or they are worried about their jobs being taken by immigrants, have you met such people?
Its fascinating. If your God is “All Powerful,” why are you worried about taxes, your job, or court decisions in your nation? The answer is clear – because you don’t believe in God. God doesn’t exist. What exists for that person is not real. They are holding onto an image of God that can fit in their limited sense of self (ego) but not as it really is.
The limited body self reads or see’s a religious icon and said, “God.” The word itself causes the ego to play with it and say, “yes God is like me, I am like God. I was created in the image of God… therefore God and I must worry about these concerns in society.”
But where did the All Powerful God go?
It never existed.
Yet God is.
To really understand God, one must experience God. To understand Emptiness one must experience it. To understand love, one must experience it.
Not Forbidden, Only Advised
There is no, “thou shalt not,” in this post. If you hold something to exist in your mind, fine. But realize one thing, it can point you in different directions other than its true nature.
A mystic might sit in meditation and visualize a forrest setting where a deity like Hekate appears to give some advice… she might assume to say that a great calamity is coming and they are her prophet. The time comes, but no calamity occurs. Nothing happens, the aspirant appears to be deluded… they might give up on their spiritual path, feeling it’s all fake. That’s a “fail fast” scenario.
For many, the failure is slow and arduous. They don’t see the failures actually. It’s such a slow process of deviation, that in time they think that Jesus holds a machine gun, or that God hates specific people. That’s even worse of a state. It’s complete delusion.
Well it was fake. She doesn’t exist. Jesus doesn’t exist and God doesn’t exist.
But perhaps she is real. Perhaps all of it IS, but none of it exists.