Hello. My name is Jim.
“Hello Jim!” You all shout.
“And I am a sinner.” Or everyone in church said I was, anyway.
This is how I became an ex-sinner.
We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
I can agree with the last part. How can any human understand God and therefore act less than God about the universe?
I mean He built it. She created all of it and when we talk to Him, he hears us. Every time.
Except when we don’t get what we asked for.
He is a loving, kind God, but He is also a vengeful jealous God. Huh? Sounds like my neighbor’s grandfather.
What is with all these human characteristics on God
A story about god, something we have a hard time imagining – something that created all of us and all there is and all the laws of the universe, is like my neighbor’s grandfather? He confounds great human minds such as Einstein until Einstein could only theorize a part of what God did.
This Great Creator is as moody as that grandfather next door, who po-pos his scruffy dog, and condemns the dog walkers to hell if their dog pisses on his lawn?
Now the Bible seems to say to me thou shalt not judge. It is about forgiving and love and non-judgement. That’s the New Testament, anyway. The Old Testament, well, flip the script, as they say.
So how can a newborn baby be a sinner? And who are we to judge anyway? No, something isn’t clicking. Something is wrong here.
And something is wrong in so many places. It does not make sense. God gives us free will then says if you do the wrong thing you will go to hell for eternity.
What was the problem??
This was the problem I had regarding God as I was growing up. I got so many answers from so many people and they all contradicted each other. Who is God?
No matter who I asked I heard similar BS logic trying to sound rational. I asked church elders and soon as I heard, “Hmmm, that’s a very good question young man. Well, ….” I knew they ain’t got a clue.
So I was frustrated with God and getting worse so I quit. I needed a break. So I stopped asking.
Years went by and I thought I was able to maintain some sanity.
A classmate asked be if I believed in God and that God is real.
I asked him how does he know?
He replied it says so.
I asked, “Where?”
In the Bible.
I smiled, said bye and left. I didn’t want to hear anymore.
Years passed. Maybe decades. Maybe God is real, maybe not, but thinking about it seemed an exercise in frustration.
So no more who is God or is God alive questions. My mind went on vacation regarding the subject.
But God doesn’t give up on us so easily it seems. Even if we give up on Him, he is a stubborn creator. He bided His time. He is pretty wise for an old guy. I guess He naturally has to be.
Then He saw His chance. A chance to impart some wisdom into the mixed up tired mind of someone He knew still wanted answers, no matter what I told myself.
So I found myself in a thrift store, and found a book of cassette tapes called Conversations with God. Thought sh%$. I sighed as I read on the cover about what was inside. Liked what I read and forked over the hard-earned cash I had ear-marked for a fat Jack in the Box or In n Out burger.
I put the first tape in my tape deck and reluctantly pushed play. It played not what I was used to hearing when it came to Biblical things. It said crazy blasphemous things that I was going to go to Hell for eternity for even buying. And crazy stuff, like Hitler isn’t in Hell, and no, babies are not born in sin.
OMG. I played and played and played those tapes for as long as my cassette player would play them. I loved it. Some of it I wanted to disagree with because it was not what I was taught, but most of all, it all made sense.
By the way, now I can listen to everything the author Neale Donald Walsh says on YouTube. It seems he had similar frustrations as I did, in the beginning.
OK, so there is a God, probably.
And other things started to happen in the years ahead.
I noticed there was a meditation class at a nearby Buddhist temple.
So I went to see if they could teach my attention deficit self how to meditate.
The greatest spiritual person I have ever met.
Was it an accident or coincidence that I found myself in the first meeting with a young monk who spoke no English in a class with Americans who spoke no Chinese and an interpreter in between.
The monk spoke a sentence in Chinese and the interpreter carefully said, “Does anyone know why we meditate?”
I could read the mood of the room because I was one of them. I thought a moment searching for the most profound sounding reason I could state publicly (By the way, “profound sounding” – I became like the church elders I ran away from).
The profound reasons that flowed like honey out of that room gave flies on the wall a sugar high. Everyone sounded like a poet.
After the translator finished, the Monk shook his head and said something the interpreter rephrased as, “No. You are all wrong.” The room fell still.
“We meditate so we don’t have to come back here.”
What? How simple, How direct, How un-human, How un-pass the collection plates.
A religious person not interested in money or growing his followers and who seems only interested in helping people in their spiritual journey and progress. I love it.
What unusual, How special, How unselfish, How long will this temple allow him to teach here?
Well, all of that was true, even the last question and he lasted just a few years. He had to leave, but fortunately some wealthy followers also appreciated his uniqueness and sponsored him in a rented house until now he is at a new temple. Reminds me of another teacher who got into trouble with the elders by stirring the pot of selflessness.
Something else about that monk, Wei Shi I think his name is, and someone told me it meant from the East, but he enjoyed life. He always looked to be wearing a smile. Most people might think he had nothing – just the robes on his back, but none of the luxuries most normal people desire. He is what I should be – content appreciating this life.
He joked also. Want to hear a Monk’s joke?
One time in China a long time ago a pretty young girl was on her way to get water from a stream.
A young man was there sitting by the road. When he saw her he jumped up and ran next to her and told her she is the prettiest girl he has ever seen.
He told her no, it is true. You are gorgeous. I am in love. I want to live with you forever and ever.
She giggled some more. Then said, “Well, if you think I am the most beautiful you have ever seen, then you should see my sister, who is just over there.”
She nods behind her. He looks.
She gathers her pale and starts walking away.
The boy looks back to her and asks, “Hey, where are you going? I am in love with you.”
She asks him, “If I am the most beautiful you have ever seen and you love me, why did you look for my sister?”
And she walked away, to live happily ever after. Smart girl. Smart Monk.
A glimpse at realization:
Something else happened to me in that meditation class. It came out of nowhere, lasted less than a millisecond, was there and gone and never came back. It seems very small but was actually huge as the sea.
I was meditating for two years there, and that means I and the others sat on a pillow in the basement of the temple for an hour and a half with our eyes closed.
After two years of this I was getting kind of antsy waiting for something to happen. That Sunday was like every other Meditation Sunday. “OK. Meditate,” came from the translator and we all closed our eyes.
But something burned through my mind halfway through class and without warning.
I felt, and I knew from every atom in my body and in the universe knew, though it probably didn’t care I knew, for a split second I realized that I, or my body, was made of the same stuff that the huge wooden support beam near me holding up that building was. I was the same, and we both are one connected to the universe.
It doesn’t sound like much, I mean the heavens never opened up and no voices came out of heaven. But there it was. A tiny fraction of the tiniest tiny thing in the universe, something I could call a splinter of a molecule of enlightenment landed on my head like a boulder.
I wish I could say I started acting and thinking like an awakened spirit, but no. Except for the wow I feel when I remember it, no.
Regardless of religion, this was an metaphysical occurance that is open, I am sure, to anyone and everyone seeking this path to understanding.
There is more coming in Part 2. For now, let me give you a rest and an opportunity to think about what has happened to me, and can happen to anyone who asks for it, for I have no doubt a part of me asked for it all.
Reverand Lee and the readings
Sai Baba, Darshans and Kyle
TV and vegetarian
Love and Max and the world
Starting this website