Saturday, May 6, 2017

Hopeful Thinking - Saturday, May 6, 2017 - The Dharma of Christianity: Part III: The Practice

Most of us live by a set of rules we have agreed to follow. Laws, social customs, ethics. We choose for ourselves what rules we will follow and why. Until we, as thinking individuals, consciously decide on our own to follow them, rules are merely suggestions.

What are the rules of the road you choose follow, for example? Do you always use your turn signal? Do you text and drive? Do you drive the speed limit? What do you do when someone is tailgating you? Your personal system of ethics determines the answers to these questions.

The dharma of Christianity is not fully unique. The teachings in one form or another are evident in many of the different faiths and social systems which focus on egalitarianism. Equality among all life.

Any time we distort equality on purpose we develop power structures which are then compelled to focus their efforts on the self-preservation of their unnatural state. The Christian dharma is about equality and, more importantly, it’s a practice of how to achieve it. Fascinating to consider when we think about how that dharma has been distorted by the very dogma and doctrine charged with promoting it.

The dharma of Christianity is actually about the attempt to achieve true democracy among humanity. It’s a message stored in the jewel-encrusted bottle that we have been worshiping until the day we have the maturity and courage to follow the message inside.

It’s a challenging life practice. There are nuances of thinking that are continuously discoverable. Especially in debate and discussion with those who think differently than we do. All dharmas encourage us to explore because they have no egos of their own. A dharma will never tell you that it is the only way. But a religion must. It has its own survival to consider.

The practices are Nonresistance, Forgiveness, Compassion, Hospitality and Empowerment.
Nonresistance is the practice of deliberate acceptance rather than mere tolerance or worse, resistance. When we acknowledge the truth of something and allow ourselves to project love at it, it stands the best chance of evolving into the best possible version of itself. What we resist persists.

Through nonresistance we are lead toward forgiveness because we have started using our energy to listen honestly. Only hurt people hurt people. Soothe the wounded. Your heart, included.
Living in a state of forgiveness, of ourselves and others (not forgetfulness, but understanding), we more easily enter into a state of compassion. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Compassion invites a state of inner welcoming of others. Hospitality. We understand them. We don’t take their faults personally. We create opportunities for people to gather. We welcome them.

Once gathered, once we know them, once we have heard their stories and felt their pain and joys, we understand that we are none of us different. We are equals. We begin to not merely give a hand out, but a hand up. We empower and enrich ourselves and others because it is natural to do so.

And a belief in God is not required. The practice may or may not bring you to that conclusion, but believing in the practice of the teachings of Jesus is independent of an opinion about the divine.

To be continued.

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