This one has been on my mind all day. I know this particular curse afflicts many Christians, but I have personally only met a few of them.
Let me start off by saying it is impossible for you to be religious in any capacity if you are close minded. Religion, especially one that deals with other states of reality, requires an open-mindedness to their existence.
For Christians that’s Heaven. For Advaitists it’s perhaps the source. For Buddhists perhaps enlightenment. The list goes on. But you can’t believe in the existence of any of that if you are close minded. Why? Because many of these, for lack of a better phrase, “final destinations” take place outside the reality where you live and experience in a very physical sense.
In fact it is likely you will never have a Near Death Experience, Out of Body Experience, or Astral Project if you don’t believe in the Astral realm and higher vibrational realities. From my readings it seems clear that what you see when the inner, real you separates from the organic machine you drive is largely determined by what you believe.
But this curse goes matters of life and death. It infiltrates into the cracks and crevices of your being at a number of levels. If you are a Christian and you drive by a Buddhist monastery and frown, you are being close-minded. Chances are you know little of Buddhist beliefs and you automatically assume your religion is the right one and theirs is somehow wrong, bad or even evil. It all takes place in the time it takes to move your facial muscles, but the inner drive goes much deeper. Same thing if you’re a Muslim and you drive by a Christian Community Church. Taking it a step further and slaughtering each other because our beliefs are different is close-mindedness at its worst.
I recently watched a documentary at our church about the attempt to blend Christianity and Muslims beliefs together – they call it Chrislam. Two hours of talking about something from the Christian perspective only to install fear and dislike of the Muslim religion. Only to separate us. In the documentary they say that the Muslim Jesus is not like ours, and this is why the Muslims feel they have to kill Christians I guess, some sort of holy war. Here’s the thing…
It does not matter who or what Jesus is or was or may be. Really it doesn’t! If Jesus comes back a the Muslims say and demands we convert, well if we know for sure we are dealing with Jesus we had better convert. Those of us with Christian beliefs see Jesus as God’s son, so if He’s giving orders we obey. If Jesus comes back like we believe then the Muslims will have some changing to do. But the fact remains that, so far as we know, He has not returned, and there is just as good a likelihood that He never will. To be open-minded you have to be able to accept beliefs different from your own. In any case it is simply irrelevant because it has not happened yet. Why go to war over something that has not happened, that we only believe will happen?
All religions have their sacred texts. For Christians it’s the Bible. For Muslims the Qur’an. The Yogis have the Vedantic texts, Judaism, the Torah. Who is to say that any one of these books is any more right, true and real than any other?
Here’s what I say… God probably wouldn’t put all his eggs in one basket. If this is true, then perhaps fragments from all the texts are puzzle pieces to the larger picture. In other words we must read, study and understand them all, and apply anything that speaks to us, that rings true with us, to our belief system. It really is time to move out of the church. In the Bible Jesus demonstrates this clearly. His church was the people. More than likely either we are all connected to God, or a piece of God is in all of us. It does not matter how you define God. What matters is how we serve as God’s Hands on this earth.
Leave the judging to God, you are not qualified! Retain whatever beliefs you wish, but accept that any of your beliefs may be wrong. This is how I choose to live. I retain a set of Christian beliefs, and some beliefs from other religions as well. But I also believe that any of my beliefs may be wrong, so I can stop believing in anything that is proven experientially false, and I can pick up new beliefs that prove experientially true.
By experientially I mean I open my mind to an opposing, outlandish, out there belief. Let’s use UFOs for an example. Say I decide not to believe in UFOs. Well I can retain that belief until a UFO lands in my backyard and an alien steps out. Then I have to drop that belief, because it has been proven wrong by personal experience and discovery. For the record I do not believe we have ever been visited by aliens as of yet, but I retain the belief in the possibility of their existance. Here’s a question for you… If an alien came down in their spacecraft, landed in your backyard, and handed you a book that proved to be their Bible, and many of the things in that are similar to what our Bible says, what would you do?
Right now chances are you can not accept, can not fathom this. Chances are you have no answer for me. Well the answer is not for me, it is for you. I am showing you what happens when you are close minded. Open-minded people are flexible. When something comes along that challenges what they believe they are not broken, speechless, or dumbfounded. The best of them live in the moment, enjoy the learning experience, and change their beliefs like you would change your socks.
If the disciples were not open-minded they could not have gone out of their bodies and received fantastic visions. If Jesus was close-minded He could not heal the sick or raise the dead. If you are close-minded how can you believe in Heaven and Hell, obviously other realities outside our own “reality”? Have you even bothered to consider how “real” this world truly is?
None of the things Jesus did, his disciples did, or the prophets experienced are normal and common to us here in modern times. Raising people from the dead, instantly healing the sick, walking on water, these are not things people normally do. It probably wasn’t even normal in the Old and New Testament time periods. In order for us to believe that things happened, and furthermore, that we as God’s Hands may someday do any of these things, requires an open mind, because it is outside the scope of our normal experiences.
What is belief but having an open mind towards things we would normally classify as impossible? Belief allows us to open our minds, which allows God to step inside and bring us beyond our normal human limitations. In this way we can serve as God’s Hands somewhere in the world where there is a need, and in some cases, we can do things that are beyond human ability. The organic machine you drive around in through life may feel comfortable to you, familiar to you, may feel like it actually is you. But God wrote the operating manual. Only He knows your body, and what it can do, better than anyone else.
It’s time to open your mind. You can not prove with any certainty that the Bible is the truth, any more than you can prove that the Qur’an is the truth or the Vedantic texts are. You can only believe what you choose to believe, in the sacred book of your religion. Since you can not do more than that you really have no right to judge the truth or wrongness of any other text. Read the New Testament in the Bible. Did Jesus ever say anything against any other religion? He chewed the pharisees out for how they practiced their religion, but He never attacked any other belief system. Look at the disciples. We hear about one who used a statue of an, “unknown God” to reach some people. Notice he did not criticize or condemn the belief systems of others.
Judging, criticizing, attacking, all these are using force to get someone to change their beliefs to your own. This will never work. You can never force someone to change. They may go through the motions on the outside, but whatever they hold in their heart is theirs and theirs alone. Acceptance, openness, flexibility – it is with these and other similar traits that we can reach others. When you attack you cause your victim to close their mind.
When you accept, drawing that Buddhist monk, that Yogi, that Muslim in close saying, “Brother!” with all your heart, then their minds are opened, and the two of you can talk. There is no discussion between two close-minded people. There is only separation, two insurmountable walls that God never wanted us to build between ourselves. How could we possibly be God’s Hands when we wall ourselves into our own close-minded belief system? Love is the answer, not hatred. Open not closed. Acceptance not denial. Openness not judgement. Sharing, not conversion.
If it requires force then it is more than likely not something you should do. If you follow the flow, being God’s Hands to anyone who needs Him, no matter what religion they identify themselves with, then there will be no force, and change will happen, if it needs to, like magic. Your job is to plant seeds, to water, to touch the positive seeds in others and yourself. Leave the pruning and uprooting to God.