Saturday, September 29, 2007

Apple Seed

Apple seed,
Planted tree
Highest branch,
distant sea
Forgotten hill,
deepened well

O come what may-
this idea conjured forth
The birth
The form
O the forgotten norm I cannot but see,
I cannot but know-

What is here but not found-
What is found but not known.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

His Presence is Near

His Presence is near,
Can you hear His love song?
All along He was here,
Why did you fear as if He would not hear you call?

The fall is by working the law,
Sin begins to gnaw on your soul;
The hole, so dark and black,
Feel the lack of your power to act-
React to His drawing you to Himself.

The Self: let go of you,
And He will be He,
Then there is no need to try;
Die to your i,
Only be as He is He,
and you will be you:
And then you will fly.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The life that I now live

The apostle Paul said, I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ who liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.- Ga 2.20.

What is the true ontological status of one who is a follower of Jesus Christ?
What is the ontological status of anyone, whether a follower or not?

For most people, even many believers, there's a false notion, a delusion that we somehow exist independently of God. Even if theologically they believe that we are contingent upon the Necessary Being, Who is God, they will nonetheless think and act as if they exist in and of themselves.

In the Islamic shahada the statement, La illaha illa Lla, There is no God but Allah, would be an agreeable doctrine to Christians in its affirmation of the monotheistic God, if properly understood. The Sufis took the Shahada to an ontological level, by saying Only God exists, or There is no being but the Being (or Allah). In Islam the ultimate sin, shirk, is to affirm another god besides Allah. Thus to affirm another existent, in the Sufi sense, would be to commit a kind of ontological polytheism, or shirk. So, too, for Christians, if we can believe this, to believe otherwise would be ontological idolatry, or philosophic polytheism to affirm that any other than God truly exists.
This should not seem strange to us, though admittedly hard to comprehend. For to believe it is one thing, but it demands a change of consciousness on our part to experience the Reality thereof.

To be sure, the Scriptures of the Judeo-Christian faith affirmed the monotheistic status of God, and even on an ontological level at least a thousand years before Mohamed came, as Isaiah prophesied, I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside...That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.- Isa 45.5a, 6.

This is the mystery, that God alone exists, that He alone is; and if that is so, what is our ontological status? We do not argue that we are non-existent, neither do we claim to exist. Our existence is relative, and His existence is absolute, He is Absolute Being. And in relation to Him nothing exists! Do you deny this? Do you claim to exist independent from Him? Can there possibly be two existences metaphysically? You and He? Two? This would be a philosophic polythiesm, and thus an ontological idolatry to hold to this. Some would say at this point, He is Three, referring to the Holy Trinity. Yes, there are three, but they are only One in their substratum, in the Essence. It is the Essence of which we speak. Thus the Three emanate from the One, or the Father emanates the Son, and He emanates the Holy Spirit, though eternally (Heb 13.8). One Being, Three Persons, a topic for later.

Paul grasps the ontological importance of God in relation to us in the heading text above. He is talking about his "I", which we may use the small case to indicate our existential "i", as oppossed to the Absolute "I" Who is God.
Paul then says, i was crucified with Christ, neverthe less I live, yet not i, but Christ who lives in me. The life that i now live in the flesh, which is to say, existentially, i live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me...Thus our ontological status is that by Jesus' personal faith (which is how the Greek reads), we subsist in the flesh, that is existentially. Yes, He alone IS, and we do not...., and yet, we do. Why? Because Jesus the Son believes us to, that is He has faith. Faith in what? Faith in faith? Faith in us? God forbid... let God be true, but every man a liar- Rom 3.4a. He has faith, that is, He believes in what He witnessed of us when our particular entity was revealed as a glory and aspect of God, revealed in the Logos (Word). This is what Jesus meant when He said, These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God- Rev 3.14b. Thus for Him to exercise His faith concerning us is not to believe in non-existence, but in His Self-Revelation eternally occurring; what He saw in us as we were not, but were yet in Him, was Himself. He witnessed our true self in Himself, and had faith, thus saying, Amen- so be it! And so we subsist in this world to be the beneficiaries of His love and grace poured out on the cross.
Bless God!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Reflection of Glory

O Man, Who walked the shores of Galilee,
What reflection do you have of me?

The new nature who walks within,
Free of guilt, and free of sin.

To turn the pages of a mirror,
is to see your face disappear;
In place is the Love,
displaced is the fear.

O Mirror, Who walked the shores of Galilee,
What reflection do you have of me?

The Face of the Father:
But could it be?
I in Him, and He in me.

To mirror the pages of a book,
You must see, you must look;
Not to gaze on what once was,
Nor on what should be,
But on the Face of Eternity.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Infancy Gospel

Your Glories are Your own,
revealed to Your Self Alone;
What steps can I take to be annihilated in You?

Where am I at?
Where is my entity fixed?
In Your mind, Your omniscience:
Somewhere between I Am, and I am not.

I am the color Grey:
A harmony of White, Holy as the Ancient of Days;
And of Black, impoverished toward the Light for which I beg.

One: Alone in transcendence, Independent of the worlds;
You are Unknown, You are not found;
Ain-Nothing, Where?

A Birth, and a Son:
A Father is revealed in His Revelation;
A mystery is reveiled in Its concealing.

A Book sent forth, a scroll unfurled:
We sent it down with Holy lips;
A wind rushing passed, a Herald gone forth:
I prophesy the coming of the Holy Ancient One.

A Birth, a nativity: O Holy Silent Night.
In Bethlehem?
No. In your heart.
Where is He that is born King of the Jews?
For we have seen His star in the east, and are come for to worship Him.

Come and see:
In the former stall for animals,
for the beast nature;
There is no place for Him in the Inn of this world:
It is filled up with lusts, and distractions;
Only in the lowly place have we prepared Him room.

See? we have provided straw and a manger in our lowly stable.

Lay Your blessed Holy head down upon the straw which we provide;
Sleep that deep and Holy sleep,
Your eyes shut as our eyes awake.

I enter into your rest:
let me be your
Infancy Gospel.

The Babe cries, uttering forth the vowels of creation;
The Babe awakens, and smiles;
My heart is illumined by His love.

I have wine to drink, and bread to eat:
Will you not join Me in My feast?

I have been depraved, and so deprived I myself in this foolish fast.

Toward what end has been this pallid languishing?

Toward the night, I saw not the Light as if it were dimly lit:
I said, How can I come in clothes so tattered and torn, smelling of rotted flesh so rancid?

Yet sought I comfort in the brothel,
enticed by the warm red light that shone upon

What can I give you on this my birthday?
Up to half my kingdom would I give for this dance.

That will not do, nor would it suffice:
that you should pay me only half a price:

This is what I ask, nay, what I demand:
Serve up now the head of the Baptist in your hand.

For all that will do, and only all would suffice:
give me all your soul, all your life,
bound up as it is in the words he preached:
Repent ye, the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Do you not know, and can you not see?
This brothel is a church for the damned.
Do they bow?
Do they worship?
O yes, they bow and worship:
These filthy dreamers having eyes full of adultery!

Get you out, leave your garment in her hand,
her bloody hand:
This whore shall not drink of your blood from her cup.

He lifted my face to His,
With one kiss He set me free:
His lips drink deep the wine of shame and suffering.

The Bread I give is My flesh, Which I give for the life of the world; This cup I pour is My blood, Shed for the forgiveness of sin.

I am brought to Your banqueting house,
A bountiful feast;
I have become your house of wine:
O taste and see that the Lord is good!

I stumbled out of the house of wine, and staggered into the Night:
Where did I go?
Where will I be found?

Stupified, intoxicated from the wine:
The room spins, swirling round as I take in all colors:
My grey is polished to a reflective plane.

Silent Night, Holy Night:
I emerge as the Light.

Shining forth from the dark:
A Word of all words, letters spanning A to Z;
When I saw Him, I swooned at His feet as dead;
Fear not.
His hand reaffirms me again:
I Am the First and the Last, glad you could join Me in this repast.

Leon Bahrman

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Neshamot - A Subtle Physiology

Is there an equivalency for the idea of chakras within Christianity?

Chakras are a well known phenomena as taught within Hinduism and Buddhism. The word 'chakra'  means wheels or turning, and are the  wheels or centers of energy located usually at seven points along the spinal column of the subtle yogic body. The energy is said to lay dormant, coiled as it were at the base of the spine. This 'coiled' energy is often depicted as a sleeping serpent called 'kundalini'- meaning 'coiled'. And so various yogic techniques are used to awaken this energy, and then to raise it up, so as to penetrate each of what are 7 chakras, until the topmost chakra, Sahasrara-chakra, is attained, thus resulting in enlightenment.

The concept of chakras has had some influence on other religions, in particular esoteric Islam called Sufism. The Sufism of the school of Alaoddawleh Semnani has the doctrine of the seven latifa, which are subtle organs, or centers that the mystic opens up one by one. Only the latifah do not directly correspond with physical areas of the body as the chakras do. Thus, instead of ascending from the spinal base to the crown, the latifa are rather deeper, and deeper levels of the heart of your being.

In esoteric Judaism called Kabbalah, the doctrine of the ten sefirot, seen as ten emanations of God, while usually conceptualized in a theosophical and cosmological sense, have also been internalized within man, as in Abraham Abulafia's school of thought. 

Within each of these traditions, these subtle energy centers are used mystically as a means of ascending 'Jacob's ladder' in seeking union with the divine. 

So the question remains: Does this idea have an equivalency within Christianity?

If we conceive of these centers or vortices of power as chakras, latifah, or the sefirot as being a series of intermediaries between us and God, than it is here that these terms would need clarification within a  Christian context. Two points:

1) Christian soteriology: For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus - I Tim 2:5. 
Though how these other traditions conceive of them as intermediaries will differ one from the other, we consider that for us it is but one step to the Father, Jesus Christ. And so any such concept would have to exclude any extra step between us and the Father's love (Rom 8.38-39).

2) Biblical psychology and physiology: Which is not taught on, nor understood enough in Christian circles. It is thus presented in Scripture that we are a tripartite being, consisting of spirit, soul and body (1Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12). Our spirit-man is that which contacts God, and the spiritual realm; our soul is our psychological aspect, which includes the mind, will and emotions. 

We thus introduce the Biblical Hebrew term neshamah (pl. neshamot) in our discussion. Though as a side note, Jewish Kabbalah also refers to this term- it is done in a different sense, and definition than presented here (or in the Bible for that matter). They see it as particular faculty of the spiritual mind- as different than say ruach (spirit), nephesh (soul), etc... However there's a more general reference to it in Scripture.

Neshamah does not stand by itself as a faculty, but meaning "breaths" in the plural (neshamot), we first read of them here, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Heb. neshamot-breaths] of life; and man became a living soul [Heb. nephesh-animal soul]- Gen 2:7. It is these neshamot-breaths that become our focus for the possibility of the chakra, or latifah type equivalent concept being applicable in a mystical Christian physiology.

Of the neshamot it is written, The spirit [Heb. neshamot] of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly -Prov 20:27. And as the neshamot are God's candle, would it be any stretch to see them as a reflection of the seven branched menorah as is a symbol of the Holy Spirit?  For He is manifest as the Seven Spirits of God (Isa 11:2; Zech 4:2,6,10; Rev 4:5;5:6). And so it is seen that there are thus also seven neshamot-breaths within us, and that they constitute a subtle physiology, that when opened and developed, form Christ within us (2Cor 3:18; Ga 4:19; Col 1:27). 

Each of these subtle breaths correspond to our tripartite being, esoteric aspects of our exoteric manifestation.

This can only be a brief introduction, but  here are the seven neshamot within us given in ascending order, and using their Hebrew names:

1) Neshamah- behemot: The subtlety of our physical body, our "beast-nature";

2) Neshamah- nepheshi: The subtlety of our self, our soul;

3) Neshamah- halev: The subtlety of our heart (Mt 22.37);

4) Neshamah- sod halev: The subtlety of our secret heart ( Psa 51.6; Lk 2.51; IPet 3.4).

5) Neshamah- ruach: The subtlety of our spirit man;

6) Neshamah- chayim: The subtlety of our spiritual life ( Gen 7.22; Jn 20.31; 1Jn 5.11-12);

7) Neshamah- yachidah: The subtlety of our Oneness, and True Nature (Jn 17.21-22; 1Cor 6.17; Ga 3.20).

May this be a blessing for whom it's intended.