Earthchangers College

Raising vibrations to help humanity

Smoley, Inner Christianity INTRODUCTION

http://earthchanges.ning.com/forum/topics/inner-christianity-by-richard-smoley

The book starts with a quote from Francis of Assisi:  What you are looking for is what is looking.  Well, that's simple enough, isn't it?  It's saying that the answer to what we are seeking lies within. 

In the Introduction, the author discusses how everything is being challenged and that even Christianity has not been spared, citing that historical and critical methods have revealed that the life of Christ was not historical fact but myths and legends that attached themselves to him after his time.  There have been varying reactions to this, such as rejection and denial, taking refuge in fundamentalism, being confused or just plain giving up. 

What's clear is that we can't just take anything on blind faith.  We no longer live in a world ruled by the comforting certainties of church doctrine and the literal truth of the Bible.  But this has served to invigorate people's quest for the truth.  This impulse fed the New Age movement, alternative spiritualities, and eastern religious traditions.  Many of these stress enlightenment as the goal.  They say our ordinary state of consciousness is not the highest one of which we are capable, but a low-grade delusory state.  Spiritual disciplines such as meditation can free us from this oblivion and restore us to our full birthright as human beings. 

Some of the recent discoveries, like the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Library, suggest that that early Christians not only reached insights similar to those of the Eastern religions but also had a sophisticated understanding of human consciousness in their own right.  Many were concerned with what they called gnosis, a word that means "knowledge" in Greek.  This is knowledge of a very specific kind -- direct, intuitive knowing that surpasses ordinary reason and confers spiritual liberation.  Gnosis strongly resembles enlightenment as portrayed by Hinduism and Buddhism. 

Knowledge that liberates consciousness is often described as esoteric, which means "further in."  You have to go further in yourself to understand what this knowledge is about.  The author uses "inner Christianity" and "esoteric Christianity" interchangeably. 

Esotericism teaches that this world within us is as rich and diverse as the outer world and consists of many different levels of being.  (I think QHHT has given us a solid grounding in that!)  Although these levels stand between us and God, they do so not as obstacles but as way stations.  Christ said, "In my Father's house are many mansions.  The Greek word here translated as "mansions" literally means way stations.

There's a difference between esoteric and mystical.  The first is characterized by an interest in these different levels of consciousness and being.  The second is not quite so concerned with these intermediate states; it focuses on reaching God in the most direct and immediate way.  Moreover, mysticism tends more toward passivity:  a quiet "waiting upon God" rather than active investigation.

These brief points suggest what esoteric Christianity offers to the individual:  a way of self-knowledge -- a way, perhaps, to the ultimate knowledge of Self. 

Esotericism differs from conventional views in holding that the Bible has always been meant to be read on several different levels, of which the literal is only one and in fact the lowest.  The third-century Church Father, Origen, wrote [about Adam and Eve] that "... though the incidents never occurred, [they] figuratively reveal certain mysteries. 

As we will see, these "certain mysteries" have to do with the furthest reaches of human consciousness and potential.  Viewed from this perspective, the story of the Fall is not an antiquated folktale but a vivid and accurate account of the human predicament, and the story of Christ is not only an account of a historical man but also a figurative representation of the path that each of us must follow to attain liberation.  [The Fall, as we shall see later, has to do with leaving paradise (a higher dimension) and coming into third dimension.]

This book is not an attempt to sell Christianity, nor is it meant to bring straying believers back into the fold.  It is meant to suggest that the universal truths of esoteric knowledge are expressed just as much in Christianity as in other traditions (Kabbalah in Judaism, Sufi in Islam, etc.)  It is known that the inner traditions of religions have more in common with each other than the exterior forms of those religions.

So, this is basically what the book is about.  Are you interested in pursuing it further?

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