Lesson 23- Jesus Shows the Way
In my last program I was discussing the fact that Jesus and our moral conscience are one in the same thing because our moral sense lies in the left hemisphere of our brain which is also the source of logic in us. And since Jesus is the Logos or Logic of God that, according to St. John, is found in every human being, then whenever we interact with the logic within us, we are interacting with Jesus. So how close is Jesus to us? Hes as close as our thoughts and to the degree that we reflect on our actions and the actions of others, we interact with the "Jesus within." And to the degree that we listen to this pure voice of Reason, we grow in Wisdom and understanding and knowledge. It will tell us the Truth if we are willing to listen to it but, unfortunately, we dont always want to hear the truth because it will convict us of our sins and challenge us to repent and reform. It's the voice that tell us, logically speaking, that we will always "reap what we sow", that as we "measure so will it be measured unto us" both of which are logical statements because basically what they are saying is that we will always get the logical consequences of our actions and that the premises that we apply to others will logically be applied to us.
It is the judging agent which will search our heart after death for the premises by which we lived our lives and then assign us to the world that best reflects our own premises. If we say that sinners should not be shown mercy, then we will enter a world without mercy; if we say that one does not have to be faithful to the commitments made to others, then we will be assigned to the world of the unfaithful; if we say that problems should be resolved through violence and conflict, then we will be assigned to the world composed of other souls that live by the same premise. In other words, our own consciences will convict us and Jesus, the Logos of God, in the name of justice will give us the world that matches our own beliefs. For some it will be a heavenly world and for others it will be a living hell but in both cases it will always be a world of our own choosing.
Of course, Jesus wishes us to choose the heavenly over the hellish and He operates on two fronts in his attempts to save us from the Kingdom of Darkness. First, since He is our moral conscience, He has always been a part of every human being from the time that their left lobes became active through the gift of language and logic. Thus, from the dawn of human existence, He has been an intimate part of every human being urging them to listen to Him as that inner voice which was always calling them to reflect upon their actions to discover the truth and, having discovered it, apply it to their lives. In Proverbs 8, Wisdom, who according to the Church, is Jesus says that it come through experience. However, it appears that this inner voice was ignored by most of the human race throughout most of its history because our history is a story of war, violence, injustice and sinfulness. We hardly ever acted as the rational beings that we were suppose to be who were made in the image and likeness of God. Thus, it appears, God went to plan "B". Perhaps He always knew that one day He would have to since He knew that our natural hearts were not very good at listening because, being animalistic and nonverbal, they preferred being shown the way rather than being told.
So, according to Christian beliefs, Jesus, the Word of God, the Logos or Logic of God, the Wisdom of God, became flesh and dwelt amongst us" for the purpose of showing us the way to salvation. Now remember that the two lobes of our brain are "show and tell." The right hemisphere, which is related to the animal kingdom, does not understand language and therefore must be shown how to do something. The left hemisphere, which is our intellect, that separates us from the animal kingdom through its ability to speak, can be told the truth. So it appears that Jesus came into the world to lift the right hemisphere out of the Kingdom of Mental Darkness by showing it the way to salvation. Thus, whenever he spoke, He spoke in a way that the right hemisphere of our brains would understand. Let me explain.
I am going to tell the left hemisphere of your brain why lying is wrong and then I am going to tell the right hemisphere the same thing. First, I will speak to your left hemisphere.
Lying is wrong because the primary purpose of speech is to communicate information so that human knowledge can advance. Lying is a sin because it "misses the mark" by communicating misinformation and therefore undermines the advancement of human knowledge." Did you get it? Let me repeat it again, only this time more slowly.
Lying is wrong because the primary purpose of speech is to communicate information so that human knowledge can advance. Lying is a sin because it "missing the mark" by communicating misinformation and therefore undermines the advancement of human knowledge." That is the logical reason for why lying is a sin and it is directed at the left lobe of your brain.
Now let me tell the same thing to the right lobe by using language to which it can relate. "Lying is wrong because there once was a little boy who lived in a mountain village who was told by the townspeople to look over the sheep. He was told that if a wolf should come that he should cry out "Wolf! Wolf!" and they would come to save him. The little boy was on the hillside outside of town watching the sheep, but as the days passed he became increasingly lonely. Finally, he decided that he needed some company so he cried out "Wolf! Wolf! And the townspeople came running out of the town to save him. However, once they got there they realized that he was lying and they warned him that they were very busy people and that he should not cry "Wolf!" unless it was true. They returned to the town and the little boy once again began to watch the sheep. After a while, his loneliness increases and he cries out "Wolf! Wolf!" The townspeople came running again only to discover that he was lying. They were furious and they said that they would never believe him again.
Later that day, the little boy sat down to eat his lunch when suddenly there appeared a GREAT BIG WOLF. Terrified he cried out "Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! But nobody came and the wolf ate him up."
I am sure that all of you have heard the story of the "Little Boy Who Cried Wolf" because I, and millions of other parents, told it numerous times over and over again to our children. On many evenings, just before they went to bed, my own children would say "Tell us, daddy, about the little boy who cried wolf."
Now both explanations say the same thing. The first one, which talks of primary purposes, is aimed at the left lobe of the brain while the second one is aimed at the right lobe. Since all of us as children begin with a functionally larger right lobe and, like Helen Keller, with an almost totally nonfunctional left lobe, then it is fair to say that children are right lobed beings whose favorite method of giving and receiving information is through right lobe methods. Therefore, if we want to communicate anything to the childs brain, we must use a method that they can understand. We are wasting our time, if we use a left lobe method because their left lobes have not developed, functionally speaking, to the point where they can understand left lobe communication.
So what is the difference between left lobe and right lobe communication? Well, lets take a look at the first explanation which was aimed at the left lobe and compare it to the second explanation which was aimed at the right lobe. The first explanation uses "abstract language" which cannot be pictured. And, since children and many of us who favor our right lobes think in pictures, then we either dont understand or have trouble understanding abstract language. Words like "primary", "purpose" "communication", "truth" don't have arms or legs or eyes or ears or, for that matter, any form at all. They are abstract and our right lobes cant deal with them because they dont generate a picture. Words like "boy", "wolf", "sheep" and "mountain", on the other hand, are concrete and thus can be pictured.
We all run into the same problem at Christmas time when we purchase a toy or an item that has to be assembled. The manufacturer, knowing our weaknesses, puts in two sets of instructions. One is aimed at the left lobe and the other is aimed at the right. The left lobe instructions go something like this: "Take item A and place it into the collar of item B and, using the 5/16th bolt, place it with a nut and lock screw, into the hinge of C." At this point, our right lobes are saying, "forget it! I don't know what they are talking about. The manufacturer, knowing that many people will run into this problem, mercifully includes pictures and diagrams which show us what to do. Most people that I know, including myself, skip the verbal directions and go immediately to the pictures because being shown is much easier than being told.
Remember what I said. The two brains are show and tell. The right lobe has to be shown while the left lobe can be told and the younger we are or the more right lobed we are, the more we are inclined to explanations which generate pictures. That is why children enjoy stories and cartoons and dislike lectures and documentaries. That is also why they are so physical in their communication. They dont tell you they are angry, they show you that they are through facial expressions, bodily postures, and physical aggression. And when they love you, they dont give you a long explanation of why they do. They simply hug and kiss you. In fact, all of us, when we reach a point where words are inadequate to express what we are feeling, switch from left lobe to right lobe communication. When we are angry and our feelings are moving faster and deeper than words can express we begin to point our finger, shake our fist, pound on tables, throw things, slam doors, and switch to more picturesque language which, because of its vulgarity, I cant quote on this program. The same is true when our positive feelings are moving faster and deeper than words can express. When we are trying to explain the depth of our love for someone and words seem inadequate, we switch to the right lobe and, with tears streaming down our face, throw our arms around the person, and, pulling him or her close in an embrace which shows our desire to be united with the loved one, smother him or her with kisses.
On a higher plane, we use the various Art forms such as music, dance, paintings, plays, sculpture, and fashion to express that which is inexpressible. Poetry, for example, is an attempt to use left lobe words in a picturesque and symbolic way to express truths and insights that go deeper than normal words can express.
However, of all the art forms music is the most powerful and universally loved. Music, said one sage, is love in search of a word. Think about it! Music is love in search of a word. Now consider this. The philosopher Schopenhauer said that all the art forms are an expression of God but music is God and Plato said that music trains the soul because it totally bypasses our rational faculties which are designed to evaluate the content of any input that is seeking to enter our being and, instead, music enters directly and unhindered into the core of our being. Only a fool would believe that music is simply a form or entertainment. Did you hear that parents? Those of you who feel that you have no right or responsibility to monitor the type of music to which your children listen better wake up. If as Plato said, all music expresses nonverbally a spirit that invades the core of our being and becomes part of who we are, then how many of our children do we have to see who have become transformed and alienated from the parents and culture by music before we catch on to the fact that music is too powerful to be left in the hands of profit seeking, sex and drug oriented, pessimistic and nihilistic people? The answer, of course, is not to ban music but to consciously expose our children to music that uplifts their spirits rather than drags them down.
If Jesus is Wisdom and Wisdom is the Light that leads us out of the animalistic world of Darkness, then what do you think He would have to say about the Wisdom of a culture that allows it young people to spend billions of dollars a year buying records and attending concerts where the music is wild, the lyrics are vulgar, and the entertainers are models for sex, drugs, and wild living? America, we are reaping what we sowed and we have seen only the tip of the iceberg and unless we wake up and start to follow Wisdom, then we are destined for the trash heap of all the great previous civilization that lost their way. The body cant survive if all it eats is "junk food" and the spirit of a culture can't survive if the spirit of its people is fed constantly on what is lowest in our nature.
Our spirits, said the ancient Jews, were made to eat the Bread of Life which is Wisdom. What do you think Jesus would have to say about the World Wrestling Association and the increasing violence and vulgarity that it portrays?
Anyway, let me return to my major topic which is that Jesus, the Logic within us, has always been available to all human beings to lead them out of Gehenna, the Kingdom of Empty Thought, which animals live in and to bring them into the Kingdom of Mental Light where rational thought reigns. The human race by using its logical power of reflection was always capable of learning the Truth by seeking, asking, pondering, and discerning what life experiences were always reflecting back to them. However, their hedonistic animal nature always got in the way because it always wanted to choose the path of pleasure and avoid whatever what difficult. After all, its operating premise was, "Whatever gives me pleasure is good and whatever gives me pain is bad." Thus, the only inducement that one could offer it to do good at all was to promise it a reward, called heaven, or threaten it with a punishment, called hell. Thus, the animal nature was a slave or a hireling which only worked for the Good, or God, so long as the whip was present or the paycheck was forthcoming. It never loved Good, or God, for its own sake. And because of this, it could never please God, no more than a man can be pleased by the love of a prostitute which has to be bought and flits from one man to another whenever the price is right.
Thus, in the Book of Hosea, Hosea, the prophet who is a symbol for God, is told to marry a prostitute, who is a symbol for us. And, as prostitute is inclined to do, she cheated on him whenever he turned his back. He kept lifting her out of the gutter by taking her back and she kept betraying him by returning to the gutter. Is it any wonder, that God finally decided that "enough was enough" and went looking for a virgin by the name of Mary with whom to establish a New Covenant? And, of course, it wasnt even just her physical virginity that attracted Him. Even, more so, it was her spiritual virginity because, as the Church teaches, she was without sin. In other words, she hadnt slept around with the lower appetites of her nature. She was as innocent and as pure as Eve was in the Garden of Eden before the Original Sin of Pride caused her to fall. She was, as the Angel Gabriel said, "full of grace", which of course, is the supernatural love of God which is the source of everyone's salvation. So her purity was not of her own making, no more than any of our purity is of our own making. What made her pure was her receptivity and openness to receive the gift of Gods grace through her humble nature. Her prayer, which is recorded in the New Testament, is a testament to humility. She says, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He, who is mighty, hath done great things to me. And Holy is His name. He has looked upon the lowliness of His handmaid..." Can't you hear it? Dont you see why the Church sometimes refers to her as the New Eve just as St. Paul refers to Jesus as the New Adam?
Adam and Eve are the Old Testament of law based on reward and punishment. Jesus and Mary are the New Testament based on love, grace, and truth. Just as it was Eves Pride that condemned her and us through the Original Sin; so it was Marys humility that saved her because it opened up her spirit so that God could fill her with His graces and by doing so, she became a vessel that God could use to save us. One of the titles that the Church gives her is Ark of the Covenant because just as the Ark in the Old Testament was a specially prepared vessel to contained the Shikinah, or glory of God, Marys body became a specially prepared vessel to contain that same Shikinah when she became impregnated with Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Can you imagine that? A Living Ark containing the Living Word of God. The wooden ark of the Old Testament was so sacred because it contained the Shikinah of God that anyone who touched it, even accidentally, was struck dead because of the awesomeness of its contents. Could the body of the Living Ark be any less sacred? In fact, the very fact that her body was more than inert wood; the fact that she not only contained the Shikinah but also provided the human genes that provided His human nature and that He was to be flesh of her flesh suggests that her body was even more sacred than the old ark. Where the sacredness of the old ark caused death to those who touched it, this Living Ark provided life to all who by touching it were infused with the power which lived within her.
The Church says that Mary is the model for all Christian which leads us ask the question what did she model? Well, when one strips away the surface information and looks at the underlying truth, it becomes clear that she opened herself through humility to become impregnated by Gods sperm, the Holy Spirit of Truth, and, as a result, gave birth to Gods Wisdom. So this suggest that the role that all of us are called to perform is to model her humility by opening ourselves to Truth so that we too can give birth to Gods Wisdom in our world. It is only Gods Wisdom, which is His Word, which is His Logos or Logic, which is located in the left hemisphere of our brains that is capable of leading us out of the Mental World of Darkness by seeking and finding the Truth that is capable of setting us free. To the extent that we use and develop this gift of rational thought, we are being saved from ignorance, foolishness, and animal existence. To the extent that we ignore or misuse it, we remain in that darkness.
Thus, I have shocking new for all you parents. Your kids are not going to hell. They are already there. They were born into the Kingdom of Mental Darkness that Helen Keller described in her article. Had they been just animals, they would have had to remain there but, because they were human beings, their left lobe was capable of learning language and logic which could lift them from their world of "nothingness" or "empty thought" into the world of "somethingness" and understanding. It was and is our job as parents to feed the rational dimension in them by leading them down the paths of Wisdom. However, that could only happen if we ourselves were on the path to Wisdom. If we, the parents, arent wise; if we are not eating at the table of the Bread of Life; if we ourselves are conformed to the world in its music, entertainment, and lifestyles, then our unfortunate children find themselves blind beings entrusted to blind guides. And, as the scriptures say, "when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the ditch."
As parent, we are supposed to lead them from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Thus, in the beginning, we like God are forced to use the promise of reward and the threat of punishment to get them to do the right thing. In other words, then need external control because they dont know how to control themselves. However, we are not supposed to leave them in the Old Testament because that, being based on external law, is for the spiritually immature. We are suppose to lead them to the New Testament where, because, being based on love, grace, and truth, the external laws are written on their hearts and external control is replaced by self control. Self-control, of course, is just another name for spiritual maturity which occurs when we take ownership and responsibility for our own actions and we come to realize that the laws based on rational behavior which we resented as youngsters as being oppressive and hostile are really freeing and friendly. In other words, we reached the point that Mark Twain reached when he said, "When I was seventeen I thought that my father was the most stupid man in the world. Now that I am twenty-two, I am amazed by how much he has learned in five years."
If there is one guiding principle that parents need in the raising of their children it is "Feed the rational and starve the animal." If you dont, then your children will never get out of Gehenna and, if the ancient Jews are correct, they will have made the most foolish mistake that any human being could make. They will spend the rest of their lives feeding their flesh which will die and disintegrate and starving their spirits which are destined to live forever. In other words, their spirits will be handicapped for eternity because they did not take the necessary steps to prepare themselves for the next level of existence. Having been created to live in the Kingdom of Mental Light ruled by Wisdom, their spirits only know how to live in the Kingdom of Mental Darkness ruled by the Prince of Darkness and the Father of All Lies. They werent condemned to hell. They just never got out of it. And, as parents, we share in this responsibility because we were the primary caretakers and guides that were suppose to put them on the right road. Fortunately, there is always the hope that there will be other guides throughout their lives that might be able to turn them in the right direction.
"Feeding the rational and starving the animal is a difficult principle to follow because the original animal nature in the child is going to resist and oppose it. It will not make you a popular parent when you set rules and guidelines for their behavior. But if you need their approval or to be popular with them, then you are not ready to do the job of a parent. Their eternal salvation depends in part on you and if you dont show them the way by your good example or, if even worse, you hold them back by your bad example, then the eternal consequences for both parent and child are too terrible to imagine. Notice that I said consequences not punishment because, it should have dawned on you by now as we have been trying to move from our childish understanding of God and salvation to a more mature understanding, that heaven and hell are not rewards and punishments. Rather, they are the logical consequences that flow from what we do or dont do. If someone offers you a gift, called eternal salvation, and you dont bother to open it, then it's your fault, not the gift givers fault.
So parents what do you think? What do you think are the consequences when we accede or give into our childrens demand for video games, movies, music and entertainment that are riddle with violence and sex? What do you think is the consequences when we watch or allow them to watch TV show which distort sex, undermine marriage, promote unfaithfulness or otherwise undermine the moral codes of our beliefs? What do you think are the consequences when we watch or allow them to watch World Wrestling which is approaching the violence, mayhem, and vulgarity of the Roman Coliseum? Which part of their nature do you think this is feeding: their rational nature or their animal nature. We should post a sign for all parents to read, "Do not feed the animal unless you want to live in a zoo."
It's not good enough to tell them the way because, as I said at the beginning of this talk, that even God concluded that we are not very good at listening because the "tell" side of our brain is the weakest and most underdeveloped. We have to be shown the way. As the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words" and, we might add, "one good example is worth more than a thousand lectures or sermons." The right lobe of our childrens brains are picking up nonverbal messages all the time about who we are and what we really consider important. And often the nonverbal message contradicts the verbal messages that we give them and they soon realize that our real message to them is the hypocritical one of "do what I say but not what I do."
It appears, that God, who knows our nature better than we do and not being a hypocritical parent as many of us are, decided to give us an example which would show us the way to eternal salvation. Like General Patton, He said, "I won't ask you to do anything that I won't do myself." Thus, as Christians, we believe that He took His Wisdom or Logic, which was already part of our mental makeup in the left hemisphere of our brain, and decided to have it enter human history in order to show us the way to salvation. It was our right lobes that were most in need of this so when His Wisdom talked, He didnt use logical explanations like those used by Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. Rather he told stories and parable full of symbolic meaning which were aimed at the right lobe of the brain. He talked about sowers who sowed seeds that fell on different types of soil and produced different consequences. He talked about shepherds and sheep; missing coins; prodigal sons; vineyards and vine. In other words, he used a type of communication that was aimed at the right lobe of our brains. He said that He had come to show them the way to the "fullness of life" and the Kingdom of God. And then He started to say and do strange things. He said that "to receive, you must give; to save your life, you must be willing to lose it; if you want to be first, choose to be last; if you want to be a leader become a servant." And then, He said, I will give you one last example which will show you the way to the "fullness of life." It's a way that your natural mind will not understand because it involves pain, suffering, and difficulty. In fact, anyone who cant overcome themselves cant follow this path because it is the path of self-sacrifice. However, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it can never become the plant. And to illustrate the point, He chose a path that led to His own death and then rose to a higher level.
In His Passion and Death, He overcame in His human nature, the fears that keep all of us from growing and developing. In the Garden of Gethsemane, His right animalistic lobe trembles with the fear of things to come. After pleading with His Father to be spared, He overcomes His animal nature by choosing to do His Fathers Will. In the Scourging at the Pillar, He overcomes the fear of physical pain. In the Crowning with Thorns, he overcomes the fear of humiliation. In the Carrying of His Cross, He overcome the fear of long, dragged out struggles, and in the Crucifixion, He overcomes the ultimate fear of death. And He does all of this without any direct sign of His Father presence. Thus, He cries outs "My God! My God! Why have you abandoned Me?" His death is the ultimate act of faith in the goodness of God without any assurance of reward. He does it just because it is good. And his faith pays off when He rises to a higher level of existence.
Well, I see that my time is up. Heres Dom.