Ah! People who believe are saved? Except… it seems the one thing all believers agree on is that it matters what you believe and who you believe in – believing in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost is not the same as believing in Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, not to mention Urd, Verdandi and Skuld. In fact, there is even the occasional bloodshed over which version of each deity you believe in…
Among the very most powerful lines I have heard in a worldly song was this, from Candle in the wind by (Sir) Elton John:
And it seems me that you lived your life like a candle in the wind,
never knowing who to cling to when the rains set in.
Because although we like to forget it, all our lives are such. When the wind is right, it makes our candle flare up brightly. When the wind turns, or the rains set in, we are snuffed out in a moment. Even if not, we flicker and fade after such a short time, consuming ourselves like a candle.
“But for me” says the Psalm, “it is good to keep close to the Lord.” Millions of us think so, at least from time to time, and particularly when the rains set in. Unfortunately there are now, and for a long time has been, many sects and outright heresies, who preach “a different Jesus and a different gospel” as St Paul already noted in the 0050es. There are indeed some who consider Paul one of the most accomplished at this re-imagining of Christ – I just mention that to show how hard it is to know anything for sure.
How do we know we’ve got the right Lord or the right God?
I think you can see from the last couple weeks of this journal that I am worrying about that. I didn’t use to, because the Presence in my heart would be my lifeline. And that is still how I feel. But I am no longer just playing in my crib under the watchful eye of the Original Parent. I have begun to dabble in things that may be too big and too wonderful for me. And I am not sure how to deal with that.
Do I really need to know all these things? I mean, yes, I am born to know things. It is my destiny. That’s the kind of guy I am. But I think there can be too much, way too much of it, or going too far ahead. Do I really need to know whether the moon is a cosmic fetus or how many dimensions of the mind there are beyond the 7 I can recognize? Do I need to know how long the astral body lives? I don’t see these things helping me to cling to God when the rains set in.
For some, that is all there is, to have a simple faith in God. And when the fog of life’s tests and temptations is so dense that you cannot see another step in front of you, that is all there is to us all, those of us who are blessed to have even that. But in this world there are born people with different personality types and different destinies. This is a good thing. We should not quarrel over this, as long as we seek each in our way to help others and not harm them, and to stay close to God or the Light.
But beyond the basics, there are so many doctrines, teachings and dogmas, so many competing sects and whole religions, all sure that they have The Truth.
I was blessed to meet, when I was still very young, a group of very pure-hearted Christians. Their teachings were not so much about things that can never be verified, like the various heavens and hells or what God did before creating the universe. They were more about how to recognize temptations before they have time to carry us off, how to react when people don’t conform to our expectations, how important it is to watch our thoughts and not just what other people see. Things like that. A practical mysticism, is how I think of it. I know the purity of these people, or at least back then. A purity that is unimaginable even to the vast majority of religious believers.
So when it comes to these things, I know from whom I have learned them, and that makes me very sure. Those who held tight to these teachings and meditated upon them became for all purposes actual saints. They became truly holy. I would go in and out of their homes, I saw how they treated their spouse and children (for those old enough to have that). I talked with young men one to one and sometimes prayed together, so I feel I know something about the purity of their heart. (Obviously I hardly ever was alone with a young woman, except in dire need such as having to travel in a car together to get home, and even that very rarely. But I am sure they were as pure and holy as the men, if not more so.)
So I am blessed in this, I have something to fall back on, to cling to when the rains set in. I know, not from theoretical speculation but from seeing and hearing firsthand. To a more modest degree, I feel like John in his first letter: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.” So when I am in doubt as to whether I have taken a wrong turn, I have this to fall back on. How I wish that all were so blessed. But most are not, and I must take care not to deceive you. It may not be just me who will lose out if I lose my way and get puffed up by false teachings.
I had been out walking and jogging today – I have done that a lot lately, walking part of the way and jogging part of the way. I was on my way home and had slowed down when the first heavy raindrops began to fall. By then I felt a strange but not unknown feeling. I checked my pulse watch, and my pulse was speeding up more and more, even though I was slowing down. One of those episodes. As the rain set in, big drops falling like cold tears, I started praying for those who had been puffed up and had begun to think of themselves as gods or saviors or very important persons in the cosmic hierarchy. I assume they started out much like me, having amazing insights, only more so.
The rain continued, but after a while I noticed that my heart was beating normally again. It was after that I suddenly recalled that line from the song.
And it seems to me that I live my life like a candle in the wind, but still knowing who to cling to when the rains set in?
(Now, the sunny days, those can be really hard in that regard…)