Monday, March 7th – Jerusalem Between the Sheets
Today I will speak again on the nature of Christ. I will also, coincidentally enough, speak again on Dan Castellaneta as I did two posts ago- or rather, on one of his performances, as the character Homer Simpson, in episode 16 of season 21 of The Simpsons, “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed”.
In this episode, Homer contracts Jerusalem syndrome. What is that? Wiki says that the Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of either religiously themed obsessive ideas, delusions, or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of .יְרוּשָׁלַיִם It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians, and Muslims of many different backgrounds.
The best known, although not the most prevalent, manifestation of the Jerusalem syndrome is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. The psychosis is characterized by an intense religious theme and typically resolves to full recovery after a few weeks or after being removed from the area.
There are three types of Jerusalem syndrome, such as some kind of Messiah concept imposing itself upon previous psychotic illness, terribly idiosyncratic religious belief and practice, and discrete episodes uncompounded by previous psychotic illness. One may believe they are the Messiah or the Virgin Mary, one may partake in very eccentric behaviors such as extreme cleaning, wandering around in the desert naked, finding the need to preach on a soapbox, and so on.
When Homer Simpson visits יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, he has a hallucinatory vision, while thirsty in the desert, in which he is visited by the Veggie Tales vegetables. They tell him that he is a new Messiah. He begins to dress in white robes and he preaches that he has come to unite all faiths (and, because he is Homer, he also makes the eating of chicken a part of his religious practice). He preaches similarity over difference, and calls this united religion “Christmujews”. At first, others try to help and cure him. But by the end of the episode, two interesting things happen- the other characters begin to be swayed by Homer’s preaching. Peace, love, and understanding- they begin to think that, if he really is a Messiah, he sounds like a pretty good one. Also- EVERYONE develops Jerusalem syndrome, and EVERYONE begins to believe they are the Messiah. Which I do not think is half bad- except for psychosis, which can be a little embarrassing to say the very least.
I have spoken before on the nature of Christ in my Christmas post. To quote myself a bit,
“Sometimes I ask Ganymede to tell me about who I am. He is rather fond of playing hard to get in those moments, and why should he not be? It’s a silly thing to ask of him. Why, if I ask him point blank, ‘who am I’ he responds, ‘God’, and I shake my head at my attempts at identification and at his response, because I already knew that. One of the things I like about Eckhart Tolle is that he has the balls to say that we are God, we are Christ […] Aleister Crowley says that every woman and man are equal to one another and that each is a star, because every man and woman is God. During the homily, the priest said he was going to tell us all a ‘secret’. It was not a secret to me, really; I have known it a long time. I think it may have been arcane to others, though, and it is good to hear the reminder:
[…] Jesus reminds us that, as beings one with God, we too are reborn as God. Therefore… the priest told us that, this Christmas, all of us in the congregation, if we so chose to accept the responsibility, would go forth to be reborn as Christ this Christmas, and to experience every day thereafter as Christ, reflecting the love of the heavens. So there you have it. I am Christ. And so are you.”
Listen more thoroughly to what Eckhart Tolle has to say on the matter, in The Power of Now, Chapter Five, THE STATE OF PRESENCE. This is the section CHRIST: THE REALITY OF YOUR DIVINE PRESENCE.
“Don’t get attached to any one word. You can substitute ‘Christ’ for presence, if that is more meaningful to you. Christ is your God-essence or the Self, as it is sometimes called in the East. The only difference between Christ and presence is that Christ refers to your indwelling divinity regardless of whether you are conscious of it or not, whereas presence means your awakened divinity or God-essence.
Many misunderstandings and false beliefs about Christ will clear if you realize that there is no past or future in Christ. [Kora remembers that spacetime is an illusion and a game.] To say that Christ was or will be is a contradiction in terms. Jesus was. He was a man who lived two thousand years ago and realized divine presence, his true nature. And so he said: ‘Before Abraham was, I am.’ He did not say: ‘I already existed before Abraham was born.’ That would have meant that he was still within the dimension of time and form identity. The words I am used in a sentence that starts in the past tense indicate a radical shift, a discontinuity in the temporal dimension. It is a Zen-like statement of great profundity. Jesus attempted to convey directly, not through discursive thought, the meaning of presence, of self-realization. He had gone beyond the consciousness dimension governed by time, into the realm of the timeless. The dimension of eternity had come into this world. Eternity, of course, does not mean endless time, but no time. Thus, the man Jesus became Christ, a vehicle for pure consciousness. And what is God’s self-definition in the Bible? Did God say, ‘I have always been, and I will always be?’ Of course not. That would have given reality to past and future. God said: ‘I AM THAT I AM.’ No time here, just presence.
The ‘second coming’ of Christ is a transformation of human consciousness, a shift from time to presence, from thinking to pure consciousness, not the arrival of some man or woman. If ‘Christ’ were to return tomorrow in some externalized form, what could he or she possibly say to you other than this: ‘I am the Truth. I am divine presence. I am eternal life. I am within you. I am here. I am Now.’
Never personalize Christ. Don’t make Christ into a form identity. Avatars, divine mothers, enlightened masters, the very few that are real, are not special as persons. Without a false self to uphold, defend, and feed, they are more simple, more ordinary than the ordinary man or woman. Anyone with a strong ego would regard them as insignificant or, more likely, not see them at all.
If you are drawn to an enlightened teacher, it is because there is already enough presence in you to recognize presence in another. There were many people who did not recognize Jesus or the Buddha, as there are and always have been many people who are drawn to false teachers. Egos are drawn to bigger egos. Darkness cannot recognize light. Only light can recognize light. So don’t believe that the light is outside you or that it can only come through one particular form. If only your master is an incarnation of God, then who are you? Any kind of exclusivity is identification with form, and identification with form means ego, no matter how well disguised.
Use the master’s presence to reflect your own identity beyond name and form back to you and to become more intensely present yourself. You will soon realize that there is no ‘mine’ or ‘yours’ in presence. Presence is one.
Group work can also be helpful for intensifying the light of your presence. A group of people coming together in a state of presence generates a collective energy field of great intensity. It not only raises the degree of presence of each member of the group but also helps to free the collective human consciousness from its current state of mind dominance. This will make the state of presence increasingly more accessible to individuals. However, unless at least one member of the group is already firmly established in it and thus can hold the energy frequency of that state, the egoic mind can easily reassert itself [Kora thinks of ebil popes and ebil clerics] and sabotage the group’s endeavors. Although group work is invaluable, it is not enough, and you must not come to depend on it. Nor must you come to depend on a teacher or master, except during the transitional period, when you are learning the meaning and practice of presence.”
I encourage exploring one’s presence, Christ. I am not telling anyone to call themselves (or anything) a specific label such as Christ- like Tolle says, “Don’t get attached to any one word.” One may call it whatever one desires- like Freyja. Only I’m sure we’d all have such a good time in this universe if we all explored our own divinity.