Today we celebrate the “birthday” of Jesus.
A very powerful theme of Jesus’s teaching was about the Kingdom of Heaven within. He says to seek it first, then all else shall be added.
What is “all else”? It is perfect equanimity. It is the unbroken state of inner at-ease-ness, no matter what is going on out there.
Mostly we feel cut off from this inner peace. We let ourselves identify with whatever the mind says, because we’ve been conditioned to. We’ve been conditioned by our parents, teachers and leaders since birth to believe or automatically go along with whatever the mind interprets about experience.
Almost all of the mind’s interpretations of Reality, are arguments with Realty: “This shouldn’t be happening, I want something else to be happening, life is unfair, God should make things better or different.”
Therefore, to actually find the kingdom of heaven within—perfect equanimity—we have to break the spell of conditioning. We have to see that the mind that argues with Reality cannot be in the driver’s seat of our life, if we want stable, unconditional happiness.
The quickest way to break the spell is to stop automatically involving with the mind’s interpretations of reality. And, to give up the willing descent into miserable feelings that accompany thoughts that argue with Reality.
Since thoughts (mental arguments) and feelings (contractions, disturbed energies) feed each other, if we stop involving with disturbed energies,, they naturally unwind from the nervous system and dissolve.
If there is no inner disturbance, no thoughts are necessary. When hellish emotions burn themselves out, no fire-fighter is needed.
After all, if I don’t feel fear, anxiety or frustration in a situation, (which are complex names for hellish inner un-ease), the mind is out of a job to figure out how to make things right in the mind-imagined situation “out there.” It’s out of its job to try and change things “out there”, so I feel better “in here.”
Meditation and self-inquiry give us the strength to break the spell of the mind. The spell is first, the argument with reality, and second, disturbed feelings which are triggered by the arguments.
When the mind is out of its job, it becomes quiet. It rests in its Source—pure consciousness. Then, we can witness the mind’s arguments with reality. We can witness the initial shock that comes from arguing with Reality—with God, if you will. And we can witness the descent into miserable feelings, if we fail to use the shock as an alarm clock—reminding us it’s time to be Present.
Anytime we catch the moment of shock that signals the argument with Reality, signals we are about to choose misery, we could instantly choose, instead, to remember the already-present serenity within. To remember it, and keep our attention there.
When Jesus tells us to “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven within,” he means NOW—in any moment the thinking mind, the mind that argues with Reality, is inviting us to descend into hellish feelings: hate, fear, moodiness, heaviness, angst and unhappiness. He doesn’t mean, seek the serenity within, the ever-present okayness within, after one has pushed life around and made everything “out there” okay, comfortable, secure and controlled.
He means to CHOOSE the already God-given pure consciousness, absolute serenity within NOW—and to do this when the God-given opportunity arises: any mental attack (argument with Reality) which triggers reactive feelings.
He demonstrates this opportunity in the parable of the Generous Employer.
In this parable, a vineyard owner went out early in the morning to hire workers into his vineyard. He agreed to pay them the standard daily wage. And he went out again mid-morning, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and hired them for the standard daily wage. Again. he went out at noon and 2 p.m. and did likewise. At 5 p.m., he went out, and found others standing idle, and hired them also.
When evening came [end of the 12-hour workday] the lord of the vineyard called the workers and paid them all one day’s wages.
When the first ones hired at 6 a.m. were paid the same wages, as the ones hired at 5 p.m., they complained bitterly.
But the vineyard owner did not “do” something to make them feel better.
Instead, he answered one of them, and said, “Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for one day’s wages? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” — Matthew 20:1–16.
He pointed them to focus on what they have, rather than involve with what they don’t have.
Jesus used the example of “Wages” (what the workers already have) as a metaphor for “consciousness.”
Jesus is saying, “Why do you focus on the mere objects in consciousness—thoughts about what you don’t have—when you could keep your attention on what you already have?” (Unlimited, eternal consciousness.)
His teaching to “Seek the kingdom of Heaven within first,” means, “You already have what is eternal and unlimited.” Why not claim it?
We can invite the Holy Christ light of Consciousness to flood our being at any moment.
Even if such a thing as crucifixion should happen.
May you choose –and find– the Holy Christ Light of Consciousness, today, and every day.