PONDERING BASKIN-ROBBINS, RELIGION, AND ALL RELIGIOUS TEXTS

Greetings from the mountain top…

The Guru recently received a new student, a guru-in-training we shall call Bob. Bob is delightful young man, serious to a fault, and with the type of ‘aw shucks Tim Tebow good looks’ that keeps the 20-something, wanna-be, hippie chicks (currently from Tucson) salivating. He has the somberness, however, of one who has yet to learn that there are endless lifetimes and it is his somberness that inevitably pushes the 20-somethings towards The Guru at bedtime. Thank goodness for youthful somberness.

Religion has always been to me like a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store – so many flavors, but only so much time or money. They are all appealing on different levels for different reasons, and disappointment always follows from not being able to experience each (ice cream flavors, that is).

Among my many lifetimes, The Guru has been a Southern Baptist, a Catholic (thankfully before the crusades), briefly a Methodist (all of the pomp and circumstance of Catholicism without the guilt), an agnostic, a Hindu, a Buddhist, and far too many to elaborate on here.

Bob and I were hiking deep in the mountains towards my favorite destination, the location will not be shared—I love the isolation and intend to keep it empty of humans. Go find your own oasis.

“If God, Buddha, Jehovah, Allah, whoever are truly one Being with infinite names, then what do we do with all of those so-called holy books?” Bob asked. “Are they ALL the word? Or none of them? How can we know what to follow and why are there so many different versions?”

I smiled as only a parent is capable – with infinite patience and more than a little amusement at Bob’s level of ignorance. “They are all THE word, Bob. And none of them are.”

Before his frustration could express itself, I continued, “As for the lessons you learn during this lifetime you will write what you recall and what you comprehend as best you can. There will be points you miss, subtle or meaningless to you, which might change some or all of the meaning but you’ll do the best you can, and you’ll go on to teach with total devotion and the very best of intention from divine inspiration. In this respect, your words will be truth. So it is with all who have shared messages from The One, but no one gets it all correct. No one person could. Don’t forget comprehension is also a product of experience. How something is understood today may be tremendously different in one hundred years, much less one thousand. So, from time-to-time, The One has to do upgrades.”

“The Bible 2.0?”

“Cute. But kind of, yes. Words evolve over time, meanings alter, context is lost, and languages change. Entire civilizations transform and what is left behind is subject to interpretation from those who weren’t there in the beginning.”

“Has The One ever thought of installing an auto-update?” Technologically-superior students are amazingly annoying. A stern look from The Guru indicated to Bob that the limits of cute had been reached.

“It never ceases to amaze me how attached each messenger or each recipient of a particular message becomes to the Truth they learn. What hubris to think The One would, that He COULD, share everything with one messenger or one group of people. What height of arrogance!”

Bob felt my passion rising again and, while transfixed by the force of it, he was also soothed by the absolute perfection in The Guru’s words. Although incapable of translating the emotionality of the moment, he understood without question how thoroughly we deceive ourselves (and allow ourselves to be deceived) by believing we know all there is to know—that we have the market cornered on truth. I thought how adamant various preachers, priests, and spiritual advisors have been over my lifetimes about their ‘truth’, and wondered what level of shame or humility they would feel were they in my place centuries later. Would they still argue so adamantly their belief was the belief?

“For anyone to assume they alone have received every ounce of the Truth is ridiculous, Bob. That would mean they are the equal, the peer to The One, and it just doesn’t work that way. The student sits through a few lessons and becomes The Master? Yet, dividing lines are continuously drawn and believers fight to protect their truth without stopping to consider the depth of the message or the infinite vastness of the Truth. They never grasp that it is impossible for The One to give everything to any one person or group not because He is unable to give it, but because we are unable to fully comprehend at our current level of development. But, He can and does share with each according to their willingness to listen and their ability to understand.”

‘Why not just give one true ‘word’ he wondered silently and, in wondering, I heard and answered.

“Does The Guru treat all of his students alike? Does he explain everything the same to each of them?”

“He does not,” Bob answered. “Some are very compliant and trust what you say implicitly, so details are rarely needed. Some are quiet, deep thinker who ponder everything before accepting or rejecting. They rarely questions aloud, but through their expressions it is obvious to you when details are necessary. Some are semantic warriors, consistently requiring so many details that at times it is exhausting; as with those semantic warriors who debate subtle meanings such as the definition of ‘is’.

“To each according to their ability and willingness to learn, Bob. It’s no accident there are so many flavors of truth.”

I became silent and he saw a glint in my eyes – a sparkle he recognized as a challenge. I had given an answer far deeper than the question asked.

“Why do I feel parts and whole are involved in this?”

“Very good, Bob!”

“Umm…apparently I have the right answer, but I don’t know what it means. A little help, please?”

I shook my head ‘no’ and looked ahead toward an opening in the trail. The final leg of our hike had been reached—a valley so beautiful it always brings instant solace and humility. As always, I paused at that particular place to soak in the enormity of the setting—the bowl cut by centuries of glacial activity, the stream splitting the basin in half, high reeds and low brush so inviting to wildlife, a half ring of mountains standing guard and peering down on us with eternal indifference and beauty. It is my favorite place in the world and the one to which I have instinctively returned when needing answers or humility. It was no coincidence we were at this spot.

“He wants us to work for it, doesn’t He? To earn His gift?”

I did not speak, but continued walking toward the base of the mountain.

“The whole appreciation thing?” he asked, somehow knowing there would be no response.

I picked up the pace as Bob followed, expounding on his understanding.

“We need to find the answers ourselves to truly appreciate the price of the truth…even if the cost is immense pain and frustration. The answers are already out there, aren’t they? They’ve always been out there, right in front of us. You said earlier that coming together as one whole was our reason for being…The One spread the answers out on purpose didn’t He ? To give us an opportunity to come together by our own choice? Through free will?”

I stopped at the base of the mountain (you are still not getting a name—but it is in Colorado)—normally the end of my hike.

“Every sacred book and story has part of the Answer doesn’t it?” Bob asked.

“Yes.” I answered casually while starring upwards as I contemplated a climb to the peak.

“And every flavor of truth contains part of the recipe for ultimate whole truth?”

“Uh huh.” He could see me mentally mapping a summit route.

“It’s about humility, isn’t it?” he rambled excitedly. “It’s about setting aside our insistence on independence, of realizing the futility of fighting for domination and one point of view and, instead, learning to embrace all truths and adding their unique ‘part’ to the ‘whole’…that whole being THE truth? The sum of the parts must be brought together before we can be whole?!”

“Very good, grasshopper.”

Annoyed at my focus on the mountain, Bob continued his explanation, “The ‘whole’…The One scattered it as a way for us to earn the lesson, knowing no one messenger could comprehend and teach it all, and knowing a gift without a price will never be fully appreciated or utilized.”

Comprehending the veracity of what he was saying, he realized The Truth had always been inside of him, just as it was inside of every other person on earth but he was finally humbled enough to hear.

“By adamantly maintaining our distance from one another, both literally and spiritually, by insisting there is only ONE truth—OUR truth…our ‘part’—we inflict pain on ourselves and one another. The more we fight to prove OUR truth is supreme, the more we harm ourselves and the farther we drift from You?”

I shifted my gaze from the peak to Bob, “It’s a bit like trying to drink salt water to quench a thirst, isn’t it?”

I started up the mountain – not a highly technical climb, yet I scurried along as if walking on an escalator. Bob struggled to keep pace (The Guru may have a saggy ass, but he can hike like a mother fucker) and was frustrated that I wouldn’t stop and listen to him–I wouldn’t cease my climb to the top long enough to hear his comprehension of the message. He wanted it HIS way and he wanted it NOW. He needed me to hear him, but I seemed dead set on getting to the summit as quickly as possible.

“Could you please just stop what you’re doing for one moment and hear what I’m saying?!” Bob shouted.

“Isn’t it frustrating when you have all the answers, but everyone is too busy to listen?” I spoke over my shoulder and continued my ascent to the peak.

The lessons of a guru-in-training are never ending.

Peace out ya contemplative freaks

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