Tag Archives: New Testament

Saving the Best for Last

Over the past weeks, I’ve been enjoying The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? In its 37th of 40 chapters, Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church, explicitly states:

Sharing your testimony is an essential part of your mission on earth because it is unique. There’s no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, it will be lost forever.

I have always had reservations about writing on Christ. On the one hand, over history, extraordinary damage has been done in his name. How could I hope to make a positive difference in a noisy field so filled with misunderstandings and confusion?

On the other, I am so much in awe of Christ’s sacred sacrifice that it seems presumptuous to dare speak of him.

But, in case it might make a difference, even if to just one soul, in the spirit of the saying, “To save one life is to save the world entire,” excerpted from Rethinking Survival,  is my personal testimony.

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SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: The Wait Was Worth It

I came to the New Testament relatively late in life. This was fortunate in many ways. Whenever I had the opportunity to learn about Jesus, my inner radar said, “No. Wait. Not yet.” This was something very special, something that had to be done at the right time, in the right way.

I did everything else first, as if creating a foundation upon which to build. I did my music years, my yoga years and university years. In each time frame, I closed out everything else to focus entirely on the discipline at hand.

So when it finally came time to focus on The New Testament, I was ready and well prepared to appreciate it. It hadn’t been spoiled by being introduced too early, before I was mature enough to relate to the teachings as an adult.

No one had spoiled the teachings for me with prejudiced opinions or by bad example. There was no social or authoritative pressure put upon me to either believe or not believe. It was my choice.

I came to the teachings, especially St. Matthew, with an open mind and uncluttered brain. I Ching and yogic backgrounds put the life and times of Jesus in perspective. Many of his teachings and so-called miracles were built on tacit understandings generally accepted at a time when people lived far closer to nature than most of us city-folk do today. This bedrock of common understanding has since, for the most part, been lost or forgotten.

His story didn’t seem like hocus pocus to me, as intellectuals often assume. In the context of Chinese sages and Hindu yogis, it was plausible and wonderful.

Here was an extraordinarily great master who choose to arrive on Planet Earth at a tipping point in history. Civilization had reached critical mass.

This rare, great being had the compassion and power to influence the fate (survival versus extinction) of the human race. His demonstrated love, courage and personal sacrifice changed the course of history.

Not coincidentally, it seemed that at the time I was making friends with St. Matthew (the early 1980s), humanity was slowly approaching another tipping point, another time when, again, human survival cannot be taken for granted. There was a message here for those with “ears to hear.”

It later influenced me to write Rethinking Survival for the purpose of giving people worldwide the means to see Christ’s power and purpose with fresh eyes. The Positive Paradigm of Change offers a context within which his life, death and transfiguration are understandable.

It gives us an opportunity to rethink the example of his life, teachings and sacrifice. It’s a means to save the hope of the Christ child from the bathwater of false distortions. It offers a way out of narrow-minded strife in political and religious arenas alike.

Saving the Best

Bottom line: I found that the heart of the Old Testament and the New Testament which completes it both work for me.

What goes on at the surface, cultural level of institutional religions is a different matter. Sadly, too often, it’s apples and oranges. Disconnected universes.

So it bears repeating: distortions at the ephemeral surface cannot negate the power and validity of the scriptures.

Accordingly, whatever unfortunate baggage and associations have accrued to the teachings, release them. However jaded you’ve become, get over it. However tragic the past, forgive it.

Go back and rethink the teachings. See them like a genius, through child-like fresh eyes, as if for the first time, new again. It’s infinitely worth it.

Seven Axioms of Positive Change

As promised, here is an abbreviated list of the seven basic axioms of viable, positive change as they’re listed in The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. They all refer to the basic model of concentric circles linked in a continuous, infinite loop:

 

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  • AXIOM ONE: A complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success.

In the Positive Paradigm worldview, the physical world of experience has its origin and end at the creative center of the Wheel. The unseen drives the seen. The invisible precedes the visible. Inspiration precedes actions which in turn produce results.

Therefore, the quality of daily life depends on the quality of belief systems. If the paradigm held is complete and accurate, it leads to consistent action that yields successful, beneficial results. When paradigms are incomplete and inaccurate, however, they generate inconsistent actions that lead to failure, pain and suffering.

By definition, a universal paradigm can be applied to every and any aspect of life. A rethinking of personal lives, bringing them into alignment with the Positive worldview, will enhance well-being on all levels. A similar rethinking of organizational structures on increasingly larger scales of magnitude will have equally beneficial consequences.

A deep understanding of the Positive Paradigm illumines whatever field of endeavor upon which it is focused. This includes all the arts as well as the physical and social sciences — economics, politics and government.

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  • AXIOM TWO: We are each a world complete, containing the potentials of the universe.

Sadly, this is the least known but most important fact of life we never learned in school – but should have. In large part, the Handbook is written as the book I searched for on the library shelves, but couldn’t find. It should have been there, and now will be for others who also sense that there’s something really important missing from what we were taught which must be restored. It’s the basis of a fundamental respect for self as well as for all others.

The place to look in this information starts with ancient medical traditions. The traditional sciences of both India and China map the subtle inner energy patterns which Huston Smith called the “invisible geometry” which shapes all humanity to a “single truth.”

In these worldviews, energy emanates from and returns to an eternal source. It is the stuff from which the physical world is generated. It is the substructure which frames the physical human body, upon which mental and physical health depend. When this energy is abundant, its circulation free flowing, and its distribution balanced, we experience health. When energy is depleted, stagnant or unbalanced, the result is disease on every level.

The functional term “health” in the context of these traditions means “whole.” The health of subtle energetic and related biological systems depends on the integrated balance of the interrelated parts. Each part depends on and completes the whole. The concept of “holism” expresses this worldview. . . .

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  • AXIOM THREE: Unity and Diversity Are Necessary Compliments

The third axiom is almost as neglected as the second. In addition, it is subject to distortions and misunderstandings that make matters worse. This confusion is the unfortunate cause of conflict in family relationships, and all the way up the life chain to conflict between nations.

Inherent, inner similarity is the realistic foundation of common understanding. However, the fact that all people have the same inner structure does not mean that all are identical, or should be treated the same. Quite the contrary, within the evolutionary chakra scale, at any given time, most individuals are focused on only one or a small combination of centers and their related issues.

Like snowflakes, humans are identical in their basic structure. Each, however, is unique expression of the universal pattern. Personal abilities and needs are the result of an infinitely complex set of variables. And just as the balance of energy centers promotes the health of the individual, a balance of complimentary aptitudes and interests promotes the general health of society at large.

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  • AXIOM FOUR: The consequences of action are inevitable; those who respect the law of karma succeed.

Axiom Four is the practical foundation of ethics. In a materialist, linear worldview, it may seem possible to hide selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances and escape the logical consequences of one’s actions. This false premise and its horrific outcome, however, is exposed in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm reality, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye reap, so shall ye sow,” and “For everything there is a season. . . “

In modern parlance, the saying that underscores the circular dynamic of “poetic justice” is, “What goes around comes around.”

In the New Testament, Jesus stated the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This observation holds true as axiomatic. It has been observed for a very long time that in fact — even if not immediately, or directly — what is done does, for better or worse, return in kind.

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  • AXIOM FIVE: History is neither linear or progressive, nor can human survival be taken for granted.

Some things change. Others never do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, who wrote the world-loved Tao Te Ching, or The Way and Its Power, knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles. Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, to capture markets, maximize profits and beat out the competition.

All these texts draw on the wisdom encoded in the I Ching, the venerable Book of Change, to steer them in the decision-making process. They rely on the law of subtle change and the personal understandings derived from working with it to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used as a protective, self-defense measure, or exploited with endlessly ingenious variations that take advantage of the uninformed. . .

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. That the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, some today still continue to think of history as a flat, straight line. In this they are as sadly mistaken as were the navigators who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat. In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

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  • AXIOM SIX: Used as a linguistic tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.

Like humanity itself, the English language is also becoming an endangered species. Clear and effective communication can no more be taken for granted than any other aspect of the civilization.

In tracking the meanings of words, their devolution is found to be systematic. In some cases, the same word means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well. The inherent danger is that people often talk at cross-purposes, thinking they understand each other when in fact they’re missing each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

It’s worth the time to pay attention to what’s meant by specific words in common use. Working with the Positive Paradigm Wheel explains the dynamics of shifting definitions. The same word takes on different meanings on different levels of the Wheel.

One example is the word “positive.” Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.

At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution.

  • AXIOM SEVEN: With a correct paradigm, practical methods and useful tools, you can make yourself whole.

As stated in the Preface caveat, according to the Positive Paradigm, everyone is already intrinsically whole. Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” This is the wisdom behind the biblical admonition, “Ye must be perfect like your father.” However, just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

Worse, many have been deceived into believing they’re inherently not-okay. The Handbook confirms inherent wholeness. Its structure provides the practical foundation for actualizing in-born potential and initiating the ongoing process of making and keeping ourselves FUNCTIONALLY whole, over and over again.

The subtitle Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change isn’t intended to suggest that this or any other book can magically or literally make anyone whole, or that once through the book, you’re done. It requires not only initial work, but ongoing follow-through. It’s personal intention and consistent effort that produce results. This is just a really useful tool.

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To be continued. Each of the basic axioms generates numerous related corollaries. Future blogs will list the most important of them.