Hi Michael. Your blog today is very thought-provoking.

"Stephen. Only the truth can have no contradictions; what is untrue will have contradictions and must then be disregarded."

“There never was a time when our Lord Jesus was not the Christ, nor any imaged creation of the Father not the Christ."

Once again I find echoes of these ideas in a number of sources. I was
fascinated to find Phineas Quimby because he seemed to have stumbled on
something very similar - and in fact all the 'faith healers' seem to
hold a similar philosophy. The ideas seem to include:

* all the universe is alive in a sense and there are more 'dimensions'
than the physical
* consciousness is more substantial than matter but love is more
substantial than mere rationality
* Love is the ultimate substance
* there is one Source (God, the Father, etc)
* in our human lives we experience an illusion of 'disconnectedness'
from the Source but we are not *actually* disconnected
* returning to the Source involves something like forgiveness and
kindness - letting go of things we hold onto and embracing our
connectedness with others
* 'not judging' seems to be a repeated message from multiple angles

The various near-death and 'channelled' teachings and mystical
experiences also seem to center on these.

I don't so much find these ideas hard to grasp as I find them hard to
practice; and it's also hard to quite draw a circle around what
teachings seem to be part of this set or not, as most religious systems
seem to touch these ideas at some point. But some seem to state these
ideas stronger and clearer than others.

Simplicity seems to be a large part of it too. There are many systems
with lots of complicated visions of the afterlife (Buddhist, Hindu,
Gnostic etc) and while they might be true in some sense I get the
impression that this idea of a universe separated into levels isn't at
all *important* and in fact can be unhelpful.

I feel that, for example, some of the Gnostic Christian texts echo these
ideas and some don't at all.

The idea of 'world as illusion' is very strong in the roots of the
Pentecostal and Evangelical churches (perhaps stronger in the
Pentecostal movement) but today these churches seem to have become very
afraid of this idea.

The cores of Taoism and Buddhism also seem to have something like this
idea, which is probably why the Eastern Christian church in China found
it easy to translate Christianity into a Taoist framework in the 6th
century. But maybe even Confucianism has a link to this too.

The Quakers seem to be close to this set of ideas, as were the
Transcendentalists. Some parts of the Orthodox Church as well.

But then on the other hand I see that some of the religious groups which
seem closest to this spiritual teaching *also* can have some very dark
sides - they can get very controlling or fearful. So much so that it
sometimes seems that having less exposure to spiritual experience can be
safer. It all seems to be tangled together.

Eg: in Taoism, the core text (Dao de Jing) seems to advocate 'not trying
to make things happen' and yet the historical Taoists often became
alchemists and tried all sorts of dangerous and toxic life-extension
methods. Germany had a very strong tradition of spiritual experience yet
groups like the Nazis arose out from there and used that tradition to
cause great evil. Even today some of the groups most interested in
spirit seem also to be aligned with racism and fascism.

Maybe that's why it isn't especially helpful to try to 'judge' because
all groups have good and bad sides? Everyone seems to have a small part
of the truth but we're all running in different directions with it.