November 16, 2002
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This is the second open letter to the Brotherhood. Please join with me by reaching out to your brothers and sisters in the Work. These letters are merely a focal point. It's what's in our hearts and in the power of our word that will make a difference. God bless you in your chosen path.
Certainty is the crystallization of the mind. While it is temporarily useful as a platform on which we can gain a better understanding of the spiritual/physical world, it must eventually be dissolved, the way a crustacean periodically molts its shell, so that growth is possible. In this way, we can remain resilient in our being, and not fall prey to the mindís relentless need for stability, which always culminates in crystallization and death.
The word religion comes from the Latin root lig, as in ligament. It means to link back, or, as in the word yoga, to yoke together. Jesus said, "My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." I believe he meant by this that union with God is natural to the spirit, and it is by letting go to its inclination that we find God. It is, in a sense, a deconstructive process, in that we unload ourselves of the self-evident truths of the mind, those things that appear to be true by virtue of what our senses tell us, or what logic, based on the reports of those senses, says must be true.
In the same way, our religion should be "easy". It should surrender to the weightlessness of not knowing. The very instant that we set ourselves against our brother, we fall like a brick. Thoughts fall out of the mind like hailstones fall out of a cloud, and as they circulate in the mind, they gain more and more weight. Just as hailstorms are a fact of life, so is our propensity to think. Our thoughts, on the whole, are just so much meteorological litter. As long as we identify with them and struggle to defend them, we plummet earthward.
Where does this leave our traditions? As always, our traditions are there to nurture and support us as we strive to achieve escape velocity from the gravity of Earth. But just as we have ambivalent feelings about leaving our family of origin, we also have strong feelings for the tradition that nurtured us and gave us our start on the spiritual path. In the best of circumstances, we remember our home fondly. When those circumstances were not so good, we find ourselves blown about by them in subtle and complex ways. Early crises tend to stick around. Many go to their graves hating their parents, their siblings, or their teachers, blaming them for their unhappiness.
Our spiritual home of origin, for many of us, is the Holy Order of MANS. And like our biological family, it has its good history and its bad history. Just as itís natural to enjoy(?) a love/hate relationship with our siblings, so it is natural to have strong feelings, both negative and positive, for our spiritual siblings in the Order. If weíre lucky, time, distance, and the slow process of maturity will bring a level of forgiveness, if only through sheer forgetfulness.
Positive memories tend to outlive negative ones, so with the passage of time, we forget about our bad Order experiences and reconnect with our original intention to serve God. As we do, we come to appreciate that same intention in our estranged brothers and sisters. It becomes easier to overlook the differences that may have forced us apart. We come to understand that the brotherhood is based upon our shared intention, not upon the façade of shared opinions. In other words, we are related by what we are, not by what we think. Nor are we related by what we believe. Our beliefs, usually, are nothing more than our opinions dressed up in their Sunday best.
It is what we are that forms the basis of our relationship in Christ, not a particular doctrine or outward form. This is why we can go to a Tibetan Buddhist temple and feel at one with the brothers and sisters there, or perhaps even feel at one with the members of a splinter group within our own spiritual family. The more we emphasize the differences in our teachings, the more we minimize our relationship in Christ. It is the "what we are" that will live forever and which will change the Earth, not what we think. It is the "what we are" that will ally us with the White Brothers, not what we believe. Can you imagine walking up to one of them and telling them your opinions about the Teachings?
I would like to suggest that we focus on our shared intention, and set aside for now the differences in our ideas and beliefs. In the long run, nothing that we say or do will matter much. It is what we are that counts. If we are at one with the Christ, and together we constitute its body, then the will of God, through the Christ, will manifest on Earth.
There is a reason why the transformation of the Earth has taken so long. It is the emphasis on our differences and the neglect of that which we share. Each of us has a specific role to play in this dramaóthis is not a call to sameness. Let us love and respect each otherís paths, and not try to ostracize or reform our brother.
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