In today’s world there are vast numbers of spiritual communities, with each one emphasizing a particular practice or doctrine of choice. For example, one might stress the importance and value of meditation above all else, while another might hold to the teachings and methodologies of yoga. Some of these communities have adhered strictly to their ancient original roots, while others have modernized their practice and attempted to make it more relevant for these modern times. We also see literally billions of people practicing religious devotions according to various regional and ancestral traditions. And so we must conclude that spirituality, as a general human inclination is a pretty mainstream phenomenon. Then going even further, we can deduce that there must be something inherent in our created human makeup that compels us to give expression to this inclination.
And it is not just that people want to express their spiritual inclination; they also are looking for results. In other words, there is a broad general consensus that spiritual practice can be helpful in achieving certain valued goals. For one drawn to a community where meditation is practiced, the goal might be peace of mind and equanimity; for the yogi, it might be integral healing; for the religious votary, it might be the satisfying of a belief about what God expects of them, etc. Whatever the goal may be, people tend to turn to spirituality because in their minds it promises an infusion of power that can help them attain that which they aspire to. And in this regard, people are generally not disappointed. Meditation does bring the dedicated practitioner peace; the yogi often does achieve integral healing, etc. That is why these various practices have endured the sands of time. They work!
The problem is that, generally speaking, these practices by themselves rarely take us all the way to the ultimate goal—that being the full evolutionary thrust of our individual endowment of spiritual consciousness. They can bring many beneficial results, to be sure. But in order for our particular spiritual practice to take us all the way to full enlightenment, it must be combined with a power that is often overlooked—the power of truth.
The only way meditation will take us to this ultimate goal is if the truth is consistently revealed to us while in the meditative state. The only way yogic integral healing will take us there is if in our newly healed state we become more receptive to truth. And the only way religious devotion can bring true enlightenment is if we go further than blind faith and become grounded in the truth. Interestingly, whereas these practices must be combined with the knowledge of the truth, the same does not apply to truth. In other words, the knowledge of the truth is such a powerful spiritual dynamic that it can take us all the way to our ultimate goal all by itself. It need not be combined with any practice or religious ritual.
This was revealed in the life and teaching of Jesus. He did not come meditating; he did not come doing yoga; he did not come practicing an established form of religious devotion. In fact, he did not even advocate these practices to his followers, though he must have been aware of their benefits. Why not? Because he knew that the only thing truly needful to take us to the final goal was the truth. That was why when speaking to Pontius Pilate just prior to his crucifixion Jesus could make this rather astounding statement: “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth.” (John 18:37).
The question then is: What is truth? (Interestingly, these were the exact words Pilate used in responding to Jesus’ statement.). In the world of men truth is a concept of expediency. It is whatever men want it to be, whatever suits a particular purpose at a particular time. And those who are strong, persuasive, and clever learn to wield their version of truth as leverage to control and influence others. Was that the kind of truth Jesus was moving in? Of course not.
Our scientists have discovered truth at work in the natural laws of our universe. Because the laws of nature have never changed or been abolished they have become synonymous with truth. The sun always comes up in the morning; the seasons always follow the same course, etc. And Jesus also recognized natural science as truth. But we now know that that was not the truth he was referring to in his statement to Pilate. It was not the truth he came to testify to because that truth, being perceptible to the five human senses, has its own testimony. What then?
The truth Jesus came into this world to testify to was spiritual truth—that is, truth from the perspective of spiritual knowledge. This truth is also based on law and science, but this science is not “natural.” It is not perceivable with the five human senses. It is supernatural or spiritually discerned. Another way to say this is that spiritual truth is the what is of life on this plane as seen through the lens of spiritual discernment. As such, spiritual truth is concerned primarily with two main spiritually discernible realities: God and human beings. Spiritual truth is not concerned with plants or animals or the planets or the seasons (though all of these natural phenomena can be used to teach about spiritual truth). Rather spiritual truth is concerned only with God and man. For, only God and men are spiritually activated beings. Only God and men have spiritual consciousness. Therefore we arrive at this definitive deduction: spiritual truth is the what is of how things really are with God and with man. And that is the truth Jesus came to testify to. It is the truth that has the power to set us free and help us reach the ultimate goal of the full evolution of consciousness. And being thoroughly grounded in this truth in his consciousness was also one of the keys to how Jesus healed.
Now if Jesus viewed spiritual truth as a powerful healing agent, it must then follow that he also saw it as a corrective force. In other words, if truth were needed to make things right in the life of a human being, it logically pointed to the fact that one of the causes for that man or woman’s health demise was that they had, perhaps unknowingly, been living in disregard of and opposition to the spiritual laws governing man. Therefore pinpointing the ways that a human being can get seriously off the track in this regard and encouraging repentance became a keynote of his teaching. In a sense it became a prerequisite to being made permanently well and whole. It is like the old adage: Before we can get out of jail we must first acknowledge that we are in one. It also makes sense that if truth is the antidote to the poison that is ruining a human being’s life there have been lies at work—lies that must be brought into the light and let go of. And so Jesus did not shy away from delineating the many lies about God and man that human culture has come to embrace and perpetuate.
This was very important because the power of a lie is only in proportion to the degree that it is subconsciously integrated and believed in. A lie has no power of its own. It must first be introduced with persuasion and then given admission to a person’s consciousness. Only then can it become a power that leads men astray.
So it is that when Jesus beheld the harassed and downtrodden multitudes that followed him from place to place this was what he saw. He saw that they had been fed a
steady diet of lies that had caused them to lose sight of the truth and that their lives now reflected the error of their beliefs outwardly through bodily and mental suffering.
And so, ever since Jesus’ day we have had in our world a rather bizarre tension at work. On the one hand, we now have spiritual truth being readily accessible to all people, while on the other hand human culture has continued to cling to and promote the lies that destroy men’s lives. That is why in order to reach our goal of the full evolution of consciousness we must also renounce and separate ourselves from world culture. And unfortunately, this must remain our position until such a day that human culture can be revamped in the truth. As the New Testament exhorts, we must “come out of her so that we do not share in her sins and continue to receive her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4).
Yes, we have all been tainted and impacted by the world’s error-prone influence. This is because just being born into this world brought us under its cultural influence when we were at our most vulnerable. Though we were born pure and innocent, no sooner did we arrive than it was as if we were taken aside and given a good talking-to by the lying spirit of this world. “You are new here, so let me tell you how things are on the earthly plane,” it told us. “Let me share the ground rules with you.” And so we were conditioned and indoctrinated into the “reality” of how things are here and given advice pertaining to what we might expect from this life experience and how to get the most out of it. Then alongside of this “reality talk” we were introduced to certain foundational lies with persuasion: “The earthly plane is the plane of man,” we were told. “It is a realm where biological life forms, of which man is the highest, rule and thrive. Thus there is no such thing as spiritual life here. There is no God. Those are just myths. The reality is that there is only man, and man is the only power. We are the only gods here. So life is what we make it. Therefore you must set about the task of becoming as strong as you possibly can in your human self. This is necessary because also at work on this plane are some powerful forces that can make life here very problematic—forces such as sin, disease, lack and limitation, and death. And only by becoming humanly strong can you fend off these debilitating influences.” And so believing these lies, we wholeheartedly adopted this approach. We set about building our human strength and forgot all about truth and spiritual life. And what happened? Well, for most of us not only did we fail to hold off the onslaught of sin, disease, lack, and death; we also became perpetually broken down, weary, and hopeless—the very kind of people that Jesus came healing.
Our lives became anything but full and rich. They became trials in survival and limitation. Through our own moral strength we tried to overcome sin; with the help of modern medical science we tried to hold disease at bay; with the accumulation of wealth we tried to obliterate our sense of lack, and with tenaciousness we tried to keep death as far away from our consciousness as possible. But this approach was not what you could call abundant life. Rather it was a constant struggle, in which we were simply trying to hold on and maintain our position without losing anymore ground.
And so Jesus and many of the other spiritual masters came advocating something very radical. Not only did they expose the approach of living by human strength as faulty; they advocated a complete change of direction, a complete abandonment of the
culture’s way of life. And to facilitate this radical change of direction they also brought to light the truth about God and man and how life on this plane was really meant to be lived. They testified to the power of the truth as a means to bring human beings into their ultimate state of fulfillment and evolutionary unfoldment. Some of them also advocated spiritual disciplines such as meditation and yoga, but they were sure to combine these with the powerful corrective element of truth in order to seal the deal.
Remember that a lie only has power over us if we believe in it. There is nothing whatsoever stopping us from rejecting the lies of human culture and beginning our journey into the truth. Doing this is not dependent upon our current financial or moral condition. It is an inward work that we can carry out in the quiet and privacy of our own consciousness. No one else needs to even know about it. All we have to do is have the courage and inner fortitude to question what we have been taught and reach out for our highest potential.