Where Does Jesus Fit In With Spirituality?
Question from a reader:
A think you can put Jesus wherever you are comfortable putting him. If you want to include him in your spiritual path, there’s certainly room and much to be learned, but if not, there are plenty of others who can fill the shoes. It really depends on how you want to view Jesus as to how he will fit into your spiritual practice.
“I know that you have the same religious up-bringing (Baptist), and now, because I do not relate to any organized religion or dogma, I’m not sure where to put Jesus in the mix of my spirituality. I was under the ‘fear’ dogma so long it makes me cringe to even ask this question.”
I think most people who practice free-form spirituality tend to separate Jesus from the rest of Christianity in order to be able to better swallow it. That seems to be the case for those whom religion, particularly Christianity, is a sore spot – it helps them cope.
I don’t think that’s wholly necessary. As far as my own views on religion go, I don’t think religion is poison. I don’t think it’s inherently bad, or that it’s a conspiracy to control the masses. It’s just a neutral thing that we place our own judgement on like everything else we experience in this world.
I do think it is important to understand religion from an objective standpoint – that it’s a product of a particular time period and culture, that the world has evolved much faster than it has. The historical context and political implications of the events surrounding the creation of the Bible is also a must-know when it comes to putting it into it’s proper context. It’s also important to look into the way it’s been translated and delve into original meanings and contexts of words and passages. It’s also imperative that it not be taken 100% literally.
Much of what mainstream Christianity teaches about Jesus is a dumbed down version based on half-truths and surface-level comprehension of spiritual concepts.
I went from being completely repulsed by all things Jesus and nearly becoming an atheist, to delving into spirituality and revisiting the subject of religion and finding deeper understanding there, but only after I was able to do away with what I’d originally been taught about it in church.
I’ve come to see Jesus as an amazing philosopher, spiritual teacher, and above all, a mentor. Jesus didn’t just teach. He practiced what he preached. He lived it.
Going back to what I was discussing regarding delving into translations:
The Bible was translated many times, into at least four languages before it wound up in English. English is a pretty crappy language as it is – we don’t have nearly as many words to describe different concepts as other languages do, so when you throw in the fact that it’s been translated four times over, well… a lot of things get “lost in translation.”
So to get to the root of Biblical concepts and what was really intended there, you have to go back to the original languages. The word “repentance” (as in repent of your sins) was translated from the Greek word “metanoia.” Metanoia is most like another word we are more familiar with – metamorphosis.
“In biblical Greek, metanoeō/μετανοέω and metanoia/μετάνοια signify a “change of Mind, a change in the trend and action of the whole inner nature, intellectual, affectional and moral.” This meaning of metanoia is as a “transmutation” of consciousness.”
In other words, metanoia does not mean to simply feel guilty for what you’ve done and ask for forgiveness. It means nothing of the sort, not even close! It also doesn’t mean to simply change the way you act.
What it means is to experience a change in your whole inner character, first and foremost, which is then expressed outwardly through your actions, because you have changed who you are.
It’s not a quick decision and it’s not something that happens overnight -it is very much a process of metamorphosis. A process of inner-work, of self-examination, of releasing and healing. It’s tearing down who you used to be and rebuilding yourself from the ground up. Finding Jesus and getting saved won’t do that FOR you and Jesus will not take the wheel – because the whole purpose is for YOU to do it and experience that process of re-creating yourself.
Everything that Jesus taught was about that process – it wasn’t the fact that he died (allegedly) that saved you, it was the way he lived…but only when you come to an understanding of what that life meant.
“I am the truth, the way, and the life,” takes on a whole different meaning when you look at it from this perspective.