We cannot go where God is not, and where God is, all is well.
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
Understanding the metaphorical nature of Biblical poetry, God, the Father and Heaven represent Simple Reality, Oneness or the perfection of the present moment. Our pursuit of security, sensation and power in P-B are driven by a misplaced longing for perfection not available in the world of form. Another biblical image of our perfection as individuals is the Temple.
The Temple of God is sacred, and you are that Temple.
Cor. 3: 17
We are all seeking the ‘Temple,’ we are all seeking our true identity and we experience pain and suffering when we fail in that effort. Our attractions [seeking security, sensation and power] are merely unfulfilling substitutes for union with perfection. They are imperfect manifestations of a desire for God [Simple Reality] disguised as a desire for something else, and our pain and frustration come from attempting to attain perfection from the imperfect.”
Thomas Troward in his profound interpretation of Jesus’ teaching comments, “When you find what the Truth really is, you will find it to be that you are perfectly free.” The mystic Emmet Fox in his book The Sermon on the Mount stated clearly that Jesus taught the perfection of Creation. “As Jesus puts it, ‘I said, ye are gods; and all of you sons of the Most High.’ He then added by way of emphasis: ‘And the scripture cannot be broken.’ Now if we really are the children of God, capable of eternal and flawless perfection, there can be no real power in evil, not even in sin, to keep us permanently in bondage [P-B].”
As Jesus said, “the Father and I are one,” or “the kingdom of Heaven is here,” or “the kingdom of Heaven is now.” “The kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth but they do not see it” is another way to express the perfection of Creation and hence our own perfection as part of that Creation.
We can further distinguish the imperfect from the perfect with the realization that only that which never changes is real. Using God as Simple Reality in religious language we find both secular and religious philosophers defending the unchanging perfection that we are all immersed in. “The medieval thesis, defended by Descartes, that God’s essence and existence are identical, implies that neither is contracted or determined by the other. The still earlier notion of Aristotle, repeated by Aquinas, that God is pure actuality, carries with it the attributes of completeness or perfection, which are the positive aspects of immutability or incapacity for change.”
Joseph Campbell found the same belief in the myths of the eastern religions. The Buddha taught that “Nirvana is immediately ours! We are already there, if we but knew.” Hindu scriptures express the attributes of God as Sat (immortal life), chit (infinite knowledge) and annanda (infinite love and bliss). “Yoga psychology states that the perfection of the universe is found within every individual and that this indwelling perfection is called atman, or the Self [True self].”
Prayer is a call to self purification, to inward search.
The Bible supports the Point of Power Practice in creating the experience of Perfection.
Hear my words, and act on them.
Listening to our inner wisdom which “counsels” against reacting empowers us to refrain from perpetuating our suffering by identifying with our body, mind and afflictive emotions. Changing our focus from outward to inward enables a paradigm shift. This change is supported by the silence and solitude found in meditation.
Be still and know that I am God.
Prayer when profoundly understood and properly practiced is the same as The Point of Power Practice of choosing to respond to life rather than resisting and reacting to our life’s experience. Prayer always works according to the law of cause and effect (karma) because our story (beliefs, attitudes and values) determines our identity and our identity drives our behaviors and our behaviors are the outcome of that chain of consciousness. Our beliefs, attitudes and values are our prayers. Perfect prayers reflect a perfect awareness which results in a perfect experience.
And whatsoever we ask, we receive.
I John 3: 22
We must be in the present moment to experience life’s abundance. Choosing response (feeling) over reaction (suffering) is an effective prayer.
Set me free, I entreat from my heart;
If I do not pray to thee with my heart,
Thou hearest me not.
If I pray to thee with my heart,
Thou knowest it and art gracious unto me.
Bora Prayer (Kenya)
The true relation in prayer is not when God hears what is prayed for,
but when the person praying continues to pray until he is the one who hears.
Prayer is not a process of asking for anything but giving thanks for the
health and happiness that we already possess. So we ask for a heightened consciousness of what was ours from the beginning.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Choosing response over reaction time and time again is a process of behavior modification and old conditioned reactions gradually lose energy and fade away. They are replaced by a new set of healthier conditioned behaviors characterized by compassion. Choosing response over reaction is a perfect transformative prayer practice.
Whatever is, is right.
The idea that we are a perfect part of a perfect creation is admittedly a hard sell given that there “seems” to be so much evidence to the contrary. A close and penetrating examination using our intuition will, however, support the truth of this wonderfully outrageous contention.
The evidence against perfection exists in the world of form delivered by our senses and the ongoing P-B “story” in our mind. We will find that form, thanks to the insight provided by our meditation practice, whether physical or mental, is not what it seems to be. We dare not base our worldview on anything so unsubstantial and ephemeral. Trusting the mind (which “makes up” our story), the body (which is subject to deceptive sensations and data), or our emotions (which are by definition irrational reactions) will lead to a bewildering and unsatisfying experience of life.
We must avoid living in the future always working toward goals which promise satisfaction. In doing so, always focusing on what will be, we will not experience what is. We can hardly believe in our own perfection if we are always attached to a process of “becoming” missing the experience of simply “being.”
Having looked at what is not real, we are ready to look at perfection or Simple Reality. Everything exists by virtue of Simple Reality and is contained within it. We need not concern ourselves with good or bad, or any other pairs of opposites, imperfection or our conditioned reactions. We set all of these relative experiences aside as we enter the present moment. As the observer of our experience we are empowered to transcend the illusion of imperfection. The observer is not a separate entity but simply a way to characterize the process of leaving the past/future realm of time and space.
Once we “feel” our perfection and the contentment and the peace which that realization brings, we can stop striving toward a goal that is removed from the Now by space and time. Only our thoughts and reactions can separate us from the experience of our own perfection. Once we realize that we are at one with the source of creation; that we are pure energy renewing itself moment by moment we will be free from all the illusions of imperfection.
Joel Goldsmith speaks of the importance of eliminating reaction which only happens when the false self is present. “Going to God without a single desire eliminated the ‘I’ in large measure, because it is only the personal ‘I’ who could have a wish, a desire or a will.”
Traumatic emotional experiences stored in the body’s nervous
system are naturally evacuated during interior silence.
Even thinking is a barrier to effective prayer as it is to life in general. “Even a thought or a statement of truth is an effect, and that is why using the mind to repeat stereotyped statements about God often does not induce peace. It is not thoughts about God that result in answered prayer. Thought about God is not the creative principle of the universe: God, Itself, is the creative principle and God is known only when the human mind is at rest.”
The monk Evagrios in the Philokalia said, “do not let your intellect be stamped with the impress of any form.” Piero Ferrucci explains more fully the advice of Evagrios. “Prayer, for Evagrios, meant getting rid of thoughts by stepping back from the mind until he was inwardly naked and silent.”
“Prayer is a passive relationship because, despite the commitment and presence it requires, it is—at its highest—a surrender of an initiative, and the creation of an empty space into which forces and revelations greater than one’s own individuality can flow.”
Belief in the perfection of Creation is a prerequisite to an experience of that perfection. The mind can assist in preparing the foundation for that experience but it cannot create that experience. The experience will emerge on its own as our natural state. Let us be mindful in our transformative practice in preparing the foundation for an experience of Simple Reality.
References and notes are available for this article.
Also find a much more in-depth discussion of Simple Reality
on this blog and in published books by Roy Charles Henry.