I identified as a Christian pilgrim since the 1960s when I was baptized in a Southern Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC. As an adult, I began attending the United Methodist Church since, in general, the UMC seems more inclusive to women and gays in the congregational leadership and ministry. But only after the miracle of awakening in 2011 did I fully comprehend the nondual message the historical Jesus the Christ was teaching and preaching for those who had ears to hear.
This discovery about the Jesus I thought I knew so well resulted in heavy ice cream consumption. Truth be told, I drifted from the Christian teachings in 1992 to study the nonduality teachings of Lao Tzu, the Buddha, and Wu Hsin. That I later discovered the teachings of Jesus to be based on a nondual philosophy prompted laughter and tears at how dumb this Anita character really is…and how divinely brilliant, radical, and patient the historical Jesus is portrayed in the scriptures.
Jesus has no need to pander to us with these controversial and mind-twisting paradoxes and teachings. So why does Jesus point towards Truth using parables and paradox, or believe we need to hear these nondual messages and teachings of an upside down perspective of life? A camel through the eye of a needle? Give to get? Die to live?
These paradoxical stories are used to jolt the relative mind into cramping and pausing, if only for a moment. Jesus perceives and lives from a spaceless space beyond the relative mind and understands the root of all suffering. Jesus compassionately and freely offers the remedy to any who have ears to hear this unusual message. If Jesus used the traditional religious words of the culture, the power and divinity of His presence and personality may have entranced some into believing His message without fully understanding the scope of what was being offered…a new and radical path of perceiving life.
The parables and paradoxes attributed to Jesus, these lessons in non-duality, serve a useful purpose. How do you explain an out of the ordinary experience to someone who has not had it? How do you explain the beauty of a rainbow to someone who has never seen one, or describe the busy activity of honeybees? The parables and paradoxes offer simple mental pictures to point towards Truth. The New Bible Dictionary uses these words:
The parables are the appropriate form of communication for bringing to men the message of the kingdom, since their function is to jolt them into seeing things in a new way. They are a means of enlightenment and persuasion, intended to bring the hearers to the point of decision. Jesus, as it were, stands where his hearers stand, and uses imagery familiar to them to bring new and unfamiliar insights to them. (Marshall, p. 867)
And to jog your memory, below are a few of the paradoxical teachings of Jesus the Christ. I’ll write more about these nonduality teachings and how they impacted the Anita character in an upcoming series of posts. I’d love to hear your thoughts and impressions of the nondual teachings of Jesus if you’re willing to comment or you may send me an email.
- Give and it will be given to you (Luke 6:38)
- The last will be made first (Matthew 19:30)
- We are in the word but not of the world (John 17:14-16)
- Humble yourself to be honored (James 4:10)
- To live you must die (1 Cor 15:36-38)
- Surrender your life to save it (Matthew 10:39, Galatians 2:20)
- When you are weak, you are strong (2 Cor 12:10)
- Difficulties are a reason for joy! (James 1:2)
- Freedom is found through slavery (Romans 6:18)
- We gain everything through losing everything (Phil 3:7-8)
- True leadership is found in serving (Matthew 20:26-28)