Saturday, September 25, 2010

Perfection

"9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. ... 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
1 Corinthians 13:9



Imperfect

a poor reflection [of God], as in a mirror
the self known in part


Perfect

seeing [God] face to face (not as a dim reflection)
the self fully known


We are imperfect until we reach a sublime union with God. What are the signs of imperfection? Anger. Greed. Selfish motivation.

And then, a moment. What the Buddhists describe as the “blowing out” of the ego, or for Christians, a baptism in the Holy Spirit. That which is greedy inside of us, that which is selfish and judging and spiteful, is destroyed by God's perfect love, and we are made anew. We become “Awakened” to God's presence in the world.

Is this moment known beforehand by God? Yes. Is it planned? No. Because God is everything. God is your past, your present, and your future. God knows the moment you both will meet. You cannot fight what you are, or the mistakes you will make upon your path. God knows them, and God watches, and God listens to every whisper of your heart, and God leads you up winding mountain paths and into valleys of snow, just to bring you to the door. It is here that there is the only true choice. You must open the door on your own. And then you are awakened. You experience the connection in everything, the One, the meaning of Life and the truth of Love.

When one reaches a point where he or she comes upon God, it is like a leap, a jump, a flash of light. It is not anything visible or describable, but an “explosion” inside of the heart, a “breaking” of our deepest walls and a complete release of inhibition. In that moment, when we meet and know God, all that is angry and foul within us is destroyed and we become new. We are defined by God's love. We become vessels of perfection.

When we speak of perfection, we should not mistake it for something cold and hard, like a diamond. Perfection is fluid, like water, or air. Like Love. Perfection is Love; pure, fluid Love that changes and adapts to all things. God's love is beyond right or wrong. It is beyond organization, beyond definition, and beyond explanation. God's love is the very seed of creation.

Part of this union is also realizing that we can never be as great as God; we are simply pieces of the whole, not the whole in and of itself, and we exist in an imperfect, impermanent world. However, although no man can be as huge as God, a man may discover God within himself, and know God, and see God, and speak with God, and act with the will of God. This is why those who know God's love are humble; because they inherently know that God is everything, and that all of humanity is a grain of sand in comparison. That is why all who know God speak in riddles; because the reality of God is that it is a state of consciousness, a heightened awareness, and it cannot be described in words.

Friday, September 24, 2010


"What if you were to arrive at the Pureland of the Buddha, or if you are Christian, in the Kingdom of God? How would you walk? You must be able to leave footsteps where no trace of sorrow or anxiety can be found. Only peace and joy."

-Thich Nhat Hanh


If we can walk with peace and serenity here on earth, and our footsteps leave no trace of sorrow, hate, or anxiety, then we no longer walk on earth, but in Heaven. Both the Buddha and Christ taught that Heaven is here, it is inside of us. If we can learn to walk in peace, to live with compassion, then we already live in the Kingdom of God.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Debts Forgiven: An Answered Prayer

My father passed away about a year and a half ago, leaving my brother and I with close to $50,000 in debt, credit cards and student loans combined.

I was baptized last February and attended a sermon at Church which talked about God as the "forgiver of debts." The sermon stressed that we should forgive the debts of others that God may forgive our debts. I have always been very generous in forgiving others (for more than just financial debts), and so I began praying: "Please God, forgive my father's debts. Forgive my father's debts because he forgave the debts of others." I've prayed this more than a few times over the past months.

A month ago, my brother was notified by Sally Mae that because my father was the only signer on his student loans, he doesn't need to pay back any of the money. That's $30,000 that we don't need to pay!

And finally, today, I received a letter from our lawyer informing us that my father's biggest credit card debt, $13,000 with Chase, was misfiled with the court. The credit collectors had a 1 month window to file a creditor's claim with the court in order to collect the money from the estate. Otherwise their claim can be rejected by the estate and the debt dropped, forever.

Our lawyer wrote to us reporting that Chase misfiled the claim with the court. It wasn't filed within the 1-month window, and so we can reject it! That's $13,000 that we don't need to pay!

God, thank you, thank you, thank you for forgiving my father's debts! Thank you!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Faith, and Why

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
 -Matthew 5:8 
"If then your whole body is flooded with light, and no corner of it is darkness, it will be completely illuminated as when a lamp's rays engulf you." 
 -Luke/Sayings Gospel Q, 11:36

So I always resist writing about this event because I cannot fully explain it.

It has been the defining moment of my short life, and I know, no matter how long I live, that it will always be the most defining moment. You see, you have to understand that I was raised an atheist. There was no religious dogma or ideology in my house. My feeble grasps at God began as ventures into fantasy writing, palm readings, tarot, and a fascination with the arcane. I wanted the unexplainable to be true. But logically, I knew it couldn't be. I knew that ghosts, magic, and psychic powers were all just things of fancy. But I wanted it. Because I was so young, I couldn't identify my longings. I just knew that something was out there, something was missing, my family's explanations of life were logical and yet not fulfilling. I needed to find an answer that was substantial and satisfying.

When I was 10, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. That year, I moved 2000 miles away from her to be raised by my father, who had previously been absent in my life. My parents were not divorced, but because of financial circumstances, my father had to work in Los Angeles, CA while my mother lived in Washington state. The move was a hard one. I had never been separated from my mother before and I missed her sorely. At the same time, I was rejected by the children at my new school because I was shy, androgynous, and didn't know anything about the LA lifestyle.

I was isolated. My mother's cancer ate away at her until she died two years later, when I was 12. By this time, I still identified as atheist, but I had been frantically searching for a meaning in all of the emotional hardship and life changes around me. I knew there had to be an answer, and countless times I had prayed and cried out to God, but never had there been a reply, and I was angry and unconvinced. I sought out religious friends and argued with them until they couldn't stand me anymore. Some still don't speak to me.

When my mother finally died, although it happened 2000 miles away from me, I was awash with guilt. I blamed myself for wasting the time I had had left with her. I also blamed myself for her death, because I hadn't prayed or asked God to save her life (this is a child's logic... but it was also a very real emotion that arose from my heart.) I knew it made no real sense, and yet the guilt ate away at me like a wild thing. I couldn't help but feel like if I had done something different, anything different, I could have saved her.

About three weeks after her death, the guilt and misery reached a breaking point. I was sitting on my bedroom floor attempting to read a fantasy novel that centered around Celtic mythology, and I remember that I couldn't focus. I put the book down. I fell to my knees as a crashing wave of guilt and sorrow swelled through me, and I cried out -- God, I am sorry. God, please forgive me, I am so sorry.

At that moment, a force rushed through me that I could only describe as lightning. I cried out, and a wave of purity blasted through me, so powerful that I couldn't breathe. I opened my eyes, and I could feel love everywhere, the most divine, perfect love that I could ever perceive, so perfect that it was beyond comprehension, beyond name. The force of that love was so strong that it made me feel like I was exploding, like if it was any stronger then I would die from it. Then suddenly I was aware of an overwhelming consciousness, a presence in everything around me, as though I had been swallowed by the most beautiful music.

I looked down at the book, and threw it away from me, for the very thought of fantasy and polytheism suddenly disgusted me. The thought of atheism and man's lonely existence disgusted me. The disgust I felt was beyond physical; it was the knowledge of suddenly seeing God, of feeling God all around me and inside of me, and realizing how very wrong everything was. I stood up and went into my living room, awed by my new eyes, and looked out of my living room window. I was struck a second time by the intense presence of God, because as I looked outside and saw the trees, the grass, the sky, the cement -- I felt an intense connection in everything. God was everywhere. He was in the air, in the water, in the couch beneath me and the lungs I breathed with. Everything was connected. It was connected by perfect, divine love, and it was all in front of me.

That love changed something inside of me. It became me. I was, in every meaning of the word, reborn. My eyes were new, my thoughts were new, the world was new. I sat and breathed God and knew my source, and knew that this love was my most divine purpose; that somehow, I was seeing beyond the physical, and that everything was united and created through love. An overwhelming compassion filled me. I wanted to give this love to others. I wanted to do anything to stop people from suffering. I wanted to serve. I knew that my richest, most rewarding purpose was to serve others, and I no longer had a choice. God's love was so powerful inside of me that to act against it made me feel physically ill.

You have to understand that I was only 12. I couldn't put it into words... and who would believe me? It was a strange sensation; I felt like God wanted me to speak, but every time I would try, people's rejection would hurt too much. I was still very sensitive. I told my father that I believed in God, but he brushed it off as a symptom of grief. It would be three years before I told anyone again about my experience. I felt like I had been given a secret, and it was easier to keep it to myself than to suffer through the misunderstandings of others.

At first I thought that everyone who believed in God must have had the same intense awakening as I did (because what else did they believe in, exactly?). It took a long time, but I slowly came to realize that the people around me, even the kinder ones, even the heavily religious ones, were in many ways oblivious to what I continued to see. I grew up in an uncomfortable in-between; knowing God in everything around me and my own heart, yet unable to fold myself into a religious ideology, because I couldn't stand the hypocrisy of most believers. I prayed nightly for God to be my teacher, and show me the truth of the world. I prayed nightly to show the world God's truth.

I am Christian now, but I can't accept that there is only one way to understand faith. I read the teachings of Christ when I was 16 and I have been baptized since, but I still feel that the purity of my experience with God far surpasses anything else, and I understand that this experience has been written about in all religions. I see the effects of God's presence constantly in my life. In fact, He has made my life. He has created the person I am.

So when I speak of God, please listen, because my faith is genuine. God made me the way I am for a reason. This journal is not meant to be read as a permanent ultimatum or new doctrine; this journal, rather, is a journey of faith, a documentation of my spiritual growth and understanding of God. I mean this journal to inspire you, whether you are Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Catholic, or any of the other countless doctrines that exist in the world. This journal is, in fact, my heart, and is written with sincerity and love. I will never hide anything from you; not my doubts, my conflicts, my mistakes or my hiccups of faith. Here I am, I am not perfect, but I am happy to share God with you, because He has given me the gift of writing and the grace of knowing Him, and I would like to share my faith with the world.

I am simply, humbly, reverently defined by God's love, and my only desire is to love you the same way.

"He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks on everything with an impartial eye." ~Buddha 
"God is LOVE. Whoever lives in LOVE lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16 
 “Unity is divinity; purity is enlightenment." ~Sri Sathya Sai
"The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through." ~Edna St. Vincent Millay 
"When I saw others straining toward God, I did not understand it, for though I may have had him less than they did, there was no one blocking the way between him and me, and I could reach his heart easily.  It is up to him, after all, to have us, our part consists of almost solely in letting him grasp us."  ~Rainer Maria Rilke
"God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand.  If you understand you have failed."  ~Saint Augustine 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Just don't seek from others,
Or you'll be far estranged from Self.
I now go on alone;
Everywhere I meet It:
It now is me; I now am It.
One must understand in this way
To merge with thusness."
Dongshan Liangjie

Monday, September 6, 2010

Love Letters II

I am so thankful to belong to you.

Although I know I can never be you, I can try. I know you would not have me as anything other than myself, yet I yearn to be more. What else is the soul to crave, once it has tasted perfection?

You knew when we would meet, and that eventually, I would have no one else but you. In every step of my life, you knew me, and I have been blessed to know you. There's no need to make it complicated. In fact, there is a great need in this world to make things simple. I love you because you love me. I need you because you are the only thing that's real.

Where I go, you go. Where you go, I go. Your plans are my plans, because they bring me joy. Because it is not about where we go when we die or the rewards we get. It's about living with you. It's about having this one life with you, to share. The idea of nonexistence after death does not settle with the heart, and yet I cannot imagine what Heaven could be, and I do not believe in Hell. I would have my Heaven here and now with you, where I know you exist. I would not wait to become nothing.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All of the structures of man,
founded on nothing.

We live in denial of God's purpose, even as we undeniably live it.

We are strangers to ourselves, orphans of existence, defined by what we are lacking, blind to what we have, confused and lost in a changing world where our equilibrium must be founded on willpower alone.

Man is confused because we lie to ourselves. We look away from the only truth in life, the only experience that is real, the only thing we cannot confront. We seek truth and yet run from it, because to find truth, to find the real meaning of existence, we must confront our own mortality.

Once we force ourselves to become aware of death... once we make ourselves stare at it, look it in the face, meditate on it, and see it in ourselves... once we make a commitment to dying, everything becomes much more clear. The illusions we create for ourselves, the structures, the ideas, the debates, the ups and downs of history and current events, all fall to nothing. None of this matters. Nothing but the state of our hearts.

Because we never know when it is our time. Only the lucky ones die slowly. We must be prepared, because whatever comes after death will be as real as what we see around us now, more real, more vivid, and by the time we reach that point, it will be too late to change anything.

This life is very real. The consequences of this life are very real. Stop living in the illusion of tomorrow. Wake up. Now is the only time we have to change.

Friday, September 3, 2010

God sends me balloons. :)



Received this in my back yard a week before my baptism. It was stuck under a bush near my back fence. It says "Happy Baptism" in Spanish. No one knew I was going to get baptized.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

“I do not care to know your various theories about God. What is the use of discussing all the subtle doctrines about the soul? Do good and be good. And this will take you to freedom and to whatever truth there is....”


-The Buddha



Here is truth: God does not care who you profess to, who you bow to, what you follow, for all doctrines are in equal parts right and wrong. What matters is that your actions find their root in kindness and compassion. A kind, selfless man who claims to not love God is a liar, for his actions speak differently, and it is by actions that we see the state of the heart, and it is by actions that we are judged. Don't be satisfied with becoming a member of a group. Become a leader of all people through pure thought, intention, and selfless action. This is the thread of commonality shared by all major world religions. Become selfless. Destroy the ego. Overcome the devil inside of you. Then you are free to know God.

When we serve God, God serves us. My life, and the lives of many others, are testimony to that. It doesn't matter how we understand it. What matters is that we do it.