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Question 131: What is the meaning of “Spiritual warfare” in the Gospel of Oneness?

This can be a tricky concept because it depends on who you think the enemy is and just how you would conduct a spiritual war.

For some Christians and Muslims it can be an outer war against other people who criticize their religions, or don’t believe in their ideas of God or their holy laws, or who they think represents the anti-Christ.

Some Christians think the war is against unseen principalities and powers like the devil and his fallen angels who are always tempting people and leading them astray. They say we need to put on the full armor of God to do battle with the unseen powers who rule this world. By “full armor” they mean living in purity and love and with a strong mind to put the devil in his place.

In the Gospel of Oneness the enemy is the human ego because it sees the world as a place of separation and duality. The Bhagavad Gita is the symbolic story of the struggle we have with our egos. Krishna is the “Christ Intelligence” who guides us in making wise decisions. Arjuna is the soul who is struggling with his ego and all the myriad forces that support the ego in its dualistic sense perceptions and worldly desires. Arjuna has many questions about how to fight the battle of life, and at first he is reluctant to even confront his ego. But Krishna urges him on and says it is his duty to conquer his ego. From that point on they have a conversation for the ages that has inspired Hindus and many other people around the world.

God loves everyone, is the soul of everyone, and so has no enemies. It is a false idea to think that we must fight for God or that God takes sides in human warfare. God is love and is not looking to punish or torture anyone or have anyone conquer or subdue other humans in his name.

The only war, and it doesn’t have to be seen as war which implies violence, is to conquer or counter our egos with the realization that we are one with God and that we are eternal soul identities with the vast Spirit beyond and yet within creation. Such realizations will help us be much better co-creators.

“I am the origin of all. Everything emanates from Me. Understanding this, the wise ones worship Me with love and devotion. –Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita

“The body is mortal, but the person dwelling in the body is immortal and immeasurable” Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita

“I look upon all creatures equally; none are less dear to me and none more dear. But those who worship me with love live in me, and I come to life in them.” – Krishna in the

Bhagavad Gita

Sri Krishna said: The soul is never born nor dies at any time. Soul has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. Soul is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. Soul is not slain when the body is slain.”

Sri Krishna said: O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me. All this Universe, Every living being & Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.” (Bhagavad Gita: Chapter Seven verse 7)

Question 130: What is the Gospel of Oneness attitude toward animal welfare?

We start with the realization that everything manifests from the infinite creative mind of God, so everything from minerals to plants to animals has God consciousness within it. Everything in creation is on a path back to God. Humans have reached the point of being able to consciously recognize and realize their connection with God.

The consciousness that is within minerals, plants and animals is evolving toward Self-Realization. That is spiritual evolution.

As humans we can realize that God consciousness is in everything, so we can treat everything as having a divine purpose. Since animals are getting very close to evolving toward Self-realization we give them special consideration.

Animals have a high degree of intelligence, and they also have feelings and an emotional awareness. We can see this in our pet animals. We can also see this in the animals we raise for food if we take time to observe their behavior. So someone who believes in the oneness of life is likely to be a vegetarian or maybe a vegan since they know that animals suffer in the dairy industry as well as in the egg producing business.

But animals are killing and eating other animals all the time, this world is about eat or be eaten, it’s about killing other life forms to stay alive. Yet there is a balance to it all.  And beyond that balance it is an illusionary world that we have set up and we are collectively responsible for it. The only way to go is up and out into the oneness of Spirit. It is a long journey we have embarked upon.

The evolutionary story of this planet, this solar system, galaxy and universe is too vast for us to know at this time. Who knows why dinosaurs dominated this planet for so long? How do the awesome variations in animal and plant species arise?

We are ignorant of so much, but the one thing that we do know about is the efficacy and the primacy of love and kindness. It is the way to evolve to higher and higher states of consciousness. Treating animals with love and kindness is a way to evolve higher ourselves and to help animals evolve also. If you feel the oneness of all life it is the natural attitude to have.

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages.” – Thomas Edison, American Inventor and Scientist

“He who harms animals has not understood or renounced deeds of sin. Those whose minds are at peace and who are free from passions do not desire to live at the expense of others.” – from Acharanga Sutra – Jainism – Non-Vedic Religion of Old India

Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life.” – Elizabeth Goudge, author of The Joy of the Snow

“As custodians of the planet it is our responsibility to deal with all species with kindness, love, and compassion. That these animals suffer through human cruelty is beyond understanding. Please help to stop this madness.” – Richard Gere, American Actor

“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.” – James Herriot, English Veterinarian and Author

Question 129: Do apostasy and blasphemy have any place or meaning in the Gospel of Oneness?

These are concepts of duality. They are made up terms by people who have a dualistic world view. They are predicated on the view that what we believe about God is so important that we could be killed or honored for what we believe about God or what we say about God or about people who are considered to be messengers or prophets or avatars of God.

These concepts have no place in the gospel of oneness. God is not, cannot be mocked. God cannot be insulted or hurt or shamed by anything humans can say about him/her, or it. Humans are the ones who get upset if they think someone is insulting their god. God doesn’t need any defenders, especially violent or hateful defenders.  The people who are considered to be messengers, prophets, or avatars of God also do not need violent or hateful defenders.

We are all a part of God, so if a person talks against God or doesn’t believe in a Supreme Consciousness, it is their God-given free right to do so. We can’t force anyone to honor God. It is a free will choice, and it can change over time. So blasphemy is out the window. We don’t care about it and we are not offended by it.

As for apostasy we don’t care about that either. If a person believes in the oneness of all life for awhile, and then changes his mind, that is all right. Maybe he or she never really had an experience of oneness. No one is punished or shunned for changing their mind about what they believe.  All of us are working out what we believe is true about life and about the existence of a Supreme Creator, and whether or not we have eternal souls, and what happens after our bodies die. To insist that we have the full truth about any of this, and that we have the right to punish people who believe differently than we do is just crazy.

Now where we do draw the line, and this has nothing to do with apostasy or blasphemy, is when religious beliefs call for violence unto others. For example, if a moon-god religion called for the sacrifice of a child or a virgin once a month, we could make a civil law forbidding such a practice. If a religion calls for the killing of people they think are apostates, we can and have made civil laws against such practice.

“If you do not have the possibility of abandoning your religion, you do not enjoy the possibility of freely embracing it, either.”
Paul Berman

“Describing the process of making her decision to leave, Patricia said: “It is as if there is a shelf where all your doubts and misgivings are placed while you are in that group. Over the months or years you observe so many things that may conflict with your original beliefs and values, or you see things done by the group or leader that are just not right. Because of the indoctrination and not being allowed to ask questions, you just put it on the shelf. Eventually, the shelf gets heavier and heavier and finally just breaks, and you are ready to leave” (p. 55).”
Madeleine Landau Tobias, Captive Hearts, Captive Minds: Freedom and Recovery from Cults and Other Abusive Relationships

Was there ever a more horrible blasphemy than the statement that all the knowledge of God is confined to this or that book? How dare men call God infinite, and yet try to compress Him within the covers of a little book!

Swami Vivekananda

Blasphemy has always seemed to require taking things very seriously.

Donna J. Haraway

Question 128: What is the Gospel of Oneness view on the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States?

Politics represents the best of duality, or should I say the worst of duality. In a way it is a struggle to see who can best represent duality. Politics is about gaining control of society in order to make rules and policies that come from dualistic worldviews.

Donald Trump is a businessman turned politician. He has the typical views of someone lost in duality. He sees the situation as “us against them” or “me against you.” He wants to build a border wall because it’s us against them. He wants to continue the policy of bombing others and torturing them if necessary. He has trashed his political opponents by making personal attacks on them and calling them liars even though objective analysis has revealed he is one of the biggest liars of all.

We could go on and on about his faults, but what about our own faults? The problem isn’t out there in political people. The problems are always within us, and in order to reform the world and change things for the better we need to purify ourselves, a difficult and life-long assignment, given to us by Life itself.

When we look at the life of Jesus, he did not talk about how terrible Caesar and Herod were. He didn’t talk about overthrowing the Roman Empire and establishing his own world view as the ruling ethic. He did criticize the religious leaders of his day though because they were not teaching people how to establish their inner communion with God. Instead they were enforcing a lot of outer rules such as not doing any work on the Sabbath. In other words they were not entering the kingdom of God within and they were discouraging the common people from going within also.

We can look at a more modern figure for guidance on how to see political figures. Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the spiritual classic “Autobiography of a Yogi,” lived through two world wars and saw the rise and results left by such tyrants as Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse-Tung, Mussolini and others. His own country of India was colonized by a foreign country, and yet he spent his time teaching people how to enter the kingdom of God by going within and meditating to gain the experience of oneness with God. He did not spend much time if any criticizing the terrible tyrants of his time.

However, does this mean that we should ignore political figures who are wreaking havoc on the world? No, Hitler could have been stopped if enough people had realized just how crazy he was at the beginning of his rule, but that raises the questions of “how many is enough and what could they really do?” Let’s take a look at Syria. Assad is a brutal ruler, but the rebellion against him has led to a devastating civil war. And sometimes a brutal regime is replaced by one just as bad or worse.

Here in the United States we have a long tradition of orderly government with peaceful transitions of power. We can impeach presidents. We can vote in new people. As long as we have freedom to dissent we can put forward alternative policies. If you believe in the oneness of all life you can support any policy or plan that recognizes that we are all one in the Spirit.

 

Question 127: Why is meditation important in the Gospel of Oneness?

Our five senses keep us enthralled by all the dualistic experiences in this world. There is so much to see, to taste, to hear, to touch, to smell in this world that these sense experiences keep us busy in living outer directed lives.

We also have the sense of intuition that goes beyond what our five senses can detect. It is this sense that can connect us to transcendental experiences, including the amazing experience of Oneness with all that is.

We don’t have to be in a meditation mode to experience oneness, but if we set aside some quiet time every day, even for 15 minutes, we can quiet the sense telephones and get in touch with something beyond the outer shows of this world.

Many methods and teachers of meditation are available. Yes, some teachers have ulterior motives, and some have methods that may not work for you, but that doesn’t mean meditation is not a highly beneficial practice.

The simplest method of meditation is to stretch and exercise gently before sitting down in a comfortable posture with your spine as straight as possible. Then follow your breath as it goes in and out. Your breathing will slow down and so will your heart rate. Your eyes can be closed or half open with your gaze directed slightly upward. Focus on love and gratitude, and let your body relax. The more you do this the easier it will become. If it becomes a habit so much the better.

Of course if you already are or want to be a deep practitioner of meditation, then it would be a good idea to find a highly qualified teacher who can guide you when you have difficulties. Maybe you have such a teacher who has overcome his or her ego and can guide you wisely. If so, I’m sure you are very grateful.

To summarize, if you look at the state of the world in this year (2017) how many people do you see in politics and religion who are lost in duality? How many do you see talking about this gospel of oneness? So engaging in meditation is very important in order to help this world.

through meditation, the Higher Self is experienced. – Bhagavad Gita

Question 126: Does the Gospel of Oneness advocate the use of the Hawaiian healing technique Ho’oponopono?

Yes it does because it is a universal healing technique that uses the oneness of life to bring healing and health to the practitioners as well as the people in need of healing.  When we heal ourselves we also heal other people. So the idea is to concentrate the healing vibrations on ourselves and also a specific person or group of people.

The technique consists of using the phrases, “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” You don’t necessarily have to be in the presence of the people you are seeking to help. The idea is to introspect about your own faults and shortcomings that may lead to problems such as the ones experienced by the people or person in need of healing. All the while you keep repeating those phrases with deep feeling. You set aside a block of time to do this healing work.

Since we are all in this together, your healing vibrations will go out to the people in need of healing. We are connected to each other in profound ways.  You say “I’m sorry” because our own impure thoughts and actions have contributed to illness in the world. You ask to be forgiven because that frees the other people as well as yourself from holding grudges or seeking revenge. You say thank you to show happiness and gratitude for being forgiven and forgiving. You say “I love you” because love is the universal healer and the essence of all life.

It is important to love yourself as well. The more you love yourself and become happy with yourself the less you will criticize and judge other people. You will quit projecting your faults onto other people. You will accept that you have shortcomings and work on them without projecting them onto other people. You will be happier and the people around you will be happier

The idea is to take 100 percent responsibility for our part in life and for the ways that we have affected other people. As we are all part of the wholeness of life, we want to be in love with everyone and clear away the distress and disharmony that may lead to illness.

You can use ho’oponopono in any troublesome relationship you might have. If you can get the other party to use it also then you will be able to reconcile your differences fairly easily. If the other party refuses to cooperate then you can use it anyway, and some good effects will happen sooner or later.

You can also use Ho’oponopono to help heal situations around the world, such as the wars in Syria and other areas. If you search within yourself and find any warring tendencies or anger or desires for revenge or to lord it over other people, then you can abolish those tendencies within yourself.  You will be doing your part to bring peace to the world. When enough people have definitely established peace within themselves, the mass consciousness will call for peace everywhere. The oneness of life will be recognized and people will know that what you do unto others you also do to yourself.

*there are different versions of Ho’oponopono

Question 125: What is a cult according to the Gospel of Oneness?

To put it simply, a cult is any religion that is dualistic in its philosophy and practice.  Under this definition the monotheistic religions that were started in the Middle East are cults, even if they are considered major religions. Most of the offshoots of these religions are also cults, such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and prosperity gospel preachers.

They are considered cults because they put their trust in an external savior, and they think God is out there somewhere as a separate being who created them, but  remains aloof and mysterious while still being loving, just, all wise and merciful.

Let’s take a look at what some cultists believe and how they act: Cults usually have a charismatic or dominating leader or authority figure. Cult members frown on people who leave the cult. Cults usually have a system of beliefs that are protected as “the Truth” and it is very difficult for members of the cult to question the beliefs. There is usually a threat of some kind of punishment or bad result for anyone who leaves the cult.

Let’s see how Islam measures up to this description of a cult.  Mohammed is the unquestioned authority figure in Islam. It is very difficult for any Muslim to criticize him in any way. It is also very difficult to criticize the Quran because they regard it as the very words of God, and how could God be wrong about anything? Islam is one of the hardest religions to leave. Family members and community members may ostracize anyone who dares leave the faith. So Islam fits the description of a cult. Islam takes a very dualistic view of life as it makes crucial distinctions between believers and non-believers, often in a black or white way with not many options to define one’s beliefs outside the context of its world view.

Let’s see how Christianity measures up: They have a strong leader in Jesus Christ, so strong that they have declared him to actually be God Himself in the form of the only begotten Son.  The belief in the Bible as the word of God, even the inerrant word of God, is strongly believed by many Christians, and it is difficult for Christians to question the authority of the Bible. Leaving Christianity is not as hard as it used to because so many have left already that a person who leaves can easily find others who have abandoned the Church. Jesus Christ does affirm the oneness of life, but his followers have made Christianity into a dualistic religion by making Jesus into an external savior and a role model that cannot possibly be emulated as he is regarded as God. They have made up a story that avers that Jesus died on the cross as a substitutional atonement for the sins of all mankind, past, present, and future.

The Jewish religion has been a dualistic religion from the beginning since they say they were a people chosen by God to live in a way set apart from the rest of humanity, as if all other tribes and nations were just extras in the story of God and His chosen people. In their view the whole history of the Earth and mankind centers around their story in which God blesses them or punishes them according to their faithfulness.

You can put any religious belief system to the test with this description of a cult. So is the Gospel of Oneness a cult?  You can judge it.  We don’t have a central or charismatic leader that we take as the main authority figure. Although we do honor the saints and sages of all religions who proclaim the oneness of all life, and many of them have come from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions. We don’t have a book that we say is the word of God because we don’t think the actual words of God can be put into a human language without the problems of translation and interpretation.  We do honor the inspirational writings from people of various backgrounds. You can believe in the Oneness of all Life or not. It’s up to you, there is no punishment if you don’t believe or quit believing. There is no external savior or doctrine that you need to believe in order to be saved. In fact there is no need to believe in a salvation concept.

The oneness of Life is something to be realized or at least mentally, emotionally and bodily accepted as the truth about life.  People who believe in or who have realized the oneness of all life have love and joy, peace, compassion, kindness, understanding and humility as dominant features in their lives. More and more wisdom is acquired with every day of consciously living in the awareness of the oneness of life. The concepts of God and whether He, She or It really exists can be endlessly debated over using our inadequate human languages.  Experiences that transcend our human languages and concepts are what we are into.

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