The Inner Path To Christ 1

Discipleship in the West


In early Christianity women played an important role, even though none were listed as apostles. In Acts 1:13-15 this is made plain. It says:

When they had come in, they went up into the upper chamber, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (and there was a multitude of persons gathered together, about one hundred twenty) …

This passage clearly states that apart from Mary, the mother of Jesus, there was other women, and with Jesus’ brothers the gathering numbered about one hundred and twenty. It must be remembered that in this earliest group of Christians there was no organised religion, no creed, and no denominations. They were a hundred and twenty people trying to live in a certain way and trying to let something very wonderful into their lives. In fact, that original meeting was to allow what, in the gospels, was called the Spirit or Holy Ghost to enter their experience. This influence is at the heart of the Discipleship. The words Spirit and Holy Ghost are of course terms used by these ancient people. They may mean very little to a person educated in today’s world unless that person has direct experience. But these words will be examined as we proceed.

Also, beneath the watchtower of the Megiddo Prison in modern Israel an archaeological excavation has revealed the site of the headquarters of the Roman army of the Sixth (Ferrata) and Second (Traiana). Excavators discovered courtyards, and most important, a Christian meeting hall that may be the earliest Christian church discovered in the Holy Land.  Archaeologists date the site to circa 230AD. On what would have been the back side of the altar (south side) the rectangle contains two inscriptions which face each other.  The first inscription is a memorial inscription naming four women, an indication of the importance of women in the early Church.

It is an unfortunate tendency in virtually all the world religions that they become very insular and possessive. When people began to organise Christianity, they placed dogmas and rigid rules around it; Christianity had the misfortune to be scarred with battles between sects, intolerance of other races and culture, and male authoritarianism.  Nevertheless, I believe there is a real Christian Path that stands beyond that and talks about universal principles. When Newton discovered the process of gravity, he did not tell people they could only receive instruction in it if they belonged to a certain society or group. It was a principle universal in nature. Likewise, what the earliest Christians found, is in a similar category.

You do not have to believe in and apply a lot of rules and dogmatic regulations described by organising bodies of people to use the principles of electricity.  But many of us see Christianity as needing to live by rigid rules and regulations laid down by the organised church. But the underlying principles are about universal processes. Even if we believe the idea of a personal God, it is strange that a being that is said to have created the universe limits any approach to itself to a particular organisation or sect; strange also that the three great religions who have as their central belief a personal God, and are therefore monotheistic, are often at loggerheads. If I say hello to you, and someone else says hola, and yet another person say buongiorno – we are surely all greeting each other, but speaking different languages. It seems that Allah, God and Jehovah are surely the same thing in different languages and cultures. Also strange is the idea that God is a male.

The discipleship being described here is about universal processes of life, of your mind and heart. If you use these principles certain results arise that you can understand and test. They do not rely on beliefs in standards set by other human beings. The only thing required of you is a sense that underlying your existence is something you do not fully understand. You perhaps need to feel that life itself is a grand mystery that you want to experience or explore more fully. The aim is to open to and explore that Mystery.

In considering discipleship I see it as a discipline leading to a meeting with Christ. Remember that Jesus became the Christ at baptism. It was something that overshadowed him and was not him. The Christ is a universal principle of nature and is of every racial type, and of Female and Male. Christ in this inner view of the subject is the potential you hold within you that has not been allowed to flower. It is the very best of what you are, not some distant possibility that you have to get from outside yourself.

There are many saviour heroes from other cultures such as Anansi in Africa, Cúchulainn in Eire, Osiris in Egypt and Hercules in Greece, and Krishna. Apollonius of Tyana is also recorded as living a sacred life. Depending upon the culture we were raised in, we will unconsciously put an image to the power of change and transformation that we experience. People in all ages, all cultures and all social circumstances have experienced what is often felt to be a divine influence touching them in some way. To be clear about this, the power that is found within us is a release of our own potential emerging from our core self. So in this sense the image of Christ is a graphic presentation of our own innate wonder. The patterns of love and strength are behaviours lived by past individuals that remain in collective memory, offer keys or clues as to how to release this innate potential. That such keys, as well as ones innate potential, are often clothed in symbols and traditional imagery, is simply because we have not made such parts of our potential or heritage clearly conscious. They thus emerge from our unconscious clothed in whatever imagery or ideas we can accept or allow, as in dreams.

So, what does Christ the Redeemer and Good Shepherd mean in this sense?

Here is a man’s personal account of an experience that explains much of what was said above. It makes clear what it is like to confront the power of transformation within.

In the previous week I had met a feeling I could not account for, which had left me wondering what was happening. I had the very strong impression that I had killed a man and now had the guilt of blood on my hands. This time in the group, when I surrendered, something I could never have suspected happened. I was standing with my eyes closed, but it seemed I could see, because the spontaneous mental imagery was so clear. I was standing under a clear night sky, with the stars brilliant above. But there was a star more brilliant than the others that fell to Earth, and I knew it was something wonderful and special so hurried to see what it was. Others had also seen it, simple rural people like myself. What we found was a baby. But the wonder of it was so much I fell on my knees and couldn’t stop myself crying out again and again – A baby! A baby!

The tears and the cries were because I had the clear feeling or knowledge, a direct knowing, that all of the heavens, all of life’s mystery, had come to life in this baby. And to actually know this, to feel the impact of it, was almost more than I could bear. But part of the amazement was that this was every baby born. It wasn’t just one special baby. It was my own birth too! All the mystery of life was born in me. I sobbed with the pain and wonder of it.

The Christ is the essence of all human life, and expresses as every age, from baby to death, so it is with us at every part of our journey through life. In the west we have been exposed to a male dominated view so long we call Christ Him. But the experience of what came to Jesus and made him a Christ is open to any man or woman who seeks it.

 Discipleship is an ancient path

The discipline of meeting this inner Christ has been known for centuries and practised by individuals and groups who were frequently persecuted by the organised church. In fact, the power and love that touched the early Christians has been innate in men and women from the beginning and is lying dormant in each of us. We can think of this inner potential as the Mother Church, not built with bricks, not connected with any form of organised religion. We enter it and are transformed by following the Christian pathway.

In this incredible universe there are possibilities that we only vaguely understand – or have not been understand at all. In my own lifetime I have seen the emergence of radio, television, and mobile phones into becoming an everyday part of most people’s lives. They arose from the use of natural principles that were previously obscure or unrealised. There are also things about the human body, the human mind and soul that remain obscure or unknown for many of us, despite the enormous amount of research undertaken in the realm of physics and psychology.

Discipleship is about unfolding some of these wonderful possibilities still latent in you. It is about possibilities so amazing that many early Christians were willing to die in support of keeping a doorway open for other people to claim them. So, what are those possibilities, and how can we claim them?

But what is the Christ? Well in one sense he is an Extra Terrestrial having no physical body and yet is a living being that interacts with many.

My personal feelings are that just as many people can become Buddhas also many people can become Christs. That is because just as Jesus became the Christ, so can we too by evolving to the level where we can touch a universal awareness, in which all human experience is synthesised and apparent.

Carl Jung says – Such a myth of Christ, however, consists of symbols that have not been invented consciously. They have happened. It was not the man Jesus who created the myth of the god-man. It existed for many centuries before his birth. He himself was seized by this symbolic idea, which, as St. Mark tells us, lifted him out of the narrow life of the Nazarene carpenter.” Quoted from Man and His Symbols

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