The Inner Path To Christ 2

Is this all there is?

How many of us have at some time reached a point in life where we ask, “Is this all there is – this depression, this labouring on and on, this struggle, this emptiness at the end of even a rich life? Do we do everything that we do only to have all wiped out in death?”

The early Christians said they had found the doorway to eternal life.  They also demonstrated extraordinary healings of body and mind.  Having talked this over with a number of my peers, it has become obvious that there are a few set responses to this in the modern mind.  A few people believe, for instance, that perhaps those things happened 2000 years ago, but those were extraordinary people, and they can’t happen in today’s world.  Others believe that those stories are a sort of folklore or mythology and must be seen in that light.  Many believe the statements are pure exaggeration made by people who were religious zealots.

Most of us have heard of Albert Schweitzer who went to the Belgian Congo in Africa to start a hospital.  The native people who came to him for help at first were very resistant to his ‘magic’ as they thought of it.  One of his first patients was a tribesman suffering from appendicitis.  Schweitzer anaesthetised the man, cut him open, took out his appendix, sewed him up again and revived him.  All this was done in an old converted chicken house that Schweitzer was using as his operating theatre.  Other tribes people and the man’s relatives were watching the operation through doors and holes in the roof. They carried the news far and wide that Schweitzer had killed the man, cut him open and removed his innards, then sewed him up and brought him back to life.  He was seen as a miracle worker.

I tell this story because it illustrates the enormous difference in perspective of those tribes people and of our own.  Describing the event as a miracle and as a resurrection does not in any way change the fact of Schweitzer’s operation on that man.  Neither do the gospel descriptions mean those events did not happen simply because we would not describe them in that way. It is only in very recent years that the medical profession as a whole has acknowledged the link between the mind, emotions, and physical illness.  At one time illness was never seen as emerging from stress or grief. Dealing with these torturous emotions can bring about remarkable physical change.  Although I have quoted this elsewhere, the following story is worth repeating because it illustrates this so well:

Taking the path of this discipleship can lead to healing of the mind and body.  But perhaps even more important than that, it can lead to the discovery of what at the moment is only a potential within you.  Also, it promises a spiritual life in which you transcend death.

Those are heady claims, and therefore need to be looked at in terms of modern language.

In Christian terminology the word Spirit is used to describe the source of healing and the spring from which the sense of eternal life arises. It is therefore helpful to have some grasp of what this word means in a way we might be able to observe in our daily life. This is said because discipleship is not about things we cannot see or experience in our ordinary everyday life. We do not need to believe in the strange or occult, or even to accept things on someone else’s say so.

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