Monday, June 11, 2007

Means to an End...

Lately there have been a lot of questions in my mind, like from the post about koans, that are really interesting to ponder. The answers aren't as important as the questions in most cases, and you really can't tell what the answer is if you wanted to. Such things like, "Does anything exist outside of my mind or is this all just in my head?" Thanks again, Lindsey. ;)

My question for the day is this: What is the end and what are the means? Why are we good? Are we good just for the sake of being good here and now, or are we good so that we can say that we were good here and go to heaven later? Do the intentions matter, or is the only thing that matters the action and not its motivation? I mean, I guess as long as you're doing good things, you're doing good things, right? Hmmmm

I think Mother Culture of modern-day Christianity is trying to tell me that the ends matter. We're good so we can go to heaven. God has a huge blackboard where He is keeping tally of the good things I do in my life so I'll have a cooler set of wings and a shinier halo when I get up there, right? I really detest this idea, though. My inner Buddhist/Taoist is saying that focusing on the future and doing things in order to store up for the future is the wrong idea. Be here now.

Well actually....

I'm pretty sure Jesus would disagree with Mother Culture here too. I think that is one of the lessons he tried to teach people that they didn't quite get. Teaching to a very rules-based Jewish community, it was difficult for him to get the point across. Being good here and now is a good thing just for the sake of being good here and now.

Perhaps that's why heaven is such a difficult place to get to, according to the texts. You have to forget about it in order to reach it. If you're focusing on heaven, doing good things is meaningless. You have to be doing good things just for the sake of helping people, to develop love, to be a humanitarian. Once you forget about heaven, you'll have achieved it.

Kinda like enlightenment and nirvana. One cannot meditate with nirvana and enlightment in mind. You'll never get anywhere.

The lines are all blurring in my mind....

It's highly probably that this post sucks. I'm kinda tired...

On a different note, today I came to terms with my move and with changes in general. I'm always looking for metaphors for my life that I find in nature. The seasons change, animals don't long for possessions, stuff like that. My realization today came from a beautiful sunset I saw. It was gorgeous, peering out from behind some dark clouds in complimentary shades of purple, orange, yellow, and red. Perfect...

So I was thinking about how stupid it would be to say as the sun was setting, "Don't set yet!!! Stay here with me a little longer!!! You're so beautiful! I want to hold on to you!" No. You just love it, let it be a part of you for a while, and then let it go with the memory you've just made. You realize that tomorrow there will be another sunset with its own unique beauty.

Life is a lot like that. Stages and times in life will come and go. Instead of holding onto them and mourning the loss, just go with it knowing that something just as beautiful is only a day away. Everything happens for a reason. Today's sunset means that the sun gets to rise again tomorrow. I'm okay with that thought.


lindsey said...

I don't know if you've read The Little Prince or not (if not, you'll have to for Senior Sem at Drury) but one of my favorite parts is when the Little Prince talks to the King of everything. Your sunset thing is what reminded me...

The Little Prince wants a sunset, so the King commands it, but tells the Little Prince he will have to wait and the sun will set on its own time. If you command things to do what they will do naturally, you'll never be wrong.

Some times I think that sort of illusion of control is easier than letting go and giving into the flow of things around you and recognizing that you have no control over certain things.

I command you to call me. ;-)

I'm not completely sure, however, that your "don't think about heaven" idea jives with the Biblical teachings.

13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13)

Jesus speaks of being alert for his return, of the kingdom of heaven being exclusive. You know- sheep go to heaven...goats go to hell.

Damn I'm not doing a very good job of being the devil's advocate here because I completely agree with you.

My heaven, my nirvana, God, all that is here in the present moment. I can touch peace and eternity through mindfulness. But I recognize that things are impermanent, but that I can always touch joy, love and peace within myself and others. Realizing this has put a pretty goofy grin on my face lately.

lindsey said...

Uh oh...Lindsey did her homework and now she's back.

"I think that as Christian people, we are Easter people. We are about the resurrection. We are focused on the afterlife. If that is true, then our main goal should be to lead people to Christ first and foremost, because eternity is way longer than life here on Earth..."
-Mark Walter
12:23pm Friday, Dec 1, 2006

I like watching you grow.
But I wonder...are you okay with being alone for eternity yet? Or is that part of the growing process too?