Modern philosophers remind us that it’s all but impossible to fully understand the words of a person who is teaching at a level of consciousness above that of our own.
For example, divide some pennies and dimes into two stacks. Put nine pennies in the first stack and three dimes in the second. Then tell a young child they can have one of the stacks. In almost every case they will pick the stack of nine pennies rather than the stack with only three dimes. You can tell them that the small pile is worth more, but rarely will they give up their nine pennies.
No matter how you try to explain it to them, they will hang onto their nine pennies. Why? Because your explanation about the “value” contained in each stack assumes a level of consciousness they have not yet achieved. They hear you, but they don’t “get it”.
Imagine the frustration of Jesus, Buddha, or history’s other enlightened mystics as they attempted to teach us how to unconditionally love others. The reality of 100 million people killed by other humans in the 20th century is pretty solid proof that we still don’t understand the deeper concepts needed to offer unconditional love and compassion to others.
We don’t “get it” even after 2500 years.
So what are we missing? Why are we unable to understand what our great spiritual teachers and mystic have been trying to teach us for so many years?
What We Have Failed To Understand
Like those children that refuse to give up their nine pennies, I believe that most us are still functioning at a level of human consciousness well below the consciousness of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, and the rest of history’s great spiritual teachers.
The “wisdom” those enlightened minds were attempting to teach us clearly involved more than just love and compassion alone. I believe they were encouraging us to embrace a higher level of consciousness; that of non-dual thinking.
The wisdom they were attempting to teach was simple and uncomplicated.
When we are able to let go of our dualistic, right and wrong egoic thinking—–and learn to fully embrace a higher level of human consciousness called nonduality or non-dual thinking—-only then will it be possible for humans to fully embrace and manifest the higher spiritual values of unconditional love and compassion.
Jesus Taught Non-dual Thinking
Jesus understood that nonduality was a “higher” level of consciousness best taught through stories, metaphors, and parables. A growing number of our 21st century biblical scholars now believe that the Parables and teaching stories told by Jesus make significantly more spiritual sense when we interpret them as wisdom teaching stories about nonduality and non-dual thinking.
Jesus used stories to help us understand that we live in the Kingdom of God. But the only way we can experience creation, is through the eyes of nonduality. In other words, the wisdom to see the non-dual “wholeness” of reality, not just the dualistic pieces and parts of reality called good and bad, and right or wrong.
Non-Duality In Modern Terms
Non-duality is best understood in today’s language as the middlepath ability to hold the contradictory truths always present on both sides of an issue—-without needing to choose one side over the other. In other words, only non-dual thinking can fully embrace the paradox that the light of “truth” always shines on both sides of every issue.
When we can “hold” the tensions that exist in the contradictions present in all issues; while we continue to struggle for clarity regarding the way forward, the gift we receive is the ability to include the wisdom and insights embedded on both sides of the issue when the path forward finally becomes clear.
As Marcus Borg reminds us, to fully understand the wisdom contained in the teachings of Jesus, we have to read his stories and parables in the context of the culture in which they were written. When we fail to include “context” in our reading, we are in danger of projecting, or inserting our own ego “beliefs” and “opinions” into those stories.
If our goal is to offer the world the unconditional love and compassion that Jesus and all of the world’s great spiritual teachers have been trying to teach us, I would add that their words and stories need to be read not only in context, but also through the heart of a more evolved, non-dual level of consciousness. Only then will the deeper “wisdom” of Jesus’ words, and the words of our other great spiritual teachers, be fully understood.
The right and wrong, good and bad, either/or thinking of the egoic mind may have love and compassion as its honest intention, but what will most often emerge from the dualistic mind will be our need to be right. When that happens, our judgmental opinions and rigid beliefs will begin to create conflict and violence in the world; the kind of violence that 100 million people experienced all too personally in the last century.
In our metaphor, the dualistic mind will always choose the lesser value of the nine pennies and ignore the greater value of the three dimes. This is also true for non-dual thinking. Our dualistic mind won’t “get” the importance of nonduality for unconditional love; not because it isn’t smart enough, but rather because embracing the “values” embedded in nonduality requires a higher level of human consciousness.
Stated simply, the unconditional love and compassion our world hungers to experience will happen only when humanity has achieved the nondual level of human consciousness encouraged by our enlightened spiritual teachers; a non-dual consciousness capable of transforming the judgmental dualistic categories of the egoic mind into the unity and wholeness required to manifest a true unconditional love.