Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Counting the Cost

In any study of any spiritual discipline, one must count the cost for seeking the "pearl of great price" that is to be found at the heart of all great spiritual scripture. St. Paul said, "The letter killeth, it is the spirit that giveth life." This is true in all sacred literature. If we look just at the surface meaning of a line or hexagram, we are looking as did the young person in line two of hexagram twenty. We see only from our own limited capacity, and do not realize anything more is possible.

But if we want the "large fruit still uneaten," we are going to have to pay a price for it. In western religious tradition, when Jesus said something to the effect of "if you want to be my disciple you must count the cost," the later church took this to mean that you would have to realize that you are going to be persecuted. But there is a deeper message here (there always is) It is not simply a matter of being persecuted for believing the truth, it is a matter of having to give up time, to give up energy, and to give up things that are important to us. There is no other way. To truly know the I Ching, to truly know the message of Christ, there is going to have to be a time away from the mundane things that we love in order to spend time in meditation and study. We study the words of the text then we meditate upon them to find the more esoteric meaning, and the meaning that applies to each of us in this place and time that the lesson be personalized, and becomes part of our inner being. There is no other way but through sacrifice. It does not matter which spiritual tradition you accept, the only way to find the "pearl of great price" is to do the work, "practice chariot driving daily." The real goal for each person is to "know him or herself," not just superficially, but to really know the deeper aspects of the subconscious, and to know, not just believe, not just know intellectually, but to experientially know that we are one with the cosmos, with the universe. When we know that we have taken significant steps toward knowing ourselves, experientially, and knowing that we are "one with God." Full atonement, at-one-ment. But if we choose this step, if we choose to be a discipline of the Tao, of the I Ching, of the Christ or of the Buddha, we are going to have to count the cost, and see if we are capable of paying that price, the price of the "pearl of great price," which is to know our own place in the universe, and with the Cosmic Christ.

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