Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I believe

I have been dabbling with a personal statement of belief.  Here is my first draft

I believe in the Way.
  • I believe that all things conform to nature.
  • I believe that nothing outside of the natural universe exists.
  • I believe that nature is not a thing, but rather, it is general tendency of the way things work.  Lacking a better term, I call this the Way.
  • I believe that the Way itself, not being a thing, cannot be described or seen.  However, as reflected in the nature of how specific things work, the emergent tendencies of nature/the Way can be observed and discussed.
  • I believe that the Way itself is eternal, unchangeable, and constant.  However, the emergence of the Way, how the Way manifests itself in things, is myriad and diverse.
I believe Truth.
  • I believe that "truth" is a factual description of Way things are and how they work.  However, since the Way itself cannot be described or observed, any "truth" is dependent upon emergent observation.
  • I believe that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole.  I call this integrated truth, the "gospel".  Hence, if something proves to true, it is part of the gospel.  If something is not true, it is not part of the gospel.
  • I believe that true things can be either undeniably true, or unprovable, meaning things for which proof is not possible.  My attitude is that all things that are undeniably true are truths, and that anything that is proven to be untrue is not truth.  I try to suspend judgment--quite literally agnostic--on things which are not capable of being proven.
  • I believe that truth is often described in myth, metaphor, and symbol.  The extent to which something points to the factual way of nature is what makes it true (using a compass metaphor here).  However, the myth, metaphor, or symbol itself is not truth, nor does it need to be true in any literal sense.
  • I believe that scripture is true to the extent that it points the Way.  I do not accept scripture to be literally true, nor do I limit my definition of scripture to one set of books.  I believe that the acceptance of dogma without question leads to the inability to recognize truth.
I believe that I am.
  • I believe that "being" means existence in the present moment.
  • I believe that all being arises from the Way.  Thus, the Way is the ground of being, or the ground/source from which all being arises.
  • I believe the answer to the fundamental ontological question "Who am I?" is "I am".  That is, I authentically exist here and now, and that my existence is fully dependent upon the Way and fully independent of any other identifying attributes.
  • I believe that being requires one to be fully engaged as a participant in the Way things work.  Withdrawing from life or the Way is the antithesis of being.
I believe in Life.
  • I believe that life is being in harmony with the Way.
  • I believe that to be alive, a being is by choice moving in harmony with the way.
  • I believe that a being that follows the way things work tends to live and thrive.
  • I believe that a being that rejects the way things work tends to die.
  • I believe that the saying "I am" reflects that I am alive, I exist, fully and authentically in the present, and my life depends entirely upon being in harmony with the Way.
I believe in God.
  • I believe that the Way is the power of God.
  • I believe that God is a being fully one with the Way.
  • I believe that a being who is fully one with the Way is God.
  • I believe that a being who is fully one with the Way is one with God.
  • I define ‘fully one with the Way’ as a state of being within the here and now.
  • I believe that God is one, and by virtue of being one with the Way can exist in multiple persons.
  • I believe the scriptures in both the Old and New Testament teach that humans are God in as far as they are one with the Word (logos, the Way)
  • I believe the statement, "I am that I am" accurately represents that God is being itself, one with the ground of being, the Way.
I believe Jesus.
  • I believe that Jesus' statement, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" fully represents the Way to be ("I am"), the Way to think ("Truth"), and the Way to act ("Life").
  • I believe that Jesus Christ was fully man and fully God.  This means to me that as a human, he was fully one with the Way, and therefore by his own definition, God.
  • I believe that Jesus understood truth, that is, the emergence of the Way, as well as can be expressed in human terms.
  • I believe that Jesus taught the truth by Way of metaphor and parable.
  • I believe that Jesus taught that to literalize myth and metaphor is to miss his point and lose the Way.
  • I believe that Jesus taught the humans can be one with God in the same Way the Jesus was one with God.
  • I believe that Jesus set the path for true humanity by his example of humility.  As a great leader, he washed the feet of his disciples, demonstrating that great leadership is great service to his flock.
I believe in Spirit
  • I believe that all things in this world are connected in much the same way that cells in the body are connected to a common whole.   I call the connection between things “Spirit”
  • I believe that humans have an innate sense of communicating with others that transcends words.  Much like the natural order that arises in a flock of birds, humans connect to each other in ways not clearly describable in words.
  • I believe that the emergent order among humans is a reflection of the Way things work; of nature.
  • I believe that humans have an innate sense of this Spirit connection, of what feels natural.  This sense seems to be connected to some very specific feelings, sometimes described in terms of ‘burning’, ‘Kundalini’, peace, and the like.  The words to describe the feeling of spirit vary from culture to culture, but the sense of spiritual experience seems quite common among all humans.
  • I believe that to be aware of the Spirit, one needs to empty the mind of thought, so that the sense of spirit through feeling can emerge.
  • I believe that prayer helps align the mind to feeling the spiritual connection between the self and other things.  Such prayer, however, needs to be devoid of desire and want, and often is most effective without words.
  • I believe that due to the innate connection to feelings, Spirit can easily be mislead.  To avoid deception, I believe that spiritual practice and training on a daily basis is required.
I believe in Love
  • I believe that god is love.  That is, the oneness of being and the Way is love itself.
  • I believe true love to be the positive connection and attraction between things in harmony with the Way.
  • I believe that true love is a spiritual thing, and that all manifestations of love are based in the spirit.
  • I believe that true love operates in harmony with the Way, it does not force, it does not bind, it provides freedom of expression and being.
  • I believe that love is the underlying means of dealing with all fellow beings, whether human or otherwise.
I believe in the community of the saints
  • I use the term ‘saints’ in the original Christian sense, that is, those who are attempting to live the enlightened life in harmony with the Way.
  • From what I understand, the first Christians were called, "Followers of the Way".  That is, they believed Jesus’ message about the way, and attempted to follow it.
  • I believe that the way of humans is social – humans, require being part of a community.
  • I believe that in accepting a community, one must accept the norms of that community.
  • I believe that one must balance authenticity of self (being, “I am”) with the need to be part of the community.  In so doing, I believe that personal authenticity should govern dealings with any community of saints.

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