Just another quote from Helminski…

The state of compulsive living is so painful, and its loneliness is so great that we that we do everything we can to escape it through dreams of it being otherwise – through entertainments, through self-gratification, through seeking in spiritual circles the love that we do not feel for ourselves.  If we could just be, we would be able to relax from the anxiety of becoming something that we are not, getting something we don’t have, and trying to shape reality according to our own desires.

Too often we do not want to change, but instead want the pain to go away and allow us to remain the same with all our desires and with our image of ourselves being intact.  We will not be successful running to anything, because we cannot run away from ourselves.  And yet what we mot need is what we already are; our essential Self.  There is no escape; there is only coming home.

-Kabir Helminski, The Living Presence.
“Too often we do not want to change, but instead want the pain to go away and allow us to remain the same with all our desires and with our image of ourselves being intact.”

That line in particular leaves me feeling as though Kabir has been secretly spying on my soul.

By the way, I’ve been reminded again recently about how my interest in the teachings of other religious traditions leads some to be suspicious of my Christian faith.  I think I understand this, but it always leaves me sad.  It seems that one of the necessary steps in the journey of spiritual formation is The Land of Black and White.

For me, when I read a line like this from Helminski, or a similar one from Pema Chodron, my favorite Buddhist writer, I’m always drawn to Jesus’s teachings on what it means to die to “self” (ego) in order to make room for the True, God-Breathed Self in us to emerge.

Another fascinating observation… I’ve worked with so many people who found their Christian upbringing to be irrelevant, sometimes even abusive.  I’ve seen though how, sometimes, the words from other traditions have led persons to say, “Oh… THAT’s what Jesus meant…”

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About Wes Eades

I've been a pastoral counselor, marital therapist, and overall listening ear since about 1989 or so.
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7 Responses to Just another quote from Helminski…

  1. Chris Millette says:

    I also feel the power of that statement, gave me the chills just reading it. My christian beliefe may be simplistic and admitadly questionable at times, but I believe the bible teaches us that God loves ALL creatures, I don’t know of any disclaimers to that. Are our “Christian Egos” so frail that we have to shun and persecute those who may believe differently? Many forget that most of the human atrocities done to other humans in our past, and some current, were done by “Christians” in the name of God.
    I put that in the same catagory as prejudice, being too small minded to see past thier own beliefs and accept others who may be different.

  2. Martha says:

    God is ALL there is and ITS in every one of us. The discovery of that truth is liberating. Jesus said “I and the Father are ONE” and that goes for all of us to the degree that we believe. Thats something to really make others suspicious of my faith.

  3. marvin hines says:

    Thanks for your insights and sharing about your readings. I’ve never thought of life being compulsive. I always choose to take the electives. But now that I think about it maybe it is…..no. Nope. It feels like grace has provided this life. Nothing compulsive about living. Could a relationship with God change the compulsivity and loneliness of which he speaks? Have you read the book, “The Shack”? Would love to hear your insights about it. marvin

  4. troy says:

    if we could just be, we would be able to relax from the anxiety of becoming something that we are not, getting something we don’t have, and trying to shape reality according to our own desires.

    This is the one that really gets me.
    How does one do this? I began on my path many years ago with the 8 fold path. I honestly cannot remember them all now, Maybe I should look again!

  5. Leigh says:

    I’m with you on the line about change – that one certainly got to me. I claim I’m willing to change, but when the opportunity presents itself, I become defensive and self-righteous. Oh, how I want to change that about myself 🙂

  6. Patrick Adair says:

    Excellent quote.

    On the issue of interacting with other religions – I was an assistant for World Religions professor who assigned “empathetic readings” to his students. The idea was for them to read sacred texts of other religions, and imagine what this might mean to them if they were a member of that religion.

    Most of the students had absolutely no idea how to do that, and would fall back into apologetic criticism of the texts.

  7. Richard says:

    Wes (et al!),

    Great blog – a real breath of fresh air! I am so happy to read that you are consciously thinking about what is taughtin other religions and philosophies; it certainly doesn’t bring your Christianity into question – to my mind, it reinforces your dedication in discovering the essence of Christianity, which is in actaul fact the very same essence of most major religions and philosophies. In Christianity (please correct me if I am wrng, it is called the Holy Spirit, correct? Well, I believe in that very same essence that IS all things. And I’m Buddhist! I think these kinds of dialogues are great. We must have beliefs but also retain an open mind…

    Anyhow, perhaps you’d like to pop past my blog and have a read; I cover some issues that you might be interested in (and your readers, too, of course!). There are some good dialogues in the Forum, especially. It would be lovely to have your Christian angle on things!

    I sincerely hope to see you there.

    http://www.cheewit.net

    You might want to go directly to this ‘Note’:

    http://www.cheewit.net/2008/10/interbeing-for-understanding.html

    Cheers!

    Richard

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