Deliver us from evil

Image: Jan Erik Waider

This is Part 7/7 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, ‘Power Through Constructive Thinking’ by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read them all here.


Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.


This one is subtle…

When you think of it, the notion that God can somehow tempt us to do sketchy things is a strange one. Like, why would He/It/We (sorry, I’m jumping prematurely into the Trinity — for another post) do that? Just doesn’t seem to fit.

Now, we’ve covered a lot of ground in this powerful little prayer up to now. We’ve come a long way. If we’ve meditated on and lived the lessons of each line of this thing, we should be (finger’s crossed) at a higher level of consciousness. We should be getting our spiritual houses in order.

And this is where God can get us into deep sh*t.

Not directly, like that kid in sixth grade who got you grounded every weekend. But indirectly. Allow me to explain…

When we develop our soul through prayer and align with Source, Life tends to… work better. We move through the world with more resolve, we work with more intention, we become magnetic in a way and our aura explodes across the canvas of our lives (or so I’m told).

At this point, it’s really easy to sink into a state of self-righteousness and superiority. You can see how easy it is for the ego to sneak in there and for us to begin thinking that we’ve done this all on our own. If we fall into this kind of thinking, our consciousness sinks like a lead balloon.

THE TEMPTATION AND EVIL OF HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS COMES FROM THE REGRESSIVE NOTION THAT WE’VE DONE IT ALL OURSELVES.

We can’t let our ego-repellent run dry the more we expand in consciousness. If we’re not aware, it can creep into the picture and kick us back to step-one just like in a good, clean game of ‘chutes and ladders’.

We must remain steadfast throughout our spiritual growth to ensure this doesn’t happen. The small self must remain humble and give credit to the indwelling God within. This keeps us real. This keeps our path on the straight and narrow.


Author’s Note: This concludes this 7-part series on the Lord’s Prayer. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. To get more serialized content like this, please follow Higher Thoughts and subscribe to my emails so you can get one with your morning coffee on the daily:

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Forgive us our trespasses

Image: Vincent Guth

This is Part 6 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, ‘Power Through Constructive Thinking’ by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read them all here.


And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.


The immature understanding of forgiveness is limited to letting someone get away with something bad. That was my understanding of forgiveness for years.

Although I repeated this line many times, I also felt a deep misalignment with it inside because I knew people who had done horrible things and I also knew there was no way I could be okay with it.

I’ve grown to understand that ‘forgiveness of sins’ lives much deeper than that.

I’d say, in fact, that forgiveness is central to our problems in life.

The true meaning of sin is something along the lines of, missing the mark.

It doesn’t necessarily mean ‘disobedience’ or ‘rudeness’ or ‘inappropriate behavior’ (although those can be included in the definition). It doesn’t mean that we’ve not checked off a box or two from some dogmatic rulebook a bunch of robed humans drafted up.

No…

To sin means to live out of alignment with Life itself.

I see God/Life/Source as a huge, rushing river. It’s going somewhere. For gajillions of years (give or take a few), this universe has been progressing towards something. If you zoom in and look at your life, you’ll see that it’s working the same way on a micro level.

Stand back and take a look at the rushing river of your life…

Which way is it flowing?
Have you been in that flow or bucking it?
If you’re saying the latter, this is all sin is.

No, I’m not saying to fall victim to the forces that seem to be against you. That’s not going with the flow; that’s helplessly standing in the middle of the rapids and getting knocked around against the rocks.

There we are, all alone, isolated, self-contained, wondering where God is (or whatever savior we’ve adopted).

God is right there. God is the flow. Jump in that raft and head downstream.

We are at one with this flow, undivided from Life.

We ‘sin’ (or, ‘trespass’) — when we try to make our own flow either by either playing the victim or asserting our individual will against someone else in order to get ahead — it’s an uphill battle.

The thing is, I don’t believe God cares. God just flows. We can close our eyes to it as much as we want, but it still just keeps on drifting along.

This belief in life apart from the Flow (aka, God) is an illusion. And this is where we miss the mark.

Now… When we talk about forgiveness of sins, we see that this prayer doesn’t just stop at asking God for forgiveness. It puts our forgiveness in direct relation to our forgiveness of others (AS we forgive those who trespass against us).

Again, this has nothing to do with some man in the clouds keeping score…

Has she forgiven her? No? Well, I can’t give her a point then…

If you hold on to resentment and condemnation of another, you have stepped out of the Flow and locked yourself in bondage with that person.

Setting others free means setting yourself free, because resentment is really a form of attachment. It is a cosmic truth that it takes two to make a prisoner; the prisoner — and a gaoler. There is no such thing as being a prisoner on one’s own account. Every prisoner must have a gaoler, and the gaoler is as much a prisoner as his charge. When you hold resentment against anyone, you are bound to that person by a cosmic link, a real, though mental chain. You are tied by a cosmic tie to the thing you hate. The one person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. 
 — Emmet Fox

Same goes with self-condemnation or resentment. This is not the Flow. It doesn’t do any good and only leads to suppression and projection.

By forgiveness, you set yourself free. Whether what that person did is wrong or right in your individual book doesn’t matter. What matters is that you set yourself free to live your life downstream.

Finally, forgiveness has nothing to do with having to like someone who has done you wrong. You don’t have to be pals with them — in fact, this has nothing to do with them at all. It has to do with you being rid of your chains.

This all might make sense as you’re reading (it sure does as I’m writing it), but in all honesty, forgiveness is hard. It’s one of the hardest things we humans can do. But I hope you see a glimpse of how vital it is to a vibrant life.


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Our daily bread

Image: Artur Rutkowski

This is Part 5 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, ‘Power Through Constructive Thinking’ by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read them all here.


Give us this day, our daily bread.


That line, right there, is huge for me right now. I don’t think I’ve ever really given it much thought before, but as I go back to it, I see the seeds of an essential, transformative truth. This is something I’m really working on and I hope it brings you value as well.

First of all, notice the word ‘daily’ in there…

It doesn’t say, ‘Give us all the bread we’ll need for the rest of our life.’ It doesn’t say (in modern words), ‘Make us caked-up so we never have to work again.’

No… Give us this day. Our daily bread. 
Provide us with what we need today. 
Tomorrow, we’ll repeat.

God doesn’t work in life-long installment plans. She works in the moment. The day. The incremental. Right now is all that God provides us with, and in that, we find all we’ll ever need.

We strive so hard to fight for a life where the rest of our days will be certain. We work a hundred hours a week so that, one day, we’ll be able to look forward and see a smooth ride.

But like a heat-seeking missile, our brains have evolved to find the fear. To make a monster out of the slightest shadow. So we get to the place we thought would bring us this sense of safety and look forward only to see the monsters have not left.

Doesn’t work like this…

Today — this very day /moment— is where we find ourselves. Safety rests in knowing that we’re here, right now, and Source provides for us and through us. Not from the world of form, but in the realm of the formless.

When we seek our primary ‘bread’ from ‘out there’ — in investments, business, employers, partners, toys, etc. — we miss the point. When one of these things falls away (the nature of form), we feel hopeless. Some never get back on their feet.

We must see that these things are just the channels through which the Divine works through. When we see our true Source to be our inner Spirit and the infinite well of Love that we dip into to provide for our world and one of those channels falls away, instead of freaking out, we feel a sense of security and know that Source will find a different, better, more fitting one.

People think of their supply as coming from certain investments, or from a business, or from an employer, perhaps; whereas these are merely the channels through which it comes, God being the Source. The number of possible channels is infinite, the Source is One. The particular channel through which you are getting your supply is quite likely to change, because change is the Cosmic Law for manifestation. Stagnation is really death; but as long as you realize that the Source of your supply is the one unchangeable Spirit, all is well. The fading out of one channel will be but the signal for the opening of another. If, on the other hand, like most people, you regard the particular channel as being the source, then when that channel fails, as it is very likely to do, you are left stranded, because you believe that the source has dried up — and for practical purposes, on the physical plane, things are as we believe them to be.

— Emmet Fox; Power Through Constructive Thinking

This speaks to what I wrote about yesterday in the principle of rebirth.

It also brings the God out of the clouds and places Him, symbolically, into one of the most physical, tangible, essential forms possible in that of bread/food — our source for survival on the physical plane.

With one word, it tells the story of God being not that of another world or some grandiose after-life judgement role, but in the mundane, everyday essence of our life.

Sinking our heels into the essence of this line gets us grounded in the simplicity of our lives. It helps us appreciate what we have to get through this day and it helps us see that, although Source may have not lived up to our expectations at one time or another, it has never failed us.

Mind passing the butter?


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Jonas writes short daily stories, microsermons and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

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Thy kingdom come

Part 4 of the Lord’s Prayer series

Image: Nathan Anderson

This is Part 4 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, Power Through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read them all here.


Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.


This one always flew a mile over my head… I used to read this as, the big guy upstairs will eventually get his way and a lot of people are gonna be totally screwed (and hopefully not me).

The problem is when we read spiritual stories/poems/passages like we were reading Harry Potter. Or even worse, like an instruction manual. We’re totally limiting these powerful representations of Truth by not going any deeper than the surface (like we’re used to doing in our culture).

As I read this again and ruminate on it, I see that it points to the idea that our main gig is to express — in a concrete, definite, earthly form — the abstract ideas that the Divine sends our way.

This is creative power. To make something out of nothing. From within to without. Ex nihilo. On Earth as it is in Heaven.

“Thy kingdom come” means to bring more and more Life-affirming ideas into concrete manifestation on this plane.

We are individualized centers of consciousness, designed to align with the Divine, rise above our circumstances, and unleash Heaven on Earth. Each of us has a unique experience — a free will.

This is where it can get buggered up pretty good. Through our free will, we choose which thought system we integrate into this universe — ego or Spirit. Separation or Oneness. Fear or Love.

Our physical world teaches us to choose the former in order to survive. To choose ego. To get ours, at any and all costs.

But when we integrate Spirit, we bring much stronger forces into the fold.

We turn ‘my will’ into ‘thy will’ we’re suddenly equipped with a life not just of our own doing, but one that the whole universe works with.

When we move beyond the small self and surrender to that loving, generous, creative wellspring within, endless inner and outer walls crumble faster than a single brick is stacked on top of another.

It’s here that the paradigm of the individual free will is aligned with Source and ‘thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven’.

But how do we know when we’re on track? How do we know when we’re doing the right kind of work? How do we know when we’re living true to this?

This is where intuition comes in. Unfortunately, there’s no testing kit we can grab at the hardware store that tells us if we’re living true to ourselves. I can only say that, if life is largely dull, restricted, desperate, or uninspiring — if you find yourself constantly drained and angry — I’d say that’s a huge ‘Rerouting’ signal from the GPS of life.

But if you’re largely running on the emotions of interest, curiosity, passion, exuberance, and joy (although those bad seasons will always pop up), we know we’re on the right road. When we’re not constantly playing chess with life and everyone around us, but instead, find ourselves trusting this divine Source within us all to work through us in whatever way it chooses to show up, we’ll then be able to say to life,

“Thy Kingdom cometh.”

“On Earth as it is in Heaven.”


Jonas writes short daily stories, microsermons and preachments on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

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Hallowed be thy name

Part 3 of the Lord’s Prayer series

Image: Les Anderson

This is Part 3 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by the book, Power Through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox. If you’ve missed the previous entries in the series, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.


This one blew me away…

Okay, first — rolling it back to when I was a good, guilty Catholic kid, I remember saying this line with a healthy tinge of fear on the back of the tongue.

The Lord’s name is ‘hallowed’. I never looked this up, but I assumed it to mean something like, ‘to be respected and feared’. This went along with the whole not-being-allowed-to-say-god-damnit rule.

Fox presents an entirely new way of seeing this line in the book…

In many ancient spiritual texts, the “name” of a thing represents its essential nature or character. So we’re not slapping a name tag, on God, we’re speaking of the essence of Spirit.

Noted...

Moving on, ‘Hallowed’ means ‘holy, venerated, sacred, whole, wholesome, heal, or healed’.

Mmmkay. This takes the sharp edge off of the whole fear / intimidation / come-at-me-bro-ness of God from childhood. Very refreshing. (Thanks, Emmet.)

Fox goes on to speak of the following passage…

A spring cannot pour both fresh and brackish water from the same opening, can it?
- James 3:11

We also read of analogies where a pear cannot grow on an apple tree, etc. Same concept. Each thing represents its source.

So, if God’s essential nature is whole, wholesome, holy, sacred, etc., and God is the proverbial tree, this means that we — being the fruit — must be the same in nature.

What are the repercussions of this, you might be asking? Like, how can it help us? I’ll tell you…

A lot of times (particularly when we’re force-fed a shit sandwich) a lot of us who’ve been handed the bastardized version of religion from a young age start to have this magical belief that God cursed us with it. Like, maybe we said goddamn it or masturbated one too many times and the old man upstairs has it out for us. So we rail against the sky and we dress in black and start drinking absinthe on Tuesday nights after Bingo.

This is baloney. Stop blaming some supernatural, anthropomorphic super-being in the clouds (I’m speaking to a version of myself here, please don’t take this personally). This storm that is dumping on you right now is not of God. It’s not of anyone. It’s largely a perception problem — a horror story we’re making up and rationalizing through a quite irrational fantasy.

If God’s ‘name’ is truly ‘hallowed’, and our nature is of that, this means, inherently, we’re hallowed too. From birth. Forever. No matter what kind of nonsense we make up about the situation.

We can make things up. We’re human. We’re creative beings. It’s a great thing to be able to do, but it gets us into a lot of emotional turmoil.

Step back from the story and know your inherent hallowedness.

This is your essence. 
This is the name of God. 
Amen.


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Jonas writes short daily spiritual pyrotechnics and preachments of whimsy on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

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Who art in heaven

Part two of the Lord’s Prayer series

Image: Alphacolor 13

Moving on to the second line in the Lord’s Prayer, we read, “Who art in heaven.”

If the nature of God is of Heaven, we can deduce that man is of Earth. We can even reckon to say that Jesus is pointing to the concept that God is cause and man is effect or man-ifestation.

Cause must be expressed through manifestation. Express means to press outward or to bring into shape and form what exists implicitly.

What if we saw everything around us in physical form as expressions of the Divine?

What if this was the home, work, laptop, dog, and underwear of the Divine? What if it was all part of some higher order? How differently would our world look, feel, and respond?

This is the power relationship. Cause and effect, God and man, formless and form, heaven and earth — consciously working as one.

“Trying to have manifestation without Cause, is atheism and materialism. Trying to have Cause without manifestation leads man to suppose himself to be a personal God, and this commonly ends in megalomania and a kind of paralysis of expression.”
-Emmet Fox

We each have our own roles. God and human. One, but not the same.

Our Father, who art in heaven… seeking expression through us humans who art on Earth.

And so it is.


This is Part 2 of the weekly series where I break down, line-by-line, the Lord’s Prayer and interpret it however I wish (because everyone should do this). This series is inspired by Power Through Constructive Thinking by Emmet Fox. If you haven’t yet read part 1 and would like to, click here.


Jonas writes short daily spiritual explosives and preachments of whimsy on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing below.

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Our father: A subversive passage

Part one of the Lord’s Prayer series

Image: Steve Halama

It’s super easy to look at ancient prayers, poems, stories, and texts and slap an ‘outdated’ label on them.

Well… Yeah, it’s outdated. It was written THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO.

I’ve surely done this and you may have too. But I’m afraid that by doing this — by discarding these snapshots into human consciousness as outmoded — we miss the point and rob ourselves, spiritually.

Right now, in my ministerial coursework, we’re breaking down the Lord’s Prayer into seven parts:

(1) Our father
(2) Who art in Heaven
(3) Hallowed be thy name
(4) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven
(5) Give us this day, our daily bread
(6) Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
(7) Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

So, I’ll chronicle my studies in a 7-part series every Thursday starting with this one: Our father. I hope you’ll join me. Whether you consider yourself spiritual, religious, etc., or not, I think you’ll get something of value from it.

Alrighty… Our Father.

In our modern time, this line gets a bad rap.

First of all, who says God is a male? Like, a dude? Does God have a penis? And a belly button (then how is he God if someone else gave birth to him, oooooh)?

No, no, no… Missing the point.

When this poem was written, in that part of the world, God came in the form of a knock on your door followed by a literal boot to your neck. Caesar was God. God’s wrath was a compulsory, military force. Which could have been fine for you, depending on whose side you were on.

And then Jesus comes out with this line… 
Our Father.

In two words, he transforms God from a bloodthirsty warlord into a loving father figure (yes, I know, there are a lot of asshole dads out there — again, missing the point; bring it on back). This blew people away back then. People were publicly executed for saying this kind of thing.

Now we take the word ‘Our’, which points to the fact that this God is ‘ours’. I know… Today, not a big deal. But back then, HUGE.

Back then, God was only for those who claimed patronage (and paid taxes) to Caesar. Now, Jesus eludes to the idea that God is a loving fatherly Presence to all.

There we are. Just a start. Two words that represented a huge, subversive, anarchist, punk rock paradigm shift for the world in the time they were spoken.


Jonas writes short stories and preachments about spiritual, whimsical, creative matters on the daily here in Higher Thoughts. Get one to enjoy with your coffee every morning by subscribing here.