Theology from Prison, Part 1: Dualism

In western culture and religion, we play a mind game. We like to pick winners and losers, saints and sinners, good and bad, in and out, up and down, right and wrong. We divide the world to fit our picks, often based on preconceived notions, and then ask God to bless our division. Invariably our race, country, or religion is good, right, and should always win. Have you noticed how that works? The inherent lack of self awareness in this mindset is so embedded in our culture and religion that we're blind to it. The eastern traditions call this mind game "dualism".

It's the kind of thinking that crucified Christ. It's responsible for racism, sexism, homophobia and all kinds of prejudice. It's also the kind of thinking, condemned by Jesus (Matthew 7:1-4), that criticizes the speck in someone's eye while overlooking the log in ours. It's condescending and even narcissistic. It creates a hereafter gospel as we attempt to weigh, measure, and work our way toward some future reward or away from some future punishment. Even when we minister to others, that ministry is done out of a sense of internal superiority. We measure up, they don't. They need what we have. They might be good in their own way, but they don't weigh much.

Both Eastern and Western religions teach compassion, but Eastern religions recognize that we can't be compassionate with a dualistic consciousness. Christians, on the other hand, try to be merciful, compassionate, and forgiving without practicing the non-dual consciousness necessary for actually living these commandments. So we fake it or we just ignore Jesus' most important teaching because it's impossible to love our enemies with a dualistic mind.

Richard Rohr says it better when he writes "Rather than making dogmatic statements about how to get to heaven, Jesus modeled and taught how to live on earth in a loving way, and he said this was indeed heaven! But Christians have all too often pushed heaven into the future. We've made Jesus' death and resurrection into a reward/punishment system for the next world, which creates tremendously self absorbed and self-preoccupied people. It doesn't transform anyone into compassionate, loving individuals. Instead it leads to a kind of morbid, self-analysis in which people feel guilty, inferior and inadequate or superior and self righteous" (read more of Richard Rohr's daily meditation from 9/6/2015 here).

Thankfully, we are now in an age where we can be open to learning from other world religions that teach non-dual consciousness which Jesus lived but which most of Christianity stopped teaching 500 years ago. Unfortunately, some of the slower of us had to come to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp to discover and begin to grasp that the genesis of our consciousness (dual or non-dual) determines the route speed and destination of our earthly spiritual journey.