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“But when the Spirit of truth comes,
it will guide you into all the truth."
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Preview and Summary: For thousands of years, people have debated how to find the Truth. Many believe this will be accomplished by accessing the right guru, the right church, or the right holy book - but these are external sources. "No," said Jesus, "when I leave I will help you to receive the 'Holy Spirit of truth' - a Purified Consciousness', a sense of God within - and this internal guidance system will lead you, personally, into all aspects of Reality."
In the gospel account of John, the night before he was killed, we find Jesus speaking to his men. Understandably, they did not want him to leave.
He explained that his departure would be to their spiritual advantage. He then offered this consolation:
John 16:7: "But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you."
John 16:12,13: “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth." (NIV)
Editor's note: The masculine pronoun "he" employed for "spirit," in virtually all Bible translations, represents an editorial comment and private opinion by the translators and finds no basis in the text. Because they assumed, or their sponsoring churches taught, that the holy spirit is a masculine entity, and a member of the Trinity, verses such as these were rendered with masculine pronouns - even though a literal representation of the text demands the gender-neutral "it."
"The Holy Spirit is referred to in the masculine throughout the New Testament, although the word for "spirit" by itself (pneuma) is actually gender-neutral. The Hebrew word for "spirit" (ruach) is feminine in Genesis 1:2. But the gender of a word in Greek or Hebrew has nothing to do with gender identity." (website source)
It is said that the "holy spirit" must be a person because we find ascribed to it all manner of human characteristics: it interacts with others, performs "miracles," is lied to, is insulted, etc.
However, these apparently human characteristics are all metaphor; metaphor within a man-made document that has been doctored over the centuries to support Church agenda. Orthodoxy, in any case, tends to take the literalistic approach, which leads to many contradictions. This is an old battle in the Church with some of the earliest Christians, the Gnostics, advising for the metaphorical rendering, but Big Religion insists on the masculine pronoun "he" as it creates an illusion that a separate person is being referred to. The neutral "it," supported by the underlying Greek text, would go a long way toward redressing linguistic infractions but propaganda demands "he." It's all window-dressing.
We might as readily create a human personification of concepts such as the "Christ Consciousness," or the "Anointing," or "the Counselor." In fact, in the book of Proverbs Wisdom is personified and speaks to the reader, while Foolishness is featured as a wayward lady; however, we know this to be metaphor, just literary showmanship. All of these images -- if you'd like to earn a C- in senior English class -- might be taken literally and personified, but to do so would obfuscate the original writer's message. These denotations of seeming personification refer to the same internal, intuitive process, or lack thereof, by which God deals with and personally instructs humankind.
Just as Big Religion attempted to turn Jesus into a god, so too it desired for the "holy spirit" to be an individual, and then, a member of the Trinity. All this - a "reason behind the reason," part of Orthodoxy's effort to create a closed-system of only three advanced beings - became an effort to keep the average believer forever well-dependent on Dear Mother Church.
A final thought concerning the issue of turning the “purified consciousness” into a person: though I’ve featured it elsewhere, the following is a very good reminder of the power of suggestion:
Eckhart Tolle in The Power Of Now writes:
"If a fish is born in your aquarium and you call him John, write out a birth certificate, tell him about his family history, and in two minutes he gets eaten by another fish - that's tragic. But it's only tragic because you projected a separate self where there was none... and made a separate entity out of it!"
Likewise, if you take a metaphoric term, dress it up in proper-noun capital letters, invest it with personhood or even godhood, whisper of it in reverent tones, name your church after it, create a holy day for it, and even pray to it, now "the emperor has no clothes," we all join hands and believe this; and so when someone comes along and impolitely mentions that it's all a mistake, you will fight to prevent the tragedy of the "Holy Spirit's" death! But it's tragic only because you ill-advisedly projected a separate self where there was none, made a separate entity out of a gossamer thought-form.
A separate self has been projected onto the "purified consciousness" and this unwarranted vivification -- there is no Greek textual support for the masculine pronoun -- creates an illusion of personhood. It's just ancient Church propaganda, fake news.
What does it mean "Unless I go away, the Spirit will not come to you"?
These words from the gospel of John were written almost 100 years after the time of Jesus. Those who wrote had no direct contact with the Great Teacher, and, likely, not even with the apostle John.
As such, we are far from certain concerning what Jesus said; however, if the phrases and terms handed down to us in this New Testament document are somewhat accurate, what do they mean?
Any attempt at interpretation must incorporate a holistic view of all material discussed in these many, related articles. With a view toward these foregoing, I offer this expanded paraphrase:
It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go, the Counselor will not come to you. If I stayed, if people had access to my bodily presence, their own growth would become stunted. They'd come to me for every small question and task, instead of developing their own inner riches, the 'true self' of the soul which needs to be unfolded. Believe me, it will be bad enough in this regard, as, when I'm gone, people will 'make a god' out of every little thing I said and will even try to worship the book it's written in! And so, it's necessary that I remove my bodily presence or none of you, nor those who learn from you, will ever grow up!
- Albert Einstein: "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear - so many things I'd like to share - but you're just not ready. Many of you are stuck in the notion, the childish and egoic consciousness, that I came to install a military-government, one that would oust the Romans. It's hard for me to believe that, even after being with me for years, you still don't get it! But, in a larger sense, it doesn't matter. You will yet understand all things, and I will tell you how this will happen.
When the Spirit of truth comes, it will guide you into all the truth. You must understand that nothing external to yourselves can ever touch the soul. No teacher, no guru, no so-called sacred relic, no parchment, no holy book can give you what you want and need. Only your souls, linked to God, can do that. Your own souls represent Consciousness itself. The 'Spirit of truth' is another way of expressing 'Consciousness of truth,' a view of the world and reality as God views it. Coming to see reality is not a one-time event; this is something that your spirit will thrill to for the next million years and beyond. Your 'inner vision' will come into better focus, day by day, a little at a time, a glimpse here, an insight there, and by this private tutoring, directly from God, you will eventually be led, and transformed, into a substantial understanding of the very mind of Divinity - which is truth itself.
Editor's note: Big Religion, suffering in its legalistic ways, attempting to justify its myopia, interprets the above verses from John something like this:
"When Jesus said these words, he meant them only for the 12 apostles. After their deaths, there would be no more new truth, no more "miracles," no more direct access to God. The Spirit would lead only these 12 into the truth. It is for you, therefore, to unquestioningly obey the Church hierarchy as representatives of the apostles."
Does this explanation ring-true to you? Did the promise of the Spirit apply only to 12? Are we, today, reduced to mere spectators in the sport of religion?
baby chimps never cry in the night, mother is always there
Editor's note: The September 2010 issue of Smithsonian features an article about Dr. Tetsuro Matsuzawa, a Japanese research scientist who, for 30 years, has been investigating the intelligence of chimpanzees:
"Chimpanzee babies cling to their mother. But our babies do not cling; mothers must hold their infants or they will fall. It may seem like a small difference, but it changes the way adults and infants interact.
"Chimpanzees have babies once every four or five years, and those babies are constantly physically close to their mothers. But humans can reproduce more frequently and take care of multiple offspring at once. And a human mother is not the only possible caregiver. 'We changed the system of rearing children and giving birth,' Matsuzawa says. 'With the assistance of spouse, and grandparents, we are collaborating together to raise children.'
"Because human mothers separate themselves from their babies, human babies have to cry to get attention. 'Not many people recognize the importance,' he says. 'Human babies cry in the night, but chimpanzee babies never do because mother is always there.' This crying is a proto-language of sorts."
And I thought of Jesus' words, It is better for you that I leave. Dr. Matsuzawa suggests that a long time ago baby chimps continued to cling to mothers while a primordial version of ourselves developed an independence. The proto-human would now cry in the night, feeling alone and abandoned; but, inadvertently, in spite of itself, more individuated! - which would lead the human species to higher intelligence; increasingly so.
The implications are profound. Dr. Matsuzawa's evolutionary theory may be correct, but, even if it's not, it provides a useful metaphor concerning our spiritual development - we come to this world and do a lot of crying in the night... and we notice that we are frequently alone... but the divine Parents know what our souls need to unfold. Without promptings to the contrary, we might cling to mother forever, accept a co-dependency; and, as the apostle Paul warned, might become a permanent resident of the nursery.
crying in the night: "It is better for you that I leave!"