New Humanity

Jul 26, 2015 by

New Humanity

Don’t you wonder when this world will ever live in peace? Since the turn of the century, there have been wars in at least a dozen countries, from Africa to the middle east to the far east. When will it ever end? Or will it? Is it simply mankind’s nature to be antagonistic and create disagreement? Is the desire for power and control inescapable? If you look at the life of Jesus, the answer would be no, it’s not inescapable, because the desire for power and control comes from humanities lower egoic nature, and Jesus rose above that, he transcended it. Jesus gave up the need for power and control and surrendered himself to the situation. Jesus’ path was one of ‘kenosis’, or ‘self-emptying’. In Philippians 2, Paul first applies this word to Jesus, and it is precisely the path Jesus took. “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself.” (Php 2:5-7)

Jesus was able to transcend his egoic-desire nature, his false or lower self, and awaken fully into God’s consciousness, his true or higher self. And yet he was fully human, the same as us, so he had an egoic nature. The story of his years of ministry show him repeatedly going beyond that ego, that self-centredness, and becoming one with God, fully divine, or as fully divine as a fully human being can be. He repeatedly emptied himself and surrendered his lower desire nature. This is the meaning of Jesus’ cryptic words ‘Those who lose their life shall find it’. We are to let go of our lower egoic desire nature, to awaken into our higher, compassionate, godly self, a movement from a poorer place to a better place, which is our salvation. (In St Paul’s terms, this is the movement from ‘flesh’ to ‘spirit’.)

We see this ‘letting go of self’ in Jesus in the temptation narratives at the beginning of his ministry, where he is constantly tempted by what the bible calls ‘the devil’, but which I think we could see now as the egoic, selfish desires that arise within ourselves. We see it particularly at the end of his ministry, in the Garden of Gethsemane and in his trial and crucifixion. As Jesus faces what he has to go through, he is tempted to give it all up – ‘take this cup away from me” he says – but then he surrenders his desire for egoic self-preservation and says, “not my will but yours”. He surrendered to the process and put his own egoic desires aside. This self-emptying continued in his reactions to the process of the trial, the torture and the crucifixion. Surrender and self-emptying was his way, to act out of the love and compassion that became his as he put aside his egoic nature and awakened into the immense field of God’s compassionate consciousness. He then acted and was energised from the deep well of love, the ground of our being that is God – and the implication is that this is possible for all humanity. As Paul said to the Philippians, the same mind is to be in us as was in Christ Jesus.

So how does this speak into the need for peace in the world? The writer of the letter to the Ephesians said:

His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,  (16)  and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  (17)  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  Ephesians 2:15-17

Jesus came to bring peace, by showing how human beings can rise above their lower nature and approach the whole of life from an inner place of love and compassion, understanding and insight. He was demonstrating a new humanity, where there are no more divisions, where hostility is put to death, where peace is preached to those who are far off and those who are near. It’s his basic teaching to love your neighbour, yourself and even your enemy. This can only happen in a conscious relationship with the divine, which is why he spent so many long nights in prayer up on the hillsides. Jesus was a fully transformed human being, so much so that he was at one with the divine. His was a call to the oneness of living from an inner place of unity.

Back in 1991, Sir George Trevelyan wrote:

“This is the emergence of a new humanity … We recognise an evolutionary thrust towards a higher consciousness for humanity, unlocking spiritual potential hitherto dormant. This is the path of enlightenment, for the advancement of the human race to a higher state.”

This is an emerging view in Christianity, that Jesus was actually modelling for us a path of transformation, a way to live in harmony with others and at peace with the world. Some now see this as the universal human potential. To quote a contemporary writer, Barbara Marx Hubbard:

“A universal human is one who is connected through the heart of the whole of life, attuned to the deepest intelligence of nature and called forth irresistibly by Spirit to creatively express his or her gifts in the evolution of self and the world. Above all, a universal human has shifted identity from the separated egoic self to the deeper self that is a direct expression of service. To become a universal human is to evolve consciously, choosing a path of development that has never been mapped before in a world that has never existed before.” 

 

This world that has ‘never existed before’ is the world of peace and love, the world envisaged by Jesus as the ‘kingdom of heaven’. That world will not be reached by warfare and conflict, by divisions and antagonism. It will only be reached when the human race embraces the power of compassionate love, as demonstrated by Jesus and many others since. The well-known French theological writer, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, said:

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire.”

And where does that harnessing of the fire of love start? It starts with each one of us, it starts in the human heart. As the Sufi poet, Rumi said,

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.    ~ Rumi

And that’s what it is about – changing yourself.

 

Bishop John Spong, in his book ‘A New Christianity for a New World’, puts it like this:

“What human life needs is not a divine rescue. What we need is a life so open, so free, so whole, and so loving that, when we experience that life, we are called into the reality of love. We are opened to the source of love and enter the empowering presence of  love. Such a life then becomes our doorway into the infinite and inexhaustible power of love. I call that love God. I see it in Jesus of Nazareth, and I find myself called into a new being, a boundary-free humanity, and made whole in its presence. So God was in Christ, I say. Jesus thus reveals the source of love, and then he calls us to enter it.”

 

So when will the world be at peace? When we all become universal humans, when we harness the energies of love, when we change ourselves – in other words, when we enter the kingdom of divine-human consciousness.

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