As someone who describes herself as spiritual, not religious, I have a tendency to shy away from anything that appears to focus on God. But having said that, I’m excited to leave the rest of this post in the capable hands on Andrew Cort, who will pen a new weekly feature that references a variety of religions and cultures covering topics that range from introspective (how much negativity and evil should be tolerated?) to fairly controversial (was Mary Magdalene Jesus’ wife?).
WHERE EXACTLY IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN?
Perhaps the most famous of all of Christ’s quotations, as well as one of the most disregarded, is found in Luke:
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke.17.20-21)
We, however, are held in thrall by the things of this world, our attention dispersed into the world around us, and we look for heaven and God precisely where Christ tells us not to look, turning spirituality into the superficial and formalistic worship of external objects and historical events.
As our focus becomes more and more external, the lower rational mind gains strength and becomes more and more affronted by the irrationality of spiritual and religious claims. This is when the champions of atheism become increasingly vocal and adamant – not without cause!
Jesus was aware of this problem. So he presented his Teachings about the kingdom of heaven through parables in which he paints a picture of the kingdom by using images and symbols that bypass the rational mind and sink directly into higher levels of consciousness.
Here is one example:
The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the heavens come and make nests in its branches. (Matt.13.31-32)
Here, the kingdom is likened to a tiny seed. It is the ‘smallest of all seeds’ because at our usual level of consciousness we give it the least importance! But if the man takes it, and plants it within (‘in his field’), it grows into a huge and magnificent tree – the symbol of enlightenment, thrusting upward through the levels of Being, from roots in the earth to branches in heaven. The ‘birds of heaven’ that nest in its branches are the angels.
About Andrew Cort
Andrew Cort is an expert on the inner message of Spiritual Awakening that is always ready to be found in the wonderful stories of the Bible and Greek Mythology. To receive several FREE GIFTS from Dr. Cort(a copy of Chapter One, ‘Making the Decision’, from his new book, THE DOOR IS OPEN; a copy of his article on RECONCILING SCIENCE AND RELIGION; and a complete version of the Bible’s erotic masterpiece, SONG OF SONGS , adapted as a Poetic Dialogue to be read out loud by lovers; as well as a subscription to his SPIRITUAL GROWTH NEWSLETTER) click here http://www.andrewcort.com/Gifts . You can also learn more on his blog, Spirituality and Religion.
A native of Boston (and life-long Red Sox fan) who came of age in the turbulent 1960’s, Dr. Andrew Cort has followed a uniquely versatile path through life. He received his Bachelor’s Degree (in English) and Master’s in Teaching (Science Education) from Colgate University. He then went on to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic Degree from New York Chiropractic College (he practiced in New York City for ten years, focusing on nutrition, exercise, applied kinesiology, and the mind’s impact on physical health), as well as a Law Degree from Boston College Law School (he is a member of the Massachusetts Bar). During his years in New York, Dr. Cort served on the Executive Board of H.E.A.L., Inc. (“Health Education AIDS Liaison”) and wrote his first book, on issues of health care and the environment,Our Healing Birthright: Taking Responsibility for Ourselves and Our Planet (Inner Traditions, 1990, currently out of print)
Deeply committed to education, spirituality, and activism, Dr. Cort has taught in a variety of colleges and schools, private and public, including The State University of New York in Morrisville, NY; Bay State College, in Boston, MA; The Desisto School, in Stockbridge, MA (a private school for troubled youth); Berkshire Community College, in Pittsfield, MA; and the Springfield Public School System, in Springfield, MA. Dr. Cort has taught courses in Mathematics, Physics, English, Mythology, Business Law, General Science, and English.
In addition to academic studies in literature, science, law and mathematics, he has studied the work of many spiritual traditions — from the Bible, Plato, the Qur’an, Dante, etc., to contemporary teachers including G.I. Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, Paul Brunton, Anthony Damiani, Sri Aurobindo, Mme. Blavatsky, Oscar Ichazo, and others.
Dr. Cort is the author of numerous books and articles on religion, spirituality, mythology, politics, history, science, education and healing, and how these all relate to contemporary American culture. Following in the tradition of Socrates, he considers himself a student, and not a teacher, of these extraordinary thinkers, philosophers, mystics, and writers. His work invites readers to study along with him.
He is also the Host of Spirit of the Berkshires on CTSB-TV, and available worldwide on Vimeo.com and on http://www.andrewcort.com. Also on there (and on YouTube) is his series of short videos on The Sacred Feminine: Women in the Bible.
Andrew Cort lives in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, and can be reached at Andrew@AndrewCort.com. He is an accomplished, energetic, and articulate public speaker, and is available for interviews and speaking engagements.
Find Andrew Cort
About The Door Is Open
The door is always open. The light is always ready to receive us. But we have to learn how to tread the path.
Fortunately for us, all of the wonderful myths and legends of ancient Greece, as well as all the sacred and beautiful stories of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have the common aim of showing us, through symbols and allegories, a practical method for reaching spiritual enlightenment, for returning ‘home’.
THE DOOR IS OPEN describes the seven precise steps that are revealed in all great mythology and scripture, along with enjoyable and effective spiritual exercises and activities that are suitable for individual seekers or groups of friends working together.
This is a story that has been lost and forgotten, even though the entire tale has been right before our eyes the whole time. Buy it from Amazon for your Kindle here or get the print copy here. Or, check it out on Goodreads.
Win one of ten ecopies or one of ten signed print copies of The Door Is Open through the Rafflecopter widget at this link. The giveaway will run until November 10th.