As with every cultural and it’s traditions and religions, I grew up in America where the main religion is Christianity. If I grew up in Pakistan, I would have grown up to believe (been taught) that all American’s are Christians. As an American, I grew up to believe that all Pakistan people were Muslim, all India people were Hindu, and China people were Buddhists.
I was further taught that there were false doctrines within Christianity, and I would learn there are hundreds (some say thousands) of various doctrines and beliefs within Christianity and all religions.
My perspective was skewed according to these beliefs and traditions because I was taught that all other religions were false. Depending on who you are and what religion you grew up in or around, you may have heard the very same thing about Christianity and other religions. But all of us believe or believed that we singularly held the truth. But would we hold fast to something we did not believe in?
And so the purpose of Phasade is to expose the Light of what is already within each one of us, by removing the traditions and beliefs adopted by all cultures that bind our minds from seeing the Light. This does not mean I find no value in religion and doctrine, on the contrary, I now have found great value, direction and a new appreciation in and because of all of them.
I mention the above statement, because this article is about the garden, a metaphor of the Bible according to the Christian faith, but also understood by most religions as the beginning of all things, whether the very beginning or the reincarnation of a new beginning, or whatever belief you hold as the beginning – the metaphor is what I want to disseminate.
It was my marriage falling apart that brought me to really examine myself and beliefs, and over time as I exposed myself to the truth of my life and lies, that I became exceedingly aware that what I believed was only that of what my culture, church and family taught me, and only because they also were taught the same. Very little if anything was my own. An existence of what I call spiritual regurgitation. The Bible calls it the wrong doing and/or wrong thinking of the fathers being passed down from generation to generation.
The garden (the beginning of time as we know it) was a few week journey for me as I remember it. As I was thinking first about the different cultures that exist today and their ignorance of a “savior”, what I was taught about the Bible did not make any sense to a people unaware of this “truth”.
“Every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” And yet, these people were living and dying without knowing anything about this information. My father would say, there is a verse in the Bible that says that “God turns an eye”. Meaning He brings some to Himself despite of all that is said in the new testament about acknowledging Jesus as savior for salvation. Only one verse available to something so important?
It was as though God was telling me, “Steve, go back further”. So I did. Before Christ. Before there was a savior. What ever faith you believe in, have you taken yourself back to before it? What did you find? Spend some time there.
I felt God again telling me, “go back further”. So I went back to Abraham and Noah. I spent time here thinking about all of how God intervened into the lives of these men and their families according to the stories. Noah was told to build a boat by God himself. Abraham was told to sacrifice his son! And almost did! I wondered about what really guided their lives. How did they hear this? How did they know this? Was I hearing from the same God?
Christians would say that God does not speak to us that way any more, that we now have the Holy Spirit to guide us. (What does that mean?) If that is what you believe than I would think it is what you will get. Although I would not say I see many Christians guided by the Holy Spirit. Guided, yes… by Love? – not so much! Too much facade to maintain to be real.
What was here? There was the world. There were animals playing in open fields, and birds flying about and singing in the trees. There was the sound of brooks bubbling, and the smell of flowers in the air. As I sat there with my human eyes closed, and the eyes of my soul wide open (maybe for the first time), I could see majestic snow capped mountains in the distance, and puffy white clouds moving across the sky. A deer standing near by; was she warm and soft I wondered? Was the hair on her body like the hair on my head?
I spent several hours here, emptying every thought I had known of everything I was told or read. I let everything of my religion go, my traditions, doctrines – good or bad – let them go, they do not exist here.
I was finally at a place where I knew almost nothing. My subconscious mind was empty of thoughts. Each time a thought would arise, I asked myself where it came from, if another human, I would let it go as vapor in the wind. This took some time, but finally I was just here. A place I marveled at. Why was I here? What am I supposed to do? I looked around and wondered if there was anything bad or evil. Was it good? There was a roaring lion, I trembled and slipped down behind the rock I was sitting on.
Was he bad I wondered. No. He was magnificent! The world seemed to have both things – danger where my heart would race, and yet rest where I could sleep in peace. I realized I had made a choice. I was scared of the lion and so moved my body into hiding. I wondered if I could overcome such a beast. I didn’t want to.
The deer also ran away at the sight of the lion. Of course I did not know what these things were. Was I like them? Was I like the deer or the lion? Was I different altogether? Does it matter I wondered?
After the lion moved away, I headed into the woods, (of course I didn’t know that is what it was called). But I was intrigued and wanted to see more.
My body was something like everything else that existed and marveled at. I was not my body, I was much more. I lived within this body, but was not the body. I did not need to solve anything, only accept it, enjoy it. I did not need to prove anything because no one was against me.
It was here in the garden that many things became very real and clear to me. It was because of the moments I spent here in meditation that many things became alive like never before in my life. Completely different from what I have been taught.
Wherever I turn now I see the wonders of this world and the working of some mighty hand. I see the creativeness in man as he uses the materials provided on the earth. I see all people as beautiful and wonderfully made.
I have to use my imagination of course to know there is a God behind all this. IT (God) has never sat down across from me and talked to my human ears – and yet, somehow I know there is someone very good at work in my life and in this world. I just know it.
I hope you will take some time to visit the garden as you know it. Be alone, and using your imagination explore what the world would be like when God brought you to life within it.
I’m not suggesting that this is a cure, as an answer to life’s problems. But it is a great adventure into reality. A great place to clear the mind so that one can see more clearly as we journey into our lives.