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Ken Wilber offers a guided tour through the layers of the Christian mystical experience, pointing the way toward the innermost heart of Christ Consciousness.
The unique teachings of Jesus Christ can help us become a living conduit of love — a love that is at once radically transcendent and immediately immanent; a love that itself reflects the sacred union of heaven and earth. This, after all, was one of Jesus Christ’s most important messages to humanity: that we are all of two natures, both fully human and fully divine.
As a mountain cuts into the sky without ever actually touching the sky, and the heavens embrace the earth without ever touching the earth, Jesus understood that only love can possibly bridge the immeasurable gap between the two — that only within God’s most sacred heart can both our natures be brought into phase with each other. In this sense, Jesus Christ was one of the most extraordinary spiritual teachers the world has ever seen, having found a direct path to the majesty of God’s love, and inviting us all to follow.
So what does following Christ really mean?
For many, following is as simple as naming Jesus as the world’s one and only true savior, adopting Him as some sort of mythic messiah to watch over our lives and rescue us from sin. For others, following is as simple as separating the man from the myth, and recognizing Jesus as one of the world’s greatest forerunners of humanistic morality. And for others still, following is as simple as asking oneself “what would Jesus do?” on a regular basis, treating other people with a kindness and respect that stems from an implicit understanding of the inherent goodness of mankind.
These are all perfectly valid ways of interpreting Jesus Christ’s role in our lives, perfectly appropriate for various stages of spiritual and psychological growth. All these interpretations light us up in different ways. But to some they are also incomplete, insofar as they each treat Jesus Christ as an object of awareness, existing somewhere in the stream of time outside of our own consciousness — Jesus the disembodied messiah, Jesus the historical personage, Jesus the proto-hippie. To truly follow Christ is not to merely walk behind Him as a sheep to a shepherd, but to follow Him as we follow our hearts and our dreams — following Christ by stepping into Christ; following Christ by becoming Christ.
We should consider taking the much more difficult road of actually subjectifying ourselves with Jesus Christ, inhabiting Christ consciousness in a direct and immediate way and experiencing for ourselves the mysterious union of earth and heaven, of time and eternity, and of humanity and divinity that Jesus Himself embodied. Not to be free of suffering, not to escape suffering — but to turn toward suffering, to face suffering with unshakable courage, to contain the world’s suffering within yourself by expanding your love until entire galaxies drift effortlessly within your perfectly broken heart.
Here is where we return to the heart of the Christian Tradition, the secret Holiest of Holies at the core of the religion, the Tootsie Roll center of the celestial Tootsie Pop. It is no longer enough to accept salvation as hearsay. We must taste it for ourselves, be it for ourselves, and ultimately find the Kingdom of Heaven within ourselves — the infinite stillness within our hearts that Jesus Christ told us we would find, if we simply cared to look.
While we should always remain cautious as to which parts of Scripture we interpret as literal truth, there are some parts can only be taken literally, and none more so than the words of the apostle Paul: “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.”
Written by Corey deVos
Other pieces in this series
About Ken Wilber
Ken Wilber is a preeminent scholar of the Integral stage of human development. He is an internationally acknowledged leader, founder of Integral Institute, and co-founder of Integral Life. Ken is the originator of arguably the first truly comprehensive or integrative world philosophy, aptly named “Integral Theory”.