Is humanity ready for a transformation of consciousness, an inner flowering so radical and profound that compared to it the flowering of plants, no matter how beautiful, is only a pale reflection?
Can human beings lose the density of their conditioned mind structures and become like crystals or precious stones, so to speak, transparent to the light of consciousness?
The possibility of such a transformation has been the central message of the great wisdom teachings of humankind. The messengers—Buddha, Jesus, and others, not all of them known—were humanity’s early flowers. They were precursors, rare and precious beings. A widespread flowering was not yet possible at that time, and their message became largely misunderstood and often greatly distorted. It certainly did not transform human behavior, except in a small minority of people.
Is humanity more ready now than at the time of those early teachers? Why should this be so?
Most ancient religions and spiritual traditions share the common insight—that our normal state of mind is marred by a fundamental defect. However, out of this insight into the nature of the human condition, arises a second insight—the good news of the possibility of a radical transformation of human consciousness.
In Hindu teachings (and sometimes in Buddhism also), this transformation is called enlightenment. In the teachings of Jesus, it is salvation. In Buddhism, it is the end of suffering. Liberation and awakening are other terms used to describe this transformation.
The greatest achievement of humanity is not its works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction, its own madness. In the distant past, this recognition already came to a few individuals. A man called Gautama Siddhartha, who lived 2,600 years ago in India, was perhaps the first who saw it with absolute clarity. Later, the title Buddha was conferred upon him. Buddha means “the awakened one.” At about the same time, another of humanity’s early awakened teachers emerged in China. His name was Lao Tzu. He left a record of his teaching in the form of one of the most profound spiritual books ever written, the Tao Te Ching.
To recognize one’s own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.
The world was not yet ready for them, and yet they were a vital and necessary part of human awakening.
Inevitably, they were mostly misunderstood by their contemporaries, as well as by subsequent generations. Their teachings, although both simple and powerful, became distorted and misinterpreted, in some cases even as they were recorded in writing by their disciples.
Over the centuries, many things were added that had nothing to do with the original teachings, but were reflections of a fundamental misunderstanding.
They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong” and thus define their identity through their enemies, the “others,” the “nonbelievers” or “wrong believers”.
Man made “God” in his own image. The eternal, the infinite, and unnameable was reduced to a mental idol that you had to believe in and worship as “my god” or “our god.” And yet … and yet … in spite of all the insane deeds perpetrated in the name of religion, the Truth to which they point still shines at their core. It still shines, however dimly, through layers upon layers of distortion and misinterpretation. It is unlikely, however, that you will be able to perceive it there unless you have at least already had glimpses of that Truth within yourself.
Throughout history, there have always been rare individuals who experienced a shift in consciousness, and so realized within themselves that toward which all religions point.
This is how Gnosticism and mysticism came into existence in early and medieval Christianity, Sufism in the Islamic religion, Hasidism and Kabbala in Judaism, Advaita Vendanta in Hinduism, Zen and Dzogchen in Buddhism.
Most of these schools were iconoclastic. They did away with layers upon layers of deadening conceptualization and mental belief structures, and for this reason most of them were viewed with suspicion and often hostility by the established religious hierarchies.
Unlike mainstream religion, their teachings emphasized realization and inner transformation. It is through those esoteric schools or movements that the major religions regained the transformative power of the original teachings, although in most cases, only a small minority of people had access to them.
✣ To read more; >>>> Eckhart Tolle ~ http://www.theworkbook.org/arising.htm