Monday, 21 June 2010

A modern parable

The 'people of the book' are wonderful story tellers. They still use parables, just as Jesus did to convey a basic truth. Several years ago I came across a wonderful little book that sold under the title of 'The Monster is Real' (2005) by Yehuda Berg. Now I know that some people will be suspicious when they discover that Mr. Berg uses an ancient Jewish mystical tool (Kabbalah) to tell a story, in parable form, which finally reveals the real source of evil, but read on:

"As a child, you were probably afraid of monsters, but your parents assured you that there was no such thing.
Wrong. The monster is real.
You were probably told that there was nothing to be afraid of. On the contrary, you should be afraid. In fact, you should be very afraid. Before you panic, you should know that this monster is not the mythical creature you feared so deeply as a child. He is not lurking in your closet or preparing to leap out from under your bed. This monster is in your bed. In fact, he's inside of you! And he's been there since the day you were born. This monster was not implanted by some diabolical modern-day Frankenstein. He was actually conjured up by the master of the universe, the force you know as God or the Creator.

But why?
Why would a God that you know to be compassionate and all-loving place such a frightening creature inside of you? Because you asked Him to. Exactly why you asked to have such a terrifying entity implanted within you will be explained shortly.
Another term for the monster I've been describing is "the ego." According to Kabbalah, ego is not just some¬one's inflated view of himself or herself. Yes, conceit, self-importance, and overconfidence are part of ego. But ego also includes low self-esteem, shyness, and feelings of inferiority."

To discover why God implanted the terrifying entity, you will of course have to buy the book. At the same time you might want to invest in Mr. Berg's sequel 'Satan – an Autobiography' (2009). This biography at last explains how we can learn to die to our ego desires (false-self) and re-discover our God given nature or True-Self. Like it or not, readers will have a difficult time trying to blame a separate entity such as the metaphorical snake in Genesis or the devious little individual with the tail and pitchfork for their problems hereafter.

For an indepth description of the Ego readers are encouraged to read the best analysis I have read to date 'Ego - The False Center, From the Frontier of the Mind', by Osho and available online.

Addition:  February 03/2011
The CAC’s men’s work, Men As Learners and Elders (M.A.L.Es), encourages us to destabilize our imperial ego. I think our concentration on sin as various forms of “impurity” or “unworthiness” has actually allowed the ego to remain out of sight and largely in control within most Christian circles. I say this after 40 years of retreats with clergy and highly religious people. We too often “strain out gnats while swallowing camels” (Matthew 23:24)—camels of arrogance, pride, control, and ambition.

A few things can help facilitate change. The first and most effective is circumstances over which you have no control, especially suffering in its many forms. These rearrange your world view and awaken the dead places within. They are not what you want, but they are given to you; they become the teachable moments that can and will change you deeply. Another thing that sometimes changes us is verbal teaching, as I am doing here. It is the least effective and changes the fewest people, yet we rely on it the most.

Adapted from How Men Change: A Thin Time (CD, DVD, MP3)

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