Spiritual leaders answer on rapture

 Editor’s note: “Spiritual leaders answer” is a weekly column inviting Kaua‘i’s religious and spiritual leaders to share their doctrine’s perspective on a suggested subject. Every Friday a topic is printed inviting a response. Submissions are edited for content and length. Thoughts or suggestions for future topics are always welcome. Next week’s topic is arrogance. The topic at the end of the column is for the following week.

Lama Tashi Dundrup

Kaua‘i Dharma Center

Rapture, also called bliss or joy, is a state of mind already existing universally. We humans experience this in many ways such as sexual orgasm, near-death experiences, the use of psychotropic drugs, etc. Most humans don’t value these experiences as insight into their ultimate nature of mind and the nature of the universe itself. They think of this as only temporarily existing.

Shamans, healers, mystical practitioners of religions, Tibetan Lamas, etc. know that this state of mind produces healing on all levels of the human condition: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This blissful non-conceptual aspect of our consciousness is a result realized through practicing meditational focus, which can produce lasting happiness.

The spontaneous effect of this universal realization is loving kindness, altruistic compassion, knowingness and the power to benefit others. Relatively, through the result of this spiritual practice, creates the end of war, famine, disease, poverty, environmental collapse and social irresponsibility on this planet. It is experienced as a pain-free body, contentment in the intellect, emotional stability and spiritual enlightenment or rapture, bliss and joy. 

Baha’is of Kaua‘i

Christians relate “rapture” to the second coming of Christ when His followers will ascend to meet Him. The term rapture is derived from the Latin word rapio which means to catch up or to snatch up.

Baha’i beliefs do not hold to a physical rapture but to a spiritual rapture. A spiritual rapture begins with an earnest search for truth and nearness to God. It requires that the seeker detach himself from his ego and from all that is created. Nothing should stand in the path of his quest as he surrenders his free will in order to bend to the will of our beloved Creator. When a person reaches this state of detachment, he is so immersed in the love of God that he is in a state of ecstasy and anticipation. He longs for His nearness and nothing on this earthly plane can cause him apprehension or distress.

The following Baha’i quote beautifully describes a soul’s journey toward the state of rapture:

“Know thou of a truth that the seeker must, at the beginning of his quest for God, enter the Garden of Search. In this journey it behoveth the wayfarer to detach himself from all save God and to close his eyes to all that is in the heavens and on the earth. There must not linger in his heart either the hate or the love of any soul, to the extent that they would hinder him from attaining the habitation of the celestial Beauty. He must sanctify his soul from the veils of glory and refrain from boasting of such worldly vanities, outward knowledge or other gifts as God may have bestowed upon him. He must search after the truth to the utmost of his ability and exertion, that God may guide him in the paths of His favour and the ways of His mercy. …

“When once the seeker hath ascended unto this station, he will enter the City of Love and Rapture, whereupon the winds of love will blow and the breezes of the spirit will waft. In this station the seeker is so overcome by the ecstasies of yearning and the fragrances of longing that he discerneth not his left from his right, nor doth he distinguish land from sea or desert from mountain. At every moment he burneth with the fire of longing and is consumed by the onslaught of separation in this world … He standeth ready to obey whatsoever His Lord should please to decree as to his beginning and his end. With every breath he layeth down his life and offereth up his soul … He yieldeth up spirit, soul and body in the path of his Lord, and yet he doeth so by the leave of his Beloved and not of his own whim and desire. Thou findest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea, abiding in every land and treading every path. Whosoever toucheth him in this state will perceive the heat of his love. He walketh the heights of detachment and traverseth the vale of renunciation. His eyes are ever expectant to witness the wonders of God’s mercy and eager to behold the splendours of His beauty. Blessed indeed are they that have attained unto such a station, for this is the station of the ardent lovers and the enraptured souls.”

 

Rev. James Fung

Lihue Christian Church

In the first century, when many of the books of the New Testament were written, there was a sense that a gracious and loving God would bring about universal justice by destroying a world gone amok and all the evil in it. However those who lived with faith, justice and love for others would not suffer the consequences of those who had given in to the ways of avarice, corruption and godlessness. They would be saved. They would be caught up, lifted up, and transported to heaven. This is the meaning of “rapture” — being caught, and therefore rescued.

There are many other passages in the Bible, however, which talk about how we do not know when the end of history will come. We are asked to be faithful, to live rightly, to invest in that which is loving and responsible — in other words to trust in God and to let God determine when and how the last chapters may be written.

There has always been a fascination among people about the ways that the world will end, whether it be by nuclear holocaust, major disasters brought about by catastrophic climate change, or by some other manner that is a result of human ignorance that fails to honor God’s laws of harmony for all of humankind and for the proper stewardship of God’s creation.

There will probably always be rumors and prophecies of the end times. But in the meantime, there is much for us to do. There’s a world and people out there that need to be loved. There’s work to be done. Maybe if we were to improve how we live, expand our capacity for living in harmony with others, and working toward a healthier and more sustainable global community, God wouldn’t need to scrap what God created and start over again. Maybe, with God’s help, we can fix it!

Petra Sundheim

Pathways of Light

As a Pathways of Light minister and spiritual coach, I would like to respond to this opportunity to reframe the rapture issue into a broader non-religious, but spiritual context. Our Mother Earth has been raped and plundered by the patriarchy. Millions of women were put to death as witches. In putting together the Bible, the patriarchy omitted the Gospel of Mary Magdalen, other gospels and writings of Jesus himself who accepted women as equal partners and was taught by them. Jesus’ message was distorted. The feminine heart energy was a threat to the church and the feeling nature of men was denied.

Jesus, the Christ, came to show us who we really are. He is already here in the spiritual heart of every human as the energy of love or the Holy Spirit. We have allowed the ego’s voice of fear to tell us who we are. In “A Course In Miracles,” he says, “Teach only love, for that is who you are.” Jesus continues to reveal himself in the present moment to awakening hearts. To some he speaks very clearly as Jeshua.

He is in charge of the ascension process we are now in. Ascension is a shift from third dimensional consciousness to the fifth dimension where only love rules and we know we are one with all life. If we choose we can stay for Heaven on earth or the golden age predicted in many religions for this time. Some will leave for another third dimensional planet. The timing depends on our awakening to who we are.

According to Jeshua, the one cause for human misery is “our belief in separation.” In The Jeshua Letters by Jon Marc Hammer, he says:

“For the end of the world is not the end of creation, but its fulfillment. Here shall be witnessed in every heart, the awakening of the oneself, dispelling the darkness of separation.”

Topic for two

weeks from today

• Will you speak to us on education?

• Spiritual leaders are invited to e-mail responses of three to five paragraphs to afrainier@ thegardenisland.com.

• Deadline each week is 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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