The same powerful Scripture text that brings a loving person to even greater love will be mangled and misused by a fearful or egocentric person. This is surely what Jesus means when he talks about the one who has being given more and those who have not losing what little they have.
Once you experience being loved when you are unworthy, being forgiven when you did something wrong, that moves you into non-dual thinking. You move from what I call meritocracy, quid pro quo thinking, to the huge ocean of grace, where you stop counting or calculating.
People will often, almost always, prefer a male God. A male image of God gives them this sense of security, safety, order, no nonsense. So that's where their psyche is at. Probably it's something that they've got to go through. Not that there isn't a need for order in the world, but the mystical level seems to be the mature level of religion, and there the question is not order but union - divine union. And so, without some integration of the feminine, usually you never get to the mystical level.
All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .
Egoic consciousness is the one we all normally operate with, until we are told there is something else! Every culture teaches egoic consciousness in different ways. At that level it is all about me, my preferences, my choices, my needs, my desires and me and my group as the central reference point.
We all remain who we are. But on the way to healing or liberation we have to do what the Romans called agere contra: we have to act against the grain of our natural compulsions. This requires clear decisions. Because it does not happen by itself, it is in a way "unnatural" or "supernatural" . . . (we) simply have to cut loose now and then, and in the process . . . make mistakes.
I have committed myself to joy. I have come to realize that those who make space for joy, those who prefer nothing to joy, those who desire the utter reality, will most assuredly have it. We must not be afraid to announce it to refugees, slum dwellers, saddened prisoners, angry prophets. Now and then we must even announce it to ourselves. In this prison of now, in this cynical and sophisticated age, someone must believe in joy.
If you work with such people almost on the level of spiritual direction, you see that they are people who prefer a world view of order and even punitiveness. And for some reason, there's a feeling that the male psyche is going to give that to them. And if that's your view of religion, which it is for many people, if they've never come to the mystical level, religion is for social order and to maintain social order.
People who think they can just do a non-stop flight to mystical, non-dual thinking, to get it out without going through the process, are usually not right. That's airy-fairy thinking. They have to wait until they are hurt themselves, or they are cheated, or lied to or betrayed, and they will see that their non-dual thinking is not tested, or truly a gift of the spirit. It's simply fuzzy thinking.
When you haven't found inner meaning, you will always substitute outer performance. It's the only way to fill that void, that sense of significance - that I am significant. So almost the degree of outer performance can, in many cases, mirror the lack of inner alignment.
Notice that whenever we suffer pain, the mind is always quick to identify with the negative aspects of things and replay them over and over again, wounding us deeply. Almost all humans have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) of the mind, which is why so many people become fearful, hate-filled, and wrapped around their negative commentaries. This pattern must be recognized early and definitively. Peace of mind is actually an oxymoron. When you're in your mind, you're hardly ever at peace, and when you're at peace, you're never only in your mind.
A mystic doesn’t say “I believe.” They say “I know.” A true mystic will ironically speak with that self-confidence but at the same time with a kind of humility. So when you see that combination of calm self-confidence, certitude, and humility all at the same time you have the basis for mysticism in general.
Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We often given a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of "Christian" countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I'm afraid.