Why do Christians never speak of enlightenment and it seems the eastern religions never tire of speaking of it? Doing my morning prayers and meditation, I began to again ask this question. My entire adult life, ever since learning my own meditation technique over thirty odd years ago, this question has been lurking somewhere in consciousness. That’s another one. Consciousness. Whey don’t Christians ever speak about consciousness?
These two words carry huge freight in eastern practices but little or nothing is mentioned in our home turf religion—Christian Catholic or Protestantism. And what about practice? No Protestant has any so-called spiritual “practice” unless we count prayer which is, truth be told, a serious and valuable and essential tool of any practicing Christian person of any persuasion.
But we take our prayer straight up as it were, without fanfare or waiting or anticipating any fruits of our actions as our sisters and brothers across the world might. Yet we know Jesus taught us that prayer was important to living a good life, one with the fear of God and all that. So what gives here?
I’ll tell you what gives. Only the eastern practice of prayer, which is made up of any of a number of forms of meditation practice, seems to focus on any particular gain for all this effort. These practices are in place to directly cultivate a lasting connection to the divine holiness permeating the universe and brought to earth by the gods who are also worshipped. These gods, it seems, serve as the intermediaries in sort of the same way Christ Jesus for Christians serves as intermediary between god the father and the rest of us mortals. This is so obvious, why haven’t I ever really stopped and noticed this before.
In all my reading now of ancient mythology, which is beginning to accrue, the gods move around the universe working to get things right. They seem to live a life in a parallel universe to the mortals who talk who can’t stop from talking about them, singing songs to them, writing long epic tales in which they are the lead characters, unless some lowly mortal comes along and try some hero journey stuff. With prayer and meditation we are left a bit more on our own, our job being to work on our own behalf for any blessings, be these grace or enlightenment.
As a practicing Christian we have the comfort of Christ to act as necessary mediator between our small world of woes and the divine spirit moving among us. In meditation practice, by emptying ourselves and letting go we find ourselves invited into a far larger paradise then our own small ego selves. This we call the transcendent. Here we can offer up a few prayers of gratitude; here grace descends whether or not we ask for it.