The Teacher in the Temple (Part 2)

Now as was [their] custom, His parents regularly went their way – year by year – into Jerusalem during the Feast (or: festival) of the Passover. 

So when He came to be twelve years [old], after their finishing going up – according to the custom of the Feast (or: festival) –

and upon finishing the days, during their process of returning, the Boy Jesus continued to remain in Jerusalem.

Yet, inferring from custom for Him to be within the group journeying together (= in the caravan; company of fellow travelers), they went a day’s way (= a day’s journey on the road) and then began seeking Him back among the relatives and acquaintances.

Then upon not finding Him, they returned into Jerusalem, continuing in searching again for Him.

Later, after three days, it happened [that] they found Him within the Temple courts (or: grounds), continuing in sitting within the midst of the teachers, constantly listening to them, as well as repeatedly making inquiries and putting question to them.

Now all the folks continuing to listen to and hear Him began ‘standing outside themselves’ in amazement and were repeatedly astonished at His understanding (His ability to make things flow together) and discerning responses (or: decided answers).

And so, upon seeing Him, [His parents] were bewildered and overwhelmed (or: struck out [of their wits]), then His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you treat us in this manner?  Look, and consider, your father and I were caused constant pain as we continued searching for you.”

So He said to them, “Why [is it] that you were trying to find Me?  Had you not seen so as to now know that it continues binding and necessary for Me to be within the midst of the men belonging to My Father (or: to constantly be among the things that pertain to My Father; or: to continue being in union with those things which are My Father)?”

And yet they, themselves, did not understand (make flow together) the result of the flow (declaration; gush-effect) which He spoke to them.

And so He walked back down with them and came into Nazareth, and continued being set in a supportive arrangement for them (or: kept on being subject to and under them). 

His mother also continued carefully watching, noting and keeping all these sayings (gush-effects; results of the flows; declarations; matters) within her heart. 

And so Jesus kept on cutting a passage forward, making progress in (or: by; with) the Wisdom – as well as in maturity and physical stature – and in (or: by; with) grace and favor, beside God and mankind (or: in the presence of God as well as people).   

Luke 2:41-52 Jonathan Mitchell Translation

In Part 1 of The Teacher in the Temple, we explored the need to develop conscious listening as a core spiritual literacy skill for participating in Logopraxis group life. To listen to one another in a conscious way involves making an effort to be aware of our own state as we listen to what is being shared. In Part 1 we saw that the ability to step outside of the ‘self’ or proprium, to observe what it strives to direct us towards when left to its own rule, is what allows us to see what is of the Lord. To be in the effort to hear the Lord in another is one aspect of what it means to love the neighbour or what is of the Lord in another. To listen consciously is not about judging whether another’s state is of the Lord or not. It is instead about attending to the thoughts and affections arising within our own state as we respond to what we are hearing in what is being shared. We are watching for the thoughts and affections that want to judge, condemn, criticise, praise, analyse and solve rather than simply listening for spiritual principles or truths found within what’s being shared.   

When these self-crediting qualities and condemning tendencies of the proprium are observed and acknowledged it affirms that what the Word teaches us about the nature of the hellish proprium is true. We see it as something active in our direct experience. It also affirms the Word’s presence in our mind as the Lord Himself, as truth that communicates His good that is always working to expose what is opposed to the life of heaven so that what is of heaven might become the basis for our life. In the moment that we truly recognise that what the Word has called out and named is the hellish proprium, it is effectively shunned. The act of shunning the evils of this infernal proprium as sins against the Lord is the true meaning of charity, for then the Word is acknowledged to be the Lord. From a Logopraxis perspective, this is what it means to seek the Lord and make affirmative connections in another’s work in the Word with that of our own work in the Word. 

When this type of spiritual literacy skill is practised then every individual’s work with the Word when shared, contributes to creating a unique expression of spiritual community for each receiver; the sum of the parts contributing to a deepening sense of the whole, the whole being the Lord as the Word, as the Divine Human within our midst. The ground that we meet on then becomes holy and sacred and filled with awe.  

Now all the folks continuing to listen to and hear Him began ‘standing outside themselves’ in amazement and were repeatedly astonished at His understanding (His ability to make things flow together) and discerning responses (or: decided answers).   </i

Luke 2:47

 

In Part 1 of The Teacher in the Temple we also began to explore the memorable relation referred to as the “contests of wisdom” found in Conjugial Love 132-136. The men who met together for the first question (see Conjugial Love 132) also demonstrated this idea that in spiritual life each state builds upon what was of the Lord in the previous one and also that each unique contribution, when woven together, offers a richer experience of the whole.  

The second question in this meeting in heaven begins with the men seeking to first find the truth of the proposition of the question being asked and so each puts forward ideas to corroborate it.    

The truth of the proposition thus being established, they then direct their minds to investigate and discover the ends and causes whereby they might unfold and disclose this arcanum.  

Conjugial Love 133, Acton translation

Each region in the order of north, west, south and east then offer their rationale as to why the truth is true and the purpose of its good. Each group speaks in turn, as they did with first question, building on what the previous group offered. A conclusion is then drawn that incorporates the ideas from each of the four regions. (Conjugial Love 133-134). 

This seeking to first establish the truth of the question before moving into why or how it is true requires a deeper level of both the individual and group work than that of the first question where the men simply moved straight into attempting to answer the question. This movement towards a more collaborative approach in finding a common first principle from which to work from, parallels the change in our work from Round One to Round Two of our Logopraxis Life Group. Like the men in the first question, Round One of a Logopraxis Life Group is mostly about each practitioner having an opportunity to share their work whilst the rest of the group listens, working to attend to their state, so that they might hear spiritual principles in what is being shared. In Round Two however, we are seeking to somehow draw all that has been heard in Round One together, into a collective of spiritual principles that are universal in nature in that they have the elements of person, place, time and space removed. By removing these external elements each practitioner is then more easily able to resonate with what is shared in relation to their own experience of the Word, of its process within them. So, the common first principle that is agreed upon, the “truth of the proposition that is established”, is that in order to find the Lord in the midst we must remove the external elements of the material world in our thinking, that is, we must remove person, place, time and space so that we might think spiritually to hear and see what is shared as spiritual states and realities. If we can do this in Round Two then what is placed before the group becomes a collective of spiritual truths for all because each practitioner can more easily see how it is true in relation to their own experiences of the Word. When this is seen it more fully supports the Lord’s end which is the regeneration of the human mind. Thus, the good of the Word as the Lord is made more visible in our midst, He is the end, the “purpose of its good” that the men in the contests of wisdom were seeking. 

 

The need to understand why the truth is true and the purpose of its good is also captured in arrival of the father and mother at the temple as they finally find their son Jesus and start to question him.  They had been searching for him for three days so we can imagine the sense of relief they must have felt on finding him but then their surprise, given his age, at seeing how deeply engaged he was in the discussions with the religious leaders and teachers of the day.   

And so, upon seeing Him, [His parents] were bewildered and overwhelmed (or: struck out [of their wits]).  

Luke 2:48 

What we see taking place here, in this change of the relationship between Jesus and his parents, is an illustration of a change of state in us as we seek to practise the newly developing spiritual literacy skills of removing person, place, time and space whilst simultaneously also shunning the thoughts and affections that are of the hellish proprium that attempt to prevent us hearing spiritual principles. The interior states or truths we are attempting to access in doing this begin to assert themselves and challenge those that are more exterior, that have the material world elements attached to them.  And as with the parents, we too can feel unsettled within ourselves as we seek to integrate these newly developing spiritual literacy skills that are grounded in more interior truths of what it means to think spiritually and be present to the Lord in another. So, the parents can be likened to the historical goods and truths that have carried and supported us to a certain point but being more external, that they do not enter the temple or the discussions and must be placed in their proper order in relation to the more interior truths of the Word that are developing and emerging. The parent’s questions mirror this effort to work with others and the Word in this new way.   

Then His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you treat us in this manner?  Look, and consider, your father and I were caused constant pain as we continued searching for you.”  

Luke 2:48

 

Learning to read the Text and what others share in our Life Group as spiritual states and realities rather than hearing and reading them literally as descriptive of places and people and events, is difficult. The latter is the mode of hearing and reading we have been accustomed to for most of our life and to read and hear language in an entirely new way requires a complete change of mind in how we think or more importantly – what we think from. To think from the Word, to think from it as our heart and love is to learn to think from what is celestial and spiritual because the Word as the Lord is good and truth itself. It is the human form of the marriage of good and truth when it is received in us and it is the Divine Human for us when it is recognised as the Lord. The young boy state of Jesus as the developing states of the Word in us, recognises this. 

So He said to them, “Why [is it] that you were trying to find Me?  Had you not seen so as to now know that it continues binding and necessary for Me to be within the midst of the men belonging to My Father (or: to constantly be among the things that pertain to My Father; or: to continue being in union with those things which are My Father)?”  

Luke 2:49 

 

To think from the Word, we must firstly accept that what it says is true but then work to see how it is true in our own experiences of what it describes with regards to the operation of the Divine in the life of our thoughts and affections, in the life of our mind. But even once we’ve done this and have illustrations of it in our own life and have shared it with our Life Group and have made connections with others’ experiences as being illustrative of our own experiences too – there is still the work of needing to acknowledge that all that is received and seen, both individually and as a collective life group, belongs to the Lord because it is the Lord.  

We see this sphere of acknowledgement of the Lord being the all and all reflected in the third question in the contests of wisdom (Conjugial Love 135-136).  On the matter of this question, all defer to those from the region of the east, it being unanimously acknowledged that the question requires deeper insight and that therefore those from the east should unfold it, since they are in the “wisdom of love”. And so, they do, offering a conclusive statement at the end.  

And then as a final gathering of wisdom, all three conclusions from each of the three questions that were placed before the group of men, are combined into a single statement by those from the east.  

Man was created to receive love and wisdom from God, and yet in all likeness as if it were from himself, and this for the sake of reception and conjunction. For this reason he is not born into any love or into any knowledge or even into any power of loving or of being wise from himself. Therefore, if he ascribes all the good of love and all the truth of wisdom to God, he becomes a living man; but if he ascribes them to himself, he becomes a dead man. 

Conjugial Love 136 

 

The movements in the contests of wisdom from: all answering the first question, to all needing a principle from which to agree upon in the second question, to only those from the “wisdom of love” answering the third question and then to a final conclusive statement drawn from all three discussions – seems to mirror the movement of how a Life Group unfolds when it meets over the course of its three-round structure. All offer their work in Round One. All look to find a way of drawing together what has been offered into an enhanced image of the Lord, of what is human, in Round Two.  And then there is a movement into seeing how what has come to light can be integrated into a better understanding of the experience of the Logopraxis process in Round Three. This process is the Word as the Lord as it moves us through what it offers us over the two-week cycle. It would appear that this final conclusive statement from the contests of wisdom describes the state in which we move out from the group back into daily life. It isn’t something we can often qualify or articulate but there is a shift that has occurred for us and it is in that, that we move back out to practise with and in.  

But like all new skills and modes of thinking there is resistance to change both in our will and loves and also in our understanding.   

And yet they, themselves, did not understand (make flow together) the result of the flow (declaration; gush-effect) which He spoke to them.  

Luke 2:50 

It therefore takes self-compulsion, time and a lot of repetition and hence practise, for it to become integrated and part of a way of being. There is also a benefit to having a space set aside in which we may consciously attempt to practise the spiritual literacy skills and this is one of the purposes of the Logopraxis Life Group. It offers a supportive, closed group environment in which all present are seeking to practise the same skills and it is thus a very different experience when we are attempting to practise these spiritual literacy skills in our day-to-day life.  The hope however, is that the ‘muscle memory’ in our minds of what it felt like to practise in our Life Group, will carry through out into our life with others in all that we are engaged in. In other words, we practise remembering to seek the Lord in our Life Group so that we might remember to practise seeking Him throughout the two-week cycle when we are not in our Life Group. And this is the renewed state that we exist our Life Group in. There is a trust that we have been fed and given what we need for the next two weeks and that structures have been put in place to support the ongoing work of the reordering of our thinking and the regeneration of our love and the shift to the Word as the self that we live from. And so, the newly emerging skills accompany us back out into day-to-day life to practise …    

And so He walked back down with them and came into Nazareth, and continued being set in a supportive arrangement for them (or: kept on being subject to and under them).  

His mother also continued carefully watching, noting and keeping all these sayings (gush-effects; results of the flows; declarations; matters) within her heart.  

Luke 2:51 

 

As the final conclusive statement is placed on the table in the contests of wisdom, angels appear and carry the paper to heaven. An affirmation from heaven of the rightness of what was arrived at from the discussion is heard, repeated three times. The men from each of the four regional areas are then given awards presented to them by an angel in the order that they spoke; an opal robe for those in the north, a scarlet robe for those in the west, a hat adorned with gold, pearls and diamonds for those in the south and a wreath of laurel in which are rubies and sapphires for those in the east. The men in heaven then return home to their wives, who come out to meet them. The men are surprised to find that the wives also are adorned with gifts from heaven.  

Adorned with these awards, they all went home from the sport of wisdom; and when they would show themselves to their wives, the latter came out to meet them, they also being distinguished with adornments given them from heaven, whereat the men wondered.

Conjugial Love 136 

If we, like Mary and these men, can place the new truths we have been gifted with close to our heart and married to our affections for truth in an acknowledgment that they are the Lord, then as we continue to consciously seek to practise the new ways of hearing and reading the Lord in our life, the Word will walk with us in this. If we engage with the Word in this way, with the love of allowing it to speak into our life to direct our daily practise, then the Word will reach out to us with what’s required. 

It is in this way that the living Word as the Lord will continually renew and reform us, drawing us evermore into His goodness and grace. 

And so Jesus kept on cutting a passage forward, making progress in (or: by; with) the Wisdom – as well as in maturity and physical stature – and in (or: by; with) grace and favor, beside God and mankind (or: in the presence of God as well as people).    

Luke 2:52 

Amen. 

 

EMMAUS ROAD DISCUSSION

 Visit here to LISTEN AND/ READ “The Teacher in the Temple (Part 1)”

 

Conjugial Love 133-136

Second Question 

133. After this they took up the second subject of discussion: WHY IS MAN NOT BORN INTO THE SCIENCE OF ANY LOVE, WHEN YET BEASTS AND BIRDS, BOTH THE NOBLE AND THE IGNOBLE, ARE BORN INTO THE SCIENCES OF ALL THEIR LOVES? First they confirmed the truth of the proposition by various considerations, as, with respect to man, that he is born into no knowledge, not even into the knowledge of conjugial love. And making inquiry, they heard from investigators that an infant cannot apply itself to the mother’s breast from any connate knowledge but must be applied to it by the mother or nurse; that it knows only how to suck, and that it has acquired this from continual suction in the womb; that later, it does not know how to walk; nor how to articulate sound into any human word, nay, nor even how to express by sound the affections of its love, as do beasts; and further, that it does not know any food suitable to itself as do all beasts, but seizes upon whatever is before it, clean or unclean, and puts it into its mouth. The investigators said, that without instruction man does not know even the distinction of sex, and knows absolutely nothing of the modes of loving the sex; and that even maidens and young men, though educated in various sciences, are ignorant of these modes unless they have learned them from others. In a word, that man is born corporeal like a worm, and remains corporeal unless he learns from others how to know, to understand, and to become wise.

[2] They then confirmed the statement that beasts, noble and ignoble, such as animals of the earth, birds of the air, reptiles, fishes, grubs which are called insects, are born into all the sciences of their life’s loves, thus into all that pertain to nourishment, into all that pertain to habitation, into all that pertain to love of the sex and procreation, and into all that pertain to the rearing of their young. This they confirmed by the marvels which they recalled to memory from what they had seen, heard, and read in the natural world–so they called our world in which they had formerly lived–where the beasts are not representative but real.

The truth of the proposition being thus established, they then directed their minds to investigate and discover the ends and causes whereby they might unfold and disclose this arcanum. They all said that such things must needs come from Divine Wisdom, to the end that man may be man and beast; thus that man’s imperfection at birth becomes his perfection, and the beast’s perfection at birth is its imperfection. 

 

134. Then first, those on the NORTH began to express their mind. They said: “Man is born without knowledges that he may be able to receive knowledges. Were he born into knowledges, he could receive none but those into which he was born, and then he could not himself appropriate any.” This they illustrated by the following comparison: “A man just born is like ground wherein no seeds have been planted but which yet can receive all kinds of seed and bring them forth and make them fruitful; but a beast is like ground already sown, and which, being filled with grasses and herbs, will not receive other seeds than those which have been sown; and if it did, it would choke them. Hence it is that man’s growth to maturity extends through many years, and during these years he can be cultivated like ground and can bring forth, as it were, grains and flowers and trees of every kind; while a beast’s growth extends through but few years, and during these years no other knowledge can be cultivated than that which was connate.”

[2] Those at the WEST spoke next. They said: “Man is not born with knowledge like a beast, but is born an ability and an inclination–an ability to learn and an inclination to love. And he is born an ability, not merely to learn but also to understand and be wise. He is also born a most perfect inclination to love, not only things which are of self and the world, but also those which are of God and of heaven. Consequently, from his parents man is born an organ which at first lives in the external senses alone and in none that are internal; and this, that he may successively become a man, first natural, then rational, and finally spiritual. This he would not become were he born into knowledges and loves like the beasts; for connate knowledges and affections limit that progress, but connate ability and inclination limit nothing. Therefore man can be perfected in science, intelligence, and wisdom to eternity.”
 

[3] Those on the SOUTH then took up the subject and expressed their opinion, saying: “Man cannot possibly acquire any knowledge from himself but must acquire it from others; and being unable to acquire any knowledge from himself, he is also unable to acquire any love, for where there is no knowledge, there is no love. Knowledge and love are inseparable companions and can no more be separated than can will and understanding or affection and thought, yea, no more than essence and form. Therefore, as man acquires knowledge from others, love adjoins itself thereto as its companion. The universal love which adjoins itself is the love of knowing, of understanding, and of being wise. This love, man alone has, and no beast; and it flows in from God.
 

[4] We agree with our companions on the west, that man is not born into any love and thence not into any knowledge, but that he is born only into an inclination to love and thence into an ability to receive knowledge, not from himself but from others, that is, through others. It is said through others because neither have they received any knowledge from themselves but from God. We agree also with our companions on the north, that when first born, man is like ground wherein no seeds have been planted but in which may be planted all kinds of seed, noble as well as ignoble. To this we add, that beasts are born into natural loves and thence into the sciences corresponding thereto. Yet, from these sciences, they do not learn anything, do not think, understand and become wise, but by their means they are carried along by their loves, almost like blind men led through the streets by dogs. As to understanding, they are blind, or rather are like somnambulists who, with their understanding asleep, do what they do from blind science.”
 

[5] Lastly spoke those on the EAST. They said: “We assent to what our brothers have said, that man knows nothing from himself but from others and through others, and this to the end that he may learn and acknowledge that all that he knows, understands, and is wise in, is from God; also that in no other way can man be conceived, born, and brought forth by the Lord and become His image and likeness. For he becomes an image of the Lord by acknowledging and believing that he has received and does receive every good of love and charity, and every truth of wisdom and faith from the Lord, and not the least thing thereof from himself; and he becomes a likeness of the Lord by sensating them in himself as if they were from himself. He has this sensation because he is not born into knowledges but receives them, and what he receives appears to him as if it were from himself. Moreover, it is granted man by the Lord so to sensate, in order that he may be a man and not a beast; for it is by the fact that he wills, thinks, loves, knows, understands, and is wise, as if from himself, that man receives knowledges and exalts them into intelligence and by their uses into wisdom. In this way the Lord conjoins man to Himself and man conjoins himself to the Lord. All this would not be possible had it not been provided by the Lord that man should be born in total ignorance.”
 

[6] After this speech, it was the desire of all that some conclusion be formed from the discussion, and the following was formed: “Man is born into no knowledge, that he may come into all knowledge and may advance into intelligence and by means of intelligence into wisdom. And he is born into no love, that by applications of knowledges from intelligence, he may come into all love, and by love towards the neighbor, into love to the Lord, and so may be conjoined to the Lord, and by this conjunction become a man and live to eternity.” 

 

Third Question 

135. They then took the paper and read the third subject of discussion, which was, WHAT IS SIGNIFIED BY THE TREE OF LIFE, WHAT BY THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, AND WHAT BY THE EATING OF THEM? Because this was an arcanum requiring a more profound understanding, they all requested that those who were at the east would unfold it; for those who are at the east are in flamy light, that is, in the wisdom of love, which wisdom is meant by the garden in Eden wherein those two trees were placed. The men at the east then answered, “We will speak; but because man cannot acquire anything whatever from himself but receives all from the Lord, we will speak from Him, but still from ourselves as if of ourselves.”They then said: “A tree signifies man, and its fruit signifies the good of life. By the tree of life, therefore, is meant man living from God, or God living in man. And because love and wisdom, and charity and faith, or good and truth, make the life of God in man, it is these that are signified by the tree of life, and from them man has life eternal. The like is signified by the tree of life in the Apocalypse of which it will be granted man to eat (Revelation 2:7; 22: 2,14).
 

[2] By the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is signified the man who believes that he lives from himself and not from God; thus that love and wisdom, charity and faith, or good and truth, are his own in man and not God’s, believing this because he thinks and wills, and speaks and acts, in all likeness and appearance as if from himself. And because from this belief he persuades himself that God has implanted in him, that is, has infused into him, His own Divine, therefore the serpent said:

God doth know that in the day that ye eat of the fruit of that tree your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:5.
 

[3] By eating of those trees is signified reception and appropriation–by eating of the tree of life, the reception of life eternal, and by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the reception of damnation. Therefore both Adam and his wife were accursed together with the serpent. By the serpent is meant the devil, as to the love of self and the pride of self-intelligence. This love is the possessor of that tree; and men who are in pride from this love are such trees. They, therefore, are in enormous error who believe that Adam was wise and did good from himself, and that this was his state of integrity, when yet Adam was himself accursed on account of that very belief, this being what is signified by his eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, he then fell from the state of integrity in which he had been by virtue of believing that he was wise and did good from God and not at all from himself, this being meant by eating of the tree of life. The Lord alone, when He was in the world, was wise of Himself and did good from Himself, because the Divine itself was in Him and was His from birth. Therefore He became the Redeemer and Savior by His own power.”
 

[4] From this and the preceding discussions, they then formed the following conclusion: “By the tree of life, and by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and by eating from them, is signified that for man life is God in him, and he then has heaven and eternal life; but that death for man is the persuasion and belief that life in man is not God but is himself; whence he has hell and eternal death, which is damnation!” 

 

136. After this, they looked at the paper left on the table by the angels and saw written at the bottom, “COMBINE YOUR THREE CONCLUSIONS INTO A SINGLE STATEMENT.” They then put the three together and saw that they were in one coherent series, and that this series or statement was as follows: “Man was created to receive love and wisdom from God, and yet in all likeness as if it were from himself, and this for the sake of reception and conjunction. For this reason he is not born into any love or into any knowledge or even into any power of loving or of being wise from himself. Therefore, if he ascribes all the good of love and all the truth of wisdom to God, he becomes a living man; but if he ascribes them to himself, he becomes a dead man.”These words they wrote upon a fresh sheet of paper which they placed upon the table. And lo, suddenly angels were present in a bright white light, and they carried the paper to heaven. After it had been read there, those who were sitting on the seats heard thence the words, thrice repeated, “Well said.” And immediately an angel therefrom was seen as though flying. He had two wings about his feet, and two about his temples, and in his hand he held the awards, which consisted of robes, caps, and wreaths of laurel. After alighting, he gave to those sitting at the north, robes of the color of opal; to those at the west, robes of scarlet; to those at the south, hats, the brims of which were adorned with fillets of gold and pearls, and the risings at the left side with diamonds cut in the form of flowers; and to those at the east, wreaths of laurel in which were rubies and sapphires. Adorned with these awards, they all went home from the sport of wisdom; and when they would show themselves to their wives, the latter came out to meet them, they also being distinguished with adornments given them from heaven, whereat the men wondered. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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