Discuss participants’ experiences with the Spiritual Practice of Confession from the previous week. Note: Participants are invited to continue the practice of Confession on a daily or weekly basis.
View Video for Session 4
Discuss Video, share reactions
Read “Putting the Pieces Together.” Discuss using the discussion questions provided.
Close in prayer.
Putting the Pieces Together
The thing about this new Life Operating System of Jesus is that it is a full package deal. All the pieces in this package are designed to work together, and the new Life Operating System doesn’t work unless all the pieces are brought together and put into play. So, let’s put together the pieces to get the full picture of the Path.
Jesus starts his ministry essentially saying “Move into the Bigger Mind that God has made possible for you.” Living in the Bigger Mind of God is called the Kingdom or Realm of God. Viewing the world from this Bigger Mind stirs up compassion for others, (Bigger Heart), who are suffering or struggling in life. This compassion is rooted in love and the realization we are all interconnected (“members one of another”), or Bigger World. This interconnected compassion and love requires action to engage the sources and causes of suffering and struggle, which is Bigger Life. These are the basic pieces of the Path.
Piece # 1: “Bigger Mind” In order to move into this Bigger Mind way of being, there is unlearning to be done, and psychological and emotional healing to be affected. The after-effects of trauma, abuse, tragedy, terror, have to be addressed.
There is spiritual healing to be affected as well. Harmful and abusive religious teachings need to be unlearned and repudiated. People need to be anointed with forgiveness and the absolute unmitigated grace of God.
There is also a lot of harmful, bad, and downright wrong theology to be abandoned and resisted. Jesus’ Path is revolutionary in itself, but early on, so-called followers of Jesus rebelled against the Jesus Revolution, and have infected Christianity with things that actually block and work against the transformative power of the Jesus Path. Let me be clear: Christianity as it is today and has been for centuries is not the Path of Jesus. Christianity may claim to aspire to that Path, that Way, but it desperately falls short. G.K. Chesterton is quoted as saying, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” Shockingly, the Path of Jesus is non-dogmatic. He only asked of people to believe in themselves, or have confidence that healing and wholeness could happen within them.
Piece # 2: “Bigger Heart”
How does this relate to Love? Jesus came to show us the full reality of Love, the Love that holds all things together. This is what the “divine aspect of ourselves” is. It is ultimately realized and expressed as Love.
But it isn’t easy to act and live from this divine center of love. There are human tendencies to act according to our own interests at the expense of others or of the world around us. We fall short of acting according to our divine center. This is called sin. Life also throws things at us that cover over that divine light of love at our center. Jesus says to let our light shine – but it is not easy, because we need to peel away the accretions of life.
This is the work of forgiveness, of confession (=telling it like it is), of being honest with ourselves about ourselves, and of changing direction. The decision to move from small mind to Big Mind initiates the change. But this change cannot happen at the level of ideas and opinions. It has to be lived in the body and manifested in the larger world.
Jesus sent his first followers out into the world, two by two. The Path of Jesus has to be walked. And walking the Path actually changes us. It puts us into contact with people we might not ordinarily come in contact with, which helps to expand our minds and increase our compassion. But it also enlarges our world.
Ultimately, cultivation of the Bigger Heart leads to working for justice. As we become more globally aware and connected, it is imperative that we cultivate greater compassion and seek justice in our world. Bigger Mind consciousness leads directly into Bigger Heart compassion and justice. This is an insight shared among the world's great wisdom and spiritual traditions. For example, Jesus looks out on the teeming crowds and is moved deeply within. He teaches them, heals them, and feeds them.
Justice is based upon what some religious traditions call “right relationship.” The idea of right relationship is predicated upon the recognition that all things in the world (and universe) are connected to one another through a complex network of relationships, and the nature of these relationships can either contribute to the well-being of things, or to their detriment. Right relationships are those that are conducive to well-being. Engaged compassion and doing justice means creating the conditions wherein the potentials for human and non-human beings can be realized and maximized, where there is equitable sharing of resources, meeting true needs of people and all other beings on the planet.
Piece # 3: “Bigger World”
The worlds most of us inhabit are incredibly small and constrained. Many people never venture far from where they were born. Even with the advent of the Internet and its possibilities of exploring and connecting with the world at large, the self-reinforcing algorithms of Google and Facebook and many search engines serve only to connect us with like-minded people, or more products just like what we have already purchased, or recipes just like what we recently downloaded. We easily think the world is filled with people just like us and products just like what we like.
Our urban and suburban enclaves insulate us from the vast natural world just beyond our urban growth boundaries. Packaged and processed foods disconnect us from the very earth that erupts into bloom, and ripens into our fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Jesus transgressed many of the social boundaries and barriers that separated people into ethnic and religious ghettos. He skewered the self-righteous pretenses of the religious segregationists of his time, and defied the purity practices that separated people into categories of "clean" and "unclean." He then sent his followers out into the world to do the same. Compassionate connection with people who are not like us, who don't think like us or even speak like us enlarges our world.
Piece # 4: “Bigger Life”
Jesus came to show us the divine aspect of ourselves, and to show us how to access and achieve it. This is the Fulfilled-Life-in-Abundance he proclaimed [John 10:10]. How does this relate to Love? The love Jesus modeled is the deliberate choosing to do that which ultimately benefits others and the world around us. Love is acting in the self-interests of the other, as defined by the other. This is expressed by the Platinum Rule: "Do unto others as they would have you do unto them." This revision of what is often called the Golden Rule acknowledges that what is good for us isn't necessarily good for others. Deliberate cultivation of compassionate and empathetic connection, mentioned above, increases our awareness and understanding of the life situations of others, and instructs us as to what other persons need from life.
In essence, the Bigger Life must be lived. Far too often, people will have a spiritual awakening or religious experience or flash of deep insight that remains a mental event, with no resulting change of behavior or social circumstances. Reboot! Life Operating System for the 21st Century is precisely that: a system for living, not just thinking. It encompasses every aspect of being: psychological, spiritual, emotional, social, and environmental. In fact, a flash of enlightenment or deep discovery is not enough to affect lasting and significant change. A person may have a sudden, life-changing experience that forever alters their direction and priorities. But in order for this change to have lasting effects, the person must find ways of acting that are in accord with this new direction. They must also redirect their thoughts and attitudes along lines in concert with this new direction. What they need to do is to adopt a set of practices that serve to reinforce their new life and to help establish the change as permanent. Throughout this Via Vida process, you can explore various practices, many of which were taught and modeled by Jesus, that serve to redirect your life, and contribute to the expansion of your consciousness.