Reboot Your Life The Gospels all depict Jesus beginning his ministry saying “Repent! The kingdom of God is at hand!” If he had come today, he might say, “Reboot! You are about to commit a fatal error that will cause your life system to crash!” We start on the Jesus Path when we recognize that the path we are on is not working, or is perhaps even dangerous or perilous to our health, and the health of the world. In computer talk: our life is giving us “error messages” and it is time to disconnect from a dysfunctional system, purge our operating system of the old and download a new Operating System. Time to “reboot.”
Rebooting begins by telling the truth about ourselves or the world around us to ourselves and others: The Life-System in whose grip we find ourselves is destroying us, the people around us, and even the planet on which we live. We need a new Life Operating System. Jesus says, “I have just what you need. Come, follow me. I’ll show it to you.” 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 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 and 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. So, Jesus sends 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.
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 and products just like us.
Our urban and suburban enclaves insulate us from the vast natural world just beyond our urban growth boundaries. Packaged and processed food disconnect us from 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? He 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. 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." This revising 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 the other needs from life,