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Terrorism is a product of dogma

Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, prophets, mystics and saints—all sought to guide humanity toward Truth, toward the same Heaven. Unfortunately, the interpretations of their teaching, although the same in essence, have been varying and numerous and have turned into mere dogma.

Jesus must have seen this coming for He said: “Hearing you will hear and not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive.” (Mark 4:12) The Muslim Ibn ‘Arabi, one of the world’s great spiritual teachers, said: “The gnostics know, but what they know cannot be communicated. It is not in the power of the possessors of this most delightful station … to coin a word which would denote what they know.” Dionysius the Areopagite said: “The One which is beyond all thought is inconceivable by all thought.”

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The teachers of all the six great religions of the world have, in one way or another, said the same thing.

Scores of people who have gone through a near-death experience, those whose spirit had left their body to enter another realm of consciousness, also report an inability to capture this experience in words. Here is Dr. Eben Alexander in “Proof of Heaven—A Neurosurgeon’s Journey to the Afterlife,” where he describes his experience as his spirit left his body: “Where is this place? Who am I? Why am I here? Each time I silently posed these questions, the answer came instantly in an explosion of light, color, love and beauty that blew through me like a crashing wave. What was important about these bursts was that they didn’t simply silence my questions by overwhelming them, they answered them, but in a way that bypassed language, thoughts entered me directly. But it wasn’t like what we experience on earth, it wasn’t vague, immaterial or abstract. These thoughts were solid and immediate—hotter than fire and wetter than water—and as I received them I was able to instantly and effortlessly understand concepts that would have taken me years to fully grasp in my earthly life.”

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Anita Moorjani, in her book “Dying to be Me,” says she remembers thinking: “Oh … I’m dying! Is this what it feels like? It’s nothing like I ever imagined. I feel so beautifully peaceful and calm … and I feel healed at last!” Further on she says: “I then understood that even if my physical body stopped, everything is still perfect in the greater tapestry of life, for we never truly die.” And: “There are no words

that can come close to describing its depth and the amount of knowledge that came flooding through.”

On the cover of her book Anita says: “I had the choice to come back … or not. I chose to come back when I realized that ‘heaven’ is a state, not a place…”

St. John Paul II, in July 1999 at the Wednesday general audiences, said in summary that heaven and hell are not geographical places but, rather, states of consciousness. From the foregoing, it becomes apparent that the mystics achieved a state of spiritual consciousness while living in this world, and that those who went through a near-death experience got a taste of it when their spirit temporarily left their body. I believe that awareness of the process of consciousness development should help in our own development.

According to developmental psychologists, people go through three general stages of consciousness development in the personal realm.

The first stage is the egocentric stage, where everything is about “me,” “myself” and “I.” Everyone goes through this stage, and it is normal until the age of seven. However, 30 percent of the world’s population remain in this stage even though they may be as old as me.

The second stage is the ethnocentric or “we” stage where one is able to identify with another but only with those who one considers belong to one’s group such as one’s gang, fraternity, nation, or religion. This is where the “us vs. them” mentality is at, and is healthy up to the age of 13. But as much as 40 percent of the world’s population remain here.

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The third stage is where one develops a worldcentric consciousness, and where around 25 percent of the population are at. Here one is able to take on a third-person perspective, meaning things are no longer about just “me” or “us.” One is able to take everyone’s perspective. It is this stage of consciousness development that has resulted in the abolition of slavery and the rise of equal-rights and environment movements.

At these three levels of the personal realm, those in each level think that it is only they who have the correct view and seek to impose their view on the other levels. This is the reason for enmity, terrorism and war.

As our planet heads toward more strife, destruction and possible extinction, it is imperative for humanity’s consciousness to develop. There is a need to move away from fear-based dogma and into love-evoking mysticism. All the six great religions have a mystical tradition that ushers practitioners higher up the personal realm of consciousness and onward to the spiritual realm, toward the One.

In the local Catholic tradition, Centering Prayer, which helps open us to experience God within us, is taught by Contemplative

Outreach, Philippines.

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience,” said Teilhard de Chardin.

Philip S. Ycasiano is the president of the Philippine Columbian Association.

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