The old Taoist saying, "Turn the light around," says all we need to hear. It can be understood on different levels. Initially it was a directive to stop looking for illumination "out there," in books, or lectures, or sutras, concepts, creeds, ideas, thinking, etc. and start looking for it "in here," in realizations, recognition, intuition, insight, instinct, etc. Joseph Campbell said, "It is through reflection on our lived experience that we arrive at new realizations." And on our dreams, and our conflicts and contradictions, etc. Any time we come up against a wall is a good time for reflection, and for listening. Nothing beats sitting quietly and listening for getting past the noise to the truth that is trying to break through to us. All we have to do is sit still and notice everything that arises unbidden within, until something comes up with a peculiar energy about it, different from all the other stuff, in a way that catches your attention and jolts you with a kind of "Here it is! Don't miss this!" emphasis. Well, reflect on that. Turn it over. Walk around it. See what you can make of it. What is it asking of you? Take it for a spin. See where it goes. On the path to the Holy Grail, one thing leads to another. Start with the thing with energy, and it will lead you to something else with energy. Stay with the energy. With the life. With the interest and enthusiasm. With the joy and wonder. Trust those guides with your life, and be off on your next great adventure.
A symbol's value is its aliveness in the life of those embracing it. Symbols are alive for us when they connect us with transcendence, with the Numen, the Ineffable, the Indescribable, the Inexpressible... beyond themselves. We see through symbols when we look at symbols, and we never confuse the symbol with what it symbolizes, with what it stands as a reference to, with what it points to, suggests, reflects. A symbol--all symbols--is/are alive to the extent that it/they are metaphors for more than words can say. And everything is capable of being a symbol, a metaphor, for us when we see through it, past it, to what it "stands for" for us. A symbol is dead when it means just what it means and nothing more ever than what it means. God is a symbol. God is a metaphor. God is an idea that represents a transcendent reality that cannot be said, told, explained, described, clarified, expressed, defined or made plain. God is dead to the extent that God is limited to what can be said of God in the Bible, the creeds, the catechisms, the books of confession, and the books of doctrine that say who and what God is. And is not. God is more than we can ask, or say, or think, or believe. God is beyond all concepts, ideas, opinions, descriptions... The most truthful thing that can be said of God is "I do not know God." As a symbol, God is "transparent to transcendence," as all symbols are, in that we see through the symbol to what is beyond the symbol which cannot be said/told/defined/etc. We, you and I, are to live in ways that "express the inexpressible," and "make known what which is more than words can say." We, you and I, are to be symbols which are "transparent to transcendence," so that we are "as close to The Mystery at the Heart of Life and Being, as some people get," so that seeing The Mystery through us, they become present to The Mystery themselves, and live, as a symbol of The Mystery in the lives of others. And, thus, The Mystery comes alive in us all, and we all come alive in The Mystery, and know that at the very bottom of it all, we are One with The Mystery, "One with the Father," One with each other and all people of all ages, and all sentient beings of all times and places, world without end, amen.
Only dead people kill people. Every person who kills someone, anyone, should ask themselves: "In doing this, am I more like Jesus, or the people who killed Jesus?" Christians think Jesus is a Christian, and would be welcome in all their churches. All Christian churches think everyone is welcome. They say so on church signs. "All are welcome here!" "Everyone is welcome here!" Not so. What they don't say is left unsaid but implied: "All are welcome here on our terms." "Everyone is welcome here to be like we are." The list of people who are not welcome in Christian Churches is long. Are gay people welcome to hold Gay Pride rallies and organize marches, and preach from the pulpit on Sunday morning in Christian Churches? Are members of Planned Parenthood welcome to hold Freedom of Choice rallies, to speak from the pulpit, and organize marches? Are Muslims welcome to preach from the pulpit on Sunday morning, hold prayer retreats and rallies, and organize marches, and talk about Palestinian rights? Transgender people... Black Lives Matter... Buddhists... The list is long of people not-welcome on church property. Yet, all Christian churches think Jesus would be welcome. They should devote a worship service once a month for silent contemplation of all the ways Jesus would not be welcome, and of all the things Jesus would not be welcome to say and do. And then consider, in light of that, are they more like Jesus, or the people who killed Jesus.