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Monday, January 15, 2018

Metaphor of the Promised Land

Today the whole of America celebrates the “Martin Luther King” day.
 “And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out, or what would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers.
Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life–longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight; I’m not worried about anything; I’m not fearing any man.” ………..Martin Luther King, a few days before he was martyred
Promised land is a metaphor for ecstatic spiritual experience.
Ecstasy comes from the Greek word ‘Ekstasis’ which means to "to be or stand outside oneself, a removal to elsewhere". Let me digress a little here into Existential Philosophy where the sum total of one’s consciousness is the result of the exterior world through one’s senses and hence we always stand outside of ourselves. This then provides us with a situation where in to stand outside of oneself means outside of one’s objectively modulated consciousness. This is in contrast to the term ‘enstasis’ which means from "standing-within-oneself" which relates to contemplation from the perspective of a speculator. This therefore means that in ecstasy  one has to undertake a subjective experiential journey away from our usual psychic space. There is a double negation from a logical perspective. Hence we may conclude that in ecstasy, the removal to elsewhere, one has to move away from dualities.
This ‘elsewhere’ is the promised land. In our lives we are given glimpses of the promised land from time to time from mountain tops of spiritual experience. We ignore these wonderful moments thinking that the promised land lies in the future, in some heavenly reward.
When we read the Bible, we always attach the metaphorical reference to God’s promise of the promised land to Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Moses and the children of Israel to a geographical location. But this level of thinking comes from a low level of spiritual consciousness. If we examine the situation at various context we can see that Abraham, who was son of an idol maker, is taken to new land which is symbolic of new level of spiritual consciousness. When Abraham sets out from the land where he lived, the land was struck with severe famine, this is spiritual starvation, and he moves to the land of Egypt, which is a symbol of spiritual wisdom and abundance.
Why I make this claim is that the great depth psychologist, Carl Jung, assigns Egypt as the place of spiritual wisdom. In his book “The Seven Sermons to the Dead”, which is he writes in the name of Basilidas of Alexandria, he says,; Alexandria is the city where the East meets the west”. His very first lines of the first sermon says:
“The dead came back from Jerusalem, where they found not what they sought. They prayed me (Basilidas) let them in and besought my word, and thus I began my teaching.”
Jerusalem was notorious for a place desired by the worldly powers and has a materialistic significance.
The vision of the promised land is always from the mountain top, signifying a very level of spiritual consciousness. Moses was shown the promised land from Mount Nebo before he died.
It is apt for Jesus to manifest his Divine consciousness, through transfiguration, on mount Tabor.
Martin Luther King says: “………... I just want to do God’s will.  And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain.  And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”
In everyone’s life we are shown the promised land. The experiences we have when we touch someone’s inner wellbeing, when we experience love and compassion, when we bestow an act of kindness without any expectations or when we behold the creation of the Divine on a clear dark night with millions of stars and the Milky Way arching on the vault of the sky, these are the glimpses of the Promised Land.
Fr. Richard Rohr, a great contemporary Franciscan theologian says:
“Even Pope John Paul II said at a Vatican conference on June 28, 1999 that heaven and hell were primarily eternal states of consciousness more than geographical places of later reward and punishment. We seem to be our own worst enemies, and we forget or deny things that are just too good to be true.”
Let enjoy heaven on earth like Gandhi, Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela and many other souls who had the vision of the promised land during their lives.
Love to you all.

6 comments :

  1. METAPHOR OF THE PROMISED LAND: The past and the present; the sage and the sinner; the already and the 'not yet'; the consciousness and the unconscious are all factors in our life that gives us the glimpse of the PROMISED LAND. It is not a place but a state of the soul. Martin Luther King was indeed a great soul who had the right judgment and perspective in life. All the best dear Annan. Love and God Bless.

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    1. Thank you Sabi, for your deep and insightful observation. May Divine blessing ever rest upon you.

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  2. Very enlightening Annan. great is your vision as that of these great souls. May God be praised. Shalom!

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  3. THIS ARTICLE MADE ME LIVE WITH POSITIVE ATTITUDES IN LIFE. ONLY THIS CAN GIVE ME THE VISION OF 'MOUNTAIN TOP' EXPERIENCE EVEN WHEN I AM CRITICIZED OR MISINTERPRETED. ALL THIS ANOTHER CLOSER STEP TO REACH THE PROMISE LAND. THANKS FOR THE INSPIRING ARTICLE.

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    1. Thank you for your feedback. I am glad that you are empowered by what I write. May we both be blessed by this knowledge we share.

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