The basis for the following article was originally published in 2007 by the Hashlamah Project.
בשם יהוה הרחמן הרחם/بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The traditions throughout the world of human spiritual expression are many; and within each are additional variations (often differing so much - one from the other - that they barely resemble each other). Yet, at the core of each of these spiritual expressions is an underlying truth upon which each is founded, and from which each evolve.
In a similar manner, the human genome itself is of a singular species - though each manifestation is a distinctive, individual expression of that species - each within given national, ethnic expression. Though these expressions are diverse, they are all part of the expression of the human species as a whole. And yet, so many fixate upon the illusion of "you" and "i"; and worse, upon the illusion of "us" and "them;" of "my nation, my race" and "theirs."
The world today is being ripped apart at the seams by groups, religions, sects and terrorist political agendas which perceive their particular cultures' expressions of spiritual truth as correct to the exclusion of all others.
Brothers and Sisters, listen quietly to the sounds around you. Go into a quiet room and reflect upon every sound humming around in the unobserved quietness of the world around you. Allow your sense of hearing to expand outward. What new sounds do you hear that you otherwise had not?
Now, feel your skin from the inside out. Feel the pressure of your skin wrapped upon your muscles and bone. Feel every little sensing hair on your arms like a cat's whiskers. Feel your clothes laying on your body and even the pressure of your body on the seat in which you are sitting. Alternately, feel the pressure of your feet making contact with the floor. Feel your weight distribution on the bottoms of your feet.
Now turn this expanded awareness off. Disregard these feelings. If you have never before attuned yourself in this manner then it will not be difficult for you to turn this off. Even if you do not deliberately try to turn this off, in time you certainly will lose focus, just as you commonly do not focus upon the inhalations and exhalations you take in and release.
This awareness is a slight taste of the state of pure being, pure "Eheyeh." This is the awareness of the prophets, a'immah, mystics, shamans, tzaddiqim, boddhisatvas, and sages. While the layman's awareness quickly disperses, the awareness of the holy ones remained attuned to these things, and far, far more...
These people did not take God's blessings, God's mercy for granted. They did not take the Universe itself for granted. They did not take their lives for granted. They did not take their bodies for granted. Not even one single inhalation or exhalation was taken for granted by these people. For this reason, they were chose from others around them, and instructed by the Angels to guide humankind.
They were chosen for their reciprocity. God blessed them from the moment in which they were conceived; from the moment their cells formed uniquely and began replication. They were given capital and they invested wisely for their Master. For this reason their Master chose to promote them to positions of greatness. This is one level of meaning in Jesus' Parable of the Talents.
Brothers and Sisters, what religion of man did these prophets speak of or utter the name of? The path of the prophets is not bound by cultural expression; whether Jewish, Hindu, Roman, Arabist or the like. We must understand the difference between the cultural wrappings within which these teachings were expressed and the teachings themselves.
Did these prophets teach "Christianity?" Today there are Christian Jews who call themselves "Messianic Jews." Why? Because the word "Christian" means "Messianic," or "Mashiachi." How many Christians do you know who even TRY to be "Messianic" let alone achieve it? How dare this term be used so lightly by Billions of people?
What about "Islaam?" Muhammad made it clear that the prophets throughout the world taught only ONE religion. So what is this title "Islaam?" What is this banner "Islaam?" Islaam is not a title, it is an `Arabic word to describe the practices, the actions, the fruits of one who ACTIVELY Submits to God. Can a person never wash a single load of dishes and yet be called a "Dishwasher?" Can one never plant a single plant and yet be called a "Gardener?" What a ridiculous idea. Where are the "Muslims?" Those of you who are truly "Muslim," unite together with the "Muslims" of all cultures, languages and traditions who love, serve and submit to God.
Brothers and Sisters! Did Muhammad seek division? Did Jesus? Did Moses? Was it they who divided from others or was it others who divided from them? If a person is attacked in an Alleyway they are clearly justified in defending themselves. Yet if they go out looking for trouble then they are guilty of oppression. We must understand the contexts of history, the contexts of the prophets or we will fail to grasp the meaning of their teachings.
Didn't Moses marry a Midianite and an Ethiopian? Didn't Jesus fraternize with the social outcasts, and speak of the greatness of the Samaritan over his native Judeans due to his actions? Didn't Muhammad marry both a Christian and two Jewish women? My God, how the people today would reject the prophets of old!
If we wish to move forward, if we wish to follow the practices and lives of prophets, then we must look beyond what the man-made religions of the world tell us. Everyone says that their traditions are unique, best, and from God. But what do their actions reflect? Ask yourself if their actions are actions of God? Ask who their actions alone appear to benefit? Ask if they appear to mimic this Rabbi, this Marja`, this Shaykh, this Pope, Preacher or the like, or if they live the life of the prophets in the days of old.
Yes, Jesus told us that we will know a tree by its fruits. We know the religion peddlers today by their deeds rather than their words. Talk is cheap, but actions are what counts and actions cannot be faked. A bad man cannot persist in continuously doing deeds of righteousness, and a good man cannot perform actions of unrighteousness. This is common sense, and for that reason the famous Imaam Muhammadu-l-Baaqir said that "Reason" was the first of all creation. We must understand these things with wisdom.