The Scale of Perfection, Book 2, Part 1 – Chapter 1

dohpeterchina's picture

SECTION I: That a Man is the Image of God after the Soul and not after the Body; and how he is restored and reformed thereto that was misshapen by Sin
SECTION II: That Jews and Pagans and also false Christians are not reformed effectually through the virtue of the Passion through their own Faults

These are chapters 1 to 3 of The Scale of Perfection – Book 2 in Middle English:
This chapitle scheweth that a man is seid the image of God aftir the soule and not aftir the bodi.
Hou it nedide to mankynde that oonli thorugh the passioun of oure Lord it schulde be restorid and reformed that was forsaken bi the first synne.
That Jewes and paynymes and also fals Cristene men are not reformed effectuali thorugh vertu of this passioun for here owen defaute.

Mark Huston's picture

I really appreciate the

I really appreciate the insightful erudition of the group - the manner of expression as well as contents of all contributors - as well as the calm consideration of our moderators. I can see why you’re in these positions as living, teaching examples for me, of *Those of you who are spiritual, in a spirit of gentleness, correct* - as a clear demonstration to those also not quite there yet as indicated by the *fruit* of:
*It is so hard to describe the light to someone who is blind.*
and the affirmation by others of this, and
*We ignore them when we can, and suffer the cross when we can’t.*
(Sigh… Oh dear, yes…).

I notice neither the Apostle in his qualification of *you who are spiritual* nor James in his qualification of *Wisdom from above* make their standard for our communication *elegantly with such few words*. If that’s the standard sought, I'm thinking a timely *F-Off* would have conveyed the same message far more efficiently, far more *elegantly with such few words*, *in the eye of the beholder*. But *gentleness*, one of the *good fruits* James recommends, is common to both Apostles - James specifically adding *peaceable* - things I’m still working on, and things these statements meeting some *kingdom of this world* standard of *elegantly with such few words* lack, though revealing the nature of *the treasure of their hearts* - something from Jesus, as He so often does, cutting through illusions that may exist to the contrary.
(In case you’re wondering why I *admonish* Christian brothers and sisters: we are called to live by Biblical standards - not those who are not claiming to be Christian. - Rom 12:14-21, 1Cor 5:12-13)

Something else from Jesus, I’d suggest that cuts through the larger discussion is simply: *Ahem. Excuse Me but - My Kingdom is not of this world* (John 18:36).

Jnwarren, through Marx, in my view, is(are?) observing about religion a fact the Traditional Christian Belief System has long been in denial of:
religion - the Traditional Christian Belief System in this case and in general - it’s *fruit* *righteously* and *empirically* assessed is not *of* Jesus’ *Kingdom not of this world* of *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power* - making it (by process of elimination) *of* the *kingdom of this world*. I think this is in part what Marx and jnwarren (correct me if I’m wrong) in their own terms are saying, and trying to draw our attention to - actually in support of our mysticism efforts (though not of jn's own).

It seems at the heart of your *world view*, jn (*world view* a term of the Traditional Christian Belief System I am uncomfortable using as it is so often used to create walls of separation between people leaving those on the other side to be pitied and rejected if not condemned to hell - for more on this see *It is so hard to describe the light to someone who is blind* and *We ignore them when we can, and suffer the cross when we can’t*) - so forgive me but if I were to use it - yours seems to include the *a priori* rejection of the possibility of His *Kingdom not of this world* - leaving the assumption/presumption in the *kingdom of this world* as the only source of happiness. In this view, turning to religion (as there is nothing beyond the *kingdom of this world*) is an *illusory* *opiate* indicative of unhappiness in the *kingdom of this world* (as the only source of happiness) - or resorting to a *salving* *opiate* - especially an *illusory* one - would not be required - as it is numbing and, well - *illusory*! - as the *kingdom of this world* is all there is.
(How’m I dooin so far?)

(BTW - please forgive me as I touch on things with which you are likely already familiar. My purpose is not to be pedantic - but as the attorney implores the judge who has stridently asked, “Where is this going counsel?”
“Your Honour if I may have a few moments, the relevance will become clear.” “Alright - but make it quick!”)

With happiness contingent on the state of the *kingdom of this world* outside ourselves as the only source of happiness - faced with anything not a source of happiness by our definitions of that, in the *kingdom of this world* - to be happy, we must fix, manage and control that *thing* into what we need it to be, by our definitions of happiness in order to be happy - or - unhappiness.
This is actually, from my experience, what most in the *kingdom of this world* already *seek first* in and from the *kingdom of this world*: to *wrest* happiness from the *kingdom of this world*, and to do so by getting the world to conform - i.e. what to do, what not to do to meet our definitions of happiness so we can be happy - *And if you did, you would be happy too!* - whether Fox News - Christian political activists - or your own happiness definition appearing to run along lines of Marxist thought and economic systems.

Problem with this strategy: with our happiness contingent on the *kingdom of this world* being in a certain state - whether a conservative administration aligning with *Tea Party* politics or the liberation of the proletariat - all sunny days on our vacation or the state of our 401K - as the Buddhists remind us - any happiness dependent on the state or condition of the *kingdom of this world* leaves us prone to unhappiness - ask Fox News - very little in the *kingdom of this world* makes them happy, even when they had a Republican administration.

This is because firstly - as you may know, the Buddhists remind us - the *kingdom of this world* is in constant flux - always changing, including the thing we have *attached* our happiness to - leaving us prone to unhappiness as soon as it changes - and to fighting against the change (often like trying to fight the ocean tide) on what we deem a source of happiness - and against those seen as changing it who are doing so invariably to meet their own definitions of happiness in their own attempt to wrest happiness from the *kingdom of this world*.

In this way and others, attempting to derive happiness from the *kingdom of this world* by our own definitions of that - as we have seen on our own blog - invariably puts us on a collision course with others trying to enact a different definition of happiness.
This is what political parties are about. And wars. And Jihadists. And Crusades. And wars in Iraq. Over oil. (Ooops! Might have triggered off someone’s counter def of happiness just then!)

And then - if we equate *our* definition of happiness in the *kingdom of this world* to *God’s* definition of happiness - this really appears to give *back-up* (to ourselves) in justifying the enforcing of *our* definition of happiness on others.
And then if we make Eternity riding on their accepting *our*/now *God’s* definition of happiness - we appear even more justified, if not compelled, if not obligated to conflict with those having a different definition of happiness, enforced by their own version of *God* who don’t agree with *ours* and our *God’s* - for their own *Eternal good* *by any means necessary*! *It is Eternity you know!* Now we’re in for a real mess - or really having some *fun* - according to one's definition of *happiness*.

In general - the more our definition of happiness conflicts with other’s definition of happiness, the more we are destined for a life of on-going conflict: clearly not a recipe for happiness.

Worse - if our definition for happiness exceeds our power to enact - our definition of happiness a state of the *kingdom of this world* we’re not likely to achieve in this lifetime, or at all - we are likely destined to a life of frustration and disappointment: clearly not a source of happiness.
For example - happiness contingent on anything as extensive as *a Christian political party running the USA* or *liberation of the oppressed classes* - or even *liberation of my own self as an oppressed class* - hate to break it but might not be a source of happiness in this lifetime, if happiness is what is sought, or at least avoiding ongoing frustration and disappointment. The fruitless thought we can is what the word *utopian* is all about.

Chronic dissatisfaction generated by these last two, can lead to a desire if not desperation to escape the on-going unhappiness derived from our expectations of aspects of the *kingdom of this world* not in a shape we believe we need in order to be happy - leading to a desire to numb the pain and to things that can have that effect - and since this is on-going (unless of course we drop the expectation) it offers great potential for addictions, types of which are almost endless: Zoloft, substance abuse, cutting, work, food, sex, relationships, social networking, church work…

Unless of course ones definition of happiness happens to be very, very simple - like something like, say, chocolate. Which on many occasions works for me in the happiness department: it's all I need. But were access to chocolate ever lost or denied me - even by my self! - like - when I start to feel unhappy about it’s contribution to my paunch derived from my *paunch-free* *definition of happiness* - and more chocolate numbing that self-created *paunch* unhappiness only *feeds* it (yuch yuch) - forcing me to forgo the chocolate meeting my a priori (*Say yes to the chocolate*) definition of happiness, then - I am unhappy!
Where is the *winning*, let alone happiness in these conflicting demands for happines on the *kingdom of this world*?

This is a micro-*chocolate-coated*-version of what we all do, every single day: conflicting with the *kingdom of this world* in trying to please internally conflicting definitions of happiness
Not much of an option.
Fertile for chronic unhappiness, cynicism, defeatism and despair.

Which leaves us with what? Life-long battles against, and in favour of aspects of the *kingdom of this world* that will never be entirely whipped into the shape our definitions demand we need in order to be happy - and even if they were, still leaving our conflicting *paunch* definitions of that unhappy - leading to ongoing inner and outer conflict, frustration, disappointment and fear? Well - there is another option: despair, resignation and/or cynicism at the thought it will never be. (*I coulda been a contenda!*) Suicide perhaps? That’s what some option, in preference to a life *So not being* what they believe they need it to be by their own definitions of what they need to be happy. I’ve known some who’ve taken that option for that reason, God bless ‘em. *There but for the Grace of God go I.* And with the intensity of your passion about the key to happiness being a long-shot *kingdom of this world* change not likely to be realised (liberation of the proletariat), I have some real concerns about you in that regard, unless of course you loosen your grip, your hold, your “attachment”.

And what is the fundamental problem?
Clearly, making the locus of happiness outside myself, attaching my attitude to the state of a fickle, changing *kingdom of this world* I can't control by my own definitions,expectations and demands for happiness on it - not a likely self- or happiness-empowering strategy.
It gets worse: the extent to which my attitude or inner state is contingent on, and therefore controlled by factors outside myself, so too are my behaviour, my choices, and my results. The ultimate disempowerment of the *proletariat* is an inner state dependent on the whim of fickle external circumstance.
If the only source from which to derive our happiness is the state of the *kingdom of this world* we cannot control to our definitions of happiness - we are doomed to a state of unhappiness.
Think they call that a *Catch-22*.

Unless of course the original a priori is incorrect.
Unless of course there actually is another option as source of happiness besides the fickle *kingdom of this world* - a *rock* perhaps to build upon while all the rest is *shifting sand* - an option you yourself, jn, opened the door to: *Just because we cannot measure something does not mean it does not exist.* Not talking religion here, which, as stated - as *finite expressions of infinite perception* is just another aspect of the *kingdom of this world* at best an *image in the mirror dimly* and certainly not *The Real Thing*.

I am talking 'bout *The Real Thing* - the one where He quite plainly says: *My Kingdom not of this world* (got that Fox News?) - a *Kingdom* defined as *joy, peace, righteousness* (as in justice, as in fairness) and Spirit *power* - a *Kingdom* not lost and misplaced *somewhere, out there, someday* as I was raised with in my Traditional Christian Belief System up-bringing (How 'bout you?) - one we’ll get to if God decides we’re good enough, “So just you muddle through your life 'til then as it’s God’s will how bad you feel”. Hah! A *Kingdom* I am here to *testify* of *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power* we *seek* and *attain* *within* ourselves right here right now!
No waiting!

Which brings us back to mysticism - the goal of which (to me) is progressive escape from bondage to the *kingdom of this world*, it’s fear-based Systems, ways and means - but most of all, emotional independence from it and my own definitions for happiness attaching to and grasping for it, thrown into conflict with everyone else doing the same - emotionally free to live the empowered possibility of choosing my own experience - instead of my experience, behaviour and results being slave to the state of the *kingdom of this world* by my expectations and attachments to it - freeing the possibility/potential of *living in* Jesus’ and God’s *Kingdom not of this world* that is *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power*, right here right now inside myself, as an on-going state, while - versus the monks - physically residing in, moving through, living in, and being useful to relieving suffering in the *kingdom of this world* right here right now.

Expanding this - the end of mysticism, as I see it is not occasionally *visiting*; that’s just *warm-up laps* - but *seeking* to *live in* and *become* *the Kingdom not of this world* that is *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power*, and with this, being *perfected in love*, *becoming* *as He is so are we in this world*, living in that uninterrupted perpetuating on-going state right here right now - to freely give from that gift from us, through us to those *lost* *seeking* *joy, peace* *Love* in the *kingdom of this world* where it never lasts, and ends in the opposite.

This is what I believe Jesus meant when He talked of *the lost*.
Not people *lost to hell* as I was taught - serving denial and deflection for Christians *lost* in the *kingdom of this world* - but people as I once was: suffering chronic frustration, disappointment and pain of failing in *seeking* to wrest happiness - *joy, peace*, *Love* and *power* from a place where it is not, in ways that in the end result in more unhappiness - and just not knowing why.
Is there any greater *lostness*?
Is there any more important pattern of chronic pain to be free from, or assist in freeing from, than this one?

This Jesus and His disciples demo’d - seeking to alleviate suffering in the *kingdom of this world* while *preaching the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven* - which - if you actually read the Bible, it's what you find He was largely teaching about. Not a *kingdom of heaven out-there somewhere someday if god decides you’re good and just muddle through in the meantime* - His *Kingdom of Heaven* - defined as *joy and peace* and *power* in us, available, right here right now.

His followers in this *joy/peace* *perfected in Love* Spirit *power* state *not of this world* - versus numbed-out *opiatics* *so heavenly minded they were no earthly good* - were so concerned about meeting the *kingdom of this world* needs of those within their reach to care for, they sought to ensure everyone’s care by making their wealthiest members turn over their wealth for *redistribution* to the poorest. And the wealthiest wanted to! The few who did not - those who held out for themselves were struck dead by God. And these were people who'd already given! So - Godza Commie? Could call this a *Capitalist nightmare* of *Communist dictatorship* of the worst sort! *God as back-up enforcer on wealth redistribution!* Hmmm... Wonder if Sean Hannity will conclude that story with *Let not your heart be troubled*?

Clearly demonstrating - just because we achieve this state does not mean we resign ourselves to eating chocolate all day, numbed to the suffering of the rest of the world - but the opposite! Freed from the bondage of our little self, fuelled by our little happiness plans and our fear about their status, our vision, priorities and agenda clears by joy, peace and Love to focus on the needs of others, to more effectively care for them.

Is this *illusory* *opiatic* thinking of an *oppressed worker*? (Though I recently left a job in large part because it was that - it’s called Freedom and *empowered to choose* which I have more of in practicing these things)
It's more as an explorer returns from a land to testify what he has seen and what he has found to:
"How can these things be?"
Jesus answered... "Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly (kingom of this world) things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly (Kingdom not of this world) things?* - John 3:9-12 (NASB)
as I, with the Grace of God, have progressed from a *lost* chronically and unendurably miserable person inside myself, *opiatically* numbed by a couple of those addictions for relief, deepening the bondage
- gifted by His Grace, and work, effort, practice and *seeking* on my part, to one now generally living in His *Kingdom not of this world* that is *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power* inside myself - with stretces now becoming *joy in full* *peace that passes comprehension* and *perfection in love* *as He is so are we in the world* as He and Company have promised.
*If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?*

This is what they had in mind when they said, *seek first the Kingdom of God* (*not of this world*) *that your joy may be full* *be anxious for nothing* with *peace beyond comprehension* for a life more *super-abundant*
- and to His disciples who’d achieved this state: *You are not of this world* (i.e. emotional/physical/mental/spiritual independence from the *kingdom of this world* while still physically in it - just before the real service work in the *kingdom of this world* began)
- and from His disciples *we have been perfected in Love*- *as He is so are we in this world*
- demonstrating and testifying to the potentiality, if not promise of *attaining* and living in the *joy, peace, righteousness* and Spirit *power* of His *Kingdom not of this world* independent of the *kingdom of this world* *perfected in love* *as He is so are we* as an on-going, uninterrupted state, right here right now.
This would be the goal. *The Bible says it, so I believe it.*

And yes! It’s a buzz!
And yes - it *salves*, *neutralises* and *casts out* the fear and pain I still manage to generate at times about certain aspects of the *kingdom of this world* still not being in a state I want (see Fox News) - though much less so than I once did - because I just don’t like how that feels, and I know there are other ways lying just inside me I can access through the Power and Grace of God. As time goes on, with that Power and Grace, I spend far more of my day living in His *Kingdom not of this world* than not.

Though religion has not taken me there. Sorry. Not by a long shot. My experience parallels yours jn: it's devoid of *real answers* and mostly burdened with problems. Ironically I had to leave the System first exposing me to Heaven in order to actually find it within myself - through a lot of work in a lot of other forms (I was told by the TCBS would not work) in order to get me there. In it’s *finite expressions of infinite perception* it ironically becomes just one more thing of *the kingdom of this world* as *a camel through the eye-of-the-needle* a burden to be chucked to actually get to and hang in that *infinite*, to achieve these claims and promises of Jesus and Company - holding us back from that on-going realisation if we do not. Metaphorically speaking, religion is at best a *life-preserver* that at some point must be released to *climb into the boat* that is mystical practice taking us to *the other shore* of His *Kingdom not of this world* that is *joy, peace, righteousness* and the rest. Sorry but - the same would be true of philosophy - which is as much the *kingdom of this world* as religion. Unwillingness to let these go and get into *the boat* - you’ll likely still *drown* in the *kingdom of this world* - losing *the Way, the Truth and the Life* of the *Kingdom not of this world*, it’s emotional independence, *joy, peace* and *power* sailing away.

So jn - this is your chance, as much as it is the religionists, to reconsider and *get in the boat*.
Is it worth it? Is it worth the exploration?
Might there be a higher plane of existence inside yourself as testified to by Jesus and Company, Hilton, myself and others, available to you, right here right now, you might *attain* in releasing the *seeking* attachments to the *kingdom of this world*, for *seeking* within for Jesus’ *Kingdom not of this world*, for emotional independence in this world, to true *joy, peace, righteous* Spirit *power* of His *Kingdom not of this world* as an on-going uninterrupted perpetuating state inside youself, right here right now?

*Condemnation prior to investigation* - not at least *giving it a go* on such testimony would be a cardinal *sin* for a scientist.
It's sorta like Pascal’s Wager, which you might point out, is *of religion*, and I would agree - devoid of *power* and *real answers*; sorta like it, but much more impactful and personal than that.
Not doing so would be to deny ones self a shot at what could be ultimate happiness independent of the shifting forms of the *kingdom of this world* - without even giving it a go. Hmm... Seems a shame.

And it’s so close. It's the *Kingdom* already *within you* *as close as your breath*, the risen Jesus, a.k.a. God, seeks in Love to give you to it's fullest extent in *joy, peace*, *Love* and *power*, as He does to all of us.

I think part of you already knows this - and that part is what keeps you connecting to this site which is ultimately about connecting to His *Kingdom not of this world*.
*As close are our breath* - you and we are almost there!
If you wish, we’ll go there together.


And God bless!

A Yank Down Under

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Within and In Your Midst