THE STORY OF THE FOUR TRIBES
Since time began, many human beings have embraced a concept that there is a single unifying force that connects all living things and provides access to all of the cosmic energies within an inter-connected cosmos. Many people, however, have chosen to ignore these gifts of the universe. They have refused to see how they could intentionally use cosmic forces to change their lives for the better. Some have gone so far as to say that these powers do not even exist.
One by one and over a long period of time, three prophets have come forth to change the minds of the people. Each of them revealed that they actually heard the voice of the one and only God.
The first tribe
The voice the first prophet heard came out of burning bush that was not consumed by the fire that set it ablaze. This voice commanded the first prophet to liberate his people from their enslavement to a mighty empire. He told his tribe that if they lived a spiritually disciplined life, they would finally enjoy a life of freedom.
The prophet had a purpose. His intention was to persuade his followers that their lives were not subject to the dictates of a pre-ordained mandate, as they had previously believed.
The alternative concept the first prophet brought forth was that life operated as an ethical continuum, where the thoughts, words and actions of each living person in the present would determine their quality of life in the future. While this belief became the foundation of the tribe’s religion, the members of the tribe did not understand that the experience they were currently undergoing was exactly what would contribute the most toward their advancement. They kept asking why it was that if God loved them, were they often being mistreated in the world?
The prophet of this tribe attempted to convey to the tribe members that no matter what happens, by accepting each experience and remaining in a loving space, continual growth can occur and progress can be made. Alas! The message fell on deaf ears. Remaining in a loving space meant they would have to take responsibility for their feelings and for their behavior. They would have to cease judging and blaming others. Most of the tribe members cringed with fear at that prospect and shut down. Instead, they connected with the forces within the material power structure. Their religion grew denser and it became filled with ritualistic exercises that alienated those who were not indoctrinated and that led to separation from the rest of the world.
The second tribe
The collective spirit of the people grew listless. They felt that their one hope was that a deliverer would rise up and single-handedly free them from their oppressive circumstances. Someone else would emerge to save them from their own weaknesses.
The invisible and impersonal God in the sky offered little solace—what many of them began asking for was a human being with godlike powers who cared about them personally. The tribe members were not yet prepared to grasp the truth that they were their own saviors. So, out of a feeling of frustration, some of the members of the first tribe gravitated toward a second prophet who also claimed to have a pipeline to the infinite. When this new prophet came forth, humanity’s spiritual frame of reference had evolved to a place where more people than ever before could receive further illumination.
The spiritual hunger that continued to spread among the lands gave the second prophet fertile ground for his mission. He drew in the multitudes and shared his great wisdom with them. In addition to transmitting beautiful and comforting messages, he performed miraculous acts of healing. He painted a picture for all who chose to see—a picture of a glorious heaven, and he promised a life in paradise to anyone who replaced their bitter feelings with love and compassion. He told his audiences never to judge and always to forgive. The second prophet was so open to hearing the voice of the Divine that his followers decided to turn God’s job over to him and then ride on his coattails into a higher state of consciousness.
As soon as his followers started seeing him as being co-equal with God, the second prophet was faced with a conundrum. He had remained essentially loyal to the teachings of the first prophet, simply elevating them and making them more ideal. He did not wish to destroy his present faith nor would he want to violate any of the ten laws, which served as the sacred foundation of his religion. One of these laws asserted that human beings were not to make material images of God or bow down to anything of the earth. How then could the prophet accept others bowing down to him?
The true message of the second prophet was that human beings are meant to channel God’s unconditional love into the world. When they heard the second prophet speak of how the power of love and devotion to God leads to ascension to a higher level of consciousness, his followers believed he was referring to a place that existed somewhere else.
What the second prophet was actually saying must have gone over their heads. He meant for them to hear that the place he called heaven had to exist inside them first before it could be experienced as an external reality.
Seek you first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all will be added unto you.
Those who continued to follow the teachings of the first prophet exclusively could not identify with the second prophet’s concept of heaven, which they saw as a place where nothing ever happens. They were not comfortable with the idea of exchanging what they could hold in their hands for a belief that had a non-discernible basis. While the prophet of the second tribe seemed to want to transform flesh into God, tribe one remained staunchly committed to having God endure in the flesh.
The first tribe clung to the world of matter because it gave them a sense of control. They did not deny that an afterlife existed; they simply believed it was beyond their understanding. Besides, there was enough to do simply surviving in the here and now instead of spending their time and energy speculating about the hereafter.
The concept of life as an ethical continuum, by its very nature, suggested that what is given to life is received in kind. It was this point that was misconstrued by the first tribe. They refused to see that an individual’s experience of life is an extension of the love, or the lack of it that the person holds in their heart. That is why a second prophet had to come into being.
Paying lip service to the teachings of their prophet, the second tribe argued that his message of peace and love was the ideal way to live one’s life. Their actions obviously contradicted the idealistic philosophy they claimed to embrace. Consequently, the members of the second tribe were often burdened with a sense of guilt. This sadly diminished the quality of their everyday experience.
The reason that many of the members of the second tribe could not carry out the teachings of their prophet is that while they claimed to revere him, they actually feared him. No wonder—he was a radical subversive, a man who lived a life of voluntary poverty and who, because he challenged the status quo, had many enemies. To follow his words might cause one to land in similar circumstances and few of the tribe members would want that to happen.
The third tribe
Six centuries passed and a third prophet emerged with a message that included the wisdom of the previous tribes while taking their teachings one step further. This prophet told of a God who could be proven through ordinary means. To attain the exalted state of God realization, the third prophet asked of his followers that they forego the pleasures of the flesh and live an austere life, humbly submitting their body and their souls to the will of a demanding deity. The third prophet promised that in return they would enter a paradisiacal world once their obligation to serve the earth was completed. In willingly sacrificing earthly delights in order to reach the paradise beyond, the third tribe would prove that their God was the real one.
Some members of the third tribe demonstrated that, rather than live in a world that often seemed godless; they wanted to go to paradise immediately. If it were done in the name of their God, they would give up their lives on earth. They came to believe that no act could be more powerful than this in opening up the gate to heaven, even if it were done by blowing themselves up in order to kill some of their enemies. What they proved was that believing one has nothing to lose is still another kind of power.
The fourth tribe
Finally, as more light dawned upon the world, a fourth concept of God emerged and the seeds of a fourth tribe were planted in the earth’s soil. No prophet was introduced this time, as each member of the fourth tribe had no need to be told. God was now understood as a creative, omnipresent living process, one that supported the evolution of every life form on earth. Human consciousness had expanded sufficiently and no longer viewed the creative source of life as an anthropomorphic extension of itself. No longer would the magnificent and vast intelligence of the universe be diminished by ascribing human qualities to that which is Divine. Instead, human beings began opening up to incorporate the spiritual essence of life and working in co-creation with this essence in a space of gratitude and reverence. God was now acknowledged to be inside them, walking and talking through them. The source of all life had finally materialized on earth in everybody and not just in one body, becoming apparent in the hearts and minds of all, who instead of choosing to suffer, choose to be strong.