"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24)The ego reads the above words of Jesus and immediately thinks of asking for help with its concerns in the world: help with money, relationships, situations, physical healing ... earthly body fulfillment. But of course the ego does not understand that Jesus is speaking as the Christ who sees an entirely different world than the world the ego sees.
Jesus Christ is inviting his disciples to join with him in spirit when asking ("ask in my name"), and at the same time telling his disciples that by so far asking for comforts and satisfactions of earth, they have asked for nothing.
"The world you see has nothing that you need to offer you; nothing that you can use in any way, nor anything at all that serves to give you joy. Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. The world you see has nothing that you want." --Jesus Christ, in his revelation for the 21st Century, A COURSE IN MIRACLES.
Christianity, the true teaching of Jesus Christ, is not first and foremost about achieving an improvement in life on earth or an enjoyment of more of the short-lived pleasures of earth. The Christ wants for us the fullness of joy, an ever-extending never-ending experience of love and peace that is beyond all earthly ego grasp.
Again, from Jesus Christ's A COURSE IN MIRACLES: "Our emphasis is not on giving up the world, but on exchanging it for what is far more satisfying, filled with joy, and capable of offering you peace. Is it a loss to find a world instead where losing is impossible, where love endures forever, hate cannot exist, and vengeance has no meaning? Is it loss to find all things you really want and know they have no ending, and they will remain exactly as you want them throughout time?"
The goal of Christianity, the goal of all saints and angels helping us, the goal of Jesus giving us his Course in Miracles, is not that we enjoy a somewhat more comfortable or satisfying or fun life. The goal is that we experience total joy, total love, total peace, total salvation by giving up the world of never-lasting-satisfaction we have made in exchange for a world of indescribable, unspeakable joy.
Jesus teaches us this shift happens when we want nothing in our world. "Each thing you value here is but a chain that binds you to the world, and it will serve no other end but this. The world you see has nothing that you want."
Does this entail becoming an ascetic hermit monk? Not at all. Jesus does not advise having nothing currently in our world, or enjoying nothing currently in your world. He only emphasizes wanting nothing (which in modern psychology would include not being attached in our minds to the possibility of having or enjoying anything in the future, to the memory of anything we've had or enjoyed in the past, or to holding onto anything which happens to be presently in our lives to have or enjoy).
"But it seems like from the very beginning as little babies we have wanted and been taught to want. Wanting seems to be more than an acquired habit to be broken. Wanting seems like an ingrained impulse. How can we ever learn to want nothing?"
Very good question! Within our ego world to form a new habit, we practice. But practicing wanting nothing on earth (while helpful if one doesn't become attached to the practice) cannot take us very far. The sense of "ingrained" is valid because the ego defines itself by lack and keeps itself ego by wanting. The ego, in and of itself, can never totally want nothing.
But all is not lost. The ultimate state of having no earthly wants develops automatically when we ask only for the heavenly. Jesus, with the words from John 16:24 which began this article, is inviting his disciples to ask not for earthly values which are nothing, but to ask for something real. His disciples hearing his words would have felt some of the fervor of the singer of Psalm 16:11: You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jesus was saying to his disciples and to all of us who are ready to hear:
"Ask me for totality; for wholeness; for all being, Alpha to Omega! Ask in my name [feeling my presence] and I will give you fullness!"
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"...nor will people say, 'Here it is,' or 'There it is,' because the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:21)
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