What Must I Do to Be Saved?

This is a trick question. The problem is that we often, unconsciously, hear the question wrong. We hear it in the sense that the ancients used when they asked: What must I do to satisfy the gods so that they will send rain? In this sense the answer is nothing, nothing in the sense that life just doesn’t work that way.

So, to avoid the possibility of miss-hearing in this way let’s look at a similar but unrelated question. What must I do to be a good dancer? It sounds simple enough…but is it? One possible answer is you need to take dancing lessons. Of course if you’ve watched any of the ballroom dancing shows on television you see the fallacy in this. With private lessons from the best teachers in the world some people get it and others don’t. Most of those who don’t, seem to be trying to think their way through the dance: step like this, lead with your heels hold your arms just so. They never just dance. Being a good dancer involves nothing more and nothing less than dancing.

Study won’t do it, reading won’t do it, watching your teacher won’t do it, wishing won’t do it, believing in dance won’t do it, even visualizing won’t do it. The only way to be a dancer is to practice the disciplines of dance. Similarly the only way to be a writer is to practice the disciplines of writing or to be a painter is to practice the disciplines of painting. At first you don’t dance well or write well or paint well but over time you practice the disciplines until they become part of who you are. Finally one morning you wake up and you are no longer practicing dancing you are dancing. So translating back to our question about salvation, in order to be saved we must practice a discipline of salvation. And, what’s more, we must practice the discipline not with the intent to be saved, but rather to transform ourselves. We do it not to change the mind of God but rather to transform our own minds.

The good news is that there are many salvation disciplines including:

The four yogas (Jnana, Raga, Karma, and Bhakti)
Multiple meditation disciplines (i.e. Insight, Metta, Tonglen, walking, etc)
Prayer (Contemplative prayer, Continuous Prayer, etc)
Sufi whirling

Any and all of these disciplines have the capacity to transform us into the type of person who is saved.

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