The Rapture

Will 2012 be the year? Will maybe even tomorrow be the day? I recollect pondering feverishly on questions like these in the mid ‘70’s while spending one summer working side by side with my maternal grandfather, who was a contractor, in rural Indiana—real bible belt territory. I remember him saying while we rode in his pick-up truck on the way to work that “The wages of sin is death” and that one day, soon, the “rapture” would be coming, “so you had better be ready”. For a young, impressionable 16 year-old, his words sure pricked the hairs on the back of my neck as we drove in the early morning hours along those country roads—flatland everywhere you turned with acres upon acres of bean and cornfields accompanied by the sour stench of cow manure in the air. Even when returning home to the mostly Catholic Northeast, that word, Rapture, remained indelibly chiseled deep inside my psyche. What on earth was this rapture thing? The word “rapture” is very present today in the popular fundamentalist-religious imagination—it’s a belief that the final days are coming upon us soon, and that only “certain” Christians will be saved and will be automatically “caught up” in the air to be with God in Heaven before the final battle of Armageddon; and by the way, with this understanding of the rapture—no one, other than these born-again folk, will be saved on the final judgment day. Well, in point of fact, the word “rapture” doesn’t even appear anyplace in the bible at all; the term first came into vogue in the late 19th century when a woman in Scotland had a “personal revelation” from God. Her personal revelation was then later interpreted by a minister who “theologized” the experience as “rapture”—which is a word fine-tuned from the phrase “caught up in the air” found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 . But, consequently, the rapture has become a predominate theme with biblical fundamentalists; also with millions of people buying into the rapture theme hook, line, and sinker—and boy oh boy does the rapture sell—millions of books have been sold, most notably the “Left-Behind” series, which depicts what the final days will be like and how the raptured few will be saved. There’s also another book out called, “The Rapture Dialogs: Dark Dimension”, alleging how the UFO phenomena is really about demonic beings from another dimension, possessing the minds and hearts of everyone. Wild speculation, but this is the kind of stuff that always sells. Actually, within scripture, this whole rapture business has its origins in the Book of Jeremiah (6:9) and refers to the “remnant”, meaning those chosen few, who always remained faithful to God’s ways. Many reading this might be saying, “so what—let these fundies believe what they want”; yet, it’s fundie folk like these who predominately can often determine the outcome of political elections in the USA.

Discovering the country of the Unborn Buddha Mind has been a real Epiphany. There’s a mantra here that states, “What the mind focuses on determines its reality.” For those who embrace exclusively the phenomenal mind, like those biblical fundamentalists, this can be a real scary thing—because it’s quite possible they “will” determine the day when Armageddon arrives—since they’ve been invoking and arguing its impending arrival ad hominem these many years. When Mind recollects Mind, on the other hand, all those whimsical fears are exposed for what they truly are: fanciful tales of a collective discriminatory imagination. The old inaugural address of Roosevelt rings true, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” If one were to no longer pay any attention to their thoughts, memories and associations relating to their imagined perceptions of impending doom, what does the “word” rapture even mean? Being fervent in the Recollective Resolve to remain prior to all “mind-stuff” is the only revelatory tool needed in this dharma-ending age. In failing to do so, the old mind tricks of the body-consciousness will continue to rule the roost in samsara. Just staying still in the Unmoving Principle will forestall the wily workings of the dreamy, incessantly moving and meandering monkey-mind; when this deep Samadhi has been self-realized, then one can be said to be “raptured” by the Unborn. Coming down again from the Mount of this astonishing Epiphany, one no longer pays attention anymore to the usual mundane and superstitious prattle that afflicts the stupefied who continue to wallow in samsara, as all former impediments that inhibited Union with the Unborn Spirit have been extinguished.

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