All Spirit

October 31, 2011

When I look around and take in my surroundings, what is it that I see? When I stop what I’m doing and pause to be more aware, what do I feel? What is this grand Thing I sense when I look beneath appearances or ponder my life?

From earliest memory I have been here, in this place—for most of that time confused. Those who brought me forth and reared me, who taught me right from wrong and up from down, did what they knew—what they thought—to be good. They did their best.

On and on the passage of time has continued for decades, broken only by hours of sleep—and even then I find myself still being, somewhere. In fleeting memories that vanish like the morning fog, I find myself in surroundings whose origin and destination I know not. Even in sleep my memory continues.

What is all this that constitutes my experience? What is the sum total of my life, my companions, and the nourishment that feeds my mind and body? What is the base of being and the totality of truth?

For years I struggled to understand: first to identify something—one thing!—I could latch on to, to gain my bearings so I could explore the rest securely. My parents failed. Teachers failed. My religion failed. Society failed. Everything seemed to fail.

Finally I found it. It was the still, small voice within. The voice reassured me, gave me comfort, and helped me to separate truth from error. I sought it, learned its tone, and trusted it.

Then my world came crashing down around me.

I became alone. My friends left me. My wife took my kids from me. My career ended. I became homeless. My family no longer understood me. But I hung on to that thread I had found and knew it would not break. And I wrote.

Soon, the thread grew to be a string. Then a cord, a rope, a chain, a cable. Clinging to it, I found Love newly within myself. A new companion appeared. I got back on my feet. Emotions welled up and lifelong blocks erupted, now allowing more of myself to flow freely.

One day, years after the crash, I awoke. Finally I understood! Now I can see what is this Thing all around me, from which I arose and in which I am sustained in every moment. I understand the Voice that guided me through the storm of appearances. The Voice is the undying and endlessly patient message of the Universe, and I now understand one thing about the Universe.

It’s all Spirit.

Me and My Corpse

October 30, 2011

I drag my corpse around for most of the day.  For some of every day, though, I leave it to rest.

My corpse is heavy, more or less, especially compared to me, my self.  Sometimes it’s heavier and sometimes it’s less heavy.  Nobody’s corpse is really light.

My corpse is fun, at times.  At other times it’s a burden.  It depends on where I’m dragging it, and why.  I can usually take it where I want to go, but sometimes I can’t.  Or I believe I can’t (which often means that I can’t).

I share my corpse with others sometimes.  Other people can enjoy it, too—but only from the outside in.  I’m the only one who enjoys my corpse from the inside out.

My corpse is mine, for now, until I turn it back in…to the dirt and water from which it came.  What happens to it after that is not up to me, nor does it matter to me.  My corpse is only mine while I possess it.

Possession, they say, is nine-tenths of the law.  What is to own but to have, and to use as you wish?  And so I own my corpse, until it wears out.  Then I return it.

Sometimes my corpse takes a beating and I have to drag it to safety, to rest.  A corpse has only so much energy, and it needs to be recharged sometimes.  I can recharge it alone pretty well.

I also recharge it by putting fuel into it.  A corpse is like a rechargeable battery that can be used, depleted, recharged, and eventually discharged completely.  No amount of fuel can prevent this depletion, and giving the corpse too much fuel will only wear it out faster.

My corpse likes to play with other corpses—or, rather, I like to take my corpse to play with others, through their corpses.  A corpse is good for playing, but only for so long.  Eventually it must be dragged back to recharge, refuel, or just be by itself.

I try to make my corpse more like me.  Making it exactly like me isn’t possible, but through that effort I can improve my corpse so it does even more of what I like.  It doesn’t mold as easy as the clay that it resembles, though.

My corpse is imperfect, and I accept its imperfection.  To expect perfection from a corpse is to create disappointment.  When it comes to my corpse, I aim for progress and improvement instead of some kind of “end” result.

Without me, my corpse would be nothing.  Without my corpse, I would be corpse-less.

My corpse likes coffee and sugar and lots of other things that look, sound, feel, smell, and taste good.  Some of them I like, and others I try to keep my corpse from wanting.  Sometimes it’s better to allow than to resist, and other times it’s better just to keep my corpse away from those things.

My corpse is as fresh as I keep it.  If I let it go, or forget to freshen it, it will break down and even start to rot—maybe while I’m using it.  I won’t use it forever, but I do like to care for it while it’s still usable.

My corpse isn’t me, but it resembles me; it’s an image of me.  To others who can’t see me through my corpse (and through their own corpses), I’m invisible.  My corpse is just the squishy shell I reside within.

Or does my corpse reside in me?

(Freshly edited on February 6, 2018.)

Spiritual Precipitation into the Physical

October 29, 2011

The physical world, including the body, is but one layer of expression of the greater Self that comprises many conditions, most of which are normally outside the range of human sensory perception. In other words, most of Reality passes us by as we sit, unawares. Meanwhile, Reality—the physical part of it that we know and are—tries to make sense of itself in the best ways it knows how, in accordance with the particular physical structure (body) that It occupies.

Life energy is expressed in this physical form through nerves, which are this energy’s pathways, so to speak. There are centers of this energy, which correspond to major muscular groups in the body: biceps, triceps, deltoids, quadriceps, heart, and so on. That’s why massage can be so therapeutic. Muscle massage deals with this energy and its ability to flow through the body.

Chronic muscular tension is a sign of resistance to, or coagulation of, this energy. We call this condition of non-flow or coagulation “stress,” and we know today that it kills us early and in large numbers. Stress is resisting or hindering life energy instead of allowing it. Its most obvious physical manifestation is chronic muscular tension, including the heart muscle, although stress also shows itself eventually in many other unpleasant bodily conditions.

The unobstructed flow of life energy “through” our physical being is an ongoing process that we are participating in at all times—and usually hindering as a result of our incorrect perception of ourselves and our relationship to others and to the world around us. This incorrect perception is inherently limiting because it comes from the perspective of the physical, rather than the spiritual.

At the same time, we have a certain kind of awareness that we might call “spiritual”—a sense that we generally aren’t taught to use. (We aren’t taught specifically not to use it, either, but we generally don’t and it’s there nevertheless.) This spiritual sense detects, measures, evaluates, and responds to energies in its vicinity on a level we’re normally not aware of. The results of these interactions coagulate or condense on this spiritual or psychic level and then precipitate or “trickle down” to us, here in the physical.

This precipitation is largely what we refer to as “our lives.”

Emotion is the word I’ll use to try to contain the physical (human) effects of these interactions of numerous, layered, intricate, and indelible channels of awareness through which flows the interminable echo of Consciousness in our physical world. This world that we see as ultimately real—and the “objective truth” against which we tend to judge other (people’s) perspectives as “right” or “wrong”—is, in reality, only the individualized coagulation of this Energy-Consciousness. This coagulation is caused by the Divine Urge (the mysterious “will of God”) and dissipated by means of forgiveness and healing.

In other words, the Reality we live in is the result of a multitude of Energy-Consciousness interactions between our “higher” self and other energies on some spiritual level. We exist here so that we can correct unseen wrongs within ourselves and return to our more permanent existence, better in some way than we were when we “came” here at birth.

As heirs of this culture-carrying Life Essence, we are powerful to release past effects and coagulations, thereby dissipating their potentially negative effects upon us and the world around us—on many different and, in many cases, hidden levels of awareness. The means whereby we achieve this unity of will that permits the free and unobstructed flow of life energy is human relationship, typified primarily in the male-female interaction.

This movement toward unity is also evident and powerful to overcome coagulation in other relationships, such as parent-child, friend-friend, and clergy-faithful. (There is an undeniable power in the cloth to harness the innate awareness of the temporal and the eternal in the “average, ordinary” human being.)

All of creation aches to feel the oneness of unity again. In separateness there is pain, but there is healing as well: there is meaning, which can be fulfilled in our individual lives and relationships. As healing happens on an individual scale, its effects are radiated outward through paths of relationship of various degrees of power. True power lies underneath who-knows-how-many layers of intersections and bisections of planes of exchange of energy and consciousness on many levels—like threads in a Cosmic tapestry.

There’s no Bad Guy against whom we’re all fighting to wrestle back control of some long-forgotten thing that people used to bash each other’s heads over. Just wrinkles, for each of us to smooth out on our own side of the bed.

What are we to do with these fleeting moments of tenderness between the womb and the tomb, but kiss our grandparents before they die and teach our kids to do better?

Religion and Spirituality

October 27, 2011

Religion is exoteric and spirituality is esoteric.

Religion focuses on the outer person (appearance or expression), while spirituality focuses on the inner person (thoughts, feelings, and so on).

Religion is form and spirituality is substance.

Religion imitates, but spirituality originates.

Religion fills; spirituality overflows.

Religion brings routine. Spirituality brings freedom.

Religion values ceremony. Spirituality values meaning.

Religion imposes rules. Spirituality discovers truths.

Religion says people are bad. Spirituality says they are good.

Religion empowers others. Spirituality empowers oneself.

Religion is the painting of the flower. Spirituality is the flower.

Religion looks to the past. Spirituality looks to the future.

Religion takes discipline. Spirituality takes curiosity.

Religion burdens. Spirituality lightens.

Religion persuades. Spirituality explains.

Religion fears. Spirituality seeks.

Religion defines. Spirituality expresses.

Religion teaches longsuffering. Spirituality teaches patience.

Religion takes freedom away. Spirituality affirms freedom.

Religion limits. Spirituality expands.

Religion requires the acceptance of a belief in place of experience; Spirituality requires the release of beliefs that hinder experience.

Religion is a bandage. Spirituality is the scalpel.

Religion obscures. Spirituality uncovers.

Religion is the haven of the fearful. Spirituality is the playground of the joyful.

Religion dulls. Spirituality sharpens.

Religion hushes. Spirituality laughs.

Religion cries tears of guilt and shame. Spirituality cries tears of release and joy.

You Are a Porthole

October 20, 2011

Imagine an enormous cruise ship. You could land an airliner on it if it had a runway. It could have its own public transportation system. It wouldn’t fit through the Panama Canal. An Arab sheik would look at it and say, “That’s too much ship for me!”

All around the ship’s hull, like billions of reflective eyes, are row upon row of glass portholes that provide a view from the innards of the ship to the outside world. This ship has a name: the U.S.S. Universe. It has a single occupant: Captain Consciousness. And it has these billions of portholes all around it.

You might ask, “Where do I fit in this scenario?”

You are one of those portholes.

The glass in that portholes is your individual being—the flesh, the body that houses the Life within—an integral part of the living Universe, just as the porthole is part of the ship! This is the “you” that has a name and hair color and family members.  It’s the temporary you, the “Earth you.”  It is the Earth’s contribution (via your ancestors) to the miracle that is your life, here and NOW.

Captain Consciousness sees and experiences the world “outside” by looking and experiencing through the portholes—in this case, through you.  That Consciousness is your True Self.

There is also a “fake you” that inhibits the view of Consciousness as It looks outward through the porthole glass (you).  This is the “ego” or false self that most human beings mistake for their “real” selves.  In our scenario of the massive ship, the “fake you” is a smudge on the glass.  It might even be a thick layer of dark, sticky gunk covering most of the glass.

If you direct your attention outward, you see through your false self. If you direct your attention inward, you see into your True Self.  This is a simple and easy way to remember who “you” are…and that’s one of the main purposes of your life here on Earth.

The Original Sin and the Creation of Evil

October 18, 2011

As soon as you ask yourself, “What’s good for me?” and choose a path that leads to anything negative for someone else, you create and step into the world of evil. As soon as you intend an action that you think will benefit yourself while causing harm to someone else, you fall.

To intend good for both yourself and others, however, avoids evil completely.

What makes us intend harm to others? Harm already done to us. Where did it begin? In the earliest days of Homo sapiens, sentient humans.

The first true human being would have been born into a family of pre-humans. It is easy to imagine how the more sensitive human among the instinct-driven sub-humans would have experienced harm, or the perception of harm (even if the harm wasn’t intended), from its earliest days.

How ironic it would be if all the conflict and strife and war and power-mongering and killing in human history were the result of an original harm that was never intended as harm to begin with!  Life is indeed poetic.

To be alone, a single human in a world of animals, even in your own family or household—this was apparently the first human’s first experience of interaction with others. All of human history since then has been the process of the Life within us striving to overcome the original “sin” done to it by its pre-human ancestors.

This means that the “false self” is a remnant of the animal nature within our psyche: the last problem we humans are to overcome in order to be fully human.

Mental Patterns

October 17, 2011

Everything in life is a pattern. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the human mind. (Okay, except maybe in mineral crystals or bird migration or multiplication tables or DNA or ice or rice or the outward expression of the mind, which is behavior.)

When the mind encounters a situation that is similar to one already in its memory, it attempts to create a pattern by linking the new experience with the remembered one. In doing so, it is trying to create a feeling of safety and security by forming a direct connection between the two experiences: one that is old and familiar, and one that is new and unknown.

Of course, that’s what usually ends up happening. Similar events from different times in life are strung together and connected in the memory. As a result of this organization, patterns are instilled and reinforced in the individual, and behavior becomes automated. Because of the programmed responses (reactions) that have now been set up in the mind/brain, the individual acts without thinking consciously and becomes a human pattern of behavior.

Once again, the individual becomes a pattern of behavior. As a result of merely reacting to events instead of using the mind to produce new situations, the person becomes, in effect, an effect rather than a cause. The person becomes predictable, dull, and unenthusiastic. This behavior and the underlying neural patterns established in the brain are the cause of the human tendency to resist change of any kind.

These patterns are also the reason why open-mindedness and living the fluid life of faith are essential. When new experiences arrive (which they do unceasingly), the mind of doubt accepts the situation uncritically and treats the new experience as if it were just like any previous experience (which it never is). The mind of faith, on the other hand, evaluates each experience on its own merit, as a new event in life (which it always is). This keeps the mind fluid and supple, the brain freer of crystallized neural pathways—and even helps to keep us young.

One might respond by saying that this self-automation process is indeed good. After all, this is how we learn! Yes, that’s true to a large degree. It’s this crystallization of the mind that enables us to drive a car, or ride a bicycle, or learn geography—but there’s a point where automated thinking becomes a hindrance, not an asset.

Being a behavior pattern is the ideal state of an animal, not a human being. We are not to live by instinct, but by intelligence and intuition!  We should learn which of our behaviors are best left on autopilot, and which ones we should take charge of consciously.

This is why I sometimes say that routine is the enemy of real (conscious) living. When people are really (consciously) living, they become the cause of the events they experience instead of constantly reacting to seemingly uncontrollable events that “just happen.”

This is the difference between an empowered person and a disempowered person (a.k.a. a “victim”).

You can live all your life in one city or block or house and never become a victim of routine. Like anything else, awareness is a state of mind! It’s a matter of choosing how you respond to your environment in each moment: either unconsciously (on “auto-pilot”) or consciously (aware of your choices and especially the reasons behind them).

It’s a popular idea that humans aren’t supposed to be empowered. Does this make any sense? All change, innovation, and progress (I mean real progress, not the bulldozer-on-the-forest kind) is made because of, through, and by people! Where do progressive (new) ideas come from? They come from the “inner” world of thoughts and ideas, the world that everyone shares in differing degrees and to which all people have some access. This is the unseen world of Spirit—and it is through people that the world of Spirit is brought forth into the world of men!

To be empowered is to be an instrument of God on the Earth.

(Freshly edited on February 6, 2017.)

Being Led

October 16, 2011

If you go through life with an undying desire to know, learn, and understand about yourself and your relationship to life, other people, and the world around you, you find yourself being led in certain directions.

You’re in a partnership with the Universe: you open yourself with your curiosity, and the Universe responds to this “request” by arranging circumstances that lead you to fulfill your honest and noble desire to reach your fullest potential in this life.

It’s always your choice to respond to each situation as you desire. You might learn this time, and you might not. But the Universe, ever more loyal to you than the dearest golden retriever , will bring you back again and again to the same sort of circumstances until you learn the lesson—which, remember, you yourself requested!

Every path is different, but all who truly allow themselves to be led will share some of the same kinds of experiences in common:

  • strange coincidences
  • “peak” experiences
  • emotional upheavals
  • intuitive understandings
  • severed relationships
  • a sense of being alone or unique among people
  • fascination with religious, spiritual, paranormal, metaphysical, or supernatural ideas
  • and so on.

At the center of everyone’s path is a growth in our awareness of ourselves as increasingly more empowered and more emotionally free from the binds of our past, even as we learn more about the intimate relationship we have—all life has—with the Divine Urge behind Creation.

(I don’t mean to ruin the ending, but we’re all connected by the Creative Force of Life—”God”—living and learning through us.)

Someone wise once said to “trust the unfolding of your life.” I would add two things to that advice:

  1. Never allow fear to make your decisions for you.
  2. Watch out for those who pretend to know, without the experience to back up their words.

Above all, don’t worry! Your life will unfold according to your inner nature, regardless of anything else that would appear to influence it. As you need to learn, the means to learn will show up in your life.

10 Ways to Increase God’s Power in Your Life

October 15, 2011

The values that follow are not just a listing of nice-sounding qualities that I think someone should have to be a “moral” person. They are parts of a process whereby someone—anyone!—can move from a position of darkness (or ignorance) to a position of light (or understanding).

If followed, these suggestions (along with other tools that will be given or acquired along the way) can lead human beings to greater understanding and spiritual awakening. These steps aremore or less in the order that they must be practiced in order to advance on the spiritual path. Some of them come largely as a result of your practice of the others.

1) Honesty. You must be willing to see and accept Reality as it is, not as you were taught that it is, and not as you think it should be.

2) Humility. You must be willing to accept and admit that you are wrong (because you are in some ways that you might not be happy to admit).

3) Responsibility. You must not blame others, including your parents or other early caregivers, for your condition. You cannot fix it unless you have the power to fix it. You cannot have that power if you assign it to others, which is what you do when you blame (a person, or condition, or circumstance). Other people can never use that power anyway! You have to do it yourself.

4) Receptivity. You must make yourself open to intuitive guidance. Your intuition is the voice of God speaking within you. Learn to identify it and follow it. You can learn to be in touch with God at all times!

5) Determination. Once you have decided on a course of action, you must not give up! But you should always improve your methods if you learn new information or better ways. (See #4.)

6) Patience. You must allow the unfolding of your life in due order and timing. It doesn’t happen overnight. As you grow, you will see yourself as the beneficiary of patience from the Universal Presence that guides you. This can enable you to be more patient with yourself, and with the Presence that works in all things for your good.

7) Humor. You must be able to see the lighter side of things! Many of us have the idea that life is a deadly serious matter, to be deliberated and secured in any way possible. Relax! When you realize that you are an eternal being, you will be able to laugh at things that used to give you anxiety attacks.

8) Love. You must learn to see yourself in all things in your experience. This includes people, animals, plants, and even nonliving things. Unbridled destruction is not a manifestation of love. True craftsmanship is. Cruelty is not. Care-giving is. Whatever you’re experiencing, your mindset brought it into your experience and thus it somehow proceeds from you. To deny or contradict your own experience is to deny or contradict yourself. If you don’t like your life, change yourself! Learn to Love and you will find Love flowing back to you through the previously mentioned people, animals, plants, and even nonliving things.

9) Service. You must eventually learn to serve others as God has served you. As a human being, you are a representative of the most evolved—and therefore most Godlike—species on the Earth. (Okay, maybe except for dolphins.) Help others along the path, as you yourself have been helped.

10) Trust/Faith. You must understand that the Universe is on your side. Nothing happens without purpose behind it. All events tend toward the greater good of everyone. Many times, a negative experience is a lesson to be learned. Determine that you will learn it—so you don’t have to repeat it, or something essentially (in essence) the same as it.

Keep these ideas in your mind and you will bring God into your life. In reality, of course, God is (and is in) everything, including you. What really happens, then, is that these ideas bring your conscious mind to the place where it can recognize the workings of the Divine in your own life.

Then you will know that you are indeed resting in the bosom of God, each moment of your life.

What Is Reality?

October 14, 2011

Reality is what you believe it to be. This doesn’t mean that whatever you believe is true, though. It means that whatever you believe to be true will be shown to you to be true in your own experience.

In other words, as much truth as you are aware of will be the amount of truth you experience in your daily life.

For example, if you believe you’re not good for much compared to other people and that you can’t run ten miles, guess what? You’ll find that you’re not good for much compared to other people and you can’t run ten miles. Your self-limiting belief will be your reality. Someone else’s more or less limiting set of beliefs will constitute their own reality. We see by the amount of light we shine. And where does our light come from? From our True Self within us.

In truth, the only thing in this life that can or does limit you is your self-concept, the collection of beliefs about who you are and what you’re able to do. As you shed self-limiting beliefs, you find yourself able to do more things, better, than you could before.

Realization of these truths isn’t a fast meal ticket to whatever you desire, though. Awakening is a process. You’ll be able to advance toward a more powerful, happier, and more successful mindset gradually, as you learn and as your brain “rewires” itself.

To leap from a “disabled welfare recipient with diabetes” kind of mindset to a “king of industry” mindset is possible, but not overnight. What a shock to the system it would be!

If you reach for, and practice thinking, the least-limiting beliefs you currently hold in mind, you will eventually reach a point, a mindset, that you couldn’t reach from where you were before. From that new vantage point, an even better spot will be visible. Remember to cast aside the old beliefs as you outgrow them, though. Conflicting beliefs can result in inaction or worse.

It is important to note here that beliefs are self-limiting. That’s why they’re in a separate category called “beliefs.” If we knew them to be true, we would call them “facts.” Beliefs can also be called opinions, assumptions, arguments, positions, viewpoints, and assertions.

To know what is true, real, and good, we must rise above such illusory bases of reality and learn to know. This means coming to know who you are and what your relationship is to the world and people around you. It means answering, for good, your questions about God and happiness, among many other questions.

Tomorrow I’ll share one way to do it. You could call it my own 10-step program for finding God in your life.

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