Goodwill Toward God

November 29, 2011

Goodwill. Good will. Positive intention. Nice thoughts. Right desires. Correct thinking.

Examine these concepts in order, from left to right, and see their relationship. Recognize the progression from left to right, and take note of the similar terminology. Is “goodwill” different from “correct thinking?” What if they are the same thing?

I believe that goodwill is correct thinking.

Life forms are animated by Life Energy, Consciousness, or Spirit (whichever you want to call it). This intelligent energy is also responsible for the creation and sustenance of the universe. Through the substances and beings It inhabits, the intentions of Divine Intelligence are brought forth into existence and, while we observe, history happens.

In the cycle of life, you could say that the Creator, this intelligent life energy (which I like to call “JUICE!”), “descends” into creation and, once living, thrusts “upward,” from within beings, back toward the Source (Itself) for which It is constantly striving. This thrust is the impetus for evolution and life.

Beings who begin to feel and understand the presence of this Energy within themselves soon recognize the rightness of goodwill toward other people. Eventually they move on to goodwill with regard to life forms, first animals and then plants. If they continue far enough on their path, they begin to emanate goodwill not only toward all creation, but also toward the Creator Itself:

They feel goodwill toward God.

This goodwill toward God can also be called “reverence,” or even “worship.”

The essence of worship is the recognition, within the individual being, of the connection he or she (for those are the only two choices at this level of biology) shares with the Divine Being. The reason this connection exists is the unity of the individual and the Divine. “I and the Father are One,” said the Master. “Atman (the individual spirit) and Brahman (the Great Spirit) are one,” said the ancient Hindus. The same can be said for any person who recognizes that the very spirit which animates himself is the same Spirit which religions seek to personify and describe in their myths and ceremonies.

One’s spirit and Universal Spirit are a unity. This is why spirituality brings one closer to one’s Divine Source. Spirituality is the allowance of Divine Energy within oneself to draw closer to the Source “above” or “out there.” Like attracts like.

Goodwill toward God, then, is goodwill toward oneself—one’s Greater Self, “God in you.” Worship not only recognizes the Divine; it also serves and refreshes the spirit within. True worship is right thinking toward God.

(written in 2008)

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Children and Parents

November 28, 2011

Don’t be like your parents. Be better than your parents.

Every generation is, on the average, better than the one before it. I say “on the average” because not all children exceed their parents’ abilities and understanding, although some parents are more conscious and reason-able than their parents were—in a word, better.

To be “better” means to function closer to your potential, and even to advance in some way beyond your ancestors’ ability to perform well the act of living. The average child can grow up to outperform his or her parents in some way. Loving parents want their kids to. Our parents are our springboard.

To show this, more young people go to college now than ever. World records are continually broken in many fields of endeavor, from athletics to other amazing feats of human ability. We are getting better, all of us, on the average—better than our parents and grandparents. (Ideally, we get better because of our parents and grandparents, who pass life and love on to us, teaching us how to avoid their painful mistakes and live better.)

This brings to mind the legendary Richard Petty, who won more NASCAR races than anybody. He was better (at racing) than his kids or grandkids—but, then again, he was better than everybody else, too. Nobody will outrace the King!

Anyway…

We are advancing, on the whole, not declining. Our societies improve over time (on the average) because we are getting better.

Even as we improve, we can honor our parents and the long-standing traditions and genetic lines that led to us. We can celebrate the lives of the people responsible for who we are—and still resolve to do better than they did. We can be better than they were, and our children can be better than we are—especially if we teach them to be.


The Ideal End-State

November 27, 2011

There is the way things are (for now) and there is the ideal end-state: the way things would be if we humans filled our potential. That end-state lies in the future (for now). We are currently—and always have been—on the way toward that ideal end-state, and we are now able to move ourselves toward it more rapidly because of our increased understanding (science and spirituality) and technology (communication and computation).

Our movement toward the ideal end-state is an evolutionary process, and it appears to be both the purpose and the thrust of evolution, even from the beginning of the physical universe (apparently about 13.5 billion years ago). It is as if the ideal end-state had been pictured at the very beginning—at Creation, by the Creator—and everything that has happened since then has tended to bring it to pass, little by little. We stand here, now, nearly at the end of this unimaginably long process of change.

The ideal end-state appears to be the reason for physical existence itself—and we’re almost there.

Until now, evolution has been guided by the indwelling, instinctual “reactive” mind, which we associate with physical/chemical laws and plant/animal behavior. This mind operates as a stimulus-response mechanism, “merely” causing matter to react to its environment, at all levels of existence—from particles and waves, to atoms and molecules, to cells and organisms. (This is a huge, nutshell simplification.) This reactive mind still guides the behavior and development of plants and animals, even as their responses to environmental changes become more complex.

With the advent of the human “analytical” mind, however (and humans’ new awareness of their power as they learn to operate from this new mind), for the first time, our own evolution is within our control. This is because, although we still have and operate from the inborn reactive mind, we are uniquely able to overcome it and to choose to operate from our (much more powerful) analytical mind. This changes everything! It makes us, effectively, new creatures.

Notwithstanding our position as newly able determiners of our own development, the purpose of evolution remains the same: the creation of an ideal end-state, in which the qualities and attributes of Life/Mind/Spirit are expressed fully in a physical being.

You could say that, from the very beginning, Spirit has wanted to walk the Earth—free to be Itself, completely Self-determined, and unencumbered by the residue of the animal nature (the reactive mind, negativity, harm, the ego, or the false self) that we are even now working to overcome. This is what spiritual people mean when they say that humans are potentially gods. We are a step on the way to that ideal end-state. That’s one reason why we are here.

Those of us who have awakened to the potential we have as human beings look toward this end-state, even as we struggle to free ourselves completely from the reactive mind’s grasp. We seek to embody spiritual qualities, which we become aware of as a natural consequence of breaking free from the reactive mind and the past pain and failures it contains.

This reactive-mind negativity burdens us unnecessarily, holds us in destructive patterns of thinking and behaving, and keeps us from learning who we really are and what we really can do. But its hold on us ends when we realize our power to drop it—and we drop it. (Knowing, thinking, or believing isn’t enough. You have to act. You have to do. “Faith without works is dead!”)

The way things are is the way they must be, for now, in this time, because evolution (with only the reactive mind to guide it) has brought us to this point. We have no say in the way things have been until now. Yet, obviously, we have not arrived at the ideal end-state. Bringing it to pass will entail understanding, identifying, and correcting the many problems now plaguing humanity and individual humans (you and me).

We are the corrective mechanism whereby humanity’s ills must be eradicated. The keys of our growth have been handed to us. We are now the agents of our own evolution—collectively and individually. That’s why we’re here, in this time and place, with these particular problems to solve: so we don’t pass them on.

It is up to us to clean up the mess we inherited and look forward to a better future. If not us, then who?


The Necessity of Understanding Evolution

November 26, 2011

I was taught as a child that evolution was synonymous with atheism, the devil, and the spirit of Antichrist. I was also taught that the Bible is both unquestionable and literally true. Of course, the Bible implies that creation happened about six thousand years ago.

As I grew and learned, however, I realized several things that were not just important, but absolutely crucial to my growth and understanding as a spiritual person. I eventually had to cast aside my long-ingrained negative views about the idea of evolution in the face of the overwhelming evidence for it—and the impossibility of excluding it in a rational view of What’s Going On Here.

What, indeed is going on here? Why do we exist, and for what purpose? Where did we come from and where are we going? What are we supposed to be doing with our time here? The correct answer to these questions will elude us as long as we try to keep evolution out of the picture.

Why is evolution such an important part of the puzzle for people who seek to understand life, themselves, and the Divine?

There are two basic ways of looking at the universe, humanity, and history. These two perspectives are not compatible, and they produce opposing attitudes toward life. The first is the idea that the universe used to be perfect and has “fallen” to its current state. The second is the idea that the universe has developed from a less developed and aware state into its current, more complex and aware state.

Each viewpoint implies the projection into the future of whichever past trend is accepted. If the world has fallen, it continues to fall; if it is improving, it continues to improve.

The reality is that the universe is, and always has been, in a continual state of improvement that will apparently continue into the future. By “improvement,” I mean progress toward an apparent planned end state or goal. We stand today as the heirs of billions of years of change (evolution) that has produced our world, brains, technology, and spirituality out of the largely undifferentiated state of matter that apparently existed immediately after the Big Bang.

It is a mystery to me why people cling to older ideas of a recent creation and the “fall” of the universe (world) from perfection in the face of overwhelming—and demonstrable—evidence to the contrary. Is it really so difficult to accept, for instance, the idea that a Creator did indeed create the universe many billions of years ago and even now guides the development of that creation to ever-better states of being and increasing complexity?

That evolution happened, and continues to happen, is a fact, not a theory. (Natural selection is a theory about how it happens.) The point of contention among those who accept evolution as truth seems to be the mechanism behind it: the “how.” What makes evolution happen?

To postulate that a Creator or at least an intelligent, conscious force drives the course of evolution (and continually infuses the necessary creative energy into the process) is not in the realm of science. Nevertheless, something has to make things happen, whatever you wish to call it. My view is that acceptance or belief in a Divine intelligence behind evolution (and all of existence) is a healthy and rational perspective. This idea does not hinder or contradict either science or the evidence for evolution, and it allows people to retain their (perhaps natural and necessary) idea of a Creator who (or which) deserves acknowledgement or even reverence.

Creation and evolution don’t have to be mutually exclusive, in other words.

The world isn’t getting worse; it’s getting better, on the average, despite news reports that focus exclusively on negative or harmful events. Evolution is only the visible development of this wondrous and progressive change that the Creator has had in mind all along.


54 Principles of Emotional Healing

November 25, 2011

Emotion is energy, felt in the body and inner being as pain or pleasure.

Painful emotions include despair, shame, grief, and anger.

Pleasant emotions include courage, compassion, gratitude, and Love.

In this context:

  • Painful emotion, negative emotion, negative energy, negativity, emotional pain, and “evil” are the same thing.
  • Positive emotion, positive energy, emotional pleasure, and “goodness” are the same thing.
  • Emotional release is the expression and depletion of painful emotion (negativity) that results in a return to positive emotion (“goodness”).

The following principles can serve as a guideline for people who want to know how to heal from emotional pain and improve their ability to function in the world and in good relationships.

Emotional Pain and Negativity

1. Emotional pain splits and splinters the self and the person’s energy and focus, producing functional incompetence in life and harmful, destructive relationships.

2. Emotional pleasure results in personal power and mutually satisfying relationships.

3. All emotions are experienced (felt) through either repression or expression.

4. Positive emotion is transformed into negativity through repression.

5. Negativity is transformed into goodness through expression.

6. Emotional pleasure is a sign of healing: moving toward wholeness and unity with the True Self.

7. Emotional pain is a sign of self-splinteredness and the need for emotional healing.

8. Emotional harm is caused by negative emotion (negativity) in the person harming. It causes negativity in the person harmed.

9.  Emotional healing means releasing negative emotion from your being through expression. Positive emotion automatically replaces it.

10. Human history is the process of emotional healing—overcoming or releasing negative emotion (negativity) caused by harm.

11. Everyone (at this point in history) receives harm and negativity at some point in life.

12. Negativity came to you through someone else, who harmed you.

13. The negativity you got wasn’t the other person’s, either. They got it from someone else, who harmed them. And so on, back in time.

14. Negative events happen to you for a reason: you are helping to rid the world of evil by releasing the negativity someone else gave you instead of passing it on to others.

15. You are more powerful than any negativity.

16. With any emotion (positive or negative), you can either express (release) or repress (hold) it. These are your only options.

Repression

17. Repression is postponing the expression of (or, holding) your negative emotion.

18. Repression demands a lot of energy from you.

19. The pain you feel (in the background) when you repress negative emotion is not intense, but it can last a long time—even until death.

20. Repression affects every aspect of your life in a bad way, especially your most intimate relationships.

21. Repressed emotion causes or contributes to many physical ailments, including headaches, stomachaches, high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction, anxiety, and cancer.

22. Your emotional pain will last as long as you’re willing to expend energy repressing the emotion.

23. When the perceived cost of repression exceeds the perceived benefit, you will express (release) the negativity.  (This can be inconvenient.)

24. Repression leads to the spread of negativity through your actions.

25. Repression kills. Expression brings life.

Expression

26. Expressing an emotion is the same as feeling it completely, the way you didn’t when an event happened to you (or you wouldn’t be holding it now).

27. When you express an emotion fully, you release it from your inner being.

28. When you express (release) negative emotion, you are involved in the most human of experiences: emotional healing.

29. When you express an emotion fully, others can see the emotion by observing your actions.  You can’t hide it.

30. Expressing negative emotion stops the historic transfer of negativity (evil) and spares others from harm—that is, it keeps you from transferring your negativity to them by harming them.

31. The pain you feel when you release negativity is intense, but temporary.

32. With experience, emotional release gets easier and faster.

33. To release negativity completely, you have to relive (emotionally) the experience that brought it to you.  You do not have to remember the event, just feel the pain.

34. When you release negativity, positive emotion takes its place, letting you know that you did well.

35. Although intimacy facilitates emotional release, the release itself is private and personal.

Intimacy

36. The male and female creative principles are complementary aspects of (two “halves” of) the wholeness that resides at the core of our inner being.

37. The male and female creative principles long for unity together, in humans.

38. Intimacy is the closest that physical beings can come to re-claiming the unity of wholeness in the physical.

39. Intimacy is witnessing, and accepting, another person’s emotional pain and inner ugliness.

40. Acceptance is Love.

41. Intimacy is the highest calling of human relationships.

42. Intimacy creates the strongest bonds possible between two people (except possibly for motherhood).

43. Intimacy is the result of two people’s desire to achieve wholeness and emotional healing.

44. Intimacy and monogamy are not the same thing, and neither requires the other.  They are different worlds, which nevertheless can overlap.

45. The desire for wholeness and emotional healing is a result of sexual maturity (puberty).

46. Through intimacy, we watch ourselves and each other become weak—and then more powerful.

47. Intimacy is a powerful force against negativity. No negativity is stronger than Love, which intimacy can produce (indirectly).

48. Intimacy creates a safe environment that fosters emotional healing (releasing negativity), which results in growth toward wholeness.

49. Sex exists ultimately to produce intimacy. Reproduction is a convenient by-product and evolutionary mechanism.

50. Ideally, intimacy releases negativity before sex produces children. This spares them of the burden of their parents’ negativity.

51. When sex produces children before intimacy produces emotional healing, the children bear the burden of their parents’ unresolved negativity.

52. Negativity is a physical (outer) phenomenon. Intimacy is an inner phenomenon.

53. The inner is more powerful than the outer.

54. Emotional healing will one day eradicate negativity (“evil”) in the world.


Intimacy, Emotional Harm, and Emotional Healing

November 24, 2011

Healthy intimacy heals people emotionally, allowing them access to higher levels of being (or deeper aspects of self), including the spiritual level. This process is akin to growing and tending to a garden that produces flowers and fruit. It produces self-wholeness and emotional well-being.

On the other hand, violent or destructive intimacy splinters the self, especially on an emotional level (which then blocks personal access to the higher levels of existence). This departure from wholeness produces emotional pain, a condition in which “parts” of the self are stuck emotionally at lower levels, depriving the person of the potential richness of life and relationships that characterize a healthy human being.

One irony of human existence is that we are born potentially whole, but all of us have been harmed and thus splintered in some way by harmful interactions with others. Intimacy, the uniquely human aspect of sex, is a powerful way to heal these emotional wounds through our interaction with the perfect other: a human, like us, who is yet basically different because of his or her different gender.

Indeed, we are driven, from the time of sexual maturity, toward the unity of Spirit which we all long for, and which is most closely achieved in true intimacy with another human.

In intimate moments, each partner gives and takes freely from the other. What is exchanged in these moments? Emotional energy circulates through and between the two lovers, and what is whole in one tends to produce wholeness in the other. This wholeness is a spiritual phenomenon, and it is more powerful than the splinteredness or hurt that the animal or fleshy part of existence has produced in us.

Thus, as they say, love really does conquer all.


The Male and Female Spiritual Principles

November 23, 2011

Spirit operates “behind” or “inside” the physical world we occupy. This simply means that Spirit is the cause of everything that happens and the physical world is an effect (like a hand inside a glove causing the glove’s observable movements).

In a similar fashion, a person’s invisible mind is the cause of his or her observable behavior. Mind (with its “left-brain” and “right-brain” aspects that correspond to the male and female principles) is, in fact, a synonym for Spirit. Humans are thus a neatly-packaged microcosm of the universal macrocosm, especially with regard to sex and intimacy.

As a smaller-scale representation of the universe, humans express spiritual principles—in this case, the male and female creative principles that govern the ongoing creation and development of the universe. These universal principles work together—and must work together—in order for anything to exist at all. On a human level, when we understand the dynamics between these two “halves of God”—the male and female creative principles—and apply them to sexuality and intimacy, the result is increased unity and healing on many levels of being (physical, emotional, and so on).

Both male and female qualities are present in both men and women, although our biological forms (as determined by heredity and experience) determine the prevalence of each aspect in any given person. The male creative principle is directive, analytical, and giving. It is able to evaluate, determine, and implement. Basically, it decides what to create. The female creative principle is receptive, submissive, and nurturing. It is able to carry out, produce, and make happen. Basically, it brings forth into existence.

These basic male and female qualities are symbolized in sexual reproduction. The male determines what will be created by his contribution of genetic material. He gives this biological direction to the female, who receives it and produces the desired effect—in this case, she brings new life into existence.

On a different level, every person produces effects in life by conceiving an end state in their personal male aspect of mind (the conscious, or “thinking” mind), which their personal female aspect of mind (the subconscious or “subjective” mind) carries out automatically. The resulting condition or effect is like the offspring of this process.

Father, Mother, Child: the original Trinity, a symbolic representation of the creative process of life.

So we see that the male-female creative process operates on many levels of existence, and can be learned by observing our own thinking processes, the conditions of our lives, and the world around us, all of which operates according to the same principles.


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