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Not the Proverbial Life
Like the proverbial stone thrown into the pond with ripple begetting ripple, quick personal change results in the need for further changes. You are alerted to this by a discomfort caused by challenges emerging from the most recent changes you’ve made. Additionally, this success reminds you of your long-term life goals and raises fears that if you don’t take further action you may miss out, and then never be happy. Both these welcome and unwanted results are unknowingly reinforced within you by the world through social convention, capitalistic corporations, governmental politics, and dogmatic religions. Even those close to you, who wish you well and want the best for you, participate in this operation telling you there is more to do. They suggest what to do, try to persuade you to do it their way, and may even offer to help you do it. But what others and the world do not do is support you in being your unique self. Rather they encourage you to be who they believe you to be. And because they are also under the same worldly influences as you, and are also conditioned to be what world culture wants one to be, they will unknowingly support those goals not your personal ones. It is not possible for it to be any other way; most people are simply not aware of this conditioning and often lack insight into their own unique character and life to be of any genuine assistance to another. Furthermore, others rarely have a thorough comprehension of your values, character, and unique destiny, the information required for anyone to make an informed decision about their life.
To wisely make changes in your life it is important to remember it is a process in which one change leads to another, and then requires yet another. Change occurs in more than just one’s beliefs, feelings, and behavior. Change in these habits results in one’s identity and character also being reshaped. Each change redefines you, even if only slightly, and it is from this new identity that you make the next change required to continue your healing or growth. And with each change you must consider your personality traits in relation to specific aspects of your personal journey. A simple illustration is the need to take the next step after having previously increased recreational activity to increase social time with others. Further personal work may now be necessary to reduce a noticeable increase in anxiety, strengthen one’s confidence and esteem, or improve one’s interpersonal assertion. These secondary efforts are the necessary follow through that support the initial habit change, and make it more natural and regularly occurring in one’s life. The resulting permanent change in personality now supports what is meaningful in one’s life, i.e. active lifestyle, friendships, interpersonal effectiveness, and leads to self-actualization.
Not only does this understanding of personal change produce lasting results, but it also fosters an attitude of living every moment of one’s life on a leading edge of personal discovery. And it grants one further insight into the world, providing an objectively real, rather than conditioned view of it. Together they give one the feeling of newness in every moment of every event in one’s life. With this approach one feels openly receptive to the present, unconditionally alive, and that one is living life as a daily adventure. And most importantly, one secures and is able to live one’s true life and destiny.
What is the origin of your beliefs, values, and goals in life? Consider the significant sources and people who have influenced you.
Who do you trust to give you good counsel about yourself and your life when you need it? What is it that makes you trust them in this way?
When was the last time you attempted to change a habit, only to revert back to it after a brief period of change? Did it become a complete relapse or only a partial one? Explain the outcome.
Consider a habit you would like to change, how you would do it, and how it would feel when the habit is first changed. Then imagine the challenges that would arise upon the initial change in habit, and consider what your strategy would be to prevent a relapse.
Consider three things in your life you wish were different or not in your life. Now consider each one’s exact opposite. Reflect on whether or not these reveal what is meaningful to you, and if they provide some direction for you to live a more fulfilling life.
“Marry me” I said to God.
She slapped me across the face.
And smiling Her knowing smile,
“I see once again you’ve forgotten our anniversary!”
Our Souls Cannot Live Our Professed Values
Almost all of us lament the difficult conditions of the world, those that cause and maintain human tragedy and suffering. This attitude is laudable, reflecting beliefs that value others and wants what is best for them. And, one can observe these values being translated into actions in which those in need are given assistance. Yet the sad truth is that social problems born of hatred, greed, and envy have plagued the human race for millennia and continue to do so to this day. Compounding this problem is everyone’s tendency to claim they do not act in a destructive manner, that they are the ones that value and care about others; rather it is others who do not behave compassionately and constructively. This begs the question, how has it come to be this way, and why does it persist in this fashion?
The answer lies with our souls, that spiritual part of ourselves that is the best of us that reflects the Divine, our God. Holding our good heart filled with love, and our caring virtues, it gives us our life affirming values. The soul in us acts lovingly kind, generous, and altruistic enabling us to give to others, without prejudice and without concern for self. It is of noble wisdom and intent. And when it can, it acts in ways that bring forward the best in human beings, and goodness enters the world. However it cannot do this consistently because of forces in the world that separate us from our true selves, and so from one another. This challenge to goodness and world happiness is exacerbated by our tendency to deny our culpability in the matter. This complicity is not maliciously intended but stems from ignorance that what we do on our spiritual path is sufficient. We falsely believe that in time we will achieve significant personal change that will result in a positive impact on the world; and that until that time our small contributions have significant value. Let it suffice to say that these assumptions are invalid as evidenced by the fact that raised human consciousness, and the good that results, is losing in the race with tragic human inequality, global wars, and environmental destruction. The essentiality of time as a factor in the required change is minimized, and results in a complacency that replaces the commitment necessary for true change.
This denial, deeply woven into our existential consciousness, hinders the soul and must be replaced by a truth that can never be hidden. This verity can then support the soul in righteous ways necessary for it to become the dominant force in our character, and therefore in our world. It is only with this commitment to our souls that wisdom and faith can determine our behavior, making it consistent with the noble values we claim as our own, enabling the soul to consistently live those desperately needed values in the world.
Describe in your own words spiritual aspect of your being (soul) and its relationship to your ego.
What beliefs and values do you ascribe to your soul?
What do you do when you notice the discrepancy between your actions and your spiritual values?
Do you believe the human race has evolved toward greater goodness over the course of history? Present the evidence for your opinion.
If you could change one characteristic of the human race what would it be?
Willful to Witness Mind
Surrendering personal will to the Witness mind with it vastness of no-thinking and spaciousness of loving-heart brings one beyond the desires of the senses into an attitude of nonattachment to the world, everlasting equanimity, unconditional love, and joy. Spiritual practice supporting this awareness requires meditation in which one concentrates on silence and stillness of mind to strengthen no-thinking; replacing all feelings with calm, warmth, and affection to foster unconditional love arising naturally and without limit; and, applying transcendent principles of Truth whenever reflecting on self, others, or circumstances so one strengthens nonattachment and compassion. Along with these practices one makes an effort to observe and maintain moments of feeling peace, completeness, divine love, and bliss. With disciplined effort one’s identity transforms into Witness mind, with awareness aware of itself and exhibiting the loving and righteous character of Spirit.
Mundane or Spiritual Today?
Spiritual practice enabling the spirit within to emerge is a moment-to-moment endeavor. A well organized and disciplined approach means following through on one’s spiritual intentions while also monitoring one’s worldly doing, comparing it to one’s spiritual being.
Recognizing choices made from morning to night about one’s activities is the easiest part of spiritual practice. Did you put aside time with Spirit through prayer, meditation, or contemplation? Perhaps you spent time in nature, read spiritually inspiring literature, or gave to others in some way. Or maybe you did not do these or similar activities, but instead caught up on chores or maybe relaxed around the house. Maybe it was lunch or dinner with a friend, some fun and exciting activity like biking or kayaking, or attendance at a once in a lifetime entertainment venue. And if there were any of these worldly events during the day, did they crowd out your spiritual activities, or maybe take away your spiritual mind or way of being?
The more challenging part of practice is regularly monitoring one’s spiritual mind. One compares the awareness associated with feeling spiritual to other more mundane states of awareness; and considers how well one maintains this state of mind. Did you track and attempt to maintain feelings of serenity, holiness, and love; and did they determine your actions? Reflecting on your day, were you effective at quelling feelings of fear, envy, or impatience; and were you able to prevent impulsively acting on them? Overall, how often did you calmly relinquish worldly thoughts or wants, feel and act lovingly kind toward another, or generously put someone else’s needs before your own? It is at these times one appreciates the spiritual feelings that arise and the actions they engender; and when they pass makes the effort to return to them as soon as possible, before the mundane mind re-establishes itself.
Not allowing mundane awareness to prevail avoids tacit agreement with the philosophy that human nature is lowly and without virtue or divinity. While days characterized by spiritual activity and ongoing spiritual awareness proclaim one to be the best of human nature, serving Spirit’s goals in the world. Our choices, made moment-to-moment, determine whether we travel the spiritual path as one who remains primarily conditioned by the world, or as one who lives genuine spiritual being.
Love of Mine
She walks with beauty,
this Love of mine
Kissing the sun,
everyone her Beloved
Liberation comes from disciplined obedience to your Divine nature. Do not act from your calm feelings but from peace. Do not rely solely on reason and logic but combine them with your intuition. Better still, wait for inspiration, using the knowledge that comes from the silent vastness of your mind. Let these guide you in your daily activity. And stop trying to act nice and caring about others. Instead, have your character be one of Love. Focus less on love as a verb and more on it as a noun, as your very existence, your true being. Attend to all aspects of love of which you are familiar and embody them into every one of your thoughts, feelings, and intentions. In this way, consciously practiced until natural, you free yourself from the subtle illusory aspects of living in this world; and you live deeply and free.
“The Absolute Reality is the only thing that is real everything else is illusion.” “God is not male but female, the Goddess.” “There is no need to strive to attain realization because we are already enlightened.” When these claims are spoken and understood literally it is spiritual reductionism. A practice whereby one aspect of a complex spiritual concept is reduced to one quality or aspect of its meaning. Frequently used to emphasize what is generally overlooked or ignored about a concept these claims are well intentioned but can be very misleading. Listeners unwittingly accept the arbitrary punctuation of the truth and accept it as the whole truth. Rather than examine the conflicting ideas and draw one’s own conclusions through careful information gathering, one tends to perpetuate the spiritual reductionism. As part of the initial contemplation of the concept, one might instead attempt a reconciliation of the opposing ideas, using them as a springboard to a higher order concept that encompasses both, while transforming them into one that is more valid than either one separately. For example, the Supreme Being is neither male nor female but gender free while having masculine and feminine qualities; everyone’s awareness runs the spectrum from ego to enlightened, and conditions, in part determined by spiritual practice, will determine which awareness will operate in any given moment; and, while the everlasting, unchangeable Absolute Reality that is beyond time and space is the reason and cause of all that exists, and will eventually cease to exist, during the time of their existence these objects have substantive worldly life impact, consequences, and ethics in regard to one another.
Without discipline spiritual knowing and being lapse into ego logic and reasoning, returning one to mundane existence and suffering. The use of will and intention, augmented by raised consciousness, is the means to sustain the spiritual mind. One uses will power, as conscious choice and effort, to repeatedly reject ego-conditioned choices and to think, act, and feel according to one’s intentions. These would be intentions chosen as necessary for one’s personal and spiritual growth. Examples might include: returning to calm or serenity when one notices it is weakening; showing love to another with a compliment or affirmation; engaging in a daily ritual that reminds one of an important spiritual truth: or, regular service to humanity through one’s vocation or volunteer work. One must choose wisely, selecting the action most important to one’s development, and to do no more than one can do. Often the best strategy is to choose one spiritual habit to strengthen at a time. And then when it becomes something one does naturally one begins working on another. Over time and with patience, one recognizes the desired changes in one’s character as spiritual mind begins to dominate awareness.
Placed on this earth as you have been, address your responsibilities dutifully. But more important than these everyday tasks are the responsibilities of the virtues. With them you are brought to your essence, ensuring you will transcend your destiny.
In a town in which you’ve never been before,
You walk into a bar, and the Proprietor says,
“What will you have?”
With clarity and confidence of knowing,
from having been in the situation before,
“A double of your best bourbon,
with a splash, no ice.”
Now, you’re face to face with
the Source of all Existence.
And It says to you,
“Do you know What I am,
Who I am?”
With certainty and beyond a doubt,
you respond that you have no idea,
and add, “But I know,
I love you with all my heart,
devoutly with all my being.”
Now, the Bartender leans forward,
very close to you, and says,
“Have another, on the house.”
The world does not owe you anything. It does not concern itself with what you want or feel you deserve. Though, that is not to say you are not worthy, only that the world is not indebted to you in that way.
Actually you are to give all you have to the world; that is, all of your spirit with full love and justice. Showing compassion and forgiveness, giving to everything and everyone with whom you come into contact. Never holding back, regardless of condition or situation.
And do not want, ask, or demand a similar gift. Rather, be pushed to selflessness, drained of your virtue, and serve.
Diversity is the valued range and variety of life, pluralism a divisive force emphasizing difference and individuality, while an integrative synthesis brings all together through overarching truth and collective beauty. This respects cultural heterogeneity in a way that furthers the common good.
Love with another is one of the most prized possessions in this world. However, we settle for a love that is not of infinite and eternal proportion, the one that would leave us truly feeling loved and secure. But we are grateful for the warmth and closeness of this lesser love, no matter that it is imperfect and often fleeting, for it eases the inherent separation of worldly life. Worse still, if isolation occurs, we are obsessively driven to possess this inferior bond, with the result that it obscures our true identity. This only serves to increase our hunger for what is our truest need, the unconditional love of the Divine. This can remain an ever-escalating, empty and painful pattern, ruining one’s life, taking one further away from one’s true self; or, it can become the necessary impetus to find true love. And if good fortune results from that search, we feel connected to the all, see through the illusion of individuality, and know our true self, Divine love.
“The experience of the presence of God is available and within at all times, but awaits choice. That choice is made only by surrendering everything other than peace and love to God. In return, the Divinity of the Self reveals Itself as ever present- but not experienced- because it has been ignored or forgotten, or one has chosen otherwise.”
-D. Hawkins (2011)
“What we think of as reality is an illusion, a lie. Thus we cannot know reality until we idealize and divinize all creatures including ourselves.”
O.M. Aivanhov (1985)
Apply the universal law of cause and effect based on a justice of fairness and equality, and it is obvious we are all sinners, acting against Spirit’s perfect love. This results in harm to others and negative karmic consequences for oneself but should not be reason to dwell in guilt and fear. Rather let it invite us to open our hearts to one another, for there is no better way to redeem the world than to repent by giving it our love and our life.
Fifteen Things to Know About Meditation
The basic meditation method is simple: once the mind has strayed to unwanted thinking, have your attention return to the chosen meditation content, e.g. your breath, mantra, or prayer. Repeat this continuously.
Similar to the way the mind’s eye “sees” objects and events, your mind’s ear “hears” your thoughts. With consistent meditation all thoughts will become more quiet and soft.
As your thoughts become quieter they will seem more distant, more faint. You will notice that your awareness seems to travel from the front of your head to the back of your head. Thinking is now more subconscious.
Quiet mind means there are now longer periods of not thinking between your subconscious thoughts. You “hear” less in the mind.
Still mind is when there is more time of not thinking and your subconscious thoughts are slowing down and decreasing in frequency,
During meditation your attention will go back and forth between the chosen meditation content and subconsciously thinking of something else, occasionally and momentarily resting in no thinking.
Not thinking feels like timeless eternity with no beginning or end. You will not notice it has occurred until thought returns. One mentally recognizes the difference between what has just occurred versus the present moment in which one is now thinking again.
As you become more proficient at meditating your mind will rest in no-thought more often, resulting in a distortion of time, with time experienced as having passed more quickly than usual. This is caused by the greater periods of time in timeless eternity. This is one way you will know your practice included periods of not thinking.
It improves your mind if at the end of a positive meditation you remember how it has been to meditate, and remind yourself that you will relive it in the future when you formally meditate or spontaneously choose to remember the experience.
Meditation improves your ability to concentrate by improving the ability to observe and direct one’s mind, enabling one to keep the mind focused as one wishes, a necessary skill for most spiritual practices.
Periods of not thinking improve your ability to access your subconscious and unconscious thoughts, strengthen intuition, and facilitate divine inspiration.
Contemplation during meditation is holding one thought or question as the fixed meditation content and allowing all other thoughts that arise to come and go, only consciously considering them as answers or insights at conclusion of the meditation.
Successful meditation practice usually increases one’s psychic abilities in which one may experience subtle energies, influence manifestation of events, and/or receive information that ordinarily would not be possible unless the laws of time and space were transcended, i.e. clairvoyance.
If you attend to your meditation experience throughout the day, unconditional love, peace, and joy experienced in formal practice will arise and eventually be felt even when not making this formal effort.
Successful meditation practice is a transcendent experience in which one becomes one’s spiritual or transpersonal self. Over time this results in positive character change in which a person becomes more lovingly kind and altruistic.
Reconsider God in These Seven Ways
God is an unknown Substance that has a memory that remembers everything, has created everything, and continuously creates in all spheres of existence.
Everything that exists is a manifestation of God, but everything is not God, only an aspect of God in worldly form.
God is not a Being unless you believe God is, in which case you will experience God that way through spiritual communications, visions, and events. This is a valid belief, and so forming and maintaining a relationship with God is necessary and can be beneficial.
God creates objects and events without conscious willful volition. It is karma, or the law of consequences, that explains the manner in which God creates. God does not micro-manage, but instead reality reaches a “tipping point” and manifests as determined.
God as Substance (often called Spirit) exists within everything and everybody in varying degrees and in different ways. If you recognize this within yourself you will be guided by God, and will rejoice in doing God’s work in God’s way.
Submitting to, obeying, and serving God results in the paradoxical outcome of liberation in which one lives a life of faith awareness. All of one’s needs are met, one’s life and the world are experienced as perfect, and love abounds.
If you are one with God, you and God will collaborate in creation more than those who do not have that quality relationship with God; if enlightened you and God are One, co-creating the universe, guided by care and love for all.