Spiritual Commentary

Wrong Mind, Right Mind, or Spiritual Mind

After being a psychologist and practicing psychotherapy for over forty years if there is one thing I have learned it is that no one does anything one hundred percent of the time. Even the most anxious person feels calm sometimes, the saddest feels happy, and the coldest acts friendly. Everyone shifts across different states of mind, sometimes out of one’s awareness and sometimes through conscious volition. The latter done through being mindful about the content of one’s mind, and present to one’s choices and actions in any given moment. Everyone has three states of mind to monitor and manage, and if done well will foster personal and spiritual growth. These states of mind may be labeled as wrong mind, right mind, and spiritual mind. And by attending to them one is able to strengthen or weaken them by shifting from one to another as one chooses.

The method being proposed is simple to describe but challenging to do consistently and to master to the point of it being natural. Yet, if one has developed some basic mindfulness and presence skills it is possible to learn and use. The method requires being mindful of these states of mind, what are actually one’s various personae, and shifting from an undesired to desired one: from wrong mind to right mind or from right mind to spiritual mind. One must shift the whole mindset, the gestalt, not only some of the qualities. And when successful one experiences a change in one’s being, feeling that one’s “me” has been altered. Effort is then focused on maintaining the chosen mindset.

The following descriptions of the mindsets are given only to serve one in generating one’s own personal list. One may label them what one likes, but one should avoid being pejorative: maladaptive mind, wellbeing mind, spiritual mind; or, poor mind, thriving mind, waking mind. The three minds are distinguished by their mental, emotional, subjective, and action characteristics. Wrong mind is: mentally self-loathing and negative; emotionally fearful, sad, or angry; subjectively down, feeling inferior, weak, a failure, and a victim. It involves: poor concentration or being spaced out; confusion regarding self and one’s goals; and, aggressive action toward self and others. Right mind is: mentally self-accepting and objective or positive; emotionally neutral, calm, or joyful; subjectively feeling confident, strong, equal, and capable. It involves good concentration and focus; clarity regarding self and one’s goals; and assertion in one’s action for self and/or toward others. Spiritual mind is: mentally accepting self and others, nonattached to outcome and open to what happens next; emotionally neutral, peaceful, and/or loving; subjectively feeling equanimous, expansive and deep, and in union with “other”. It involves: focused presence with higher intuition or direct knowing, clarity regarding truth, and “action without action” assertion that is beneficial and naturally positive regarding self and others.

In many ways this method is one of retrieval. One retrieves knowledge and wisdom, bodily experience, and transcendent experience to either maintain or shift one’s state of mind: whether one is drawing from personal learning or healing, or from one’s spiritual practices one is using what one has already experienced and knows. One rejects the wrong mind, chooses not to focus on it, and volitionally embodies the desired subjective feeling while remembering the valid mental content associated with the right mind. And if one desires spiritual mind, one adds the transcendent qualities of that mind, essentially shifting right mind to spiritual mind.

Embodying the subjective feeling means one maintains or assumes the body posture, breathing, and movement of the desired mindset qualities, for example calm, strength, and/or confidence for right mind. Strength training, yoga, competitive sports, stretching, actually any body postures and movements one assumes throughout one’s day, can provide this if one has already recognized the qualities in them that are being described. Doing this first can provide a mental clarity and objectivity that enables one to either correct cognitive distortions or falsehoods, and/or repeat the positive and useful knowledge one has previously learned. These two steps then move one more fluidly into right action. As mentioned previously, the separate aspects of this process need to occur as one gestalt, practically simultaneously. Of course this is where practice is required.

Spiritual mind is always best achieved from right mind. One does this by remembering one’s formal practice experience. For instance, one can recall and relive in the moment what meditation is like mentally (e.g. not thinking), emotionally (e.g. emotions rise up and pass), and subjectively (e.g. boundary of self feels expanded beyond usual limits). Breathing as if in meditation, praying as one engages in other activities, or even reflecting on spiritual aphorisms are means to move to spiritual mind. One might also recall times when one’s mind was altered into transcendence unexpectedly or without formal practice. This might include remembering a morning sunrise, a peaceful walk in nature, or even aspects of a paranormal experience.

This is not necessarily an easy means to improve one’s mind. However with practice it is a viable means to do so. Mindfulness and presence skills cultivated through practice enable the volitional control of one’s mind as described in this method.

Perhaps most importantly, formal practice on its own will not result in improving one’s ego-existential psychospiritual condition or achieve the transpersonal one. What one does in formal practice must be employed while living in the world; actively controlling one’s mind being the sin qua non of this application if one is to develop spiritually.

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.



Delicate is the Love of God

When strong it is a love without beginning or end; irrepressibly expressed it is limitless, and the world changed forever for those endlessly touched by it. Divine Love is more than unconditional love; it is the supernatural love of God. Though similar, it is so much more than the all-accepting love with which most people equate it. It is a bliss in which you have lost yourself in the other and everything else around you. All existence arises and passes in the moment with nothing separate and apart from you. Fear drops away, no longer taking space in awareness; one’s presence is without anticipation, receptivity, or intention. One just “is”, tranquilly resting as enormous peace. Being, you are speechless, with no words coming forth; no need, Spirit will speak when It is ready. Adoration and warmth prevail; coming forth regardless of circumstance, for nothing but beauty lies before you. Perfection is the order of the day and joy the background music. And if shared with another, one is certain the search is over, one’s soulmate has been found, kismet realized.

You’re fooling yourself if you think you can will your heart to love this gloriously, it can only be granted by God. It must come through the grace of God to one who desires such a gift and has sacrificed oneself to the world. Then, above and beyond all else, you must obey and submit to God’s will if you are to have an ongoing relationship with the given grace that sustains this numinous Love. No matter what your religious beliefs or God, worship is now a matter of maintaining God-given virtue and God-directed altruism regarding all others as a means of expressing love to God. Without this worship Divine Love as powerful as it is, will be lost.

If one’s dedication to this worship is weak Divine Love remains fragile, subject to diminishment, and even death by the ways of the world. And the most common, one might dare say most tragic course to this end is to love another human being as if he or she were the rightful sole recipient of this love. To do so means one has romanticized what was Divine, retracted one’s love from God, and become more attached to another person than to God. And in separating oneself from God one loses the grace that had been granted, tarnishing the Light of the Love within. God, who had been shining through you all along, is no longer alive within to recognize Itself in the other, and Divine Love withers away.

(Questions to further assist one in exploring this topic may be found at noperfectom.com)

Reconciled Differences

You and I are not the same person, so I’m sure my god is different from your god. Because of our individual differences all gods are personal and unique, though most do not recognize this, insisting their god is the One. And not even realizing when we agree that our god is the One, we really are not referring to the same god. Oh my!

Not only that, but everyone’s spirituality is different, even though our language and common experiences might agree, and there is even theology that says it is all so real and true. However, no matter its religious origin or degree of concurrence among us, it is personal and unique. We practice differently, we seek different results, and even when in pursuit of the same objectives there are differences we do not discern. Oh no!

Equally challenging, maybe even more so, is that your reality is not the same as mine. It only appears we live on the same planet, in the same universe. We don’t. Though the principles that manifest my world and yours are the same, the result is not; the earth I walk upon, and the reasons I do so are not the same as yours. The good news and the Goodness, lies in the fact that we can agree upon so much when we are traveling such different realities. And though there is a consensus reality we can agree upon, there is much of it we do not. No matter how obvious or subtle these differences are they remain significant, affecting our every action. Oh well!

So the principles of manifestation to which we are all subject require some basic agreement. Primary is that Spirit creates diverse forms, all of Itself though never completely of Itself. Hence there is a Mystery to continually try to recognize but that will never be known. And even though the conclusive truths and personal forms of God each of us believes in will vary, it is necessary that diversity be respected, altruism lived, and love given unconditionally. All God’s true religions and spiritual practices support differing worldviews for their theologically valid truths while discarding falsehoods and misinterpretations. The resulting commonality of Truth, when accurately known, experienced, and lived leaves us all in one world, all of one people, all of one God, All as One. Oh yes!

(Questions to assist in further exploration of this topic may be found at noperfectom.com)



A Comment on Resilience, Happiness, and Personal Growth

Resilience is most often understood as adapting to or coping with adversity or a serious traumatic event in one’s life. One addresses the psychological distress reflected in one’s body and mind, expresses and shares one’s experience, and makes use of support from others. If you examine the psychological literature behind this definition you find another, far more dynamic concept of resilience. It is one rooted in authentic happiness, self-actualization, and spiritual experience, underpinnings from which one can draw, giving depth to one’s resiliency. Experts call this more comprehensive resilience posttraumatic growth (Tedeschi, Park, & Calhoun, 1998) and there are three primary aspects of it that draw upon these roots. These are the inevitable change in one’s identity and self-image, one’s relationships, and in one’s worldview and life philosophy. A “lemons into lemonade” approach in which one is encouraged to be receptive to events beyond one’s control, while responding to them in an actively engaged manner, changing oneself and one’s life as prompted by the adversity and hardship one is facing. Processing experience in this way benefits problem solving regarding the crisis, fosters positive identity change, and contributes to one’s spiritual development.

Authentic happiness has been defined as moments of absorption in an activity that is fulfilling to a person (Seligman, 2002). Happiness is not defined as moments of joy and excitement or as times of lively thrilling activity. Instead, it is transcending self-consciousness, an “in the flow” forgetting of oneself, while engaged in valued and meaningful activity. The other positive elements are nice but optional; “following one’s bliss” is what is important. And because one is more informed about one’s self and life one makes better choices and takes appropriate action on one’s behalf. When life is weighted more toward these fulfilling moments than unsatisfying or painful ones a person is happier. This happiness is the more enduring kind that adversity or trauma cannot steal and to which one can return time and time again. It is also this meaningful activity that further clarifies and strengthens the feeling of being one’s true self, with these insights begetting more truth and happiness.

Maintaining a fulfilling life based on one’s dynamic, self-actualized identity enables one to maintain an attitude of receptivity to imposed change, while supporting non-attachment to one’s personal status quo. A time of crisis in which one grieves one’s losses while embracing the inevitable transformations of self, relationships, and worldview not only strengthens one’s authenticity but also lends true direction to one’s life. And then one is given the opportunity to shape and live out one’s destiny as it evolves, with one being more resilient to feeling personally devastated or that one’s life is ruined. One feels a permanency even in the midst of difficult change, thereby feeling a mastery over the situation. It becomes about who one truly is and what statement one will make with one’s life. This quality response to a crisis improves one’s wellbeing as it proactively prepares one for future unexpected challenging events.

The psychological literature tells us that spiritual and religious models are helpful during times of crisis. They provide a way to give meaning to tragic events by furnishing an established worldview on life’s mysteries from birth to afterlife, helping one comprehend and reconcile to one’s circumstances. Inherent in these teachings are instruction and guidance on action to take to work one’s way through adversity. Now the crisis also presents an opportunity for the individual’s spiritual development. This can range from having one’s spiritual beliefs affirmed and strengthened to the transcendence of one’s individual ego self. One can be moved at these times to know first hand the divine presence that exists within and around all of us, spiritual emergence occurring as personality expands to include this transpersonal condition mind or higher self. Additionally, the resulting state of awareness benefits one by providing an equanimity and uplifted state of awareness that is useful in facing adversity. This experience is faith consciousness, and is sometimes referred to as God/Spirit not preventing adversity or crisis in one’s life but assisting one in seeing one’s way through the adversity.

Individuals have choices when facing troubling times or crises. If the choice is to resist, or in some way deny the truth of the inevitable changes, one remains miserable and the negative effect of a crisis becomes a chronic condition from which one may not recover. But as noted, a crisis can result in posttraumatic psychological and spiritual growth while further strengthening one’s overall resilience. If one’s efforts focus on embracing change the experience can be personally meaningful, leaving one happier than before, and further along on one’s path to authentic happiness and self-actualization. And perhaps further along on the path to self-realization.

(References and questions to assist in further exploration of the topic for oneself may be found at noperfectom.com)


Out of Body, Out of Mind

On the spiritual path, especially if a novice or receiving no guidance, one can sometimes confuse true transpersonal experiences with those of a poorly formed or weakened ego condition, a phenomenon called the pre-trans fallacy (Wilber, 2000). Two of the most common ones occur when one concludes one has had an out-of-body experience (OOBE) when one has actually experienced a psychological symptom of anxiety called depersonalization or derealization. In both cases one feels oneself to be in a different reality and divorced from one’s body. Another form occurs when cognitive awareness is altered but one does not distinguish between focused mind and non-focused mind, rationality and irrationality, and distorted versus objective reality. Rather than the transcendence it is believed to be it is actually only a misrepresentation of everyday identity and reality.

That one’s worldview is not as severely challenged with depersonalization as it is with the OOBE is one factor that distinguishes the two. Depersonalization often occurs in a stressful situation. Like an OOBE it feels surreal, but unlike the OOBE it is accompanied by significant discomfort or nervousness prior to, during, and after the experience. Also, depersonalization can usually be linked to previous long-standing anxiety complaints and symptoms. There is frequently anxiety after the OOBE but it tends to be associated with difficulty comprehending an experience that is counter to one’s understanding of reality, or an uneasiness associated with realizing you no longer know the world as you once did or the way others do. Whether or not one sees one’s body and/or moves about in a different landscape are two more significant factors in distinguishing between the two phenomena. Depersonalization does not involve actually observing one’s body, but is only an “as if” experience occurring in the mind as vivid imagination, while the true OOBE involves observing one’s body and/or finding oneself in another landscape different from the one just prior to the event. And this may even involve control of the experience, similar to lucid dreaming and astral travel in which one explores and interacts with the environment in which one finds oneself. In contrast, the interaction with, and change in one’s surroundings in depersonalization are limited to efforts to cope with familiar consensus reality

Spiritual practice across traditions emphasizes alteration of conscious awareness in which one’s cognition, sense of self, and reality is altered. In one’s eagerness to achieve this state of mind one can misidentify poor concentration with its long succession of associations, that usually generate confusion and minor separation from logic or one’s surroundings, as raised awareness. In actuality this is what is commonly referred to as being spaced out. This occurrence of losing continuity of one’s experience because of poor concentration, and then perceiving reality in an altered fashion, is misconstrued as positive while in actuality it is only a distortion of reality, e.g. a play on words that may be novel but does not reveal spiritual truth, misheard and misunderstood auditory stimuli, altered visual perceptions due to unusual light and shadow. One can be said to be out of one’s mind, irrational and out of touch, rather than in a focused transcendent mental state or expanded mind. The true experience of raised awareness, whether transpersonal or nondual, is one of presence with concentration on, and receptivity to, immediate experience. Cognition ranges from quiet stillness to non-thinking to direct knowing of truth in a given circumstance, and is experienced without conscious intent. Additionally, one experiences an alteration in mind in which one feels one has been moved more deeply into reality, that is, into archetypal and/or superconscious awareness. In sharp contrast to the spaced out condition there is an emergent wisdom in which all objects and phenomena are relationally integrated. Worldly phenomena and objects are understood as empty of inherent meaning and are formed by, and arising in reality due to Ultimate Consciousness, the Source, of which one now recognizes one is a part. Experiencing this subjective expansive feeling of one’s individual self transcendently merging with the “other” as union, or as fully experiencing nondual being the Source, is a second distinguishing factor in validating true spiritual self and reality change. Mundane understanding and rationality is maintained while simultaneously experiencing the world through the dominant raised awareness of the a-rationality of the nondual cosmology as noted above. And rather than willful action or reflection on this, one simply abides in this process of expanded identity and manifestation, commonly referred to as being in the now, or Being. Now truly altered, reality is markedly different, revealing nondual mind-matter memory and creation.

As one considers these distinctions between pre-ego and transpersonal/nondual events an important caveat cannot be ignored. It is that there are times when one’s experience is characterized by elements of both conditions, e.g. an OOBE can be preceded by an anxiety attack . Integrating the experience then requires addressing one’s psychological character and functioning and also one’s spiritual experiences, knowledge, and development so one may correctly understand and follow-up on the experience in the most beneficial manner. This also stands as an argument for the integration of psychology and spirituality, and for the advocacy of psychological wellbeing as part of any spiritual practice.






Passed It On?

Have you educated yourself today? Or maybe learned something about yourself that was important? And what was it about, your shortcomings or your strengths? And what did you do with that information? Hopefully you did not hate yourself for shortcomings or mistakes but accepted yourself for who you are. Maybe took pride in your courage and honesty, and even set your intention to further improve the asset or imperfection, so you can be the person you wish to be. Or perhaps you celebrated for the goodness you discovered, relishing the moment of recognizing some knowledge or skill you possess. And to whom did you pass on this insight, not in some guilty or bragging fashion, but as some wisdom that could benefit someone else? Humbly keeping in mind that when we scratch the surface we are all pretty much the same, struggling with our character flaws, and if fortunate rejoicing in our successes and good traits. All the while learning to love others and oneself for the evolving person each one of us is.

Three Loves

If in my loving you I tolerate your bad qualities and behavior I will detach or shut down to you, and bit-by-bit our relationship will sour. And our initial chemistry and friendship will likely weaken or die. Resentment will remain in the background, and will eventually be partnered with a degree of antagonism. Even if living under the same roof we will be living apart, and contempt will likely become our companion, projecting a shadow over our lives.

So long as there are no differences that are deal breakers, and our similarities are many and the inevitable differences between us serve our happiness and growth, then romantic love will prosper. Fitting together this way our love will be genuine, with the chemistry and worldviews we share seeing me through to accepting your shortcomings, all the while remaining lovingly close to you. Instead of detachment there will be the same compassion extended to you that I grant myself. And because this supports open conversation characterized by understanding, affirmation, and self-discovery our love will grow as we share with one another our experiences in the world. We will have a love that is secure while continuously bringing us to the edge of ourselves, both as autonomous individuals and as an empowered couple.

And if we are true soulmates, our relationship will be blessed by the wonder of all loves, unconditional Divine Love in which through some Mysterious way the spirit in me sees the spirit in you. Some say this is God loving the God in each of us, as God loves Itself. And if our relationship is not harmed by detached love, and true romantic love endures, then Divine Love will be maintained and strengthened serving to support both our relationship and our spiritual growth. Our life will be one of living with Spirit, graciously abiding in and sharing the good fortune of our Love and Its Light.



Express Yourself

Even as one reflects on fortunate or troubling matters one’s thoughts can remain vague and elusive causing one to ruminate or become distracted with no insight resulting from the effort. Speaking aloud, writing out, or drawing what is on one’s mind gives it a structure that holds it’s meaning steady so it can be examined as if it no longer belonged to, or were oneself, making it subject to fresh and objective consideration. Expression then both discovers, and with newfound information, creates oneself.


Like a Fish Drowning to Swim

Living in the post-postmodern era you have seen religion give way to science and psychology, have studied the traditions and disciplines that integrate all three, and now have had a profound realization. After all this time you now know what you have been telling yourself all along, that one is not simply a human being in a physical universe, but that you are a spirit living in the world, a soul. You have been imperceptibly changing your desires and actions as you have studied and practiced spiritual truths, and now you recognize the greater sweetness and discernment with which you interact with the world and others in it. While competently living this life you have been influenced by, and drawn to something much bigger than your individual self. In doing so you have steadily relinquished things that once were so important to you. Now you more easily surrender to circumstances, intuitively knowing what to do, trusting the Source from which your direction is given. And while it can seem irrational, you now understand there is absolutely nothing more important for you to do than to keep your focus on this Source. A true renunciation, but not rejection, of the world has begun to take hold. You experience the universal truth that you simultaneously are, and belong to Spirit. There has been an awakening into a new identity signaled by improved periods of grace and virtue that persist outside of formal practice. Your love for God now penetrates every aspect of your life. However, even as you experience these exalted moments, a fear persists that you will suffer from the sacrifices necessary to continue to go forward.

Even as you trust you are becoming your true essence inner conflict arises from not knowing who you will be. Though you feel eternity at your side you know something is dying, that you will be forever and irreversibly changed, with much of what you have valued forsaken. There is a nagging feeling that perhaps you are fooling yourself, that your renunciation of worldly materialism is a denial or avoidance of sorts. Requiring that you further summon your courage, previous experience tells you the course ahead will not be governed by conventional logic, but rather absurdity and paradox. Excitement and self-doubt exist side by side. There is a feeling of being pulled into a whirlpool that will give life as never before, a drowning you hope results in resurrection. This is at once both a celebration and a challenge as you undergo further refinement of your spiritual transformation. You want more of this awakened state, and you want the confusion and discomfort to lessen. Though you consider settling for things as they are, you are reminded daily that navigating this turbulence successfully can put you on the saintly side of love, justice, and forgiveness, enabling not only your own, but others’ liberation. The stronger tendency to do something about your situation prevails, but what is it you can expect to happen, and what if anything should you do?

When the awakened soul cries out for and cleaves to God the body’s needs relax. And as long as the soul has God’s attention this balance is maintained, body and spirit are one; lover and Beloved are betrothed. If you were able to retain this awareness your disciplined efforts at relinquishing your individual identity and renouncing ways of the world would be said to have left you liberated, ensconced in a saintly transpersonal self that identifies with and loves all. However no seeker is as powerful or as wise as to be able to directly secure this prize. Instead, one’s natural inclinations, encouraged and strengthened by society around you, cause you to lose your way. The lovers are separated and the body’s needs claim dominance again, sometimes for moments, sometimes for days. You find that your love for God can weaken, and concomitantly so can your love of the world. What was becoming a familiar feeling of numinous expansiveness and unity with all around you disappears. There are aspects of what you have read about as the “dark night of the soul” yet they seem like ordinary sadness and loneliness, but perhaps irrational or unwarranted because you have friends and family, and you’re busy and feeling fulfilled. This distress is in sharp contrast to those times when you are living in beatific peace and strongly identifying with God. You are in love experiencing the Beauty in the world like never before, the radiance of reality shining through, the Divine sharing with you Its Truth and Goodness. Mindful presence is strong; as is contentment from living as the spiritual person you’ve always wished yourself to be. Blessings occur, and your needs seem to be met without effort, you feel more secure in the world. But again and again there are those periods of exacerbated grief from the times the Lover seems to have deserted you.

Hide and seek with the Lover can be a roller coaster of emotions and widely fluctuating moral behavior in which you are in a daily struggle for your true identity. There is the recurring preoccupation with the mundane tasks of everyday living, from appointments to be kept, to money matters, to health concerns. Maladaptive habits return and new virtues weaken, self-interest returning with a near sinful ferocity. And each time these have precedence over the sacred you slowly and almost imperceptibly increase the gap between God and yourself. As this separation grows you become more and more the individual self, but now also one that feels the loss of the Divine; awakening has regressed to samsaric mundanity. Previously lessening, attachment to outcomes becomes strong again. Defense mechanisms reactivate, material satisfactions dictate selfish behavior, and scarcity dominates abundance and shows as win-lose competition. Pride pursues personal success in attainment of goals monetary, sexual, and social with one’s shadow once again projected onto others. Temptations appear offering relief from your pain, even seeming like blessings for your disciplined efforts of sacrifice and service. You consider compromising the greater virtue you are beginning to live but your spiritual wisdom reminds you that worldly desires will no longer satisfy.

Mindful of these lapses the seeker frequently becomes dismayed, the hope of realizing God’s vision for oneself and humanity seems a fantasy. Practicing loving kindness, wanting freedom and justice for the world something only the irrational idealist would pursue. Feeling this separation from God, one is now at great risk for settling for less than noble virtues and right action. Christ consciousness, though a divine promise to all, now seems out of your reach. What is a little sin anyway, we’re all human and no one is perfect; one cannot always be free of irritability and resentment, always patient and kind. Permission to be selfish, even exploitive, can be granted to oneself by feelings of omniscience and/or omnipotence hijacked by an inflated ego, which convinces one of special abilities empowering one to do what others cannot do. During these trying times of vacillation between spiritual strength and lapse you learn that only total and complete surrender of all you have and all you are will suffice; and experience now gives you insight into the enormity of this task. You balk even though you know the schism between head and heart, the conflict between intellectual understanding and subjective knowing, is part of the inherent variability of the experience at this stage and is the precursor to lasting union with the Source. You gradually concede there is no reasoning one’s way around the truth of this sacrifice. You are being confronted by the Divine Romance, with its demand of archetypal surrender to the Lover of lovers. You’re participating in the journey that embraces all nature of sentient experience, keeps one attuned to the world’s Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, and blesses one with love and joy. Mercifully with time and effort, it becomes more natural to live what is required for the letting go that leads to liberation. You grasp the adage that one does not choose a life with God, but that God decides who will be saints, and you find assurance remembering God has been, and will continue, endorsing you. Chosen, you resolve to waive your personal interests and plans for your life.

It is now that one most needs to access wisdom and guidance from beyond oneself and this requires a dependence on, and devotion to God. You again recognize that only the Beloved’s will and purpose matter, not ones own. Whether God is near or far, beneficent or mean, one worships and trusts that God is working to fulfill the inspired vision. Striving and seeking become less important, while adoring and surrendering to God become paramount. Right action from regularly and consistently being mindful of your spiritual commitments and intentions is required. Commandments echo intellectually in your head. Remain alert to, and resist old maladaptive coping strategies of excess that may have lessened but you now find yourself tempted to employ because of your grief. Exercise caution regarding worldly pleasures lest you revert back to attachment and dependency on them. Be careful not to regress on your new standard of virtue. Remember the bar has been raised; some of what is socially acceptable for others is no longer permitted for you. Wiser, you choose not to tempt fate in this way but avoid risks you would have taken in the past. Now, you refuse a romantic involvement solely for fun and excitement, or the business venture that gives you a huge gain at another’s expense. And you realize willpower alone will only lead to failure in this righteous effort. Focus on the Source, your god, is all that will lead to success; nothing short of a devotion in which all else is secondary will suffice. Only in this manner will you be fully engaged in this ego to saint experiment, allowing the Source to have its way with you, guiding, strengthening, fulfilling, and transforming you.

This renewed diligent focus on the Divine results in the fuller embodied richness of “being” that is promised by renunciation. By reducing your mental and emotional focus on undesired thoughts, actions, and temptations the mind becomes free to devote itself to your relationship with the Source or God. The emphasis is on feeling Divine Presence. This involves willfully ignoring ones desires and needs in any given situation, refusing to dwell on your and others’ stories whether positive or negative. You unconditionally accept the world as it is, letting go of what you want and your plans, your ideas about the way things should be. An effort is made not to worry. Outside times of formal practice you may find yourself reciting aphorisms, mantras and prayers to secure the stillness, concentration, and wisdom that bring about the empty and clear mind you associate with the sacredness, witnessing, and love of the Divine. Using mindfulness you engage in strategic thought stopping in which you turn your distracted and wasteful thoughts to those of worship. These actions reverse moments of irritability and generate acceptance of others, circumstances, and events. In doing so your actions are more consistently characterized by greater warmth and loving kindness toward others; and it is extended to oneself as well. You’re more joyful in disposition, mentally less critical, and more patient with others. Even minor spiritual arrogance is loosening and falling away. And, there is an increase in you easily wishing others well even if they slight you. In spite of continued fluctuation in your experience you more consistently feel closer to the Divine Source. You experience the freedom from suffering and enjoy the feeling of spiritual immortality that comes from identifying with God. The world becomes a different place, its inhabitants and ones relationship with them changed; saintly virtue more resilient to life’s mundane insults and routine challenges. Not only do you feel better living in the world, there seems to have been cleared a way for more righteous action on your part. Your behavior is more often prompted by spiritual principles received as higher intuition or direct knowing. Through divine guidance you are more cognizant of natural desires while less lustful, lessening their power to tempt you into wrongful thought or action. Prevailing in this way you reestablish the saintly work of going beyond spiritually experiencing archetypal Beauty in the world to bring the universally hoped for archetypal Goodness into the world. Knowing and living archetypal Truth in this manner enables you to once again be both the change you want in the world and to inspire others to do the same.

With ones faith built on a strong trust in God’s karmic will one understands that ones hopes are being refined so they may be more attuned to the God given spiritual vision. God’s promises will be kept and desired gifts granted but most likely in a way one has not envisioned. In this turmoil in which you are drowning in both the sweetness of grace and pain of suffering opposing forces are actually working in concert. There is recognition of the universal logic of Truth as the paradoxical juxtaposition and reconciliation of incongruity and contradictions. This is illustrated in the personal freedom sought that requires disciplined surrender and submission to something more than your personal self. Relinquishing your self-interest in ways of the world results in identification with the Source, granting you the freedom desired. Restraining and training one’s mind has provided it access to greater openness, wisdom, and latitude in action than was available prior awakening. Additionally, identification with and reliance on the Source or God to deal with all concerns epitomizes the awakened awareness of “striving without striving”. It is the enactment of “being” in which one does not focus directly on one’s or another’s wellbeing or spiritual development but on the Source from which all originates. Aligned with God as pure consciousness, you remain in the eternal present, unconcerned with the past or future. Now it is unnecessary to employ willful effort to experience transpersonal states of mind, to address concerns in one’s life, and to accomplish personal goals. Remaining attentive to God is all that is required, because now what you seek is present before you, and merely involves loving the world as you love yourself. Like a fish drowning to swim, you have died to your essence, renouncing the world to become it. You are more enabled to love God, to think and act as God does, and to love as God loves. Maintaining this divine perspective on reality, faith is stronger and life characterized by an ease and freedom with which to accept and address life’s variability.

Because your mind is no longer your own the paradox of your experience does not end here. Accepting you are no longer an individual self in a permanent world you are granted freedom from separation and sin. You now embody the loving Christ consciousness living in a heavenly present with its more refined virtue. And unlike what you may have willfully attempted in the past, this virtue comes naturally and is enacted with ease. You find your conscience is stronger, nobler, because the Source or God is guiding you. It is God’s creativity in the moment manifesting according to God’s purposes, working through you bringing Light into the world to benefit others. And this accords you a freedom from self-conscious monitoring and restraint formerly required to behave properly and beneficently. You have discovered and now live from a liberated conscience. A conscience not based solely on one’s thoughts and beliefs, societally or culturally conditioned principles, or mythological truths but one that while incorporating these elements, is predicated on the information and direction given by God. In the context of the present moment you experience it as the discernment of a spiritual situational ethics showing what you need to know, and instructing you what to do. Something you could not have reasoned or imagined on your own, it is divine intervention according to God’s logic and standards. You are now living as an awakened soul in the world, identifying with the world, gracefully loving the world.

Your spiritual journey is radically maturing in ways described by various traditions, but nonetheless experientially novel for you. With your awakening you’re learning to live an ongoing grace and renewal, a faith consciousness in which God is trusted to provide, and in which one selflessly shares the gifts one receives. This further commits you to spiritual practice and worship but in ways that are markedly different from those previously required for your spiritual emergence. Now with greater patience for its unfolding there is improved resilience to worldly experience and temptations. You have let go of your self and your lifelong beliefs and habits about living in the world, trusting God to creatively handle the details. Granted freedom, your spiritual journey is an enlivened adventure experienced moment by moment without expectation, guided by the greater virtue of a liberated conscience. A saint is being born.