Resolving the Mystery of the Now Moment

Throughout our spiritual literature, the now moment has been touted as the only time we have, and eternally so. We have been trained to think of eternity as an indefinite span of time stretching into the past and future. When we’re told that now is eternity and we can truly only live in the now, we like the sound of it but it is a challenge to make practical sense of this idea. We nearly all wear watches and keep some type of calendar. We constantly anticipate the future and mull over the past. Though we cannot enter the future or revisit the past from where we are right now, we can certainly think about them. And our thinking about them usually crowds out our ability to fully appreciate our present moment. Most of us are actually doing our best to flee the now moment. Someplace up ahead is where we need to be.

If you think of a wheel turning on an axle, the wheel of a lawn cart for example, you know the wheel can roll all over your yard while the axle remains still. If you think of your soul as the axle and your senses-based self-image and its outer life as the wheel you can get a sense of how two realities can be bundled into a single experience. Regardless of how fast or how long the wheel turns, the axle rests motionless. From the point of view of the axle/soul, there is only a single position. Time and space have no relevance. From the point of view of the wheel/self-image, meaning is found in time and space. There are things to do and places to go. If the wheel adopted the attitude of the axle, it would sit motionless and be of little value as a lawn cart. Having a body that expresses and interacts with this lawn of time and space, we obviously did not come here to do nothing.

Our challenge is that the bulk of our identity is attached to the wheel. The axle remains a vague concept. Without the axle, of course, the wheel and cart assembly breaks down. The problem is that the wheel can turn just fine completely unaware of the axle. We can live an interesting life under the jurisdiction of time and space, running lo here and lo there seeking the prize of absolute inner peace by arranging every aspect of our lawn just so. The time comes, however, when we realize that regardless of where in our lawn we roll, we feel the same absence of inner peace. We make more money but then it’s not quite enough money. We buy a bigger home only to discover a sociopathic neighbor who is deaf to their basset hound’s incessant foghorn of a bark. We find the soulmate of our dreams and discover that not even they can lift us above our gnawing sense of incompleteness.

Our soul, like the axle, exists in a perpetual state of rest right in the midst of the spinning wheel of our external life. Even while our attention is fully engrossed in all the many things we want and need to do, the places we need to be and the places we have been, the peace-filled integrity of our soul remains intact, unmoved. We long for the peace of our soul, which is why we scramble through time and space in a vain pursuit of trying to connect with it.

We resolve the mystery of the now moment, not by denying time and space as practical elements that do in fact have a place in our earthly incarnation. We resolve it by realizing that the peace we seek in people, places and things already exists at the core of our being. The wheel cannot roll over to some spiritual school or bookstore, read about axles and expect to find some idea that will allow it to discontinue its frantic search for the state of peace the axle already enjoys. As long as we think of ourselves primarily as a wheel, a senses-based self-image, we will forever spin in an eternity of restlessness. Who needs an actual Hell when we are perfectly capable of sentencing ourselves to such an unresolvable condition? As we move our attention to our core — our axle, our soul — we discover the peace that passes all understanding, the peace of motionlessness exists right in the midst of the spinning wheel. Wheel logic would dictate that the last place you would look to find motionlessness is at the center of the spinning wheel. Axle logic, on the other hand, sits smiling in eternal repose even as the wheel turns.

In the previous post, Understanding the Spiritual Journey, I wrote about the nature of our spiritual path. This path does not involve time and space. It involves an understanding of the wheel/axle relationship. That the wheel spins at all indicates it has a center around which it spins. Our focus has been on the lawn and all the places we must go to find inner peace. Now we are to shift our focus to the axle, the soul, with the understanding that the mechanism is already in place, properly functioning and completely adequate. The soul exists only in the eternal now. It’s vehicle of material expression, the body, exists in the realm of clocks, calendars and GPS’s. We are not to deny this external aspect of our being. To find the peace we are looking for, however, we are to turn within to that non-spinning core that is our soul dwelling in an environment of eternal peace and seek to live our lives from this perspective.

The axle that is our soul does not revolve in an evolutionary progression. It has no need to progress into anything more than it is already. The wheel will turn and the cart will move along its linear timeline, all while the axle remains still. When we understand this, we solve the mystery of the now moment and bring it into a more practical focus.



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Understanding the Spiritual Journey

The spiritual journey is depicted most often as a sequence of events that transpire on a linear scale of time and space. The events significant to this journey involve learning things believed to possess a greater compatibility to spiritual principles than the beliefs an individual currently holds. For example, a person may go through a difficult relationship that demonstrated their low self-esteem cannot be lifted by another. They conclude that self-love is the more spiritually compatible approach, so they do their best to apply this insight either to this relationship or the next. Another may be going through a financial crisis that causes a great deal of soul searching. They discover they have been looking to the many channels of income rather than to God as the source of their good. They then attempt to shift their focus from people and conditions to God as the ultimate source of their good.

In both examples, the understanding of the spiritual journey is based on the belief in lack. There is much I do not know now, but the school of hard knocks will call to my attention the things I need to learn. In other words, I now stand at point A. To advance on the spiritual path, I need to reach point B. Doing so takes time and practice, that is, time and space. I will do my best to learn this lesson and apply it as situations present themselves.

Unfortunately, this is not the spiritual journey at all. This is an attempt to transform the body-based self-image into a condition that is already true of the soul. Overcoming low self-esteem does not require a string of failed relationships. And an understanding of God as our source does not require financial failure as part of our education. The soul has never known anything other than God as its source.

Negative circumstances may indeed force us to take a deeper look at our beliefs and how some of them may be causing us grief. Correcting these, however, has little to do with deepening our experience with the soul. Years ago I volunteered at an inpatient treatment center for alcohol and drug abuse. A number of patients were there because a judge had given them the choice of treatment or jail. They chose treatment, not because they had a heartfelt desire to change, but because they wanted to avoid other negative consequences.

So it is with many on the so-called spiritual path. Rather than understanding the value of the buried treasure of their complete soul, they are seeking an understanding of spiritual principles to avoid the painful consequences of failed relationships, financial distress and a slew of other problems common to nearly all people.

Let’s look at the example of low self-esteem. The only reason any one of us would feel inadequate is because we have associated our identity with a senses-based self-image rather than our soul. This inadequate self-image compares itself with others, feeling superior to those who appear to have less and inferior to those who appear to have more. The soul cannot experience inferiority for it is a direct projection of the life, love, power and intelligence of God, our source. It is the pure spring of life gurgling up from the hidden source. It is not until this spring of pure life flows downstream, abused by our false sense of self, that it becomes polluted with equally false notions of inadequacy.

How much time and space exists between our present understanding and our soul? None. Our soul is not subject to time and space. Our self-image, on the other hand, is bound by both. Attempting to understand the condition of the soul from the perspective of the self-image is looking through Paul’s glass darkly. We can never understand what we need to do spiritually until we begin to realize we are under no obligation to keep looking through this glass. Nearly every spiritual system of instruction takes this darkened glass into account as a given component in the process of spiritual development. We have the option of breaking this glass.

The spiritual blinders we wear are not a part of our natural makeup. Every one of them represents the low-hanging fruit of senses input that we have picked and eaten because these are so easily accessible, and everyone else is doing it. Every soul is a pristine fountain, a transitional point where the Universal energy of life becomes focused as an individualized, personalized expression of this otherwise undefined potential. No improvement can be made at the soul level. It is as we begin the process of differentiating through our material environment that we become distracted by the environment itself. We build a self-image using the body rather than the soul as our foundation. Our spiritual journey becomes all about solving body-generated problems. We study spiritual principles to become more proficient in solving these problems. Technically, we are not on the spiritual path at all. We are on a materially-inspired path attempting to use spiritual principles to solve the problems we actually generate. There is not enough spiritual information available to get us off this evolutionary treadmill.

Jesus spoke of the need to keep our “eye” single. We can see the value in this statement when we realize that the experience of our soul is the one thing that will solve all other problems. A genuine experience of your soul will, for example, instantly erase all feelings of inferiority brought on by low self-esteem. Would you not experience your relationships at a completely different, much healthier level if you knew without a doubt that you are whole now? Of course you would. But you will not even attempt to know this if your focus remains on the need for self-improvement. To entertain the possibility that your soul, the very foundation of your being, is already complete, already everything you can possibly imagine and more, you must let go of the belief that you have an obligation to continue peering through the darkened glass of an inadequate self-image.

The spiritual path is one of uncovering what is already true. As I point out in The Complete Soulthis buried treasure is not a potential, like a business you have to start up and run, but a fully established thing of great value, a cache of gold bars.

From this perspective, the spiritual journey is more about unlearning than learning. When Jesus suggested the need to become as a child, he was illustrating the need to let go of all the falsehoods we have picked up in adulthood and return to that pure state of being we see so beautifully reflected in the bright, wonder-filled eyes of the baby. With our misunderstanding of the spiritual journey, we turn to the archives of our spiritual literature for examples of those great masters who lived directly from the soul. We need look no further for such an example than the eyes of the child. Yes, the child has much to learn about living through this material interface we call a body. But wouldn’t it be nice if we adults were so grounded in the truth the child already knows that we could begin this education from their grasp of their own wholeness rather than assuming they are an empty vessel we must fill with our own interpretations of reality? I’m not advocating the failed practice of child worship here. I am simply saying that the child represents a pristine example of a being whose soul still remains very much at the surface of their consciousness.

The practice of meditation is the practice of returning to this state. We are not taking on new information. We are simply recalling what we have forgotten. We are letting go of ideas that are not true of us and remembering, through direct experience, that which is true. The spiritual journey does not take place in time and space. It is the experience of touching that which is already complete, embracing this completeness as our true foundation and letting the world around us conform through the sympathetic vibration of that which we are truly created to be.


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A Meditative Shift

If you are like many in your approach to meditation, you situate your body in a comfortable position, close your eyes and begin a search for an experience with God or for something you believe may resemble your soul. This approach is not unlike a Google search for an answer to a question that is on your mind. You begin from the premise that something is lacking and that something must be found.

Google searching is extremely popular because it actually produces results. Many give up on the practice of meditation because the search for God or self seldom meets the expectation of a satisfying contact. Yes, we may enjoy some moments of relaxation. We may get new ideas on how to solve some problem because we clear our mind and let go long enough to see a new angle. If we’re honest, we’ll admit that life-changing revelations are seldom the product of our quiet time. And there is a very good reason for this.

Suppose we turn the tables on God. Instead of thinking of meditation as a way into God, think of it as God’s way into you. You surrender your pursuit of a deeper experience with the attitude of, “God, here I am. You’re calling. I’m listening.”

What is not apparent to many on the spiritual path is that God, through the soul, has been in full communication with every one of us at all times. You may say, “I’ve never heard the voice of God or felt God’s presence.” I would say every person is in touch with God at all times, but the “voice” they are hearing is not one they are expecting. It is, in fact, a voice they are trying to silence. It is the voice of restlessness and dissatisfaction. This is the voice of God. This is the voice of your soul.

Why do we almost universally experience restlessness and dissatisfaction? Because we are trying to live from an identity, a self-image, that is not in sync with who and what we are at the soul level. If our consciousness were in alignment with our soul, we would experience a deep and perpetual level of satisfaction. When we close our eyes to meditate, we start our Google search to satisfy a sense of self that will never be satisfied. It’s impossible. Why? Because dissatisfaction arises from the misalignment between the self-image and the soul. We don’t need more of something. We need only let the soul have its way with us. We use meditation to attempt to solve the problems of the self-image. The purpose of meditation is to solve the problem of the soul. And this problem is the blockage of self-image that is thwarting the soul’s expression.

Try meditating on your feeling of restlessness and dissatisfaction. Follow this energy to its source and you will begin to see that it rises from trying to be something your soul is not. Ask your soul’s forgiveness for being so inattentive to its true nature. Invite it forward. Let it come into your consciousness as the fountain of wisdom that it is. This is you, the real you, the you that needs nothing added to know completeness. Stop telling God what you need in order to feel whole. God has already given you a soul that is whole. Let your meditation be your soul’s opportunity to grab your attention and get you back into spiritual alignment.

The simple fact is that your self-image does not know how to resolve its unrest. It does not know how to achieve what your soul has already accomplished. Think of your meditation time as one where you sit at the feet of your completely enlightened soul and receive instruction on alignment. Conscious alignment with your soul is, in fact, the very definition of enlightenment. Stop searching for your soul and let your soul find you.

And don’t limit this meditative practice to your quiet times. Think about it as you go throughout your day. When the feeling of restlessness arises, pause and listen. Your soul is seeking to align your consciousness. How can you let this happen? How can you accommodate your soul’s interest in expressing through and as you? It is telling you that you are trying to be something that is foreign to your true nature. Pay attention to what it is saying.

Try this approach for a week and see what a genuine difference it will make. You and I didn’t come here to spend our lives baffled and in an endless search for something we cannot find. We came here to live and today is the only time we have to do that.

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What Is Spiritual Growth?

Question: You talk a lot about the complete soul, almost as if our spiritual aspirations are already fulfilled and there is nothing left for us to do. Is this what you are implying? If so, why do I feel so far away from the spiritual understanding I think I should have?

This is a paraphrase of a question that was raised for me recently, and it’s a very good one. The key to the answer is found in the second part of the question: “Why do I feel so far away from the spiritual understanding I think I should have?”

Many people have inadvertently made the spiritual awakening a foreign objective. Most of us have spent a lifetime living from a senses-based self-image that includes a theoretical rather than experiential understanding of the soul. Based on our studies, we have created a set of required rules that we must fulfill to develop our perceived immature soul. The idea that today, at this very moment, the soul is complete, does not fit our spiritual narrative. So we make no advances toward embracing this truth today. We wake up tomorrow, restart this same narrative and end the day with the same result. To think that repeating this daily cycle will one day produce a mature soul is, as someone pointed out, the very definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again with the hope of achieving a different result.

To stop doing the same thing over and over again, we have to start from a new beginning. Suppose you begin your day from this premise: I am spiritually complete right now. My soul is a projection of God, and in God there are no limits.  You will likely use all the apparent limitations in your life to refute this truth. So you run back to your old narrative. I must be spiritually incomplete or I wouldn’t have all these problems.

Experience should tell you that you will eventually resolve all the problems that loom in your life right now. It should also tell you that fresh ones will take their place. Tomorrow you will have problems you did not think existed today. So you resolve today’s problems and tomorrow you will have a new set.

If you think getting to the end of this cycle is a sign that you have arrived, I have news. If you are familiar with any of my books, you will recall that I suggested this is like hoping you can pass enough cars to get first in line in rush-hour traffic. It will never happen. Why? Because such a place does not exist. There is no “first in line” in rush-hour traffic. And if there were such a place, and you occupied it, everyone behind you would consider you the cause of all that backed-up traffic. You would likely become the target of a drone strike. If we can eliminate you, we’ll all get home faster.

I keep coming back to the idea that I am created in the image and after the likeness of God. There is something more than biblical authority in this phrase. All things have to be projections of God. Am I some strange kind of exception? I don’t think so. And I cannot perceive God as evolving or incomplete in any way. If I’m feeling spiritually incomplete, I must be missing something. Can I stop trying to solve all my short-sighted, rush-hour traffic problems long enough to consider what this missing element might be?

Back to the original question. Yes, there is much left for us to do. But our work does not lie in making ourselves into something other than we are already. Our work is in drilling down to what we are right now.

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Balancing Intuition and Intellect, part 2

Many people have a difficult time seeing practical value in distinguishing terms like intuition and intellect. I suggest this is because their approach to spiritual matters is strictly an intellectual one. Intuition is a fuzzy concept associated with hunches, gut feelings and even dreams. While these can all be sources of important signals, they also leave a lot of room for misinterpretation. Impulses believed to come from the soul may just as easily be traced to the dark recesses of the subconscious storehouse of memory.

We can bring clarity to these two terms, intuition and intellect, by associating them with two very important practices: meditation and prayer. Meditation is the practice of opening the intuitive side of our being. Prayer is the practice of setting the intellect, through denial and affirmation, to express the true character of being that arises from our meditative revelation. Meditation in an intuitive infilling of the life, love, power and intelligence of God through our soul. Prayer creates an intellectual environment that is conducive to the expression of this foundational reality.

Let’s say you have a prosperity issue in your life, an appearance of lack, and you approach it from the angle I am suggesting here. The first step is to go into meditation. You relax and release all concern and reaction to the appearance and you seek to experience the completeness of your being. As you release all senses input concerning this situation and you delve into the very fountain of your being, you experience the reality that you lack nothing. Your soul, in fact, rests in the everlasting arms of God. You touch your center in a way that causes you to know without a doubt that you are okay, that you are whole and free right now. It may take you several tries to reach this point, but when you do you come from your quiet time with the assurance that all is well. You then move back into your life. The moment you are confronted with the appearance of lack you deny it power by refusing to react negatively to it. You release your reaction of fear. In its place you remind yourself that you are now complete and that your completeness is now expressing through every aspect of your life. Your prayer practice is energized by the strength of knowing God as your limitless source.

In this example, your intellect is taking its cues from the intuitive revelation you experience in meditation. Most people do not take the time to avail themselves to the real power of their soul. We use denials and affirmations like weapons designed to beat off the great enemy of lack. We repeat positive phrases trying to assure ourselves that God will come to the rescue, that we deserve better, that as children of God, the best is none too good. Too often such phrases are void of the actual experience of the power they suggest. We speak words of truth and try to force them to become true as we white-knuckle our way through our unwanted situation.

When Jesus spoke of knowing the truth that will set us free, he was speaking of that intuitive connection to our soul. Freedom does not come through resolving issues. There will always be issues, wars and rumors of wars. Freedom in our experience comes through connecting to that part of our being that is always free, regardless of the state of external conditions.

Recalling our illustration with the fence, the sun shines in its fullness on one side and shadows are cast on the other. Meditation is the process of moving our awareness into and through an opening in the fence and experiencing the truth of the sunlight. Prayer is the act of making the opening in the fence larger so the truth of the sunlight can shine through and dispel the shadows of lack that plague our external life. Moving our awareness through the opening into the sunlight is the intuitive or meditative side. The action of widening the opening in the fence is the intellectual or prayerful side. If we do not first experience the infilling of the truth that we are already free, we will, as James points out, continue to pray amiss. We will fight our battles on the intellectual and emotional level only. We will be like those well-meaning companions of David who covered him in armor (memorized denials and affirmations) to confront the giant, Goliath. David threw off this inhibiting armor and drew directly from the strength of his Lord. It took but a single stone of direct knowing to accomplish what an entire well-armed army (a book filled with positive affirmations) could not.

Individual freedom does not come through osmosis. You cannot join a group of positive people and find the spiritual freedom you long for. You must find and move through that opening in your own fence and experience first-hand the truth of your being. Why depend of hunches, gut feelings and dreams to signal from afar that which you can know directly? God individualizes as your soul for the purpose of further expression on the material plane. The very face of God is hidden only by our refusal to take up the intuitive quest of seeking and finding this inner opening that is our only source of real power.


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Balancing Intuition and Intellect

There is a move among some in the metaphysical community to marginalize the role of intuition and place more focus on strengthening the intellect. This shift, I believe, is the primary cause behind the demise of Unity School’s ministerial training program. Attempting to bring it into an accredited entity acceptable to academic standards shifted the focus away from emphasis on spiritual to intellectual enlightenment. The accumulation of facts about the spiritual experience may enable one to earn a degree, but it does nothing to ensure that one is grounded in an actual spiritual experience. So-called spiritual leadership without a genuine spiritual awakening is simply another intellectual clanging cymbal.

To put this in perspective, we think of the universal presence of God individualizing at a focal point that is the soul. Every individual is actually capable of experiencing the individualizing process. Because it is a subjective experience, however, the intellect is not privy to it without the intuitive connection. The intellect can talk and write about it, as I am doing now, but it cannot receive the direct experience of God. The reason this is true is because the intellect only understands those things it can weigh, measure and explain. God cannot be weighed, measured or explained, and yet the intellect tries. The result is the endless parade of creed and dogma that pass as organized religion. A person can be completely steeped in such a religion but never once experience the actual enlightenment of an intuitive awakening. The bulk of followers of the world’s religions are subscribers to the intellectual creed and dogma side of a religion. The mystical side of the religion promoting a conscious union with God, remains a mystery.

We cannot weigh, measure or in any way quantify the soul and its universal source. We can, however, weigh, measure and quantify the world into which the soul expresses. The environment of the soul is limitless and invisible. The environment into which our soul has stepped is subject to the restrictions of time and space. The intuition is our “foot” in the spiritual realm, so to speak, while our intellect is a “foot” in the material realm. A person who defines themselves only from the intellectual perspective is essentially inventing a self-image void of a spiritual foundation. They substitute creed and dogma for intuitive exposure to God through the soul. Their spiritual life consists of holding a set of beliefs they think will someday earn them a place in God’s eternal kingdom. The intuitive, on the other hand, knows that they already exist in God’s eternal kingdom. Anchored in this direct exposure through their intuitive faculty, their intellect is able to factor in the truth of their complete soul in its weighing and measuring activities.

This second condition describes all of nature, which makes minimal use of an intellectual capability. The balance and beauty we see naturally expressed is the invisible passing without intellectual interference into the realm of the visible. It is not until we look at the human experience that we see an imbalance in this expression. The culprit is an intellect attempting to operate without the instruction of the intuition.

The development of dogma and creed is the result of our attempts to objectify the subjective experience of God. The one who experiences God is so enthralled with this deeper reality they clearly see the fallacy of following only intellectual cues. Yet, in their attempts to describe and share their experience, they must resort to the language of the intellect. In the case of Jesus, this language took the form of the parable. “The kingdom of God is like …” Those who have experienced some degree of the spiritual awakening understand the parable in intuitive terms. The far country of the prodigal son, for example, is a reference to the senses-based self-image attempting to live successfully consciously severed from the spiritual fountainhead. Likewise, the wide gate that leads to destruction (of spiritual awareness) is the senses-driven intellect that sees little or no value in passing through that narrow gate of intuitive knowing. Religious dogma interprets both of these conditions as the state of the “sinner” who fails to adopt the rules governing their intellectually-based logic. The straight and narrow path is a behavioral code intended to positively influence God’s attitude toward the one who walks it.

In truth, no religious code influences God’s attitude or behavior. Like the sun, God shines always in full glory, and on the just and the unjust. While the intellect can invent logical reasons for God to turn against them, the spiritual intuitive knows the impossibility of this notion. I can turn away from God but God can never turn away from me. I can behave as if God is not present but God can never be absent. I can suffer the consequences of believing God is punishing me for my sins but God can never punish me for anything. The darkness that comes from turning away from the warmth and beauty of God is the only punishment I will experience. The far country is not a place where God does not exist. It is a world of my own creation, a place where I suffer the consequences of believing I can separate myself from God.

The weakness of virtually every spiritual organization is their need to identify themselves by what they teach rather than by what their teachings encourage in an individual’s personal awakening. In its early stages, the instructors, like the founder/s, are fired by the intuitive flame of direct experience. Over time, the intellectually-driven academics step in to hammer out the creeds and dogmas that may be memorized and passed on to spiritually sleeping students who are graded, not on the actual state of their consciousness, but on how well they can parrot back the information they have been given. It is a spiritual death spiral that happens so slowly it goes unnoticed. The curriculum may be polished and shine, but it does little to advance its stated purpose of bringing genuine enlightenment to the world. Passing on enlightened ideas should not be confused with actual enlightenment, though it nearly always is.

Intuition or intellect is not an either/or proposition. Intuition is our spiritual inlet and intellect is our material outlet for expressing in our world that ever-expanding movement that is in full operation at our core. The will of God is unlimited expression. The intuition is party to this expansive process and the intellect is privileged to become our means of bringing this expression into the full spectrum of our conditions.

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In The World, Not of It

Click for audio: In the World, Not of It

Part 3 of 6: Navigating from the Complete Soul

Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).

When Jesus refers to the world, he is referring to the general, senses-based perception of reality to which most of us subscribe. We deem as real that which we see with the eye and hear with the ear. If it is true, as we saw last week, that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, does this mean that we are to treat as unreal all that comes to us through the senses?

Science presents its own version of the dilemma by stating that matter is 99.999% empty space. Does this mean when I crack my shin on the coffee table that it cannot possibly hurt, that gasp-inducing pain is simply an illusion?

The above passage does not deny our human experience. It reminds us of the spiritual foundation upon which our human expression rests. Jesus’ reference, “to be with me where I am,” is a way of saying that those who understand his message – whom thou hast given me – are awakening to the truth of their spiritual nature. This shift in self-perception is a vital key to developing a successful relationship to our external world.

Imagine that you have taken on your human body because you felt you had something important to give. Have you forgotten what this something is? Then look at the world you are in. What of yourself can you bring to this world right now? What of your genuine nature can you share in this day, in this moment?

To be in the world but not of it is not a denial of our body and our material surroundings and needs. It is to acknowledge the glory God is expressing through our soul, that we may bring it into this world that is ours alone to share.





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Thy Will, Not Mine, Be Done

Using the metaphor of a wall with various sized holes, Emilie Cady gave a wonderful illustration of the tendency of human consciousness. Each person, peering through a different sized hole, proclaims that their view is the most accurate depiction of the world when, in fact, all such claims fall short of what is true of the actual landscape.

I have found a slightly different use of the fence and its holes in explaining the various levels of life as it is expressed through the countless forms we see everywhere. As in yesterday’s post, imagine the sun shining in its fullness on one side of the fence. In the fence itself are various sized holes, each one allowing a different degree of sunlight to pass. The larger the hole, the more light passes through.

If we think of the sun and its light as God and we think of the fence and its holes as the biological interface through which God as this universal Creative Life Force expresses, we find a helpful way to view our place in this natural scheme.

The light that passes through every hole is the same life, love, power and intelligence found in our universal Source, but is expressed in different degrees, depending on the size of the hole. The earthworm, for example, would represent a much smaller opening than say the chimpanzee. Likewise, the chimpanzee would represent a smaller opening than the human being.

When we think of the dynamic of evolution, the principles involved do not apply to God, this blazing source of light that has always and will always exist in its fullness. “In the beginning, God …” The same can be said of the soul, which I’ll address in a moment. The principles of evolution apply only to the fence and its various sized holes (biosphere).

We could say in a very general sense that the hole size is determined by brain capacity. In nature, the size of this opening is biologically capped. Remove the human factor, and nature will carry on as it has for the last several billion years, never rising above the instinct-driven actions of gathering food and reproducing. In this regard we might say that while nature completely fills a certain horizontal sphere, it does not possess the ability to move further vertically. Nature’s largest opening in the fence is as large as it will ever be. All of its creative energies are devoted to eating and reproduction. For vertical movement to occur we need a biological vehicle capable of breaching this natural barrier, and this is where the human species stands apart.

Our individual soul represents a projection of this universal Source that only human biology is capable of transmitting. This is made possible by our expanded brain capacity and our unique faculty of imagination. Physically, and regardless of brain size, we will never be able to project into the material plane the infinite capacity of the soul. The soul will, however, continue to push the biological envelope in an ever-increasing vertical direction.

The driving force of evolution is not biological, as material science suggests. Evolution is driven by the omnipotence of God, the Creative Life Force. This Force has but one objective: unlimited expression. In biblical terms we would call this the will of God. In all of nature, there is only one place where discontent and dissatisfaction can be detected. That place is the human being. The natural world does not strive to be someplace else or to be something other than it is. Nor does nature dope itself into oblivion as a way of deadening its eternally restless quest for peace and contentment. Only the human being lives with this curse. Why? Because only we possess the capacity to penetrate the vertical barrier. It is because we do not know we are in possession of this unique ability that we continue to strive for objectives that miss the mark and fall short of our soul’s capacity for unlimited expression.

The highest form of spiritual teaching is one that encourages each individual to know that their deep desire for greater freedom is the action of God seeking unlimited expression. While the spiritually asleep human tendency is to bruise its environment by expanding its world only in horizontal directions, meditation upon this divine drive for greater expression brings the mind into alignment with a more vertically directed thrust. As the beauty of this prospering truth dawns on us, we gladly embrace the prayer of Thy will, not mine, be done.



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What is the Highest Good?

In our metaphysical terminology, we often use the phrase, highest good. We pray for the highest good of all concerned. We see the highest good for every individual involved in a particular situation. We affirm the highest good for our country, especially during an election cycle. What do we mean by this? If there is indeed an identifiable highest good for all, why isn’t everyone always completely satisfied with every outcome?

Yesterday I used the example of the window blind to illustrate the role that consciousness plays in our personal experience. I would like to use this example again, but in a slightly different way. Think of sunlight as the universal energy of God, unconditionally bathing the earth with its life-giving warmth and light. Now think of this light streaming through a window and filling a room. The sunlight shining through the window is the same light that shines outside, yet it is now individualized in a distinct way — a light-filled room.

If we think of the soul in this way, we can see the universal life, love, power and intelligence that is God individualizing as our soul and shining into this room we call our life. Each life is like an individual room capable of being filled with universal light that gives itself freely to brighten each room. This relationship of the universal light giving itself to the personal experience of a light-filled room is an unbroken chain of expression we may deem as the highest good. The light is expressing on earth (in the room) as it is in heaven (throughout the entire solar system).

Anything that might block the light’s ability to fully express at every level can be thought of as an interruption to this highest good. Drawing the window blinds and blocking the sunlight brings darkness into the room. To restore the chain of expression of light, we will be tempted to focus on the condition of darkness in the room and seek remedies to alleviate it. We have success eliminating darkness with the incandescent lamp, and so we shift our definition of highest good from sunlight to some form of artificial light. Because there are so many forms of artificial light, we pray that one of these, the best one, is turned on in our darkened room. We drop from a single remedy — open the blinds — to multiple remedies, none of which compare to the real solution of letting in the sun.

The window blind represents our understanding of our relationship to God. The experiential awareness of God as our Source is a fully open blind. A closed blind is the belief that we are separate from God and the darkness in the room (our life) is the natural result. The highest good in every case is to open the blind.

When we pray for the highest good of another, we do well to simply see them as opening the blind that is blocking the natural flow of light into the room of their life. With this blind open, the person can see for themselves the best way to move forward. Specifics fall in place as shadows naturally disappear beneath the stream of light.

There is much confusion in the room when people ask, “Is it this thing or is it that thing that is for my highest good?” There is really a single answer. Open the blinds and let the light fill your room. Only then does the choice between “this” and “that” becomes clear.


Posted in A Spiritual Journey, consciousness, law of expression, spiritual guidance, The Complete Soul | 2 Comments

Another Look at Consciousness

Much has been written about consciousness and the influence it has on our spiritual development. Consciousness has been defined as the sum of our beliefs. While at one level this is certainly true, The Complete Soul points out that we do not form and hold our beliefs randomly, that they revolve around a particular nucleus, a center of gravity with which these beliefs resonate. We do not and cannot hold beliefs that are incompatible with the way we see ourselves. This understanding of self can be the body-centered self-image or it can be the soul. Consciousness is generated from both centers, so the sum of our beliefs always accurately reflect our self-perception.

I think it’s safe to say that most people regard the body-centered self-image as their core identity, which is why so many have come to believe that self/life-improvement is accomplished through a change in one’s belief structure or consciousness. This is the hope of those who think that if we can just raise our collective consciousness, the world will be a better place. Change consciousness and we can change the world.

The problem with this approach is that it treats consciousness as a cause when it is, in fact, an effect. Again, the sum of our beliefs (consciousness) reflect our self-understanding. As this understanding changes, the character of our belief system follows.

Imagine a sunny day and you are sitting in a room that is pitch black because the blinds are drawn. If you want to find your way around the room, you need to use some form of artificial light, a flashlight for example. Suppose you have always seen yourself and your world in this way. You live in a dark space and your hope of successfully finding your way around depends on the light you acquire. You will place a great deal of value on the flashlight and a good supply of batteries. Your entire belief system revolves around the problem of a pitch black room.

Now suppose you are told that there is another way to experience your life. You can open the blinds. You open them and more light than you have ever seen in your life instantly floods in, so much that you no longer have a need for the flashlight. More importantly, you no longer have a need to remain confined to this room. You now see that there is a whole, unexplored world waiting for you.

Think of consciousness as the blinds. You keep them closed because you believe you are confined to this room filled with darkness. You value things that generate artificial light. The setting of the blinds (closed) exactly represents how you see yourself. Then, you suddenly realize that you are capable of experiencing much more than this life illumined by artificial light dictates. This awareness causes you to reach up and open the blinds. The set of the blinds, whether open or closed, is the effect of your understanding of yourself.

Many who believe they are on the spiritual path are really involved in a process of accumulating flashlight batteries. They are gathering information that will help them find their way through the dark. The practice of meditation is a willingness to lay aside our self-perception (open the blinds) and to experience the light of the soul that the darkness of spiritual ignorance has not and will never overcome. The actual experience of the soul transforms consciousness from the logic of belief to the conviction of knowing.

The moment we experience the light of our own soul, our system of values change. While the self-image places a great deal of value on the flashlight, the soul’s values are grounded in raising the blinds. Consciousness then is better thought of, not as the sum of our beliefs but the sum of our values. The beliefs we hold follow the self-perception we value. When the thing we value most is a direct experience of our soul, we will raise the blinds and leave the flashlight and our endless need for new batteries behind.


Posted in A Spiritual Journey, evolving soul myth, J Douglas Bottorff, self image, The Complete Soul | 2 Comments