The Truth About Judgment

 Click for audio: The Truth About Judgment

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get” (Matthew 7:1-2).

Much has been written about judgment, usually casting it in the unfavorable light of a practice we should avoid. Passing judgment on another, we’re told, is a sure way to reap unwanted consequences. But what if we understand that the motive and actions of another are selfish, disruptive, even potentially harmful to ourselves and others? Do we never say no, but stand in harm’s way, and deal with the fallout as if it’s only our soul’s lesson to learn? Does learning to hold our peace while getting trampled earn us points in heaven?

I have devised a question that may help sort through this very common type of situation: Am I protecting a weakness, or am I advancing a strength? Am I afraid to do what I know is right, or can I do what is right and own the consequences?

While we may think of the ministry of Jesus as a great gift to the world, we should also remember that there were many people who did not want him to continue. Had he capitulated to their short-sighted concerns, he would have been protecting a weakness. His fear would have robbed the world of the gifts he brought. As it happened, he stood his spiritual ground and gave from his greatest place of strength.

Are we to suppose that Jesus advocated neutralizing our faculty of judgment, or was he simply calling attention to the fact that we’re actually judged by our own motive? If we are protecting a weakness, we will perpetuate weakness. If we are advancing from a position of strength, we will contribute to stronger, healthier conditions.

Whatever conclusions we draw from this will set the tone for our experience in life. Judgment is one of our executive faculties and should not be denied. Being clear about the motive from which we exercise this faculty will go a long way toward resolving any confusion about it.

Rising Above the Fog of Uncertainty

Not long ago I was talking with a person who was at a crossroad in their life and that the spiritual principles that had worked in the past were having no impact. “I’m looking for guidance,” this person said, “but all I see is fog.” Because I too have stood at a similar crossroad and stared into that same bank of fog, I shared a truth that I came to know: It is often when your world is shrouded in fog that you gain your clearest vision.

In thinking of spiritual principles, our tendency is to see them as tools that will help lift the fog. Our fulfillment is somewhere out there in the distance but we are unable to see it. We cannot see it because some distracting condition has occurred. So we reach into our spiritual bag of tricks—positive attitude, denials, affirmations, forgiveness, tithing, random acts of kindness—and we make a renewed effort to apply one or all of these until the fog of uncertainty lifts.

The problem with this approach is that it does nothing to either lift the fog or to advance our spiritual understanding. Whether or not you do anything about it, fog, in its many forms, comes and goes. Things go well for a time, then they seem to fall apart. The deeper spiritual issue has less to do with the fog and more to do with understanding the one who is peering into it.

The self-image that we drop into the world every day is full of specific dreams and desires meant to enhance and protect its stature and increase its peace of mind. The soul, however, is not tied to the needs of the self-image. To the contrary, the soul issues a perpetual reminder that we are much more than we think.

The self-image is like a glass jar into which we have tried to stuff the soul and then live a free life. What many are calling spiritual development and self-improvement is nothing more than a scramble for a bigger jar. Our spiritual arsenal is a bag of tricks intended to protect and bring stability to this inherently fragile structure. Rather than understand the vulnerability of the jar, our mission becomes one of protecting it from the possibility of breakage. Thus, our aversion to fog.

What if we understood that the fog is not a thing out there, but a film on our glass jar? What if we realized, as Paul suggested, that we are merely seeing through a glass darkly? Would we not stop battling the fog and turn our attention instead to climbing out of the jar? Buddhism attributes the cause of suffering to the act of clinging. In our analogy, this implies something much more than the tendency to cling to the needs of the jar. We are to examine our need to cling to the jar itself.

Can you, for a moment, imagine shedding the image of the person you think you are, to rise from the confines of your jar and simply let yourself be? In the few moment it takes to accomplish this, you see you are not the least bit threatened by those glass-breaking people and things you encounter in your life. The stones they cast pass right through you. You no longer have to wait for the vision-impairing fog to lift. You yourself rise above it. And it’s not because you have suddenly become something more than you were moments ago. You are simply experiencing the truth of who you are and who you have always been.

The Truth About Grace

Click for audio: The Truth About Grace

To assist in sorting through those elements of our religious training that may or may not be true, it’s helpful to start with a baseline concerning the nature of God. For example, can our thoughts and actions influence the way God behaves? If we do our best to walk the straight and narrow, will God grant us special blessings?

I recently spoke with a woman whose husband finally got a good-paying job. She said, “I think God has seen how we’ve struggled, that we really try to be good people and do the right thing. This really feels like a God thing.”

This seems perfectly logical, and a lot of people endorse the idea. But then a Jesus comes along and says something like this: “… for he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Is he saying God is as willing to help the evil and the unjust as the good and the just? Or is he simply saying, God is changeless?

The notion of grace, in its highest form, is really an acknowledgement of the changeless nature of God. Unfortunately, the general understanding of grace, at least in Christian thinking, is that it is a free and unmerited favor of God. We don’t deserve it, but God loves us and will do the occasional favor for us anyway.

In truth, grace is simply God being God. Whether we live with our mind and heart open to the presence of God has no more bearing on God’s behavior than it would on bringing sunshine or rain.

If you have a situation in your life that needs a resolution, try dropping all thought around the idea that God is trying to teach you something, or that you probably deserve this problem but you would like God’s help anyway. Focus instead on the truth that God is changeless love and light, and that God is now working through you in the most marvelous way to resolve your situation.  Affirm the following:

By grace I am lifted above all fear, all struggle, all doubt that God’s greatest good is now unfolding through me. Thank you God, that this is true!

The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment  

Click for audio: The Truth About Spiritual Enlightenment

The belief that our soul is evolving produces a number of side effects that have a subtly negative impact on how we approach our spiritual quest. One of these is our view of spiritual enlightenment. Many see this as a state they will reach after years of study and devotion, a time when they will live with the perpetual awareness of the wisdom of the ages and remain blissfully unperturbed when negative appearances arise.

The principles presented in The Complete Soul challenge this spiritual stereotype. Spiritual enlightenment is not a condition we find at the end of our spiritual journey; it’s a shift in values that truly marks the beginning of our spiritual journey.

I refer often to the parable of the man who discovered the buried treasure in a field, then sold his possessions so he could buy that field. This man was not enlightened after he owned the field. He was enlightened the moment he discovered the treasure. At that moment, his search for treasure ended. All his actions were then focused on possessing that which he had discovered.

You are enlightened the moment you realize you are an eternal, spiritual being who currently inhabits a physical body. You have discovered the buried treasure. Your work now is to free yourself from all previously learned falsehoods and bring the realization of your spiritual understanding to bear in every area of your life.

Implementing this truth is a progression. Coming to know it is not. When you connect with an idea you know at your very core is true, you cannot turn back. You will, of course, expand your understanding, but when you are moved by an exposure to what your soul knows is true, you are changed for life. No one can argue you off what you know is true. You are an enlightened being.

It is not wise to discuss this with others, as they will consider you arrogant. It’s nothing to brag about. You have simply reached that point in your journey where you have made a significant and permanent breakthrough. Recognize and cherish it.

The Quest for Immortality

Click for audio: The Quest for Immortality

Many metaphysical teachings suggest that the body need not be subject to the laws of time, space, and gravity, that there’s really no reason for the body to age, get ill, and perish. Some have even taught that we should be able to so align our consciousness with the regenerative properties of God, that we could live in the body forever.

Most who have sought the brass ring of perpetual youth – physical immortality – have taken a less philosophical approach. All one had to do was bathe in the proper healing waters, no consciousness-lifting required. In Jesus’ day, this was the pool of Bethesda. If you were first to make it to the pool after the angel’s disturbed the waters, you would be healed of your malady. And we’ve all heard of Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon’s quest for the fountain of youth.

It’s estimated that by 2019, the global anti-aging market will be worth an astounding, $191.7 billion U.S. dollars. Beginning in 2012, pro-immortality political parties have organized in Russia, the United States, Israel, and the Netherlands whose aim is to provide political support to research and technologies focused on anti-aging and what they call, radical life extension.

All of this points to the obsession with the body-based self-image. The quest for physical immortality reveals a deep-seated fear that the loss of the body is equal to the annihilation of the soul, our true essence and identity. This fear is reinforced by modern science’s assumption that consciousness is a product of the brain. When the brain dies, so do we.

Because it is easier to identify with the body and its endless needs, we can easily lose sight of the truth that we, as spiritual beings, are by nature immortal. When Paul suggested that we will not all experience the sting of death, I believe he was referring to those who know who and what they are at the deepest level. Near-death research reveals that one of the most common elements of those who have had an NDE is the complete loss of the fear of death. This is because they have experienced the soul and found it to be immortal.

Our quest for immortality amounts to nothing more than a perceptual shift. We are not the body. The body is the physical interface we use to interact with the world. That which we are, the soul, is in this world, but as Jesus said, we’re not of it. We are expressions of the eternal Source of life we call God.

 

Facebook/Linkedin Detach

Just so you’ll know, I’m disconnecting my Facebook and Linkedin accounts from this blog. Those of you who receive blog updates via email are subscribers. Those who get the Facebook/LinkedIn notice are not subscribers and may not be interested in the content of this blog.

When I publish something I think will be of interest, I’ll manually post it on both social media sites.

You’ll notice a drop in followers of this blog. Disconnecting from Facebook and Linkedin will explain this.

Thanks,

Doug

Missing in Action

Yes, I know I’ve been missing in action.

I am currently developing a video project based on The Complete Soul. I think it’s going to be one of the clearest presentations of spiritual principles I’ve shared since I began writing for Unity Magazine in the early 80’s [God rest their soul].

Please bear with me through this process. I’m publishing my weekly Sunday talks so you’ll know I’m still alive.

As always, thank you all for your continued love and support.

Doug