Commitment to the Ideal

YouTube: Commitment to the Ideal

Audio: Commitment to the Ideal

Jesus said to him, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:62).

There is a significant number of Bible verses attributed to Jesus that give keys to understanding and practical application of our spiritual resources. Absolute commitment to an ideal is another key.

We are beginning to understand that there is a definite connection between our consciousness and the way our life unfolds. We have come to see that if we can play a role in creating what we see in our experience, we can also play a role in creating what we would like to see. The image we hold of our self and our life influences our thoughts, our feelings, and our actions that go into building the external side of our life.

When you use your imagination to form a new picture of what you would like to see in your life, you discover quickly how easily that picture is challenged. The old self-image does not just dissolve because you decide you don’t want it anymore. You still have plenty of emotion and logic tied up in the old. So it’s important to understand that a permanent change of mind requires a commitment. One moment you can hold a wonderful ideal and the next moment find it, like a sand castle, washed away by a wave of negative emotion.

Right here is where you need to remember the advice of Jesus. Put your hand to the plow and keep it there, no matter how you feel and no matter what appearances are saying. One moment may indeed bring the appearance of failure, but the next moment will present the opportunity for success. If you throw up your hands and walk away from your plow in that apparent moment of failure, you will not see your opportunity for success. You’ll never get your “field” in shape to produce the abundance you desire.

Refuse to quit, and you will see your life transform.

The Tie that Binds

YouTube: The Tie that Binds

Audio: The Tie that Binds

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

One of the most important features found in the teachings of Jesus is his understanding of the relationship between God and the individual. This understanding is important, not so much for its futuristic impact as for its impact on daily life. “God is Spirit,” he said, “and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” God is invisible, like a breath of air, but very real and very responsive. This presence permeates all, but most importantly, it permeates and is responsive to each person.

God does not respond to us on a capricious whim, but by law. In the above statement, Jesus points out why our life unfolds the way it does. If you think of “earth” as your mind and “heaven” as the creative process of God, you see that Jesus was talking about the process of converting spiritual energy into the material layout of our lifescape. To bind something on earth is to form a definite mental and emotional image of it and then charge this image with enough faith to bring it about. The unseen, formless energy of Spirit then goes to work to bring into manifestation that which you have “bound” in your own consciousness. Thus, what you bind on earth, or latch onto in your mind, assures that the universal, creative process of Spirit will follow suit.

To begin to create a new life through this conscious “binding” process, you must first embrace your life just as it is. If you are thinking of your life as a kind of prison from which you must escape, you are creating barred doors that will prevent your freedom. Accept that you have created life as you are experiencing it now and begin blessing the good that abounds. Hold a vision of your life as healthy, prosperous, and successful, and getting better. In creating a vision of where you would like to go, include much praise and thanksgiving for where you are.

The Resurrection Principle

YouTube: The Resurrection Principle

Audio: The Resurrection Principle

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

According to Matthew’s version of the resurrection, when “Mary Mag’dalene and the other Mary went to see the sepulcher,” they found it empty. An angel was there to tell them Jesus had risen from the dead. The Easter story presents the defining principle for both mainstream and alternative Christianity. In both cases, Easter illustrates that life, not death, is the truth behind all appearances to the contrary. We celebrate Easter in the Spring because all around us we see the resurrection of new life from the dry stalks and branches of apparent death, and we marvel at the tenacity and the proliferation of this mysterious, living energy. Traditional Christianity draws its meaning of Easter from the past, projecting its fulfillment as a glorious and everlasting future. In metaphysical Christianity, we invoke the principle of resurrection in our current affairs by letting go of the old and affirming the new. Life is always creating new channels through which to express itself. Our work is to make ourselves as open as possible to the renewing energy of this resurrecting force so that every point of our experience may expand and flourish. Are you sealed in a tomb of fear and negation, worried about your future, uncertain about the outcome of some current situation? Then begin to release this fear and affirm that the resurrecting power of life is now lifting you beyond all restrictions, all uncertainty, all inhibitions, and that your life is full of new possibilities, and those possibilities are unfolding now, like the spring buds bursting all around you. Open your mind to God’s resurrecting life right now, right where you are, and enjoy the blessings of a transformed experience.

Run To, Not From

YouTube: Run To, Not From

Audio: Run To, Not From

“It is perfectly natural for the human mind to seek to escape from its troubles by running away from present environments, or by planning some change on the material plane. … There is no permanent or real outward way of escape from miseries or circumstances; all help must come from within.”   Emilie Cady

Most all of us have dreams and desires that would have us leaving one condition and moving to another. While the motivation for some of these changes may seem obvious—simple improvements to our life conditions—others may be pointing to our need to be still and take another look. We might be running from an inner call to come up higher, to begin filling the undesired condition from within.

We usually see unsatisfying conditions as a glass filled only half way with water. We want a full glass and so we set aside the half-empty glass and pursue one that is fuller. Rather than set the half-filled glass aside, it may be that we simply need to fill the glass we have rather than seek another.

When Cady suggests that help must come from within, she is pointing to the idea of beginning right where we are, using the conditions we have, to begin filling our life. In other words, rather than curse our conditions, we start blessing them and asking how we can give more of ourselves to fill them.

You may be in a demanding relationship and you say, “I’m already giving as much as I can, and they just keep wanting more.” Maybe you’re feeling drained, not because you are giving so much but because you are giving against your will. If you want to fill this glass, you must stop denying how you really feel and begin giving from a basis that is true. You are going along to get along, so you’re not really giving out of who and what you are, and the relationship suffers because of it.

Pour the full force of your being into your present circumstances. Top off the cup that is yours to fill. When it is full, you may decide you want to keep it.

 

 

The Challenge of Oneness

[From A Spiritual Journey]

While people often agree with the idea that they are one with God, many will admit to feeling separate most of the time. The experience of oneness, they acknowledge, requires much effort and intention, a letting go and seeking to bridge the gap between their senses-based ego and their soul’s oneness with God. Although this conscious unity with God is our natural heritage, it requires steady mindfulness to make it a practical part of our daily experience. With most of us, our quest for conscious unity with God takes on a kind of ebb and flow. Our awareness constantly shifts between God and worldly concerns, with the bulk of our focus on those concerns.

I relate this to the man who found the treasure in the field. Knowing the treasure is there even as we’re busy “selling” our possessions to buy that field is a great comfort. I used to fear that I was digressing in these spiritually distracted times, but now I know this is not true. The soul’s light is steadfast even if our focus on spiritual matters is not. When our attention is wandering out in some far country, we’re still aware of our true home. Despite our feelings of separation, we never lose the memory of our oneness.

The feeling of separation is not an issue to one who has never experienced some level of oneness with their spiritual Source. This feeling of inner lack is, for them, a material issue addressed through the further pursuit of material things. Though they may not yet walk on water, the spiritually advanced grapple with this feeling of separation as a spiritual rather than a material problem.

For me, it is clarifying to draw a distinction between consciousness evolution and a perceived soul development. Our self-image is out of alignment with that which is true at the soul level. This understanding eliminates all perceived degrees of soul development and places our progress squarely on our system of values rather than on the erroneously conceived fluctuation of the soul.

The more value we place on experiencing our soul, the more attention we give to reasons such an experience might seem so elusive. Even if we give it no attention, our soul’s wholeness remains intact. We cannot damage our spiritual heritage through negligence. Our wandering in the far country neither offends God nor sparks any kind of need for divine forgiveness.

We lift a huge weight from our shoulders when we make peace with the fact that we can never negatively affect the condition of our soul or of our relationship of oneness with God. We can suffer, we can experience spiritual deprivation, we can feel alone and desperate in our far country, but our soul remains one with God. We can, at any moment, come to ourselves, turn with the understanding that we will be welcomed with open arms back into our eternal home with our loving Father.

A Change of Plan

Dear friends,

Today I experienced a change of plan, and was unable to present my weekly talk. For our local congregation, I instead presented a segment of a video series I am working on for my book, The Complete Soul. Because this series is not yet ready for release, I would rather not make it available to the general public at this point. My plan is to present Run To, Not From – a talk based on the writings of Emilie Cady  this coming Sunday.

Some of you have told me you are playing catch-up on the week’s videos, so maybe this pause on my part will give you that opportunity. I apologize for any inconvenience, but I’ll resume regular audio/video programming next Sunday.

Thanks for your ongoing support, and thank you for any topical suggestions you may have for future presentations. Beginning with Easter, I will start a series on the spiritual principles taught by Jesus. Blessings, JDB

 

 

Question on Meditation

Question: I try to meditate but I just can’t seem to get anywhere. I know you’ve written a book on this subject but could you share some thoughts that might help someone like me?

As we consider spiritual ideas, it’s important to remember that there are two types of learning: intellectual and intuitive. Intellectual learning involves the accumulation of spiritual facts. We do this through study and exposure to teachers. Intuitive learning is based on direct exposure to the soul. This experience is then transmitted to the intellect. Because the experience is subjective in nature, it cannot be taught. But don’t make a mystery of this. Someone can explain what orange juice tastes like, but you don’t really know until you actually take a sip and experience it for yourself. Then you learn in an instant.

Taste, of course, is not an intuitive function, but we can use it as an example of things that can only be known through experience. Touch is another example. You look at a bowl of water that may be warm or cool. The instant you place your fingers in the water you learn its temperature through direct experience.

The intuitive faculty is capable of sensing and experiencing the subtle spiritual energy that is your being. The Bible refers to this energy as “living water” that wells up from within. This metaphor provides a way to think of our spiritual connection that cannot otherwise be defined or imparted by another.

The intuitive experience is not emotional. Nor should it be confused with those “hunches” that a thing is true or false, or that we should make a certain decision. This type of knowing is important and very useful. But we’re talking about something of a deeper nature. The intuition open to the soul does indeed stir the emotion and instills peace and the feeling that something greater than our own consciousness is at work. This revelation we seek involves knowing the true nature of Being, and this is imparted only through direct experience. Jesus compared it to the wind that you feel and hear but do not see. It is invisible but very real. You know it when it seeps into your awareness. You experience the joy of freedom knowing you are much more, and something much different than you thought.

This is an important observation. As you seek to open your intuition to the soul, you do so with the willingness to let go of who and what you think you are. Most of us maintain a running internal dialog that creates an endless loop of definition and response: I am this, so that is what I need. It is best to release all preconceived expectations, all definitions of God, the soul, and the self. As much as possible, make yourself an empty vessel receptive to inner energies that are totally familiar and natural but have likely gone unnoticed beneath the constant drumming of a perpetually busy mind. I assume this is the problem you are having.

It is not possible to force results. If you find yourself struggling, open your eyes and move about if you need to. You want to break yourself of all attempts to create an experience. If you stay with it, you will likely begin to have brief, nearly imperceptible movements of spirit. If you can recapture and pursue these, fine. Just don’t chase after them. During the day, you may find such experiences rise naturally on their own, without any effort on your part. You suddenly feel good and lifted without knowing why. You experience an unprovoked sense of joy and well-being. Take these as a sign that you are cracking the shell, that more is being done than you realize.

The spiritual breakthrough will come if you stay with it. Our externally driven western culture contributes to most of the mental and emotional distractions we encounter. From very early in life, we are taught to look to the world for the peace, joy, and well-being that we seek. For most of us, going within and seeking an experience with the unadulterated core of our being is a foreign endeavor. We are taught to pray looking to the heavens rather than to the kingdom of heaven within.

A helpful attitude to hold while meditating is this: “Before they call, I will answer. While they are still speaking I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). I have said often that we desire more because we are more. It is the fullness of your soul that beckons you to come up higher. You are not creating this desire; you are responding to it. The fact that you have come to believe there is value in seeking an inner awakening says that you are on your way to a broader experience. Everyone gets discouraged, but don’t give up on it. You will eventually find that meditation is very natural and a thing you already know how to do.

I hope this is helpful.