Understanding Consciousness

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The world in which we live is a product of our consciousness. In fact, it is our consciousness. You and I rarely experience the full potential of any event. We experience our feelings, our interpretation of the event.”  (Excerpt from A Practical Guide to Meditation and Prayer, JDB)

In our approach to the subjects of meditation and prayer, it is important that we understand the nature of the world we are praying from. When we have a need, the solution nearly always involves a shift in our unique perspective of the situation. In other words, it’s not the thing happening that is our primary concern, but how we feel about the thing that is happening that we are seeking to change. Even the simplest meditative observation can show you that your reaction to the event is the thing that is upsetting to you.

When we view earth from space, we clearly see the thin blue layer of atmosphere that surrounds our globe. From earth the sky appears to be blue, but as we move beyond this cushion of air that is vital to our physical existence, we see the space beyond as black. Think of your consciousness in a similar way. You are enveloped in an atmosphere of consciousness that causes you to see the events of your life in a specific way.

Meditation expands the way you see. In ways similar to space travel, it opens your mind to a context larger than the usual perspective you carry. You begin to sense that your being is resting in an all sustaining atmosphere of life, love, power and intelligence, and that, regardless of circumstances, you will be fine. Having somewhat touched this inner reality changes your perspective. Instead of reacting to your situation you now begin to affirm the truth that God is your source, God is your true guiding light. Your consciousness then begins to conform to this new understanding and you approach it with new vitality and renewed strength and optimism.

Do not allow yourself to feel frustrated if you can’t seem to change a situation through prayer. Use your energy to gain a higher, broader perspective of the event. Change your consciousness and the situation will follow.

 

 

Where is Your Heart?

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Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

An important key to understanding the kingdom that Jesus spoke of is that it is spiritual in nature, not material. The material is the effect of an underlying spiritual cause. “ … what is seen was made out of things which do not appear” (Heb. 11:3).

To “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” is an instruction to build a consciousness of God as your invisible, ever-abundant source of all good, knowing this consciousness draws to us a material counterpart in the form of conditions and things.

When you pray for healing, for example, seek to envision the reality of your present spiritual wholeness. Affirm that your wholeness is your reality, that it is now interacting with the atoms and cells of your physical body in ways that demonstrate wholeness. If you feel stuck in your life, quietly open your mind to the borderless reality of spirit within you, that inner energy that is even now building and sustaining worlds that have not entered your mind. Focus on putting your being in motion in new directions. Open the floodgates of new inspiration. Don’t struggle toward a new external condition. Affirm a new inner condition by seeing and feeling where you want to go emotionally.

Scriptures like this one have caused people to denounce the material realm as an interference in their spiritual life. This scripture does not denounce materiality, it simply puts it in perspective. According to the gospels Jesus manifested loaves and fishes and initiated many physical healings. He was a master of the material domain because his heart was in the all-encompassing reality of his unfailing spiritual resource.

The Door is Open

I think it’s important to constantly evaluate our spiritual assumptions. We should take care that our quest for Truth does not become the opioid that makes us feel better but offers no cure. Do I actually believe that I am a spiritual being, or do I just like the sound of it? What does it mean to be a spiritual being at this place in my life? What does it mean to be a spiritual being with this problem that confronts me now? What does it mean to be in this body? Is prayer, as I practice it, effective or does it feel like a hit and miss proposition? Am I always having to rationalize things to make them fit into the spiritual ideas I’ve adopted? Can I close my eyes, go within and know the freeing presence of God? Is my understanding of God my own, or am I trying to make sense of borrowed concepts?

One of the most striking features of my own direct experience with God has been that it is different from anything I expected. God is pure energy, a living, quiet intelligence that lifts me above my storehouse of human thought. Perhaps it was described to me in this way but I could not grasp it, especially against the anthropomorphic backdrop of concepts of God that I had been given. There is no higher or more clarifying action than coming to this quiet center where the universal life force of God seeps into your awareness. But each one must have his or her own experience to appreciate such a statement.

A direct experience with God brought me into the ministry. I do not mean this in the conventional sense of a religious calling. I mean it in the sense that the experience is accessible to all and is so beautifully simple that I wanted to share it with the world. Stepping into the realm of ministry, however, is stepping into the realm of countless religious preconceptions. Many are seeking to recover from the weight of teachings that insist on their sinfulness, the need for salvation, and the way they must go to achieve it. In this sense, New Thought is no different from the mainstream. An adopted belief that is not yours by experience is a weight you will eventually want to shed. Theological problems do not exist in God. No religious exposure or education is required to go within your inner closet and commune directly with the living Presence. These, in fact, may prove to be the very barriers that keep God at an experiential distance.

I can spend time thinking of myself, taking pride in my successes and yearning for other choices in those situations that culminated in failure. But none of this matters when I come to God. It is as if the slate is wiped clean. I have not come to this place over a long and winding road. This place is new, clean, not the least bit affected by my realized or unrealized dreams. This breath I take now is the one that matters. This step I take right now is my life. Is it a good step? Is it a step that is in harmony with this life that stirs deep within the core of my being? Am I drawing this breath from the pristine heights of my living Source?

Have you ever felt like you wanted to walk away from your life and start over? This is what a direct experience with God offers. There are times when I go within and say, “I don’t know anything. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know anything about living a successful life. Now I am willing to be taught. I lay down this burden of unknowing. I am a child ready to be shown a way that is clean and clear and full of light. I want freedom. I want peace. I want to feel the vigor of youth and become immersed in the joy of creativity. I am nothing but an empty vessel ready to be filled.”

We are designed to know and live from God. The mechanism is in place. The time is right. The door is open.

Understanding the Myth of Soul Evolution

It isn’t difficult to see why the average person on the spiritual path assumes that there is distance between where they are today (in understanding) and where they will be in the future. There are many examples of spiritually enlightened souls that seem as if they are much further along the path. Knowing our own feelings of spiritual inadequacy and our tendency to so easily succumb to negative mental and emotional reactions to people and to the world at large, we compare ourselves to these seemingly advanced souls we assume would glide peacefully through the things that set us back.

Let’s take our attention off other enlightened souls for a moment and turn our focus on what is really going on. First of all, a staple concept embraced by the New Thought community is that the now moment is the only time there is. The future and the past are illusions. It is only in our mind that can contemplate a future or think about the past. While we can emotionally react to our perceptions of the future and the past, we can only inhabit this now moment.

Our reaction to the past or future is a present mind action. The idea that we will be more in the future than we are today is a false assumption that totally contradicts our belief in the importance of this now moment. We’re saying that we can only live in the now, but someday in the future we will be something more than we currently are.

We try to resolve this contradiction by saying, Yes, at the spiritual level I am complete, but my consciousness is evolving. This is true, but is it required? Are we so designed as to be unable to grasp the truth of our spiritual identity until we have traveled sufficiently through human trial and error and earned our stripes as a spiritually enlightened being? We do not see this requirement anywhere in the natural world. We can only imagine that it exists in the human experience.

Every aspect of nature is fully evolved now. You think not? You think the natural world is evolving toward some unrealized ideal? Evolution is all about adapting to the present environment. The natural world is not laboring to adapt to a future environment. Every aspect of nature is living the truth that the now moment is the only time there is. Evolution does not apply to the being, the essence of plants and animals. It applies only to their physical interface with their environment. The behavior of today’s shark, for example, is likely identical to the behavior of the shark that lived millions of years ago. The fossil record may show differences in body, but it’s safe to assume that the essence of the animal remains unchanged.

The human being is designed to know and to live from the awareness of our infinite spiritual source. Our lack of understanding this is not a design flaw that we must spend lifetimes overcoming and perfecting. We are literally hardwired to know this truth which, as we know it, sets us free to actually awaken to our changeless essence. It is as if we are standing on ground just above the water table, but because we see no water we must travel to another place to find it. No one has told us that if we dig into the soil right where we stand, we will find an endless supply of water. If someone does tell us this, we scoff. “I’ve walked this earth for fifty years and I can tell you there is no water here. It’s somewhere over that hill.” So we keep walking, and walking, and walking.

Neither time nor space stand between ourselves and God, our spiritual source. Any person who takes it upon themselves can go within and experience God. God is not available only to some special class or differently designed human. You may experience God today or it may take you some time. But it’s not because time is required. It’s because you do not believe you are capable of experiencing God, that you must be more evolved, like one of the great spiritual masters. The only difference between you and a spiritual master is that they have used their shovel to dig beyond the dry crust of earth that has convinced you there is no water. The needed evolution of consciousness that must occur is fairly simple: You are designed to know and experience God, and you can do it right now.

The Dynamics of Challenge

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Excerpt from:

A Practical Guide to Prosperous Living

It is important to realize that every new enterprise, every decision you make to pursue your passion is going to evoke some level of confrontation between the stronger and the weaker elements of your self-image. You will set your goals based on your strengths, your talents, your interests and your dreams. In the process of manifesting them, however, you will encounter challenges that will summon all your weaknesses as well. Self-doubt, fear of failure, feelings of lack, impatience, anger, lethargy and indifference will all creep in at the most inappropriate times. Like Job, you may find yourself saying, “The thing I feared is upon me and the thing I dreaded is now before me.” Many worthy undertakings have been brought to a grinding halt by these unwelcome thieves of our creative energy.

You need not be taken by surprise when this seemingly negative side of your consciousness arises. While it may not always be comfortable or convenient, the arousal of these stifling elements is both inevitable and necessary. They arise from that limited aspect of your identity which is crying out to be redefined from the basis of your soul.

Because of the discomfort or even pain involved in dealing with them, the temptation is to suppress these unwanted elements. But unless the things you fear most come upon you, unless they are brought into the full light of your awareness, you will never be able to trace them back to their sources and permanently release the negative influence they have on your circumstantial tendencies.