Spiritual Guidance

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Spiritual guidance is an essential aspect of our spiritual approach to life. It’s important that we have a good understanding of how it works so we may utilize it in the most beneficial way.

We often think of spiritual guidance as a means of navigating from where we are to a place we want to be. Quite often that “place” involves the acquisition of a material object, a position, a relationship or a new lifestyle. What is often missed in this process is the state of being we hope to achieve with our acquisition. Our thinking is that the attainment of a thing will make us feel better about ourselves.

What is keeping you from feeling better about yourself now? What is keeping you from feeling complete in this very place you stand in your life today? The answer is simple. Only your belief that you are incomplete, that you need something added to become happy or that you need to be in some other place keeps you at a distance from the very thing you seek.

The prayer for guidance involves the release of all groping for answers outside yourself, a letting go of all sense of inadequacy that can only be addressed by adding something new to yourself or your life. Spiritual guidance leads you first to your point of strength, that inner center of light and peace that pines away for nothing more than a deeper revelation of this divine connection.

What are the dreams and goals of a spiritually fulfilled being? To be sure, they are different from the dreams and goals of a spiritually unfulfilled being. When you find yourself in need of guidance, start with the idea that your first need is to open yourself to your own wholeness. Let go of the self that fears or feels inadequate. Find your inner point of strength and know that you are being guided now to act, not out of fear and weakness, but out of the power, love and intelligence of Spirit.

All spiritual guidance leads to the holy ground of the place you now stand. The fulfillment you seek is present. Seek this first and you will know what to do next.

The Bedrock of Individuality

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Jesus advised us to love our neighbor as ourselves. We often focus on the first half of this statement yet engage in a rather abusive relationship with our self. I’ve said many times, however, that you can only love your neighbor to the extent that you love your self.

Self love is not the same thing as self-centered egotism. In her book, Lessons In Truth, Emilie Cady draws a very clear distinction between individuality (the spiritual dimension within everyone) and personality (the spiritually disconnected ego). The love we experience—both given and received—is really a welling up of a deeper dimension of our spiritual nature, that deeper foundation of individuality. Love is not a quantity of beautiful emotion that we possess and give out or withhold at will. Love is an integral component of our being, like the color blue is an integral component of white light. The expression of love must include the embracing of one’s Self, not in an egotistical way, but in a way that recognizes our role as a channel through which love is expressed as an aspect of our wholeness.

Our individuality, our true Self, is that which the Bible refers to as the image and likeness of God. It’s that part that rises up from the Eternal. Many of us have fallen out of touch with this deeper dimension and have lived and thought of ourselves only in terms of the personality level. It’s very important that we reconnect with this foundational aspect of our being, for from it all the good that we seek flows. The true Self is our source of contentment, of power, of peace and of joy. If we are not centered in our spiritual nature, we try to get what we feel we lack from others and our relationships run the risk of becoming needy and manipulative.

To be in integrity with your Self is to express the qualities of God in all the things you do, including your relationships. When you love from this Self, you will have no trouble loving your neighbor.   

The Goal of Your Goal

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The conclusionistic model assumes it is a lack of something that stands between you and your happiness. You must, according to the logic of this model, strive to acquire that thing if you are to be happy. The evolutionistic model, on the other hand, begins with the assumption that you are already complete, that the state of happiness is not induced through the acquisition of external things, but is, rather, evolved or brought forth from your own inner depths.

The condition of unhappiness is really nothing more than the result of trying to replace a sleeping aspect of your true nature with an artificial substitute. This substitute can come in many forms: a particular role, a career position, a relationship, money and, in fact, any external thing from which you are attempting to derive your security, your power, your peace of mind or your identity. Unhappiness is the result of clinging to things that are less than you are at the level of your native soul.

Because of this, some people, in the name of evolving higher spiritual ideals, denounce goal setting as a manipulative exercise of the personal will. This is unfortunate, for it is through the activity of setting goals that you can consciously and positively express your deeper nature and affect your circumstantial tendencies to reflect this more natural aspect of who you are. It is not the practice of following your own will that gets you into trouble. The trouble comes when you use your will to protect your weaknesses and to avoid the discomforts of change and transition that often accompany the expansive inner work that is needed.

This brings us to a very important point that I believe is often missed in the goal-setting process. Understanding where you are trying to go with your goal-setting activities is the most important key to getting there. I say this because there is often a vast difference between our stated goals and our actual goals.