Are We Here To Learn?

Earth is a school and we are here to learn.

Of all the arguments I’ve heard attempting to counter the notion that our soul is now complete, this is by far the most common. As a recovering soul evolutionist, I understand the argument. I believed for years that our struggles — from accidents to serious illnesses — came with a lesson we needed to learn and advance our soul’s evolutionary process.

I think most rational people agree that we can learn from our mistakes. But suppose someone blindfolds you and sends you into a field full of pits, bogs, fences, fires, spikes, and other hazardous obstacles. After experiencing a series of unpleasant encounters, they lift your blindfold and ask what you learned from all this hardship. Fire burns, spikes hurt, pits are frightening, and bogs cause tremendous struggle. Okay. So they blindfold you again and send you back into the field to apply your new understanding. Does this knowledge keep you from repeating the same, pain-inflicting mistakes? No. You will continue to repeat them until you take off the blindfold.

What is this blindfold? Simply stated, it’s the belief that some day in the future we will be more spiritually complete than we are right now. If we lift this blindfold, we walk through the field unharmed. The knowledge we gain while blindfolded has no value to those who reject the belief that spiritual fulfillment is a hope of the future.

Another consideration that raises doubts about the schoolhouse theory is the question so often posed: What about the Hitlers of the world? Are we to imagine they chose such destructive, hateful, and harmful paths because their soul’s had certain lessons to learn, and this learning required millions of victims? And what of these millions of victims, each with family, a circle of friends, dreams, interests, curiosities, a love of beautiful music, and a list of favorite foods? Did their souls require the terror, the torture, the loss of homeland, dignity, family, and freedom because they could only advance under such horrific conditions? Certainly there are stories of unbelievable heroism, perseverance, and endurance that emerge from these dark periods of the human experience. But are such horrors required so their soul they may take a further step? I think not.

We can, of course, sidestep these questions by saying we can never really know what another soul needs to advance. We can keep our schoolhouse open with a shrug of acceptance that there are simply spiritual mysteries we can never resolve. In other words, there are many ways to justify wearing the blindfold.

In examining near-death research, it would be easy to conclude that the body itself is the blindfold. Many experiencers report that, momentarily free of the body, their ability to see and hear far exceeds normal ranges of sight and sound detected by our physical senses. Likewise, we could easily surmise that the brain, as a transmitter of consciousness, imposes major restrictions on our ability to know.

It’s important to understand, however, that taking on a body does not mean we lose our intuitive ability to “live with the privilege of immeasurable mind,” as Emerson put it. It only means that we have the additional possibility of succumbing to a falsely perceived world fabricated by the senses. In such a world, the soul is reduced to a conceptualization that, like all things appearing in the realm of the senses, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The soul is assigned a potential flowering culmination when in truth it is and has always been in full blossom.

So the blindfold is not actually the body, but a collectively agreed upon version of reality constructed from senses-based facts. The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, pointed out that “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” The focus here is on that ever-changing river of circumstance and the endless gathering of new facts that produce universities and drive all aspects of our developing technology.

Heraclitus does not take into account that the man, wherever he is standing, can only be in one place at a time. He can only be here, never there. Intellectually, he can learn more facts and he can acquire more things, but at the soul level he can never be more than he is right now. Why? Because he can never step from this now moment. The blindfold is not an inability to know this freeing truth. The blindfold is his fixation on using this ever-changing river of material appearances as his basis for reality.

When we think of evolution, we tend to think of it as occurring over time and moving toward a goal. The fossil record provides the best support for this view. But is it true? The energy we know as life does not struggle to be something more than it is right now. Each of the many forms life takes, on the other hand, engage in perpetual adaptation to their ever-changing environment. The point we often miss is that this process completes within each moment. Evolution has no goal. If a change in the environment requires a response, the response is made. It’s like putting on a coat when you go outside because there are icicles hanging from the roof. You adapt. The purpose of every facet of the natural world is to bring itself, at full capacity, to this now moment. There never has been and never can be one moment when this purpose is not fully realized.

I am convinced that the greatest cause for misunderstanding Jesus, both in his day and ours, is that he was speaking of a kingdom of God that is presently spread over the earth but men do not see it. Then as now, they wait for the kingdom to come. The birds of the air and the lilies of the field are not waiting for a coming kingdom. They are not storing up knowledge so they may live a better life in the future. They apply their full being to the present. This is the fulfillment of Jesus’ seek first the kingdom and all else will be added. Come into the conscious awareness of your spiritual wholeness and live your success within each moment of the day.

There is but one lesson to learn: Your soul and its spiritual environment is now complete. Quietly dwell in this understanding and carry it through your day. Jesus did not suggest that the lessons we learn from problems in life will help brighten our light. He simply said, let your light shine. This light rises from your very core, from the center to the circumference of your being. Become willing to remove your blindfold of preconceived notions about your spiritual inadequacies, and surrender to the radiance of this healing, balancing light that is your soul.

[Watch Spiritual Adaptation on YouTube]

Natural Supply

(Chapter 9 of The Complete Soul)

Our prodigal awareness, forever trolling the reef-laden shallows of the material domain, never quite forgets that our real home has no shores. We sit in the safety of the harbor with our books, our teachers and our sacred scriptures. We visit the beach, gaze in reverence and wonder into that mist-shrouded horizon that stirs in us a strange mix of mystery and primordial familiarity. With our values, our house and our affairs orderly and firmly established in harbor life, we think a certain way, the starting point always from these surrounding beaches. We contemplate and read about the sea and we seek to reconcile the fact that we are so deeply moved by this boundless vista, this restless living thing that stirs before us.

Then, at some unexpected moment, a profound revelation breaks into our awareness. Our house may indeed stand in the harbor, our ship, safely moored at the pier, but our true home is the open sea. This incessant longing that keeps bringing us back to the wonder we behold from this beach, to the feel of cool waves washing over our feet, is that completed part of us that never has and never shall leave the unconditional freedom of this eternal sea. To know this truth and to value it above all is to put our heart in the Truth that makes us free. – JDB

As we’ve seen, one of the restrictions we encounter with a body is its care and maintenance. Yet when Matthew included Jesus’ discourse on the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, he did so in a way that suggests a condition where the body is supplied by something transcending the usual sweat-of-the-brow approach to meeting our material needs. He may have been hinting at this with Nicodemus when he pointed out the need to be born anew, to dislodge focus on the body-centered self-image and move the awareness back to its rightful place … the soul. Might this have been why he also said, “And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.[1] Is he not calling attention to our true being as spiritual rather than biological?

Extended Dependence as Infants

Of all living creatures, we humans take the prize when it comes to extended dependence in infancy. Unless we were fortunate enough to be born to parents who did not confuse our soul with our body (this would be a cultural rarity), we have much to learn, not in the way of soul education, but in bodily disassociation. While in the womb, we took no thought of hunger, warmth, and security. The instant we emerged from this all-sustaining incubator, any absence of these accustomed comforts suddenly became a factor. We were, for the first time, introduced to the reality of lack. In addition, people took the place of the womb in providing our physical comforts and essentials.

It was during this critical phase of infancy that our life of service to the needs of the body began. The culture into which we were born inadvertently lured us into the hope that we could draw permanent sustenance and satisfaction from the material world. In the eyes of some, competition for resources began a cognitive arms race, as one evolutionary biologist describes it.[2] We experienced the nakedness of lack and decided we would do most anything to avoid it. Possession-based esteem issues were born (without this or that thing, I’m not good enough). These were our formative years, our conformative years, our fall, that transitioning period when the self-awareness shifted from the natural, inwardly oriented soul that took on a body, to a body-centered self-image that started carrying the abstract notion of having a soul.

This fundamental shift in identity, this separation of the self-awareness from the soul, becomes for us the “… way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way to [spiritual] death.[3]

The day, the very minute that our physical body entered this worldly harbor, was marked, recorded, and certified as the beginning of our existence. Programmed to associate who and what we are at the body level, the birthday clock began ticking, and our body-centered self, exposed and beholden to the restrictions of Newtonian law, kicked in. Suddenly we had our father’s eyes or our mother’s hair, and a physical brain treated as a blank tablet to be socialized and filled with the information that would enable us to cope with our strange new reality. We became the star pupil or the dumb kid in the class, the athlete or the nerd, the homecoming queen or the plain Jane. We were evaluated, not on the order of the once-familiar eternal scale of the soul, but on a culturally calibrated scale, subject to time and space, genetics, social performance, I.Q., age, looks, rich or poor, popularity and by all else that transpires between the book ends of the birth and death of our physical body. Perhaps our parents and educators determined that our natural talents and interests had no monetary potential and discouraged their development. You and I have stepped into a world that largely ignores the warning of Emerson:

“Don’t be deceived by dimples and curls. I tell you that babe is a thousand years old.”

Our world trades in the currency of dimples and curls, and is largely asleep to the soul. The materialists tell us that God is nothing more than a primordial need, a naturally selected configuration of neurons, evolved in the brain as a genetic response to our need to invent meaning in an otherwise meaningless world. The thousand-year-old babe is thrown out with the bathwater the moment the umbilical cord is severed and we are laid to suckle at our mother’s breast.

With the intuitive portal all but closed, the self-awareness merges with the ego and takes on the unintended role as the ruling force in the tiny universe that is the self-image and its accompanying galaxy of consciousness. Consciously cut off from the soul, the self-image measures its strength, worth, and relevance by the type and quality of external positions and possessions it acquires. This false sense of identity engages the visualizing aspect of the imagination and all other faculties in a life-long quest to draw fulfillment from external sources. The cognitive arms race is game on in earnest.

Law of Attraction/Positive Thinking

Those who discover the correlation between their consciousness and their life’s conditions may be drawn to a class of teachings that shift the focus from hard labor to positive mental attitudes as a means of acquiring the things they desire. This affirmative approach based on the law of attraction advocates developing and attracting conditions of healing and prosperity through the practice of positive mental attitudes and the power of positive thinking. This approach is good as far as it goes.

From the Gospel of Matthew, we get the sense that Jesus warned against the practice of laying up earthly treasures where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break in and steal,[4] regardless of the method of acquisition employed. Jesus bluntly distinguishes between God and mammon,[5] leaving little doubt that the worship of one meant the denial of the other. And yet, as I’ve already pointed out, one of the most beautiful passages of scripture also comes from Matthew’s account, with Jesus clearly stating that a genuine understanding of our spiritual heritage naturally translates into a life free of fear and material want; a condition already enjoyed by the birds of the air and the lilies of the field.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”[6]

We may declare our main interest is in spiritual matters, but we would probably be most honest admitting our motive in seeking first the kingdom is simply a means to the greater end of having all these things. We are still shackled with the problem of the soul engaged in the human experience from within a physical body whose needs provide much of the incentive that drives our quest for spiritual understanding. We sit up and take notice when a man like Jesus suggests the triumph of spirit over matter. The quest for spiritual understanding can easily take a back seat to finding that elusive key to a restriction-free physical body and material environment.

The context of this saying clearly indicates that the “kingdom” is of far greater value than any material benefits it might generate. In addition, gaining an understanding of it does not seem to involve a patient process of consciousness building that will one day bring our evolving soul into alignment with a universe of material abundance. We are led to believe that it is our understanding and trust in the present and accessible spiritual domain, awaiting our recognition that fulfills our material requirements; a state that brings to mind that carefree harmony between soul and body that we enjoyed in the womb.

Not God or Mammon

The appeal of practical Christianity is the hope that the system Jesus taught will make us masters of our bodies and material environment. How to heal the body, generate prosperity, get a better job, or find our soul mate are the things we’re hoping to achieve through a deeper understanding of this kingdom. Though these represent practical solutions to the problems of the human experience, our focus only on what we deem practical may also keep us from asking and seeking answers to some deeper, much larger questions.

In some ways, the notion of spiritual progress becomes a set of blinders focused only on how adept we are at material demonstration. Rather than commit to actually entering this higher sphere, we often treat it as a means of drawing from a basket the goods we desire and solutions to the problems that confront us in this earthly endeavor. The point we may miss in our quest for things is that, from our soul’s point of view, it has never been a question of God or mammon. God is one presence, one power expressing at all levels. Our needs are met at each level. Are we settling for just the visible aspect of available support, or do we seek an understanding of that unseen Source that sustains the soul? I do not think Jesus is urging his listener away from fulfilling their material needs. I believe he is coaxing them toward an understanding of the fuller spectrum.

Because Jesus makes an issue of the worship of God and mammon, some have concluded that he was advocating material deprivation. The keyword here is worship. To worship is to venerate something as an idol. Whether we are idolizing a stone statue, a religious relic, or a pile of money there is a difference between seeing an object as a source of power, and seeing it as a symbol or a reminder of that deeper reality that is the source of all power. The trap many fall into with the practice of tithing, for example, is that they designate a percentage of their income as God’s. The real power of tithing kicks in when we look beyond percentages and realize that 100% of all that we receive and give is God’s.

Veneration of the symbol, seeing it as the object of fulfillment, is worshiping mammon. The symbol is an expression, an effect of the deeper reality. When our priority is to experience and understand at this level, then its material counterpart sheds its status as mammon. Who would consider a peaceful walk in the woods, with all the natural beauty that we see, hear, touch, and smell as mammon? Yet the material aspect of the natural world is the visible counterpart of an underlying, supporting reality we do not see. The issue is not the material realm as the cause of our problems, but our belief that material things can deliver what only the soul can give.

Take No Thought

Jesus’ statement that we take no thought, or refrain from being anxious concerning what we shall eat, drink, or wear[7] suggests a method of manifestation that does not require our physical blood, sweat, and tears. It does not tap our subconscious storehouse of information, or engage in the kind of extensive intellectual analysis that normally accompanies our attention to meeting the body’s needs. Given its natural means of expression, the soul projects directly from its own self-sustaining existence those ideas necessary to form the consciousness that inspires the kind of physical action that translates into the various aspects of our material environment. In other words, Jesus is suggesting a manifestation process that bypasses altogether all the wants and needs of the self-image we have created. Rather than the self-image — with its fears, inadequacies, and limitations calling the consciousness-building shots — it is from the soul that our flow of instruction comes.

The self-image has hijacked this otherwise very natural flow that we see in play everywhere in nature. Plants and animals do not have the intellectual capacity or the imagination that allows them to establish a self-image capable of interfering with the manifestation process. The soul of the simplest seed is complete. From this soul, a totally fulfilling manifestation process occurs. Why would we, of far greater creative capacity, think of ourselves as being any less equipped than even the least of these?

From this understanding, it is clear that Jesus knew exactly what he was talking about when he urged his listeners to seek first the kingdom and all else would be added. The problem that our self-image encounters with this instruction is that it has subconscious files filled with information on what it believes the “kingdom” is supposed to look like. When it gets no satisfactory results running to these files, it continues its pursuit to understand by checking the files of others. Perhaps if Jesus had not used the term “kingdom” and instead said the answers we seek are encoded in our soul, many might have been saved much grief searching for something in their own memory banks that already exists within their being.

As we begin to reopen the intuitive aspect of the imagination, our soul’s light gradually reaches the visioning aspect. New and spontaneous imagery is generated, possibly as mental pictures, but more likely as a deep and secure inner knowing that something transcending our normal thinking is beginning to emerge. This knowing will often come in flashes of insight at unexpected times throughout the day. We recognize the spiritual authenticity of this rising light as a stark contrast to any notion of spiritual illumination our self-image has conjured up thus far.

Our real adventure of contemplation, exploration and discovery on this earth truly begins with the conscious recovery of a soul-based perspective. To use another bit of wisdom attributed to Jesus, though we are missing one of our one hundred sheep, we still own them all.[8] The missing one is the understanding that our soul is now whole. This is but a perceptual problem, a forgetting that we are here in this earthly harbor by choice and we are still fully supplied and supported within the womb of God.

The practice of meditation, which we will explore in the following chapter, has but one purpose. This purpose is to open the intuitive portal of the imagination, to get a firm grasp on our true home at sea, to stir in us the courage to cast off the lines that bind us to this shore, and set sail for the open water

.

[1] Matthew 23:9

[2] Roeder, Mark. 2013. Unnatural Selection: Why The Greeks Will Inherit the Earth. HarperCollins.

[3] Proverbs 14:12

[4] Matthew 6:19

[5] Matthew 6:24

[6] Matthew 6:31-33

[7] Matthew 6:31

[8] Matthew 18:12

The Truth About Spiritual Healing Video

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Healing has always been an important aspect of both Traditional and New Thought Christian approaches. While both encourage faith in God, New Thought emphasizes the importance of individual understanding and attitude. We start with the truth of our oneness with God and our wholeness at the soul level.

For a variety of reasons, the body can malfunction in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand. We may see a health challenge as a spiritual test, a catalyst for learning, a wake-up call of some type, or the outworking of a bout of prolonged anxiety. There may be truth to some or all of these, but we do not want to linger too long on causes. Referring to a man blind from birth, the disciples asked Jesus if it was the man or his parents who had sinned. Jesus basically said it didn’t matter, that this was an opportunity to see the works of God. The man was healed of his blindness.

Think of your body as a television set. Think of your soul as the programming picked up by the television. The television can malfunction, but the programming signal is still available. As soon as the television set is repaired, the signal is translated into a picture and sound.

Now think of your soul as your primary healing agent. Your soul, like the broadcasting signal, presses in upon every aspect of your mind and body. You may be guided to seek medical help, to change your diet, start an exercise routine, make some lifestyle adjustments, or simply take a deeper interest in your spiritual needs. The most important thing is holding the vision of your soul, complete in every way, freely pressing in upon and through your body in ways that are balancing, peace-bringing, and radiant with warm, healing energy.

If you need to know what brought about your physical condition, trust that you will be made aware of this. There’s no need to stress over it. The body has millions of moving parts, and your soul is endowed with the intelligence to keep them moving in harmony. Hold this vision with an open mind and heart. You are whole now.

 

The Truth About Spiritual Healing

Notice: Due to technical difficulties, only the audio can be posted today. If the video issue is resolved, it will be posted separately.

 Click for audio: The Truth About Spiritual Healing

Healing has always been an important aspect of both Traditional and New Thought Christian approaches. While both encourage faith in God, New Thought emphasizes the importance of individual understanding and attitude. We start with the truth of our oneness with God and our wholeness at the soul level.

For a variety of reasons, the body can malfunction in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand. We may see a health challenge as a spiritual test, a catalyst for learning, a wake-up call of some type, or the outworking of a bout of prolonged anxiety. There may be truth to some or all of these, but we do not want to linger too long on causes. Referring to a man blind from birth, the disciples asked Jesus if it was the man or his parents who had sinned. Jesus basically said it didn’t matter, that this was an opportunity to see the works of God. The man was healed of his blindness.

Think of your body as a television set. Think of your soul as the programming picked up by the television. The television can malfunction, but the programming signal is still available. As soon as the television set is repaired, the signal is translated into a picture and sound.

Now think of your soul as your primary healing agent. Your soul, like the broadcasting signal, presses in upon every aspect of your mind and body. You may be guided to seek medical help, to change your diet, start an exercise routine, make some lifestyle adjustments, or simply take a deeper interest in your spiritual needs. The most important thing is holding the vision of your soul, complete in every way, freely pressing in upon and through your body in ways that are balancing, peace-bringing, and radiant with warm, healing energy.

If you need to know what brought about your physical condition, trust that you will be made aware of this. There’s no need to stress over it. The body has millions of moving parts, and your soul is endowed with the intelligence to keep them moving in harmony. Hold this vision with an open mind and heart. You are whole now.

 

The Truth About Fear

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“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7).

Of all the many mental and emotional states that threaten to disrupt our peace of mind, fear is undoubtedly at the top of many people’s list. Fear does not require facts to do its unsettling work. Any hypothetical scenario will do. The basis of fear is the perception that someone or something has the power to rob us of a thing we value. The above passage suggests otherwise.

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul reminds us of the correct starting point for purging the debilitating toxin of fear. We begin with the realization that fear is not part of our spiritual makeup. Because we all experience fear, we may have treated it as a universal condition over which we have little or no control. If, on the other hand, we accept as true that our spiritual core is one of power, love, and a sound mind, then we begin to look upon fear as an unnatural response to a given situation.

We want to understand that a normal response is different from a natural response. While most of us might accept fear as our normal reaction, Paul is pointing out that fear is not the natural reaction of one who is centered in their spiritual power, grounded in love, anchored in the clarity of a sound mind.

If you are involved in a situation that sparks fear in you, realize that you are under no obligation to be swept away in this emotional turbulence. Pull your attention away from the appearance and re-establish yourself in this truth:

I was not given a spirit of fear. My spirit is powerful and I am guided by love. My mind is sound and secure in the truth that greater good is now unfolding in my life. Thank you God, that this is true!

Fear is a habit, not an obligation. Begin now to embrace the truth of who and what you are as an expression of God.

The Truth About Forgiveness

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Regarding the subject of forgiveness, a powerful illustration of the core principle is found in the story of Joseph and his brothers who sold him into slavery. After a long ordeal, from which he finally emerged triumphant, Joseph confronted his brothers with this statement: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good (Gen. 50:20).

In our attempt to take the spiritually correct position with forgiveness, we may try to ignore the negative actions of others by treating our reaction to them as the central issue. While there is some wisdom in doing this, it often results in buried resentment. To the world, we appear to have taken the high road and moved on. But the embers of resentment toward the perpetrator continue to quietly smolder.

Joseph brings directly into the spotlight the destructive intention of his brothers. But he doesn’t stop there. He recognizes that their evil intentions became, for him, part of the path to his greater good. He wasn’t commending them for their brilliance, or crediting them for the role they played in catapulting him to the second most powerful position in Egypt. His focus was on the bigger picture.

Those who do us harm, usually really do mean us harm. In the name of forgiveness, we may attempt to dismiss their intention by simply saying they were having a bad day when, in truth, they, like Joseph’s brothers, schemed for weeks and months to find the perfect way to act out their resentment.

But we can’t afford to stop with simply identifying motives. We, like Joseph, want to grasp the bigger picture that worked out for our highest good. This may take some time. We may still be reeling from the thing that was done to us. We can’t yet see how any greater good can possibly come of it.

Yet holding to this possibility is the key to forgiveness. The time will come when you, like Joseph, look back and see that if his brothers had not sold him into slavery, he never would have become the second most powerful man in Egypt. As such, he rescued the entire nation of Israel, including his brothers (now quaking in their sandals), from famine. With a single word, he could have ordered their imprisonment, or execution. But he didn’t need to do this. He had found his center of power by understanding the higher process that had brought him there.

When you’re fixated on the negative actions of another, think of Joseph and his ordeal. Despite those who would do him harm, he came out on top. And so will you.

It Sells, But is it True?

If you pick up a Daily Word or a Unity Magazine published in the 40s or 50s, you’ll find a level of spiritual substance that’s missing from today’s publications. This absence won’t be noticed by many of today’s readers, largely because we’re experiencing a culture that has traded actual substance for “likes” and “hits.” If it sells, it must be true.

The deterioration of a spiritual movement is a deterioration of spiritual values. The original value system is grounded in the soul level. Over time the system migrates to the more surface, easily accessible interests of the popular culture. We move from cultivating our own orchard to settling for plucking the low hanging fruit from another’s. We try to re-dress the core values in the latest fashions, but it isn’t long before the latest fashions become the basis of the core values. Genuine  values either take a back seat or go into the trunk. It’s no longer about the message. It’s about the rock band or the coffee and donuts.

It’s safe for me to say that my ministerial career has reached an all-time low. Nationally and locally, I’ve either exposed or said “no” to so many people and situations that I’m no longer welcome in the circles I used to hang with. This, of course, has been my choice. My decisions were always based on knowing the difference between what sells today and what is true forever. I do not lament my choices. I lament the fact that I invested my life in a spiritual movement that clearly has lost the ability to discern the difference.

I am deeply grateful that I could pursue a career that allowed me to explore and teach the universal principles that are the key to a meaningful life. I’m even more grateful for the spiritual teachers who instilled in me the courage to go it alone.

High and low moments come and go. Sometimes it’s a lively party and sometimes it’s a lonely, dark night of the soul. In the right season, people will tell you how great you are, but you really don’t find your soul’s greatness until you’re plunged into the dark night. We find our greatest strength when we become willing to confront our greatest weakness. We rarely do this at the party.

My career is not over. To the contrary, it’s just beginning. I’ve discovered that if I can find my strength alone, I can share it at the party. I don’t believe I came into this life to run with the slickest, most popular herd. I came to bear witness to the Truth as it’s given to me.

The teachers I admire the most did the same. They knew what it was to walk alone with their God, with their principles. Their ability to do so inspired others to do the same. If we don’t do this ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us.

The Truth About The Spiritual Path

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A path is defined as “a way or track laid down for walking or made by continual treading.” We’re all familiar with paths or hiking trails, a means of getting from one place to another.

Most people think of the spiritual path in a similar way. We tend to see it as a process of soul development, of moving from one place in our soul’s growth to another more advanced condition. A literal path involves time and space. You’re at a given point on the path–a point in space–and as you walk, time passes and you’re in another place.

While this seems an applicable analogy to spiritual development, there’s another way to think of our experience on the path. Regardless of how long the path is, and regardless of where it leads or how long you’ve been on it, you can only say, “I’m here now.” You can think about some point ahead or some place you passed, but you can only be at the point you presently occupy.

This is the key to understanding the spiritual path. There’s no point you can reach in the future when your soul will be more than it is now. Neither were you something less in the past. The full force of life is concentrated as you, at this moment, right where you are, regardless of your circumstances.

Your soul is not subject to time and space. You don’t have a set of required lessons to learn that will take you further down the spiritual path. If right now you think you will gain more of your soul in the future, then in the future you will still think the same. You’ll always be plagued with the false notion that something essential is lacking.

Hold the thought that you are spiritually complete right now. Yes, you’re on a path, a series of circumstances that you call your life. But you won’t find more of who and what you are in more and different circumstances. You’re here now, you’ll always be here, and you’ll always be spiritually complete.

 

 

 

True Prosperity

Jesus referred to the lilies of the field and the birds of the air as prime examples of the prospering life. These do not reach out away from themselves for the knowledge to successfully interface with their environment. Nor do they stockpile that which, for them, is the wealth that will comfortably sustain their future existence.

Every plant and every creature is naturally attuned to the preservation of the body. They don’t possess the creative imagination that allows them to invent a false sense of self, or to consider that which sustains it as the epitome of prosperity. Prosperity is that sustaining element embedded in each moment. They flourish in their world, build their homes, reproduce, and feed their families by being true to what they are right now. The robin does not need to soar like the eagle, and the eagle does not pluck worms from the earth. (from The Complete Soul)

The Las Vegas Incident

A very respected friend asked if I would speak Sunday about the Las Vegas shooting. She wanted me to address three questions: Why does it happen? When will it end? How can I rise above it? I’d like to address these questions here.

Q: Why does it happen?
A: There are a lot of very messed up people on this planet. We like to think that most see the world as we do, that we make mistakes, and we try to correct them. We may have a flawed, even painful history that we work to correct. We’re probably right in thinking that most people are trying to do the same. But most is not all, and it only takes one deranged individual to grab the headlines by committing mass homicide. How many deranged individuals are there in the world? All the numbers and statistics generated by the professionals probably don’t include that person next door that actually ends up pulling that trigger.

Q: When will it end?
A: It won’t. Since the beginning of recorded history, human beings have committed senseless atrocities against other human beings. These things happen and our leaders stand up and declare we must pass laws that guarantee such things will never happen again. Yet, even after all of these countless declarations, we’ve just witnessed the worst mass shooting in recent American history.

Tim McVeigh, in his Oklahoma City bombing, killed 168 innocent people with a fertilizer-based bomb, simply because he hated the U.S. government. If we can appease every beef that every individual has with whoever affected them at some strange point in their life, then we may be able to end the human-on-human atrocities. Personally, I don’t see this happening any time soon.

Q: How can I rise above it?
A: A truly empathetic person will never rise above the shock or the pain of loss that this kind of situation generates. We all think: What if my kid was there? We can’t imagine a concert, intended for pure entertainment, turning into a struggle for survival. We can’t imagine the shock families and friends must experience when they’re given the horrible news that a loved one has just been killed by some self-loathing guy with a death wish. How do you rise above it? You don’t. And you shouldn’t even try. At least not now.

We’ll all put this in perspective. We’ll get on with our lives. And … we’ll all meet that moment when we step from this body. The death of the body is not an end. I don’t think any one of us will condemn the means by which we leave our body. We’ll all be grateful for the adventures we had on this planet. But, relatively speaking, none of us will be here all that long. We won’t stop the killers. But the killers will never stop us.