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.

 

 

 

The Truth About Jesus

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Discerning the truth about Jesus is not as straight-forward a process as we might hope. Our natural tendency is to study the four Gospels and draw conclusions from the information we glean from these. The challenge we encounter here is that the Gospels were not written from an historical, biographical perspective. They were produced by evangelists who portrayed Jesus in a manner fitting to their own theological narratives.

Unfortunately, we do not have a Gospel according to Jesus himself. If ever we were fortunate enough to find such a document, I believe it would rattle the very foundations of both the traditional and the New Thought understanding of who and what this man was.

Was Jesus God, or was he a man? This is the question countless theologians have grappled with over the ages. If he is to have any value to us, we must start with the understanding that Jesus was a man. Was he a man with extraordinary powers? Again, if he is to have any value to us, we must concur with him that the things he did we can do as well, and greater things.

But what are these things? Do we aspire to walk on water, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, or to magically produce abundance in the face of lack? We refer to him as Master, as Wayshower, as Savior. But what did he master? What way did he show? From what type of bondage does he offer salvation?

We find keys to these questions throughout the Gospels, but they are like a treasure hidden in a field. We find a man confronted with all the familiar challenges of having a body, yet who spoke of a truth that would make us free. I believe Jesus would redirect our attention away from himself, to this truth of which he spoke. I believe he would invite us all to join him in the understanding that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, that the very door to freedom that we seek stands open, fully accessible, and awaiting our recognition.

 

The Truth About Spiritual Growth

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The Jews marveled at it, saying, “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (John 7:15).

In her book, Lessons in Truth, Emilie Cady discusses two types of learning: intellectual and intuitive. Intellectual learning is the study and memorization of facts presented through things like books, the internet, or teachers. This is the most common and practical approach to developing skills and gaining the type of knowledge necessary for the workplace and for navigating through everyday life, especially in this age of the computer. Intuitive learning is not so straight forward, for it involves a direct, experiential knowing that the fact-hungry intellect finds difficult to trust.

In our quest for spiritual understanding, nearly all of us start with the intellectual approach of gleaning information from external sources. In my own case, it was Cady’s book that opened my spiritual eyes. Or so it seemed. In truth, the ideas contained Cady’s book actually confirmed an internal knowing that had been nudging me beyond the spiritual “facts” I had been given up to that point. She articulated what I knew was true. I simply lacked the intellectual skills to put it into words.

When our soul is aroused by something we read or hear of a spiritual nature, a kind of circuit is completed. We’ve intuitively arrived at a truth that is intellectually confirmed. In other words, you and I know more than we can say. We do not randomly respond positively to certain ideas. We respond to those ideas that we, in the quiet of our being, have already embraced. We may be reluctant to speak of them, for perhaps we do not yet know how to express in words what we know in our heart to be true.

Spiritual growth is not as much about adding new information to your stockpile of facts as it is about remembering what you already know at the deepest level. Your intuition has, in fact, been the guide that has brought you to this present point in your understanding.

 

The Truth About Judgment

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“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.

The Truth About Grace

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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 Quest for Immortality

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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.

 

Resolving the Enigma of Divine Order

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When we seek spiritual guidance, we usually do so from one of two states of mind. We’re either seeking spiritual wisdom to implement a plan of action, or we’re clueless about our current state of affairs, and we’re asking God for ideas. In either case, it’s a good practice to remind ourselves that all things are unfolding in divine order.

But what does this mean? Does it mean that if we don’t affirm divine order, chaos will ensue? Does God need our reminder to initiate the highest process of order to ensure the best, most successful outcome?

It’s been said that we don’t affirm a thing to make it true; we affirm it because it is true. The declaration that, My life is now unfolding in divine order is a statement that aligns our understanding, our expectations, with the truth that that which is best and highest for the expression of our soul, is now taking place. Whether we’re in the process of pursuing a dream, or we feel completely lost, adrift in a sea of uncertainty, we experience the peace of knowing that all is well.

Though this may not seem to be true, the feeling of being lost is foreign to the soul. It’s the self-image that experiences the opposites of certainty and uncertainty. The soul is grounded in the Infinite. Our spiritual core never becomes lost in the weeds of circumstance. Nor is the soul’s worth based on our successes and failures.

The self-image tends to read its ever-changing circumstances like tea leaves. We hope that the patterns left by the grounds in the bottom of our cup will give us some indication of what we should do. The problem here is that we will read into appearances exactly what we want to see. We’re like dooms-day advocate that sees that latest volcanic eruption, hurricane, political scandal, or violent outbreak in the Middle East as the signs that the end is near.

When you affirm divine order, do so with a deep feeling of certainty that your soul’s purpose is now being fulfilled. Pursue your plans and move through your circumstances with the understanding that all things are working together for your highest good, and for the highest good of all. In those moments of uncertainty, turn your attention away from circumstances and re-establish your faith in the truth that your life is now unfolding in divine order.