YouTube: Spiritual Guidance
Audio: Spiritual Guidance
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.
YouTube: The Bedrock of Individuality
Audio: The Bedrock of Individuality
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.
YouTube: The Goal of Your Goal
Audio: The Goal of Your Goal
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.
Youtube: Understanding Consciousness
Audio: Understanding Consciousness
“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.
YouTube: Where is Your Heart?
Audio: Where is Your Heart?
“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.
YouTube: The Dynamics of Challenge
Audio: The Dynamics of Challenge
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.
YouTube: The You That You Are
Audio: The You That You Are
“Show me the money for the tax.” And they brought him a coin. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:19-21).
This passage presents one of the clearest statements of our material and spiritual responsibilities. Because we are spiritual beings having a human experience, we acknowledge there are details to attend at both levels. The problem is that our human side becomes so pronounced that we give it, with all its societal implications, the bulk of our attention and we lose our sense of individuality.
Groupthink is a situation where individuals refrain from expressing doubts and judgments or disagreeing with the consensus. In the interest of making a decision that furthers their group cause, members may ignore any ethical or moral or even common-sense consequences. We see this dynamic at work in everything from mainstream religion to identity politics. For the sake of fitting into a group, individuals begin ignoring rendering unto God the things that are God’s.
The teachings found in early Unity fully support the spiritual strengthening of the individual. In these latter years, the focus has turned from the individual to the organization, the group. Because independent thinking that rises from the spiritually-centered individual poses a threat to the consensus, the movement no longer produces the type of individual leadership whose names populate its early literature and study guides.
The individual is the fountain of God’s unique expression through humanity. Emerson referred to it as the “… infinitude of the private man.” Emilie Cady made a clear distinction between personality and individuality, stressing the need to go alone, think alone, seek light alone. She was not advocating self or social depravation. Her point was to first find one’s center of power and then bring this to the world. This center of power is not found in groups. This center of power is found at your spiritual core, the you that you are.