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.

 

 

 

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The Truth About Miracles

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Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children (Matthew 14:19-21).

If we consider Jesus our spiritual example, if we take him at his word that the works he did we can do also, and greater things, a story like this, meant to inspire, can inadvertently discourage. How many of us are even close to being able to perform such a miracle? This type story forces us to conclude that Jesus was either a different kind of human, or we have a very, very long way to go in our quest for spiritual understanding.

I have heard the concept of a miracle described in two ways. The first is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.” The second sees the miracle as “the fulfillment of a natural law we do not yet understand.” A prehistoric people who witnessed a jumbo jet flying over their heads, for example, would undoubtedly conclude they had witnessed a miracle. Yet the laws that allow a multi-ton craft to fly were as much in place then as now. A miracle to one is routine to another.

If we focus on this story as a miracle, we miss the principle it teaches. There is a condition of lack and apparently not enough supply to meet the need. Jesus, looking up to heaven, took his eyes off the appearance. He gave thanks for the answer before it was apparent. He then took the action of passing out the little he had. In other words, he began giving in the very face of lack, a clear act of faith. One writer suggested that as he began to give, others, following his lead, brought out food they surely would have taken with them. After all, five-thousand desert dwellers would not be foolish enough to venture into the wilderness without proper provisions.

Such stories, passed down orally for decades, undoubtedly suffer from excessive elaboration. God incarnate, after all, must be shown to wield power over nature. The problem is that we place our faith in the so-called miracle worker and miss the transforming principle that we can apply to our own situation. In most cases, it doesn’t take an inexplicable breach in natural law to bring a desired change. Action based on trust in God is the real change agent demonstrated by Jesus. This is certainly a thing he did that we can do as well.

 

 

The Truth About Jesus

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Note: Technical issues with video. Our apologies.

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 Time

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In our spiritual studies, we encounter the paradox of time verses the eternal nature of the now moment. It doesn’t take much thought to realize we can only live in this now moment. But then there’s that hair appointment at three o’clock on Thursday. We schedule our lives in a framework of time that, in reality, doesn’t exist. How do we reconcile this fact in any kind of useful way?

We begin by realizing it’s the body-based self-image, not the soul, that runs by the clock. Time is a very useful tool, but it can also become an unmerciful taskmaster. It’s a cultural habit to tie our entire existence to a timeline that so often becomes a peace-robbing source of stress. Our timing is off, time is running out, time is passing us by because time waits for no one.

The soul is not subject to the constraints of time, for it neither ages nor matures. This doesn’t mean that we ignore our time-related responsibilities. Jesus said we are to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s. When we find our rendering unto Caesar is stressing us out, it’s probably because we’re not rendering unto God what is God’s. We need to step back, take a breath, relax, and know that nothing has the power to disturb the calm peace of our eternal soul.

With time, all things have a beginning and an end. Your timeless soul has neither beginning nor end. This means you always pass successfully through the most tumultuous of situations. It also means that the peace and assurance you crave is not found at the end of some event, but is present now.

Your soul is not diminished by unsavory situations in time and space. Pull back from time-based appearances and re-center your mind in the truth of your eternal, timeless nature. In honoring your commitments in time, do not neglect to also honor your commitment to God. When it feels as if time is passing you by, let it go and reground yourself in the healing truth of your soul’s timelessness.

The Truth About Omnipresence

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A major drawback to the use of dogmatic, theological concepts, is that they are easy to recite and even easier to relegate to our list of memorized terms that have little meaning in our daily life. The omnipresence of God can easily become such a term. It may seem a grand idea that describes a quality of God but offers little comfort in our time of need.

Understanding the omnipresence of God is one of the most powerful truths we can entertain. Most of us have been raised to believe there are two powers – good and evil – at work in our lives. While we may have graduated from the thought of a devil working with his army of angels to tempt us at every turn, we may still hold onto the belief that negative forces are at work. We look over the landscape of our life and see contrasts between day and night, blue skies and cloudy days, sunlight and shadows. Good and evil may not seem that much of a stretch.

Early in the fifteenth century, German philosopher and theologian, Nicholas of Cusa, made a statement that gives us a helpful handle on the notion of omnipresence. He wrote,

God is an infinite circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.”

You and I are “centers” of God. To understand this, think of yourself as an orb of light shining out into your world. No matter what direction you look, you see only light, for you are a center of perpetual light. When a light source is in the distance, the sun for example, it casts shadows. But if you are the center of light, you will never see a shadow. The simple fact of your presence dispels all darkness.

It is true that wherever you are, God is. Hold this powerful thought through your day, especially when you begin seeing shadows of negativity. You are a center of God. Let your light shine and watch the shadows disappear.

The Truth About Prayer

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“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37).

An important dynamic in our spiritual approach to life involves the power of choice. This modern translation of Jesus’ statement provides a good illustration. While not all situations seem to offer such a black and white choice, we are actually saying either yes or no to every proposition put before us. We can be saying yes to fear and no to peace, or no to opportunity and yes to the certainty of failure. Prayer, seen in light of the complete soul, is the conscious act of releasing (saying no) and affirming (saying yes) to a desired outcome.

Our former approach to prayer probably treated God as a caring parent who, in His wisdom, may or may not give us the things we ask for in prayer. Despite Jesus’ assurance that God does not give stones when we ask for bread or serpents when we ask for fish, our prayer still may be laced with doubt or feelings of unworthiness.

In our new approach to prayer, we do not seek to overcome God’s reluctance. Rather, we start with the acknowledgment that there is but one presence and one power of absolute good working through us at this very moment. We’re setting the bar. We’re not praying to God. We’re praying from the consciousness of God. We agree to say yes to this powerful realization and all it’s implications, and no to any thought or feeling that would say otherwise.

Established in the principle that the highest and best is working through us now, we say no, or release any doubts that arise as we move through our experience. We continue to say yes to the truth that the highest good is unfolding, even when things take an unexpected turn in what appears to be the wrong direction. We say no to fear, no to anger, no to impatience, and no to any thought of lack and limitation whatsoever.

Prayer, in this context, is a stream of choices that support the highest and best outcome for whatever our need. Set your course and hold fast to it. God is your unfailing support.