The study of Spirituality can only acquaint students with insights that may help them refine their responses, attitudes and thought patterns.  The world has always had an abundance of people who thoroughly understood what we have studied these past nine weeks.  Wisdom and understanding are wonderful
assets to possess, but repeatedly we are humbled when the lure of the physical world seduces us into behaviors and attitudes that remind us that we are human beings who are students.  We are not all-knowing spiritual beings who dwell on some Mt. Olympus, aloof from the trivial pursuits that others find so comforting.

     Religionists often suggest that our lack of perfection is a result of our innate “sinfulness,” i.e., that we were created basically flawed at birth.  Our repeated failures more accurately describe part of the process of evolution.   Paul captures this concept when he wrote, “I do not understand what I do; for I don’t do what I would like to do, instead I do what I hate.” (Romans 7:15) Indeed, anyone who has not mastered a skill has this same realization.  The wise do not torture themselves with guilt.  They continue to trust that God’s will is unfolding in their lives regardless of the often cruel analysis they bring to themselves.

     This Will is part of each person’s design, a part from which no one is excluded.  The question always comes, “If we are ultimately in God’s constant care, why should we exert any energy trying to do the right thing, create the right attitudes or reach for the unreachable star?”  This is an excellent question.  The answer is that people do not have to exert anything or create any new interpretation or understanding for what is coming up for them. If people wish to persist in doing the wrong things, they are free to do so. 

     For the sake of clarity on this point, the next series of paragraphs will appear redundant.  Stating this idea from different perspectives may help us understand it. 

     The universe accommodates every person regardless of where they are in their evolution.  Furthermore, the universe has no emotional response about those who wish to linger around the stimulation their minds direct their senses to affirm and validate.  We are the ones who establish the timetable for our eventual maturity.  God only provides the playground, framework, matrix or classroom setting. Religionists will say, “Are you saying that we can do anything we want and God will not punish us?”  The answer is an unequivocal “Yes!”  When we are the ones who pursue illusionary treasure, it is we who have abandoned the authentic pearls of great price.  What judgment is required from God?  Our growth patterns were established in the beginning of creation.  They are as intimate a part of Creation as are the planets remaining in orbit around their respective stars.

     For example, if we want to celebrate our sexuality with as many partners who will have us, the universe accommodates such a desire.  If we want to pursue all the pleasures that the physical world can provide, again the universe accommodates us.  Wisdom and disciplines may not be strong enough to silence the voices of our neediness.  When we deny ourselves these things because of our obedience to certain laws, it is as though we are putting a cork in our steam kettle when the water in it is boiling.  Like with the Apostle Paul’s words, people may know what they should do but they are not ready to do it.

     A time will come when the lure of attractive bodies, passion, power, wealth, possessions and applause will no longer have the power to tease our senses.  Such goals will appear superfluous, the pursuit of which would represent to us a total waste of energy and time.  At that moment we will realize that we are complete just as we are.  As we look back on our past, our pursuits of such things were not evil; we simply did not understand their meaning in the broader context of who we are.

     Experiencing such blind alleys was necessary for our learning that they held nothing that we need.  We had to learn this lesson for ourselves.  Second handed truth cannot replace values that are learned by each of us through the pains and joys that come from our choices.  The reason God could not possibly consider punishing us is that we are in the process of discovering who we are.  Our chasing countless illusions are part of this process.  Punishing someone who is asleep would be absurd.  It would be like disciplining a child for not talking before she has learned the art of using words.

     We are the ones who assign value to the deeds of a suicide bomber.  We create the disciplines, the “Dos” and “Don’ts” and the laws of righteousness.  They do provide guidance, but if our minds and hearts are not willing students, we clearly are not ready for the greater awareness concerning our creative powers and abilities.  People being manipulated by their appetites, desires and drives are doing exactly what they want to do.  They are not ready to continue their evolution.  They do not fall from grace as we have been taught, they are merely engaging in delay.   The universe is gigantic enough to accommodate their delay.

     Religionists are often very harsh in their judgments about certain behaviors.  They also have created a God that is demanding, hurt and angered because we humans have abused God’s gift of life.  What they miss is the infinite depth and breadth of God’s love.  Their conclusions are based on a narrow understanding of the physical world.   They suggest that we are given one life on earth and during that time all the lessons of spirit must be learned.  When a life ends at the age of 9, 17 or 38, they have little to say about a person’s untimely transition.  Perhaps they will say, “It was God’s will.”

     Spirituality teaches that our lives are infinite.  We had extensive experiences prior to our arrival in this world and the opportunity for evolution will continue forever.  This is the awareness that is missing from Christian theology.  By limiting God’s creative process, we cannot experience the hope that we cannot fail.  Paul reflected on this reality when he wrote, “What we see now is like a dim image in a mirror; but a time is coming when we will be face to face with what is real.” (I Corinthians 13:12)  For many believers, Jesus’ resurrection and his message that he had overcome the world was an invitation for us to consider the infinite quality of our lives.  Time is not our prison unless we create that interpretation of it.

     For many people, however, Spirituality is a boring topic.  When there are so many bright lights in the world (ala Las Vegas), only a limited number of people are interested in exploring a world the existence of which cannot be proven.  We need to understand that there are many subjects that do not interest people.  We need to be patient with God’s unfolding will and allow God to remain the Creator.  Many people may need to become ill before they suspect that the well from which they drink contains unhealthy water.  Every soul will learn all that there is to know in its own time.

     This understanding is what brings peace to those who trust God’s ability to deliver every person.  God did not create failures nor would God’s love allow any of us to achieve what is impossible to achieve – separation.  If our son takes his life, our infant transitions from SIDS, our spouse becomes alcoholic, our children become sexually promiscuous or our energy patterns torture us by exciting our fears and insecurities – everyone is in process and well within the unfolding of God’s will.

     We have been given the power to create anything we wish, even our own death or self-abuse.  Such patterns will continue until we reach a point in our evolution where we value our creative power and learn to extend our spiritual energy beyond the needs of self.  During these moments in our society’s evolution, many of us seek our fulfillment from forms found in the external world, e.g., applause, approval, validating accolades, positions of authority, academic credentials, etc.  Such things are always a welcomed part of our growth pattern, but when they become the cornerstones of our identity, the happiness they bring will always be transitory.  Such things must be understood as byproducts of whom we have become rather than merely goals to be achieved.

     Our worries and fears give form to an unrecognized belief – “God is not in control of creation.”  Regardless of our system of beliefs, this simply is not true.  As we have said many times, we have free choice to evolve or engage in delay.  There are no other levels of awareness.  This is true for atheists, warmongers, born again Christians, members of various religious sects or those who look upon themselves as humanistic secularists.

     We must remember that everything we value within our world will one day pass from us once we transition from our current forms where such things are desired and valued.  Everything we experience serves the purpose of guiding us.  Like the man with his lawn mower featured in the Preface, consequences are a form of guidance.  Our destiny is not Heaven as we have been taught.  There is no divine piece of real estate in God’s created order where souls go to remain in a state of bliss and inertia as the reward for a job well done.  There is only continued evolution as our identity becomes increasingly transparent until we achieve invisibility.  Pure potentiality becomes pure energetic creativity.  Loving energy extends itself and continues to extend itself.  There is no need for recognition by or from other beings that are on the same journey.  Our Creator has no need to be worshipped.

     Here we settle for mansions, yachts and cash cows that meet or exceed our economic requirements.  Try imagining a time when none of that matters because of the enormity of what we can create.  We will find contemplating this level of awareness exceedingly difficult because we have been conditioned to think in concepts related to our very limiting physical reality.  Even the vocabulary we have developed to describe our sins and failures, our achievements and possessions and our creative genius and successes are all aspects linked to physical forms that will disappear.

     Think of how God creates, leaving no footprints and no energetic signature.  Only through hindsight do we believe we understand what God has done.  Are such perceptions accurate?  How much is God’s activity and how much is our interpretation of what we believe God has done?  Such a question has no answer since any answer will depend on one’s faith and belief system.  Ultimately, does the answer really matter?  Regardless of how much divine authority is given to anyone or any thing, the quality of what we create will always be a product of our wills.

     Kahlil Gibran’s book The Prophet expresses this very well:

“This would I have you remember in remembering me: That which seems most feeble and bewildered in you is the strongest and most determined.  Is it not your breath that has erected and hardened the structure of your bones?  And is it not a dream which none of you remember having dreamt, that built your city and fashioned all there is in it?  Could you but see the tides of that breath you would cease to see all else.  And if you could hear the whispering of the dream, you would hear no other sound.  But you do not see, nor do you hear and it is well.  The veil that clouds your eyes shall be lifted by the hands that wove it.  And the clay that fills your ears shall be pierced by the fingers that kneaded it.  And you shall see and you shall hear.  Yet you shall not deplore having known blindness, nor regret having been deaf.  For in that day you shall know the hidden purposes of all things, and you shall bless darkness as you would bless light.”

     Once again teaching this course has been most enjoyable.  Perhaps you have found one or two rungs on your ladder that have served to give you hope or have enhanced your climbing skills.  Maybe the course has helped you ask questions that will propel you further on your journey filled with less regret and more enthusiasm.  Feel free to share what you have found in these lessons.  That is how we learn.  Each one must teach one.  As we mentor each other, like the leaven in the loaf – the entire batch of dough will rise.  Perhaps the greatest gift you can give someone is to cause them to doubt when what they believe no longer works for them.  Once again, our spiritual maturity is not measured by our beliefs, but by the quality of what we create.