Spirituality 401

     One of the goals of studying Spirituality is the transformation of individual consciousness.  Translated that means mastering the skills of spirit that will enable students to change how they interpret other people’s behavior, creatively understand their challenging, more fragile moments and how to take charge of the direction their energy flows.

     Each person must decide what guidance they will accept as valid for him or her.  People who have made the greatest contributions in most of humanity’s numerous disciplines have been those who dared to risk, who dared to paint outside the lines and who decided to distill the vital essence from discoveries made by those who have gone before them.  People who have contributed new ways of thinking have learned how to discern the grain from the chaff since both have come to them carried by the various vehicles that communicate truth from one generation to another.

     Each one of us is an extension of God’s essence and presence.  Just because only a few people recognize the origin of their hidden treasure trove of talents and abilities does not mean that the vast majority of people belong any less to God.  The caterpillar does not have to believe in butterflies in order to become one.  Bugs who dwell in the mud of the lake’s bottom need never think of one day being a dragonfly in order to initiate their eventual transformation.  Both evolve independently from their awareness.  In the same way, each person evolves according to the Creator’s design not ours.

     When people discover that they can control the level of their conscious awareness without guilt or damning repercussions, that is when the true adventure begins.  We begin to take risks.  We begin to trust more completely our Creator rather than in what our various communities of faith and their priests have told us.  We begin to discern for ourselves what the ancients were saying when they wrote God’s Word.  We begin to respond more creatively to the episodes in life that try and test the ethical competence of our character and attitudes.  In other words, some of us will learn to soar from our understanding of reality while others follow in the footprints left in the sands by people who have gone before them.

     Thousands of years ago people were fearful to step away from the teachings of their spiritual heritage in order to see that a solar eclipse was not a sign of God’s anger, that illness was not the result of sins of the fathers and that failure to believe the theology of the circulating oral traditions did not mean death to the soul.  Even in our less than perfect world view, we can say along with Jesus, “You have heard it said that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say, love your enemies.”  We can change the rules by which our ancestors lived and not only survive such an evolution of thought but thrive.

     Each of us has a limited span of time in which to try our wings in our physical environment.  Death is the great equalizer.  Regardless of what we believed, won, gathered unto ourselves, or accomplished during our lifetime, the sinner and the saint both transition into the next level of reality.  Again, this transition has to do with God’s design not our thoughts and beliefs about it.

     People are not punished for our sins; they are punished by them.  Punishment must be understood as perfect justice.  Said in another way -- we grow at our own pace.  Punishment has nothing to do with retribution for our evil ways; it has to do with whether or not we have attained certain skills of spirit.  Ignorance is never rewarded regardless on how generous God’s love is for each of us.  Only those who have acquired the skills of a surgeon can operate successfully.  It is virtually the same in the realm of spirit.  There are “sheep” and “goats” in every discipline.  Some achieve while others do not.  The joy is that we have forever to evolve.

     Choosing to plateau or regress can always be our choice.  The chief fear of religionists is that we only have one opportunity to garner all truth before we transition to life eternal.  Such a conclusion has been formed more by tradition than by any reality created by God.  There is more to be gained by living in the material world than most religious bodies teach.

     We can gather a lot of earthly treasure and become the ruler of our social class, but have we learned the skill of living with compassion?  Can we exhibit patience under the worst of circumstances?  Can we live peacefully among those whose values are vastly different from ours?  We need to ask ourselves, “What skills will I need in the continuum following this one, a continuum where no material forms exist?”

     Half our education concerning substantive living patterns has to do with learning how to ask the questions that sharpen our ability to discern fact from fiction, truth from mythology and spiritual skills from management skills useful in our material world.  We may not always be able to change what we do for a living, but we certainly can change the spirit in which we do it.  As the old sage once said, “I chopped wood and carried water.  After I experienced enlightenment, I chopped wood and carried water.”

     No job is any more important than another.  Our tasks are nothing more than vehicles for refinement, i.e., making visible what we know while fine-tuning our methods, attitudes and skills.  We can think of ourselves as being the best at what we do.  We can also bring best practices to the desire of how we maintain the direction our energy flow so that it always flows in the direction of others.

     The quality of our lives has to do with the flow of our energy.  When we are extending ourselves, we are serving others while expanding our skill levels.  When our energy reverses its flow, we worry and fill our minds with self-doubt, e.g., “How am I being perceived?  Am I still physically attractive?  I wonder if others will still like me if I change my priorities?”

     God’s energy flows only in one direction, away from its source.  God’s energy pattern surrounds all of us, young and old, rich and poor, worker bees and slackers.  When we enter that flow, God’s energy reaches out through us.   Our ascent to the next level happens automatically.  When we remain self-absorbed, we gather sparingly from the seeds we have sparingly sown.

     One day each person will arrive in the same port of call designed by our Creator, a destiny that cannot be thwarted by our misdeeds, lack of good judgment or our failure to assimilate specific beliefs. Individuals separate themselves only by the length of time it takes for each to conclude his or her journey.  Only enhanced skills of spirit will allow us to create from a higher level of consciousness.  Until we give energy to this orientation to life, we will remain as we are, i.e., creating from primitive energy patterns.  Such patterns are a very acceptable way to live. They have supported billions of people for thousands of years.

     While on earth we can build sand castles that will eventually be eroded by the rise and fall from the tides of history.  We can very much enjoy the ride, but nothing is permanent on earth where constant change is the purpose of God’s matrix for learning.  A time will come when every name, every deed and noble act will be as though none of them ever occurred in time.  The earth and all the history that unfolded will be no more.  Either the sun will nova or grow cold.  However, every spirit will have evolved from having participated in the various roles as that history was unfolding.  Let us now continue our journey.