cultivating yourself

Cultivating Yourself on All Levels

“Some people spend all of their time thinking about common and ordinary things; no wonder they don’t progress much. Others spend half an hour and more thinking about the good, faith, love, thinking about the great things of the world. These people are cultivating the soil for their future genius.

“God’s teaching is the best soil; whoever falls on that soil will grow and multiply.

“Evil in mind is an abnormal condition. It is manifested through weak people. Strengthen your will; do not let your negative traits manifest themselves.

“Tell yourself the truth about your defects and you will free yourself from the restrictions you are living in.

“Prepare yourself for paradise. With the burden of materialism, one will not stay a second in paradise. The materialism that a man has in his consciousness is so heavy that if he happens to enter paradise with it; he will be expulsed for less than a second or he will go down.

“Arm yourself with Truth, Good, Wisdom, and Love, and begin to erase your sins from the past. Ask for forgiveness and forgive.” ~Biensa Douno

Common and Ordinary Things

Many people will insist they do not spend all of their time thinking about common and ordinary things. They think of great things, important things. They think about the rules of law. Some may think about running a business. Other may be studying and experimenting to make some great scientific discovery. But while those things may seem great on the level of materialism, in reality, they are very much the common and ordinary things that Douno is talking about. Virtually anything about the realm of matter, with the possible exception of escaping from it, is common and ordinary. What is really sad is that many today seem to think they are engaging in some sort of spiritual activity when they are trying desperately to manifest material things. Manifesting is only spiritual if you are manifesting spiritual things. But I’m not even sure manifesting is possible with spiritual things. The realm of spirit doesn’t function like thought-manipulated molding clay. Only matter does that since it is illusion to began with, and has no definite shape.

When Douno says the people who spend all their time and effort on common things “don’t progress much,” he doesn’t mean in the material sense. Of course such people become governors, senators, and business executives. He means they don’t make any meaningful progress. In other words, they don’t make spiritual progress.

Cultivating Yourself

Spending thirty minutes developing yourself daily is indeed cultivating yourself. It doesn’t have to be thirty minutes a day. It could be a few hours a week. It might be only fifteen minutes a day. The important thing is that you never stop learning, never stop growing. This is important for your mental self but is even more important for the spiritual self.

In today’s materialistic world, the spirit and soul are, on average, the least developed parts of humanity. And then we wonder why we live in violence and poor health. We wonder why we are never satisfied with what we have. The answer is that deep down some part of us is craving a spiritual awakening. That is what we need more than anything else. Cultivating yourself includes body, mind, and spirit.

Truth, Love, Wisdom

Douno says we need to prepare ourselves for paradise. That certainly sounds like a good idea. But how? You have to have some understanding of what heaven is in order to be ready for it.

If your boss tells you that it would be great if you learned to operate a glopstugel, it doesn’t help you any if you don’t have any idea what a glopstugel is (I certainly hope you don’t, I made it up).

Douno helps by telling us to arm ourselves with truth, good, wisdom, and love. While that is certainly a big part of cultivating yourself, even here there are some problems of understanding. In order to prepare for heaven, you need to go beyond ordinary truth, ordinary wisdom, and self-serving love.

If, for example, you see an oak tree across the street, and I ask you what it is, if you say it is an oak tree, you think you have told the truth. But you haven’t. You have only told the truth within the boundaries of the great illusion of the world of matter. The real truth is something much deeper that few people ever see, or even realize exists.

Wisdom is even more confusing. In today’s world, knowledge and wisdom are often confused. Many think that being wise simply means having a lot of knowledge. Others will say that wisdom is knowing how to use what knowledge you have. While that second one is correct, it too comes with a caveat. First, if your knowledge is limited to the world of matter, it is incomplete and inaccurate. In such a case, it is impossible to truly use it wisely.

Love and good are also too vague to truly understand. But there is an answer to this dilemma.

Awakening to Gnosis is Cultivating Yourself

Our mind is limited to an understanding of the physical world. The soul knows the realms beyond the physical. But that doesn’t do us any good if we spend our entire life on Earth with our soul dormant. We are born into this realm with our spirit and soul in a coma-like state. They are not dead, but they can’t really function until awakened. Doing that takes effort. While there may be some very rare cases of the soul awakening without effort, just sitting back and waiting for that to happen is like planning on winning the lottery to finance your retirement. Make the effort to awaken them.

It takes energy to awaken our spiritual faculties. Energy that comes from God, down to the spiritual sun, and then down to Earth. So we need to turn to the spiritual sun and actively take in that energy. We need to do that regularly. That is not just cultivating ourselves, it is cultivating our real selves, our permanent selves. Cultivating yourself means seeking out and excepting that energy that awakens and nourishes the soul.

When the spirit and soul are truly awakened, they understand the real truth. They also know real love, real goodness. That gives them real wisdom.

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day of judgment

Day of Judgment and the Signs for it

“And then I asked the lord about the day of judgment, ‘What will be the sign of your coming?’ He answered me, ‘It will be when the name of the just will be consummated according to the name of the just ones who have been crowned and fallen from the sky. Then Satan will be freed and will leave his prison, a prey to great anger, and he will make war on the just … And the lord will immediately command his angel to sound the trumpet. … And then the sun will darken and the moon give no more light. The stars will fall and the four winds will be torn from the foundations, and they will make the earth tremble, and also the mountains and hills. Immediately the sky will tremble and the sun darken until the fourth hour. Then will appear the earthly son, and with him all the saintly angels. And then the son rises, and he will place his seat on the clouds and will sit on the throne of his majesty, with twelve messengers seated on twelve chairs of glory. The books will be opened and he will judge the universe according to the faith they revealed. And then the earthly son will send his angels to gather the elect—from the four winds and the summits of the skies and to the corners of the world—and bring them before him. … The earthly son will take the elect from the midst of the sinners and say to them, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my father. Receive the kingdom that has been prepared for you since the organization of the world.” ~The Gospel of the Secret Supper

Day of Judgment

The first thing we all need to understand about the day of judgment is that it has no connection with a twenty-four-hour Earth day whatsoever. This judgment day is a universal thing, so expecting it to operate on Earth’s time makes no sense. Like the seven days in which the cosmos were created, “day” refers to a non-specific period of time. It may be one Earth hour, It may be centuries to us. It is a God day, not a man day. Most spiritual masters expect it will take at least ten years, and probably a lot more. It has already started.

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

There have been many predictions over the centuries on what signs to expect in the Day of Judgment. These signs fall into two primary categories. The first is the signs to warn us that the Day of Judgment is approaching. The second group indicates that it has started and is ongoing. Similar signs predict the End Times. That should not be a surprise. The Day of Judgment and the End Times coincide.

Warning Signs

Many have warned that as we approach the Day of Judgment, we will see great wars and violent destruction. The destruction by terrorists of the New York Trade Center was one such sign. More will follow if we don’t wake up. Satan will be set loose, the quote says. That is more allegorical than literal. He was never truly imprisoned, just somewhat controlled. He is not being completely set free, but perhaps allowed a longer leash. This means that we will see more of the things that Satan, his demon assistants, and other dark forces, inspire. Things like idiots playing with guns and shooting anyone they disagree with, and a government that does nothing to stop it. Greedy people claiming more and more of the world’s resources for themselves and forcing more and more into poverty as a result. Industrialists deliberately destroying the environment because they simply don’t care about anyone but themselves. Reality being ignored so people can live in comfortable fantasies. Increasingly violent storms fed by the angry and uncontrolled thoughts of humanity.

Those are some of the signs that the Day of Judgment is approaching, or has already arrived. Don’t expect it to announce itself like a concert or state fair. Be prepared at all times.

Ongoing Signs

The signs that the Day of Judgment has started are not much different than those warning of it. But as it continues, they will get progressively worse. Some predict days of darkness, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, electricity no functioning, even gravity going crazy. Some of these are just opinions. Others are interpretations of visions that may be literal or allegorical. Either way, it doesn’t look like it will be a pleasant time.

But after the trials and tribulation will come the start of a new dawn. The new Golden Age will begin. The quote says the books will be open. This doesn’t represent physical books, of course. It is allegory again. It means that the hidden truths will be revealed to all. Even now, some are discovering these truths, though they remain hidden to most. But sometimes things are hidden only because we refuse to see them when they are right in front of us. Jesus told the apostles that the Kingdom of God was all around them already, yet they saw it not. They hadn’t yet opened their spiritual eyes.

The elect, also known as the chosen, will be led to freedom from the chaos and destructive tendencies of matter. This may mean that they will be taken to another place. Or it may mean that they will stay on earth, but earth, the sun, the whole physical universe will change back into its original state of spirit. The elect will be those who have been working to slowly change themselves into spiritual beings. They will be able to survive when the transition takes place. Those who cannot accept change, but instead cling to the illusions of matter, will not be able to live in that new world.

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affliction and temptations

Affliction and Temptations: How to deal with Them

“There are things which the Lord so orders that He may not leave Himself without testimony of His divine grace and calling; and there are others which He orders in the way of permissions, that a man may be proved and exercised, that his self-determination may be made plain. Those in affliction and temptations, if they endure, do not fail of the Kingdom of Heaven, therefore Christians in circumstances of distress are not vexed or grieved. If they are tried by poverty or suffering, they ought not to be surprised, but rather to take pleasure in poverty and reckon it as wealth, and fasting as feasting, and dishonor and obscurity as glory. On the other hand, if they should fall into circumstances which in this life are glorious, which incline them to worldly ease, or wealth, or glory, or luxury, they ought not to take pleasure in these things, but to shun them as they would fire.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Affliction and Temptations

There are many reasons why we may end up having to deal with affliction of some sort. Disease, poverty, physical handicap, etc. St. Macarius says this is because God is testing us. He wants to know if we will hold up under pressure. He wants to know if we will change our path when the path gets difficult. That is one reason why such things can happen. It isn’t the most common, however. It is nice to think that we are so important to God that He thinks we are worthy of such attention. It is somewhat egotistical to believe that. And while God isn’t opposed to us having an ego—it is a perfectly natural and useful thing—an overinflated ego is definitely not good. So while there is a slim chance that our problems are due to God testing our mettle, we shouldn’t think that if we don’t have good reason to. Good reason meaning something like an angel appearing to us in a vision and telling us. We should consider other possibilities first.

One other reason for afflictions is simply that we are in the place where they abound. Afflictions and difficulties are the weeds of the material world. They happen everywhere, needed or not. So sometimes they land on us for no particular reason.

The third reason applies only to those engaging in spiritual development methods. There are forces and beings that don’t want us doing that. They are the powers of matter, the demons of materialism. So when you stray from the path they want you to be on, they will smack you down with an illness, financial disaster, or other affliction. Or they will tempt you with material treasures. Affliction and temptations are the primary tools for control of humanity. Sometimes they use affliction and temptations together to get you to behave. This usually makes people unhappy. It shouldn’t. When the dark ones are trying to stop you, you know you are doing what you should be doing. We must be strong and ignore their efforts.

What Doesn’t Kill Us

While God rarely bothers to test the mettle of anyone, it may be other spiritual beings who do so as his agents. They know that affliction and temptations are the tools of the dark beings, so they will use them to test us sometimes. They do this not to prove our faith in God, but to make us stronger. We need to be strong because the closer we get to a complete spiritual awakening, the more desperately the dark ones will try to stop us. We need to be able to resist their attacks. We need to resist the afflictions and temptations. It’s the spiritual version of Wim Hof techniques to strengthen a person’s will-power and physical body by sitting outside nearly nude in very cold weather. It is Mr. Miyagi training the Karate Kid. This may seem harsh, but trying to force you to suddenly lift 200 pounds when you have never before lifted more than 20 is even harsher.

Reject Wealth and Glory

While St. Macarius is correct in saying that we also have to reject the temptations of wealth and glory, that doesn’t mean we have to live in obscure poverty. We can have a nice house, comfortable clothing, and even a little recognition (not too much). We can have it as long as we can avoid getting attached to it. Getting attached to material things is like filling your boat with rocks before heading off on a sail. Even if the boat still floats, it will be slowed down significantly. Yet you can sail over a large rock that weighs a few tons without difficulty because it isn’t in the boat or attached to the boat like an anchor. So we can accept some wealth and glory, just as we accept the affliction and temptations that help us grow stronger, as long as we don’t get attached to the things of the material realm.

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subconscious computer

Subconscious Computer and Negative Thinking

“I want to preach a sermon to everybody, from this test, ‘Consider the lilies of the field,’ because it has nothing in it disagreeable to anybody. It is not a sermon of threat or of warning, but of hope. The world today needs more hope. We are a hopeless lot. We are so, principally, because in so much of the past preaching we have been told how bad we are, and what would happen to us if we kept on in our badness. We are so little told that we heave in us lots of goodness and power. … People who think badly of themselves are pretty sure to do badly. Scripture remarks, ‘As a man or woman thinketh, so is he or she.’ It is when a man thins poorly of himself, that he goes off and gets drunk, or does some mean thing. The pride that makes a man value himself is the pride that keeps him from mean and degrading acts. Our race is now on the point of being woke up to the fact that every man and every woman are the possessors of more powers than now they dream of, and that, when they know how to use these powers, they will steer out of all evil into good.” ~Prentiss Mulford

Sermon of Warning

I wouldn’t have called Mulford’s warning a sermon. That name alone turns off many people these days. That is, in part at least, for the very thing Mulford is talking about. We have preachers who love to tell us how evil we are. How we need to repent. And those who are not telling their congregation such things, are saying it of others. The gays are evil, the Mexicans are evil, the feminists are evil, etc. Any group that they think is not a significant part of their congregation is a potential target for these sermons of hate. Yet, in truth, many of these preachers don’t even hate the ones they are calling evil. They do it simply because it is what their congregation wants to hear. When you tell the congregation what they want to hear, they are more generous in their donations. And sadly, preaching has become more about making money then teaching truth.

When We Believe

Preachers are certainly not the only ones telling us negative things about ourselves. Teachers, parents, government officials, and others contribute also. This might be acceptable of they followed the negative comments with some positive ones, but they rarely do. Even when they do, it may be that they emphasize the negative, or keep the positive to something minor. Just to give an example, which is certainly not something I believe, if someone says, “Mexicans are all knife-wielding murderers, but they dress well,” they have said something positive as well as something negative. But the negative part greatly outweighs the positive, so the overall message is negative.

As Mulford notes, the real danger in all of this comes when we actually start to believe the negative things others say about us, either as an individual or as some group we belong to. It is bad enough that just listening to the negative things others say about us can, to some degree, program out subconscious minds, but when we start to affirm those negative opinions, we are really programming the subconscious mind.

Subconscious Computer

As someone who spent most of his adult life programming computers for a living, I know them fairly well. The thing about computers is that they have no conscience, no morals, no ethics. None at all. They accept everything that is programmed into them and act accordingly. That is how our subconscious mind works as well. It doesn’t judge right or wrong. It accepts anything that it is told as long as it doesn’t conflict with firm beliefs that have been programmed into it. If you keep telling it that you are stupid, it programs you to be stupid. If you tell it you are violent, it programs you to be violent. It is an idiot servant that does whatever you tell it to do. If you tell it, “my parents were poor, my grandparents were poor, so I am doomed to be poor,” it believes you and accepts those instructions and starts doing everything it can to make you stay poor. It’s like we are working against ourselves. But there is a solution.

Reprogramming the Subconscious Computer

The subconscious computer of our mind can be reprogrammed like any other computer. If the programs running on it are not doing what you want them to do, you can modify them or replace them entirely. But here’s where we find a difference between the subconscious computer and something from IBM or Microsoft. With physical computers, it is often far easier to make changes to an existing program rather than replacing it entirely. With the subconscious computer, it is the opposite. It is generally better to completely replace the existing program. Here is why.

With an electronic computer, there is no resistance to change built into it. With the subconscious, there is. When you try to change the subconscious a little at a time, it can find those changes inconsistent with other programming, and reject them. That is why modern psychiatry treats a problem for years and still rarely succeeds in changing a person. They try to modify rather than replace. Other methods that replace have greater success. I have experienced such a method personally. Several years ago, I attended a weekend workshop for Psych-K, a program that uses a form of applied Kinesiology. In just one weekend, I was able to lose a fear of heights. That was because the method replaced the fear program with one of confidence.

Point of Being Awakened

Mulford is correct in saying that we are on the point of being “woke up,” as he put it. He was talking primarily about something mental, but the real awakening is more spiritual. While that subconscious computer does cause many of our problems, it gets much help from the conscious ego. But the best way to get both of those problems solved is awakening the spirit and soul. A fully awakened and conscious soul can take control of the mind. It can keep the ego on a lease, allegorically speaking. It can probably help control the subconscious computer as well. And since spiritual development is more important than physical or mental, it can help reprogram that difficult subconscious computer so that it places spiritual needs at the top of the priority stack.

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