Confidence In Our Abilities, Physical and Spiritual, Helps Us Succeed

“He puts no confidence, however, in his labors,and manner of life, until he obtains the things hoped for. Until the Lord comes and dwells in him in the full experience and energy of the Spirit. And when he tastes the goodness of the Lord, and delights in the fruits of the Spirit, and the veil of darkness is taken away, and the light of Christ shines upon him and works in him in joy unspeakable, then is he fully satisfied. …

“But he still has conflict and fear from the robber spirits of wickedness, lest he should grow selfish1 and lose his labor, before he is accepted in the kingdom of heaven, in the Jerusalem which is above.

“Let us then beseech God that He would put off from us the old man, and put on us the heavenly Christ, here and now, so that being in gladness, and thus being led by Him, we shall be in great tranquility.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Lack of Confidence

A lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities is common. We try something, but are not sure we will succeed. As a result, we fail more often than we should. Having confidence in ourselves makes us try harder. It also helps us make better decisions. When we have confidence, the things we need to succeed are drawn to us. When we lack confidence, we push them away. So confidence is key to success.

Spiritual Confidence

St. Macarius says we will have confidence in our spiritual abilities when the Lord comes and dwells in us. But in actuality, that is a catch-22 situation. The Christ Power, or Christ Consciousness isn’t going to enter us until we have fully prepared for it. In order to prepare properly, we have to have a certain degree of confidence already. It is true that if we achieve Christ Consciousness, we will have unstoppable confidence. But that doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t even happen with a few months of practicing spiritual growth techniques. So it behooves us to work on developing confidence on our own rather than waiting until we achieve Christ Consciousness.

Joy Unspeakable

Even before truly achieving Christ Consciousness, we do have the light of Christ shining on us. This spiritual light, that comes to us through the spiritual sun, does help enlighten us and give us more confidence. This encourages us to continue on the path to complete enlightenment and the highest levels of consciousness.

Robber Spirits

Yes, there are robber spirits that can fill us with fear and doubts. You can call them devils, demons, or forces of darkness. The name doesn’t matter. What matters is they can affect us. We must be strong and alert so we can recognize when these dark one are trying to manipulate us. They can also work on us indirectly through other people who they have in complete control.

Jerusalem Above

An important point here that might be missed. St. Macarius is telling us that there is a Jerusalem other than the city on Earth. There is a higher Jerusalem a spiritual Jerusalem. And when you read things that prophets and others have said about Jerusalem, you need to know which one they are referring to. So when Jeremiah says, “At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.” or John in Revelation writes, “And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” they are not talking about a city, but a spiritual place.

Put Off the Old Man

When St. Macarius advises us that God will “ put off from us the old man,” it isn’t talking about the elderly. By old man (or woman) he means the former man, the person you were before a spiritual awakening. So he is correct in saying that God wants us to put off that self and take on a new self, a Christ self. That is the purpose of all real spiritual training. But first, we must develop the confidence that we can do it.

  1. I am assuming this word should be “selfish”. What is actually in the book is “slftck”.
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Supreme Being and the Power to Create

“The existence of a Supreme Being is not just something to accept, believe in and ignore. A belief, faith alone, cannot be ends in themselves, for nothing exists without purpose. Simple belief in a Supreme Being is not enough; we must know the purpose or intention of the Being. If we believe this Supreme Being created us, however this was brought about, we must seek to discover the purpose behind our creation. If we were created to serve some purpose, … we must do it or earn our Creator’s displeasure. …

“Therefore, we who are brothers, were taught not only to believe in a Supreme Being,but also in our similarity to Him. The Supreme Spirit is not a stranger beyond our ken; the powers of the Supreme Spirit infuse every fiber of our bodies.” ~The Kolbrin Bible (SOF:19:4-5)

Supreme Being

Whether we call he Supreme Being God, or the All, Ultimate Consciousness doesn’t matter. What matters is first our recognition that He exists. And I say “He” not because God is male, but because “He” is also neutral, neither male nor female, just as God is. We also have to understand that this Supreme Being does not have a physical body. He is pure spirit. And in the dimension where He dwells, only other pure spirits can exist because the Godhead cannot be polluted.

More Than Belief

There are many people who say they believe in God, therefore they are saved. Others say Jesus or Buddha instead of God, but the idea is the same. Just by saying they believe, they think they are saved. That is like saying that my meal will be cooked by magic just because I say I believe in fire. Try it and see what happens. Your meal is not going to cook itself just because you believe in fire. You are not going to be saved or enlightened simply because you believe in God.

You need to go beyond belief to ask what God wants of you, what is your mission, and then doing it. This requires that you first awaken your spiritual faculties so you can learn through them what that mission is. Your brain-mind simply does not know. Continue reading “Supreme Being and the Power to Create”

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Perception, Awareness and Beliefs

“Awareness must be determined by the nature and character of the living being in which it occurs; perception,then, means that the likeness demanded by the hypothesis is within the self-identifying living being (and not in the object – for the organ by which the perception takes place is in the likeness of the living being (is merely the agent adequately expressing the nature of the living being): thus perception is reduced to a mental awareness by means of organs akin to the object. … This means that, in so far as it has perception, the objects appear not as its content but as related to its content. And the objects are thus perceived as related because the mind has thus related them in order to make them amenable to its handling.” ~Plotinus

Awareness and Perception

Plotinus wrote in a way that makes it difficult for us to follow what he is trying to say. It is worth the effort to try, however, because he really does have some interesting things to say. Here, he is telling us that our awareness and perception of other objects and beings is as much a part of our own mind as it is that of the thing being perceived.

The Quantum Physicists of today tell us that when we observe a thing, we alter what it is simply by that act of observation. Plotinus was saying the same thing, and more, nearly 2000 years ago. He is saying that we not only affect the thing we observe, but we effect our perception of it by what we think and believe.

Relationship Perception

First he tells us that we often perceive things only as they relate to us. So if we like to eat fish, we might see the fish simply as food, and not as a being in its own right. The Naturist would have a different view of the same fish, as would the environmentalist. The person who has never seen a fish before, and doesn’t believe that such a thing could exist,might not see it at all, or might see it as some variation of an animal he is familiar with. Which means that what we see is a mixture of what is there with what we believe. What we expect to see changes what we do see.

This seems like a strange way for vision to work, but it actually makes sense. In the physical realm of illusion, we can’t be reinterpreting every blob or energy and light every time we see it. We also can’t define them all alone. There has to be a common definition or description of an object, or we couldn’t function together. We have to rely on common definitions and beliefs to guide us. For the most part, that system serves us well in the world of matter. Continue reading “Perception, Awareness and Beliefs”

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Impassioned Images Can Prevent Growth

“We carry about with us impassioned images of the things we have experienced. If we can overcome these images we shall be indifferent to the things which they represent. For fighting against the thoughts of things is much harder than fighting against the things themselves, just as to sin in the mind is easier than to sin through outward action.
“Some passions pertain to the body, others to the soul. The first are occasioned by the body, the second by external objects. Love and self-control overcome both kinds, the first curbing the passions of the soul and the second those of the body.” ~The Philokalia

Impassioned Images

We are all familiar with the old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” When trying to explain something to another person, a photo of the event can often show a lot more than your attempt to describe it in words. And when dealing with a person who speaks a different language, you can often get them to understand what you want by showing them a picture. Yet few stop to consider how important this is with the mind.

I think any psychologist, psychiatrist, or brain researcher will tell you that the brain-mind is very image-oriented. When you say a word, it is meaningless to the mind. It is only when the mind forms an image based on the word that the person gets any comprehension. The problem comes in when we then interpret that image, or in the details of it.

If I grew up loving cats, and playing with kittens, the word “cat” will invoke a pleasant image of a cat. If, however, I was attacked and injured by a stray cat as an infant, my image of “cat” will involve sharp claws and pain. So what we are being warned of is that words invoke images, images invoke emotions, and those emotions may be misleading. The vast majority of cats will not harm us, but to that person who was attacked as an infant, he will never truly accept that until he can get that image out of his head.

Advertisers recognize this, so they try to fill our heads with images of their client’s product that will make us desire it. We see nice people buying car X, so that image makes us want car X. In another commercial, we see healthy, happy people drinking Z beer, so we start to associate health and fun with beer Z. We tell ourselves that beer can’t make you slim and healthy. But after seeing the commercial many times over, the image is trapped in our brain and we go buy some beer Z. Continue reading “Impassioned Images Can Prevent Growth”