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Opinions and Beliefs can be a Help or a Hindrance

“Use thine opinative faculty with all honor and respect, for in her indeed is all: that thy opinion do not beget in thy understanding anything contrary to either nature, or the proper constitution of a rational creature. The end and object of a rational constitution is, to do nothing rashly, to be kindly affected toward men, and in all things willingly to submit to the gods.

“Casting therefore all other things aside, keep thyself to these few, and remember withal that no man properly can be said to live more than that which is now present, which is but a moment in time. Whatever is beside either is already past, or uncertain.” ~Marcus Aurelius

Opinions With Honor

It isn’t wrong to have opinions. There are some things we should have opinions about. But those opinions must be based on logic and/or spiritual insights. When they are based on fear, jealousy, or are otherwise illogical, they harm us more than help. Take political elections, for example. If you vote for a politician out of fear you will almost certainly learn that the politician does not have your best interests at heart. The kind of politician who encourages fear in people, then prays of their fears to control them and manipulate them is never trying to help anyone but himself. Sir Winston Churchill was correct when he said that the only thing we need fear was fear itself. That is the kind of politician the rational person votes for. It is also the kind the spiritual person will vote for.

The real problem with having opinions about everything is that that often evolve into beliefs. Then when we are faced with something that doesn’t fit that belief, we ignore it. It has even been proven that people will sometimes not see something that is right in front of them because they don’t believe in it. Beliefs that are only partially true, or completely false, prevent us from learning truth. Our own subconscious mind blocks out anything that will conflict with out beliefs.

Rational Constitution

Aurelius says a person with a rational constitution does nothing rashly. He thinks before he acts. That is good as far as it goes, but we need to go further. We need to get our spiritual faculties involved in our decision making as well. Not just in matters that are clearly spiritual in nature, but in all decisions. Our opinions and decisions will be much better if we do.

Let me give some examples from personal experience.

  • When I was a teenager, I took driver’s Ed in High School, but failed the behind-the-wheel exam. There was not enough time left in the school year to take more lessons and try again. I graduated two weeks later. For a while, I really didn’t need to drive, so I didn’t bother to try again. When I was twenty-one and in the Army, I reenlisted to get into a college program that I wanted. I wanted to use my reenlistment bonus to buy a car, but I still didn’t have a license. So I began taking lessons, now in a different state. I planned to buy a car right after I passed the exam. I took the exam and again failed. But my intuition told me to go buy the car anyway, so I did. Four days later I passed the test. I couldn’t have a new car and not be able to use it.
  • Some years after that, I was looking for a job. The company I had been working for had to cut staff on the project I was on. I looked at what was available on other projects within the company and didn’t like any of the openings that I qualified for. My intuition told me it was time to look for a new company to work for. When I did, my intuition told me I should accept one particular job offer. I took the job. Less than year later, the company I had been working for was bought out by another and about one-third of the employers were laid off. Ten year later I retired. I stayed with the new company that whole time. As a result, I was eligible for their pension plan which I now collect from. They were probably the only company in the software business offering a pension plan and two years after I started working for them they discontinued it for new employees. If I wasn’t getting that pension check, I would be living in poverty now with just Social Security.

So intuition and spiritual insights can even help us on the material level. Awaken yours and find out.

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Purification for Enlightenment and Spiritual Growth

“No one can be enlightened unless he first be cleansed or purified and stripped. Purgation, which is the remaking of character in conformity with perceived reality, consists in these two essential acts: the cleansing of that which is to remain, the stripping of that which is to be done away. It may best be studies, therefore, in two parts. …
“These than are the branches into which the subject will be split. (1) The negative aspect, the stripping or purging away of those superfluous, unreal, and harmful things which dissipate the precious energies of the self. … (2) The positive aspect: a raising to their highest terms, their purest state, of all that remains.” ~Evelyn Underwood

Purification

Purification is a word that scares many people away from spiritual development. It shouldn’t. Real spiritual purification doesn’t involve self-flagellation. Nor does it require hanging weights from our bodies using fish hooks like some in India do. As Ms. Underwood explains, spiritual purification is not a physical thing, but a mental and spiritual one.

There may be some physical aspects to it, but it is nothing as drastic as flagellation. It may mean changes in diet to a healthier one. It may mean changes in behavior so we don’t waste our energy too much.

Purging

The purging part of it is to rid ourselves of false beliefs and limitation that prevent spiritual growth. Actually, we should purge ourselves of all false beliefs and limitations, but our primary interest is the spiritual.

The first is our concept of God. Whatever religious or spiritual background we have, almost all of us have a concept of what God is and how he functions which is far from the reality. Proof of this can be seen in the way we like to declare holy men to be God. Only a servant of God would ever descend to the physical realm to help us out. God doesn’t do that. He might put His presence in the spiritual sun, but God Himself isn’t in there.

Our ideas of Heaven are another one. The way many people talk about their dead friends and relatives, it sounds like all we have to do to get to heaven is drop dead. That is about as far from reality as you can get. Even most holy people don’t get to go directly to Heaven after they die physically. They enter lower spiritual dimensions and spend many more years working their way up to heaven.

The Oriental mystical teaches say we must empty out cup before it can be filled again. That is their allegorical way of saying we must first get rid of false beliefs before our cup can be filled with truth. This is not something most of us can do in a day. We have to work for years to purge ourselves of false beliefs. But the more veils re remove, the more clearly we can see beyond them. Purification may not sound like fun, but removing veils of falsehood actually is. Continue reading “Purification for Enlightenment and Spiritual Growth”

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Apprehending Reality from Different Views

“We have said that this [spiritual] consciousness in its full development seems to be extended not in one but in two directions. These directions, these two fundamental ways of apprehending Reality may be called the eternal and temporary, transcendent and immanent, absolute and dynamic aspects of Truth. They comprise the twofold knowledge of a God who is both Being and Becoming, near and far. … But the first awakening of the mystic sense, the first breaking in of the suprasensible [sic] upon the soul, commonly involve the emergence of only one of these complementary forms of perception. One side always wakes first: the incoming message always choosing the path of least resistance.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Apprehending Reality

It is not only in the development of spiritual consciousness that we see this duality. There are many things that people see differently. While there are many views when we look at the details, overall it is a dual view. The scientist or mathematician sees the thing one way, the artist another. The atheist and the theologian are also likely to see a thing very differently.

Ms. Underhill calls the two views of spiritual truth eternal and temporary, absolute and dynamic. Moving and static might be another way to look at it. The dynamic view sees reality as moving, flowing. The absolute view takes a static image of it. Both views are true. Both views can reveal things the other view misses.

A well known experiment in photography revealed that there are times when a racehorse has all four hooves off the ground. And lets consider a humming bird. If one person who has never seen a humming bird first sees one sitting static on a tree, she notes it’s size, color, pointy bill, etc. The second person who only sees the hummingbird flying notices its fast speed, it’s great maneuvering ability, the way it flutters rapidly from flower to flower. Both have seen the same bird, but in different ways. Both have seen truth, but only partially. Only the one who sees both views sees the complete truth. Only seeing the complete truth is really apprehending reality.

Path of Least Resistance

I think Underhill is correct in saying that which view we experience first when we awaken is the one with the least resistance. Those of us more prone to look at things as in a photograph will have that view of the spiritual realms. Those who think more of moving and changing will see things that way. They are apprehending reality, but not all aspects of it. One thing we need to understand, however, is that the constant movement that happens in spiritual realms does not represent change. At the highest levels of pure spirit, change simply doesn’t happen. God is always God. Yet that level is said to be one of great and constant motion. I suppose it is much like me sitting in a chair and apparently not moving, yet internally there is much movement; blood flowing, heart beating, lungs breathing, energies flowing, brain thinking, etc.

Blocking Reality

Unfortunately for some of us, the path of least resistance is still too much resistance. Just as the Native Americans couldn’t see the ships of Columbus when he landed because their beliefs didn’t allow them to accept the existence of such large boats, any view of spiritual truth is blocked by beliefs contrary to their reality. Whether we believe there are no spiritual worlds, or have a very false concept of them, the result is the same. Like Jesus said, “The Kingdom is all around you, yet you see it not”. So one of the first things we all must do is try to clear out those false beliefs that are blocking the truth from us and start apprehending reality.

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Perception Deception and Overcoming Its Control

“The key to awakening to the true nature of reality is to realize that perception, when taken at face value, is in fact a prison. As Goethe, one of the great thinkers in history so astutely pointed out, ‘The best slave is the one who thinks he is free.’
“And yet such is the status of the majority of humanity. We are slaves to our perceptions while thinking they are making us free to see reality as it is. Only when we see the undeniable fact that perception merely shows us what it is programmed to see can we make the leap to look beyond the limitations of the five senses toward ultimate reality.
“And what is ultimate reality? … Nicola Tesla gave us a clue when he said, ‘If you want to know the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.’” ~Ziad Masri

Perception Deception

The five senses of the physical body are really astounding. They make it possible for us to function in the world of matter. And when one of those senses stops working, or we are born without one of them, an interesting thing happens. Science has found that information gathered from each of the senses is stored in a specific are of the brain. If one sense is missing, that part of the brain is not wasted. Instead, one of the other senses will take it over. This gives that sense more abilities and makes it seem that the particular sense has become more sensitive, but it really hasn’t. It can simply store more data about the things is senses.

But the deception part comes when the greatest sense organ of all starts interpreting that data. The actual perception of reality that we deal with daily comes from the brain. The brain interprets signals from the senses and forms images from them. It does that based partly on what the senses report, but also on other things. It uses past experience, teachings, and beliefs to interpret what the senses report. Because of that, our perception is unreliable.

Higher Senses

We often hear of a higher sense called the Sixth Sense. I think that is probably an oversimplification. If the physical body needs five senses to help it understand the physical world, the spirit probably needs several to understand the worlds of spirit. In fact, since the spiritual words are more complex than the physical, there are probably more than five spiritual senses. For now, it is reasonable to assume that each physical sense has a spiritual counterpart. They may not operate the same way, but in terms of results, they are similar. The most important difference is that the spiritual senses are not easily fooled.

Slaves of Perception

It may be an exaggeration to say that we are slaves to our emotions, but only a slight one. We act according to the information our senses deliver and our brain-mind interprets. If we firmly believe that angels don’t exist, one could be standing right in front of us and slap us in the face and we would insist it was the wind that knocked us over. We really cannot see, hear, or feel that which we do not believe ism possible.

Recently we had an incident in the United States where hundreds of Nazis and White Supremacists marched in Virginia. Many carried guns, often military style semi-automatic rifles. They were probably loaded. A lot of the participants were new to this. They had been indoctrinated online and led to believe unproven nonsense. After the event, some participants were identified in news photos, and otherwise. When they returned to their homes, they sometimes found themselves being ostracized by others. A few lost their jobs. One young man cried when it happened to him. He hadn’t expected the negative reaction. The websites he had listened to never told him that would happen. He, like many other, were slaves to the perception deception of these groups. But the Nazis are not the only ones engaging is such activities. Many of us listen to at least one category of these deceptive messages. We all need to learn to be open-minded and seriously look at all sides of an issue. Continue reading “Perception Deception and Overcoming Its Control”

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