we choose death

We Choose Death by Seeking Pleasure

“Beguiled from our original state by the deceitfulness of sensual pleasure, we choose death rather than true life. Let us then gladly endure the bodily hardship which puts such pleasure to death. In this way the death of pleasure will destroy the death which came about through pleasure, and we shall receive back, purchased with but slight bodily hardship, the life which we sold for the sake of sensual pleasure.

“If when the flesh has an easy life the force of sin tends to grow stronger, it is clear that when the flesh suffers affliction the force of virtue will also increase. So let us bravely endure the affliction of the flesh, which cleanses the soul’s stains and brings us future glory. For the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.

“When physicians are treating the body they do not administer the same remedy in all cases. Neither does God, when treating the illnesses of the soul, regard a single kind of therapy as suitable for it and effects its cure. So let us give thanks while we are being created, however great our suffering, for the result is blessed.” ~the Philokalia

Beguiled by Pleasure

Pleasure is a great thing, but also a deceptive one. It can feel good but is often keeping you away from something better. It is like stopping to pick up a dollar bill on the sidewalk and missing out on the pot of gold up ahead. So it is deceitful because it gives you the idea that it is helping you, but it is really stopping you from moving forward and claiming the real treasure of life.

Bodily Hardship

If you have ever watched documentaries of real treasure hunters at work, you know that the hunters don’t just casually ride up to a suspected location in a luxury yacht, dive down into calm and pleasant waters, and come back up clutching bags of gold and jewels. They are on some old boat with tiny, uncomfortable cabins, they face storms, breakdowns, sharks, and other perils before they realize there is no treasure their and move on to another spot. They go through similar experiences in that location and the next. After several stops, they finally find the treasure, having earned it through hard work and strain. That is the way it is with seeking the real treasure, the treasure of eternal spiritual life. Continue reading “We Choose Death by Seeking Pleasure”

death without living

Death Without Living First, A Wasted Life

Death Without Living

“O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions, unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and that hath prosperity in all things: yea, unto him that is yet able to receive meat! O death, acceptable is thy sentence unto the needy, and unto him whose strength faileth, that is now in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience! Fear not the sentence of death, remember them that have been before thee, and that come after; for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh. And why art thou against the pleasure of the most High? there is no inquisition in the grave, whether thou have lived ten, or an hundred, or a thousand years. The children of sinners are abominable children, and they that are conversant in the dwelling of the ungodly. The inheritance of sinners’ children shall perish, and their posterity shall have a perpetual reproach. … All that are of the earth shall turn to earth again: so the ungodly shall go from a curse to destruction. The mourning of men is about their bodies: but an ill name of sinners shall be blotted out. Have regard to thy name; for that shall continue with thee above a thousand great treasures of gold. A good life hath but few days: but a good name endureth for ever. My children, keep discipline in peace: for wisdom that is hid, and a treasure that is not seen, what profit is in them both? A man that hideth his foolishness is better than a man that hideth his wisdom. … Be Ashamed of an offense before a judge and ruler; of iniquity before a congregation and people; of unjust dealing before thy partner and friend; And of theft in regard of the place where thou sojournest, and in regard of the truth of God and his covenant; and to lean with thine elbow upon the meat; and of scorning to give and take; Be not ashamed to inform the unwise and foolish, and the extreme aged that contendeth with those that are young: thus shalt thou be truly learned, and approved of all men living. “ ~Ecclesiasticus

Death Will Come

On the physical level, at least, all of us will die. Those who deny that fact, or spend most of their life and money trying to delay it as much as possible, are living a sad life that isn’t truly living at all.

There are also many who, if asked, will admit that they will one day die, yet they spend their entire life acting as if it will never happen. They make no effort to prepare for death, other than perhaps buying a cemetery plot. They don’t ask themselves when they are preparing to act “Is this something I would do if I knew I was going to die tomorrow?” But we all should think that way. The idea that it is fine to live a frivolous and pointless life for fifty or sixty years, then start doing what matters, is foolish. None of us knows how long he will live, or what condition he will be in when he reaches old age. You might be crippled or blind or have some other infirmary that prevents you from doing many things, so you can’t wait. Continue reading “Death Without Living First, A Wasted Life”

soul death

Soul Death is an Illusion

“Having premised thus much, I now proceed to prove that the dramatic spectacles of the Lesser Mysteries were designed by the ancient theologists, their founders, to signify occultly the condition of the unpurified soul invested with an earthly body, and enveloped in a material and physical nature; or, in other words, to signify that such a soul in the present life might be said to die, as far as it is possible for a soul to die, and that on the dissolution of the present body, while in this state of impurity, it would experience a death still more permanent and profound. That the soul, indeed, till purified by philosophy, suffers death through its union with the body was obvious to the philologist Macrobius, who, not penetrating the secret meaning of the ancients, concluded from hence that they signified nothing more than the present body, by their descriptions of the infernal abodes. But this is manifestly absurd; since it is universally agreed, that all the ancient theological poets and philosophers inculcated the doctrine of a future state of rewards and punishments in the most full and decisive terms; at the same time occultly intimating that the death of the soul was nothing more than a profound union with the ruinous bonds of the body.” ~Thomas Taylor

Condition of the Soul

The ancient mysteries certainly were all about the condition of the soul. They were not intended to improve the mind. Neither were they primarily there to make the body strong and healthy. Both of those things were done to some degree, but they were not the primary purpose of the mysteries. The ancients knew that the spirit and soul were eternal, while the physical body was temporary. They concentrated on the development of the spiritual faculties while most other schools concentrated on the body and intellect.

Unpurified Soul

This expression is based on the belief that souls are sent to earth for training and “purification”. It’s a nice concept, but there is no proof of it. It is accepted by many only because it makes sense from our point of view. But man’s point of view rarely coincides with God’s.

The mystery schools taught a slightly different view. They say that when God says that we had descended into matter and intellect, He took pity on us and send into us a divine soul. This divine soul was intended to save us, to guide us home. As such, it was not defective or impure. If it was, that would be a case of the blind leading the blind. No, this divine soul was already purified. It simply needed to be awakened and developed. It had to mature into divine consciousness.

Soul Death

Some believe that the soul was put into the physical body as a kind of punishment. Some say that being trapped in the body is death to the soul. But there is, in fact, no soul death. The soul is a spirit and cannot die. But just as the many in the past confused a coma for death, the dormant status of the soul when we enter the physical world causes some to think of it as death. But a coma isn’t death, and being dormant isn’t death. It might be considered death if there was no way to revive the soul, but there is.

Spiritual light awakens the soul no matter how deeply it is sleeping. This is the real meaning of a spiritual awakening. Simply becoming aware that matter is not all that exists is the beginning of the awakening process, it isn’t the whole journey.

Freeing the Soul

The apparently dead soul can be awakened from soul death. It can be freed from its apparent prison in flesh.

Practicing a spiritual form of sun gazing, particularly at dawn, can awaken the soul. But it is more involved than simply looking at the sun. Many look at the physical sun with little effect on the soul. Soul death is reversed with the light of the spiritual sun. So when you look to the sun using the safe methods for sun gazing (never stare at the sun), you get benefits for the body and mind, but not necessarily for the soul. It only happens if you attune yourself to the spiritual sun while you are sun-gazing. Raising your frequencies with positive thoughts helps. More advanced practices require training from a legitimate spiritual school.

Once the soul has awakened, it finds that it is not imprisoned in the body. It never was. The soul is infinite spirit. It is not bound or controlled in any way by space and time. So the idea of soul death by being trapped in the body is false. The soul was never really trapped, only dormant. Awaken it, and the apparent soul death ends.

The difficult part after that is getting the soul consciousness to communicate with the brain-mind consciousness. This you want because otherwise, you will never know what the soul knows. You won’t even be sure that it has truly awakened. You also want this communication so that the soul can begin to influence, and eventually control, the ego. The ego is essential to function in the material world, but it needs to be controlled by the divine thinking of the soul. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with a materialistic, or even narcissistic ego. So don’t fret about soul death, cure it and become what you are meant to be.

For older posts on Awakening the soul, click here.

charity, generosity

Generosity has Value for Spiritual Growth

“Anathapindika, who lived 2,600 years ago, was an early follower of the Buddha. Anathapindika was a businessman who was very generous, and he used his time and energy to help the destitute people of his city. He gave away a lot of his wealth to the poor, yet he did not become less wealthy. He received a lot of happiness. …

“One day the Buddha learned that his beloved disciple, Anathapindika, was very sick. He went to visit him and urged Anathapindika to practice mindful breathing while in bed. …

“The first question Shariputra asked was, ‘Dear friend Anathapindika, how do you feel? Is the pain in your body growing worse, or has it begun to lessen?” Anathapindika said, “No, friends, the pain in me is not lessening. It is getting worse all the time.’ …

“Shariputra invited Anathapindika to breathe in and out mindfully and to focus his attention on his happiest recollections: his work for the poor, his many acts of generosity, and the love and compassion he shared with his family and his fellow students of the Buddha. In just five or six minutes, the pain that Anathapindika had been feeling throughout his body lessened as the seeds of happiness in him were watered, and he smiled. Watering the seeds of happiness is a very important practice for those who are sick or dying.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Value of Generosity

I heard somewhere that J. K. Rowling, author of the harry Potter books, was the first person to make it to the billionaires list, then get removed because she donated so much to charity, she was no longer a billionaire. I’m sure nearly all those still on that list think she is a fool. Actually, they are the fools. Their greed will not make them healthy. It won’t give them a long life. And it usually doesn’t even make them happy. They live in fear of being robbed, or in some other way loosing what they value most: Money.

That don’t understand what Rowling and all spiritual people do. That what really matter in our short life in the physical realm is what we do to help others advance and escape from this fallen plane. The materialists, especially the greedy ones, don’t understand that the bad thoughts constantly sent their way by the many people they hurt does more harm than poverty would. On the other hand, the generous person is sent happy thoughts, helpful thoughts, and that is more useful than piles of money.

More Friends

Another advantage of being generous is that the generous person has more friends. While the greedy may not realize it, people will be more likely to help you out if they know you are generous. The greedy can only get help by paying for it. And when some one is paid to help someone they know to be greedy, their heart isn’t really into it and the assistance may be limited.

Focus on Happiness

The example given in the quote is of a generous person who is ill and dying. Like many of us who think we don’t fear death, that often changes when death is looking us in the eye. But the dying man is taught to focus on happy times and happy deeds. To focus on how his generosity helped others. In short, by taking his mind off of his problems. This is always a good plan.

I know there are people, especially elderly people, who seem to delight in discussing their illnesses and pains when they have a conversation. By dwelling on such things, they concentrate the mind on them and make them worse. Or at least seem worse because you are concentrating on them. Pain is really a combination of nerve signals and the brain’s attention to those signals. Get the brain to concentrate on more pleasant things, and you stop noticing the pain.