inner principle

Inner Principle of Scripture and Man

“So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multiriously in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as he exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, ‘He who has seen me has seen the Father …’. We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see—in so far as men can—the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwillingly receives not God but things appertaining to God, that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of scripture instead of for the Logos. …

“It is by means of the more lofty conceptual images that the inner principle of Holy Scripture can be stripped gradually of the complex garment of words with which it is physically draped. Then to the visionary intellect … it reveals itself as through the sound of a delicate breeze.” ~St. Nikodimos

Only Letters

St. Nikodomos, writing in the Philokalia, is telling us that trying to truly understand scripture by a literal interpretation of the words and symbols found there is not going to awaken our spiritual self. And it doesn’t matter what scripture you are looking at. The Bible, the Upanishads, the Koran, etc. all have hidden meanings, all are full of allegory. To try to understand them with literal interpretations produces an understanding that is not only false and incomplete but is often nearly the opposite of the true meaning.

What is really sad is that so many young people today, particularly the “Spiritual but not religious (SBNR)” crowd, reject all scripture outright because they recognize that a literal interpretation produces nonsense. It seems beyond their abilities to understand that these holy books were never intended to be literal. Of course, it is also true that many of these people have never actually read scripture, or have read only the scripture of one religion. They simply take the word of someone else that they are meaningless and irrelevant to those seeking spiritual enlightenment. In actual fact, there is much useful information in all of the world’s holy books, if you can understand the allegory used.

He Who Sees Me

There is a general misunderstanding of what Jesus meant when he said that if you see Him, you see the Father. Most interpret this as Jesus saying that He is God, therefore seeing Him, in the physical sense, is the same as looking at the Father. That is not what was meant. For one thing, God doesn’t even have a physical body.

What is meant is that those who have had a spiritual awakening and can “see” Jesus (and others) through the spiritual eyes of the soul are also seeing the Father. That is because when you see a person as a spirit—truly see it, not just believe it—you see that all spirits are the same and all spirits come from God. So if you know spirits, you know God. Individual souls are like bricks in the universal wall that is God. Or perhaps it might be better to say that individual spirits and souls are the flowers in the universal garden that is God.

Inner Principle of Holy Scripture

St. Nikodimos says that the “inner principle,” the true meaning of scripture is found by stripping off the complex garment of words. That may be part of it, but it isn’t enough. We not only need to look beyond the literal meaning of the words, but we also need to understand the spiritual meanings and symbols represented by the words.

Here is just one example. In the original Aramaic, Hebrew or Greek of the Bible, there are statements that seem to be constructed oddly or seem to have little meaning. But some of these were meant to be said out loud, perhaps repeatedly, much like a mantra in meditation. It was the combination of sounds produced that helped to awaken something in the listener, not the literal meaning of the words. Then when academics translate the words into other languages such as English and do it based on a literal meaning of the words, the sounds that were the true meaning, the inner principle, is lost.

Then there is the symbolic meaning. Symbols are often used in scripture. This is partly done to hide the true meaning from the unworthy, and partly to make it easier for people to remember the lesson being taught. Talking about evil forces opposing the good ones is vague, it doesn’t produce a mental image easily. But change it to a dragon fighting with a saint and you have produced a mental image that is easy to remember. References to things like flying carpets, pillars of fire, burning bushes, and water turned to wine sound like fantasy tales, but they are not. Others interpret such things as evidence of alien visitors. That is not true either. What those things are is symbols. Symbols of something spiritual. You can start to understand many of these symbols by getting a good dream dictionary. The meaning of dream symbols often coincides with the meaning of the allegorical symbols found in scripture. Learning to understand the inner principle of scripture is an important step in spiritual growth. Learning to understand the inner principle of ourselves is even more so.

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singing

Singing for Peace and Spiritual Growth

“It might happen at times when you cannot reconcile with your neighbor. But once you begin to sing, the song within you will awaken the readiness to reconcile. This is the power of music.

“Why does one need to sing? So that one may not lose what one has. You are near the point of attaining something beautiful. Sing, that you may not lose it. Those who sing are strong, and those who do not sing are weak. Sing, because this is what Love requires of you. You need to sing so that you may live. Music is the transmitter of life. No culture can exist without music.

“You need to visit a meeting of the initiates in order to see what king of music is there. You need to be in the presence of these initiates when they are singing, to perceive their deep understanding of music, and to comprehend the real meaning of music. For one to become a student of one of these initiates, one first needs to be knowledgeable of contemporary music. You need to be a very good singer so that when you go to them, you will be able to comprehend their music.

“Once true music permeates the world, there will be no more disease. … When you sing, the Divine World opens to you and you receive Divine Life.” ~Biensa Douno

Singing Vibration

Not all of us are not good singers. My dogs cower under the bed when I do it (just kidding, I’m not that bad). So why does Douno recommend singing as a spiritual discipline? It is because singing is a type of rhythmic vibration. We all know that vibrations can help our spiritual growth. They can also hinder it. It depends on the type of vibration. Low-frequency vibrations are more likely to hinder. High-frequency vibrations help. Likewise, rhythmic vibrations help, whereas discordant vibrations hinder. Since singing is a type of rhythmic vibration that is understood by most of us, it is a good tool to aid us as we develop our spiritual Self.

Sing to Reconcile

Douno says that when we can’t reconcile with our neighbor, singing can help. Not because it changes your neighbor, but because it will put you in a more conciliatory mood. That is great a far as it goes, but there is more. Singing can help us reconcile with ourselves.

Whether we are aware of it, or not, we often need to reconcile within our own mind. Our mind often seems to function like a group of people rather than an individual. One part of your mind wants to go for a walk in the park. Another part is too tired to walk. Still another fears getting mugged in the park. Watching a movie on TV is all the fourth wants to do. Sometimes it is easy to get them all together. Other times it isn’t. But if one of the group starts singing, another will probably join in, then another. Before you know it, they are singing together and that pushes them toward an agreement. Continue reading “Singing for Peace and Spiritual Growth”

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beliefs

Beliefs That Hold Us Back

“Questioning one’s beliefs requires courage. As the late, great Christian singer/songwriter Rich Mullins stated so beautifully in his song “Creed,” “…I believe what I believe/Is what makes me what I am.” If his assertion is a universal truth, the simple act of questioning your beliefs has the potential to strip away your very essence. The process may entail discarding some or all of your beliefs and spiritual constructs, such as God, saints, angels, Heaven and Hell, as well as adopting new ones that are completely alien to you. Moreover, the Seeker’s path can be agonizingly lonely. Leaving the religion in which you were raised can eliminate a support system that you may have taken for granted, including clergy and congregants, family and friends. It may even lead to being ostracized by those same people, including loved ones who believe that abandoning your faith will condemn your soul to eternal damnation.

In light of all this, why would anyone choose to embark on such a spiritual journey? While everyone has a different answer to that question, some common reasons include:

● Rejection of the premise that the Bible or other religious texts were divinely inspired or are the “literal Word of God”

● Repudiation of doctrines that you find personally objectionable or abhorrent, such as the inequality of women in many religions, condemnation of homosexuality and gay marriage or the assertion that anyone who doesn’t subscribe to their specific theology will be damned

● A sense that your current religion’s theology doesn’t resonate with your innate belief system. For example: The concept of being “saved” would be meaningless to someone who doesn’t believe that mankind requires salvation.

● Aversion to organized religion

● Exposure to other faiths and belief systems through education, social contacts, travel, the media and the internet Every spiritual journey is unique and intensely personal.” ~Judie Sigdel and Shu-Hsien Lee

Question beliefs

In many cases, it is a realization that we need to question our beliefs that is the first step in our spiritual awakening process. But when that isn’t the first thing that sends us on a path of enlightenment, it is an important step in awakening. Some will say that the only things they believe are those which are true. Both spiritual and psychological studies say otherwise.

Even if we are not aware of them, we have far more beliefs than we realize. It is not just beliefs about religion and politics. We have many beliefs that we don’t even think of as such.

Everyday Beliefs

Our everyday beliefs are just as much a part of the problem of being limited by beliefs as major ones. We loved to sing when we were small children. At some point, however, we may have been told that our singing was bad. Maybe more than one person said that. It is now recorded in our subconscious mind and we believe it completely, even if it isn’t true. So you now avoid singing in front of others.

You may have been told in art class in grade school that your art left much to be desired. With good art lessons, you could have become a good artist. But you accepted the teacher’s opinion and it became a belief. So you didn’t study art even though it was something you enjoyed.

Some other things we might hear that become everyday beliefs include: “Your not pretty enough to be a cheerleader,” “Your not strong enough to be on the football team,” “You dress like a homeless person,” or “Your too lazy to ever make anything of yourself”. The people who say these things don’t realize they are programming beliefs into your subconscious mind, but they are. These beliefs, as with the major ones, need to be reevaluated if we wish to become spiritual. We may not have to get rid of all such limiting beliefs, but the more we remove, the fewer obstacles we have to jump over.

Changing Beliefs

It is commonly taught in psychology that in order to change our limiting beliefs, we must first dig down into the subconscious and find them all. But there is some strong evidence that this is not truly necessary.

As a retired software engineer, I can assure you that it isn’t always necessary to know why a computer program is not doing what you want it too. Sometimes, the best way to fix it is to simply replace it with a new program. There is evidence that the same idea works with the subconscious mind. This method is usually a lot faster than digging into the existing beliefs/programs and fixing them.

Suppose you believe that you are a poor singer. Using visualization, you could practice seeing yourself singing in front of others, and they think you are a good singing. If you can do this convincingly, this program will eventually replace the false belief.

Perhaps you have a fear of public speaking. This may be because of some incident that happened when you were just a child and you don’t remember it. You don’t have to know why you have the belief if you can simply replace it through visualization. This has been scientifically proven to work. But sometimes, we can’t get rid of these long-held beliefs by ourselves. We may have to get assistance from a hypnotist or a form of applied Kinesiology. I have personally found the programs of Psych-K to work well. I took one of their basic seminars to rid myself of a fear of heights and it worked well.

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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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