troubled learners

Troubled Learners Trying Too Hard

Troubled learners

“The trouble with many of us learners is that we wish to learn too rapidly. We have little knowledge of the power which really brings us all we do acquire—the power which reaches out from us when the other faculties are temporarily suspended, and brings back not only ideas, but teaches the muscles how to carry out ideas. New invention comes to the mind which originates it when in this state, not when the mind is straining after its plan. You will make a perfect circle on paper with pen or pencil far easier when you do it idly, and care little whether you succeed or not, than if you are tremulous with anxiety to make one. When you are free from that anxiety, your real power has opportunity to act. That is the power of the spirit. It is the man who throws all thought of success or failure to the winds, who is most likely to accomplish the daring act at which others shrink, or, if they try, try with great dread of failure, which is mistaken for care. The best pilot through raging rapids is the man who has the power to forget all danger and see only obstacles. His spirit then possesses his real self. Self-possession means the power of the spirit to possess and control the body as its instrument.” ~Prentice Mulford

Learner’s Troubles

Learners should never be troubled because we should all understand that learning is important. We should also understand that since it is important, it can’t be rushed. Anyone who is serious about spiritual development knows that in the ancient mystery schools, students studied for many years to become enlightened. Yet today, many things that because they have instant oatmeal and instant soup, they should be able to get an instant spiritual awakening followed by a nearly instant complete enlightenment. Unfortunately, wishing for it doesn’t make it so. It still takes years in most cases for a REAL spiritual awakening, and for complete enlightenment, we have to continue along the path of higher consciousness after physical death. Continue reading “Troubled Learners Trying Too Hard”

lesson of suffering

The Lesson of Suffering is Learn and Grow

Lesson of Suffering

“Suffering is not punishment. It is given as a lesson. We give a completely different connotation to the word ‘punishment.’ Punishment means there is a lesson to be learned. If suffering comes to you, do not become disturbed. A specific blessing is hidden within it that will come after you have endured the suffering. Do not force the given conditions. Remember: the blessing for which your heart and mind are longing will come in time. Be watchful not to let this blessing pass you by.

“Do not avoid suffering, but profit by it. … Through suffering Love prepares the conditions for new joy to come.The suffering of today is a condition for future joy.

“Suffering and sorrows are Divine Plows that prepare the ground, so that the seed of future virtues will be able to sprout. When someone suffers, he becomes a better person and more sensitive.

“The awakening of the consciousness does not occur mechanically, but comes through the impulses that come from suffering. The more difficulties a person encounters, the greater the possibilities are for personal growth. The great people had to endure great ordeals. This does not mean that these great people knew only suffering. They also had joys so great that they are not known to the ordinary people.” ~Biensa Douno

Suffering is not Punishment

The first lesson of suffering is that it isn’t a punishment. God doesn’t punish. The Universe doesn’t punish. It teaches.

When you stick your hand in a fire, it gets burned. That is not because the fire is punishing you. It is because you need to learn to respect the boundaries and restrictions of the physical world. The same is true with sticking a finger in acid or eating something that makes you sick. It isn’t a punishment. It is a lesson of suffering to teach you how the world functions.

Another Lesson of Suffering: Change

When everything is going well when we are happy and contented, we don’t want to change, we don’t want to grow. This is simply the way of the human mind. Why try to improve when you are enjoying where you are?

But we all do need to improve, to change. The world is constantly changing and we must be doing the same. Those who choose to stop growing and changing rarely, if ever, accomplish anything.

When something interrupts our joy and comfort with suffering, we want to change. Often, change must be triggered by suffering or sorrows of some sort. We all need to continue to grow, and the lesson of suffering reminds us to do that.

Empathy is also a Lesson of Suffering

Many of us who are developing our spiritual Selves are empathic in the sense that we can literally feel the pains and suffering of those around us. But even those who are not empathic in that way need to truly understand and empathize with those who suffer. That is another reason why some forms of suffering may afflict us. Empathy is a lesson of suffering for all, even those who are not empaths.

Profit By It

So Douno says that rather than trying to hide from suffering, we should learn to profit from it. That means that when we are suffering we need to ask what is the lesson that suffering is trying to teach us. It doesn’t mean that we should seek out suffering and punish ourselves in an effort to grow. Another lesson of suffering is that suffering, in and of itself, doesn’t make us grow. At least not in a spiritual way. What it does is trigger us to get moving and change the things that are preventing our growth. Or even better, it gets us to actively seek out spiritual growth and understanding. But we don’t necessarily need a Dark Night of the Soul to Awaken. That is a myth. A few individuals need that sort of an extreme lesson of suffering, but most of us do not, so don’t seek it. Small bits of suffering that gets us to move ahead for a while is enough. More suffering does not necessarily mean more or better growth.

Awakening Consciousness

First, we don’t need to do anything to awaken our consciousness on the material level. What Douno is talking about is, of course, spiritual consciousness, higher levels of consciousness. I find I have to disagree with him on what he says about it in the book quoted. Suffering does not in itself cause a spiritual awakening of consciousness. What it can do for some is trigger us to seek a spiritual awakening. When St. Francis was suffering from what we now call PTSD, it wasn’t the suffering that awakened him. He awakened while watching the sunrise from his bed. The PTSD triggered the lesson of suffering, but it was the Light of the Spiritual Sun that did the actual awakening. There is a lesson far more of us need to learn.

art of spiritual development

The Art of Spiritual Development Throughout History

The Art of Spiritual Development

“When a son of Noah possessed the third part of the world after the Flood, this Art broke into Chaldaea and Persia, and then spread into Egypt. The Art having been found out by the superstitious and idolatrous Greeks, some of them who were wiser than the rest betook themselves to the Chaldeans and Egyptians, so that they might draw the same wisdom from their schools. Since, however, the theological study of the law of Moses did not satisfy them, they trusted to their own peculiar genius, and fell away from the right foundation of those natural secrets and arts. This is evident from their fabulous conceptions, and from their errors respecting the doctrine of Moses. It was the custom of the Egyptians to put forward the traditions of that surpassing wisdom only in enigmatic figures and abstruse histories and terms. This was afterwards followed by Homer with marvelous poetic skill; and Pythagoras was also acquainted with it, seeing that he comprised in his writings many things of the law of Moses and the Old Testament. In like manner, Hippocrates, Thales of Miletus, Anaxagoras, Democritus, and others, did not scruple to fix their minds on the same subject. And yet none of them were practiced in the true Astrology, Geometry, Arithmetic, or Medicine because their pride prevented this, since they would not admit disciples belonging to other nations then their own.” ~Paracelsus

The Art of Spiritual Development in Chaldaea and Persia

The name Paracelsus might make you think that he was an ancient philosopher of Greece himself, but in truth, Paracelsus was a sixteenth-century Alchemist and theologian. Frankly, I think he has some things confused in the passage quoted above, yet I think it is useful as a timeline for how spiritual and mystical truth spread throughout the ancient world.

He starts by informing us that the mystic Art was brought to Chaldea and Persia by a son of Noah, or at least by those traveling with him. He doesn’t explain how this knowledge came to Noah and his sons. I think we can assume, however, that it was the knowledge of Atlantis.

While most intellectuals and academicians of today laugh at the idea that Atlantis ever existed, they do so by ignoring abundant evidence. Specifically, there are ruins in South America, particularly the area that is now Peru, where fantastic ruins are found that go back more than ten thousand years. It is clear that a great civilization once existed there, and is probably the place that Plato called Atlantis.

In any case, mystery schools did get created in Chaldea and Persia that taught the great truths and the path to ultimate Wisdom. Please note that they, like other such schools, did not teach Wisdom, but the path to gaining Wisdom. True Wisdom is never found in a book or scroll. The Art of Spiritual Development was not Wisdom itself, but the methods for awakening and developing the spirit and soul so that they could gain Wisdom by growing to and reaching for higher levels of consciousness where such Wisdom exists. Continue reading “The Art of Spiritual Development Throughout History”

helping others

Helping Others Helps Us Grow

The Power of Helping Others

“Youngsters who had been in diabetic control since infancy now rebelled against the authority of their disease as if it were a third parent. They ‘forgot’ to take their shots, and ate whatever the gang ate. …

“As the associate director of the clinic, this problem was brought to my door. … I formed two discussion groups, each consisting of three youngsters and the parents of the other three. Each group met to talk once a week.

“These groups turned out to be very powerful. Kids who could not talk to their own parents became articulate in expressing their needs and perspectives to the parents of other children. Parents who could not listen to their own children hung on every word of other people’s children. … People feeling themselves understood for the first time , felt safe enough to cry and found that others cared and could comfort them. People of all ages offered each other insights and support, and behaviors began to change. Parents and their own children began to talk and listen to each other in new ways. …

“There is still a very narrow conception of what a health provider is. Thinking back on those people and the wisdom, kindness, and understanding they offered each other, I am sad. … I do not think that we will be able to attain health for all until we realize that we are all providers of each other’s health” ~Rachel Naomi Remen, M. D.

Helping Others

Many of us may think that helping others is not our responsibility, or that we simply don’t have the ability to help others in any significant way. Both attitudes are incorrect. We often hear spiritual people say that we can learn from everyone, everyone has something to teach us, even if it is just the wrong way to do something. It seems logical to me that if we can learn from everyone, we can help everyone, in one way or another.

In the example from Dr. Remen, she discovers that parents are better able to listen to and help other people’s children. Likewise, kids are more able to discuss their problems with some parents other than their own. This is a great discovery of hers, but it is also a sad one. It is understandable, though. Parents get used to hearing their own children complain all the time, so reach a point where they stop listening except when it is a clear emergency. What they don’t realize is that many of those emergencies can be avoided by listening before it reaches that level. Continue reading “Helping Others Helps Us Grow”