life is hard

Life is Hard for Good Reason

“Even though life is hard, even though it is sometimes difficult to smile, we have to try. Just as when we wish each other, ‘Good morning,’ it must be a real ‘Good morning.’ Recently, one friend asked me, ‘How can I force myself to smile when I am filled with sorrow? It isn’t natural.’ I told her she must be able to smile to her sorrow, because we are more than our sorrow. A human being is like a television set with millions of channels. If we turn the Buddha on, we are the Buddha. If we turn sorrow on, we are sprrow. If we turn a smile on, we really are the smile. We cannot let just one channel dominate us. We have the seed of everything in us, and we have to seize the situation in our hand, to recover our own sovereignty.

“When we sit down peacefully, breathing and smiling, with awareness, we are our true selves, we have sovereignty over ourselves. When we open ourselves up to a TV program, we let ourselves be invaded by the program. Sometimes it is a good program, but often it is just noisy. … Even if our nervous system suffers, we don’t have the courage to stand up and turn it off,because if we do that, we will have to return to ourselves.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Life is Hard

Yes, life is hard. But as the song says, “I never promised you a rose garden”. Life on Earth, life in the material world is rarely, if ever, always pleasant. That is actually a good thing. If life here was always great, we would have no desire, no incentive, to seek a better life, a life of spirit. But even though life is hard, we can’t let it get us down and keep us gloomy all the time. We have to seek reasons to smile, reasons to have joy. So yes, life is hard, but you don’t have to be hard. Life is full of sorrows, but you don’t have to be trapped in sorrow. Continue reading “Life is Hard for Good Reason”

hunger for reality

Hunger For Reality Can Be Satisfied

“It is doubtful whether any two selves have offered themselves exactly the same image of the truth outside their gates: for a living metaphysic, like a living religion, is at bottom a strictly personal affair—a matter, as William James reminded us, of vision rather than of argument. Nevertheless, such a living metaphysic may—and if sound generally does—escape the stigma of subjectivism by outwardly stretching itself to a traditional school; as personal religion may and should outwardly attach itself to a traditional church. Let us then consider shortly the results arrived at by these traditional schools. …

“The most obvious and generally accepted explanation of the world is Naturism, or naive realism. …Naturism states simply that we see the real world, though we may not see it very well. It congratulates itself on resting in the concrete; it accepts material things as real. …

“Such an attitude as this may be a counsel of prudence, in view of our ignorance of all that lies beyond: but it can never satisfy our hunger for reality.” ~Evelyn Underhill

Image of Truth

It is very likely true that each of us has their own image of what the physical world is. However, that doesn’t mean there are many different physical realities, each of them real. It means that we each interpret the reality differently, but it is only one reality. While it is true, according to quantum physics, that the observer affects the observed, it is but a mask of reality that is observed, and it is only that mask which is altered by the observer. The actual reality is not affected.

A Living Metaphysic

I agree with Underhill that a valid metaphysical philosophy must be a living one. Religion also must be living. That means that all religious truth cannot be locked up in a book, the Bible, Koran, Upanishads, or any other. The books can only hold a temporary truth. In a living religion, things change. Likewise, a metaphysical philosophy cannot be locked up in a book, tablet, or ancient scroll. While we can find much of value in them, a living reality constantly changes, so the philosophies must be able to change as well. Such changes are never drastic, yet they are real. So a living metaphysical philosophy is one based as much on actual experience as on books and scrolls.


Naturism is the philosophy that says what we see around us is essentially reality. While there may be some slight distortion or things that we can’t see, what is see is what is there. At least, that is what it generally meant when Ms. Underhill wrote of it and that is the definition we will go by for this article. Today, it is more often considered a synonym for nudism.

Today we talk of Materialism and Pantheism as being essentially the same as what was called Naturism. Materialists believe that matter is reality and the only reality. There is no spirit worlds or invisible worlds beyond matter. They may believe in a god, but it has to be a material being of some sort. Pantheists believe not only that the physical world is the one and only real world, but that it is divinity itself. The universe of matter is their god. A Naturist could be part of either philosophy today.

Hunger for Reality

Despite the firm belief by many in these forms of materialism, the hunger for reality remains. Many feel that there must be something more to life than what they are experiencing, or aware of with their physical senses.

The more materialistic among them may feel that it is a lack of material possessions that causes this hunger. They then make all possible effort to collect as much matter around them as possible, often throwing ethics and morality out the door in the process. Yet despite the accumulation of matter that is the envy of many a black hole, they still feel as if something is missing.

The more fanciful among them are often found in Facebook spiritual groups expressing the idea that they are Starseeds, aliens from planet X, or just asking “Am I the only one who thinks he doesn’t belong on Earth?”. That question generally gets dozens of “No, me too” type of responses. But no matter the approach, the hunger for reality remains.

Fill the Void

People try many different ways to fill the void, the emptiness they feel. Greed is just one false path taken by many. Another is sex. Making frequent sexual encounters, often casual sex with no commitments may feel good when you’re doing it, but just like collecting material goods, collecting sex partners never solves the problem and the void remains. And sex addiction, whether with one partner or many, depletes your supply of life energy preventing you from rising to something higher, something that can satisfy that hunger for reality.

The only thing that can truly fill the void and satisfy the hunger for reality is a spiritual awakening. The recognition that there is more to reality than matter is the starting point. You do have to accept that as a possibility, of course. If you can’t at least be open-minded about it, you will never find the truth. But once you have accepted that a spiritual realm might exist and that you can awaken your own spiritual faculties to allow you to experience those realms, you are on your way to satisfying the hunger for reality.

Many spiritual schools today teach that the only way to awaken those faculties is with meditation. While there is nothing wrong with practicing meditation, the idea that it is the only or even the best, way to awaken the spirit and soul is debatable. Nearly all spiritual people recognize the concept of a third eye, a spiritual eye which is usually believed to be the pineal gland. This tiny gland in the brain is activated with light. That is a known fact. Does meditation fill that gland with light? No, it does not. So something else is needed. That something has become popularized as “Sun Gazing”. But not all sun gazing is equal. Snakes and birds look at the sun but never become spiritual. You have to look at it in the right way and with the right attitude. In short, you have to attune to the proper frequencies. Then sun gazing can awaken those spiritual faculties and satisfy that hunger for reality. The awakened all know that the spiritual is reality because it is permanent and not veiled. The material is constantly changing and is temporary. So awaken to the permanent world of spirit.

dog-like mind

Dog-Like Mind Needs to Become Angelic

“Now if thou hast had an envious [spiteful] dogged mind, and hast grudged everything to others, as a dog does with a bone which himself cannot eat, then there appears such a doggish mind, and according to that source is the worm of the Soul figured ,and such a will it keeps in the Eternity, in the first principle. …

“For the door of the deep to the Light of God appears to thee no more; for thou art a perfect creature of the first principle. And now though thou dost elevate thyself, and would break open the door of the deep, yet that cannot be done. … Thou fliest out aloft over the Kingdom of God, and cannot enter in; and the higher thou fliest, the deeper thou art in the Abyss, and thou seest not God yet, who is so near to thee.

“Therefore, it can only be done here in this life (while the Soul sticks in the Will of the Mind) so that thou breakest open the gate of the deep, and press in to God through a New Birth.” ~Jacob Boehme

A Dog-Like Mind

What people thought of when you mentioned dogs several hundred years ago is quite different than today. So when Boehme talks about someone having a mind like a dog, he doesn’t mean loving, devoted, and well-behaved. He means one who is full of greed, jealousy, and self-importance. In short, a materialist. Perhaps even a narcissist, although I think that word is being overly used these days. So a dog-like mind is not a good thing. At least not according to the way they thought of dogs back then.

Fate of the Materialist

So what Boehme is trying to get across in the first part of the quote is that the materialist has little, if any, change of achieving significant spiritual growth. Because he put so much thought and effort into collecting material goods and wealth beyond what he actually needs, he has trained his mind to follow that path. That he could suddenly stumble upon a path of spiritual enlightenment is highly unlikely. It happens in rare cases, but relying upon it is not a good idea. It’s like relying upon winning the lottery when you retire so you have money to live on. The dog-like mind is stuck in the dark forest of matter and cannot see the spiritual Light.

Door to Deep Light

I think the choice of words Boehme used here is unfortunate. It will likely be interpreted by most spiritual students today as supporting the idea that all truth is found within and the outside world should be completely ignored. But we know that Boehme’s own awakening was triggered from something outside. Specifically, He was awakened when the sun reflecting off a shiny metal bowl he was holding struck him in the eye. Yes, he had been studying religion and spirituality for some time and we can assume he was on the verge of awakening before that happened. Nonetheless, it was an external event that triggered his awakening. It was also not a coincidence that his awakening closely resembles that of St. Francis who awakened while watching a sunrise from his sickbed.

While there is certainly good reason to turn within and explore our inner self, it is the external spiritual sun that most often triggers a true spiritual awakening. And by a spiritual awakening, I don’t mean simply realizing that materialist is a failed system and there is more to reality than matter. That is just the first tiny step towards an actual awakening. A real spiritual awakening happens when the dormant spirit and soul are awakened. That takes more than just positive thought and desire. It also takes a lot of energy. The best source of that spiritual energy is the spiritual sun. That is the door to Deep Light. So forget your dog-like mind, even the spiritual version of it, and explore sun gazing and other techniques beyond simple meditation.

Elevate Yourself

You could interpret what Boehme is saying here as meaning that we have to overcome the ego to develop our spiritual self. While that is true, we don’t need to destroy the ego. It is a useful tool, especially in the world of matter. But we do need to keep it under control and a reasonable size.

Specifically, what Boehme is talking about here are those who elevate themselves by declaring that they are awakened and enlightened with no justification for doing so except an inflated ego. He says that when such people fly up to Heaven and God, allegorically speaking, they will find themselves unable to enter. God is not fooled by dog-like minds and their pretend enlightenment.

Awaken Now

So if you seriously do want to enter heaven and become one with God and the All again, you need to really awaken. And, as Boehme says, you can’t wait until your physical body is dead to do that. It will be too late. You need to awaken and develop your spirit and soul while you still live in a physical body.

worldly thoughts

Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down

“The thoughts of the world drag the mind down to earthly and corruptible things, and do not suffer it to love God or to remember the Lord. And oftentimes, on the other hand, the unlearned man goes to prayer, and bends the knee, and his mind enters into rest, and deep as he may dig and get below, the wall of evil that withstands him breaks down, and he enters into vision and wisdom, where potentates and wise men and orators cannot penetrate to understand and know the delicacy of his mind, since he is engrossed in divine mysteries. One who is inexperienced in judging of hearts does not know how to value them, for lack of experience. Well, Christians abhor the glorious things of the earth, and account them but dung in comparison with the magnificence of those things—a magnificence which works effectually in them. …

“The adversary never ceases from warring. Satan is merciless in his hatred of men; therefore he never shirks from warring against every man. But he is not seen to set upon all to the same degree.” ~St. Macarius the Egyptian

Worldly Thoughts

Yes, worldly thoughts can drag down the mind. More importantly, they can drag down the spirit and soul. But we can’t live in a material world and not think about material things. We would not be able to hold a job, have a home, or even eat if we never thought about worldly things. The trick for the spiritual person is to function in the physical world, but without becoming attached to it. We must think about worldly things, but not let them rule the mind.

Corruptible Things

Macarius calls those worldly things “corruptible”. Usually, we only see that word used in reference to people. Children can be corrupted into becoming thieves or murderers. But things are corruptible because they rot, they age, they rust away. Nothing physical is permanent. Even mountains are worn down by wind and rain. So we don’t want our worldly thoughts to become attached to the temporary and corruptible.

The Unlearned Man

The person who is not well educated often has an advantage when it comes to awakening his spiritual self. He has fewer beliefs and preconceptions that serve to block out the truth that doesn’t agree with those beliefs. The other side of that coin, however, is that the educated person can more easily understand the material that comes through to him when his spiritual faculties are awakened. So both have advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps a good solution would be for the well-educated person to work together with the unlearned one. Then both could learn and comprehend the new spiritual things they are learning. Continue reading “Worldly Thoughts Drag Us Down”