cultivating yourself

Cultivating Yourself on All Levels

“Some people spend all of their time thinking about common and ordinary things; no wonder they don’t progress much. Others spend half an hour and more thinking about the good, faith, love, thinking about the great things of the world. These people are cultivating the soil for their future genius.

“God’s teaching is the best soil; whoever falls on that soil will grow and multiply.

“Evil in mind is an abnormal condition. It is manifested through weak people. Strengthen your will; do not let your negative traits manifest themselves.

“Tell yourself the truth about your defects and you will free yourself from the restrictions you are living in.

“Prepare yourself for paradise. With the burden of materialism, one will not stay a second in paradise. The materialism that a man has in his consciousness is so heavy that if he happens to enter paradise with it; he will be expulsed for less than a second or he will go down.

“Arm yourself with Truth, Good, Wisdom, and Love, and begin to erase your sins from the past. Ask for forgiveness and forgive.” ~Biensa Douno

Common and Ordinary Things

Many people will insist they do not spend all of their time thinking about common and ordinary things. They think of great things, important things. They think about the rules of law. Some may think about running a business. Other may be studying and experimenting to make some great scientific discovery. But while those things may seem great on the level of materialism, in reality, they are very much the common and ordinary things that Douno is talking about. Virtually anything about the realm of matter, with the possible exception of escaping from it, is common and ordinary. What is really sad is that many today seem to think they are engaging in some sort of spiritual activity when they are trying desperately to manifest material things. Manifesting is only spiritual if you are manifesting spiritual things. But I’m not even sure manifesting is possible with spiritual things. The realm of spirit doesn’t function like thought-manipulated molding clay. Only matter does that since it is illusion to began with, and has no definite shape.

When Douno says the people who spend all their time and effort on common things “don’t progress much,” he doesn’t mean in the material sense. Of course such people become governors, senators, and business executives. He means they don’t make any meaningful progress. In other words, they don’t make spiritual progress.

Cultivating Yourself

Spending thirty minutes developing yourself daily is indeed cultivating yourself. It doesn’t have to be thirty minutes a day. It could be a few hours a week. It might be only fifteen minutes a day. The important thing is that you never stop learning, never stop growing. This is important for your mental self but is even more important for the spiritual self.

In today’s materialistic world, the spirit and soul are, on average, the least developed parts of humanity. And then we wonder why we live in violence and poor health. We wonder why we are never satisfied with what we have. The answer is that deep down some part of us is craving a spiritual awakening. That is what we need more than anything else. Cultivating yourself includes body, mind, and spirit.

Truth, Love, Wisdom

Douno says we need to prepare ourselves for paradise. That certainly sounds like a good idea. But how? You have to have some understanding of what heaven is in order to be ready for it.

If your boss tells you that it would be great if you learned to operate a glopstugel, it doesn’t help you any if you don’t have any idea what a glopstugel is (I certainly hope you don’t, I made it up).

Douno helps by telling us to arm ourselves with truth, good, wisdom, and love. While that is certainly a big part of cultivating yourself, even here there are some problems of understanding. In order to prepare for heaven, you need to go beyond ordinary truth, ordinary wisdom, and self-serving love.

If, for example, you see an oak tree across the street, and I ask you what it is, if you say it is an oak tree, you think you have told the truth. But you haven’t. You have only told the truth within the boundaries of the great illusion of the world of matter. The real truth is something much deeper that few people ever see, or even realize exists.

Wisdom is even more confusing. In today’s world, knowledge and wisdom are often confused. Many think that being wise simply means having a lot of knowledge. Others will say that wisdom is knowing how to use what knowledge you have. While that second one is correct, it too comes with a caveat. First, if your knowledge is limited to the world of matter, it is incomplete and inaccurate. In such a case, it is impossible to truly use it wisely.

Love and good are also too vague to truly understand. But there is an answer to this dilemma.

Awakening to Gnosis is Cultivating Yourself

Our mind is limited to an understanding of the physical world. The soul knows the realms beyond the physical. But that doesn’t do us any good if we spend our entire life on Earth with our soul dormant. We are born into this realm with our spirit and soul in a coma-like state. They are not dead, but they can’t really function until awakened. Doing that takes effort. While there may be some very rare cases of the soul awakening without effort, just sitting back and waiting for that to happen is like planning on winning the lottery to finance your retirement. Make the effort to awaken them.

It takes energy to awaken our spiritual faculties. Energy that comes from God, down to the spiritual sun, and then down to Earth. So we need to turn to the spiritual sun and actively take in that energy. We need to do that regularly. That is not just cultivating ourselves, it is cultivating our real selves, our permanent selves. Cultivating yourself means seeking out and excepting that energy that awakens and nourishes the soul.

When the spirit and soul are truly awakened, they understand the real truth. They also know real love, real goodness. That gives them real wisdom.

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philosophers

Philosophers: Intellectual and Spiritual

“Buddhist philosophy is based on the experience Buddha had about twenty-five centuries ago. … We generally think that philosophy is a matter of pure intellect, and, therefore, that the best philosophy comes out of a mind most richly endowed with intellectual acumen and dialectical subtleties. But this is not the case. It is true that those who are poorly equipped with intellectual powers cannot be good philosophers. Intellect, however, is not the whole thing. There must be a deep power of imagination, there must be a strong, inflexible will-power, there must be a keen insight into the nature of man, and finally, there must be an actual seeing of the truth as synthesized in the whole being of the man himself.

“I wish to emphasize the idea of ‘seeing.’ It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is ordinarily understood. Knowledge, unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation.” ~Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki

Buddhist Philosophy

It is obvious that Buddhist philosophy is based on the experiences and teaching of the Buddha. The rest of the quote goes more into a discussion of what real philosophy is rather than what is in Buddhist philosophy. I think it is the idea of the author to tell us there is legitimate philosophy and superficial philosophy, and what Buddha taught was the real thing. Among other things, Wikipedia says that when it comes to Buddhist philosophy, “Particular points of Buddhist philosophy have often been the subject of disputes between different schools of Buddhism. These elaborations and disputes gave rise to various schools in early Buddhism of Abhidharma, and to the Mahayana traditions such as Prajñāpāramitā, Madhyamaka, Buddha-nature and Yogācāra.” So saying exactly what Buddhist philosophy is can get complicated. The important point is that it didn’t come from the Buddha intellectualizing on matters. Not entirely, anyway.

Real Philosophy

Anyone can call themselves a philosopher and give opinions on any subject they want. That doesn’t make them a true philosopher. Even if they get a degree in philosophy from a reputable university, they are not necessarily a real philosopher.

Philosophers can, for the most part, be divided into two groups. There are the intellectual philosophers who base their philosophies on knowledge of the material world and their intellectual analysis of it. While this can be useful for some things, it is limited. Then there are the spiritual philosophers. They rely upon spiritual wisdom and intuition to develop their philosophy. They are the real philosophers.

Comparison

The intellectual philosophers may have some good ideas, but they are limited. They may solve an immediate problem, but they don’t have the insights to solve long-term problems or long-ranging issues. They see the tree, but not the forest. These include the futurists of the sort who predicted a few decades ago that we would all be in flying cars by the year 2000, among other things. Their predictions seemed reasonable. They failed, however, because they had no spiritual insights, no intuition to help them understand the subtle things that can affect how time flows.

The spiritual philosophers do better because they are looking at the whole universe and the whole realm of knowledge, not just the small part of it that is the realm of matter. As Mr. Suzuki says, however, this type of philosopher needs his intellect to be well developed as well. While some spiritual people can do quite well with a poorly developed intellect, a real philosopher needs it. You might picture is as intellect being the left leg, and an awakened and developed spirit and soul being the right leg. With two legs equally developed, you can walk straight and quick. If one leg is shorter or weaker, you go in circles and move slowly.

Social Acceptance

While the well-developed spiritual philosopher is superior to the intellectual kind, they will probably be listened to less than the intellectuals. That is because we have a mostly materialistic and intellectual society. The good news is that this is changing. Slowly, but surely, people are awakening once again to the need for spiritual growth and development. As part of that, they are beginning to listen more to those spiritual philosophers instead of the intellects. That is a good thing. Sadly, many are also listening to the phony, self-declared spiritual gurus who promote a limited spiritual philosophy that leaves them floundering like fish in shallow water. Every coin has its heads and tails, its good side and bad side. That too will change as the whole world changes from materialism to spirituality.

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three ships

Three Ships on the River of Truth, Wisdom, and Eternity

“Jesus Dug a River Jesus dug a river in the cosmos. He dug a river, even he of the sweet name. He dug it with a spade of truth. He dredged it with a basket of wisdom. The stones he dredged from it are drops of incense from Lebanon. All the waters in it are roots of light. Three ships sail. They voyage in the river, testing. One is full, one half freighted. The third is empty. The full ship sails fearlessly. One half full. The empty one comes empty and leaves nothing behind. It will suffer at the customs. It has nothing to give, nothing on board. They will tear it apart wickedly and send it back to the port. The ship will suffer what corpses suffer. Empty. They called it and it heard nothing.” ~The Manichaean Songbook

Jesus Dug a River

It should be obvious that this song from the Manichaean Songbook is pure allegory. Allegory doesn’t mean it is a fairy tale. It means it is something real told in a cryptic way so it’s truth won’t be revealed to the unworthy or the uninitiated. Jesus didn’t literally dig a river through the cosmos. What he did is make a path of truth, spirit, and light through the darkness and ignorance of the material universe. It is a river in the sense that it is flowing, moving. It is living light carrying the truth of God into the places where it has long been forgotten. He digs the river with a basket of wisdom and a spade of truth. More allegorical symbols.

Jesus, of course, brings the truth and wisdom of God with him. The ace of spades is a symbol of ancient mysteries and the mystery schools. A shovel of any kind is a symbol of clearing one’s path for wisdom and enlightenment. It also symbolizes digging to uncover hidden truths. The basket symbolizes carrying spiritual wisdom and truth. It can also mean, according to some dream dictionaries, overcoming difficulties. Also, a full basket can symbolize joy. What could bring more joy than a basket full of wisdom?

Three Ships

Trilogies are so common in spiritual symbology, I don’t think they need to be explained hear with and detail. The best-known examples of a trilogy are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost of most Christians, and Father, Mother, and Child in others. It can also represent matter, thought, and spirit. In this case, the contents of the ships help us understand their symbolism.

A Full Ship

The full ship sails down the river fearlessly. It is true to its course and sails on to the end of the river without difficulty. This ship is full of truth, wisdom, and spiritual light. It may have difficulties, but it cannot fail. It is the best of the three ships to be on.

A Half-Full Ship

The half-full ship represents those who are halfheartedly involved in spiritual things. They go through the motions, but with little conviction. They are spiritual in public, materialistic in private. This ship will wander aimlessly, never knowing exactly where it is heading, never knowing exactly how to get there. As a result, it’s chance of reaching the goal of true enlightenment is probably worse than one in a million. This is probably the most frustrating of the three ships for those who sail them generally thing they are on their way to heaven when they are just going in circles.

An Empty Ship

To send an empty ship out into the river doesn’t make much sense. It is unlikely to reach the final destination. If it does, it won’t matter. The ship is empty. It has nothing to unload. It will be turned away and sent elsewhere.

Sadly, the empty ship probably represents the vast majority of people today. Those who have no religious or spiritual beliefs at all are definitely sailing empty ships down the river of truth. But so are the Christians who follow a man-made, materialistic version of Christianity rather than that which Jesus actually taught. Joining them in more empty ships will be those who practice some superficial form of spiritual development. That includes those who think that simply rejecting religion is all there is to being spiritual. Those who think spirituality is nothing more than meditation, followed by meditation, than even more meditation, which in real spiritual schools is just the first grade of many grades, will also be on such ships. And perhaps the emptiest ships of all are those who think they can wait until they are physically dead to concern themselves with the spirit and soul. That is too late and they are leaving ports in empty ships. A cargo ship with no cargo is the saddest of the three ships.

Jumping Ship

The good news is that this is something that can change. We can all start serious spiritual development with a real spiritual school—the inheritors of the ancient mystery schools—and fill our empty or half full ships. But when the city is on fire, you don’t want to leave your ship anchored in the port where it is likely to burn up. Yes, I’m using allegory, too.

In a spiritual sense, our world is on fire now, and we can’t just sit back and hope it misses us. We all have to get our ships full of truth and wisdom and sail that sacred river as quickly as possible. I look forward to a time when the river is covered with ships that are all full of truth and wisdom rather than the three ships.

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understanding evil

Understanding Evil to Control it and Avoid it

“Is permanent happiness, secure prosperity, and abiding peace a foolish dream? No, there is a way, and I speak it with gladness, by which evil can be slain for ever; there is a process by which disease, poverty, or any adverse condition or circumstance can be put on one side never to return; there is a method by which a permanent prosperity can be secured, free from all fear of the return of adversity, and there is a practice by which unbroken and unending peace and bliss can be partaken of and realized. And the beginning of the way which leads to this glorious realization is the acquirement of a right understanding of the nature of evil. It is not sufficient to deny or ignore evil; it must be understood. It is not enough to pray to God to remove the evil; you must find out why it is there, and what lesson it has for you. It is of no avail to fret and fume and chafe at the chains which bind you; you must know why and how you are bound. Therefore, reader, you must get outside yourself, and must begin to examine and understand yourself.” ~James Allen

Permanent Happiness

I’m not sure Mr. Allen is correct in saying it is possible to have permanent happiness. After all, even the happiest of people suffer grief at the loss of a loved one, pain from illness, and so on. So we can’t be happy all of the time, but we can have happiness most of the time. Of course, life isn’t all about happiness. Life is about learning and growing. In order to do that, we have to face some hardships. So happiness shouldn’t really be the primary goal of one seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Secure Prosperity

On this one, I can agree with Allen. One can be financially secure all the time. But I have learned from one very successful business person that financial security isn’t primarily about having huge amounts of money. It is having the knowledge that if some disaster causes you to lose what you have, you have the necessary skills to get it back. With that attitude, you don’t have to be ridiculously greedy to be financially secure. And even spiritual people can have financial security. The well-known Psychic Edgar Casey is reported to have said that he didn’t worry about money. He knew that when he needed it, God would find a way to get it to him. And for him, that seemed to work.

Understanding Evil

Yes, Allen is correct. The secret to a generally happy, prosperous, and peaceful life is understanding evil. He is also correct in saying the solution is not to deny that evil exists, or to acknowledge it’s existence, but simply ignore it. If we ignore gravity, we still have to deal with it. If we pretend gravity doesn’t exist, we don’t start floating away like a weightless balloon. Gravity exists so we have to deal with it. The same is true of evil. Pretending we are in a fantasy land where there is no evil doesn’t help us or anyone else. And it doesn’t stop evil from having an effect on us. As an old saying goes, the devils greatest power lies in making you believe that he doesn’t exist. That makes it so much easier for him to manipulate you.

Mr. Allen also says praying to God to keep the evil away from you isn’t a solution. Again, he is correct. If God was willing to do that, evil would long ago have ceased to exist. Yet as everyone with an actual brain knows, evil is real and very active these days. In fact, evil seems to be getting stronger. That, however, may be due to it being the End Times, which means, among other things, that evil truly will cease to exist sometime soon.

We have to deal with evil as it is, just as we deal with wind, rain, and gravity just as they are. Pretending they are not there doesn’t help. You can deal with rain by using an umbrella. But an umbrella doesn’t help at all with gravity. You have to use the right tools for the specific problem. You start to deal with evil by looking at yourself. Are you truly good, or do you sometimes give in to evil? If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you have done some evil in your lifetime, even if only of the very minor kind. Understanding evil means understanding yourself. Not that you are evil, but evil works through all of us.

The most important thing is to learn to know the difference between your own divine intuition talking to you, and an emissary of evil doing the same. This is not easy and takes much practice. It helps quite a lot to awaken your spiritual faculties: your spirit and soul. When you awaken them using the light of the spiritual sun, you have available to you a source of absolute good and absolute truth. The soul may sometimes find it difficult to directly communicate with your brain-mind, but it never tells you lies. It is never evil. You have to understand evil and deny it the right to control you. Understanding evil, and avoiding it, is a large part of being a good person.

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