Thursday, October 12, 2017

Who are the teachers of God?

There are many aspects of spiritual development such as who are your spiritual teachers, what have been the ritual and rites of passage celebrations in your life, what media have nourished your spiritual
developments, have there been places of special significance in your journey, what have been critical experiences, etc. We will be taking these aspects one at a time and describing them. These aspects are experienced as very personal even as they have social and cultural and sometimes institutional support. So leave a description of your experiences in the comments.

The first aspect of spiritual development is to reflect on who are the teachers of God?

The answer, if we believe that we learn what we teach, that we all are teachers of God and every person we encounter has something to teach us. Sometimes it is patience, compassion, how to manage our fear and anger.

In a more formal sense, a teacher of God, is someone who is a little further down the path than we have come. Someone who can point the way, provide some direction, enhance our understanding, provide us with Love which is a micro experience of the Love of God.

We, ourselves, are teachers of God all the time whether we know it or not. We teach by example, and by manifesting our own state of being.

When I think of the most important teachers in my own life I would mention Father Edward Lintz who was our pastor at our Catholic Church in Brockport, NY and then Father James Callan and Rev. Mary Ramerman at Spiritus Christi in Rochester. I would then mention the most important gurus in my life as Osho, Matthew Fox, and A Course In Miracles. I also have been interested in Ram Dass and several teachers from Buddhist, and Sufi traditions. I also love Lao Tse. The most important teacher of all has been Jesus of Nazareth whom I have come to know through the New Testament and from A Course In Miracles.

At the age of 71 there have literally been thousands of teachers who I have learned from. If I were to recommend just one or two sources they would be the New Testament and A Course In Miracles. As it says in A Course In Miracles, there are many paths of spiritual development which will take you home. The question is not which is best but which works for you?

Before finishing this post, it must be said that the official representatives of religious organizations are not necessarily the best teachers of God because their loyalty is to their organization and tradition not to genuine spiritual development. As we say in the world of Mammon, "caveat emptor," let the buyer beware.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why the longing?

Why the longing?

Because we have separated ourselves from the godhead, the ground of our being and think we are authorities unto ourselves. This thought is what A Course In Miracles calls "a tiny mad idea."

There is no problem with atheism. The question when someone says they are an atheist is "what kind of god don't you believe in?" Most people don't believe in most gods and so all mature, spiritually developed human beings are atheists of a sort. Being an atheist, though, does not mean that we don't recognize a transcendent energy in the universe called Life. How can any person deny Life of which they are a part?

And so there is a deep longing, a deep hunger to undo our separation and  join with the whole. It says in A Course In Miracles, "Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh." T-27.VIII.6:2 In other words, we humans have taken our separation seriously when the idea of our being separate from the ground of our being is absurd. The idea that we could take our existence on our own authority seriously is indeed funny if you get the joke. Unfortunately, many humans do not get the joke.

One of bosses used to say, "We take work seriously, but never ourselves."

A good sense of humor is a significant sign of highly developed sense of humor.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Awareness of spiritual longing

"Spiritual longing is a sort of loneliness for an unknown yet deeply perceived presence. Some call the presence God; some call it peace; some call it consciousness; some call it love. Its source rests in the well of our hearts. When we slow down, quiet the mind, and allow ourselves to feel hungry for something we do not understand, we are dipping into the abundant well of spiritual longing."
-Elizabeth Lesser, The New American Spirituality, p. xiv

John Bradshaw called this longing the "hole in the soul." Clients go to psychotherapy complaining of depression and anxiety and they cannot identify the source of their anguish. In our materialistic society we have been conditioned to fill the hole in our souls with stuff, chemicals, compulsive behaviors, and special relationships. Some more mature souls recognize the anguish as a separation from the godhead, the ground of their being. This awareness sometimes is only a slight glimmer and comes sometimes only on the heals of tragedy.

Sometimes religion provides a path to greater spiritual awareness and sometimes it obstructs our awareness of Love's presence in our lives.

When have you felt that there is something bigger in life than what you had been aware of before? If you pursued it, how did you connect with it?

Sunday, October 8, 2017

What does a grown up spiritual life look like?

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” 

― Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion

What are the major existential questions?

Question - How can I think about spirituality so I can enhance it in my life in a more deliberate way?

Answer - There are many models of religion but only one of spirituality. This one model of spirituality has been called the perennial philosophy. The perennial philosophy describes the elements of spirituality that is described in all major religions. Over the next several weeks we will be describing these elements.

In this article let's consider the major existential questions that all human beings become aware of and reflect on.

Why was I born?

What is the purpose of my life?

What happens when I die?

Who (What) will make be happy?

Who loves me or will love me?

Who (what) should I love?

When I make mistakes how should I correct them?

Life is a school room and as it teaches in A Course In Miralces we are given the above curriculum. We have no choice in the curriculum. Free will only allows us to choose when and how we take it.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The symptoms for spiritual poverty - gun culture

It is absurdly funny that the politicians who take money from the NRA to promote the gun culture encourage people to pray for the victims in Las Vegas and other mass shootings while they do nothing to change the glorification and enthusiasm for guns.

Guns, being a tool of destruction, are recommended as an antidote to fear of attack by a hostile other who is portrayed as intent on bodily harm. This is the hell on earth that the NRA and our politicians have promoted and encouraged not for the betterment of humanity, but rather to increase the profits from the sale of weapons and ammunition.

These activities of promoting a gun culture are huge mistakes begging for correction and yet profit takes precedence over human well being. This is a symptom of extreme spiritual poverty in the United States of America which promotes a culture of fear and death rather than a culture of well being and happiness.

Change begins with each one of us altering our mindset from one of fear to one of love and helpfulness. Our spiritual well being does not depend on our bodily safety. This is a sophisticated idea because egos identify so strongly with their bodies they fail to realize they are so much more.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Will you share Love with yourself and your brothers and sisters?

" are not free to choose the curriculum, or even the form in which you learn it. You are free, however, to decide when you want to learn it. And as you accept it, it is already learned." A Course in Miracles, Manual For Teachers, 2.3:6-8

As a psychotherapist, and in examining my own life, I observe that people do the same damn things over and over again until they learn it's not working and try a different, hopefully, a better way.

Gurdjieff said the difference between winners and losers is not that they both don't suffer. Winners and losers suffer the same. The difference is that winners learn from their suffering and losers don't learn a damn thing. In other words we don't get to chose the curriculum of life only when we want to learn from it.

Socrates said an unexamined life is not worth living. How many people do you know who live examined lives? I am blessed to know some. I live one.

Carl told me that he was sitting at a stop light and noticed the other drivers sitting in cars around him. It dawned on him that they all had stories he knew nothing about. It seemed overwhelming to him for a moment and he asked me if I thought he was going crazy? On the contrary, I responded, it seemed like he was maturing. "You are breaking out of your narcissistic bubble and becoming empathic."

"You mean it's a good thing," he asked skeptically.

"Absolutely," I replied. "Your wondering and caring about your fellow human beings is an important step onto your spiritual path."

Carl seemed content and went on to talk about other things.

In A Course In Miracles this looking on our brother with love and seeing him as part of the whole of which we are also a part is what ACIM calls faith, It is written in ACIM, "To have faith is to heal. It is the sign that you have accepted the Atonement for yourself, and would therefore share it." T-19.I.9:1-2