"For, as all exponents of the Perennial Philosophy have constantly insisted, man's obsessive consciousness of, and insistence on being, a separate self is the final and most formidable obstacle to the unitive knowledge of God. To be a self is, for them, the original sin, and to die to self, in feeling, will and intellect, is the final all inclusive virtue". p.36
Huxley writes a bit further:
"Man's final end, the purpose of his existence, is to love, know, and be united with the immanent and transcendent Godhead. And this identification of self with the spiritual not-self can be achieved only by "dying to" selfness and living to spirit." p.38
Huxley quotes Meister Eckhart, the 14th century German mystic who wrote: "The Scriptures say of human beings that there is an outward man and long with him an inner man."
"The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut sees into nut trees, and God seed into God."
I don't think I have ever heard or read a UU sermon on the outer person and the inner person. In fact, it has been my experience that UU focuses too much on the outer world especially with its preoccupation with social justice issues and rarely focuses on the development of the interior spiritual life.
Because of the six sources, UUs on left on their own to research, experiment, and practice activities that would fertilize, cultivate, and irrigate the "God seed" within them that Eckhart speaks of. "Different strokes for different folks" as they say and that is all well and good until one realizes that if you are open to everything, you will fall for anything.
Rev. Galen Guengerich suggests that the unique spiritual practice of Unitarian Universalists should be gratitude. In practicing gratitude we become aware that we are utterly dependent on the interconnected web for everything even language which gives us the power to think and be conscious. Practices of gratitude begin with just taking notice and being mindful of the blessings and the grace that bombard us on a minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day basis.
"Paradoxical as it may seem, it is, for very many persons, much easier to behave selflessly in a time of crisis than it is when life is taking its normal course in undisturbed tranquillity. When the going is easy, there is nothing to make us forget our precious selfness, nothing(except our own will to mortification and knowledge of God) to distract our minds from the distractions with which we have chosen to be identified; we are at perfect liberty to wallow in our own personality to our heart's content. And how we wallow! It is for this reason that all the masters of the spiritual life insist so strongly upon the important of little things." p42.
Following this thinking, it is gratitude for the little things in our lives, the air we breathe, the sun that grows our vegetation, the water we drink, the love of others and their love of us, even the difficulties we are presented with and challenged by that make our lives interesting and force us to grow sometimes outside our comfort zones.
"The saint is the one who knows that every moment of our human life is a moment of crisis; for at every moment we are called upon to make an all important decision - to choose between the way that leads to death and spiritual darkness and the way that leads towards light and life; between interests exclusively temporal and the eternal order; between our personal will, or the will of some projection of our personality, and the will of God." p.43
The saint is mindful and chooses, my will or God's will be done? In Alcoholics Anonymous the first three steps are:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
Saints are people in recovery. They are recovering from the conditioning of their own egos and turning their lives over to God as they understand God to be.
The first principle of Unitarian Universalism, the inherent worth and dignity of every person refers to the God seed which has to be cultivated and helped to grow within us until we reach the unitive, transcendent God consciousness called enlightenment. Is your church and religious practice helping you become enlightened? How could it be more of a help? How could you help others?