Showing posts with label awakening. Show all posts
Showing posts with label awakening. Show all posts

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Do people awakened eschew the world?

Is it true that people who are awakened become detached from worldly affairs?

No. Awakened people become more compassionate towards the people caught up in the drama of the path of the ego. While they, themselves, are no longer attached to the things of the ego, for they have intentionally detached themselves, they still love intensely their fellow human beings and the things of the planet earth.

There is the phenomenon of a "therapeutic depression," a grief for the suffering on the path of the ego. The Christian mystics call this the "gift of tears."

Awakening hastens the Atonement. Awakening is an extension of the light of the Holy Spirit into and individual's life and into the communal life of humanity. The individual has become holy and this holiness sanctifies the world.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "No darkness abides anywhere in the Kingdom, but your part is only to allow no darkness to abide in your own mind. This alignment with light is unlimited, because it is in alignment with the light of the world. Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one." T-6,II.13:3-5

As UU preachers are inclined to say, "May it be so."

Friday, September 28, 2018

Are the awakened ones perfect?

The idea that awakened people have never engaged in unethical behavior or don't currently is wrong. Many saints have had quite scandalous lives before they became awakened. Some people who claim to be awakened, enlightened, seem to engage in behavior that is narcissistic and exploitive. Jesus tells us that "by their fruits you shall know them."

Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so too is holiness. Holy people can appear to do hurtful things to themselves and others. The question is not whether awakened people do unethical and harmful things, but how they manage the harm they have done when they become aware of it.

An awakened person is quick to recognize unethical and harmful behavior, admit his/her transgressions, repair the harm done, and seek reconciliation with those who have been harmed.

In Unitarian Univeralism we covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles many of which are ignored, overlooked, or intentionally broken periodically and sometimes on a regular basis. No one is perfect, and no group is perfect. Those who are awakened are very aware of the transgressions and offenses. Awakened people recognize that these transgressions and offenses create drama on the path of the ego, and yet they persist to focus on the path of the spirit and uplift the Divine as benificents of grace.

Amazing grace pervades the lives of the awakened and is dimly perceived by those who aspire to find a better way.

Awakening does not make one perfect but blessed and beloved.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Surrendering to Love

People who are awakened go on living in the world. While they live primarily on the path of the spirit, things on the path of ego still challenge them. It is kind of like an addict with cravings. Even though the addict has given up the substance(s) of choice, still there are times when cravings arise and triggers appear.

The idea that being awakened, enlightened, is continual bliss is inaccurate. At times the bliss is threatened and the awakened person must remind him/herself of the chosen path they are on. Being in an awakened state is a continual choice and while it becomes more "natural" and "normal" it is at times threatened.

Awakened and enlightened people continue their spiritual practices because they give them joy and fulfillment. When their equanimity is threatened, awakened people maintain their equilibrium, their balance, with mindfulness and meditation.

Jesus and Buddha were often challenged by the egoistic forces that surrounded them. They were often put to the test. The tests are not significant, but the ways of managing the tests are. Remembering who we are, and what we are, returns us to stability.

The tests to the genuineness of awakening are ongoing and are met with grace and blessings from the Divine source which is the ground of being. What this takes is awareness and intention to surrender to Love.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Who are the enlightened ones among us?

We may have assumed that awakening, enlightenment, is the end point of spiritual development, but actually it is a whole new normal. It is new life with enhanced quality. The Buddha reached enlightenment and was free to go on to nirvana but he decided to stick around and help his fellow human beings become enlightened as well. Thus, the Buddha was nicknamed the "compassionate buddha."

Jesus goes through the transfiguration before Peter, James and John. The guys knew that something important happened to Jesus but they didn't quite get it and Jesus tells them not to tell anyone what has happened. Instead, Jesus comes down from the mountain and starts helping people in dramatic ways like curing a boy from his epilepsy.

People who have awakened go on living among us but spiritually they are living with us at a different level of awareness. They are peaceful, joyful, generous, empathic, and therapeutic. You may know such people, but have not been aware of what makes them different. They don't brag, don't posture, don't separate themselves from others in any kind of superior way. They are unassuming, humble, and usually present themselves as nothing special but quite ordinary. They are aware of their holiness and they also perceive the divine spark in others and desire to set the spark further aflame.

Be alert for the awakened ones among us. Their lack of drama and narcissism makes them easy to overlook but they are there and we are better off when we recognize and acknowledge them. At UUAWOL ministries our mission is to sanctify the world by helping people become holy. Our work is gaining strength from the 100 people are so who join us here regularly.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Awakening to cosmic consciousness is most often gradual

There is an idea that awakening is a clear state distinct from unawakened. Sometimes this is the case when there is a catastrophic event like a near death experience or some traumatic occurrence, but with gradual awakening there are degrees  of the awakened state. Enlightenment can be a matter of degree.

The degree to which a person is awakened is determined by the degree to which the person has overcome, mitigated, diminished, or eliminated the obstacles and barriers to the person's awareness of Love's presence. It is written in A Course In Miracles "The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all encompassing can have no opposite."

The degree of Love which one experiences in one's life, and the degree of the absence of fear is an excellent indicator of the degree of awakening a person has achieved in his/her life.

Here at UU A Way Of Life ministries our mission is to help people to become Holy and to sanctify the world. At UUAWOL ministries we teach about the importance of covenantal relationships based on the seven principles. The two most important principles in regards to awakening are the first and the second, the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the love for the interdependent web.

We all our the children of creation and together we comprise the cosmic consciousness of the world.

Friday, September 21, 2018

How does an awakened person live on the path of the ego?

Once a person has awakened, gained cosmic consciousness, some might think that such people have a hard time living in the real world. These enlightened beings may seem other worldly, uninvolved, air headed, and some might even mock them or ridicule them for not being in touch with reality.

At first, especially after turmoil, and the dust settles, the awakened person may find it awkward to live on the path of the ego. The things of the world on the path of the ego have no meaning for the awakened person any more. The things on the path of the ego have become inconsequential, but the awakened person can still manage them, use them, interact with them, but in a non attached way. The things on the path of the ego for an awakened person are simply illusions of daily life that have no importance.

The awakened person develops what psychologists call a "well integrated personality." The person lives in the present and simply does what needs to be done. "Chop wood; carry water," as the Buddhists say. Laundry is simply laundry.

The awakened person does not live with drama, fear, control, or grasping. The awakened person simply is and does life as is needed and no more. For the awakened person, life becomes easier. There is no hurry, no stress, only an attitude of mind which allows for the smelling of the roses.

Do you know such people who live in peace, centered, calm in the storm? Now days this presence of mind is called mindfulness. An awakened person is centered and able to maintain his/her centeredness even in the face of challenge and provocation.

At UUAWOL ministries we help people become holy (wholy) by covenanting with them to follow the seven principles of Unitarian Univeralism. The covenanting brings great peace and contentment. With the development of this state of being, the whole world is sanctified.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Is there support for the awakened ones?

The self transformation that takes a person to wakefulness is not as extraordinary and exceptional as it seems. Many people have arrived in a more wakeful state often after intense psychological turmoil from a life crisis. Others have gradually moved into an awakened state after a long time of spiritual searching.

The move from egoic to unitive consciousness seems to some observers as rare and extraordinary but to those who have arrived there it seems quite ordinary and people on the path of the ego seem to be the ones who are abnormal, dysfunctional, and sad. M. Scott Peck called this awareness of how abnormal things seem outside of a unitive consciousness as a "therapeutic depression." In the psychological literature, the awakened person may feel angry at the egotistical nature of most human life and then just deeply sad. In Christian mystical tradition this has been called the "gift of tears."

Many people who have risen to a cosmic consciousness, taking it as the ordinary way of being in the world, have no frame of reference, no societal support for their way of being in the world. One often assumes that this support system should be the church, but most churches are caught up in the egoic world as well and have little understanding of the unitive consciousness that some of its members may have achieved. UUAWOL ministries desires to provide that support, that understanding, that acceptance of these people into covenantal relationships based on the seven principles. The key characteristic of this covenantal relationship is the love of the interdependent web which involves the shedding of the ego and merging with all of existence.

If you have awakened, we, at UUAWOL ministries, get it. Covenanting together facilitates our sanctification of the world.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Are you aware of the characteristics of awakened people who are sanctifying the world?

Awakening is manifested in changes in a person's perception, emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Over the next few articles we will be discussing these manifestations in each of these categories.

In the area of behavior, people who are awakened behave with altruism, compassion, and engagement. While they desire to be of service, this service is not to accomplish anything, it is not instrumental but rather it is a way of being in the world with others.

Awakened people are human beings not human doers. They behave in loving ways out of faith not with the intention of creating success. Awakened people do what they can and let any attachment to results go.

Awakened people are not attached to any particular results and are not materialistic in the physical world, the psychological, social or spiritual worlds. They have surrendered their sense of control to a Higher Power and they, themselves, have no attachment or investment or control in any particular thing, relationship, or outcome. This surrender of control allows the person to live with more autonomy and authenticity.

The relationships of awakened people are more real, that is, they are more grounded in honesty and genuineness. The pretense and desire to manipulate to get one's own needs met are gone. Awakened people interact with others with no agenda other than to be present and to engage in a space of love and awareness.

People who are awakened behave in ways that exude a sense of peace and harmony. A light seems to emanate from their being. There is an overall sense of well being and wholeness, also called "holiness" which provides a soothing sense of betterment in its wake.

Unitarian Univeralists, and all awakened people, are not always recognized by others and sometimes even seem threatening to them. Jesus was killed as was Gandhi. Buddha died in his bed.

The characteristics of awakened people at the perceptual, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral level can be subtle and yet they are also distinct for the person sensitive to the signs. At UUAWOL ministries we are alert to the characteristics of people who have awakened and look forward to benefiting from their level of consciousness as it sanctifies the world.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

What is the importance of truth?

Awakening is manifested in changes in a person's perception, emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Over the next few articles we will be discussing these manifestations in each of these categories.

In the area of thoughts, awakening involves a loss of group identity and an embracing of all of humanity and the whole world. The interconnectedness of all life is richly appreciated and becomes a foundational concern of the person's thoughts. The person adopts a universal outlook and thinks about the whole. The awakened person knows that the butterfly flapping its wings in the southern hemisphere influences the climate in the northern hemisphere. The awakened person knows that we are all in this thing called Life together and none of us gets out alive.

With this universal outlook comes a heightened sense of ethics and morality. Narcissistic neediness is overcome and the awakened person is concerned about justice, equity, and the well being of all parts of the community and the planet. This concern contributes to a curiosity which involves a love for science and reason. The use of knowledge, skills, and competence are deeply valued.

An indicator of an awakened person in the cognitive dimension is the love of truth, honesty, genuineness, and authenticity. The awakened person does not fear Truth or avoid Truth or overlook Truth, but looks Truth in the eye and can say with abiding equanimity, "It is what it is."

Saturday, September 15, 2018

What will provide me with a sense of peace?

Awakening is manifested in changes in a person's perception, emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Over the next few articles we will be discussing these manifestations in each of these categories.

In the area of emotion, awakening involves an inner quietness, and inner imperturbability.  In addition there is a sense of connection and a transcendence of separation. With this comes an enhanced empathy and compassion and a heightened sense of well-being. This results in an absence of the fear of death because the ego has been shedded and is no longer as much of a barrier to the awareness of Love's presence.

In modern day parlance, the awakened person is happy, but happiness seems too small a word. The person is joyful and even further, blissful. This bliss is a fulfillment, an actualization of one's evolutionary potential.

While everyday chores, and ups and downs, must be dealt with, these are experienced as the course of things and do not upset the experience of inner equilibrium which the person has achieved. The equilibrium is experienced by others as the person "having his/her shit together." They manifest what the psychologists call a "well integrated personality."

In spiritual terms, an awakened person seems holy and his/her holiness sanctifies the world by imbuing it with Divine Love.

This spiritual sense of holiness is not well articulated in any Unitarian Univeralist ideas about aspirations appropriate for adherents to the tradition until now. UUAWOL ministries calls Unitatian Univeralists to holiness by covenanting together to implement and uphold the seven principles. The seven principles become not just a values statement, but a way of life. Involving oneself in this way of life brings the adherent great peace, happiness, and fulfillment.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Are you in love with the interdependent web of all existence?

Awakening is manifested in changes in a person's perception, emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Over the next few articles we will be discussing these manifestations in each of these categories.

In the area of perception, awakening involves the realization that what is seen isn't real. There is a realization that there is a whole hidden reality behind what is perceived. The bumper sticker cliche reads, "Perception is reality," or "What you see is what you get." These bumper sticker slogans make us laugh because at a deeper level we realize they point to a truth that is silly. With this realization that perceptions aren't real, life takes on a sense of absurdity and incongruity that is humorous. Contrary to expectations, awakened people are not serious, but have a good sense of humor.

The perceptions of awakened people focus on the present. They do not ruminate about the past or worry about the future. They attend to what is happening in the here and now because they realize that time has no meaning in the big picture. Time is only a device on the path of the ego born out of separation. In the Atonement there is no time. Time makes no sense and has no meaning and purpose in the Oneness.

It tells us in A Course In Miracles that "there is no order of difficulty in miracles. One is not "harder" or "bigger" than another. They are all the same. All expressions of love are maximal."

In psychology we are taught that we see what we think we will see. A mind set influences our perceptions. These perceptions born out of a mindset are called "projections" and "biases." People who have awakened have risen above mindsets and live life nonjudgmentally with unconditional love for all beings and all of life.

Awakened people take life as it comes, go with the flow, drop all expectations and requirements and are one with the Tao. This may seem impossible, and it is rare, but some people do achieve not only a respect for the interdependent web of all existence, but are in love with it.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Can drugs help one spiritually awaken?

There is a misguided idea that spiritual awakening can occur from drugs, in particular, psychedelics. Millions of people attempt to alter their consciousnesses with substances, the most common being alcohol but also cannabis, opiates and stimulants of all kinds. These substances do alter the nervous system but these are physical effects and have little to do with spirituality.

It is possible for people with highly developed skills at mindfulness to take drugs and observe their functioning under them. What is that part of the person that can make these observations? Here at UUAWOL ministries we have named this part of our self awareness system the "witness." It is that part of our consciousness that is mindfully aware of our functioning, the witness, which is eternal and lives forever.

Substances create cognitive and affective and psychomotor changes, but they do not change the witness which observes these activities and their effects.

Some people have a more highly developed capacity to witness than others, and this ability to observe from the witness in a nonjudgmental way is a major component of awakening. In some religious traditions this "witness" is called the "soul." In some traditions it is called the "conscience." As a young boy, being raised as Roman Catholic, when we were prepared for the sacrament of penance or later called reconciliation or, when I was a child, confession, we were taught to "examine our conscience" in preparation for making a "good act of confession." In Alcoholics Anonymous this is called doing a "fearless moral inventory."

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote "the right of conscience" and the use of the democratic process..." What is this "right of conscience" referred to in this principle? How is, or could this "right of conscience," be influenced by the use of consciousness altering chemicals? Would the use of pharmaceuticals, as millions of Americans do, hasten the spiritual development of the users?

It is written in A Course In Miracles in the supplement, The Process of Psychotherapy, "Their (the client's) aim is to be able to retain their self-concept exactly as it is, but without the suffering it entails. Their whole equilibrium rests on the  insane belief that this is possible. And because to the sane mind it is clearly impossible, what they seek is magic." P-2.Intro.2:3-5

And the drugs to alter consciousness is an attempt at magical spiritual development. The use of drugs to awaken is counterfeit. We believe at UUAWOL ministries that one way to awaken is to covenant together with other like minded seekers to utilize the seven principles as the basis for a path to awakening. The drugs are a detour and not only don't work but can cause damage.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Transformation is often subtle and not well understood

Sometimes people awaken and don't know what is happening to them. It can be perplexing and our society has little to offer people who start to feel that their self system, their way of experiencing the world, is becoming different.

This awakening can be experienced in many ways. The gift of tears is one of the most common especially in males in their 50s. They find themselves crying at silly things like TV advertisements or other occasions and it can be embarrassing to them.

Some people experience themselves as becoming over emotional in the sense of being moved more deeply by simple things in their lives which causes them to pause and savor in ways they haven't done before.

People  are perplexed by these experiences which seem very personal and they keep them private and hidden from others because they don't know what is happening to them and how to communicate and explain it to others. If the person experiments in sharing some of these experiences, it often is medicalized and the person is referred to a doctor for assessment to determine what is happening. Doctors, though, are of little help and may actually be a detrimental because although there are physical manifestations, the transformation the person is undergoing is psychological and spiritual and not somatic.

The one institutional support that might be expected to help would be the church and yet, besides mystical traditions, churches have little to offer such people because most of the church's leadership and membership have not reached these levels of spiritual development themselves and so have no understanding of the person's experience.

Here at UUAWOL ministries we do understand these experiences and offer to help the individual going through this transformation an opportunity to construct a narrative that is meaningful, relevant, and satisfying.

Salvation is not an individual pursuit but occurs withing the context of covenantal relationships and in Unitarian Universalism we base this covenant on our seven principles. Can the implementation of these seven principles be transformative in a person's life? Absolutely, and this is the function of church to sanctify the world by helping people become holy. Holiness is to be celebrated but first it has to be recognized and acknowledged.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

What if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?

One of the ways of thinking about awakening is the change in the self system. There is a shedding of the ego and a merging with the Divine. It is the realization of cosmic consciousness. What are the major signs of this awakening? There are several but the most apparent ones are: loss of the fear of death, a sense of contentment and imperturbability, love of others and the whole world, being present in the now with no rumination about the past or fear for the future, a joy and desire in being of service, being out of sync or on a different wavelength from one's peers and the ways of the world.

In our current age, this state of being is unrecognized, or if it is, it scares people. The awakened one is leary about talking about the change in the self system with others because the description will be confusing or threatening to others who will call it "crazy." Therefore this new level of awareness is often kept hidden or confidential.

There are awakened ones amongst us in Unitarian Universalism but our faith has no history and tradition of understanding this state. Therefore, the "living tradition" of Unitarian Universalism has little to offer people who become holy. One of the activities here at UUAWOL ministries is to teach about the existence of this state and level of consciousness, and to encourage its recognition, acknowledgement, and encouragement. The barrier or block to recognition is that people at lower levels of consciousness have no frame of reference, no mental models, that facilitate their perception of the level of consciousness above their own.

The leadership in Unitarian Univeralism does not aspire to higher levels of spiritual consciousness. It is more focused on organizational and social justice concerns on the path of the ego. The mission of Unitarian Universalism at the local, regional, national, and international levels is blind to the true function of religious organizations which is to facilitate the growth and development of saints. Without holy people the world cannot be sanctified and Unitarian Univeralism just becomes one organization among millions that works for betterment on the path of the ego. Having a better life on the path of the ego is to miss the point of religion which is to help people shed the ego and enter onto the path of the spirit. Betterment is not the same thing as sanctification. To have a better body, a better marriage, a better job, a better house, better children, better country is to fiddle around while Rome is burning.

We don't need a better church in a better world when our consciousnesses are spiritually impoverished.  As it is written  in Mark 8:36, "For what shall it profit a person if they gain the whole world, but lose their soul?"

Monday, September 10, 2018

What is shifting in crisis that is a spiritual awakening?

Steve Taylor in his book, The Leap, describes different kinds of awakening. People can awaken in different ways. Some awakeners are natural born, some awaken gradually, and some awaken suddenly in a crisis which Taylor calls "the shifters." Shifters are people who awaken in response to a crisis. They are people who are sometimes referred to has having a conversion experience, or a nervous break down, or have been traumatized.

The crisis precipitating an awakening can be a near death experience, an unexpected death of a loved one, a health crisis, even the loss of a job or a natural disaster. The purification, and renunciation are imposed on the person due to the external circumstances of the crisis. However, the tendency toward ethical behavior, service, and meditation were there all along. So while the awakening appears to be sudden due to external circumstances, the soil was fertile and the seeds already there. Here, at UUAWOL ministries, we call this shift, "the dawning." It dawns on people as a result of the crisis that they can not go on living the way they have been, that there must be a better way. And with this dawning the search begins.

With the awakening of the shifters, there is a clear demarcation of the before and after. After the shift, the awakened person will say that their lives will never be the same again. They can't go back to their pre-shift state. They are living in the new normal.

Unitarian Univeralism and most religions have little to say about this kind of crisis precipitated shift in consciousness. It is seen more as a psychological phenomenon than a spiritual one and yet for the individual living through the experience it clearly is felt as spiritual and they are less aware of psychological changes.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth but, as a practical manner, does very little to recognize, acknowledge, and support the awakening process in these kinds of situations other than, perhaps, with pastoral care if the pastor is at an advanced stage of spiritual development his/her self.

Here at UUAWOL ministries our mission is to sanctify the world by helping people to become holy and we recognize that crises in people's lives, while unexpected and full of alarm and suffering, can also be the catalyst for spiritual transformation in individuals who are ready for it. We also recognize that there may be many such souls among us who have kept their experiences private for fear of not being understood or their experience as being misconstrued. The enactment of the third principle calls us to nonjudgmental attendance to the sharing of one another's experience.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Are there holy people among Unitarian Universalists?

Developmental psychologists teach that human beings move towards the actualization of their potential given the nurturing and facilitating circumstances required. There are a few models of human development such as the one for cognitive development taught by Piaget, moral development taught by Kohlberg, epigenetic development taught by Erikson, and Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

Maslow taught that after physical, social, emotional, and psychological needs are met, the human being reaches the pinnacle of his pyramid of needs which is the need to actualize one's potential. The spiritual teachers tell us that the actualization of that potential is God consciousness or what we call, at UUAWOL ministries, cosmic consciousness. Up until now in human history very few human beings have flowered into their potential. Most stay stuck and content, perhaps, at lower levels.

The attainment of higher levels of need fulfillment, the actualization of one's potential, is often involuntary in the sense that the individual was not consciously aware of the drive for actualization but simply felt in their uneasiness that there must be a better way. As their life has gone on they became less psychologically attached to the building blocks of their personal identity for various reasons, some intentional and some circumstantial. This detachment from aspects of personal identity when engaged in intentionally, are what is called renunciation which is the third theme of the perennial psychology.

In Unitarian Universalism, this actualization of potential at the highest level is the shedding of the ego to enter into an experience of the interdependent web of existence. Without a clearly articulated mystical tradition of its own other than transcendentalism, Unitarian Univeralists don't get much help from their religious faith in moving into this level of consciousness. Ralph Waldo Emerson takes a stab at describing this level of consciousness in his essay about, what he called, the "oversoul."

There may be a few awakened souls among Unitarian Universalists but the they often go unrecognized because their fellow UUs don't know what they are experiencing when interacting with them. These people are the saints, the holy ones. The failure of Unitarian Univeralists to recognize the holy among them limits their ability to carry out their mission which is sanctify the world by helping people to become holy by covenanting together to affirm and promote the seven principles.

Most people would not recognize the Buddha or Jesus were either one to walk amongst us today. We are too busy texting, and Facebooking. The actualization of potential requires a real, not a virtual, relationship. Be on the look out for a holy person. If you know what you are looking for, it is more likely you will find one.

Friday, September 7, 2018

What is the fifth of the five themes of the perennial psychology?

The fifth theme of the perennial psychology is meditation. Meditation is the going within and becoming aware of what's behind the chatter in the mind of our ego. This chatter the Buddhists call the "monkey mind" because it is incessant. It would be nice if it was a radio and we could just turn it off.

Turning off the external stimuli and going within we become aware of the All, the Oneness of which we are a part which is the ground of our being. In all our efforts to separate ourselves from our Divine Source and enhance an ego apart from the ground of our being we have forgotten that of which we are not only a part but which is essential to our conscious existence.

The experience of this Oneness is deep bonding and connection with existence. It has been called bliss and some call it Love. In A Course In Miracles, it is written, "The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love, for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, at removing the blocks to the awareness of love's presence, which is you natural inheritance."

The practice of mediation can be described and taught in many ways. The best description is the removal of the blocks to the awareness of love's presence.

In Unitarian Univeralism we covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles the seventh of which is "respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." I would rather say "love for the interdependent web of all existence..." Meditation is about the awareness of love at the base of our being which we often forget as we go about our busy, daily lives.

In our contemporary times, the word that keeps arising to describe the phenomenon of mediation is "mindfulness." In the various contexts in which the word "mindfulness" occurs, the meanings change with subtle distinctions. Most often "mindfulness" means watching, or witnessing our functioning physically, emotionally, cognitively, and behaviorally. Practicing mindfulness or witnessing our functioning is very helpful for our overall wellness but is not the same thing that the mystics mean when they describe meditation for meditation is a step beyond mindfulness where even mindfulness does not exist since the ego to watch no longer exists.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What is the fourth of five themes in the perennial psychology?

The fourth theme of the perennial psychology is service. Service is born out of empathy and compassion. Service is born out of the awareness that salvation is not an individual enterprise but a communal one that encompasses what Unitarian Univeralists call the interdependent web.

As we awaken, we come to understand that no person is an island but simply one part of the whole.We also come to realize that we learn what we teach and that we are paradoxically enriched by giving away. What is a joke kept to oneself? What is a song that is closed up on one's heart? It is in sharing the joke, the idea, the song that our joy is not only experienced but enhanced.

It is written in A Course In Miracles, "Salvation is a collaborative venture. It cannot be undertaken successfully by those who disengage themselves from the Sonship, because they are disengaging themselves from me. God will come to you only as you give Him to your brothers.” T-4.VI.8:204

Anyone who says that they love God and hate people either are lying or don't understand. There is a spark of the divine in every person and Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Living this principle, UUs, take joy in being of service to all people.

A friend of mine told me one time that you don't go to church for God, you go to church because someone there might need you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

What is the third of five themes in the perennial psychology?

The third theme of the perennial psychology is renunciation, the giving up of attachments. It is one of the four noble truths of Buddhism that suffering is caused by attachment. In Christian monasticism and religious life, adherents take three vows; celibacy, poverty, and obedience. In our daily lives as secular followers, Peace Pilgrim teaches the "four relinquishments" which are: relinquishment of self-will, relinquishment of the feeling of separateness, relinquishment of attachments, and relinquishment of all negative feelings.

Rather than cause pain and sorrow and sacrifice, renunciation, giving - up, is an unburdening, a liberation, a freeing, a lightening and gives one a sense of relief and joy. "Thank goodness I don't have to deal with that any more!"

There is no principle in Unitarian Univeralism that asks us to renounce our attachments to the things on the path of the ego directly. However, the first principle which is to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and the second which asks us to affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations require some renunciation of the ways of the ego so that we can proceed on the path of the spirit.

Perhaps, above all else, Unitarian Univeralism asks us to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning which involves giving up our cognitive and emotional attachments to idols and beliefs that are no longer relevant and valid for us. This fourth principle asks us to give up the faith of others which has been imposed on us and to seek our own truth in the frightening space of the unknown. This search takes bravery, courage, awareness, discipline and a willingness to renounce the attachments to the things of the world we know for the world we may intuit but are not familiar with yet.

Unitarian Univeralism is not a faith for the timid and cowardly. Unitarian Univeralism asks a renunciation and a giving up of control of the things we are used to and have been conditioned by. UU asks us to sacrifice for what we come to value as a greater good of more importance in the realm of the Divine rather than stay stuck in the mundane on the path of the ego.

As we saw yesterday in the article on purification, Jesus tells the rich young man that if he truly wants eternal life he should give up all his riches, give the money to the poor, and come follow Him, and the rich young man is saddened because renouncing his stuff he will not do.

Be careful what you own and value because it may be that you don't own the things you are attached to but they own you. Renounce the things on the path of the ego which burden you, constrain you, limit your willingness to experience the eternal Divine.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What is the second of five themes in the perennial psychology?

The second of the five themes of the perennial psychology which Steve Taylor describes in his book, The Leap, is "purgation or purification." Purgation or purification is the giving up of desires for ego enhancing objects and activities.

Peace Pilgrim identifies four areas of our human experience needing purification:
the body, the mind, our desires, and our motives. These are similar to the eightfold path of Buddhism and the vows of monasticism in Christianity.

In Unitarian Univeralism, when we covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles, we are giving up our individual desires for the good of the whole community. We set our individual egos aside, our sense of specialness and acknowledge the inherent worth and dignity of every person. This requires humility and the purification of our individual special desires for pleasures of the body in favor of dignity, health, and wholesomeness.

UUs also affirm and promote justice, equity, and compassion in our human relations which requires a desire for loving relationships with all people not just some. Purifying our desires to get more than others, to lord it over others, to use people for our own satisfaction requires discipline and correct attitudes. It requires purifying our egotistical need to control in favor of surrendering to the flow of the Tao.

UUs affirm and promote the right of conscience and use of democratic process which requires a purification of one's individual preferences and desires for the good of the relationship and the whole community. As it is written in A Course In Miracles, "Would you rather be right or be happy?"

UUs affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning which requires a purification of our motives and biases in favor of what's right and accurate.

This purgation and purification is not asceticism although ascetic practices from time to time can be part of the theme. At UUAWOL ministries we prefer the word "simplify" or simplification. People on the path of the spirit desire to simply their lives and no longer complicate them with the trinkets which the path of the ego offers.

Purgation and purification is necessary to travel more lightly and unencumbered. You cannot move up if you are being held down.

One of the most wonderful stories about purgation and purification is Jesus' encounter with the rich young man.

Matthew 19:16-22 The Message (MSG)

16 Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 Jesus said, “Why do you question me about what’s good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you.”
18-19 The man asked, “What in particular?”
Jesus said, “Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
20 The young man said, “I’ve done all that. What’s left?”
21 “If you want to give it all you’ve got,” Jesus replied, “go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me.”
22 That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crestfallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn’t bear to let go.

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