Showing posts with label path of the spirit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label path of the spirit. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2018

What is the path to peace?

Do Unitarian Universalists want peace? It is mentioned in the sixth principle as "the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all." The way the principle is worded would make one think of political peace more than spiritual peace.

Catholics make a big deal out of spiritual peace asking worshippers to extend to one another the wish for peace during their worship services and ritually say, "Pax vobiscum," peace be with you during their liturgies.

Peace is considered in the perennial psychology as a major sign of spiritual attainment. It is inner peace that is being referred to however.

The third step of the twelve step program for people in recovery is to make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand God.

This decision to "turn it over" comes after the dawning that there must be a better way. This turning initiates the search. What is that better way? What does it look like? How can I stay on the right track and not get lost again? Are there trail markers I should look for or am I to blaze the trail all on my own only following an intuitive compass that points at God's will for me?

What are the differences I should be alert to to discern the differences between the path of the ego and the path of the spirit?

The two biggest trail markers on the path of the spirit are: What is the loving thing? and Will this bring us peace? Notice the word "us". What will bring "us" peace includes "me" but not "me" alone. My relationships with others must be brought into consideration as well.

The body is the not the temple of the Holy Spirit as so many of us have been incorrectly taught. The temple of the Holy Spirit is in relationships. Remember the Jesus said, "Where two or more are gathered in my name, there I will be." Jesus was referring to the Divine when He said "I" not his personification.

Giving up our ego is a scary thing. We feel like we are giving up control, and indeed, we are intentionally giving up control, and turning it over to the Divine. We come to not only learn that we are not in control of the universe but we gladly give up the fantasy and illusion.

Let it go. There are far greater things going on than we could ever understand. Give up our attempts to control every thing. As they say in AA, "Let go and let God."

A genuine surrender is the path to peace.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

What is the one decision which makes all the difference?

Unitarian Universalists are a pretty egotistical bunch. They don't think much of a Higher Power and argue among themselves not only what the Higher Power is like but even if there is a Higher Power at all. Is such a theological position one of arrogance and willfulness or one of humility and willingness? If the function of a church is to facilitate the development and nurturance of saints, the harvest has been meager.

Yes, we have separated ourselves from God. We think we are in charge of our own lives. This idea, of course, is ridiculous. We were born from the Oneness and we will return to the Oneness. In the meantime we feel guilty, unconsciously, of our separation.

This guilt which is better called "shame" is the knowledge that we are not separate from God, and our willfulness will cause problems.

What kind of problems you ask? How about violence, attack, anxiety, depression, compulsive and addictive behaviors, and general all purpose misery? The variations of misery and suffering are as numerable as the stars for every individual is unique and special and his/her suffering is unique and special as well.

And so, we are afraid of more suffering, hurt, and pain, and it our hurt and pain rather than admit our mistake, we insist we are right and project the cause of our suffering onto other people and circumstances. In our misery and pain we come to see ourselves as victims rather than as agents. This defensive strategy for most people is very entrenched and clung to with every fiber of one's being to preserve the ego which has been created.

Of course, all these defensive attempts to protect our egos are bound to crack at some point, perhaps at death when we have no choice but to give up the fight and our stubbornness is overwhelmed. Rather than die peacefully, we die clinging to the last shred of ego we have defended our whole lives, and die in agony.

As is taught in twelve step programs we need to recognize that our lives of the ego are unmanageable and that there is a power greater than ourselves. We then in step three decide to turn our will over to our Higher Power whatever we conceive of that Higher Power to be. This turning over of our will allows us to perform the miracle of changing willfulness into willingness and this decision makes all the difference.

This decision involves the turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit and it makes all the difference.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What does it take to be spiritual?

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and knowledge.

People are not aware that knowledge is not truth. Knowledge is borrowed. Truth is personal.

Religion is not knowledge. Religion is experience.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that knowledge is spiritual. Knowledge is counterfeit spirituality. For a true spiritual experience, knowledge has to be set aside. Knowing about swimming and actually swimming are two entirely different things. In the same way, knowing about religion and being religious are two different things.

As David Francis, the Unitarian pioneer said, we need not think alike to love alike.

Spirituality, in the Christian tradition, is walking in Love. That doesn't take knowledge. It takes forgiveness.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Are you coming along with us on the path of the spirit?

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote seven principles of life. UUs tend to be a smart, intelligent group of people. They have risen above creeds and orthodoxies and are what is called "free thinkers." The problem might be that they think too much. The goal is not more knowledge, but a common experience of godliness. Everyone, deep down, wants this experience, but they don't know it or if they know it don't know how to get it.

Can people know too much? How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? What lie will the President, Donald Trump, tell today? Will the congress people, who have received campaign contributions from the NRA, ever pass some sensible gun control legislation? Should we be bothered by these questions when we are not aware of our own being? How much does having answers to these questions make a difference to the quality of our lives and the life of the planet?

This topic irritates a lot of people because they know deep down that they have no idea what makes them tick and here they are trying to run the world.

The point is is that there are two different worlds: the world of the ego and the world of the spirit. In which world are you spending most of your time and energy and effort?

If you are walking the path of the ego you might want to change course and get on the path of the spirit. The path of the spirit manages fear with forgiveness, resentments with love, and knowledge with innocence. You know what I mean?

If you do that's great. If not, that's okay too. This blog is not for everyone. It is intended for the serious seeker. Thank you for coming along with us.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Bringing truth to light

Unitarian Univeralistis covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Truth often, though, is kept in the darkness and is hidden. Finding it entails fear and loathing. The search takes courage and bravery and patience and persistence.

According to researchers anxiety disorders are the biggest mental health problem in the United States. As a psychotherapist, I have observed that what people are most afraid of is the truth.

Truth haunts people, if not consciously, then unconsciously. Experiences have been buried deep in the psyche and the truth of them leaks out creating a terror that is confusing, unexpected, baffling, and seems foreign.

The psychotherapist gently and supportively asks the client to re-member those things the person has repressed and alienated from his/her conscious awareness. The truth has been kept in the dark and because of what the darkness hides, people become afraid of the darkness itself.

The release from darkness entails two stages: first the recognition that darkness can only hide the truth so long and that eventually the truth will find its way to the light either with conscious articulation or in symptoms, and second, that the energy it takes to hide the truth is a waste and that life is lived much more easily and happily once the truth is set free.

Setting the truth free from the darkness is a relief and in the long run brings much peace and bliss. When we come to accept that "it is what it is" we are born again onto the path of the spirit and we leave the path of the ego behind.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Giving up our biases

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. If we turn off the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit, this search entails becoming aware of and giving up our biases.

Let's admit it. We are biased. When we look at things, we see what we think we are going to see not what is really there. Most people think it is the other way around, that the things we see trigger our thoughts, but it is more accurate to say that our thoughts influence what we see.

Tough thing to admit. Our egos rarely allow us to become aware of and acknowledge our biases. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think." We could tweak it to say, "Don't believe everything you see."

Turning from the path of the ego onto the path of the spirit involves giving up our thoughts, our biases, our assumptions, our prejudices.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Becoming human

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the inherent dignity and worth of every person. The mystics tell us that most people are sleep walking through life based on their instincts and conditioning. In this sleep walking, there is little dignity and worth for they have not yet realized their potential.

The hallmark of worth and dignity is freedom. Freedom is an inside job not just the eradication of external constraints. True freedom is making choices about our experience. This freedom requires self knowledge and awareness, something most people haven't achieved. If UUs are serious about their first covenantal principle, they would provide more assistance in facilitating the nurturing and cultivating of an interior spiritual life. It is this interior spiritual life which makes us truly human and manifests our true worth and dignity.

The thoughts we have bring either peace or war; either love or fear. Which do you want? Can you tell the difference?

It is taught in A Course In Miracles, in the workbook in lesson 16, that "I have no neutral thoughts." We either walk on the path of the ego or the path of the spirit. Upon the dawning, we must decide which path we want to proceed on. One path takes us to war and fear, and the other to peace and love.

The tolerance for pain in human beings is very high and sometimes, it's not until they hit bottom, that they realize there is a better way. They realize that their thoughts are not an external factor over which they have no control. They come to realize that they can control their thoughts and this control means they have a choice.

This choice over one's thoughts is the beginning of freedom, the beginning of liberation. It is the first step away from being merely an animal to becoming human.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Beginning the spiritual journey

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth. This acceptance and encouragement requires the letting go of "bull shit." Have you noticed that there is tons and tons of "bull shit?"

UUs encourage what they call a " a free and responsible search for truth and meaning," but listening to the sermons and listening to the discussions at coffee hour, most appear to be lost and just wandering in the deserts of meaninglessness.

If it is true that what we perceive in the world is the result of our psychological set and projections, then what we think we perceive is meaningless. It is nonsense. It is drama. It is what we angrily and sarcastically call "bull shit."

Is your life full of "bull shit?"

Has the "bull shit" that you think you perceive tired you out, exhausted you, stressed you out? Even good things don't seem to last long or be as good as they are expected to be. Some days our meaningless lives are depressing, boring, upsetting, and, maybe, temporarily elating.

The path of the ego is always counterfeit and enervating. We get to the point where enough is enough and it dawns on us that there must be a better way. This dawning brings us to embarking on a search for what that better way might be, and this is the first step onto the path of the spirit and the beginning of a spiritual life.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Getting back home

Unitarian Universalism has a bit of a mystical tradition in its identification with the transcendentalists. Some UUs turn to them for inspiration and direction when they begin searching for a better way to live life. The transcendentalists are psychotherapists of sorts who questioned the path of the ego and began seeking on the path of the spirit. They remind us that there is more to life than the idols of this world which we conditioned to worship.

The initiation of an interior spiritual life begins when it dawns on a person that there must be a better way to live his/her life. The way of the ego isn't working any more. This can be called "the dawning."

With the dawning comes the desire to search for that better way. The person becomes a seeker.

Where does one begin such a search? The first place people begin, mistakenly, is in the ego world of idols. They want to make more money, they want to find a romantic partner, they seek power and glory, they seek adventure and titillation, they begin a new career, they turn to education, they turn to food, chemical substances, and sometimes religion. It is believed that the acquisition of these things will provide a sense of completeness and fulfillment but it doesn't work.

As one ages, one's sense of loneliness increases, and futility and depression sets in along with a fear of death, one's own and the death of a loved one.

Sometimes the person turns to psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the healing of the mind. It is written in the Psychotherapy supplement to A Course In Miracles in the introduction, "Psychotherapy is the only form of therapy there is. Since only the mind can be sick, only the mind can be healed. Only the mind is in need of healing. This does not appear to be the case, for the manifestations of this world seem real indeed. Psychotherapy is necessary so that an individual can begin to question their reality."

Sometimes this psychotherapy occurs with interactions with friends, family, and others. Sometimes it happens with a credentialed, licensed psychotherapist. Regardless with whom this psychotherapy occurs, the spiritual task is the same, to move from the path of the ego to the path of the spirit which is the only path that will help the person get home.
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