Monday, September 21, 2020

Simple, Solid Bridges to a Working Spiritual Life (Learned the Hard Way)

            I'm known for having had the [mis]fortune of surviving multiple "near-death experiences," and as a result I (unintentionally) find myself absolutely certain that there's a spiritual reality that underlies, informs, and precipitates all of this success-seeking, bill-paying, precaution-taking material existence. It's a function of what the Hindus call Maya, the illusion of Life. While being hit on the head three times very hard may exclude me from what's normally considered as "sanity," I think it was what I personally really needed. I needed experiences that painfully proved the existence of a reality that's magically extra-dimensional in every sense – physically, spiritually, and conceptually. Realizations that I suppose are more commonly known as faith.

            Thankfully a lot of us acquire this understanding in easier ways, from our parents, or from religion, or just in the course of coping with the slings and arrows that life throws our way. Apparently being challenged by hardship does help to make us realize that there's a reliable order alive in the universe we can turn to, especially when things get tough. Naturally, I certainly can't recommend near-death as a means to bridging that elusive gap between the harsh realities of "material" life and a more grace-filled "spiritual" life, but I can offer you a few very practical bridges into that living magic that makes everything so much more enjoyable – grounded in this fundamental concept:

            We are spiritual beings learning through physical experience; we are designed to overcome the mental and physical barriers presented by human sensory experiences and realize our spiritual nature. There are bridges – invisible spiritual mechanisms (choices) – built into this physical experience that afford us passages to our spiritual evolution.
Here are a few solid bridges that help us cross that dimensional divide:

Unconditional Kindness is the most available (and enjoyable) mechanism that engages us with our spiritual life by giving us an immediate heartfelt identification with others – the [proactive] warmth and support that we respond to ourselves, when it's unconditionally shown to us. Being unconditionally kind to others is being kind to ourselves, because we find we can easily forgive others for just being human, and realize that applies to us too. We give everyone a break, because life is tough for everyone. As part of that, Unconditional Kindness obliges there be no exploitation, manipulation, or participation in doing harm of any kind in our actions, so we end up being forthright, friendly vegetarians who work at something that contributes to Life in a meaningful, productive way. (We even get to forgive those who can't understand our approach to Life)
            Hindus call this Karma Yoga, and it instantly connects us to an unseen dimension of profound compassion and generosity that we may have never known was alive everywhere in the world. We make, and find others who are making, good karma.

Honesty in all our relationships and dealings, and in what you might think of as a variation of confession—owning up to our mistakes, not always needing to be right—is really a visible invisible bridge. We all know how it simplifies our life, since being honest gives us fewer of life's complications to fear, because you're simply never adding to them. Your motives remain those of a seeker of fairness, truth, and wisdom. You become seen and known as a person who is resolutely trustworthy, whose intentions are of the highest order...that sounds pretty spiritual, doesn't it? It's a kind of intellectual vigilance that Hindus call Gnana Yoga.

Giving, simply put, may be the single most important bridge, particularly to an agnostic that isn't interested in "extra-dimensions" but does want to live with a more graceful connection to Life. What we might call Compassionate Consciousness (altruistic effort like charity and volunteerism) – often referred to simply as service (like responsible parenthood, being a good friend, etc.) – is the most reliable bridge to a working spirituality. It's simply the singular most effective means to overcoming the sense of separateness we develop while sitting and thinking about ourselves and our own life situations – that selfishness that paints us into our own little corner, only using the color fear.
            In selfless service—with no regard for reward or recognition—we're immediately attached to a greater universal intelligence by the lightest of all yokes: the engagement created by contributing to the cycle of well-being. We almost immediately escape the harsh realities dictated by our ego, and instantly begin to lighten and align our karma. (Karma Yoga, again)

Humility – not as a form of self-deprecatory ineffectiveness, but instead as a subtle, powerful sense of reality and connection; as an extraordinary underlying energy that filters all of your Life experiences, and provides an intuitive ideal to live by with purpose and grace. We've all experienced this powerful kind of humility as a truth-bearing, holistic force in Life, often demonstrated by the people we really respect the most. Nobody is really that important—even if they are; and often people who don't act important but just show up with open-hearted willingness are the most important of all.

"Conscious Contact with Source Energy" is what all these bridges lead us to, actually. A personal attachment and conscious surrender into the energy and intelligence alive in the Universe, regardless of whether we personify that power in popular traditional ways, or form our own concept of it as "The Field of Love," or other force. In this way we surrender—as a strategy—into the power that energizes and directs our being, recognizing the true control that our choices give us over our lives. You become aware of all kinds of beauty, the inherent divinity in nature; and realize that your actions in Life can be devoted to this undeniable Source of Creation – to "God," to Life, to one another, to Love. The Hindus call this devotional, or Bhakti Yoga.

            I don't pretend to know the designs of the Universe, only to have experienced the effectiveness of these visible (invisible) mechanisms in my own life and in the lives of those I'm close to; but I do know this:
            You do deserve the life that you have – with most of your biggest difficulties defined by whether you willingly cross these bridges towards "the spiritual," or stay stuck (and frustrated) on this side of the river, avoiding the magical extra-dimension of Life.

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Six [Dangerous] Modern Fairy Tales on Being Human

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

                        Marianne Williamson


            Let’s begin by casting our imaginations into a popular fantasy that resembles spectacular science fiction a little – namely that we’re not simply human beings fashioned from muscle, bone and blood, but that in a larger reality we’re really beings of pure effervescent energy wired into these clunky human robots, yet simultaneously connected to the limitless intelligence of the Cosmos...(science fiction and fairy tales can have a lot in common).

            Escaping those misperceptions of the human form we could then detach and observe Time itself as an assemblage of discreet moments in “eternity,” and witness the greater forces at work in this world that we fail to perceive from down here on the ground.


            Immediately, we might realize that we humans are unconsciously confined to a set of powerful beliefs suggested by the ‘evidence’ of our world around us as we see it, as our limited powers of perception present to us – so as humans, we simply have a misperception problem.

            Then, people who knew more about manipulating these powerful beliefs could be called wizards, witches, or “movers and shakers.” They would have the power to mold human illusions to suit their own purposes. In the metaphoric terms of Fairy Tales we may say “a darkness had fallen over the land,” the result of a spell cast from the wizard’s castle – the source of all confusion…the source of all evil.


            In the ancient Vedas of Hindu philosophy, this world of illusions/delusions created by our limited human senses is called Maya – an elaborate veil before our eyes. This veil is universal in human experience, so its effects can be explored and uncovered personally, or manipulated through the energies of larger groups into collective systems of delusional thought and action, in short, into different “realities” (like what we see today with the QAnon phenomenon).  

            In Fairy Tales (or The Bible) when this happens, there can be plagues and pestilence, famine, fires, crazy storms; waves of fearful insanity seizing the leaders and sweeping through the masses, leading to accelerating division, the destruction of Nature and a pandemic of fearful selfishness…sound familiar?


“We cannot solve our problems by using the same consciousness that created them.”

                        Albert Einstein


            Now that we’ve got our cosmic fantasy caps on, and we’re objectively looking down on humanity, let’s look at six of the delusional beliefs being propagated by our culture, and its wizards – political movers and shakers, and magnates of the media elite:


1. We are separate from one another, and from Nature


 Because of the insular experience of our human form, our independence is probably the easiest, most persistent delusion to maintain. Our sense of our disconnected self is so powerful that we can’t seem to see ourselves like a school of fish, or flock of birds…but we are.

Ask any astronaut you know and they’ll tell you that the arms-length view they had of the Earth completely destroyed that delusion of separateness. We truly are all one life here on this planet. Why even the nature of our material composition insists that the very atoms that make up our physical selves were part of something before they were part of you – rocks, plants, animals…dust (to dust).

Even though you feel separate and special, you’re not at all. You are one with everything you see, and a lot of what you can’t see. The truth is that we are all absolutely, inexorably bound and connected by our collective thoughts, energies, elements, and actions.



2. What is “real” is observabl­e – you can only believe what you can see


            The old expression, “I’ll believe it when I see it,” got turned inside out years ago when Quantum Physics essentially redefined it in reverse. The fact is, we really can’t see the elemental forces that create our observable world. What we do witness is the evidence of all of those mysterious processes, like gravity, or electricity, or Love…or human ignorance. It’s a scientific fact that the apparent material reality around us – the places and things in our lives – are less tangible, less real, than they appear to be.

            Quantum Physics informs us that the subatomic particles that coalesce into what we see around us look less like Newton’s little billiard balls, and much more like tiny, fuzzy clouds that don’t actually become solid until they’re observed – and so their transformation into ‘reality’ occurs only by engaging with our limited observational perceptions. It seems to be our single global mind – it’s focus and engagement in a great, intangible reservoir of consciousness – actually constructs the “reality” of our reality.

            So as a result, it’s closer to the truth to say: “I’ll see it when I believe it.”



3. All of life has forward momentum, and all arising problems are reversible


            Recent discoveries about Mars tell us something amazing – that there is and has always been water there, and that at one time Mars probably looked quite a bit like Earth. Before it got too hot and started drying up, and the sun’s radiation soaked up its atmosphere and it got too cold, the folks up there probably thought they were on a carousel of never-ending abundance too. The idea that we can harvest the bounty of a planet’s resources indefinitely, ignoring the imbalances we cause, holds about as little water as logging the Sahara Forest once did. We are quantifiably in the midst of one of the great mass extinctions known to humankind, and extinctions aren’t reversible. Time isn't going anywhere, it's results are always present.

            We’re not going to terraform Mars anytime soon – not while we’re so busy transforming the Earth to look like Mars. We can see the paradise we could have, or the Hell we can create.



4. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution demands “Survival of the Fittest”


            While natural selection efficiently promotes characteristics that ensure survival, our cultural misunderstanding of Darwin’s theories (encouraged by the “haves” of industry and media) has to do with what characteristics actually constitute “the fittest,” and what evolutionary direction those traits take us in. In biology, and in the natural world, it’s not greedy leaders that drive evolutionary ascendence, it’s the characteristics that enhance the endurance and viability of the entire species, and that sustain those conditions that support the success of the whole community – “haves” and “have-nots” alike.

            It’s quite democratic, really – there isn’t one strong leader or small group that determines the most beneficial direction for a community to move in, in fact it’s usually a sudden shift (about 51%) of the colony that ‘breaks’ in the direction of collective progress (As our elections should demonstrate…)

            The real lesson of Darwin isn’t dog eat dog – it’s that animals move in groups. It isn't really “survival of the fittest,” but actually “survival of the most cooperatively adaptable.”


5. New advances are always superior to old, and technology provides all the answers


            From the unimaginable aberration of an island of plastic refuse the size of Texas floating out in the Pacific Ocean, to the warped lunacy of “fracking” toxins into bedrock beneath the water table to release more hydrocarbons, to the nefarious insanity of using GPS and the internet to track every person on the planet, the benefits of technological advances clearly depend on to what purposes they are employed. Those technologies dedicated to exploitation, destruction, and personal power are harmful to the human species, and to our non-human fellow Earthlings.

            Indigenous cultures have created advanced technologies too – often to a higher level than ‘establishment’ anthropologists are willing to acknowledge – but here’s the difference: theirs have often been organic technologies of respectful sustenance, in accord with the energies of the Earth – what I like to call Spiritual Technology.

The answers actually lay in a spiritual approach to all of life, what are real “technologies of the heart” – like free energy, transpersonal communication, and inter-species collaboration – most of which are labeled “woo-woo” by the selfish guardians of our status quo who have the most to lose materially.


6. What's “miraculous” or “paranormal” is automatically considered foolish and impossible


            In an earlier article called Paranormality is the New Reality, I discuss the simple fact that most of what we take for granted as modern science was at one time considered “paranormal." ­Unfortunately this is still the case, but as those cultural blinders are being swept away by rapidly spreading Consciousness – the great field of intelligence at work beneath and beyond our human forms ­– it becomes ever clearer that our cultural delusions are kept alive and manipulated by a fairly small group of people who are ignorantly dedicated to self-enhancement and gratification, using the power of irrational fear. That is what destructively deepens their delusions and prevents them from experiencing “the miraculous” spiritual solutions to all the overwhelming problems they create.


     So let’s go back to our beginning sci-fi scenario and imaginatively re-enter our human bodies with this expanded knowledge, perspective, and purpose. Now we ought to be able to consciously recognize, and lovingly acknowledge, the limitations of our present human form. By compassionately freeing ourselves of those veils of human delusion, we can see that our answers lie in the “unimaginable” spiritual potential that we are all heir to – beyond simply being a human being. Life is already quite miraculous, let’s make it moreso.



            "Our present world is conditioned by our present mode of consciousness; only when that consciousness passes from its present dualistic mode...will the new creation appear, which is the external reality of which our world is a mirror."

                                    Bede Griffiths

The latest book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor from Llewellyn Worldwide can be ordered direct on this page or online; and the first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for them it at your local bookstore!