Grief Help: What Religion Can and Cannot Do for You

The death of four family members in 2007 caused me to examine my religious/spiritual beliefs. I had so many questions. Why did so many family members die? Why did my daughter die now? Would I survive such tragedy? The answers to these questions didn’t come quickly; rather, they evolved with meditation, prayer and time.

I belong to a liberal religious community and members rallied to help. My husband and I met with our minister several times. She was extremely kind and helpful and we knew the church safety net was there for us if we needed it. Yet we were aware of the things religion/spirituality cannot do.

Bob Diets discusses these things in his book, “Life After Loss.” He says religion cannot grant us immunity from loss, bring back the deceased, or act as a shortcut through grief. However, religion can provide motivation for recovery and counter loneliness. My religious community was supportive and offered practical help, such as delivering food.

More than four years have passed since my family members died. Of all the deaths — my daughter, father-in-law, brother, former son-in-law — my daughter’s death has been the most painful. Feelings were roiling inside me and a week after my daughter died I sat down at the computer and poured out my soul in words. Writing was, and continues to be, a spiritual experience for me.

During my journey I discovered religion cannot do my grief work; I had to do it myself. My religious/spiritual beliefs influenced my grief work, but the “in the trenches” work was my responsibility. I had to face the pain, create a healing path, set new goals, and work towards them. Facing my own mortality was something else I had to do.

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner discusses mortality in his best-selling book, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” All living creatures will die, he begins, but humans are the only ones who know it. This realization changes our lives. “Knowing that our time is limited gives value to the things we do,” he explains. This realization impacts our decisions, according to Kushner, “because we don’t have time to do everything.”

My religious/spiritual believes have made me use my remaining days more wisely. I am acutely aware of the books I choose to write, the grief recovery talks I give, and how I answer the emails I receive. Recently I received an email thank you from a woman who had read one of my books. In an attempt to help, friends told her to “be strong,” read the Bible more, and let God carry her emotional load. This well-meaning advice only added to her stress.

While reading the Bible and turning our worry over to God or a Higher Power can help, in the end, we are the ones who must help ourselves. As Rabbi Kushner points out, God has given us intelligence. “The God I believe in does not send us the problem: He gives us the strength to cope with the problem.” Let intelligence, coupled with religious/spiritual beliefs, lead you to a new and rewarding life.

Spiritual Counseling – Spirituality Is No Religion

Spirituality is not the same as religion. Spirituality teaches unconditional love. Many religious texts, especially the Bible and the Koran, have been edited by those seeking power and control over the masses. As a result, contradictions run rampant. The God of the Old Testament is depicted as a vengeful and jealous God who dictates “commandments” to those who worship him. Even the crucifixion story of Jesus is based on the death of a man who gives up his life so that humanity could be saved. But did he? Well, according to Christian teachings, before you can be saved, you have to first accept Christ Jesus as your savior. Ahhh, so there’s the prerequisite, the fine print. And so where’s the unconditional love in that sacrifice? This single canon underscores the entire foundation of Christianity while at the same time contradicts everything that Jesus taught. What happened to loving your neighbor as you would love yourself? Well, unless your neighbor accepts Jesus, she’ll be handed a one-way ticket to hell.

The dogmatic dictatorship of Christianity commands that you abide by its teachings and obey everything that the priest or preacher says and then there’s the whole thing about repenting for your sins, going to church on Sunday, and following this scripture and that scripture without question, and not accepting gay people as equals, and not accepting people who practice other religions as equals, ad nauseum. It is the same dogmatic system of control with Judaism and Islam, just with a different set of dictatorial commandments for you to adhere to.

Throughout the thousands of man-made revisions, man-made language translations, and man-made versions of the Bible and Koran, man has perceived his creator from his own reflection. Because the current human has been living on the level of egoic consciousness, it has concocted a god that was in accord with that same level of egocentricity and narcissism. So, naturally, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is seen through the specs of the Jew, Muslim, and Christian as a judgmental, controlling, dictatorial, and most importantly; patriarchal deity.

The nature of the Goddess and spirituality, however, has nothing to do with religion. The recent rebellion against the Mubarek regime in Egypt is one prime example. We can currently observe other dictatorship upheavals happening in Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and other Arab nations. The younger generation of Egypt, especially the younger women were very much behind this revolution and I believe that this is only the first of many similar dictatorships to crumble in the years to come. Exercising power over the other for the sake of ego gratification simply doesn’t work anymore.

The Next Human will not have the need to attend church, mosque, or synagogue to be closer to God. She will innately know that a priest, rabbi, monk, or minister is not a necessary portal to the divine. In fact, intermediaries will be seen as an encumbrance. The Next Human will know intuitively that he is already divine, that the Source of All resides within, and therefore the search for God begins and ends with the Self. The Next Human will know that God is not a singular personality out there somewhere waiting for you to blindly obey him. God is not childish. The Divine is both singular and plural, dual and nondual. Once you realize that every One of us is divine at our core, the whole idea that God must be a separate “someone” who requires your obedience – seems ridiculous.

On Fasting, Training and Spiritual Equity

Decades ago someone came up with the concept of IQ or intelligence quotient, which was supposed to be a measure of how smart you are. What it really measures is your analytical or cognitive brain, and people started realizing that being very good at doing math and rotating shapes in your head isn’t a good measure of how well you function as a person. Then came along EQ, or emotion quotient, which is about our awareness and how well you handle the softer side of things, your own emotions and feelings and relationships with others. Its about empathy.

Today there’s a third quotient, SQ or spiritual quotient, which is a measure of your “spiritual intelligence”. Originally it got discredited as pseudoscience, because it suffers from the unfortunate ailment of using the word “spiritual”, which automatically incites religious connotations. And that connotation was not too way off as at one point what is encompassed by spiritual intelligence was in the realm of religion.

Spiritual intelligence is about meaning.

Today even in the corporate world, there’s much talk about spiritual intelligence and employee fulfillment, ie does your job give you meaning and fulfillment? What does give someone fulfillment? Part of this are concepts such as self-esteem, self-worth, compassion, direction, happiness. Howard Gardner, a psychologist, coined the term “existential intelligence” in an attempt to move away from religious ties and the automatic responses that come with it.

In this sense human beings are extremely “spiritual” creature. Religions are really traditional manifestations of the need for compassion, self-esteem, meaning and ultimately happiness. We’re programmed to find meaning in everything. Unfortunately the science did not have the maturity to consider these “softer” concepts, even today its struggling.

Anyway so why are we talking about IQ, EQ, SQ? I implore you to explore these concepts holistically in all areas of your life, but specifically I want to talk about training and health. When you’re embarking on a holistic mind, body and soul program, you need to remember your IQs, EQs and SQs.

You need to know what the hell you’re doing and how to do it well. I don’t mean you need to know the detailed science behind fasting or tibetan rites and endocrine gland stimulation, but you at least need to know how to fast properly and manage your workout programs. Otherwise you’ll be one of those schmucks trying to force curl too much weight and downing protein shakes without knowing what it does to your system.

You need to be mindful of your emotional state and how what you do or what you eat impacts it. You need to manage your emotional health and the impact on your relationships with others. If you’re overtraining and making yourself grumpy all the time that’s not going to work. If you’re walking around flexing and thinking you’re better than everyone because you think you can lift more (when in reality you look like a jackass). Or if your gf dumps you because her training progress is hurting your ego and you keep putting her down (true story). If your empathy and emotional states are suffering you’re missing the point. Mind, body and soul health is about making yourself a better person, not about promoting an elitist and egoistical mentality.

Finally, you need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is it that you’re doing that gives you meaning and fulfillment, and fundamentally what gives you happiness. You need to figure out how your mind and your spirit ticks and work for it, not against it.

We have a tendency to over-ritualize things, we see that often in religion where the ritual becomes such a big focus that we forget why we’re going to church or praying 5 times a day. Incidentally it occurred to be the other day while doing one of my daily tibetan rites… which btw are about stimulating chakras aka your endocrine system.. on how some of the movements in a certain religion’s daily prayer may be based around the same principles, if you consider the movements and the meditative nature of the prayer verses.

Anyway point is the same over-ritualization can occur in your health program, be it gym work, cardio, fasting, nutrition, etc. Don’t forget why you’re doing all this and experimenting, its much more than worrying about the calories in your next meal or how perfect your deadlift was or how clockwork your fasting is, to the point where your ego gets overinflated by the rituals you’re doing instead of the state of mind, body and soul you are working towards. Life, love, relationships and fundamentally happiness are more important than an elitist mentality.

Don’t do things just for the sake of doing it because someone in the gym is doing it and it works for them. It may not work for you. There are A MILLION ways to be healthy and holistic.. you need to find that balance of informed action (doing things that work and knowing how to do them right), and what works in your lifestyle, your motivations and the relationships you want to keep with those you love.

Id like to think I’m in tune (maybe a bit too in tune) with the desire for meaning and happiness because frankly if I don’t see the point in something and I don’t like it, I ain’t gonna do it. I’m not one of those that’ll just keep doing something I don’t like because “its good for you”. If you don’t like it then no, its not good for you, that’s not smart EQ and SQ. There’s bound to be something that’s good for you that you’ll like, just keep trying things till you find it. And when you find it, keep evolving it and make it better. You may be surprised what actually speaks to you when you find the right angle. My aunt said to me, pick something you like and do it your whole life. Well I don’t know about “your whole life”, forever is a long time, but the gist of it is true, pick something you like that works, otherwise you just wont be happy.

I love my tai chi class because our sifu talks about how certain movements keep someone from grappling you (rather than something vague about sucking the energy from the universe), a point he routinely demonstrates, usually resulting in me ending up in an arm lock by a 70-yr old man. I love experimenting with tibetan rites and yoga and fasting because I get what chakras are all about now and how what yoga strives to do is aligned with what fasting aims for, and why they all need to be done together and holistically. That works for me. Maybe the frou-frou stuff works for you.

Today I spoke to a girl who’s in the early stages of trying out intermittent fasting with the basic 16/8 pattern and she told me how in her eagerness to lose fat she’s been breaking fast with cornflakes. I looked at her straight in the eye and in my most Clarke Gable-ish voice said “frankly my dear, you’re doing it all wrong”. There’s a difference between “fasting” and “starvation” and while fasting is good for you, starvation is detrimental. If you’re fasting 16, or even up to 20 or 24 hours, when you do eat, imagine you’re eating a day’s worth of at minimum your maintenance caloric load in a short duration of time. Which means that the line between “healthy portions” and “binging” is not the same as we’ve been trained to think it is. Meaning that you can eat more during your meals, without binging and being excessive of course, in fact you have to eat more because calories, despite our misconceptions are not your enemies but are needed in the right amounts to live healthily, for your body, your mind and your soul.

I told her you’re not getting it, go back to the basics. You’re not starving your body, you’re not doing a fad crash diet. You’re aligning your lifestyle habits to the way our bodies have evolved to function. Imagine again our ancestor on the plains, who lives a hard, active life and chases down his/her meal and eats a lot when it comes, followed by periods of what is effectively fasting.

And that’s the crux of it. She’s missing the point. So don’t miss the point:p

Yes it takes some work and effort. Yes you need to read things and try things out. But hell, this is yourself you’re talking about. I know people who spend more effort looking after their cars than they do themselves. I mean, really? Do I really need to belabor this point? Of course its gonna take some work and effort. Make the time and effort then. If you don’t invest it in yourself, who else will? There are no real shortcuts in life.

And then at the end, remember that true wisdom is realizing you really don’t know anything. So you have to keep learning. There is no “end”.

Anyway some thoughts on fasting. Today I did my weekly 24-hr fast, much easier than last week. A lot of fasting is psychological, that’s why the best 24-hr fasting starts the night before rather than the morning. Last week I had my last meal at midnight, just because the way my schedule worked out, and pushing my fast to the next midnight was a pain, especially as 10pm came about. Yesterday I started my fast at 8pm instead and went on to 8pm today, piece of cake. I even found time to do some weight training, and had a lovely massage after.

I did find something that confused me a little. One strategy for fasted training is to supplement with BCAA (I think I wrote about this before), before and also after training if you’re planning to not break your fast right after. The reason for it is to avoid catabolism due to the effects of heavy weight training in a glycogen-depleted state after extended fast (ie to keep your body from cannibalizing muscle). But then BCAA supplements have about 30 cals per serving, which is counter the zero or trace amounts of calories during fasting. I read somewhere that 50 cals is the cap to remain in an effective fasted state, but I need to find out more

I created this blog to speak and share my journey and experiences with self betterment in fitness, health, nutrition, all of which has lead me towards a more spiritual outlook on things. I’m beginning to see the connection now between what was “frou-frou spiritual” and hard science and how the two are converging and so I take a different, middle ground approach in this blog in trying to tie the two together, based on my experiences and learnings. Do join me on this journey.

Spirituality Or Religion!

Religion is man-made, Spirituality is God given. This I know for sure.

We are all spiritual beings. We were born that way. When we were put on this earth, our Creator left a little spark inside us that connects us all together and to Her/Him.

On a quantum level, we are all energy. As well, everything in the Universe is energy. Even things that are intangible like thoughts are energy. It all vibrates at different frequencies. The reason why we can see a chair (which is still all energy) is because it vibrates at a frequency that we can see and touch. So to say that we are not spiritual would be just a belief system. We can’t help but be part of the Universal energy.

Religion, on the other hand, is man-made. There is one God and thousands and thousands of belief systems, around three or four different faith structures. And that changes every day. Even with these many and diverse religions, they all serve the same purpose. Or at least, originally they served the same purpose. People face issues daily with health, safety and mortality. It’s these daily challenges that keeps religion alive. We want to know where did we come from, who are we, and is there a life after death. We hope to get the answers to these questions from religion.

Over the thousands of years that humans have been involved with religion, the dogmas associated with them, have not left room for science. Wars are being fought everyday in the name of religion. Religion has become a tool for politics and a method of control of the masses. How unfortunate it is for all the people who have looked up to and trusted the churches for so long.

Even so, churches provide a humanitarian service in so many places and it is where camaraderie is available to all. The microcosms of the church provide havens.

As human beings it is hard for us not to put belief systems around things. For instance, many people who call themselves spiritual as opposed to religious have a belief system attached to their spirituality. How can we not? Spiritual folks that are none denominational meet together regularly to explore their thoughts and feelings on the Universal Intelligence and Energy of their Being. They give themselves a name, so they are recognizable. Some might call that a religion.

Spirituality, on the other hand is everywhere. It is in the red morning sky and the heron that perches on the sand. It is in music and mathematics. It is in our soul.

My advise to you is to go to church if it contributes to your life in a positive way. If not, find another avenue. I suggest that you do whatever feels right and good for you in your spiritual journey. Always be open-minded. Nothing is ever carved in stone.

Disability, Chronic Illness, and Spirituality

When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the mid 1980’s as a “diagnosis of exclusion” (see, my illness had been mis-diagnosed for about 25 years prior to this initial “diagnosis”) I became VERY angry with God. “Why me”, I asked. Why did I have to be the one you inflicted with this terrible disease? Why couldn’t you let the Doctors conclusively diagnose the condition? Why did I have to keep pretending that the Doctors were mistaken, just so that I could live my day-to-day life?

I was asking the wrong question, you see. Instead of asking “Why me, God?”, I should have been asking, “Why NOT me, God?” See, I was trying to become the “before the diagnosis” me, and I just could not do it. So, I went into denial, and pretended that nothing was wrong. And, as anyone who is disabled, or who is living with a chronic condition can tell you, living with a disability is hard enough without trying to become a pale image of who one might have been without the disability, i.e., trying to fit into a world designed by and for able-bodied individuals, most of whom are equally dispirited. It took me quite a while (about 10 years, actually) to come to the conclusion that I needed to stop being in denial; I needed to accept the condition, learn how to manage symptoms, and get on with a quality life. Indeed, I needed to ask, “Why not me God!” For living in denial meant that the ILLNESS DEFINED ME; I was very unhappy; I was separated from my spirituality; I was alone; and, I contributed to disruptive events in my life.

It may sound corney, but I used my illness/disability experience as an opportunity to get in touch with the needs of my “true self”. That is, I decided to use this opportunity to take back control over my life; to recommit to my spirituality; to discover and live a quality life; and, to keep replenishing my “well” of personal happiness and satisfaction by reaching out to others in similar situations. I mean, who better to discuss about living with a chronic illness than someone who does so on a daily basis, and not just some Researcher? Who better to create a Workbook (found at http://www.disabilitykey.com) to assist others obtain disability insurances to which they are entitled than someone who used the process herself, and not just a theoretical social services person? Who better to create a website and an online blog where we of similar condition can chat with, and learn about extending our quality of life than someone practicing each and every day?

Does my spirituality help me in these endeavors? You bet it does! Spirituality is a quality that goes beyond involvement in a religious organization. It is a more basic construct. The highest level of our development is affected by our ability to appreciate the sacred in life; to live each day with purpose, and to find a sense of meaning and purpose for our lives. Spirituality invites each of us with disabilities and/or dealing with a chronic condition to live fully and in the present – in REALITY, the here and now. Not in denial, but in control of our lives, learning about, managing, and living each day in quality!

Research suggests that people, and in particular persons with disability, depend on spirituality and religion as an important, if not primary, method of coping with physical health problems and life stress. Most research, however, has addressed one’s involvement in religion rather than spirituality.

Although research about spirituality in the context of disability is sparse, many thoughtful writers have considered religion and spirituality to be crucial factors in adjustment to disability. BUT, we must be careful not to “blame” God, as I did, or to say that my disability is “God’s Will, or punishment for something that I did”. Saying these things isn’t taking responsibility for our lives and figuring out how to live a better life by managing symptoms. Instead, become reconnected with whatever spiritual process/religion that you find speaks to you, and live in the present with all of the gifts that you still have. Being affiliated with a specific religion can sometimes help those of us with disabilities find comfort in times of isolation and despair.

While little research has been conducted on the influence of organized religion in the context of disability, studies on the general population have been positive. For example, a 28-year follow-up of thousands of people aged 18-65 years found that the individuals who attended at least weekly religious services had lower rates of depression, smoking, and alcohol use; they also tended to have greater social support. Frequent attendees were more likely to have engaged in other healthy behaviors, including physical exercise. The effect on survival was good after other factors were taken into consideration – their risk of death was reduced by 34%.

When disability is integrated as another dimension of living, spiritual growth can take place. Please reread this red phrase again. It talks about integrating a disability or a chronic condition “as anothe dimension of living”! It means, taking back control of your life; actually “living” again, and managing symptoms as part of every day life! AND, believe me, this is not easy! If you have the opportunity to acquire the Disabilitykey Workbook, you will see that I use my actual condition as an example for others to follow. Whenever I have to focus on my “Multiple Sclerosis Symptom Impairment Matrix”, I get depressed all over again. My brother felt bad about asking me about his “condition” because he felt that it was NOTHING compared to what I cope with (more about his question in further blogs). BUT, I only concentrate on the symptom process when I need to. Otherwise, I concentrate on symptom management, and on daily living as quality a life as I can.

Integrating experiences of disability allows a person with a disability to recognize that suffering and hurtful experiences are universal conditions. It can be a time for you to discover untapped resources; it can be a time where you decide that you DO HAVE TIME TO play with your grandchildren, or read that book you have been putting off, or research your grandparents as they came to America long ago.

Spirituality is a way for people with disabilities to fulfill their potential and discover the possibilities while learning to live with and integrate their disability-related limitations and yet expand their boundaries to experience the fullness of life.

How Spirituality Differs From Religion

Do you believe that there is something more powerful then you are? Do you think miracles are real? When you pray, are you knowing that your prayers will be answered? Spirituality is more then just asking for favors from a higher power. But it’s a great way to begin your journey to becoming more spiritual.

Religion is an organized belief system that can be of old ideas and handed down, as well as new thoughts about spirituality. Many people are fulfilled spiritually when attending church as this practice involves like-minded people believing in the same higher power. To congregate with others for prayer, sermons and song makes us feel like a part of a group who have similar beliefs.

Spirituality is not the same as religion. Spirituality is not necessarily organized and doesn’t always have a leader, such as you would find in a church. Depending on the name of your god, or higher power, doesn’t really matter in an unorganized practice. In spiritual circles Christians and Buddhists alike can worship side by side in harmony, appreciating each others differences as opposed to criticizing the lack of believing the same things. Some of us have a book, such as a bible to guide us on our journey. While others recollect stories told by their ancestors to learn what is expected of them on a morally.

Spiritual paths may be guided, such as religion offers, or may be more self taught. Though we live in a world that is accustomed to arguing about what is `right,’ much of the differences comes from using a different vocabulary. I may use the term God, while someone else may use Higher Power or Buddha. While some of us pray and listen to what God has to tell us, others may meditate and listen to what their Source, angels or guides may want them to know. The person seeking and learning without the guidance of a church is not concerned about buildings, memberships and tithing. They commonly build an altar they have created with the things they believe in and it is never a focal point on display for others.

Regardless of the words used, spirituality has been given credit for miracles, angels, and eternal life to name a few. Spiritual populations are not commonly at war. They live a peaceful sort of life and accept others beliefs. They seem to function with a more open mind then those who follow particular religions. Meditation guides them to their `source’ and no conversation regarding beliefs seems to be `out of bounds.’

With spirituality there are no boundaries which cannot be explored. Guidance from their `source,’ as opposed to rules from a book, gives the seeker their moral compass. When spiritually bound people are united, you never hear anyone ask what church they attend. They are on a journey, not so different then the organized religions are, they just have a different path to get there.

Thinking About Spirituality

I often find myself in the most wonderful conversations with people about things that, more often than not, most can feel uncomfortable talking about, particularly politics and religion. Lately, I seem to have been having lots of discussions about religion, spirituality and spiritual journeys. Its actually one of my favourite subjects because of how people are ‘taught’ to think about spirituality and religion in our society so I am always fascinated.

A lot of people think that there is religion and you either belong to it or you don’t. Some people don’t even think about it at all. For me, I would say that I am not religious because I do not aspire to any one religion. But, I would happily and loudly pronounce that I am on a spiritual journey and work on nurturing my spiritual self daily. The key factor for me is that people need to understand that we are spiritual whether or not we choose to accept it…it is not a choice – we just are spiritual beings. The choice lies within whether we consciously accept and nurture our spiritual self.

So what is Spiritual Consciousness? It concerns itself with the deeper meaning of life. It asks questions such as “Why am I here? Who am I? What is the concept of God in relation to how I understand God?” It looks at how we are all connected, the source of life bringing us all together in unity and asks us how to be our true self.

I have come to realise that my deeper relationships tend to be with people who accept that they have a spiritual self and are on some kind of path….I do not mind which path and absolutely embrace all routes to spiritual fulfilment. There are usually common themes that I connect well with such as shared values about people, about society, about being conscious, about respect for self and others, about connecting.

It is through my spiritual journey that I learn to accept myself, that I learn to be tolerant and non-judgmental (these are very much a work in progress!). It gives me power within my self. I am able to connect with myself and therefore connect with others through our shared unity, our common denomination of all being children of the earth. And most importantly, it is how I learn to love myself so that I can love others.

Spirituality – To Live Fully You Want to Define Your Spirituality

You are not just a body. You are body, mind and spirit. To live a full happy life you want to experience health in all three areas. Miss any of those three and your life will not feel complete.

Many people find themselves, at some point in their lives, asking the questions, “Is this all there is?” and, as they wonder what the meaning of life could possibly be, “Why am I here?”

Some people start that quest early in life, often in their late teens or early twenties when searching for their personal identity. Others begin that search in midlife when they go through a midlife crisis – again seeking their identity.

Regardless of one’s previous journey down the road to spirituality, most people feel a keen need to understand their own spirituality as they mature in their later years, starting around age fifty and later.

Creating a spiritual practice seems to be a basic human need. In fact, when you read the life stories of successful people you usually find a strong spiritual belief in a Higher Power of some sort as well as an established spiritual practice.

Realize that spirituality is not the same as religion. You can be very religious without being spiritual at all. And you can also be highly spiritual without believing or practicing any religion. It is not true that having a spiritual practice is the same as observing a religion.

Spirituality is not manmade. It exists because we are Spirits – immortal Divine Beings living human experiences. Religion, on the other hand, comes from the minds of men, Not only do they make up all the rules, they change the rules when they decide they want to change the rules!

Spirituality exists across all religions. Certain Truths remain constant. We know those Truths as The Universal Laws. Those laws include things like The Law of Attraction, the Law of propagation, The Law of Least Effort, The Law of Gender, etc.

The thing about Universal laws is that they always apply regardless of whether or not you know about them. For example, you attract people and things like you that vibrate in harmony with your frequency of vibration. You cannot possibly attract an event or person that does not vibrate at or near your own level.

So how do you discover your own spiritual beliefs? Study what exists You can find information all over the internet. Use the Law of Attraction to find what will fit for you and you will land on the pages you need to read. You landed here with me right now, didn’t you?

Spiritual Evolution: A Journey of Truth

BORN OF BODY AND SPIRIT

We are born of the body and of the Spirit. The soul dies to one body of existence and is born unto another. Death, the illusion, carries no fear, as we die to the Holy of Holies daily, consciously and with exacting purpose. We, as Spirit-Humans, are in a perpetual state of transformation and transmutation. The Divine Self is a constant living expression of Universal wonders and ever-changing forms through evolutionary processes of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies that ascend through eternity as a spiraling source of sacred consciousness.

In other words, we are alive and eternal through the sacred Will of G-d, The Creator; even unto death within this third dimensional reality. The Body Temple purifies unto ash and the Spirit ascends to the worlds beyond. There is no greater Truth and no higher freedom. This is, indeed, a peace that goes beyond understanding and is eternal.

Humanity’s birthright on this earth is the process and progress toward the return to our most natural state, Spirit. The soul evolves through continual renewal and the promises of G-d are made manifest through the individual and collective soul(s) of humanity. This overlighting covenant cannot be broken. It is the birthright of all humanity without prejudice, emotional attachment or struggling mental gymnastics. The veil of unconsciousness and the ‘trail of tears’ due to unrealized, unfulfilled life purpose and spiritual vision may only hide this covenant. It cannot be distroyed.

THE BRAIN AND THE MIND; IS THERE A DIFFERENCE?

The realities of human experience go far beyond the physical and yet most of the world identifies with what they see, hear, touch, smell and taste. Ask yourself as a discerning measure, “Am I a one dimensional being or a multi-dimensional being? ” Then ask yourself, “Am I greater than the sum of my body or my emotions or of my brain?” If you answered in the affirmative to these questions, then continue by asking yourself this potent question, “Do I know my Mind and is Mind something different than the physical organ we call the brain?”

First of all, humanity must recognize through spiritual and scientific knowledge that each individual human is multi-dimensional as we ‘live and breath and have our being’ while simultaneously working within and between many levels of consciousness. This is the Transcendent Mind. The Transcendent Mind Consciousness is G-d Consciousness. As Humanity penetrates what is known as the ‘cloud of knowable things’ in the Acient Wisdom Teachings, we gain the mystical understanding of life.

It is this understanding that we begin to consciously connect with the Source of all life-giving creation. We begin the cognizant journey of our birthright through a purification process as we meet the joys and challenges that arise out of the healing alignment between Spirit and matter. What a wondrous and inspiring spiritual pilgrimage as we begin to consiously understand the covenant of our birthright and the purpose of our lives on earth in this dynamic and critical time in Humanity’s evolution.

Let us seek the probabilities of distinguishing the human brain from the ever transcending and ascending Spirit-Mind. The brain is a physical organ that serves the Human Being in experiencing the mortal physical, emotional and mental levels of third dimensional life-form. The brain is a functional instrument of multiple voluntary and involuntary processes. It can be analogized to a computer. The brain stores information, calculates, objectifies, formulates responses or reactions and is the hard-drive that seeks pleasure, fears pain and discomfort as it calculates the fruition of life experiences born of the soul.

The Transcendent Mind or the “non-local mind,” is a separate yet inclusive entity known as the Creative Life Force. “Non-local mind” is pure consciousness, unqualified and full of potentiality. It works directly in conjunction with the physical processes of the brain, yet it is not the brain. The creative force, the “Transcendent Mind, is the blue-print of perfection that permeates the life-giving power of G-d, the Creator of All life and defines the omnipresent Divinity as the Light of our purest nature. This Light in all its beauty and glory is synonymous with the Mind, the Creative Source, the consciousness of G-d within Humanity.

THE MYSTERIES OF HUMAN NATURE & THE TRINITY

All of nature, which includes sanctified Human, is the reflection of the Divine Presence. As the sanctified Human, we encounter, ponder and explore through the limitless Mind. What we begin to perceive with greater clarity is illuminated Knowledge that activates Spiritual Wisdom and Purifies all illusion. Living a life full of illusions separate us from the wedded Truth that all of life is connected and all of life is One with the Creator.

Is life a mystery or is it a remembering? Is it both? Is it neither? Can these mysteries be taught or must humanity experience the mystical to actually know the sacred? Are we receiving from the Mind in full clarity or are the experiences of life, the woundedness we carry, the fear that paralyzes and the doubt that falls prey to what I call our Brain Filter, leave all humanity in chaos and confusion?

The Brain Filter responds through the conscious and unconscious self-created life experiences that seem to loom so forebodingly across our lives and yet, in truth, we create experiences to learn, to expand and to reunite with Onesness. Our Brain Filters edge out the subtle yet greater power of the Mind and we find ourselves lost in a maze of confusion, illusion and living desperate lives without direction, purpose or prayer.

We are creative consciousness utilizing the brain as a tool for the Mind as we display both the positive and negative, depending upon our direct focus, concentration and either disciplined or chaotic thoughts, feelings and actions. We are G-d Consciousness. We are the reflective Light in H/Her image. We are Co-Creators through the free-will gift of the sacred Trinity of G-d, The Creator, G-d in Man, and G–d, The Holy Spirit.

The communion experience of the Trinity is Humanity’s birthright. It is the responsibility (ability to respond) of all humanity, as we become aware, regardless of religion, spiritual practice, race, creed or colour to esteem the Trinity through the Oneness of this communion. The Triune Communion reflects the inclusiveness of G-d, Man and Spirit; the blessed fruit of ‘The Tree of Life.’ Seeking the powerful discharge of its scholarship within the hearts and minds of all beloved seekers is the method of esteem revealed.

Let us open our Spirit-Human senses to the world of regenerative life. Let us open our hearts to the profound awareness that we are more than mere flesh. ‘We are the soul…’ May we encounter consciously the mystical Mind. May we remember the covenant of the soul; the trinity of Truth that belays any and all separation that the “local mind,” even in the attempts of the brain and the brain filter to convince us through third dimensional illusion, that it is real. The “non-local mind” is the expanded cosmic mind-space where the soul knows that the dimensions of life are limitless, boundless and eternal. The soul is forever seeking, transforming and transmuting for realignment with the wholeness of G-d. It is the integration of the Human-Soul with the Holiness of Spirit that instantaneously unveils and reveals the Truth of Life in the hearts and minds of uncommon thinking humanity.

To live a lifetime without the exploration of the Mind is to live in constant fear, as the brain is limited in its capabilities and yet functionally profound. Nevertheless, to live solely. in one dimensional brain is to waste the essence of Truth of who you are. You are Divine. You are Spirit-Human. You hold undeniable spiritual purpose and fusion. You are in consecrated process and at the same time in ultimate Perfection throughout eternity. The microcosmic human demonstrates its life giving potential in h/wholeness of the macrocosmic heavenly body. Identifying singularly with the physical and not recognizing the bounty of humanity’s birthright as Divine, “human universalis,” as coined by Barbara Marx Hubbard, is dismissing the value of life. In so doing, we create a life veiled from the Truth. It is the joy-filled discipline (discipleship) and conscious free-will (knowledge in action) to either remain veiled or to remove the illusion of separateness. We achieve this with love, gentleness, patience and compassion for our Humanity.

How else are we to remember the Sacred Self and live a life fulfilled in its Perfection? Socrates has taught through the ages to “know thyself.” To deny the humanity within yourself is to deny the birthright of Spirit and to disown the very wholeness in which you strive to know. Acknowledge (act with knowledge) and “know thyself” as Spirit-Human; as eternal Mind and BeCome the BeLoved on earth as you are heavenly perfected, from above.

WHERE ARE YOU IDENTIFIED?

Are you ash upon the earth or are you conscious cosmic Mind that lives eternal? The cycle
of life awaits human awakening and transforms the most sincere atheist or doomsday fatalist into an ever budding lotus of creative Love and Inspiration; a Co-Creator with G-d. Is it the illusion of fear that we hold onto so convincingly when all the spiritual and scientific knowledge of contemporary and ancient society suggests consistently what the Holy Texts of
the World Religions and spiritual practices teach, that life is everlasting; that the temple or physical body breaks down and turns to ash, yet Spirit lives.. It is the essence of humanities evolutionary process from one century to the next, from one life to the next.

“There is no beginning and there is no end.” This is the W/Holy Truth of Eternal Life. Why is this so difficult to accept, to know and to reveal in every day life experiences? Why is this? “…to those who are given, much is expected…” Is it the responsibility that holds us back? Is it a sense of worthlessness and fear of failure?

Do we look upon higher Mind as a burdening responsibility that we fear? What is it? We cannot be in-Love and in-fear, simultaneously, therefore one or the other must be an illusion and one or the other must be Living Truth. We each must individually answer these questions as the Truth, unveiled, will be unique to our G-d given individuality, soul experience, life expression, emotional esprit de corp and mindful agility.

Free will, itself, is a responsibility so many of us try to escape living openly and consciously. It seems too easy to blame others for the choices we make. The innate power of balance or imbalance that is offered to us through this potentially benevolent treasure of free will, cannot be ignored. Denial of this tremendous freedom is to create disruption and chaos; ignorance and fear. Ultimately, there is nowhere to hide. The consequences of every thought, feeling and action perpetuate the basic nature of free will. There are always consequences to our free will. Free will and the empowered responsibility we face require courage. When we face ourselves and accept the responsibilities of our life’s creations, the seeking of our wholeness can no longer result in betrayal, no matter how hard we try. Wholeness cannot be embraced until we learn to understand and nurture the heavenly gift of free will. The bounty of spiritual empowerment received through accepting the personal freedom of free will becomes a sacred responsibility toward a renewed intimacy with all that is Holy. The Wholeness of the Universe awaits our coming. The remembrance of the Holy of Holies, recognizes Itself in the wholeness of the “All That Is.” We are that h/wholeness. Remember the Trinity.

The Christian Bible shares that faith and belief in G-d is necessary to propel h/himself into eternal life. Faith and belief are essential keys to the heavens. It is a part of the wholeness in which we urgently seek, whether consciously or unconsciously, Yet, it is only the base steps on the majestic mountain we are climbing. Faith and unquestioning belief are merely embryonic steps on the path of spiritual knowledge and should not be confused with the end-all of Christian responsibility. Do not misunderstand my words, I am not suggesting that humanity is to follow one decidedly correct religion or faith and that one separate and particular congregation of people have the singular right-knowledge of G-d. It has been the impulse of humanity’s lower nature from the genesis of the Christian Church to gain power and control with an elitist and fear-ridden agenda. Look at the breakout denominations and sects within the Christian Church and throughout all major religions. Learn to recognize man’s ego structure that denies, defies and denounces the Human Spirit.. Learn for yourself where deceit lies and with love and compassion, transform and transmute this ego driven insanity into the well of spiritual alignment.

ARE YOU CALLED TO REVELATION?

Whether you are called to the Christian Faith, Buddhist Faith, Jewish Faith, the Islamic Faith or any other religious or spiritual faith, G-d lives. Seek the knowledge within them all and discover for yourselves the fragrance of heavenly Light that weaves Truth in all Holy Texts of the World. You need not be a scholar nor do you need to study World Religions in depth, if this is not your calling.

Yet, a basic knowledge of the major religions and spiritual practices of the world will unify all people as G-d teaches the same wisdom throughout all major non-violent religious documents as well as the mystical experiences that shake up our world of conscious realities. The language may be different. The symbology may appear different, however, the essence remains consistently the same. The sum and substance of G-d speaks to Hearts and Minds without separation of race, creed or colour. We are of One race, the Human Race and it is to this remembrance that peace, compassion and eternal vitality thrives.

Reveal yourself, oh, Spirit-Human. Follow your Heart as it is aligned with consecrated Mind. Do not follow mindlessly and certainly do not follow another human, no matter how seemingly knowledgeable, competent or charismatic a presence. Meet your own powerful Presence. You will then ‘know thyself’ as knowledgeable, competent and charismatic. These are qualities of The Christ that live within you. Hone those qualities. Tune yourself to the vibrational frequencies that will lead the way toward world service. These qualities already exist. Unveil them. Develop them. Seek knowledge, wisdom and Truth within your own Holy Being and the intimacy of experiencing your blessed Self will build a foundation in which to be sanctified through Universal Christhood. Boldly go where few have tread and serve humanity with high consciousness through your beloved indwelling Spirit. The thread of Universal Spiritual Truth will be discovered when you allow for the expansion of knowledge through conscious willingness to explore, investigate, and question the grand covenant of G-d’s promise, “…ask and you shall receive.” Don’t be afraid. Challenge the sacred promises of G-d within your Mind and throughout all religious texts. Ask with conviction and expectation. As you receive each piece of the mystical and scholarly puzzle, you will discover that each question and response requires another question and then another and another. Thus, the evolution of our Mind’s awareness transcends level upon level of revelatory knowledge as we seek the h/wholeness of life within the Spirit of consecrated reality.

What Are the Qualifications and Requirements for Spiritual Teachers?

There is a period of psychological curiosity for seeking individuals searching for spiritual answers and we are told during this stage of development God sends them just ordinary teachers and spiritual books for addressing the awakening of these souls. What is the forecast for them in the future?

These are times of uncertainty and tremendous change. People are turning to yoga meditation and spirituality to find their own inner comfort. In the midst of a changing world, spirituality and yoga is more significant now for discovering one’s own inner center and is moving further into society. The question is how do you find a spiritual teacher or the right house of worship?

When a spiritual teacher motivates a spiritual runaway to come back to God, that is considered the highest duty of human service there is to a fellow being. The Lord loves to see His children consciously search for Him, and is very pleased when a spiritual teacher influences them to come unto Him. To hear God speak through these souls, is to have masses of delusion taken away from the minds of the listeners.

Unfortunately that universal thief, delusion and ignorance has arrived to this earth to steal man’s consciousness from God to make him forget the immortality of the soul, its joy and wisdom and cause him to feel mortal through the experience of death. There are false teachers who have falling prey to this delusion. Themselves victimized partner in this theft. Not knowing God they cannot pass on His realization to someone else; instead, in their own stupidity they not only obliterate their own would-be understanding, but that of their unfortunate followers as well.

Be wary of the hypocritical behavior of teachers, preachers and priests who demonstrate any style of prayer or preaching in an overstated demonstration of fervor before people attending worship to convince them of their spirituality and holiness to receive fame, praise, material or financial gain.

Self-elected or appointed soap box speakers can create emotional or intellectual upheavals in the thoughts of spectators and be sincerely persuasive, but they are unable to uplift and save souls; during their period of prayer halfhearted mental rambling brings neither an answer from God or the focused attention essential for economic success in these troubled times. Any one of them who uses holiness or religion for individual attainments, business or financial largess creates unto themselves a heavy judgment of misery and baneful bad karma.

Ministries are frequently built on the personalities of ministers, who are trained like actors to successfully drive home the lines of their theoretical orations. However, because of a lack of spirituality the emotional or intellectual rhetoric is also performed like socials and musical performances that causes a loss of interest from its members if they have not received any inner fulfillment or experience. Ministries can’t compete nor should they try to do so with professional entertainment. Nor should churches try to attract class-conscious people with architectural grandeur from huge sums of money merely to be more then a place to be seen and see.

Congregational worship should emphasize interiorization, meditation (absorbing oneself in God) and stress the absence of mental restlessness, with an avoidance of scriptural recital, kneeling down and standing up, and other external rituals of the body. The presence of God appears when bodily motions cease and the mind becomes quite. The recitation of prayers and chants do some good, but keep the mind external and the effects remains limited without deep soulful prayers in the quite of solitude.

There are some teachers who know nothing about God and present to their congregation secondhand opinions amassed from hours spent scanning over scriptures and books. There is a hint to all ministers and preachers of the gospel. To commit to memory the language of the scriptures or be given a degree of Divinity is not enough. One must preach and digest truth with the conviction and power of the soul. But those who have little or nothing to do with God but espouse Him just from the pulpit, are the type described as “hypocrites.” They seldom ever pray; they mostly read and simply preach what they’ve read that’s why holy sermons create a vague devotion in the minds of people. Those in their congregation for the majority, let the invalidated orations go through one ear and out the other. To represent yourself as an authority on gems with no knowledge about gemology is a scam if you know nothing about gemology. Equally, to represent oneself as religiously and spiritually qualified is unprincipled if there has been no effort to commune with God.

When looking for a teacher the masters would require certain qualities and practices. Additionally, would add in the principles that include the following behavior. Sympathy, a teacher cannot transmit truth without being sympathetic; those seeking support from their problems need spiritual help to relieve them of their troubles and assist those in search of spiritual growth. He should be loyal and natural to his principles. He should never speak hurtful words or gossip about others or entertain revengeful thoughts by being angry against those who criticize him. Knowing the rules of etiquette and proper decorum are extremely favorable. He should never try to compete with other spiritual teachers and teach loyalty to that principle.

He should have a reverential qualified knowledge of religions, whereas being rooted in truth while understanding the differences between custom and real religion. He must be motivated by the inner awareness of truth to be able to transmit truth effectively. He should be well versed and believe in the truths he strives to teach while trying to realize them himself.

The most qualified teacher of spirituality is the intuitional teacher and once awakened by meditation does not have to depend on reason, he knows.
A spiritual teacher that does not have self-realization should make a great effort for subversion of the ego and God attunement and meditate before instructing others, a much more valuable practice than formulating ideas from the opinions of others or books.

Religion, spirituality, or houses of worship should never be commercialized or used for personal gain. It is desirable that a teacher of spirituality not be given a salary. Once the teacher starts to accept money for doing God’s work, it simply develops into a job; his thoughts will be on wanting more money and making a living, unlike the Christlike belief of serving God without the thoughts of compensation. I’m thinking about monastic teachers who renounce all for serving God. They must be free of burdens or obligations to give selflessly of themselves.

God channels his work through pure souls, these teachers need to be reminded that they must never appoint or desire themselves to be named “master.” For those of you who are not sure of what that means, master by definition is one who is master of himself, not of others. He is the wise ruler and owner of his own actions with complete control of his senses. A real master has subdued his own ego and therefore neither displays or yearns for an illustrious title as his own. He who has not conquered his emotions and moods and is annoyed by life’s numerous vexations and by allowing others to “get his goat” over a few words of irritation is a long way from declaring himself a master. A master can never be harmed in their spiritual aloofness in spite of what is denied to them.

Only a authentic follower or disciple who has experienced the disciplined spiritual practices of the sadhana, of a true master and who has cleansed his illusion-infected ego will make it to master. Masters will not ask their disciples to teach unless they are true from the past (previous incarnations). All great masters chose their disciples in the same way. The important requisites are a sincere readiness to listen, attunement and good karma.

When a soul is determined to find and know God, He sends him a spiritual master, illumined soul or guru, to help him to be free from his own karma. Only a true master who has no karma is able to take a portion of your cross on his back. If you follow one who has not realized God he can’t take it, he is merely a school teacher. The book “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda, explains this in detail. You can also read it online.