Friday, June 11, 2010

We believe what we know and know what we believe...experience is the crucial factor

Today we want to take a look at one of the core teachings of the eternal wisdom traditions. That teaching is: intellectual knowledge of various metaphysical truths (which amounts to a belief in concepts) has its place in the Divine Plan, but until such beliefs are supplemented by conscious experiences of various dimensions of reality that validate them, all are of limited value.

Their value while remaining on the level of mental agreement is essentially theoretical and generally of little if any immediate practical use.

Ultimately we are after an experience of deeper realities, not a belief or teaching.

We may be told by a sage for example that we are not our body, senses, mind, emotions or ego; that in our essence we are pure eternal spirit. And on that core level of our being we are beyond change, beyond birth and death, ever humble, loving and contented, filled with boundless joy and both a servant of and witness to the miracle of creation. That we are at our center both creation and its source, ever being and ever becoming, and yet simultaneously something even beyond these.

Well hearing of such higher realities is well and good. In fact hearing of them is essential at some point so we can realize that, according to some very wise people either currently living or who lived prior to our arrival on the planet, we all have the potential of unfolding, growing and ultimately achieving an infinitely more fulfilling and meaningful life, relative to the one we’re living now.

But the key insight we are trying to impart here is this: nothing is more important than an immediate conscious experience of “fact” or “value”.

Now in the eternal wisdom tradition “fact” or “value” means “living energy”. Such “facts” are relative truths. They are necessary and inevitable stepping stones that ultimately lead to absolute truth.

But for most of us absolute truth is still a fair ways off (until it is no longer a ways off, which happens when something clicks inside, when consciousness shifts or awakens and we realize absolute truth -- or something approaching it -- was ever available in every instance. But it is ever available only when we experience it as ever available; before this experience it’s a theoretical truth and seems to be a ways off. One of the paradoxes of the metaphysical journey).

To reiterate, mental knowledge and beliefs have their value, but it is the experience of the reality a concept points to that is of prime importance.

We are invited to experience such realities (which will unfold through a series of inner discoveries) through any avenue we are naturally drawn to; for many these will include: meditation, living with integrity and practicing spiritual techniques, through art and artistic expression, through scientific study leading to a deeper understanding of the unity of natural laws, through loving relationships and compassionate service to our fellow human beings, and through disciplines of realization.

Metaphysically we would say that if you are aware of the “facts” of a matter or realize the true value in a person, painting or song; in a tree or flower; a bird or butterfly, a planet or star, or in the laws of electrodynamics or gravity ... in all cases you have discovered in some measure on the basis of inner experience the living energy present in all forms and phenomena in both the human and natural world.

And further that ultimately it is the same energy in any of its infinite expressions, and that any sense of separation we experience or feel with regard to minerals, trees, furry things, stars or other people is the product of ego consciousness and indicates our identity is still derived from a fictional self within us.

What is our first step in dissolving or dis-identifying with the fictional self or ego? Cultivating Faith. Faith in a Divine Plan. Faith along with the practice of the disciplines of realization leads to the discovery of facts, of values (those principles that are of greatest importance in life), and ultimately to illumination.

Illumination is realization, the conscious participation in the truth that the universe is in its essence a great unity and in its surface expressions exactly as it should and must be at every instance.

In a world or universe founded on two coequal principles, Law and Love, it cannot be anything but. And all who are working on a human level for its apparent transformation from a mixture of good and evil to a state where all opposites are harmonized are doing exactly what they should and must be doing at every moment, confirmation that all is well and wisely set.

The eternal teachings tell us that knowable reality is an ever changing reality on the basis of a never changing ground state. The world changes as the individual changes, facts (living energies and living truths) emerge as we remove what is false, dysfunctional and immature in ourselves, there is no other way.

Faith (initially a conviction that Truth exists and that a quality of this unchanging principle is ever available to our intuition, providing each step of the way a measure of protection and guidance commensurate with our attunement) is crucial throughout our spiritual journey, especially at the beginning – processes of purification (transmuting our conditioned reflexes and soul traumas) and living with integrity must follow.

Living the disciplines to the best of our ability evolves the inner understanding necessary to an advancing practice. We are building a bridge seemingly from here to there out of the substance of the goal. Faith, confidence and a good hope will see us through.

Seek out the spiritual tools and techniques that you intuitively sense will help you access and unfold Faith as a living energy and your ultimate success is assured. Time, patience and discipline will also be required, until they aren’t … at which point you are the qualities necessary to the moment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Basic metaphysical terms defined...

After a considerable break since the last post, I now wish to start offering a series of posts on a number of metaphysical and spiritual topics. In my experience all spiritual teachers possessing an authentic measure of enlightened consciousness are basically teaching the same core principles.

The angle of approach each takes, along with the words and metaphors used will of course vary. Enlightened teachers give answers appropriate to the needs and questions of their audience at the moment they speak. How they answer a question in one instance may be wholly contradicted by an answer in a different context asked by a different person. They give the answer each student or disciple needs to hear at a particular moment in time.

This is one reason you can find scriptures in all religious texts that support any point of view and virtually any course of action. Such is the phenomenal world of relativity. Our goal is to integrate in consciousness a harmonizing element that allows differences to co-exist without creating a loss of serenity or peace of mind; a state where each value or quality of consciousness (intelligence, creativity, vision, patience, compassion, grace, justice, courage, intuition, wisdom, etc) that may be required in a given situation can be expressed to meet a need, without the loss of inner equanimity. Such expressions and associated actions when generated by intuition will serve the greater good and a larger Divine Plan. More on this later.

It must be apparent to most of us that we are required to spiritually or intuitively discern how teachings frequently presented in another age and cultural context apply today. This we can all do with training and practice.

Most students wishing to explore more refined layers of their being, and learn as well the art of living graciously in a material world largely incapable of bestowing meaningful security and serenity of spirit, frequently look to some form of deity for salvation or protection, or a past or present master, teaching or tradition for guidance.

Nothing wrong with this of course. Not every student wishing to grow and evolve will need a tradition to join or teacher to follow, but the majority I believe will benefit from the insights of certain wise soul’s that have gone before and shared their discoveries.

So whether one is imbibing wisdom by reading the writings of trusted teachers or simply following one’s instincts and reading the ever available “Book of Nature”, the perennial wisdom tradition invites all so engaged to use intuitive discernment to sense the message and guidance appropriate now, and the course of action best suited to the circumstances in the present moment.

And then act. Taking action required to meet duties and responsibilities life has given us is also essential. Inaction when a need for action is evident is according to metaphysics a violation of natural law; equally, gross action when silence or stillness is the call of circumstances is also a violation of the natural order.

Finally, the author wishes to state for the record that I’ll do my best to pass on the insights I’ve been privileged to learn, acknowledging straight away they aren’t mine but come from a state of consciousness far beyond my current level of awareness. I am without question far from enlightened and like most in the audience a perennial student.

As such in all of my posts I claim no originality or credit for principles, concepts or teachings conveyed. The credit if deserved goes to those enlightened souls that have shared in one form or another their wisdom and from whom I’ve had the privilege of learning something meaningful, often times something I firmly believe is profound. Any errors or misinterpretations of the teachings of the wisdom traditions posted here are mine of course.

Let’s start now by defining a few basic terms. These definitions are “working definitions” and are not fixed or set in stone. Words can never truly describe or convey the deeper secrets of existence, let alone absolute truth.

But to educate ourselves we have to use words and metaphors that help us understand abstract realities and why pursuing and living various metaphysical disciplines are worth the effort. Our goal is the conscious inner experience of deeper realities, not just learning descriptions or images of them, or beliefs about them.

Therefore no claim is made that any definition, principle or teaching presented is “absolute truth”, though I give them with the firm conviction based on my experiences that they have the potential to point any sincere and earnest student in the direction that will lead inevitably to the experience of their own true and absolute nature. Or more accurately to the inevitable dawning within of a new order of reality which makes the experience of the absolute possible.

Ultimately, all will learn that nothing is more important than Faith in this process, and we will discuss the role of faith more fully in later posts.

Truth: absolute truth is indefinable; one cannot “know” truth, yet one can ultimately become It. A working definition of truth is: “that which never changes”. In the relative sphere of existence where by definition change is the only constant, there can only be “relative truth”. The truth all humans “know” is relative; absolute truth can only be “known” on its own level, when the absolute possesses us.

Meditation: an effortless process to experience the infinite, or ever changing (vibration) within the never changing (silence). There are many forms; each student will practice the form they value or are naturally drawn to. Meditation can be said to include both contemplation and experience of divine realities. It can be practiced in some form at every moment. Key point: rightly understood it should not involve effort.

Realization: the simultaneous understanding and acceptance of the rightness of the universe as it is; that all things are infused with spirit and serve a divine purpose. Realization is not an intellectual state or mental concept, it is not simply the belief that all is well and wisely placed and as it inevitably must be (though paradoxically these statements are true on their own level); but more deeply it is a mystical, intuitive knowing; a conscious participation in the breath of a living energy that informs creation and forever sings the song of Space.

Discipline: an effortless directing of personal thought and action which leads to an inward realization of right and a transmutation of one’s whole nature into a state of self-mastery. Ultimately discipline leads to illumination.

Illumination: an indescribable experience that comes upon elevation of our human nature to the realization of the Divine Plan. It starts with the dawning in consciousness of a greater spiritual light. It involves an endless process of awakening and a series of spiritual discoveries within ourselves. When fully illumined we have awakened to the innumerable aspects of Realization, we are enlightened….we stand before the face of Truth. We are worthy of merging with that state that makes all states possible. When this final merging with Truth will occur no man or woman knows. The sages say metaphorically that ultimately the absolute chooses us, we don’t choose it. A mystery of union.

Faith: a conviction or intuitive knowing that a guiding, benevolent and protecting principle or spirit infuses space and causes all things to ultimately work together for what is necessary, right and good. Faith at some point inevitably involves the fusing of courage with conviction. The difference between a mere belief in a God or Goddess and actual faith (which is a form of living energy) in these principles is the difference between night and day. Faith and faith alone sees us through the great tests of life.

Divine Plan: no human can define or know fully what the Divine Plan is, but the wise of every age convey that everyone has the capacity to sense that we are participants in a miracle of creation. And further each through practice of meditation and disciplines of realization can in time intuit more fully our place in a cosmic process involving the limitless unfoldment, expression and expansion of an infinite consciousness.

We are invited to thoughtfully give allegiance to those beliefs that demonstrably create a feeling of truth, integrity and value to the life we are currently living. And authentic faith should lead to transformative experiences that lessen worry, fear and doubt; and strengthen serenity of spirit, resulting in ever unfolding experiences of Realization.

Happiness, tranquility, security and eternal life – and liberation from all that is false, sorrowful and unnecessary – ultimately come from serving and cooperating with the plan, living with integrity and compassion, and in general living in harmony with the inevitable laws and rhythms of nature herself.

In sum The Divine Plan seems to be an Entity that is some type of primordial awareness that expresses through triads of energy, intelligence and form. It is a great unity and functions per a pattern of laws imbued with love, and we are all in essence one with It.