Metaphysics Degree

This is a collection of essays regarding several courses on metaphysics offered through the Universal Life Church. Our metaphysics courses cover a wide variety of topics in metaphysics and each carry with it its own degree.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Spiritual Awareness

Rev. Sue Bellworthy
1.      A new spiritual awakening is occurring in human culture, an awakening brought about by a critical mass of individuals who experience their lives as a spiritual unfolding, a journey in which we are led forward by mysterious coincidences.  What sense of Awareness can be gained by adopting the First Insight into your present lifestyle?
The first insight tells us that there are no coincidences, that there are mysterious forces around us that impinge on our lives and that by becoming aware of these we can shape our lives into a more productive and satisfying form. We are not victims of fate, for we have the power to change our lives. The skill is in recognising the external forces and using these in a positive manner rather than allowing them free-rein over us. We need to learn to listen to that inner voice of intuition. There have certainly been many occasions when I failed to heed that inner voice and later wished that I had. So, for me, I will use the first insight to bring me a greater awareness of those things beyond the physical that impact on our lives. I shall develop that inner voice of intuition and shall learn to listen to it, and I shall use all these things to guide my spiritual growth and practice, drawing on all these forces so that I might use them in a good and positive way.
2.      This awakening represents the creation of a new, more complete worldview, which replaces a five-hundred-year-old preoccupation with secular survival and comfort.  While this technological preoccupation was an important step, our awakening to life coincidences is opening us up to the real purpose of human life on this planet and the real nature of our universe.  How or when did you begin to question traditional religious views?  What, if any, reactions did those around you have to those questions you posed?                                                                        
I suppose that I have always been unhappy with traditional religion although it took me a long time to find the path that suited me. It was really thanks to the internet that this finally became possible. The traditional view of an aged God in human form controlling our lives in the manner of the Olympian Gods was an awkward concept, as was the view that man held superiority over all other things – which I found an arrogant attitude. I was also aware of the hypocrisy among many church goers who viewed themselves as "good Christians" but didn't show it in their behaviour. I had always felt closest to deity outside, in the wonder of the whole of creation, for that is where the wonder of deity is to be found. Turning away from the supposed mainstream religion is never easy, and, like many, I have kept my religious and spiritual life secret. Many are too quick to judge, too unwilling to understand other faiths and it is safer to avoid precipitating prejudice. This xenophobic attitude permeates so much of society and is the cause of so much violence, discrimination and war. It is time that society as a whole opened its eyes and adopted a new, accepting and peaceful attitude. Maybe one day it will come, but for now it is a distant dream.
3.      Too often humans cut themselves off from the greater source of this energy and so feel weak and insecure.  To gain energy we tend to manipulate or force others to give us attention and thus energy.  When we successfully dominate others in this way, we feel more powerful, but they are left weakened and often fight back. Competition for scarce human energy is the cause of all conflict between people.  Discuss the lessons of the Fourth Insight in how it affects your life.  What does this Insight teach you about the reasons why humans treat each other in such a violent manner? 
The fourth insight teaches us about power, what it is and how we use it for good or ill. But it shows us that we can gain energy and power without drawing it from others, and it shows us how to avoid being drained by other people. There was a recent re-run of a 1960s experiment which had demonstrated how much people enjoy torture. Sadly, the new experiment produced exactly the same results – a sad reflection on humanity. The quest for domination is seen everywhere – within families, within communities, in the work place, among world leaders, and even in the playground. No part of life is exempt. And yet we do not need to follow this route, nor do we need to lay ourselves open to the psychic vampires, or just give too much of ourselves (my usual action). By thinking about our actions, by connecting with the spiritual world, by generating power within and using appropriate shielding, we can gain all the power we need without harm to anyone, and we can protect ourselves from others.   But we need to go one step further, we need to show others how to act in a similar way and this is the long, slow process, but it is something that I am actively trying to do even if it is sadly often a case of "preaching to the converted", there are moments of breakthrough.
4.      Insecurity and violence end when we experience an inner connection with divine energy within, a connection described by the mystics of all traditions.  A sense of lightness -- buoyancy -- and the constant sensation of love are measures of this connection.  If these measures are present, the connection is real.  If not, it is only pretended.  What method would you use to assist a congregant in learning how he/she can open and share positive energy with others?  Give example of how and when they can do this.
There are so many ways of gaining this connection. One method I use is through guided meditation, taking the congregant on a soft and spiritual journey, in which they can begin to experience that divine connection for there is that moment when conscious visualisation takes on a life of its own and becomes true connection with the divine. Giving the congregant an experience of this connection and the ability to achieve it for themselves is an important first step, but is not the only one. I would also work through prayer – not the ones repeated mindlessly by rote, but new prayers worked out with the congregant that are meaningful. Often saying these regularly and meaningfully with the aid of prayer beads can take the individual to that place of divine connection. As with all things, practice is essential and the connection will become faster and stronger with time. As for sharing with others, the congregant will notice that others are automatically affected simply by the change in his/her attitude, and in his/her energy and aura. The congregant may well be drawn to share the techniques, but this may not always be appropriate and often it is best to simply let the energies flow as they will, rejoicing in their own new-found spiritual place and allowing the benefits of that to filter through to others.
5.      Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies.  First we have a question, then dreams, day-dreams, and intuitions lead us toward the answer, which usually are synchronistically provided by the wisdom of another human being. For you as a minister, what is the lesson found in the Seventh Insight. And how will you use this knowledge in your work?
The seventh insight teaches me that all things have purpose and that we are masters of our own destiny. All the strange coincidences and synchronicities in our lives are meaningful and may be used for positive gain. Whether these guidances come from the divine or via another person is immaterial, the important thing is to connect with all that is happening and to direct it to the desired outcome. As a minister, I shall use the lessons of the seventh insight to guide my spiritual development and my ministry. I shall learn to form a greater connection with these forces, to draw on them and to use them wisely. Through them I shall pass on the benefits to my  congregants. The seventh insight is a learning process, and is one that is very important. Like all the insights I shall adopt it and work with it to achieve maximum benefit. 
6.                  As we all evolve toward the best completion of our spiritual missions, the technological means of survival will be fully automated as humans focus instead on synchronistic growth.  Such growth will move humans into ever-higher energy states, ultimately transforming our bodies into spiritual form and uniting this dimension of existence with the afterlife dimension, ending the cycle of birth and death.  How will society change in the coming millennium as a result of the growth in awareness and conscious evolution?  What is the reason for people being here on this planet?  What is the spiritual intent and meaning of life?
If the growth in awareness and conscious evolution continues and gathers pace we can hope to see a new awakening, a new dawn of greater peace and understanding, a new world of light and happiness. I hope with all my heart that we will reach this stage and will do all I can to aid this process. As for our purpose on this planet. The lesson teaches that we are here to take part in the cosmic evolution and to teach less developed souls than ourselves, taking them towards this awakening. My own view is that we are also here as guardians of our planet – not as masters but rather as caretakers, a role at which we have so far failed miserably. The human mind is yet poorly developed. Research has shown that we use only a minute percentage of the mind power available to us. What wonders will be achieved if we can tap into this enormous resource, how will we and our planet develop as a result? But it is important that this resource is used for good, and maybe this is why the awakening is so slow. It is our job to guide this process through our ministry. What is the spiritual intent and meaning of life? Some would say it is to reach the ultimate state of enlightenment. Maybe this is so, but I believe that we also need to make a positive impact during our lives on our planet and others. We are part of the plan for true cosmic and global awareness. In our ministry we need to foster this development, and we must learn to maintain and strengthen that link with the cosmic energy and with deity.
7.      What is the idea behind becoming multi-sensored beings?  How can you achieve that personally and how can all the lessons in this course help you in your life both as an individual on your own spiritual journey, and as a minister working with congregants in your capacity as a spiritual counselor? There is more to the world than our 5 senses can show us, and as a result there is so much that we are missing. Learning to use our other occult senses is an important step in spiritual development – allowing us to connect to deity, to the planet and to human awareness, and bring about positive change in ourselves, in others and in our world. The lessons in this course have been a revelation, crystallising some things that I had discovered myself, and bringing many other new insights and ways of looking at things. Our spiritual journeys are ongoing, and these lessons will continue to help me as I progress on my own journey. It is through the practice and understanding of the insights that I can creat a new inner awareness and strength, and use this to guide and strengthen my ministry. The lessons in the course have provided many ideas that are adaptable for spiritual lessons in my ministry and has sparked ideas for many more. My aims are both personal spiritual growth and teaching others to achieve that growth; to work for peace and to protect our world. These insights will aid that process.
8.      Overall, what have you taken from these lessons?  Discuss the various activities and your reaction to them.  Which ones do you feel were most effective, and which, if any, would you consider using in your work with your congregants?
Overall, the lessons have given me another viewpoint, another way of looking at things and so have made clear many things that were previously hazy. The insights are something I shall keep with me always, building on them and growing with them.
There were so many superb activities that it is hard to choose between them and I believe that all will find their place. Examples are the techniques for teaching children, the assignment for capturing a moment of joy and holding onto that feeling, drawing it from the memory and feeling it again; or the exercise teaching increased awareness – of messages, of energy of others, of the whole pattern of life, or the dream work, the practice of mindfulness, the awareness of fears, the awareness of things that influence personal energy flow. All these techniques are perfect to incorporate into spiritual practice, either directly or after adaptation. They all make small and simple exercises that can be slipped into the general lesson, allowing them to work on the subconscious, while bringing the conscious mind to bear. This has been a superb course – my thanks to ULC and to the course creator.
May blessings surround you and your families.

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