Defining Spirituality Essay
I will begin my essay by first stating that I have never been much of a reader, let alone a person who enjoys studying information in books. I have learned that what comes from books are always someone else's beliefs or opinions that may or may not resonate with your individual life lessons. Everything that I know in regards to my own understanding of spiritual truth, are things that I discovered on my own. They involve my own personal experiences, research and discovery. While some insights were gained from material I was guided to read, such information was merely a tool in which to propel me forward within my own understanding. I have learned that there is no definitive source of "truth" in the world, however, there are many sources of information that provide keys to helping unlock our own individual understanding of truth and this individual understanding applies directly to our current soul age. What this means is that we can only understand information that our soul is ready for- if we are not ready for it, then we will not be able to comprehend it in this particular lifetime.
What I have come to know is that our soul incarnates into human form in order to learn, grow and evolve, which involves numerous lifetimes. Basically, our physical world is nothing but a classroom for our consciousness. As beings of conscious energy, we are connected to all things, and as such, we are also always connected to our creator (God). Each new lifetime results in the creation of a new temporary personality (self/ego), which we explore the world through. Death is nothing but a transition to the next lifetime, or if you are at the end of your human lessons, you will move to the next level of lessons and experiences, whether that is another dimension or plane of existence.
Mature and old souls are much more aware of their spirituality, while younger souls are scarcely able to comprehend such things. It should then be of no surprise to learn that an overwhelming majority of souls currently on this planet are younger souls. New souls have had to be created as the planet's population increased, which happens if there aren't any previous souls ready to reincarnate. Everything about our new incarnated life was predesigned - who our parents would be (genetic makeup), where we live, astrological alignment, etc. From that design, we would be assured of experiencing things that would help us learn whatever lesson(s) our soul decided to learn during the next lifetime. Nothing is ever "predestined", which is why it takes many many lifetimes to evolve to the next soul age. Souls may get trapped in ego, never following their guidance and learn their life's lesson, so they recycle and repeat until they learn what they need to learn to move forward.
Yet, within each new incarnation, we are still connected to the experiences of our previous lifetimes. While we may not readily remember them while incarnated, we still have a 'sense' of the past.
There is, of course, a lot more detail involved, but I'm just trying to give an overview of some of the things that I have learned during my own life's journey. As for my own soul age, I am reaching the end of the road for my human incarnations. It wasn't until I came to understand the lesson of soul ages, that I realized why I've felt so detached from humanity during this life. Part of the process of the final transitioning is the gradual disconnect from humanity, as we prepare to move forward into the next evolutionary state.
With this knowledge, I began the Defining Spiritualism course.
Upon completion, I came away with mixed feelings about the course, mainly because of disagreements with the author. While he says at the end that he never attempted to be objective, it truly showed through several comments he makes throughout the course. I also find it quite odd that a course primarily written to showcase various forms of spiritual philosophy was written by an author who basically says at the end that he doesn't even believe in philosophy.
However, from a historical overview perspective on philosophy, I enjoyed the course. I think the background information and the various schools of thought were well done. I was not, however, in agreement with some of the author's personal conclusions.
Here are some of those disagreements that I discovered during the course, which is based upon my own perception of what was written - right or wrong.
· The author believes that 'thought' can never answer the question regarding spiritual truth.
I believe this is wrong based upon my own personal experiences. There are numerous ways to reach insight and truths, and if you are ready to understand something, then you will be guided to that information through whatever means you're ready for. How can intuition be followed, if you aren't able to understand or trust the intuition through thought? Words may be a limiting factor, but again, if you are ready, information will be decoded enough for you to understand. Yet, some of the things I have come to learn, even I cannot put them into words… but then again, this information was for me on my path, not meant for everyone else.
Many things have come to me during what I call, "thought meditation". A question will appear in my mind, something profound that I want to understand… and as I sat pondering the idea, an answer or understanding would be shared with me. Simply, you have to be open to finding guidance and truths through any means available- emotional, mental, and intuitive.
Synchronistic events are what I consider to be thought-related guidance. While some events may be intuitive, the vast majority are things that occur which are meant to make us 'think' about what they mean. They help us to question, ponder, and dig deeper for information within ourselves. Truly, when you can achieve trust in combined mental, emotional and intuitive guidance, you will begin to understand everything on a much deeper level.
· The author believes that, "when you realize you know nothing and then begin to realize that there is nothing to be known, it is then that you come to know everything."
I strongly disagree. This concept would basically mean that there is truly no point to our existence, other than just existing. Yet, I know that our entire existence is as a vessel for our soul to learn, therefore, there is quite a LOT to be known. It would be wiser to say, "I do not know everything and never will," then to say you know nothing and there is nothing to ever know.
However, the fact remains, while incarnated, we will never know everything, because if we truly did learn everything, we would cease to be able to have a human experience. How could one know everything, and still see and interact as a normal human with the world around them? Such a thing would be impossible. However, the author does refer to this concept by saying, "The universal truth cannot be learned, cannot be understood and cannot be taught. It cannot even be known as it is so vastly beyond the confines of the self that the self cannot exist in its presence," although I'm not sure if he even understood the point he was making. Our mission isn't to become spontaneously enlightened in one fell swoop, but to gradually develop enlightenment through numerous lifetimes of experiences and lessons.
Furthermore, the author's statement does bring up a good point in that, "The universal truth… cannot be taught." This is true because we are programmed to only be able to understand what we're ready for, what our soul age is capable of grasping. Ever wonder why you can discuss something with someone, show them proof of what you're saying, but they will simply just stare at you blankly, unable to comprehend what you're saying? The fact is they are not ready to understand it; their soul hasn't reached the level where they are ready to understand what you are trying to teach them.
· The author also made personal statements sounding like fact such as, "Help the people you minister to by encouraging social interaction. This is such a necessary part of the human condition…"
I can personally tell you that this is not true. That is the problem with many people, they teach in terms of absolute fact based upon their own personal beliefs and assumptions, that they leave those who don't fit that mold, feeling like there is something wrong with them. Throughout my life I have never really enjoyed interacting with other people, I have never really felt a need to, and when I did interact, it felt somewhat foreign to me. Yet, those who understand about spiritual progression know that once the soul has grown to an advanced level, they begin to drift away from mundane human interactions. The fact is, by the time our soul reaches advanced levels, we have already, "been there, done that" in so many previous lifetimes, that it just no longer holds meaning for us anymore. While people around us are excited about events or traveling, etc… we just have a sense that we've already done it, so why bother doing it again. It is easy to become frustrated and even more reclusive during this time, because so many people think there is something wrong with us, because we're not behaving like everyone else. The fact is, we are just aware of so much more than everyone else, that forcing ourselves to behave like them is just pointless to us.
I think as ministers or anyone for that matter on a profound spiritual journey, would do well to avoid seeing in personal absolutes when it comes to teaching others. This was just one example I highlighted in the course, but there were several others I found while reading.
I do want to touch upon one final idea that the author mentioned.
· When he described the Buddhist idea of nirvana and how western people have a problem with that.
The "problem" basically stem from the human ego. The human ego causes us to believe that we are special, we are perfect, we deserve to live forever, and that ceasing to exist means everything about our life was pointless. However, if people understood death as I do, they would realize the errors of such thinking. If any person can honestly look in the mirror and see all of the times they have judged others, been prejudicial, been angry with someone, hated someone, wanted to get even… once they honestly remember those things, can they truly say that they "deserve" to be immortal? Would they want a heaven or afterlife with the same judgmental, prejudice people they currently walk the earth with? Personally, I can say without hesitation that I would not want my human life's "personality" to be immortal. I would not want to think, act, or react with this faulty human-ego process. I know that beyond this skin, my consciousness is void of such fallibility, so why would I desire to see it tarnished by forever by human ego?
In closing, I'd like to add my favorite Buddhist quote, "Do not believe something, just because I have said it." I tell this to everyone I talk to about what I have learned. Therefore, I tell you now, do not believe what I have told you and do not believe what you read or hear, believe only that which you experience yourself, directly. Because if you cannot trust yourself, if you can't believe your own personal experiences, then how can you trust and believe in something outside of yourself? The answers lie within, not outside of you.
Thank you for reading.
As a long time member of ULC, Rev. Long created the seminary site to help train our ministers. We also have a huge catalog of Universal Life Church materials. I've been ordained with the Universal Life Church for many years and it's Seminary since the beginning and have loved watching the continual growth of the seminary.
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