In its proper place, the mind is not the enemy of spirituality

One of the great spiritual errors of this age, which has caused much confusion and spiritual blundering, is the idea that the mind is the enemy of spirituality. Like one of our other great errors, the spiritualisation of money, the demonisation of the mind is the result of a well-meaning but misguided rebellion against other errors of the past. In this case, the chief errors being rebelled against are the over-intellectualisation and dogmatisation of spirituality promoted by organised Christianity, as well as the modern ultra-rationalist denial of the spiritual realities back of the physical world.

It is absolutely true that the mind run rampant is an enemy to spiritual advancement. It is equally true that even the most advanced and spiritually inclined intellect will never progress beyond a certain point of evolution until it is prepared to quieten itself and listen for the inspirations that come from beyond the rational plane.

But like the rebellion against Christianity’s poverty fetish, the rebellion against the mind has led to an equal and opposite error, which is the idea that because all true spiritual inspirations come in the form of a feeling, therefore all feelings of a spiritual nature must be true inspirations, and any rational analysis of them is simply an attempt by the ego to stifle them. We are susceptible to be gravely misled spiritually unless we have the intellectual discernment to understand the difference between experiences and promptings that come from a higher source, and those that come from our fragile human emotions, or the anarchic world of the psychic plane.

Certainly, spontaneus spiritual awakenings do happen to people who have no intellectual bent whatsoever. However, we have no way of knowing what these people experienced in previous lifetimes. Perhaps they’ve done all their intellectual growth already and the Universal Spirit, knowing the intellectual phase is a barrier – and sometimes one that is difficult to transcend – reincarnated them as far away as possible from any intellectual temptations. This way, the evolutionary growth of their soul would remain, even if the counscious knowledge gained from the intellectual phase was lost at the moment of rebirth. This explains men like Sidney Banks, the uneducated Scottish welder who experienced a spontaneous spiritual awakening and spent the rest of his life attempting to convey his experience to others. Banks was forever urging his audience to go beyond his words and grasp the spiritual truth behind them, which he described as a feeling.

Nevertheless, Banks’ words helped many. Words, of course, are a product of the intellect. They are not the truth itself, but they can be an effective signpost towards the truth. Spiritual truth may be a feeling, but you cannot just take any old feeling and assume it to be truth. The mind is the signpost, or the compass, that points your feeling faculty in the right direction.

Most of modern popular spirituality is pure feeling, with little in the way of reason to guide it. The classic picture of such a state is the soul who is primarily concerned with the physical world, but who seeks worldly advantage or a lessening of suffering by carrying crystals as lucky charms, calling upon angels and guides, using tarot cards or visualising money. This is not to criticise any of these practices, as they may be entirely appropriate and useful at a particular stage of a soul’s journey. But they should not be regarded as superior to the intellect purely because they may superficially appear to be more spiritual. Some of these things work, either because the user’s belief coincidentally overlaps with the truth, or simply because the belief makes it true.

In David Hawkins’ book Power vs. Force, which is surely the closest thing we have to a scientific study of spiritual evolution, such rudimentary spiritual practices as these fall into the level of consciousness between 200 and 400. Souls at this level of evolution have clawed their way out of victimhood and submission to circumstances, and have begun their first tentative steps towards self-empowerment. But they do not yet possess a rational understanding of the workings of the universe, and settle for whatever beliefs or practices feel good to them. It is only at the level of 400 – designated by Hawkins as the level of Reason – that the soul moves beyond the superficial and pretty spiritual beliefs of the day and into the understanding of the laws that govern all these beliefs.

Some souls get carried away by this newfound intellectual power, and attempt to reverse-engineer spiritual abilities for personal gain through the use of formulas and specific energetic practices. Historically, this type of practice was called sorcery, magic or witchcraft. Other souls stuck in the intellectual phase have more benevolent intentions, but the mind refuses to let go and allow the profounder spiritual experiences that occur beyond the plane of the rational to take place.

The parable of the wedding feast, from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, instructs us on the necessity of unifying the different aspects of the human constitution – body, mind and soul.  In Chapter 10 of Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning by Thomas Troward, the author reads the parable as a warning against the purely intellectual use of spiritual forces for personal gain, without love as the guiding principle. My own understanding of this parable encompasses Troward’s but takes it further. The wedding feast is a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, also referred to by Christ as the Kingdom of Heaven. A wedding feast takes place after a union, and nobody is invited to partake of the feast until the union is complete. If man has not wholly united the trinity of the human experience – body, mind and soul – then he does not possess a wedding garment and is not invited to the feast. The servants will bind him hand and foot and cast him into the exterior darkness. In Troward’s example, this binding of hand and foot represents the tremendous and dreadful karmic consequences resulting from the misuse of spiritual forces for personal gain. In this example, the mind is dominant and love, or the spiritual factor, is missing. As I have written previously, we simply cannot move into the higher spiritual realms until we proactively cultivate love.

In the opposite scenario, a person attempts to hijack the spiritual realm without first passing through the intellectual phase. If they make no tremendous effort then their beliefs will remain airy and they will not progress much in the spiritual life. However, some people take a more aggressive approach – and the most obvious example of this is the use of psychoactive drugs to induce spiritual experiences.

The spiritual lecturer Alan Watts characterised the typical mumblings of 60s LSD junkies describing their experience as “It was a gas, man.” As Watts pointed out, they were attempting to describe an experience to wider society, when they did not even fully comprehend the experience themselves – thus making themselves look like bumbling eccentrics to most ordinary people. Many people who had such experiences in the 60s found themselves ostracised by their experiences and drifted away from society, finding that it no longer made any sense of them – but sadly they lacked anything higher to cling to that might help to decode the experience and lead them on their upward journey. As a result, many of them lost all will for anything besides finding fellowship with other societal outcasts and taking more drugs. Hardly the road to enlightenment – and yet this is the best case scenario.

We’ve all heard the stories about people who used psychoactive drugs and ended up irreversibly psychotic, believing themselves to be God or Jesus. The drugs artificially induced a sensible experience of the person’s innate divinity, but the unfortunate soul could not understand that this divinity is in all, and that the ego must die to make room for the God within. Instead, its ego remained and became intoxicated with the idea that it is the one and only God, presiding above all.

The bible describes the three stages of spiritual development allegorically in Genesis, where Esau represents gross sensuousness, Jacob represents the intellectual phase, and then after wrestling with the angel, Jacob becomes Israel – the enlightened spiritual consciousness. I will return to this topic in future articles, but for the moment I recommend Chapters 9-11 of Jack Ensign Addington’s Hidden Mystery of the Bible, which delve into this topic in greater detail.

In order to ascend to great spiritual heights, one must fill the mind with wisdom, then move past it. It cannot be the ruling faculty of our lives, but it must always guide our ascent into the higher spiritual realms. In its proper place, the mind is our greatest ally in our forward evolutionary journey.

It will all be alright in the end; if it’s not alright, it’s not the end

One of the most important aspects of learning to spiritually manifest things into reality is learning to detach ourselves from any concern about the mechanism by which our desires will be brought into reality. We must live in the end, and know with confidence that our success is assured – and we do not concern ourselves whatsoever with the means by which the end will be fulfilled. The infinite intelligence of the universe will work things out, perhaps by the most unlooked-for series of events, and it is not our place to second guess infinite intelligence by prescribing what circumstances are necessary for the end to be fulfilled – instead we leave all of that to the Power that knows all.

Although we possess creative power in our thoughts, we too are creations – creations of the Universal Spirit, which used precisely the same process of manifestation to bring us into reality. In The Creative Process in the Individual, Thomas Troward explains that the Universal Spirit, being entirely nonphysical, has only one mode of operation – which is thought. Before the created universe came into being, there was absolutely nothing for the Spirit to contemplate other than itself. It could not manifest anything besides itself, simply because it could not think of anything that is not itself – for spirit, being infinite, is already everything. Therefore, we are the manifestation of the Universal Spirit’s contemplation of itself. Hence it is written that man is made “in the image and likeness of God”. We are microcosms of the Universal Spirit and possess precisely the same creative power.

Although we already exist as true physical beings, the Universal Spirit’s manifestation of us is by no means complete. It is impossible that the Spirit could contemplate itself as anything less than absolutely perfect; therefore the operation will only be complete once each and every human evolves into its perfected state. We are predestined to become God in individualised form, and all the Spirit’s dealings with us are ultimately geared towards that end.

So the process of our evolution is precisely the same process of manifestation known to us, except inverted. In this grand thought of God’s, the end is absolutely assured – humanity will become perfected; each one of us will become individualised representations of the perfection of God. And as God is the thinker of this grand thought, then the means by which it is accomplished is left entirely in our hands. To use an anthropomorphic term, God waits patiently for the full manifestation of his grand thought, and does not concern himself in the least with the means by which the thought is accomplished. The process of manifestation is identical, but the roles are reversed.

As I have discussed previously, Spirit in its universal form is infinite, and therefore completely indifferent to the means by which the thought is accomplished. Spirit is only capable of expressing a preference when it is in finite, individualised form. The infinitude of the Universal Spirit precludes any possibility of it expressing a preference for anything, because if it were to prefer one thing, it must necessarily not prefer another thing. As soon as we speak of the Universal Spirit as being not anything, we are placing a limitation upon the infinite.  The Universal Spirit’s only will is the inherent will of its nature. It wills – nay it must by its very nature – continue to ever increase its livingness, through eternal evolution. It created man – or itself in finite, individualised form – simply because it was the best way to further this evolution of the physical universe.

As individualised spirit, we have no choice as to whether we continue to evolve into perfection or not, for that is assured by the thought of God. But we can choose whether we do things the easy way or the hard way. God does not care about the means – that is entirely in our hands. We are “man the measurer” – created to be the decision making faculty of God, in order to futher the evolution of the whole and bring the glory of its completeness into concrete, manifested form.  Yes, the power of the Spirit is ours to use throughout our journey. If we ask its assistance, and believe with faith that we will receive it, then it will respond to our faith and assist us in any way that we ask. But it will not determine the means by which its grand thought is accomplished – we must do that ourselves, by making the first move.

By understanding this, we arrive at the conception of a God that is infinitely powerful, infinitely loving – for it does not stop loving itself simply because it has taken on individualed form – and cares deeply about our ultimate destiny, but does not care one whit about our temporal sufferings, unless we ask it to remedy them. For it knows that we are completely safe, and that all misfortunes and sufferings along the way to our eventual glorious end are of no more concern than a stubbed toe. It responds to our directing of its will, because we are its decision making faculty, but of itself it is indifferent to such trifles.  It knows more deeply than we can appreciate that the end is absolutely assured. What may seem like a disaster is nothing of the sort, and cannot of itself move the eternal indifference of its infinitude.  Only if we request and expect to receive divine assistance does it stir.

If we accept the principles of the creative process at all then we cannot entertain even the slightest fragment of a doubt that we will eventually reach the stage of perfected humanity, since the Universal Spirit cannot be conceived of as ever stopping short of its object.  Let us remember this and live our lives with full joy and confidence, knowing that absolutely everything works out in the end. And if we’ve been doing things the hard way instead of the easy way, be assured that this is not the Spirit’s will for us.  Again, it has no will at all about the means; that is merely the inevitable effect of the causes that we set in motion by our thoughts and actions. If you have lived a life of suffering, know that you are not cursed and it’s not karma – and you can begin today to set trains of causation in motion which will bring happier effects to you in their turn.

Nor should we take the state of the world to heart, or concern ourselves too deeply with its future. By setting a positive example in our circle of influence, we are doing our part in the great plan. Do not let it trouble you when others around you or people in power fall short, or even act in overtly evil ways. The Universal Spirit will even use the corruption, greed and wickedness of men to shape the world for the better. Do not be so swept up in the individualism and human-worship of the modern world that we forget who is really in charge. To worry or to concern ourselves is absurd – the Universal Mind can never fail to bring its grand thought into reality, for us and for the world.

James Allen gets it

I decided to take a quick break from re-reading all of Thomas Troward’s works of genius by picking up something a little more lightweight. James Allen fills that niche perfectly for me, as many of his books can be read in one sitting, and are suitable for virtually any audience. But even though he’s at the lighter end of classic spiritual thought, make no mistake: this man got it. I thought this particular chapter worth quoting in full – it is the second of his lovely book on virtue and integrity, Above Life’s Turmoil. It succinctly covers two of my pet subjects – the new age error of luxury and riches being an aim of the spiritual life, and the error that all truth immediately becomes crystal clear in the spiritual world. Allen writes:

“Immortality is here and now, and is not a speculative something beyond the grave. It is a lucid state of consciousness in which the sensations of the body, the varying and unrestful states of mind, and the circumstances and events of life are seen to be of a fleeting and therefore of an illusory character.

Immortality does not belong to time, and will never be found in time; it belongs to Eternity; and just as time is here and now, so is Eternity here and now, and a man may find that Eternity and establish in it, if he will overcome the self that derives its life from the unsatisfying and perishable things of time.

Whilst a man remains immersed in sensation, desire, and the passing events of his day-by-day existence, and regards those sensations, desires, and passing events as of the essence of himself, he can have no knowledge of immortality. The thing which such a man desires, and which he mistakes for immortality, is persistence; that is, a continous succession of sensations and events in time. Living in, loving and clinging to, the things which stimulate and minister to his immediate gratification, and realising no state of consciousness above and independent of this, he thirsts for its continuance, and strives to banish the thought that he will at last have to part from those earthly luxuries and delights to which he has become enslaved, and which he regards as being inseparable from himself.

Persistence is the antithesis of immortality; and to be absorbed in it is spiritual death. Its very nature is change, impermanence. It is a continual living and dying.  The death of the body can never bestow upon a man immortality. Spirits are not different from men, and live their little feverish life of broken consciousness, and are still immersed in change and mortality. The mortal man, he who thirsts for the persistence of his pleasure-loving personality is still mortal after death, and only lives another life with a beginning and an end without memory of the past, or knowledge of the future.

The immortal man is he who has detached himself from the things of time by having ascended into that state of consciousness which is fixed and unvariable, and is not affected by passing events and sensations. Human life consists of an ever-moving procession of events, and in this procession the mortal man is immersed, and he is carried along with it; and being so carried along, he has no knowledge of what is behind and before him. The immortal man is he who has stepped out of this procession, and he stands by unmoved and watches it; and from his fixed place he sees both the before, the behind and the middle of the moving thing called life. No longer identifying himself with the sensations and fluctuations of the personality, or with the outward changes which make up the life in time, he has become the passionless spectator of his own destiny and of the destinies of the men and nations.

The mortal man, also, is one who is caught in a dream, and he neither knows that he was formerly awake, nor that he will wake again; he is a dreamer without knowledge, nothing more. The immortal man is as one who has awakened out of his dream, and he knows that his dream was not an enduring reality, but a passing illusion. He is a man with knowledge, the knowledge of both states – that of persistence, and that of immortality – and is in full possession of himself.

The mortal man lives in the time or world state of consciousness which begins and ends; the immortal man lives in the cosmic or heaven state of consciousness, in which there is neither beginning nor end, but an eternal now. Such a man remains poised and steadfast under all changes, and the death of his body will not in any way interrupt the eternal consciousness in which he abides. Of such a one it is said, “He shall not taste of death”, because he has stepped out of the stream of mortality, and established himself in the abode of Truth. Bodies, personalities, nations, and worlds pass away, but Truth remains, and its glory is undimmed by time. The immortal man, then, is he who has conquered himself; who no longer identifies himself with the self-seeking forces of the personality, but who has trained himself to direct those forces with the hand of a master, and so has brought them into harmony with the causal energy and source of all things. The fret and fever of life has ceased, doubt and fear are cast out, and death is not for him who has realised the fadeless splendour of that life of Truth by adjusting heart and mind to the eternal and unchangeable verities.”

I encourage you to read the entire book. It is not long, and it is a sweet remedy for the modern angel cards and Law of Attraction fluff that passes for genuine spiritual teaching. Spirituality is a process of profound growth – an ascent into a higher state of life – not simply a bag of tricks to make our life more bearable or more enjoyable. In society’s rebellion against organised religion it has completely forgotten the absolute necessity of regulating our conduct in order to achieve any sort of true spiritual advancement. Even though relatively few people are now swayed by the threats of organised religion, the underlying spiritual truth remains the same as it ever was: virtue raises us up and empowers us spiritually, while vice beats us down and enslaves us.

“Do what thou wilt” simply doesn’t cut it. “Do what thou wilt, but don’t hurt anyone” is scarcely any better. The latter leads us invariably away from honest self enquiry and towards that misguided mantra of the modern spiritually complacent man: “But I’m a good person… If everyone were like me…”

Allen’s book goes on to make this point eloquently, and not by means of guilt and shame – but by showing us how virtue paves the way for our ascent into states above persistence; and by giving us a taste of how glorious life is for the ascended man.

Why don’t we clear trapped emotions between lifetimes?

One of the questions that seems to come up frequently when clearing emotional energies with Soul Lab is why we don’t simply clear all these energies between lifetimes, when we get to ‘heaven’, or ‘our true home’, or whatever we choose to call the home base from whence we came, where all suffering ends and all truth is laid bare before our eyes.

Many of the stuck emotions cleared during Soul Lab sessions are either from previous lifetimes, or seemingly from the spaces in between lifetimes. What’s up with that? If there really is a heaven to speak of, where the veil is lifted and we perceive all truth, why would we choose not to wipe our slate clean and rid ourselves of all stuck emotional energies during those intervals? And how, praytell, could we accumulate more stuck emotions during those intervals?

The answer is quite simple and logical, but it requires a shift in thinking away from the pretty picture of a ‘heavenly home where the veil is lifted.’ If you are determined to maintain that belief, you may wish to stop reading this article now, as you will agree with nothing of what is to follow.

As usual, my answer is not based on insights or revelations, but purely on philosophical reasoning guided by logic, and my primary philosophical source is the brilliant early 20th century spiritual writer and philosopher, Thomas Troward. In order to avoid needlessly repeating myself, please permit me the indulgence of quoting from myself – in this case, from my article on why God allows suffering and evil:

“We must firstly understand the true nature of God in order to understand man’s place in creation. Troward explains that God or the ‘Universal Spirit’ is not only infinite, but entirely impersonal and undifferentiated. It is infinitely intelligent, infinitely powerful, infinitely loving and so on – but it is without any personal volition of its own. Because it is life in itself, it seeks only one thing – the communicating and increasing of that life. This is in its very nature, but to attribute any other specific motives to it would be to place a limitation upon the limitless. We cannot therefore talk about ‘God’s will’ in any manner other than the communication of itself in new forms of life, and the eternal evolution of that life. The Universal Spirit cannot be said to make decisions in its infinite form, because to prefer one course of action would mean that it must repudiate the opposite course of action. Doing so would lead us to the conclusion that God prefers one thing to another – this would, of course, be placing a limitation on the infinite because if God prefers A, then God is not someone who prefers B. Anything which is limited in any way cannot be infinite, therefore the Universal, unmanifested Spirit cannot be partial in any of its dealings.”

As I explain in the article, man is “the measurer”, or the decision-making faculty of God. In its undifferentiated, absolute form, the Universal Spirit cannot make such decisions or prefer a specific course of action; therefore it re-creates itself in individualised form on the plane of the particular, instead of the plane of the absolute. It does this through a long series of incarnations, first through the animal kingdom, and then through the various stages of human evolution, until it gets to the point where its spiritual understanding allows it to recognise itself dwelling within its own creation. At no point throughout this evolutionary process does the created expression of God in individual physical form withdraw itself from the plane of the particular and retreat back into the plane of the absolute. In other words, the veil is not lifted between our physical incarnations on Earth. We don’t go back to our heavenly home, because there is nowhere to go to, unless we were to cease to exist in our individual, created forms and return to the absolute, uncreated state.

We don’t choose to incarnate here, either – at least, our individual, created form does not make that decision. That is a pretty delusion of the egocentric, individualistic society that we live in, which repudiates any concept of being under the authority of a higher spiritual power.  We simply continue the slow, automatic evolutionary process through various incarnations – directed by the relentlessly indifferent Universal Mind, which cares for nothing but our forward momentum. If we suffer or thrive in a particular incarnation, it doesn’t care one bit. Whether we are poor or rich, ugly or beautiful means not a thing to it. If we suffer the effects of stuck emotions, or of disease, or of negative thinking – none of this concerns it in the least. The only thing that matters is that we evolve. How we get there, or whether the journey is difficult or easy is completely beyond the considerations of an infinite, life-giving intelligence. It will repeatedly incarnate us wherever will best serve our soul’s evolution, until we arrive at the point where we recognise our own power within, and are no longer carried away by this indifferent evolutionary tide. At this point we dig our oars into the water and begin to determine our own direction through the infinitude of evolutionary possibilities.

What does this mean? Do we ever get to a heavenly place? Of course we do – in fact, Christ tells us that “the kingdom of heaven is within you”. What may at first appear to be an enigmatic statement is actually very plain indeed. The ecstasies accompanying advanced spiritual states are truly so profound that they far eclipse any conceivable joys of the purely physical world. It is therefore completely unnecessary and also erroneous to imagine some sort of spiritual city in the sky where we retreat at the completion of our life’s work. We reach heaven when we reach an advanced spiritual state. Furthermore, the spiritual knowledge accompanying this state enables us to escape the Universal Spirit’s automatic process of rebirth and proceed to other, greater things beyond the Earth plane. It is useless to speculate about what these things are, but I agree with Troward that one thing is absolutely certain: we do not go through this vast evolutionary journey just to end up back where we started.

We will continue the endless evolutionary journey into infinity, but we will never be permanently reabsorbed into the undifferentiated spirit. Otherwise what was the point of the journey? Did we go through all the sufferings, trials and struggles just to play some pointless game of cosmic hide-and-seek, or to go on a spiritual holiday, as I have heard some spiritual pundits seriously suggest?

No, we evolved into individual form to become the decision-making faculty of the Universal Spirit. We became limited in order to direct its expression into untold, unheard of new realms, and to stand apart from the glory of the uncreated infinite so that we can look back and gaze upon it in awe.

Radical trust: an easy alternative to radical gratitude

I highly recommend the practice of radical gratitude, or being supremely thankful for absolutely everything in our lives, big and small, pleasant and unpleasant. The only problem with it is, it tends to have a steep learning curve. No matter how many times you hear that “the more thankful you are, the more you will have to be thankful for”, it’s difficult to go beyond words and produce a feeling of gratitude when you are deeply dissatisfied with the current state of your life.

And so I’m suggesting something easier: a radical trust list. Instead of a list of all the things in your life you’re thankful for, it’s a list of all the things that could have gone wrong, but didn’t. Why should this be any easier than a radical gratitude list? Allow me to back up for a moment and explain.

One of the persistent misconceptions about conscious creation, or the “law of attraction”, is that every thought that flits through our mind will bring about a corresponding external manifestation in our lives.  Some teachers realise from experience that this is an error, and so they teach that every thought experienced with feeling will bring about a corresponding manifestation in our lives. This too is an error.  These are often the same teachers who contradict themselves by telling you that you can’t manifest a particular outcome without getting into a high vibrational state first, or without following a particular precise visualisation ritual. Why do we need to follow these precise instructions if every thought manifests a physical outcome anyway?

No, we only manifest things that we deeply, subconsciously believe in. That’s why most people can’t manifest a billion dollars on their kitchen table regardless of how vividly they imagine it, and why, mercifully, that one fleeting image of horrible tragedy that floats into your mind in a moment of undisciplined thinking is equally unlikely to produce a corresponding physical result.

Deliberately produced feeling can be a spectacularly powerful way of inducing the required belief to bring about a physical manifestation, for sure, but it is the belief that does the work, not the feeling. Visualisation also helps to deeply ingrain the belief as well as fine tuning the precise details of exactly what we are expecting to produce.

Some people may object to this principle by pointing out that we do not always get what we expect. Indeed, the very word “unexpected” would be completely redundant if exactly what we expected came true all the time. The reason why our expectations and our experience suffer from discrepancies is because our subconscious beliefs do not always gel perfectly with what we consciously expect from moment to moment. For example, I may bump into a long lost childhood friend at the grocer’s tomorrow. That would be an entirely unexpected and surprising encounter. However, my deeply rooted belief is that such encounters are possible and in fact are likely to happen from time to time. Hence, my true expectation would be fulfilled, even though the specific encounter was unexpected.  No doubt I will write more on this topic in the future, but for the moment I highly recommend The Magic of Believing by Claude Bristol, which is basically the bible of this particular topic. It is easy to come across online, and not challenging to read.

Although I struggled greatly with negative thinking and expectations throughout much of my life, producing many unpleasant results along the way; one of my very deeply held subconscious beliefs was always that no genuine disasters would ever come my way. Things might not always be the way that I wanted them, but basically everything would work out OK in the end. This pattern has held true from the most trivial matters to the most grave. At the most trivial end, in my mid-teens I saved up all my allowance for months to buy a second-hand computer with a 66 megahertz processor and 16 megabytes of RAM. When I went to pick it up, I was given a free upgrade to 24 megabytes of RAM. The machine served me well and was capable of undertaking all my silly high school projects, but I recall thinking some months after buying it that a 16 megabyte machine would have been next to useless for my purposes. Spending all my savings on a useless computer and having no way to undertake all my silly projects would have been a subjective disaster indeed, to my fifteen year old self. And thus it didn’t happen.

At the gravest end, I’ve missed being run over by a car by a matter of split-seconds. I’ve missed colliding with a deer on the highway by the same margin. I’ve reversed into a BMW and left it miraculously undamaged.

When I review the potential disasters of my life and note the eventual outcomes, I see that this belief has come true 100% of the time, with no exceptions. Only once did it ever seem to fail me – and that was in my mid-30s when my fiancee split with me. A year or two later I realised that the real disaster would have been if we had gone through with the marriage. The law came faithfully true, just as always.

In my experience, most people hold this belief. It’s the remnants of a deep faith; the fragments of the knowledge of our true nature, which reasserts itself as a little voice of confidence in times of crisis. A subconscious whisper of “don’t worry, it probably won’t happen.”

Even perennial worriers can hold this belief, and that explains why usually even the most anxious people never manifest the things they are afraid of. They may cause themselves unnecessary stress, but they will not bring these things to pass unless they truly, deeply expect them to happen. Worries alone do not produce the negative energy required to bring these fears about, any more than imagining counting out vast wads of cash will make you rich. What causes them to come about is the deep subconscious expectation of their fulfillment. Most people lack the expectation of miraculous gifts coming to them, but fortunately most people also lack the belief in major disasters.

Hence if a radical gratitude list is not yet within your grasp, or even if it is, consider making a radical trust list full of all the potential disasters that never came to pass. Keep adding to it as more and more disasters get miraculously averted. Reflect upon it frequently, and day by day your trust in divine protection will increase. If, like me, you find that disasters simply don’t happen to you, then very soon you’ll be able to laugh in the face of all threatened danger. As your trust in divine providence grows, you’ll find your confidence expanding beyond the bounds of disaster-avoidance and into more proactively positive areas.

And you may just realise how much you have to be thankful for, too.

The Law of Attraction does not work… but here’s what does

Many frustrated would-be millionaires will sympathise with the title of this article. And I mean it.  The Law of Attraction – when viewed in the way that modern popular spiritual teaching portrays it – simply does not work for the vast majority of people. The flaw of the premise is inherent in the very phrase ‘Law of attraction’. It implies that you’re trying to bring something in which you do not already possess. Taking this attitude creates an energetic gulf between your current ‘not-havingness’ and the thing you’re attempting to bring into your life, and creates resistant energy as your frustrated desires intensify.

The spiritual world is a complex, intricate piece of machinery, and its correct operation requires a profound change in our entire method of living. We must become something new spiritually, before we can expect the material side of life to catch up with our new identity. Expecting to remain precisely who we are while exploiting one of the laws of the spiritual realm for material gain is like attempting to grab hold of one of the cogs of the machine and use force of strength to manually grind it into motion. It inverts the natural operation of the machine and causes exertion and exhaustion. Exhaustion creates resistant energy which limits our results, and also means that our attempts are limited by our willpower.

Instead of trying to sneakily manipulate the universe into doing our bidding, what we need to do is gradually wake up to our true nature, and the true purpose of that nature. We are an instrument of the Universal Spirit – in a reciprocal relationship with it – created to give particular, individual expression to the beauty and glory of the Uncreated Formless. Our reciprocal relationship means that, on one hand, we are “man the measurer” – a phrase coined by Thomas Troward – the purpose of which is to direct the will of the Universal Spirit through the agency of our own individual will. And on the other hand, we are the vulnerable half of the shepherd-and-sheep relationship so frequently alluded to in the bible.  As the measurer, we lead the Universal Spirit by differentiating and distributing its infinite, formless energy.  As the sheep, we receive inspiration and guidance from the shepherd as to how best use that energy to bring the glory of the Infinite Formless into solid form.

As man the measurer, we choose what we wish to do and create in life, and this becomes a unique expression of the absolute in particular form. The Universal Spirit guides us towards the correct application of this will, and arranges guidance and circumstances to enable to fulfilment of such expression in the highest and best possible way for its own expression of itself. By allowing the fullest and highest expression of the Universal to unfold in us, our own personal evolution is furthered in the highest and best way.

This is the true purpose of life – to reproduce the glory of the Unmanifested in manifested form. Any spiritual teaching that loses sight of this is not an accurate representation of spiritual truth. Any spiritual teaching that reduces the entire spiritual plan to a mechanical formula for material gain has utterly perverted spiritual truth.  It’s sad to say, but how often is this even mentioned in popular spiritual teaching?  Sure, go to a traditional yoga or meditation class and you‘ll have a chance of hearing it, as long as it’s not one of those despiritualised and sanitised gym classes.  But how often do you hear it on YouTube, or Oprah, or any popular outlet for new age spirituality?  Such outlets are dominated by people who think you‘re a spiritual failure if you don‘t have a Lamborghini parked in the driveway.  On YouTube especially, the phrase ‘Law of Attraction’ generates 10 times the clicks of anything else.  Material gain is far and away the most saleable aspect of spiritual growth, even though the neverending plea of true spirituality throughout the ages has been that the material world is worthless next to the spiritual.

Still, these laws do work purely for self-advancement and in complete independence of any deeper spiritual understanding, if you’re one of the very few people who can maintain the exact mental sweet spot required to gain results.  But it’s highly unwise to do so.  In the parable of the wedding feast from the twenty-second chapter of Matthew, Troward sees a specific warning against those who would try to use spiritual truths as though they were nothing but physical laws to be manipulated.  From chapter 10 of Troward’s Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning:

“The same idea is repeated in the parable of the man who contrived to get into the wedding feast without the wedding garment. The Divine Marriage is the attainment by the individual mind of conscious union with the Universal Mind or ‘the Spirit’; and the feast, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, signifies the joy which results from the attainment of Perfect Liberty, which means power over all the resources of the universe, whether within us or around us.

Now, as I have already pointed out, the only way in which this power can be used safely and profitably is through that recognition of its Source, which makes it in all points subservient to the Law of Love, and this was precisely what the intruder did not realise. He is the type of the man who fails in exactly the opposite way to the servant who buries his Lord’s talent in the earth. This man has cultivated his powers to the uttermost, and so is able to enter along with the other guests. He has attained that Knowledge of the Laws of the spiritual side of Nature which gives him a place at that Table of the Lord, which is the storehouse of the Infinite; but he has missed the essential point of all his Knowledge, the recognition that the Law of Power is one with the Law of Love, and so, desiring to separate the Divine Power from the Divine Love, and to grasp the one while rejecting the other, he finds that the very Laws of which he has made himself master, by his knowledge, overwhelm him with their own tremendousness, and by their reflex action become the servants who bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness. The Divine Power can never be separated with impunity from the Divine Love and Guidance.”

You’re not broken – but healing can still help you!

One of the frequent criticisms of energetic clearing systems, such as my own Soul Lab, is that they have a tendency to reinforce the subconscious idea that we are broken. If we’re constantly clearing negative energies from ourselves, seemingly without end, we may unwittingly end up creating a powerful subconscious belief that we are deeply broken. We are bottomless wells of negative energy, we tell ourselves, and it may take months or years of clearings to be rid of it all.  Of course, if we accept that belief then chances are we will never be rid of it all. The body will simply continue to create negative energies in excess of what we’re capable of clearing – or even if we succeed in draining a large part of the swamp, our belief in our brokenness will keep us trapped in our old patterns.

It’s an absolutely valid point, but certainly not one that should prevent you from using such clearing systems – provided you use them correctly and avoid “getting addicted” to clearings.  Most people who raise such criticisms only do so because they’re promoting some competing system of healing that doesn’t focus as much on negative energies. All these systems have their place, and all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Reconnective Healing, which I also offer, is an example of a fast acting healing system, which can change people’s lives instantly, often from one session, without needing to delve into all the negative energies a person may be harbouring. In fact, about 70% of people notice instant, profound changes. But what about the 30% who experience nothing? In my experience, these people tend to have negative belief systems telling them that instant healing is impossible, and that such profound problems as their own can only be remedied by a long, arduous process of healing. In other words, they already believe they’re broken. Soul Lab can help to clear the feelings and beliefs that support this sense of brokenness.

As with this and any other situation where energetic clearings are used, it is important for the client to do their part and begin to retrain their thinking from a state of brokenness to a state of empowerment. Soul Lab cannot instantly fix people who are deeply convinced that they are broken. But it can clear the supporting energies and patterns, giving them just enough of a peek over the fence to enable them to see what things can be like without so much negativity holding them back. From this elevated platform, it’s much easier to begin to form positive thought habits and empowering beliefs. Once a person realises they’re not broken, every subsequent healing empowers them. The subconscious message turns from “There’s so much negativity here – how will I ever get through it all?” To something like “One more barrier gone! I’m getting more and powerful every day!”

I’ve also noticed that among the 70% of clients that respond to Reconnective Healing, many go on their merry way, completely transformed and never needing another session. But some find their problems returning after a period of time. Again, limiting beliefs prevent them from accepting that permanent healing could be possible.

In summary, all types of healings have their place. No approach is better than the other, and no healing system on earth can entirely transform someone if they’re subconsciously determined to remain “broken”. The client must do their part and meet the healer half way, so to speak. By clearing negative energies – as in Soul Lab – or instilling the client with a powerful positive energy – as in Reconnective Healing and other systems – it becomes much easier for the client to do this. This is where the real healing takes place – when the client wakes up to their true, perfect nature as pure spirit in individualised form and takes on a new identity as a perfect and perfectly whole being.

Are you manifesting from circumstances, or from First Cause?

More wisdom from Thomas Troward. From his magnum opus, the Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science, Troward here discusses a crucial aspect to using the Law of Attraction effectively. We must train our mind to make use of First Cause – that is, the originating spiritual energy from which all things are created – and not concern ourselves with the web of circumstances – or secondary causes – that we find ourselves presently entangled in. After all, all of these secondary causes are simply the result of our use or misuse of first cause:

“But now when investigation has shown us that conditions are never causes in themselves, but only the subsequent links of a chain started on the plane of the pure ideal, what we have to do is to reverse our method of thinking and regard the ideal as the real, and the outward manifestation as a mere reflection which must change with every change of the object which casts it. For these reasons it is essential to know whether we are consciously making use of first cause with a definite purpose or not, and the criterion is this. If we regard the fulfilment of our purpose as contingent upon any circumstances, past present, or future, we are not making use of first cause; we have descended to the level of secondary causation, which is the region of doubts, fears and limitations, all of which we are impressing upon the universal subjective mind with the inevitable result that it will build up corresponding external conditions. But if we realise that the region of secondary causes is the region of mere reflections we shall not think of our purpose as contingent on any conditions whatever, but shall know that by forming the idea of it in the absolute, and maintaining that idea, we have shaped the first cause into the desired form and can await the result with cheerful expectancy.

It is here that we find the importance of realising spirit’s independence of time and space. An ideal, as such, cannot be formed in the future. It must either be formed here and now or not be formed at all; and it is for this reason that every teacher, who has ever spoken with due knowledge of the subject, has impressed upon his followers the necessity of picturing to themselves the fulfilment of their desires as already accomplished on the spiritual plane, as the indispensable condition of fulfilment in the visible and concrete.

When this is properly understood, any anxious thought as to the means to be employed in the accomplishment of our purposes is seen to be quite unnecessary. If the end is already secured, then it follows that all the steps leading to it are secured also.”

When we find ourselves doubting the possibility of our desires coming true, whether because of existing circumstances or past experiences, let us remember Troward’s wisdom. All our existing adverse circumstances, negative past experiences, personality traits or whatever excuse we may make for why things will not go our way – all these are nothing but the experience that flows from our past use of first cause. Let us erase those experiences and circumstances and create new ones, by remembering that the infinite intelligence that creates worlds cares not one whit for any of it. What may seem impossible for us is nothing to it.

Limitations are imposed upon our lives only because we believe in the circumstances, and thereby give them tangible reality. “I’m too shy for that”, we say. “I’ve always had bad luck in that area”, “people just don’t like me”, or “I don’t have the gumption to put that into practise.” Whatever excuses we make for why our desires cannot come true becomes absolutely real to us. But these limitations are not inherent in our constitution – they are self perpetuated because we take them as our starting point, instead of rising above them with First Cause.

It’s like a gramophone record that’s stuck in a particular groove. While the needle is stuck, it’s impossible to ever hear anything else from the record. All the most diligent efforts in the world will not make it play something new. Most of us are playing a stuck record in our heads that contains all the limiting programming that keeps our life stuck in a groove. Instead of trying to work within the confines of that stuck groove, we need to grab the tonearm and change the track to a more favourable one – or smash the record altogether!

Power vs. Force: the great level 500 barrier – getting past the mind

This is the second article in a series on David Hawkins’ landmark work Power vs. Force. I’m assuming that all readers who continue past this point have a basic acquaintance with Hawkins’ scale of human consciousness, in which 1,000 represents the highest possible ascension of human spirituality, and 200 represents the critical line in the sand separating spiritual empowerment from slavery.

Last week I wrote about the most common barrier to spiritual ascension, which is the level of Pride – the final hurdle before the soul reaches spiritual empowerment. When a soul on a mission to raise their consciousness breaks through the pride barrier, progress through the 200s and 300s is relatively free and easy. I say “relatively”, because – of course – any progress still requires a tremendous amount of commitment. Learning, reading, listening, self-observing, meditating, clearing – all of these things are an essential part of the journey of a soul ascending upwards through the 300s and into the level of the 400s. Learning in particular becomes a very important part of the journey as the soul enters and ascends the 400s – the level of Reason. As the soul reaches the higher levels of Reason, it begins to appreciate spiritual truths on a deeper, soul level. This is what the Three Principles founder Sydney Banks was referring to when he drew a distinction between knowing and KNOWING. Knowing is simply an intellectual appreciation of spiritual truths. KNOWING is accepting these truths on a deeper soul level – understanding them to be so true that you almost feel them, you might say.

This second kind of knowing is the realm of the higher 400s – the apex of the human intellectual state. Of course, there is no limit to the amount of knowledge that we can acquire, spiritual or otherwise. But knowledge is simply not enough to ascend past the point of 500. In order to do that, we must begin to love. As St. Paul says:

“If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-2

In verses 4 – 7 he continues to describe what this charity consists of, and it is a perfect word portrait of someone at the level of the 500s:

“Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”

So how do we begin to love? Part of it is quite practical: we work on the heart chakra through clearings, meditation, yoga and so on. This begins the process of activating and opening the heart and clearing the path for its full awakening. And then, for the fire to be ignited, we must actually begin to love. Heart chakra work sets this process in motion, but it does not necessarily complete it.

One of my yoga teachers recommended reading spiritually inspiring books of saints and holy people who lived their lives in a state of love. This is a highly beneficial practice that can help ignite the flame and help us get over the crucial barrier of knowledge based progress, and into higher states of spiritual ascension. Refraining from negative thoughts, criticisms or judgments of others is another part of the equation. Replacing these with positive, loving thoughts and doing good works for others all play their part. It is not difficult to do, but it is a different mode of operation to that which we have been using in the lower levels of the spiritual scale.

We simply can’t think our way into the 500s.  With that in mind, it’s not surprising that so many well-known intellectual figures top out at exactly 499 in Dr. Hawkins’ calibrations.  Although they may only have been one point of consciousness away, 500 is truly a spiritual Rubicon – difficult to cross, but once a soul has experienced life on the other side, there is no turning back.

Power vs. Force: The great pride barrier

If you haven’t read Dr. David Hawkins’ seminal work Power vs. Force, I strongly encourage you to do so. Spoiler alert: using applied kinesiology (muscle testing) Hawkins discovered that the scale of human consciousness can be mathematically plotted on a logarithmic scale of 1 to 1,000. Therefore, for probably the first time in human history, we have a way of mathematically gauging a person’s level of spiritual understanding. The title of the book refers to the critical level of 200 – below which, a person is in the state of Force, or spiritual disempowerment – and above which, they are in varying degrees of Power.

In a series of articles over the next few weeks, I will be examining some of the crucial barriers that people hit as they attempt to ascend up the scale. We’ll start with the most common barrier, which is the level of 175, or pride. This is the highest level of Force, and a very, very common level that people in civilised countries find themselves in.

However, I must begin by pointing out that Power vs Force is an extraordinary work, but not an infallible one. It does contain numerous errors, which I will also be attempting to unwind in the course of this series. The first one concerns Hawkins’ reported calibration of the United States. Hawkins reports the country as a whole having an average consciousness in the 400s. My own testing confirms it. This is an absolutely extraordinary result, and one which seems at first glance to be an anomaly. Although someone at the level of 400 has barely even set up base camp on the mountain of spiritual growth, it is still a formidable level of consciousness, and implies that the person has gained at least an intellectual understanding of spiritual truths, and a great deal of self-control and personal power. I don’t know of any country where this describes the average person. Sadly, most people in most countries are despiritualised wage slaves, with aspirations to higher things, but who are shackled by their emotions and limiting beliefs.

This is perhaps a fair description of the level of pride (175 – 200). In fact if we recalibrate the question, we’ll find that the majority of people in the United States fall into this level. We also get the same result if we ask for the average level of consciousness, excluding people over the level of 500. This is a fair question given the extreme rarity of attaining the level of 500. If we exclude these extraordinary cases, we find that ordinary people are far more likely to top out at 180. So we’ve found a tremendously common “glass ceiling” of consciousness in the level of pride.

The first reason why people get stuck at this level is simply because it’s the first level that begins to feel in any way good. However, it is the false fleeting satisfaction of having achieved hollow, ego-based desires. It’s the level of material worth and worldly status – indeed, the level of pride, as the name indicates. It is the first level where the ego has some material with which to build its delusions of grandeur. These delusions severely impede the search for truth, and the ego is far more likely to make up stories about how great life is than to face up to the deep spiritual void that exists under the surface. These stories, however, are deeply unconvincing. They are like a paper moon on a cardboard sea. The decisive factor at this stage of evolution is whether the soul will continue to ask questions, go searching for the answers, and be honest in its own self-assessment, or whether it will choose to drown out the deafening silence of the great spiritual void with a chorus of self-congratulation.

When that inner voice of dissatisfaction is heeded, and the questions it raises are followed up with honest enquiries, new avenues begin to open. Fresh spiritual enquiries are made; new solutions are sought; old faulty assumptions are cast away.

Clinging to organised religion beyond its usefulness can also be a culprit here. Please note, I am no fan of the irrational criticisms of organised religion that are so common in today’s world, and I believe many aspects of organised religion are highly beneficial to society. Nay, I believe much of organised religion has played an extremely important role in the spiritual journey of the world. But eventually, most souls on the evolutionary journey cast it off like a cocoon. Given the threatened consequences of such apostasy, it’s no surprise that certain souls formed under its influence find it difficult to escape. The collection of limiting beliefs associated with organised religion – in other words, the “only if it’s God’s will” mindset – can make the shift from slavery to personal power – that crucial jump from Force into Power – a difficult one to make. Still, it is absolutely possible to ascend to tremendous spiritual heights within the bounds of religion. But the mind must recalibrate from “I’m not sure…Only if it’s God’s will” to “God absolutely wills great things for me.”

As Hawkins points out, very few people actually make such a shift. The soul’s journey is a slow evolutionary process requiring many lifetimes to complete, and if a soul is simply not ready for the next step, it cannot be forced. The understanding must be acquired through experience and a gradual unfolding of spiritual knowledge. However, Hawkins also points out that just becoming aware of the fact that the scale of consciousness exists often has a profound impact of a person’s ability to move forward through it. The pride barrier is a common one, and indeed a formidable one, but absolutely not an impenetrable one.

Next time: the barrier of the 400s – getting past the mind.