Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What is the Spiritual Path, and What is it Good For?

Many people talk of their involvement in some spiritual path.  What are they talking about?  Do any two people have the exact same idea of what ‘spiritual’ is?  When we speak to each other of spirituality, there is a good chance that we are talking about two entirely different things without even realizing it.

I’ll attempt to be very clear about exactly what I mean by a ‘spiritual path.’  First, let’s look at what it isn’t.  It is not a system of beliefs or dogma, or ways in which one should or shouldn’t live, or what should or shouldn’t be enjoyed. 

 ‘Spiritual’ is not a lifestyle; people of all lifestyles can be ‘spiritual,’ whether they ever consciously think of themselves as such or not.  A truly spiritual person doesn’t go around thinking he’s a spiritual person.  ‘Spiritual’ has nothing to do with how we live our lives , what we do to ‘make a living,’ what we do at night and on the weekends.

Ultimately ‘spiritual’ has to do with the one Spirit that permeates and pervades the existing universe, which enters and maintains this body through the process of breath; each inhalation and exhalation enlivens and animates this body. 
The same Spirit dwells in all bodies simultaneously.  The same One peers from all these pairs of eyes.  Our ‘spiritual development’ is determined by our degree of maintaining consistent awareness of this Truth—the Oneness of all things.

A person could go to a yoga or a meditation group and not experience anything the least bit spiritual.  Another person might go to the movies or a party and experience a spiritual transformation that benefits them the rest of their life. 

That touches a little on what spiritual isn’t.  Now, what is it?

In addition to maintaining the awareness of Oneness, let’s approach what a ‘spiritual life’ would be from two simple yet distinct perspectives.  One is how we ‘see’ things—our vision of the world, our perception of others, and ourselves.  The other is how we ‘experience’ things—how we experience the world, others, and ourselves.

That is the most simple and concise way of living a spiritual life.  From this springs everything else.  Consciously living a spiritual life expands our vision and perspective of things, transforms how we ‘see’ things, and also allows us to experience the world, others, and ourselves is a much lighter and more refined way than we did before when we lived as an ordinary person.  Living as an ordinary person and appearing to be an ordinary person are two very different things

Of course, one deeply dedicated to the spiritual path in the ways we have clarified will appear to others as a completely ordinary person.  As we become more ‘spiritually developed,’ nothing particularly of our outer persona and presentation changes at all.  Even those who know us best cannot comprehend the difference that we inwardly see and experience, and there is no way we can ‘explain’ it to them.  Explaining ourselves dissipates our power in any case, but that is a subject for another day.

One of the most popular blog entries we have had here was ‘What is the Difference between Ordinary and Enlightened?’  (August 2, 2012)  In fact, as of this writing, I just reposted it on my Facebook page as a ‘note’, and apparently it has been just as well received there.  It is an important topic, and one that is explored deeply in the lessons.

This subject, this blend of ordinary/enlightened, strikes many as something essential, something truly worth learning, experiencing, and becoming.  No matter how 'enlightened' we become, we see that we are still very 'ordinary.'  
Contrarily, if we are identified with being ordinary, we prevent ourselves from also experiencing our enlightenment.  They both exist in perfect balance all along.  It is only our direction of attention that makes one stand out over the other.

In the previous entry about the divine balance of the universe, it was pointed out that the exact amount of the Earth’s surface is lit up in light as the amount of surface that is in darkness at any given time.  It is exactly equal all the time.

The same is true for all polarities, all pairs of opposites.  In this physical world, this earth-plane—however you wish to think of it—all the polarities are exactly equal in their manifestation in our world.  It could not be otherwise, or it would change the nature of the world we live in.

Considering the ‘spiritual life’ as about vision and experience, the actual practice of the spiritual life is seeing and experiencing more light than darkness, more pleasant aspects of life than unpleasant aspects, more love and joy than any other emotion.  A spiritual life is seeing the perfection in all things and knowing that anything else is just the play of the mind.

All emotional energies exist equally in this world, positive and negative, yet our consciousness of energy, and our direction of attention, can enable us to see and experience that which is expanding (which is pleasant) rather than that which is contracting (and unpleasant.) 
In the same way, seeing something as pleasant is expanding, and seeing something as unpleasant is contracting.  We just have to remember that we hold the key, and it’s up to us what we are conscious of.

Most of us feel that it's quite natural to see the chiropractor for a physical adjustment.  It's at least as important, however, to also get mental, emotional, and psychic adjustments.  Often whole perspectives need to be adjusted, so that we enjoy a more expanded perspective of all visions and experiences. 

When we see and experience our life in the most expanded way, our experience becomes primarily Love.  Love is the inner sensation of Consciousness itself—they are two ways of referring to the same thing, which is the greatest ‘thing’ in life.

This fairly accurately describes what happens through the process of participating in the Course of Training via email, 'Living in the Truth of the Present Moment."  This Course is primarily a development of how to ‘see’ and ‘experience’ everything in a subtler, more refined way. 

This leads not only to Love, but to a life of harmony and equanimity, and a vision of the Oneness of all things.  This is the highest understanding and experience we can hope for during the time we occupy these physical bodies.

If a person reads this and the exchanges in the comments of the blog openly and with a willingness to see something 'new', it will be experienced that the writing is not so much about dispensing facts or information, but more about tuning in to a certain energy and state in the present moment.  It is about expanding the ways in which we see and experience everything.

The underlying essence of spiritual development is about tuning into a certain energy and state, which leads to a grander way of seeing and experiencing anything of this life, including this life itself. 

Another great topic, perhaps, is ‘Who’ is ‘seeing’ and ‘experiencing’ anything in the first place?  ‘Who’ is seeing the Oneness of all things?  Who is the Seer?  Who is the Experiencer?  This is a discussion for another day, and is fully explored in the lessons of the Course.  The blog is a glimpse into the Course.

For information about the Course of Training written by D. R. Butler and available by email—along with a free Lesson 1 so that you can experience it for yourself—write: