While love may be the final truth of it all, bad things do happen. It would be pure folly to pretend otherwise. And when bad stuff appears, we react—often very badly. The important thing to realize is that the bad things that happen are not the cause of our unpleasant feelings and reactions. They are an outer event bringing our inner ills to the surface. They are both a result of what exists within us, and the medicine for healing what ails us. And if didn’t badness come about, we would all remain very, very sick inside.
Yet when challenges befall us, we immediately fear this world is an arbitrary and chaotic place; nothing makes sense to us when difficulties seem to appear from thin air, without rhyme or reason. We believe there must not be a God, and no eternal life, and no everlasting soul, and no meaning for our existence or experiences. Our mind may be telling us one story, but in our gut, our faith in God and his creation is kaput. We struggle to find the meaning in the chaos, not seeing how we play a part in an ongoing ribbon of consciousness that creates our current reality.
The whole goal of self-realization is to establish, in every crevice of our consciousness, the truth about God, this whacky creation of his, and how life is not really out to get us. In fact, that’s really the whole point of coming here to planet Earth: to purify ourselves and all our stinking thinking.
Really, why else did we think we come here—to become “good”? By itself, “being good” is just about meaningless. Good is relative and can completely change from one culture or time period to another. What one society calls “bad” may be, on a deeper level of reality, of the highest value. And vice versa.
Absolute good can only be found in profound truth. And we can only find this truth by wading through all our mundane little personal “truths” we find so hard to face. Then we will find the doorway to the cross-my-heart truth of God’s reality—the one beyond all shadow of a doubt, where good is not up for questioning.
As we go forward on our spiritual path, we learn to deal, little by little, with all of our personal violations of truth and integrity, on all levels. Slowly, we open ourselves up, loosening our hold on our defenses and making it easier to lift out the existential fear that grips all of humanity. This fear is really it, the common denominator that links us all together. And if we are ready to meet it directly in the deepest, darkest corner of our being, we are ready to launch into a whole new phase of living.
It’s a whole different animal to become clearly aware of our deepest fears and doubts—hanging out with them while we come to terms with them and deal with them—versus our previous game of bury-the-bone. We’re going to have to surface our deep longing for eternal life, and then face down our doubts and fears, which means we must come to know them, feel them, and for a time, suffer through the experience of them.
For the most part, we are not conscious of the fact that we have this deep longing for eternal life. Usually we tamp this down and keep it in the dark. Then it comes out through side-street longings, like a longing for health or happiness, for abundance and the ability to avoid death for as long as possible.
For sure, these other longings are totally legit. They’re not wrong or immature—we shouldn’t be trying to eliminate them. But they’re not the original longing. They are natural byproducts of a genuine soul state that could and should exist—that we are unknowingly longing for.
When our longing for eternal life is not felt and fulfilled, there is a separation between ourselves and Christ somewhere in our soul. Not only will we be split off from Christ, but we will be split within ourselves. A part of ourselves will stand in the light of knowing, and another part will still be in darkness, and therefore trapped in fear and doubt and suffering.
What hurts us most is that we’re not even aware of our dark parts, because we’re continually creating experiences from these hidden attitudes, thoughts and feelings. It is incredibly painful for our life problems to be so completely separated from what causes them—our own inner creative agents—to the extent that we wallow in the illusion that our experiences have come to us with no rhyme or reason. This is the most painful state of consciousness to be in. It makes us believe this world is a senseless and arbitrary place.
It is convenient to believe that after we die, we’ll revert to our whole and heavenly selves. Not so fast. The aspects of our personalities that are in light, with knowledge of the truth, will enjoy such a nice life-after-death scenario. But the aspects living in the darkness of fear and doubt will stay unconscious after they leave the body. This is what perpetuates the illusion that physical death is like dropping over the edge into extinction. But no worries, the not-yet-awake aspects will get to come back again—and again—until they eventually wake up.
But as long as these separated parts—the ones in fear and doubt—remain unconscious, their longing for a life-forever-after will also remain dimmed out. That’s when things start coming out sideways. This may result in the lovely longings mentioned previously, but it could just as easily divert into unrealistic longings and compulsive drives. And no one longs for that.
So there’s a direct link between our fears and doubts and terrors, and our deep existential longing. If one is unconscious, so is the other, and the other way around. If they’re unconscious, we can embark on a systematic process of self-discovery, returning our fears and doubts to their original face: faith, knowledge of truth, security and peace. We can do this methodically, meaningfully and intelligently. And what do you know, doing so is exactly the process that fulfills the longing. Shazam.
Facing and transforming the Lower Self is no small thing. It requires a litany of not-so-easy-to-come-by qualities: courage and integrity, goodwill and openness, and a positive intention and utter commitment to getting to know ourselves and be in truth. Hmm, so these are exactly what we need in order to face and transcend our deepest doubts, fears and terrors.
There are two more things to consider about this. First, we need to have a clearer idea of what we’re talking about here—some vision or concept of this fulfilled state that banishes our fears and terrors, and stills our doubts. Because if we don’t have even a vague idea that such a state exists, it won’t be possible to long for it. Nor will we be able to visualize it. And that brings us to the second point: How should we go about establishing awareness of our dark parts, as well as of the longing? And then, of course, how do we go about fulfilling this basic longing?
Let’s start by describing what the fulfilled state looks like. To be clear, this isn’t an outside job. All our outer desires for things like health and abundance, success and a sense of self-worth, or a loving relationship with a mate—all these are great, but fulfilling them won’t do the trick without fulfilling our deeper inner longing. And that state is a bit tricky to describe with words. Human language is geared to 3D concepts, and is sadly lacking when we try to squeeze cosmic concepts into its narrow confines. Nevertheless, here goes.
Historically, mystical and spiritual literature have used various words to try to describe the fulfilled state: nirvana, satori and cosmic consciousness, for example. But finding a name isn’t going to help much. Rather, let’s see what it would mean for us to personally experience this state of awareness and be in deep union with God.
In this state, we have no fear. Our whole being is permeated with a sense of being utterly safe and at home in the world. We’re secure about ourselves, about life, and about all things in it. You could say we feel cozy with life. Life fits us like a glove.
We can’t attain such a sense of safety and security if we’re living with a bucket of fear buried in the backyard of our psyche. First, we have to remember that we buried something back there, and then be willing to dig it up. Once we have it sitting in our lap, we can connect with this longing to live in a state in which there is no fear to hold onto. This isn’t wishful thinking or escape. It’s a longing for the feeling that we are held by God, living realistically in a loving creation in which there is absolutely nothing to fear.
The vibrational frequency of this state of safety bears no resemblance to a false faith Bandaided over faulty ideas. Nothing is being superimposed to avoid facing a deeper fear. In this vibrancy, there is a realistic attitude regarding everything in life. We will know a sense of belonging that will make us happy, joyous and free, with a peace that surpasses all understanding, an excitement about life’s possibilities, and a fascination for how meaningful life can be.
Part of our security cascades from having a deep knowledge of the meaning of life. Because all of our experiences, from the mundane to the magnificent, will carry deep meaning. Inner states of chaos and feelings of meaningless will be ousted, replaced by a sense of safety and a peace about the reason for our existence. Ah.
That’s a simple explanation for what it feels like to experience the presence of God in our life. It’s not that God isn’t always present—it’s that we don’t always know it. We don’t perceive how close God is, and the meaning he brings into the sequence of our days and what they contain.
But if we have a felt sense of the reality of Christ, it will colorize all we see, touch, hear and feel. A glow of joy and peace will emanate from our being into our surroundings. This is the most desirable state imaginable—to feel joyous excitement and a peaceful fascination with living. Whether we know it or not, we want this more than anything else.
This isn’t a reality to long for in another world, in an existence after we leave Earth. To be truly anchored in a genuine state of union with Christ is to be deeply anchored here, in the life of matter. We want to bring the higher states of existence into this world, into the matter-of-the-mind and the matter-of-the-body, so that matter is penetrated by the great eternal light. We can’t reach a state of union by separating ourselves from our current existence in our bodies. Our job is to imbue our beings—body and all—with as much spirit as we can.
In this state of union, opposites begin to come together; we no longer need to battle them. We will know our own power to heal and create. And at the same time, we will know how much we need to be constantly in a state of divine grace; without this, we can’t accomplish anything. These two ways of being will be completely compatible, each relying on the presence of the other.
When we’re fulfilling this longing, we will discover connections that will give life an exciting new face. All our fragmented pieces will be mended back together, and our newfound wholeness will permeate all of our being. Our own possibilities will become a fun new playground for living. We will find ourselves able to snuggle sweetly with life, as it were, and in this accepting, affirming and yielding life-space, we’ll grow to become more powerful, effective and yet soft.
Paradoxically, our softness will manifest as strong assertion and determination; we won’t be brittle or stubborn. What a subtle but distinct difference. Our true strength will arise from being true to God’s will, not from concealed weakness or some misguided rebellion.
Knowing that life never ends doesn’t mean that God lays out a tidy blueprint showing us how we will think, feel and be when we shed our body. It’s more that we’ll have a deep inner knowing that it’s impossible to cease to be. There probably won’t be any clanging bells or flashing lights with this awareness.
We’ll still pray for our surface desires such as for health and fulfillment in our careers and love life. We’ll still set about fulfilling our spiritual task. But these outer fulfillments come as a byproduct of the great, deep, universal longing to realize the immediate presence of God, now and always, and have no fear.
And so we arrive at the second point: How do we do this? What activities or attitudes are needed to reach this almost-sounds-too-good-to-be-true state? First, we’ll need to look at everything—our moods and various mental states—in a new light. We’ve got to get to the deeper meaning of things. Because much of what we think we think, isn’t as it seems.
Any restlessness, vague discontent or feelings of insecurity need more than a quick once-over. They all need to spend some time under the microscope. Dig deep enough and all roads will lead back to that great malcontent—the lack of fulfillment of our longing to know God.
We must search beyond our mask and below our Lower Self, behind our images and between the cracks in our thinking. All our errors bubble up from our great longing and our fear that we can never fulfill it—that we can never really know God and know peace. It will be like tracing our steps back through a maze. But that’s the only way to unwind our misconceptions and the crazy mixed up feelings that follow, so the longing can become a real experience and not just a theoretical concept.
It’s important not to push away our fears and longing when they surface; we’ll need to screw up the courage to feel the pain of our problems. To be honest, that’s not what we usually do. We turn away and go on and on, one incarnation after another, dragging karmic ballast along with us. At some point, we’ve got to stop and face the music. Our painful experiences are caused by our own pain, and we’re the only ones who can clean out the pipes, once and for all. Nothing’s going away on its own.
Only by fully savoring all our experiences can we dissolve the painful recreations, little by little. We’ll need patience, perseverance and wisdom to do this. For it takes wisdom to realize that that highest, most exalted state of consciousness imaginable could never come quickly or cheaply or easily. We’ll need to devote ourselves to this task of cleaning up our own inner mud puddles.
Many of us who venture down a spiritual path started out because we were unhappy or vaguely dissatisfied with life. Some of us may have been searching for the meaning of life. But none of us started out being aware that we had this longing, or of our pain and fear of not being able to fulfill it because we were afraid to deal with it. Even now, we may not be ready; maybe we have some more purification work to do before we get there. But we can start praying for guidance about how to get there, and contemplating this reality in our meditations.
Maybe we’ve had a brief opening in which we experienced a glimpse of ultimate fulfillment in our mind and being, similar to the one described. If so, it will be helpful to coordinate that experience with this explanation of its meaning. Such short episodes of elation, peace and security, excitement, fascination, joyfulness and intense aliveness, offer a vision that can motivate us to do this work with more vim and vigor. Those of us who can’t remember ever experiencing such a state, still have a deep inner knowing that it exists—and we can tap into that.
Perhaps we can simply resonate with a fear of living in a fragmented, meaningless, disconnected world, where things happen with no rhyme or reason, and in which we could cease to exist at any moment. We seem to hang over an abyss, isolated from any kind of all-loving creator that would give sense to all things. If we respond to this, we are close to discovering how intensely we long for this all-loving creator and a world in which we’re safe and everything has a purpose.
We need not settle for a cynical belief in a mean, godless world. We need not push away our fears and longing any longer. We need to pray for Christ to intervene and help us find the state that religion often refers to as salvation. We need to be wise and humble enough to know that we can only attain this state in bits, finding it for a short while before losing it again. But also knowing that if we found it once, we forever can.
Doubt goes hand and hand with the state of separation. We fear we will always have doubt; we long to move beyond our nagging doubt. We need to meet our doubt, but we need to be honest about it, giving the state we truly long for a fighting chance. Does it even make sense that a state of doubt and fear and pain and unfulfilled longing exists, if there isn’t—on another level of consciousness—a state of total certainty and joy and utter fulfillment? Otherwise, what are we afraid of? Our fear is that we can’t have this other state—a state which must exist.
What we are dealing with here is the most central issue of all human life. Every single religion has taken up this topic, in its own way. Many of us may even be offended by using certain terminology to describe it—such as salvation—because we associate that word with a religion we’ve outgrown. But it’s a real thing, salvation, and not some religious fanatic’s whim. And even if we decry that word, our soul still cries out for the experience of it, as it has just been described.
Here’s where we can ask Jesus Christ to lend us a hand. Because he’s always right there with us, loving us. It’s just that in our separated state, we may not sense this. We need to patiently surge ahead; everything we have done till now has prepared us for this work. The journey may seem like a long one, but according to the hands on the Big Clock, it’s only been a minute. Onward ho.
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