Every doctrine of the afterlife has run into the same problem, which is that of belief. For centuries the existence of life after death has been couched in religious terms, which necessitates believing in religion before the question of the afterlife can be approached. Is it possible to say something more firmly grounded than mere belief, which falls so short of certainty?
With the continuing decline of organized religion in developed countries, a strain of rational atheism has arisen that seems to have the backing of science. In this view, since we lack data from people who have died, there is no reason to abide by age-old myths concerning a promise of life after death. Fundamentally, the death and decay of the physical body points to the death of the mind, because to a physicalist the mind is a product of the brain.
The weakness in this viewpoint is twofold. First, it is founded on unproven assumptions. No one has proved that the brain produces the mind, only that brain activity parallels mental activity. By analogy, the heart beats faster when someone gets excited emotionally, but by no means does this prove that the heart produces emotions. The second flaw is that receiving no data from people who have died begs the question. Entire theories of cosmology delve into string theories and the multiverse with no data and indeed no chance of gathering any data. There are certain boundaries that physical exploration cannot cross, but this obstacle doesn’t invalidate their existence.
The mature expression of hope includes three elements: the aspiration for manifesting our full potential, a trust that this is possible, and an energy that engages to serve this unfolding. In this talk, we explore the importance of hope on the spiritual path, its shadow side, and how we can nourish hope through these three elements in a way that serves inner freedom and the healing of our world (a special favorite from the archives).
Here’s what I’ve decided. The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for, and the most you can do is live inside that hope, not admired from a distance, but live right under it, under its roof. What I want is so simple, I almost can’t say it. Elementary kindness. ~ Barbara Kingsolver
Many sensations come, many thoughts or images
arise, but they are just waves of your own mind.
Nothing comes from outside your mind.
To realize pure mind in your delusion is
practice. If you try to expel the delusion it will
only persist the more. Just say, “Oh, this is just
delusion.” And do not be bothered by it.
– Shunryu Suzuki
In Brindavan, the sacred city where Krishna dances with the gopis, there is a dudhwalla, a milk seller. He’s a true devotee of Krishna. Once he was selling milk, and because of his purity, Krishna with his shakti Radha came right up to the stand, there on the street in Brindavan, and bought some milk. He actually saw them. His eyes are as though they had been burned out by a brilliant bulb. He can talk about nothing but the moment that Krishna and Radha came to his dudhstand. He’s not worried about how much milk he sells anymore. He’s had the ecstasy of seeing God in the form of light. And that’s who he is this lifetime. It’s a high place to be.
Standing still in the middle of a hurricane at first glance seems impossible, irrational and good luck. However if one knows where the sweet spot is, the eye of the storm, then it becomes the natural place to reside. This sweet spot is a resilience point, the heart of being, the zero point of the Cosmos, the reality of our physicality and the infinity of creation. Opening up resiliency thus as a natural force inherent within every space, place and moment allows us to choose it freely rather than having to create something that is not present.
RESILIENCE AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT
The collective usually views resilience as an ability to bounce back...to where? Can we ever go back? Do we need to again create resilience in our lives? Or is it an infinite ongoing energy of life itself? Is it that we only need to acknowledge and tune in to this ever vital force?
Oftentimes individuals perceive Life and the happenings it contains to be strokes of luck, chance, and haphazardness. They perceive Life to be happening to them, beyond their control. This, of course is never so, as there is only Divine order in the cosmos. The sacred laws are always operating pulling us toward the vision that we, either consciously or unconsciously have set for ourselves and our lives. Toward that which we either consciously or unconsciously have placed ourselves in vibrational alignment with.
Life is a beautiful adventure
Life is nothing but a journey. An adventure. And a magical adventure at that. What this means is that Life is always on the move. Always changing.
The evolutionary impulse that penetrates and permeates the cosmos sees to this. In other words everything is in motion, from the old to the new.
Over the last month or so, I’ve noticed that many different people from many different countries have visited my website to read my 2016 article “Surrender the Outcome.” Day after day, that title keeps popping up in the statistics, from Argentina to Morocco to India. I know it’s a key issue for people in their lives no matter where they live, but I also thought there must be more to it. From the perspective of divine guidance, how much clearer could a message be than the repetition of the words “surrender the outcome” every time I go to my website? The truth is that even though I carry that wisdom within me (and have written about it repeatedly), I often need a reminder when things get challenging in my life. The message to surrender comes when I need it most.
Awareness is not aware of itself. It’s not self-conscious, it’s just awareness.
In that sense, the entire universe is awareness. It is not self-consciously aware; it’s just awareness, and that’s when if you want to understand how a spiritual master with Siddhis [powers] knows the universe, they know the universe from inside itself.
Here’s a great one, this is Rilke, and I’m sure many of you love Rilke like I do. It says, “I love ‘in-seeing’,” Can you imagine with me how glorious it is to ‘in-see’ a dog, for example, as you pass by it? By ‘in-see’ I don’t mean to look through, which is only a kind of human trick that lets you immediately come out again on the other side of the dog, regarding it merely so to speak as a window upon the human world lying behind it. No, not that.
“To be awake is to be alive.” — Henry David Thoreau
There are some days when thinking gives way to feeling. This is one of those days for me.
Today, I am getting out of my head and into my heart. Why? Because my heart feels full. I feel grateful. I feel hopeful. I feel blessed.
This morning, I wanted to share with you a poem I recently wrote called “Blessed.” It’s called that because it’s how I’ve been feeling.
Now, I haven’t always felt this way. Even when people told me I was blessed, I didn’t always feel it, even though I knew intellectually that I was lucky and fortunate in my life. I’ve had to feel my way into feeling blessed. It’s taken time. It’s taken practice. I had to get there on my own.
So, if you woke up this morning feeling down — or feeling anything but blessed — trust me, I get it. I know it can be hard to feel blessed if you’re working paycheck to paycheck, if you’re fighting to put food on the table, if you’re getting over a break-up, if you’re battling a sickness, etc. Life can throw a lot of things our way that make us feel anything but blessed. I know some people in the Midwest may not be feeling blessed after the tornadoes and floods, but I hope they have had moments where a total stranger’s generosity has made them feel blessed in recent days.
I’ve learned along the way that feelings come and go. One thing that’s always helped me when I’ve woken up feeling down about life is to put my hand over my heart, take several deep breaths, and honor the feeling. Then, I ask it to leave.
So today, my wish for you is that you can take a step away from thinking and step into feeling. Ease your way into it. Feel your way into feeling blessed. I share my poem in hopes that it will help you get there.
This path takes you out of your mind and into your heart.
Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover—anyone. This lover doesn’t need anything from you, isn’t looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.
You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.
Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.
Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not “I love you” for this or that reason, not “I love you if you love me.” It’s love for no reason, love without an object. It’s just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.
If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness. That’s the space I entered when I met my guru.
Years ago in India I was sitting in the courtyard of the little temple in the Himalayan foothills. Thirty or forty of us were there around my guru, Maharaji. This old man wrapped in a plaid blanket was sitting on a plank bed, and for a brief uncommon interval everyone had fallen silent. It was a meditative quiet, like an open field on a windless day or a deep clear lake without a ripple. Waves of love radiated toward me, washing over me like a gentle surf on a tropical shore, immersing me, rocking me, caressing my soul, infinitely accepting and open.
“In between the old and the new is an empty space.”
Popular advice would tell you that when you feel stuck, lost, or unmotivated, then do something, anything, to get out of it, to move yourself forward. I have found that the exact opposite is true: If you don’t feel moved to act, then don’t. Allow for the pregnant pause in which something new can be born. Take a deep breath and relax into the present moment. The rest will take care of itself.
Doing is the backbone of American culture. Most of us live lives filled with activities, surrounded by voices that urge us to do even more. Working 24/7 is a badge of honor. “I’m so busy” is the daily mantra repeated by countless individuals. We often find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of work and social activity that leaves us drained and exhausted. Motivational coaches enthusiastically tell us we can achieve fulfillment by becoming the entrepreneurs of our own lives. Success and empowerment await us if we just make that extra effort. Such promises distract us from our own inner truth.
Seeing through the veil that our senses and our thinking minds make real, seeing behind the mask to true self, feels like the highest aspiration of humanity. Because, as we are able to do that, it’s as if we are able to find our rightful place in the order of things. We recognize a harmony that’s been waiting for us to feel.
Taking our place in the order of things is not only for the life hereafter or for some abstract reason. It majorly impacts the way we live our daily lives.
This awakening to our deepest self is not for later, it’s for now.
Even though teams of scientists around the world are working on great mysteries, from the origin of the universe to the origin of life, the greatest mystery remains personal, the mystery of the self. So far as we know, human beings are unique in pondering our own existence as selves and also our place in the universe. You would think that this trait is enough to solve the mystery. After all, if I am aware of myself, I should be an expert on how the self operates.
But exactly the opposite is true. No one can say, with any hope of reaching a consensus, even the most basic things about the self. For example, “self” is both a word and a concept, yet no one knows how or when human speech came about, and concepts, which imply thinking, confront us with our ignorance about what a thought actually is. Take the simplest statement about the individual self, “I am.” When you say these two words to yourself, is it really possible that your brain cells know English and possess a voice?
The world’s spiritual traditions can be reframed as explorations into “I am.” Jehovah uses the phrase when he speaks to Moses out of the burning bush, as well as in Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God.” Jesus tells his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” In the ancient Vedas, supreme knowledge is conveyed, mysteriously enough, in the declaration, “I am That.”
The upshot, if we gather these statements together, is that “I am” is a statement beyond what we ordinarily think ourselves as individuals and holds the key to truth, life, existence, and a higher power known as God. The gist of the Upanishads is that all things are done by, for, and because of the self, the foundation of reality. However you parse our different types of scriptural heritage, as a species we have been fascinated and baffled by our own self-awareness.
In the world, there is much turmoil. On the surface, it would appear as though humanity is becoming more and more insane. However, that is just on the surface. Underneath it all, the spiritual renaissance is well underway. The old is dying and the new is emerging. As the awakening beings that we are, we will spearhead this renaissance.
The world as we know it is not worth savingWe have not incarnated onto this planet to change the world as we see it. The world, which is not the same as the planet – is not worth saving.
We are at a time when there is much turmoil and negativity arising in the world. This, of course, is not worth saving.
We have come here to transcend the old world, that which is clearly no longer working for us. Transcend it that a new world may emerge. Not from somewhere outside of us but from within the each of us.
In a previous Soul Inspirations newsletter, I mentioned the three most popular psychic abilities: clairvoyance (“clear seeing”), clairaudience (“clear hearing”), and clairsentience (“clear feeling”) and how you can develop your inner sensing.
In this issue, I’d like to talk about clairaudience, your inner sense of hearing. It’s the ability to hear names, dates, certain sayings, and yes, even songs and melodies. Some people hear objectively, which is outside themselves. When you hear subjectively (in your mind), you’ll become aware of sounds as though they’re words spoken in your own voice.
Have you ever heard your name called out only to find out that no one was there? It may be from a loved one in Spirit, or it can be someone here who’s thinking of you. If you feel it’s the latter, try calling that person on the phone. Most likely, they’ll tell you that they were just thinking of you.
Another good example of clairaudience is when you hear a song playing in your head. Stop for a minute and make a mental note of the song. Listen to the lyrics; often, there is a message of encouragement or advice for you within the words, or for someone close to you who needs a lift or a helping hand.
Many times when individuals pray, they pray, asking God to solve their issues. Or they pray for God to grant them something they want. This is not the way in which God works. God is not a 911 emergency responder.
We did not come here to solve emergencies
We need to remember why we chose to incarnate here on the planet. We need to remember that we came here to go to school. We did not arrive here to seek to acquire, to get, to hoard. Nor to compete with others. We came here to unfold, to grow, and to expand.
We came here to reveal the face of God in and through us and our lives.
And so, we have chosen to come here to learn. Learn to surrender to, embrace and allow that which seeks to emerge from within us to emerge. So that we may forever become more although never less than who we used to be. We are here to be transformed by the continuous renewal of our minds.
Enter our challenge, called problems, emergencies or crisis by some. Each and every single one of them is a nothing but a Divine gift and blessing. That we may transform, grow and expand.
They are called into our experience in total agreement with the lessons we have come to learn. As we, through spiritual practice; meditation, affirmative prayer, high fellowship, and sacred study become aware of this - our problems and emergencies begin to dissolve and steppingstones to higher levels of awareness begin to emerge.
In spiritual life, the basic distinction or separation is the soul from God. That separation is reflected in psychological and physical mediums when the soul incarnates. At the outset of incarnation, the separate soul, when first entering into these planes, does not experience, either psychologically or physically any differentiation from the environment around it. Specifically, the environment of the Mother.
The earliest psychological learning is the development of a separate psychological and physical entity; this learning takes place during the first six months of life. The foundation created is non-verbal and non-conceptual, except in the most rudimentary sense. The soul is then going from undifferentiated matter, physical and psychological, to differentiated matter, physical and psychological.
When the soul seeks liberation during its lifetime, part of the process is extricating itself from the attachment to identification as a separate physical entity, which means merging back into matter on the physical and psychological plane so that only the soul is once again separate.
While there are a wide variety of psychic abilities, I often focus on the three most popular: clairvoyance (“clear seeing”), clairaudience (“clear hearing”), and clairsentience (“clear feeling”). It’s quite natural that some of you already know where your core psychic strengths lie. For example, if you think your individual psychic aptitude is to become a feeler, then you should work to strengthen your clairsentience before you start developing your other psychic senses.
I’ve noticed that many students who participate in my workshops start off with the belief that clairvoyance (I’m seeing or being shown) is the best ways to receive psychic information. However, being a good clairsentient (I’m feeling or sensing) can also produce excellent results.
Clairsentience is the inner-sense of knowing. This is one of the more familiar intuitive senses, and it’s probably the easiest one to develop and access.
Let’s say you’re introduced to someone for the first time at a social gathering, and you immediately get that feeling of discomfort or uneasiness. It’s not so hard to grasp what you’re sensing. You just know you’re not really going to bond with that person. It’s a gut reaction, but we tend to rationalize it by telling ourselves that we probably won’t have anything in common with them.
What’s actually happening is that you’re receiving thoughts and feelings from that person’s aura, which are then transmitted through your solar plexus chakra, which is in the abdomen area. This results in what we so often call that “gut feeling,” which in this case is a form of clairsentience.
Normal waking consciousness, dream states, emotional states, and other states of awareness are different realities, somewhat like channels of the TV receiver.
As you walk down the street you can tune your "receiver" into the world on any number of channels. Each way of tuning creates a very different street, but the street doesn't change; you do. You see what you look for. If you are primarily preoccupied or tuned to the physical body, as you look at people you see them as man or woman, fat or thin, tall or short, attractive or unattractive. When you are busy looking at personalities you might see them as introverted or extroverted, hysterical or paranoid, happy or sad. If you were tuned to the astral identities you'd see a Leo or a Taurus, an angel or a demon. It's all in the eyes of the beholder. Christ could walk up to you and you might see him as a pleasant carpenter, dressed plainly. You might think: interesting teacher, he has a nice vibe. If you were looking beyond that, you might see Him as Living Spirit.