We often hear these days about “enlightenment” as if it is some secret knowledge that only a few possess. Is this some single secret that is the key to understanding all of life or is it a body of knowledge that requires years of work to acquire?
I am writing this on January 6 which is the Holy Day of Epiphany. It celebrates the recognition of truth as when the Magi recognized the infant Jesus as the embodiment of truth and the Word of God. We still consider an epiphany as a ...moment of truth.
How does one acquire enlightenment? What are some of the primary principles of enlightenment? How is an “enlightened” person different from an “unenlightened” one? Is an “enlightened” person the same as a “spiritual” person?
Later this month, I will begin a spiritual development class at Johns Creek UMC. Should enlightenment be the objective? We will use scripture, meditation and prayer as well as quantum physics to study the nature of the universe and ourselves. We will recognize the interconnectedness of all creation and that everything (visible and invisible) is energy vibrating at different frequencies. Isn’t this the essence of spiritual growth?
What do you think? Please comment below.
Spirituality is inherent in all of us but religion is a choice. Actually, your spirituality should help you to decide which religion (if any) you choose to practice. Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear. Religion and spirituality are not mutually exclusive. For many of us, religion is one way that we choose to express our spirituality.
You may have heard someone say that they are “spiritual but not religious.” To me, this means that the person has an understan...ding of the Divine (or God or the Universe) but does not want to participate in the functions of a religion. Religion or religious has become almost a negative concept. The media including television and movies has pushed a stereotype of “religious people” being hateful, judgmental and even corrupt. True, there may be some people who are like that but they are very few.
What is religion? All religions are organized systems which express differing understanding of and experiences with the Divine. No religion knows the whole truth but some are better than others.
My topic here, though, is spirituality. The word comes from the Latin spiritus meaning breath. Our spirit is the “breath” that gives us life. That is why I say that spirituality is inherent in all of us.
Spirituality ranges from the very basic as in “there is something greater than I am” to a level few reach where you are “at one” with universal consciousness. Most of spend our lives growing spiritually but many never get beyond the basics. Spiritual growth is intentional.
We spend a lot of time and money taking care of our bodies, which are temporary, but little on taking care of our spirit which is eternal. A quote which has been attributed to several people (i.e. C.S. Lewis and Wayne Dyer) is “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
What theologians call “spirit” science calls “energy” and the First Law of Energy Conservation says that energy cannot be destroyed. When our bodies die, we continue to live separate from the body.
Are you interested in learning more about developing your spirituality or overcoming negative experience with religion? Contact me at DctrRon@Yahoo.com and let’s talk about it.
As Paul says, each of us is given a spiritual gift. Do you know what your gift(s) is? If so, how are you using your gift for the common good? Have you ever asked yourself, what is God’s purpose for my life? How do I find out what my purpose is and what my gifts are?
First, what are spiritual gifts? Spiritual gifts are abilities given to you to be used by you to benefit others. They are not given to us so that we can become rich, famous or popular. Some are dramatic, like bein...g a great orator or singer, but most are more subtle. Remember that the purpose is for the common good. Some of these are the ability to show compassion to others without judgment, to feel real empathy for those in need or even just to provide support by being a good listener.
How do you discover your gift? There are several indicators. 1) What do you really enjoy doing? It may be singing or it may be cleaning up after an event. 2) At what do others keep telling you what you are good? Do you get compliments for your teaching, cooking or serving? 3) What opportunities seem to just keep popping up? Where is it that you keep sensing a need? 4) Your chosen profession or hobbies may indicate an area where you both have an ability and an interest.
If you need help in discovering your gifts and/or purpose, I am available for consultation. Email me at DctrRon@Yahoo.com.
After I retired, I stopped posting things on my Spiritual Life blog. The events of the past few days have compelled me to make my feelings known. First, I watched a video from HBO that interviewed some of the participants in the “Unite the Right” march. I was appalled when I heard him claim to be a Christian and that he was “doing God’s work.”
He obviously does not know much about Christianity or “God ‘s work.” They were chanting hateful slogans about Jews, God’s chosen peopl...e. Jews and Christians worship the same God and will spend eternity together in love. Our primary difference is whether God took human form to teach us more directly but the Bible assures us that Jews and Christians will someday again be one.
True Christians believe we should “love one another” and that means ALL, not just a select few who look like us, talk like us or believe like us. Don’t claim to be a Christian and then claim to hate Jews, Whites, Blacks, Asians or anyone else.
Another disturbing event this week was the number of people, especially the media, complaining because our President condemned the hate and racism on all sides. It was as if there is a difference between hate on the right and hate on the left. The President was right. ALL hate and racism is evil and should be condemned.
You can’t claim to want peace at the same time you advocate violent opposition to another group. It would be great if we really could “love one another” but as long as those in power and wealth benefit from having the nation divided, we will be pitted against one another.
The discourse during this electoral process seems to have brought out the worst in us. Most people hold tightly to their beliefs and are not interested in new information. To be truly open-minded means allowing for the possibility of having your mind changed.
Choices are being made based on emotions instead of intellect. The candidates know that very well and are using it to their advantage. They spend their ad money on denigrating each other instead of promoting their policies.
The winner will be in office up to four years but their policies could impact this nation for decades. Instead of saying, "Who do I hate the least?," how about asking which would be better for America?
Was Jesus really God? In the first few centuries after Jesus, scholars could not agree on exactly who or what Jesus was. Some said that Jesus was God who only appeared to be human. Others argued that Jesus was obviously human (he was born of woman) but he had been especially blessed by God and was a prophet like Moses.
This argument continued until the Council of Chalcedon in 451 ad. It was decided then that Jesus was "wholly human and wholly divine." This was not just a comp...romise to stop the disagreement but a new, profound theological concept: Jesus was BOTH God and Man!
What does this mean for us today? Many of the sayings of Jesus can be better understood if we ask one question: Is he speaking out of his humanity or out of his divinity.
For example, in the garden at Gethsemane he pleaded with God "...let this cup (his crucifixion) pass from me..." - obviously a human expressing real human fear of death. On the other hand, he told his disciples "... before Abraham, I am" invoking the "name" that God called himself. Since Jesus did not exist until somewhere between 7 and 5 bc, this MUST be the Divine speaking.
As you read Jesus' sayings in the Bible, stop and ask "Was Jesus speaking out of his humanity or his divinity."
Do you have spiritual questions? Contact me at DctrRon@Yahoo.com and perhaps I can help.
The Holy Bible is the most influential book ever wirtten. It was written to teach us about the relationship between God and humanity. It was never intended to be a book of history although it contains a lot of history. It was never intended to be a book about politics but it includes a lot about the political situations throughout the Biblical period. Same with geography, geneology and creation.
The Bible is a spiritual book. It is presented as a series of stories about peopl...e and situations. Are these people and stories historically true? Some are and some are not. It does not matter. They were written to teach about spiritual matters.
Some are readily accepted as parables, analogies and metaphors. Others are thought to be literally true. Again, it does not matter. When reading scripture, we ask ourselves "What does this story teach us?" not "Did the walls of Jerico really fall from the sound of trumpets?"
The stories are powerful and teach important concepts but there is something even more powerful that many people miss. The Bible is a supernatural instrument or "means of grace," if you prefer. It is an instrument through which God speaks to us personally. If scripture meant the same thing to all people all the time, there would be books describing what each passage means.
God speaks to us so that we hear what God means for us to hear based on our individual needs at the time we read it. Many of my students report that they get new insights by reading passages they have read perhaps hundreds of times before.
Read scripture with an open mind and heart. Ask yourself, what is God saying to ME at this time in my life?
I occasionally have people ask me if I think there is really an afterlife. They are often surprised when I give a scientific answer rather than a spiritual one. In the third century b.c., a philosopher named Democritus presented the theory that all things are made of atoms. By the time I was in high school, electrons, protons and neutrons had been added to that theory.
With the invention of the electron microscope in the 1980s, at least 64 additional particles had been discov...ered within electrons alone. Some are so small that they no longer fit the description of a particle. They are better described as units of energy.
In fact, everything both physical and non-physical is made of energy. This includes human beings. C.S. Lewis once said that we are not a body with a soul. We are souls with bodies. Our bodies eventually die and can no longer house our souls. What happens to the soul when the body dies?
The Law of Conservation of Energy says that energy cannot be destroyed. Since we are energy, we survive the death of the body and continue to exist for eternity. What that existence is like will be the subject of a future post.
As a Spiritual Life Coach, I have had the opportunity to assist many people in their spiritual development. It is important to realize that each individual is different and tend to discover their spirituality in their own way. One of the issues that inhibits many people from growing spiritually is their experience with religion.
Some people just accept whatever they are told and never question their own personal beliefs. If you just blindly accept someone elses belief system,... it does not become personal to you.
Other people have had negative experiences with religion and decide that "spirituality" is not for them. Spirituality is one's own experience with the Infinite, the Universe, God or whatever term you prefer. Religion is a structure within which you express and develop your spirituality.
I have been a United Methodist certified Lay Minister (Speaker/Servant) for almost thirty years. One of the strength of the Methodist Church is that it emphasizes a personal relationship with God, not the Church (or any Church).
Whether teaching, counseling or writing; I rarely teach doctrine although what I teach is consistent with doctrine If you are interested in developing your spirituality instead of religious conformity, contact me and I may be able to help.
The Word of God is very different than the words of God. John 1:1 tells us that the Word was "In the beginning" and that the Word "...was with God and was God." Certainly the Bible did not exist "in the beginning." Then, what did? The Gospel of John was written in Greek and the word used for "Word" was "logos."
Logos cannot easily be translated into English but basically means "the mind of God, the teachings of God or the intentions of God." The Word is capitalized because it refers to a spiritual being, not a thing. This being became flesh (v.14) which is refered to as the incarnation (Gk. incarno = to enflesh).
The Word (or Christ) became a human known as Jesus.
What each of us does can affect all of us. Our thoughts create a field of energy that is distributed throughout all of consciousness. There is so much negativity projected through FB that it has an effect on the consciousness of many people.
You have ofter heard, and hopefully experienced, the fact that we are all connected whether living in the physical realm or the spiritual. Most of us have experienced intuitive events where our connections communicate with us. Trust your ...intuition. It comes from a place of knowing.
The next time you get a "feeling" that someone is behind you or the phone rings and you "know" who it is remember that is is because we are all connected through the internet of consciousness.
Spread love, not hate, and you will never know how many people will benefit from it.
In the past two days, we have seen disturbing, even disgusting, responses to the shootings in California. With 14 dead and 17 wounded, there are hundreds of victims, family and friends deeply affected. Responsible leaders appropriately called for prayers for those who are hurting.
A New York paper says that God won't help. Haters are condemning those who are asking for prayer and even others are making political statements before the bodies are even cold.
I have news for thos...e who condemn prayer. Prayer works! It has been scientifically proven to work, even for those who don't know they are being prayed for. It does not matter what you call the spiritual force. You may call it the Divine, the Universe or God but it is still the sentient force of energy that comprises everything - spiritual and material.
Whether you call it prayer or projecting positive energy to the Universe, prayer works.
Often we hardly notice those things around us. We get so busy in our doings that we fail to stop and take real notice of all the beauty in front of us. Even if we do take notice of a beautiful mountain, for example, do we really consider what it represents?
A mountain scene obviously shows the beauty of God's creation but it also represents endurance, withstanding rain, snow, heat and cold while still standing tall. It stands firm throughout the ages. It symbolizes the height of achievement, always something to look up to and strive for.
The next time you come upon a beautiful scene, take a moment to see more than what is in front of you.
I have heard all my life about people going to Heaven (or Hell). I think some people are confused by the phrase "going to." Going to Heaven is not like going to the beach or going to visit relatives.
Assuming you are "going somewhere" brings up the question of where. In Biblical times people thought of Heaven as being in the sky somewhere. Thinking the Earth was flat, they had no concept that "up" is a different direction depending on where you are on the planet. If Heaven we...re "up" from the Holy Land, people in Australia would have to go around the Earth to get there.
Going to Heaven is not a journey to a far away place, it is more like "going to" sleep. It is a change in consciousness. When we are freed from the confines of our bodies, our minds (selves, souls, spirits) enter the world of spirit. This is not a physical "place" because we are no longer physical beings. You can call it another dimension, the afterlife, heaven, the other side or whatever you prefer. I like to call it The Kingdom of God.
What Is Spiritual Empowerment?
Spiritual empowerment is the realization and utilization of the spiritual abilities that we all possess. We are, above all, spiritual beings. It is very easy to think of ourselves as these bodies that we inhabit but the body is merely a temporary vessel with numerous limitations.
If you ask someone how old they are, the response will be the length of time that the physical body has existed outside of the mother. But when does life actually begin...? Some would say at conception. Others would advocate that our lives began centuries or millennia ago and have lived several physical lives.
Regardless of when our spiritual being began, we are living spiritual lives now and will continue beyond the death of our physical bodies.
Spiritual empowerment requires conscious acceptance of this fact and a determination to learn as much as we can about our spiritual nature. It has been accepted science that we exist on three levels. Freud referred to these as the Id, Ego and Superego. Today, they are more commonly called the Conscious, Subconscious and Superconscious (or “higher self”). The conscious is our intentional thought processes, our reasoning ability and intellectual capacity. The subconscious is the “behind the scenes” force that keeps our body functioning, controls our emotions and retains information from our experiences but the most powerful function of the subconscious is the influence it has over our thoughts and behavior. If we wish to change our behavior (bad habits, motivation, weight loss, etc.), we must change our subconscious. Fortunately, there are several well-proven methods of doing that.
Another function of the subconscious is that it is through the subconscious that we contact our higher self. It is this part of 0ur spiritual nature which is most controversial. The higher self is our connection to the universal force that is the substance of all existence. It may be called the Infinite Mind, the Universe, Nature, the Force (Star Wars), the Collective Subconscious or God.
In summary, spiritual empowerment is our ability to influence ourselves and others through use of our spiritual abilities. As your Spiritual Life Coach, I will assist you in acquiring this spiritual empowerment.