Excerpts About Spiritual Development
The Point of Existence, p. 498 • discuss »
The Point of Existence, p. 565 • discuss »
Facets of Unity, p. 182 • discuss »
Diamond Heart Book V, p. 151 • discuss »
The complete multidimensional self can be experienced only in the fullest realization of presence. In this condition of primordial presence, thoughts, feelings and images do exist, but in a different way than they do in the conventional dimension of experience. These aspects of the self are felt to be completely inseparable from presence itself, not in the sense of two things tied together, but in the sense of coemergence. We do not experience the body as the container of the presence; nor do we experience presence as containing the body. These perceptions might appear in the course of spiritual development, but they are incomplete in that they retain the duality between presence and body. When the experience of oneself as primordial presence is complete, this presence is coemergent with the body. If we imagine being aware in an immediate way of the general shape and sensations of the body, its various parts and organs, and simultaneously aware of the protoplasm of the body, then we will have some idea of the experience of the body and presence being coemergent. The physical body and its protoplasm form an inseparable unity; they are not two things that are somehow connected. Similarly, primordial presence is the fundamental ground and substance of the body, inseparable from it, although it is itself not physical
The Point of Existence, p. 30 • discuss »
When we are self-realized, we are aware of ourselves as completely pure, completely virginal, and completely new. We may say, “It feels like such and such.” We may conceptualize our experience. But if we take that description to define us, if we hold on to a memory to define who we are, then we will have lost our self-realization. So, even though the development of self-representations is a natural property of our mental functioning, it alienates us from our essential Being. Narcissism, then, is a natural and unavoidable result of identification with self-representations. We believe that spiritual development must be seen not only as a correction to normal experience, but more importantly, as further development of the self. Much spiritual work functions to correct the delusions of the self regarding its true nature and the nature of the world by encouraging disidentification with self-concepts. However, we understand the natural unfoldment of the soul to lead to one becoming discontent with, and seeing through, one’s identifications. This unfoldment need not involve a rejection of the capacity for conceptualizing; it can simply allow an increasing transparency of mental concepts as the appreciation of our nature as essential presence reduces our identification with self-representations.
The Point of Existence, p. 182 • discuss »
In a sense, basic trust is a bedrock for the process of spiritual development, but it also affects the quality of the whole of our lives. It gives us the sense that our lives are evolving naturally, moving and progressing in ways and directions that we may not yet know or understand but that we feel confident will be okay. If basic trust is present, our lives have a sense of freedom. Then the desire to know where things are going arises, not out of wanting to control the unfoldment, but out of simple curiosity. When you are functioning from basic trust, it is implicit in how you live, how you interact, how you act in the world, how you go about your life. It is a fundamental quality for human living, as well as a necessity for the work of transformation. We can see to what extent it is present or not in observing the way we live our lives. Basic trust manifests through our actions rather than through our thoughts or feelings, since it is knowledge in the belly and belly knowledge shows through action. So it is a type of knowledge that we don’t usually think of as knowledge.
Facets of Unity, p. 27 • discuss »
In reality, the animal soul is the primary barrier to spiritual development. It’s difficult for us to see this because we’re usually not dealing with a healthy animal soul; we’re dealing with a damaged, distorted, or arrested one. So we’re always dealing with the distortions. We don’t know how big a barrier the animal soul itself is because we’re busy trying to turn it into a more “normal” animal soul by freeing the instincts that were repressed in childhood. That in itself is not easy. But even if you can accomplish that, you recognize, “Oh, what did I do? I thought this animal was going to turn out nice and cute.” You didn’t know it was going to become a huge hungry monster that declares: “Good! Now I am strong, I have my energy. Now I can get what I want!” It’s not as if the animal soul never feels peace and happiness. It does—when it has gotten what it wants. The animal soul becomes beautiful and graceful—but only after gratification of its desires. There’s no freedom in this. You’re at the whim of your desires. In this way, the animal soul is like a small child. When things are going fine, the child is happy. He is an angel. When something goes wrong and he is not getting what he wants, or you want him to do something he doesn’t want to do, the child can become angry and even vicious. Give the animal soul what it wants and it becomes relaxed, happy, and generous. But the next day, when it is hungry again or somebody crosses its path, it behaves very differently.
Spacecruiser Inquiry, p. 139 • discuss »
It is our understanding that spiritual states, in general, require disidentification from psychic structures, normal or neurotic, and that self-realization, in particular, means the absence of these structures, at least in the duration of the experience, as we have discussed in very specific details. Full self-realization—enlightenment—requires the complete and final dissolution of all psychic structures. There cannot be neurotic manifestations in full self-realization, because any neurotic manifestation must be the expression of some psychic structures, which, by their representational nature, will limit the realization. So what is called a “sick guru” must be an individual who is spiritually developed but not fully realized or enlightened. This understanding, besides illuminating the nature of spiritual realization and protecting its purity, may help us to see the imperfections in a spiritual teacher’s realization without having to rationalize them away or to devalue him or her completely. This way, we may retain the objectivity that we need to help us appreciate what we can learn from a particular teacher and what we cannot. The situation of spirituality in the world is not such that we need a fully realized and enlightened master—a Buddha, a Lao Tzu, or a Christ—for us to receive guidance in our spiritual quest. The situation is not unlike others, in most fields, where we find teachers of various degrees of competence and maturity, and the student needs to find the ones who can help him or her best.
The Point of Existence, p. 523 • discuss »
Ideally, spiritual life is all of our life. Nothing is excluded. If something is excluded, that means we are misunderstanding what spiritual life is. Spiritual life is not just going to church, not just meditating, not just having some wonderful inner experiences. It is living in reality—being what we truly are and living in the world as it is. This is possible for us. It is our potential. Of course we want to recognize the spiritual world, but the greater potential is to recognize that the spiritual world is not separate from this physical world. The spiritual world is the light of this world, the true nature of this world, the true existence of this world—which means that it is your true existence. When you experience yourself right now, when you feel yourself right now—if you feel yourself completely—you will feel yourself as wonderful, amazing, a luminous presence. If you are not feeling that, there are barriers inside, tensions and beliefs and ideas and obstacles in your perception, in your consciousness, and these obscurations are allowing reality to reach you only in the conventional way. Our fixed positions limit reality to the world as we normally know it.
The Power of Divine Eros, p. 61 • discuss »