The greatest challenge we face in this modern world is that of awakening from the glamour, enticements and illusion of the sensual, material world so we can recognize our true spiritual nature within. This is a difficult step for many people because they are not interested in foregoing physical pleasures to embrace discipline, to exercise their minds or to dispel darkness and ignorance from their lives. Modern society has conditioned people, especially in the Western world, to focus on the pursuit of physical comfort, entertainment, material possessions and sensual pleasure. Under these circumstances, self-discipline becomes almost anathema.
Life in this body, for most people, is taken for granted. We come into a physical/sensual body, but have no idea where we were prior to our conception. We are molded, shaped and imprinted initially by our family and environment and later by our friends, neighbors and co-workers. We blaze our trail through life “doing our thing” trying to make the most of our particular situation.
We become completely and thoroughly identified with this 3rd dimensional realm and with the physical body/ego-persona. Our conscious reality has become so intertwined with the body and ego that this is who we think we are. Thus, our efforts in life are primarily focused on pleasing, entertaining and satisfying the desires of our body and its ego-persona. For most people, this is all there is to life.
It is the sensual experience of being in a body, interacting with other people, and living in a 3-dimensional universe that creates the “substantial” illusion of life. Now, this illusion is real in terms of our bodily experience, but our life experiences are not meant just to benefit the body or to gratify its many desires. However, the sensual and emotional pleasures of being in a corporeal body and a material realm turns into the “sticky trap” which holds people in the illusion of this world.
The more subtle or “insubstantial” experiences of life like sentiment, creativity, intent, courage, honesty, compassion and integrity to name a few, edify and magnify our spiritual nature and soul. These higher characteristics and values, once adapted to our lives, give quality, substance and refinement to the soul and to the body. The physical body is a symbolic, elemental representation of the soul, but the body of matter has no intelligence or identity of its own. In the Gnostic teachings, the “ego” identity of the body is referred to as the “counterfeit spirit.”
Thus, despite the compelling experience of the physical illusion in this life, our concern must be for the welfare of the soul, not the body/ego. Although it has been written that we shall “reap what we sow,” most people do not realize that the essence from ALL of our life experiences whether they are of the gross physical variety or the higher spiritual are recorded on the soul. The thoughts, words and deeds which we manifest unite to become the “threads of destiny” which weave the tapestry of our future existence. In other words, as you do in this life, so shall it be done to you in the one to come.
The Challenge of Awakening
When we witness the beauty and marvels of this planet and the wonders of the universe, it is hard to perceive of this magnificence as being an illusion. Based on research from multiple sources, the term “illusion,” in one sense, refers to the fact that we are living this experience in a perfect reflection of the real Creation. This means that the same laws and principles apply here below as they do above. In other words, as it is above, so it is below; and as it is below, so it is above, and that which is on the earth is so because it is so in Heaven.
The other illusion we deal with is the personal one we have with a very complex world and its human affairs. It is usually the suffering, pain and sorrow of this world that drives us to learn more about life and about our own true nature. The things of the material world are for satisfying, pacifying and gratifying the physical/emotional body, but they have no lasting value for the spirit or soul. The door to knowledge begins to open when a person realizes the fallacy of the material world.
When the individual begins to seek higher knowledge, the world of materialism loses its appeal and the grip of the illusion begins to loosen. The glitter, glamour, and falseness of the world are seen for what they are – empty, finite images of reality that we project onto the 3rd dimensional holographic living universe. For good or ill, each one of us creates and gives meaning to our own individual experiences and perceptions. The illusion of the universe is simply the backdrop in which our individual lives are played out.
Although the travesty and facade of the world may be intellectually recognized, it is not so easy to “slip the grip” of the world. We live in an elemental body whose power and influence on our experience is profound and significant. The elemental body/body-mind and its ego-persona experience a great deal of sensual pleasure in this life, and the ego is continuously “chattering” in our mind about what “it” is going through and how we need to satisfy “its” desires as it judges and compares the people and circumstances of the world. This constant chatter is the method the ego uses to hold our attention captive and to “get its way” even though the road it is leading us down may be destructive for our bodies and harmful to our souls.
What we think of as our ego-persona is not real; it is a “borrowed” sense of identity that forms from our experience of being in an elemental body. The mental concept of “identity” which the ego uses with the body and its body-mind (the collective body consciousness of impulses, instincts, pains, fears and hungers) is a “borrowed” sense of self which is possible only because we, as spiritual beings, have a true Individuality which is our God-given sense of Self. This gift of awareness is our ability to be conscious that we are conscious. Consequently, one challenge in life is to expose the false identity of the ego so the true Self can emerge.
For most people, the ego-persona is full of superficial opinions about life, about people, about its own likes and dislikes, about what it wants and what it doesn’t, and about its many, many desires. All of the chattering thoughts which run through the mind are in some way related to the ego’s desires regarding the things, people and events in the material world. The ego, of itself, is not capable of reason or thought; it is but an image of who we think we are. It truly is a “counterfeit spirit.”
The ego-persona creates its base of operation in the elemental body through habits and patterns of feeling and desire. These habits and patterns of feeling and desire create our behaviors or field of psychology and these behaviors are engrained into the elemental body and its body-mind. Often times, we move through life with very little awareness because we are able to “glide” on these many habits and patterns which govern our bodies, minds, and lives.
This is how we are creating our lives presently, and this is why we must struggle to awaken from the “sticky trap” of the world in which we are caught. The significant collection of habitual behaviors which governs our bodies is not who we are. We must die to who we “think we are” so we can become who “we truly are.” Many are called, but few there are who have the courage, discipline and persistence to walk this path.
Christ explained this reality in the parable of the sower of seeds saying, “The kingdom of Heaven is like unto the sowing of seed. Behold a sower went forth to sow, and as he sowed, some seeds fell by the wayside, and the fowls of the air came and devoured them. And others fell upon rocky places without much earth, and straightway they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth, and when the sun arose they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And others fell among thorns and the thorns grew up and choked them. And others fell upon good ground, already prepared and yielded fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. They, who have ears to hear, let them hear.”
Christ explains the meaning of this parable, “Hear ye also the parable of the sower. The seed that fell by the wayside is like as to when any hear the word of the kingdom and understand it not, then comes the wicked one and catches away that which was sown in their heart. These are they which received seed by the wayside. And they who received the seed into stony places, the same are they who hear the Word and anon with joy receive it. Yet, they have not root in themselves, but endure only a while, for when tribulation or persecution arises because of the Word, by and by they are offended. They also who received seed among the thorns are they who hear the Word and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and they become unfruitful. But they who receive the seed into the good ground, are they who hear the Word and understand it; they also bear fruit and bring forth, some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred fold.”
In this parable Christ is the sower of seeds, and the seeds which bear fruit are those who understand the teachings, apply them to their lives, and actually get the expected results and more. Commitment to this effort is necessary so the individual can have time to successfully sink roots and grow. Truly, this is an individual effort, but we are not alone… Jesus Christ established the way and the Spirit is our guide.
When we hang in there and struggle long enough to feel the purity, joy, and inner peace, we feel more inclined to commit to this spiritual journey. If we are consistent and committed in our daily practice, we incrementally increase our light and begin to receive inner tuition or inner knowledge. Unfortunately, most people get distracted by the daily business of life and the sensuality of worldly things, and for one reason or another, they fall by the wayside.
In reality, we have a choice of how we want to live our lives and how we choose to identify with our life experiences. Spiritual awakening occurs when a person realizes that to identify solely with the body/body-mind/emotions/ego is to identify with the elemental realm of suffering, pain, fear, uncertainty, birth and death. Spiritual awakening creates a deep hunger and urgency to become one with the Light, to get humble, to learn as much as possible of the right stuff, and to get free from the dark illusion of this world.
In the course of living, threads of our light become trapped in the world of matter and our bodies become denser and our thoughts become darker. Directed meditation allows for us to reclaim our spiritual light from the world and we become lighter, clearer and more peaceful within. The results of this effort will be determined by the focus, determination and character of each person. There are many stops, starts and personal challenges on this journey, so it is important to make an honest internal evaluation regarding dedication, commitment and consistency in this endeavor. The path has been established by the life and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ so the children of Light may know the Way of Life.
But for the Rainbow
Life is water forming, clouds rising over mountains,
Rain dropping into streamlets, which grow and broaden and
Flow into large salty oceans, gray flats of liquid rising into air.
Life is water evaporating, a dry firebrand flickering,
The atmosphere of night falling, ash lifting into blackness,
Floating, slowly disintegrating, into the white light of the rising sun.
But for the ever-changing weather, the sun-shiny staining of rain-lit skies,
Life is inert flotsam, sliming, rotting, apertures opening with a spit-squeaking yawn,
A mouth of abracadabra limericks, hands waving a battery-charged wand.
But for the iridescent rainbow, no hint from the great beyond.