Awareness is the key to everything. It is the first ability. It is the knowing ability of being. All other abilities are built on it. There are two major things about awareness:
1.) AWARENESS MOVES AROUND. You can move it or it will move itself.
2.) AWARENESS VARIES IN QUALITY. LOW QUALITY AWARENESS = being asleep. HIGH QUALITY AWARENESS = being awake
The spiritual part of life gets talked about a lot in our society but people don’t really seem to know much about it.
We all kinda know that it’s important but then we don’t REALLY seem to know it … we don’t act on it.
Spirituality kind of continues as a vague, mysterious thing.
Spiritual reality actually has to do with everything but there is a very specific spiritual/emotional/psychological area we all live in. It’s so familiar we don’t notice it.
Even though it is very familiar it is, paradoxically, something we tend to leave alone and stay away from. We’re not comfortable with it.
It seems to mean something different to everyone. To some people spiritual stuff is all peculiar and unusual and sort of exotic. It’s stuff that happens to us by the action of providence … or maybe it’s just coincidence. To others it’s very fair game to be doubted and pooh poohed.
Here, in this lens, spiritual development is not exotic. It is not just for thrill seekers or those who are bored. It’s the realest, most common, most everyday thing there is.
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT IS THE SAME THING AS PSYCHOTHERAPY.
Spiritual development forms the background fabric of our lives. It happens for everyone in the context of THIS life … normal everyday life and when it moves in a positive direction it’s about creating spiritual gold.
One of the best examples of how to create spiritual gold is to come to SEE and admit that you’re wrong about something you REALLY believed you were right about.
Maybe you were just certain that your daughter’s boyfriend is a scoundrel or a n’er-do-well but more and more some rather positive things have been coming to light about him.
Or maybe some guy at work just seems to love to criticize you and you spend a lot of time talking to yourself about how and why he’s wrong. But maybe he really is hitting some nails on the head and his criticisms have some validity. You’re beginning to see that …
It’s when you come to the place when you really can fully see and accept WITHOUT adding any “buts” that these people are right in the things you’ve been disagreeing about that you create some REAL valuable spiritual gold.
“Heart of Gold”
I want to live,
I want to give
I’ve been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It’s these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I’m getting old
– Neil Young -.
Mind, Body, and Spirit
You are a spiritual being … mind, body, spirit. Your spirit grows naturally even if you don’t pay attention. But it’s SO much better and SO much healthier if you intentionally work with it.
Discovering spiritual gold means not worrying about it yet seeking it and letting it happen. It involves not WANTING it too much or for a wrong reason or in a wrong way.
It also means waking up to what’s REALLY going on inside of you and sincerely trying to improve the quality of everything both inside and out.
It means choosing according to the standard of what’s TRULY best not just what is American Standard or what you want in your egoic, self-centeredness.
This is something you CAN do but don’t get worried if it doesn’t happen tomorrow.
Spiritual development is a slow process and we usually make LITTLE BITS of progress. These are good. You should be delighted by them. Patience is one of the main things you are working on.
But CREATING SPIRITUAL GOLD is something you can do … in every way if you’re willing to do the very specific and special work of purifying your motives, doing what it takes to bring changes and achievements about, and LETTING it happen.
What God wills and His child sincerely desires happens.
Creating spiritual gold is about spiritual/personal development. Life is not about happiness. It is much more about struggle. But it is MOST BASICALLY about adaptation, and the really deep and full learning that brings the greatest understanding of self in the context of life and adaptation on all levels is a spiritual pursuit. It comes from the seeking of a pure heart … a heart full of spiritual gold. If we learn to adapt well we can find the personal growth that makes us quite happy and actually joyful and peaceful and filled with positivity. So effective adaptation usually involves effort and struggle which helps us understand the spiritual part of ourselves and how it is at the heart of who we are and our fitting into the world. All of the things we truly want and like and truly make us happy are associated with our spiritual self.
Discovering Spiritual Transformation
Ultimately SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT is about service … without grumpiness. It’s about public service, private service, service to the weak and low in status, service no one notices, service whether it brings us gain or not, service for the greater good … unselfish service. You may not be at this point yet in your spiritual development. You may not SEE that it is about service. You may not wish to be much of a servant yet. That’s ok.
Each of us is on a spiritual development road and we work and grow at whatever point we find ourselves. In the earlier stages the development road is more about personal waking up and getting our hearts right … getting better at truth telling. For the most highly developed spiritual beings, however, spiritual development is about service.
In America we’re not taught very much or very well (certainly not in our schools) about the things of the spirit.
As typical humans we have a tendency to favor a lot of egoic views that see spiritual things in prideful, exotic, and superstitious terms. This has to do with seeking “spiritual” things for selfish reasons.
We don’t look at spiritual things as normal, central parts of daily life … as big and important as the things of the outer physical world.
Learning to pay attention to REAL spiritual development means thinking very differently from the conventional American.
When we are thinking like conventional Americans we have a deep subtle resistance and negativity about seeing spiritual things.
But when we DO switch and start SEEING the spiritual way we really learn to like it. We learn to be able to give up ANYTHING or accept and learn things that are really in disagreement with us because we’ve learned to accept our wrongness.
Spiritual development is not about going to church. It’s about the quality of our being.
Awake awareness (SEEING and realizing) is the key to spiritual development as well as the key to life and psychotherapy. It is the key to creating spiritual gold. It’s about SEEING what’s really real inside. It’s about the transformation of negativity to positive using superhonesty.
People do psychotherapeutic spiritual development normally and naturally. Everyone does it. Everyone’s life is defined by their string of realizations.
This is for YOU! It’s about regular life and regular people living regular life as spiritual beings … growing and expanding spiritually, slowly, continually becoming wiser and stronger in goodness.
What IS spiritual growth?
Everything we do, feel, or think contributes to our spiritual condition.
Sometimes we make positive improvement. Sometimes we make increased weirdness and distort the truth.
If the goal of life is self-mastery (and it is), it emanates from our spiritual development.
It’s good to SEE (REALIZE) the PROFOUND and VALUABLE IMPORTANCE of the truth.
It’s good to line up our daily lives to be in harmony with what’s true … what truly is.
It’s normal to have weaknesses, frailties, and misconceptions that impede our inner growth.
Often we try harder and go faster in the outer world reaching for improvement but it really just messes up our inner spiritual growth.
High quality being is about being compassionate, wise, and awake living in America and on earth in the 21st century.
It’s good to pay attention to our inner spiritual self and be open to new things.
It’s good to SEE more than what we already know.
It’s good to struggle with the question of positivity … how much is the universe positive?
It’s good to struggle with troubles like depression and anxiety, fear and worry, jealousy and self hatred.
It’s good to SEE what faith really is.
There is a fabric of truth that runs through the reality we live in. On the surface it is obvious … not at all hard to know.
But then it runs down underneath the surface and it becomes not so obvious … not so easy. We LOSE it easily.
We easily ignore it. We choose to stay up on the surface and remain asleep to the “hidden” truths.
It’s “funny.” The truth under the surface really is easy but not until we discover it and get to know it.
We keep it hidden by misunderstanding it … telling ourselves it’s hard or unimportant or something different from what it is … something that fits better with what we WOULD LIKE life to be.
But the hidden truth is paradoxical. It’s open to the public while only knowable in our deep private selves. It is REAL truth. We think we know it but we don’t.
It is spiritual. We get it but we also get it wrong.
When we don’t know it or have it wrong we devalue it. We distort it and make it like dirt under our feet.
But then we REALIZE it and it becomes like gold … spiritual gold.
NOTHING is more important than the REALIZATIONS in our lives.
Awareness is the first ability. All other abilities use it and are built on it. We live in what we’re aware of. We also live in what we’re NOT aware of.
We live in the SEEN and the UNSEEN.
There is the SEEN and the UNSEEN in all three worlds … mind, body, spirit … mental, outer, and inner.
In the inner, spiritual realm the UNSEEN is the deep, UNCONSCIOUS mind.
Spiritual development is VERY MUCH about how well we can SEE what’s truly going on in the deep, unconscious mind. We OFTEN make mistakes here.
In the deep unconscious our value system is constantly organizing and reorganizing itself. It forms beliefs and assumptions that motivate all we feel, say or do. Psychological problems come from errors in these assumptions.
There are specific things we can do to learn to SEE what’s going on in our spiritual, psychological self and there are things we can learn to do to bring about spiritual growth and awakening
Life is about Waking Up
We are amazing beings but we don’t notice it. We tend to think we’re special but we don’t understand it. We tend to think we’re the only one but we know that’s not right … yet we keep thinking it.
We so often prefer to remain asleep to the real truth about being the spiritual being we are. Finding spiritual gold means waking up and realizing important things more profoundly by using the natural awareness ability that some call mindfulness. I call it high quality awareness.
Being the one we are is soooooo familiar, we think it’s unimportant. We totally take it for granted. Spiritual development is about waking up to this REAL truth about this being that we are inside. It’s about coming to KNOW more and more about our spiritual self.
I’m trying to describe something here that can’t really be communicated with words because the inner, spiritual area is nonverbal. It can only be discovered.
If right now you are being doubtful and you’re responding from an argumentative position, you will not get (or SEE) what I’m pointing to for you have blocked it. Negativity blocks spiritual development.
Our personal spiritual development is the most important factor determining our quality of life.
Personal spiritual growth is at the heart of life and it happens naturally but it can be stunted or distorted in several ways … mostly by the illusory tricks of the physical, material world.
Life is not primarily about being preoccupied with the danger or the recognition or the pleasures or the convenience of the material world.
Spiritual development is not just about being nice. It is about the quality of how we live every part of our lives, even the hard parts and the negative parts,
We can have plenty of money and security and a fairly easy life but if the emotional/spiritual background of our inner self is primarily negative our quality of life is gonna be low.
On the other hand we can live with frequent or persistent hardship and our inner self have a background that is emotionally/spiritually positive and our life quality will be generally high.
Spiritual development is all about moving away from selfishness and egotism. It’s about realization of underlying truth. It’s about sincerity, more sincerity, and more sincerity.
It’s about bringing our reasons for doing things more and more to favor the good for everyone including ourselves and the entire creation. It is about loving God (whatever your belief here may be) and loving each other with an ever improving quality of love.
In this lens we’re talking about how to foster spiritual development … how to do psychotherapy and accomplish self-mastery.