Self & Spirit

Let’s examine three energies of self on the path of spirit.  They are Self-Awareness; Self-Actualization, and Self-Realization.

130922-130551Self-awareness is the way we understand why we do what we do.  Most of the time we tend to live in an unconscious reactive state.  Something happens and we react to it.  Self-awareness allows us to develop an understanding of our reactive states.  Sometimes we might start by using a handy label- we tell ourselves we act in certain ways because we come from a dysfunctional family, we’re an incest survivor, we are recovering from something (alcohol, drugs, abuse, trauma, etc.).  If we discover that we are not a victim we begin to realize we can change our minds about relationships, reactions, and what our past means to us.  As humans we are part of a collective: families, peers/friends, organizations, support groups, cultural or educational identities; as well as a gender, a national, ethnic, or societal group.  If we want to be different we have to understand how these collectives function and what our payoff is by belonging to them. Defining ourselves and then determining, through questioning, if our identity is the one we really want is part of self-awareness.

This is not self-judgment, self-criticism, or self-hatred.  It is a logical assessment of the choices that have led us to where we are and a well thought out assessment of where we might choose to go or who we might choose to be. It’s deciding how we got where we are, and determining what’s next. Self-awareness is fine tuning the energy of our lives.

main-thumbnail1Self-actualization means being able to manifest what we want to manifest.  It’s the ability to motivate ourselves into creating and achieving goals.  We do this through clear visualization and affirmation.  Affirmation is not a wish statement. It’s a clear intention of what we plan to accomplish.  A true affirmation is made with knowledge that the goal is possible.  A wish statement might be: I want my house to sell in two weeks.  An affirmative statement is: I know that my house will sell to the right buyer.  

When we are self-actualized we are not praying, begging, or hoping for divine intervention.  We are aware that a clear, concise plan and the personal energy to manifest that plan will bring the desired results.  And when our original plan doesn’t work we are able to adjust it without fear, guilt, or blame.  Getting our life to be focused, creative, and fulfilling becomes more important than excuses, self-recriminations, and a sense of failure.

thght1260_self_realizationSelf-realization is the knowledge that we are sacred beings, a child of Divine Spirit, and that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with us.  To reach this state of consciousness requires that we have a self-actualized, and self-aware life.  With self-realization or Divine Realization we understand that the only important things in life are to be kind, compassionate, generous, and to offer freely the gifts of grace we have been given.

The Path of Spirit is a do-it-yourself project.  There is no savior, just teachers along the way who can give us formulas or tools to get the job done.  We are the only one’s who can actually do the job of expressing love, joy, and peace within our relationships, our communities, and ourselves.  To come to Spirit-Realization is to become effective, magical, whole, and powerful in the energy of being our sacred self.  This is true self-realization.



Myths And You

Our lives are not created just from direct experience but also from our mental and emotion thoughts and fantasies. If we read a book and become involved in the story , or go to a movie and become totally a part of that experience, or become engrossed in a video game- the mind uses those emotions as though we have personally undergone those experiences with the characters in the stories.

storytelling7This can be both good and bad news.  Because we have grown up in a world with these fables informing our mind as well as having actual experiences, we have a deeper and richer unconscious than our ancestors.  In ancient times the storyteller was important because he or she told the stories that would strengthen the beliefs of a culture or a people thus informing tribal consciousness.   A hundred years ago few people owned books.  Now books, movies, and visual experiences are everywhere on electronic devices.

The brain cannot tell the difference between what happens in physical reality and what’s imagined from movies, books, or video games.  This is important to understand in our exploration of spiritual experiences.  Since we are constantly surrounded by story it constantly affects the way we perceive the world.  We need to visit the realm of our personal myths or we will encounter unexpected surprises in creating a spirit-based life and reality.  The more conscious we are of our internal myths, the more we are able to make wise decisions.

fa07fe630OfTwoMindsWe have two minds:  the waking, decision-making, interpretive mind and the unconscious, reactionary, storytelling mind.  Self-realization, self-awareness, or self-actualization means being aware of why, when, and how we are having an arising, an aversion to someone, something, or some idea.  We invest ourselves in examining our inner realms of psychological tensions, pain, and possible life trauma to determine how to move from a dreamlike interpretation of the world into a self-aware and awake decisiveness. We learn to make conscious, deliberate decisions instead of reactive, unconscious ones.  This process will be essential on our path of spirit.

We learn to respond to the world as a divine being through the practice of  meditation, contemplation, mantra, song, ceremony, and creative prayer.  In other words we recreate our lives through mythological and metaphysical means.  We learn to tell Divine Spirit’s story within our story.

A true spiritual experience is one we choose because of commitment and discipline rather than something we experience by chance.  Humans get bored easily.  When an emotional, inspiring, and uplifting experience is not always present in our chosen spirit path we may believe there is something wrong with the path or the teacher.   Having learned to be experience junkies from lots of movies, videos, and books we think the path of spirit should be one long joy ride.  When we decide to become a person of divine consciousness it will take work.  It’s not going to happen by chance, accident, or a weekend immersion.

challengesWhat about difficult circumstances?  Yes, challenges are going to arise in our lives.  We are going to react and sometimes we are going to regret that action.  Everyone has 100% accurate hindsight.  In creating our Divine Myth we can use that ability to discover what options we had that we didn’t see because we were busy reacting to the situation from a default emotion.  Some of default emotions are- anger, fear, frustration, depression, guilt, blame, self-recrimination, etc.  On the path of spirit we are attempting to reset out default response to- loving kindness, generosity, compassion, equanimity, or possibly sympathetic joy.

On examination of a past reactive circumstance we perceive that we could have make a different choice- walked away, asked a question, said no, offered assistance, or simply listened without speaking.  What we chose we chose.  Guilt is not going to help us here.  We look for possibilities so we might be able to choose one of those options next time.  Even if we use our default emotional reaction over and over and also look at options over and over we are still making progress.  One day the options having been repeated often enough will arise along with the usual reactive default thoughts.  Eureka!  We have begun to reprogram our mythological-emotional response into something we really want!

If we don’t discover our personal myths, they will trip us up when we try to decide for our Divine Nature.  Some ways to discover some of these hidden mythical tales is to rewatch movies or television from different ages in your life.  Start with age 5, then 10, then 15, then 20.  Do you recognize why you believe some of the things you believe?  Do you see what you grew up thinking was how life worked or should work?  Time to rethink.  Who do you really want to be?  How do you choose to live your life?  What will you do to become the hero you were destined to be?