Science Of Mind #35

I Use The Power Of God

Have we really tried God? Since all the other methods have failed, a divine compulsion is laid upon everyone to find the power of God and make use of it. It is not merely a new theory about God that we are looking for; rather, it is the actual power of God that we must harness. Our trouble is that we have not really believed that this Presence exists and operates in human affairs. We have not realized the Divine Presence as a living and dynamic reality. what we need is the direct experience of a conscious contact with the Divine.

God is pure Spirit, filling all space, This pure Spirit animates your every act. There is a real you, which lives in a real God, and the two are one. To know this is to understand the secret of life. To realize this is to understand your relationship with the Divine Presence. To realize that the Law of God is written in your own mind is to make available to you a power that can meet every need.

Right now I feel a flow of Energy, Light, and Love filling my entire being. I know that I am one with an infinite Presence that fills my life with peace, harmony, and joy. I let go of all negative beliefs and affirm that Love is transforming my life today.

-Ernest Holmes

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Essays #17

Dealing With Unnecessary Suffering

by Jayaram V

Summary: This essay is about how we create unnecessary suffering by our thinking, behavior and actions which is avoidable, and how we may overcome it.


Suffering is inherent in life. Who does not suffer? Even when you are happy, a part of you may still be suffering subconsciously. The seers of ancient India knew it. It formed the core of many ascetic traditions of the subcontinent, who suggested different solutions and approaches to the problem of suffering. The Buddha echoed the same sentiment when he declared that birth was suffering, aging was suffering, sickness was suffering, death was suffering, feeling sorrow, pain, grief and despair was suffering, association with what you disliked or separation from what you liked was suffering, and in short the whole life was full of suffering.

Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher, believed that all life forms suffered, but humans suffered even more because they were self-aware and endowed with reason and at some point they would realize how meaningless and purposeless the whole existence was. According to him the ability to contemplate the past and anticipate the future made humans subject to new forms of suffering since they could be haunted by the past and have feelings of remorse and regret.

Unnecessary suffering

This discussion is not about resolving the existential suffering which the Buddha or Schopenhauer talked about, but about unnecessary suffering, or the suffering which is avoidable, which we unnecessarily create or aggravate with our faults and falings and which we can resolve through careful planning and preparation. The idea of unnecessary suffering is mainly used in the context of animal welfare legislation and in animal care to prevent unnecessary cruelty to them. However, it is not just animals which are subject to unnecessary suffering by humans. We inflict unnecessary suffering upon ourselves and upon others by our actions.

There are essentially three main causes for suffering namely the acts of god or accidental causes (adhi-daivika), external causes or those caused by others (adhibhautika), and internal causes or those caused by oneself (adhyatmika). The last one is again of two types, physical causes and mental causes. We have little control over the first, since chance plays an important role in creating them. We have some control over the second type since we can learn from experience and take preventive measures to deal with them. With regard to the third type, we have greater control over them because we can identify the causes and learn to deal with them. It is where we have an opportunity to reduce unnecessary suffering which arises from our actions and those of others. The following are a few examples of how people may subject themselves to avoidable and needless suffering.

Worrying about things that do not matter

People often become emotionally involved with matters that should not concern them at all. Yet, millions of people become involved with social or political issues, which do not help them at all but cause them unnecessary stress and emotional disturbance. For example, some people in India commit suicide for a political cause or when a popular leader dies. It is unnecessary, yet they do. People spend sleepless nights when their favorite sports team loses a game, or when a movie of their favorite film star fails at the box-office. People also resort to violence and fistfights over petty matters and silly arguments. These are a few awful examples of how people become involved with unnecessary problems, which do not directly affect them and which create avoidable suffering.

Exaggerating our fears

People tend to be excessively pessimistic about the outcome of negative situations. They imagine worst case scenarios, think negatively and expect the worst to happen, rather than thinking through situations and estimating probabilities. It leaves many people constantly worried and anxious about their problems and insecurities. According to many studies people experience acute anxiety when they feel threatened due to exaggerated fears as their perception and thinking become distorted and as the repressed fears and insecurities of their past resurface. We also live in difficult times, where our fears are fueled by attention catching news stories and headlines that inflame public opinion with negative news and worst case scenarios. One cannot totally eliminate fear. However, we can reduce a lot of suffering by being realistic and objective about the threats we face and keeping our emotions under control.

Ignoring problems

When a problem is not resolved in time it becomes a crisis. Some people are proactive. They anticipate problems and resolve them before they even arise. However, many do not pay attention until a problem become serious and stares in their face. They ignore early warning signs and let problems simmer until they reach the boiling point, be it a health issue, a child’s aggressive behavior, a deteriorating relationship, a pending house repair, a letter or a complaint received from someone or growing debt. They do it because of fear and anxiety, or because they believe that it is too stressful to deal with such problems. Problems cannot be wished away. They do not disappear if you ignore them or delay your response. Pending matters mentally exhaust you as they create vague anxiety and sap your energy. Some problem may disappear with time but many persist and gather intensity. It is better to deal with your problems in time so that when new problems arise you are fresh and ready to deal with them.

Pessimism

Negative thinking makes people lower their expectations and expect bad things to happen. Negative people also more likely experience depression, low self-esteem, fear, anger, aggression, insecurity, and anxiety which may lead to many health issues, besides preventing them from seeing things clearly or thinking rationally. Therefore, pessimistic people are more vulnerable to unnecessary suffering, which can be avoided if they learn to think realistically and carefully analyze and consider all probable outcomes rather than fixating upon the worst. According to some studies, pessimism also lowers the life expectancy of people. Fortunately, pessimism can be overcome by changing our thinking and responses and by becoming actively involved in problem solving and goal oriented actions.

Negligence

In simple terms, negligence means failure to do what you are supposed to do, or act as responsibly as you should, or failure to honor your duties and responsibilities. In life you have many duties and obligations towards yourself, your family, others and the world in general. Failure to honor them can lead to many problems and suffering not only to you but also to others. It is the same as ignoring your problems. However, negligence may be either intentional or unintentional, which is not the case with the other. Intentional negligence may arise from inertia, lack of interest or motivation, wrong priorities, or unwillingness to take risks or deal with the problems of life. One can minimize such problems through self-discipline, attentive actions, proper checks and balances, committing oneself to one’s duties and responsibilities.

Lack of preparation

Failure creates a lot of suffering for most of us. Most of the time we fail because we do not try enough, prepare well or take care of the basics. If you want to succeed in any endeavor, you must prepare well in advance and put your heart and soul in it. There is no better alternative to success than knowing what needs to be done and execute it with complete resolve. To succeed in life, you must prepare yourself for success and be ready to manage it when you reach the goal. You must be willing to work hard, organize your resources and make necessary sacrifices. If you do not do it, you will end up facing failure, disappointment, shame and guilt, which in turn increase your suffering and feelings of inadequacy and inferiority. It is true even with regard to simple tasks such as giving a speech or making a presentation or negotiating for a pay rise.

Lack of control and discipline

Self-control is the ability to control your desires and natural urges or delay immediate gratification. It is also the ability to stick to a chosen course of action to achieve desired ends. Using discipline and control to regulate your life does produce some suffering since it requires effort to control your desires, craving and need for gratification. However, their absence is even more problematic and leads to many problems and disappointments in life. When people lack discipline, they fail to reach their goals or desired ends as they become easily distracted or fail to persevere. They may also succumb to selfishness, bad habits and unhealthy behaviors, which lead to unnecessary suffering.

Repeating the same mistakes

Failure is inevitable in many aspects of life. Since we are imperfect, we do not necessarily complete every task in the first attempt. Hence, we must learn from our failures to make progress and avoid being stuck. Suffering is a sign that some aspects of our lives, behavior or actions need improvement. Its essential purpose is to teach us lessons. When we do not learn from our failures and mistakes, we continue to repeat them and continue to suffer. You can avoid a lot of suffering by learning from your past, and not repeating the mistakes which caused you pain and suffering in the first place.

Irrational beliefs

We continue to entertain many irrational beliefs, prejudices and assumptions, which we might have inherited in the past from our parents, teachers, elders, peers and society in general. They lead to rigidity, narrow-mindedness, flawed opinions, self-fulfilling prophecies, selective perception, immature behavior, over generalizations, assumptive thinking, unrealistic responses, maladjustment and defensive behavior, which in turn create a number of problems and unnecessary suffering. It is therefore necessary to subject your beliefs to reality check according to your own experience, reason, knowledge and observation. You should also verify the assumptions that are hidden in your decisions, opinions and conclusions.

Becoming stuck in the past

Your past can be a source of unnecessary suffering if you become stuck in it and refuse to live your present moment. Life is never static. So is the world. They keep moving on, whether you move with them or not. Some people cannot get over their past failures, failed relationships or past pains. They keep repeating the old tapes in their minds and wallow in misery, feeling the same old pain, unresolved conflicts, and negative emotions such as fear or anger, even though the rest of the world moved on, and circumstances have changed. Simply because certain events happened in the past, it does not mean that they will happen again. Wisdom teaches that one should adapt to changing times and move on.

Not letting go

To avoid being stuck in the past, you should let go of it by cultivating an attitude of detachment and understanding. Know that we are all imperfect and we all make mistakes. There is no point in hanging on to your past memories and unnecessarily suffering from it. Whatever you cling to is a potential source of suffering, which includes your past and your memories associated with past events, especially those which are painful. Hence, you can avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering in life by learning to forgive and forget. If you keep accumulating grievances, frustrations, complaints, anger and bitterness, you will be subjecting yourself to a lot of negativity, stress, and unresolved anguish. You can overcome it by changing your thinking, perspective and attitude, realizing that it happened in the past and it is no more relevant to your current situation. You can also leave behind your painful past, by acknowledging your mistakes, forgiving yourself and others, cultivating compassion and focusing on current goals. If you refocus your mind on present happenings, you can make peace with yourself and with your past. You can also reduce suffering by removing all the clutter from your life and simplifying it. Give away whatever you do not need instead of hoarding things.

Conclusion

When we examine our lives, thinking and actions, it becomes clear that we create a lot of unnecessary suffering, which can be avoided with careful planning, discipline and effort. If you want to lighten up and make amends with yourself, you should examine your life to see how you create your own suffering and make yourself vulnerable to negativity, a lot of which can be avoided. You cannot remove all suffering from your life, but you can mitigate a lot of superfluous suffering, which arises from your thinking and behavior or your internal causes.

You can also identity the external causes such as your friends or relations who complicate your life or cause your pain and suffering with their actions or their behavior and attitude so that you can appropriately deal with it. By removing negative attitudes, beliefs and habits, thinking through your problems, learning from your experience, staying in the present, dealing with your negativity, anger and hatred, letting go of your past, adapting to the changing times, freeing your mind from assumptive behavior and irrational thinking, focusing upon what you can do rather than what you cannot do and being realistic, you can reduce a lot of unnecessary and avoidable suffering that directly arises from your own actions and those of others.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Pagan Prayer #11

Morning

Today is a day to focus on growth. Everyday is an opportunity for me to grow as a person, to grow in spirit, to grow in knowledge, to grow in understanding. There may be some limits to my physical growth, but there is no limit to how far I can expand my mind. Today I will look to each experience as a chance to grow – in mind, body, and spirit.

Evening

I know that I did my best today to focus on growth and expansion. Tonight I will rest knowing that every moment of my existence – even when I sleep – is a moment in which my being can expand and grow.

– From the book ‘A Daily Book Of Pagan Prayer by Megan Day

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Rosicrucian Reflections #58 “Come, step back from your close view of the obstacles that seem to surround you. Close your eyes to them for a while and create a new picture. Leave the past and the present out of your consideration and make a new life, a new day, beginning with tomorrow. Build it up part by part in your mind and in your conversations and contacts with those around you until you have a perfect picture of the future that is just beyond today’s horizon. Then step forward bravely into this picture; and with determination start your journey along the line that leads to your new life. You will find yourself master of the picture and of those realities, and you will find in it the greatest happiness and rewards, and every effort, every thought devoted to it.”

-Rosicrucian Manuscript

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Essene Meditations And Blessings #60

Meditations

There is a part of me

That is rooted firmly in the earth.

It is to this grounded, solid me

That I now deeply bow.

For without this,

There could be no expansion,

No life-giving nourishment

Coursing to my tender new leaves,

No strong stem to reach toward the sun.

The earth is my home

For this incarnation,

and I am blessed.

The Blessing

There is a sacredness that infuses my life

As I realize that my own growth is my work.

I am the canvas

I am the artist

I am the paint.

I ask that the artist be ever guided

By the Artist,

and that as I grow, I come to know

The perfection

Of the unfinished masterpiece

That is life.

-Danaan Parry

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Daily Meditation #57

The way is made clear before me

The way is made clear before me; I do not falter or fall. The way of the spirit is my way, and I am compelled to walk in it. My feet are kept on the path of perfect life. The way is prepared before me, and that way is a path of peace, of fulfillment and joy. The way is bright with the light of love and kindness. The way I tread is a pleasant and happy one. I see the way and I walk in it.

-Ernest Holmes

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Science Of Mind #34

The Activity Of God Heals my Life

If we carry a light into a darkened room, the darkness is dissipated without effort on our part. So it is the experience of one who has a deep consciousness of Life. Something invisible but all-penetrating will flow through his every look and gesture. People will feel better by sitting in his presence. Healings will take place automatically.

The Divine Spirit is not a mystical, abstract being, living somewhere above this Earth. God is a Divine Presence revealing Himself to everyone who believes. Where God is recognized, there is life. Where the power of God is realized, there is action. Where the goodness of God is acknowledged, there is peace.

I understand that God works through me, for I know that God is the the God of all life, of everyone’s life, of everything that lives. God is the intelligence, the beauty, the love, the order and the animating principle in and through everything. God is my life.

-Ernest Holmes

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis

Spiritual Essays #16

The Higher Purpose of Your Life

Faith and Spirituality

by Jayaram V

Sacrifice is the way of life. Sacrifice is the means to overcome Nature and realize God. Sacrifice in essence means to be like God and live like God in a mortal body, renouncing your own identity and individuality. It is the culmination of all the progress we ever achieve in this world. Jayaram V


Nature is a self-supporting mechanism in which its different components are programmed to further themselves and in the process help each other in their survival. Even in the midst of struggle for survival, the impulse to preserve and sustain life upon earth through collective effort is inbuilt in the living embodiments of Nature.

The altruism of Nature

If there is any hidden purpose to a tree or a stone, it is to be part of a holistic system and perform certain functions for the preservation of life upon earth. While each living being has a certain role and importance in Nature, they also contribute to the survival of others. We may not consciously pay attention to this unique aspect of Nature, but life upon earth cannot be sustained for long unless Nature acts as an integral and unified system in which living beings help each other in their survival.

Much of it happens spontaneously. A flower does not make a conscious choice to spread its fragrance. It automatically happens when certain conditions are present. Without being consciously forced, a honeybee proactively collects honey for the community of bees and in the process helps others such as plants, animals and humans in their survival. They are not the only examples where individual actions contribute to the collective Wellbeing of others. There are countless others, which actively participate in the process of life to survive and help others in their survival.

However, Nature’s altruism is not without a purpose. It is primarily meant to further its evolution and fulfill the aims of creation. As life evolves, intelligence manifests in the gross bodies, followed by selfishness, egoism and the desire for self-preservation and self-promotion. At this stage, each being lives for itself and furthers its own survival and Wellbeing. If any collective good arises from it, it is secondary or an unintended consequence. However, ultimately intelligence leads to wisdom and wisdom to transcendence.

Intelligence and its implications

Initially, all intelligent life forms are motivated by selfish desires and natural urges to live for themselves or for their groups. These tendencies reach their culmination in humans, who are inherently selfish and naturally inclined to live for themselves even at the expense of others. As a human being, if you want to be altruistic, benevolent or selfless, you have to make a conscious and intentional effort to rise above your basic instinct to be selfish or egoistic. The effort is not easy, nor always successful.

Fortunately, Nature has given us a choice to use our intelligence and exercise our will according to our discretion, knowledge and wisdom. Depending upon the circumstances, we can exercise our will and resolve to be different and selfless, other than what Nature intends us to be at the most primitive level. We may come to that choice through an awakening, learning or knowing, or through the enfoldment of our intelligence and discernment. As wisdom grows, selfishness yields place to selflessness and egoism to universality and non-dualistic oneness.

The importance of human life

Nature has endowed us with such abilities that we can take responsibility for our own, spiritual evolution and further our higher aims. Perhaps, it is the highest and ultimate aim of Nature also, which remains hidden until the light of God projects far into the field of Nature and penetrates the deepest core of our bodies. Until intelligent life forms manifest upon earth, Nature remains in control and directs its evolution. When more evolved beings emerge on the scene, it gradually recedes into the background to let the light of soul shine upon the intelligence (Buddha). When intelligence becomes pure with the predominance of sattva, Nature weakens its hold and leaves the further course of evolution largely to the beings themselves.

Of all the species upon earth, we are the highest, most intelligent and most evolved. As the gifted creations of Nature and voices of the universe, we have a choice. We can follow the ways of Nature, maintain the status quo and remain subservient to its aims, which is what many do, or we may rise above our natural urges and primitive instincts to be different and better as spiritually advanced and self-aware human beings. The latter is possible only when we subject our minds and bodies to intense purification and transformation through self-discipline and austerities.

Nature manifests its full potential, intelligence and consciousness in us more than in any other life form upon earth, so that we can consciously and actively represent Nature and fulfill its ultimate purpose. According to Hinduism if you have a purpose, if that purpose is greater than you, if it stretches across your life and beyond it and if it includes others, then that purpose is going to create a more eventful and fulfilling life for you than any purpose that is limited to your own enjoyment and your personal goals. It is why we are endowed with intelligence and why we have to live responsibly upon earth, serving the aims of God’s creation rather than our own. It also why we consider liberation (moksha) as the highest and ultimate goal and purpose of human life.

Our higher purpose

Human life is a precious opportunity to experience consciousness and will. It is through humans the universe experiences duality and speaks to itself. Although we are created to be selfish for the purpose of preserving life upon earth and ensuring the continuation of the world, we are meant to become selfless through self-effort to fulfill the aims of God. Although we are subject to the cycle of births and deaths in our physical bodies, at some point in our journey upon earth we are meant to become aware of our spirituality and realize our true nature. This is believed to be the essential purpose of human beings and the evolution of life and intelligence upon earth.

From ignorance to awareness, materiality to spirituality, darkness to light and mortality to immortality, this is the order of our expected progress in the corporeal world. To progress from selfishness to selflessness to universal oneness, this is the aim of our spiritual practice and self-transformation. Nature is self-regulated. At the lower levels, it is guided by the force of Nature. At the higher levels, it is guided by the force of will and intelligence. A tree has no apparent purpose, other than serving the aims of Nature. A flower has no purpose other than being part of a larger system or process. It is not so with human beings. They can have a higher purpose, if they choose to have one, without the compulsion to follow Nature blindly or remain bound to it.

The Hindu Law Books stipulate that the primary purpose (artha) of human life is to perform obligatory duties and uphold Dharma according to the scriptural injunctions. The higher purpose (paramartha) is to live for God and work for our salvation. However, that purpose does not easily manifest in us. We live in a world of duality, delusion and deception where we cannot clearly discern truths or identify our true purpose. Therefore, our basic instinct is always to live for ourselves and further our interests, if necessary at the expense of others and by whatever means. Individually, a few people may manage to transcend their lower nature, but most remain within its control, bound to their natural instincts. In their search for security, comfort and happiness, they sacrifice their ideals and higher thinking and serve either their own interests or those of others to whom they willfully submit.

The consequences of selfishness

Egoism and selfishness go together. Both are aspects of Nature only and responsible for our selfish desires, actions and karma. Because of them in the name of progress, humanity has laid waste vast resources and driven many life forms into extinction. In their quest for survival, security and worldly freedom, people sacrifice their values and higher wisdom, without considering their moral and karmic implications. Through mindless actions, they leave so many scars upon the earth and their own souls that they descend into increasingly difficult choices and circumstances.

We have proved beyond doubt that although we are intelligent and rational and live on a unique planet in a very inhospitable universe we have been taking the world on a self-destructive path. It is the result of our selfishness and lack of discretion, which arise when we act under the influence of lower Nature. As intelligent beings, we have the twin responsibility of preserving and protecting nature and promoting our spiritual evolution. So far, we have lagged behind in both.09

Selfishness has a certain role and purpose in our lives. However, like many other things it needs to be subjected to moderation and the principles of Dharma or the laws of God. In worldly life, selfishness is unavoidable. However, at some stage it has to be tempered by higher Nature and spiritual wisdom. When people solely live for themselves they become vulnerable to many problems, which culminate in suffering and karma.

When you are preoccupied with your selfish interests, you become a small person, with limited intent and vision. By indulging in selfish actions, you harm yourself and others. As the Bhagavad-Gita states, when you are selfish, you become an enemy of yourself and delay your liberation. However, when you are selfless and serve God or others, you become your true friend and quickly progress. Animals are driven by instincts, but as human beings we can rise above our natural instincts and show our humanity. With our knowledge and wisdom, we can strive to not only advance on the path of liberation but also avoid hurting and harming others for our selfish ends.

Life as a sacrifice

The purpose of human life is to be a friend of the Self not its enemy. It is to go beyond our narrow interests and selfishness and serve the aims of God or his law (Dharma). In Hinduism, we consider it an obligatory duty. A householder (grihasta) is considered superior to a renunciant (sanyasi) because he contributes to the order and regularity of the world by his actions and obligatory duties towards others and the world. Only he can achieve the four aims of human life and lead a complete life. However, householders also run the risk of falling into the trap of selfish desires and bondage. Hence, they are advised to avoid selfish or desire-ridden actions by performing their duties as a service to God and see him in all as their very selves.

Your life’s main purpose is to be like God upon earth and radiate his benevolence and divine qualities. It is to go beyond your narrow interests and serve your higher purpose, leading your life as a sacrifice or an offering so that you serve the aims of God rather than Nature. Having become part of a larger purpose for which you are meant and living your life as a sacrificial offering, you manifest God in your being and experience oneness amidst duality and diversity.

Our scriptures affirm that you are a divine being. Your beingness is part of the vast pool of life upon earth. As an aspect of God, you are here to serve him and express him as the creator, preserver and destroyer and fulfill the aims of Dharma. You are meant to live with self-awareness, fulfill the aims of God in the mortal world and ensure its order and regularity. To live like God, to be like God and express him through your thoughts and actions, this is what we consider practicing the Dharma and manifesting the will of God, or following the Divine Way of Life.

Interdependence and selfless service

Life is all about interdependence. Without support from others, things cannot exist on their own. This is true even in case of gods, who have to depend upon humans for their nourishment, just as humans have to depend upon plants and animals for theirs. Whoever you are, or whatever your circumstances may be, you cannot survive on your own, without the help of others. Your individuality and independence are illusions. You are a dependent reality with limited abilities. Whatever you enjoy here is made possible by the actions of countless others. All things that exist around you are but the numerous manifestation of the same reality, which is the ultimate support of all. In essence, they are one. Selfishness yields to oneness when you realize this truth by transcending your individuality and experiencing oneness with your Self or the Supreme Self. In this regard, sacrifice is the means to transcend your selflessness and realize your oneness with the universe.

If you can consciously make that choice and extend your vision beyond your selfish and narrow interests, you become a force of God upon earth. Transcending your selfishness, narrow mindedness, egoism and petty thinking, you become part of the divine purpose for which you are born. If you acknowledge that you are part of a universal reality and have a duty and an obligation to participate in it as a divine entity, representing and personifying the highest of the values which the humanity collectively cherish, then you have largely succeeded in being and becoming more than a selfish human.

*****

May God bless and protect you and…

May you always be

Healthy, Happy

Safe and Comfortable

Seth Kelly Curtis