Spiritual Development: In the midst of our current political turmoil, I have needed to ask myself: Who am I, really?
When I began to look at the world through the eyes, not of human separateness, but of a loved spirit, I experienced the beginning of becoming a changed person. It was, and still is, experiential, not rational. Not dogma. Looking back, it is the reality that I experienced in AA, that gave me hope, that freed me to become sober. It is the awesome power of acceptance. At my first AA meeting I absolutely knew I belonged. And, more importantly, I knew I knew. Experiencing that simple change of perception was unbelievably exhilarating! I saw myself through the eyes of an accepted man and it changed my life.
I need that hope today.
The self-loathing and ever-present feelings of being less-than, which had dominated my life, immediately disappeared while I was in those smoke-filled rooms or damp church basements. Slowly, those feelings of self-loathing also began to dissipate outside of those rooms.
Understanding that you are an eternal spirit already loved by God is the experiential knowledge of the reality of the Now – the reality of the Kingdom of God or Heaven that most of Jesus' parables were about. This Kingdom is here and now and inside of us. It is all around us, if we will but open our eyes, ears and hearts and see, hear, and understand.
In short, we are already in this Kingdom. We already are lovingly created from the love of a loving God. We are already blessed as God's sons and daughters. Since love is all there is, "sin" in the sight of the Holy Spirit is considered a mistake to be corrected, rather than an evil to be punished.
What more can we possibly want?
So….. what’s the problem?
The problem's rather simple, actually: We just do not believe we are in this Kingdom. In fact, many of us truly believe this Kingdom doesn't really exist – or, if it does, it exists in the future after we're dead. We believe the world we perceive is all there is. We believe this world we perceive is the "real deal." In fact, the world we perceive doesn't really exist. The world you perceive will not jibe with the world I perceive. So, whose world is the real world?
We have a difficult time truly acknowledging the power of love. We do not feel at peace – we feel threatened, angry, fearful, on-edge, wary. We believe in the duality of our perceived world: good/evil, right/wrong, light/darkness, God/Devil, birth/death, strong/weak, beginning/ending, love/fear, peace/anger, win/lose, plenty/scarcity, oneness/separation. So how do we envision a God of love in a universe that we perceive to be filled with fear and hate? Our concepts of God are formed and restricted by our own human experiences – including those experiences of biblical characters who were as human and fragile as you and I.
And the kicker is – All this rings very true, IF you perceive yourself as a distinct human being with a spirit/soul separated from others.
However, if you are actually an eternal, loved spirit currently having a human experience, then our adventures here are opportunities for learning and loving. We are already loved and accepted by God just as we are – a pure, innocent, holy spirit. There is no "sin," only mistakes we, as humans, can make. There is no shame, blame, or damnation because there is no judgment from God. We are His creation, He pronounced us "Good," and He doesn't make junk.
As Paul said, "Nothing can separate us from the Love of God." Nothing means nothing! Nothing means I cannot "sin" enough to separate me from His love. Nothing means Adam & Eve can't "sin" enough to separate me from the Love of God. Nothing means the theological (not biblical) concept of Original Sin cannot separate me from His love.
The Introduction to A Course in Miracles (ACIM) ends with the following wonderful statement:
Nothing unreal exists.
Herein lies the peace of God.
So, what is the "real" that cannot be threatened?
Love! That's what's real – and that's from God – and that's eternal. [Personally, I think we've overworked the word "love," so I like "acceptance" better.]
If the world I perceive is not really real, then all I need to do is begin understanding that and begin asking the Holy Spirit for a new way of perceiving the world. Just like what happened to me in AA almost 25 years ago.
My perceptions are still changing, still maturing.
If you’re willing to come along, welcome to the journey.
Thanks for listening.
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