Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chapter 7 - Impoverishment Is Not Enlightenment, But Neither Is Having It All

Barrel
As I woke to the sound of rain tapping on my window, I found myself wanting to lie in bed and just listen for a while. I had always found a light rain to be so centering and peaceful. Its hypnotic rhythm tapping on my window was undeniably soothing.

The more relaxed I felt, the more my mind began to ponder my last dialogue with Mother Nature. All of the insights She offered regarding energy, money, and balance had inspired more questions to pop forward within my mind. Some of what she was relaying seemed to contradict what many of our abundance gurus teach us.

Then, I began to think about a video I had seen in which a man had asked a very prominent new-age guru about the relationship between materialism and enlightenment. He wanted to know why our more ancient and revered spiritual teachers usually emphasized the importance of letting go of material striving. The guru in the video answered that these masters simply did not understand that this was not required to become enlightened. The guru explained to the man with the question that it is important for us to understand that we are capable of manifesting all of the abundance we can imagine for ourselves. She discussed how we tend to fear being perceived as greedy, and that being abundant didn’t need to be connected with this negative quality. There was one phrase she used that stuck in my mind. She had told the man, “Impoverishment is not enlightenment.” I was sure this phrase must still be true on some level.

As I wondered about this, I suddenly heard my wise teacher interject, “Yes, it is true that impoverishment is not enlightenment. However, do many of you truly understand the way in which you are impoverished?”

“That’s a good point,” I acknowledged, rousing myself out of bed to grab my notepad and pen in order to record our conversation. “So, I guess it is true that impoverishment is not enlightenment, but it isn’t necessarily financial impoverishment that is important to consider,” I shared.

“Yes,” She replied. “It is less about a state of physical impoverishment as a spiritual one represented by a lack of connection to the Divine,” I was advised. “After all, your religious texts and scriptures are full of accounts of mystics who have achieved enlightenment through what they released of the physical world rather than what they tried to gain. This was the path to moving beyond samsara. In other words, it was the path to becoming released from the cycle of reincarnation and karma.”

“Is moving beyond samsara the same thing as ascension?” I asked.

“To ‘ascend,’” said Mother Nature, “literally means to ‘rise above.’ When it comes to examining ascension as a spiritual process, what this process entails can be viewed in different ways depending upon what belief system you follow. For some of you, this ‘rising above’ process can be likened to reaching a state of Nirvana, or becoming fully enlightened, through the release of passion, ignorance, aversion, and desire. As said earlier, once this kind of enlightenment has been attained, it liberates an individual from the cycle of karma and reincarnation. For others, however, ascension has been somewhat connected to the Christian idea of rapture. Prior to an ‘end of time’ tribulation, it is perceived that those who are ‘chosen’ will ascend into the ‘heavens’ through a physical process, leaving the physical earth behind. What makes a person ‘chosen’ could be that they have followed the same process, however. Thus, having freed themselves of sin and bondage to the world, they can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Through entering the Kingdom of Heaven, they can avoid having to descend into a place of darkness and suffering.”

“To me, it appears some of us tend to think of ascension in terms of ‘rising above’ our negative emotions to focus on love,” I interjected. “From what I observe, new age ascension programs do not necessarily require the initiate to give up his or her focus on the material world or on having desires or dreams. However, they do tend to favor giving up the focus on the physical world when it comes to giving our attention to the negative, such as the harm that befalls our environment.”

“Love is, of course, part of the process of being released from samsara,” my guide assured me. “However, whether love would deny the harm that comes through the work of your minds, thoughts, and deeds is another matter. This kind of thinking tends to support a more backward approach to achieving your goal.”

“How did things come to be applied in such a backward manner?” I asked.

“Fear of life,” was the answer I heard. “Fear of change and of venturing into the unknown. Fear of leaving the old behind to create a new world—a world that can do more than leave you feeling impoverished while simultaneously impoverishing everything around you. But you don’t know any different, and the not knowing any different prevents you from knowing what kind of new perspective on love is possible. The idea that love could entail surrendering what many of you currently cherish is frightening to you. So, love becomes a concept to be dwelled upon in the mind alone. This type of approach allows you to maintain your current sense of equilibrium and status quo, even though the most enlightened masters have tried to instruct people to follow another path that involves surrender and letting go.”

“Many of us,” I said, “may view ideas that ask us to surrender in these ways as religious types of doctrine that attempt to limit or punish us. We may view that they arise from a belief in an external ‘God’ that lives in the heavens, who inflicts divine judgment or demands our complete obedience.”

“It would be of greater benefit if you, as humans, could see it less in terms that you are being punished or limited as offered a choice,” She counseled. “The experiment that you are partaking in offers you options and dualities to choose from. Some energies are working to lead you to Self-understanding while others block this type of understanding to some degree. While completely forgivable, misunderstanding can have its consequences within the material world. However, despite any misunderstanding or consequences that may arise, you are encouraged to believe that you are loved unconditionally at all times. Even your Bible encourages you to believe in God’s unconditional love.”

“I see,” I said.

“Since you are speaking in terms of religious ‘doctrines,’ and ‘judgment,’” She carried on, “the Book of Revelation within the Bible makes clear that judgment is delivered based on the work of man’s hands, minds, and deeds. To see this as punishment, though, is premature. This is because you can only succeed in bringing forth judgment on yourselves within the physical realm through the fruits of your separation consciousness.”

“The fruits of our separation consciousness?” I asked.

“Yes,” She said. “For, when you reject your connectedness with one another, life, creatures, and your awareness of the Holy Spark, this leads to behaviors, or so-called ‘evil’ deeds, that mirror that this connection has been rejected or misunderstood. Not seeing your connectedness with everything around you and how life everywhere contains the same living spark, you may seek to harm other aspects of life, not knowing any better. This harm has its consequences, and these consequences lead to what you call ‘judgment.’”

“So, we are evil?” I asked.

“Your actions are at times,” She declared.  “After all, what is the word ‘evil’ but ‘live’ spelled backwards?  It is life turned against itself. It is a backward integrated[1] approach to spirituality rather than a forward one.”

There was a brief pause and then She continued, “You also need to understand that when it comes to ‘reaping what you sow,’ this is not entirely a conscious process. Thus, you are not judged—by way of consequences—based on your conscious actions and intentions alone.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I mean that you will reap what you sow whether you sow something intentionally or unintentionally,” She affirmed. “You will reap what you sow whether you sow something on an individual level or are part of what has been collectively sown. And you will reap what you sow whether what was sown arose in a direct or indirect manner.”

“Can you give an example?” I asked. “Because that sounds a little confusing.”

“Of course,” She offered. “To clarify, you can indirectly, unintentionally, and collectively reap what you sow through the cultural beliefs and lifestyles you, as individuals within a collective, support and follow. For example, the pollution you create for yourselves is not always intentional but is an indirect consequence of collective thoughts, actions, and lifestyles that a predominant number of you within the developed world simply went along with instead of challenging. The consequence for all of you who participate in this type of reaping and sowing is further suffering and karma for yourselves.”

“Ah, I see,” I said.

“When it comes to your Christian concepts of Judgment,” She carried on, “the Bible merely states you are judged according to what you reap—via your thoughts, works, and deeds. This simply means that you are held accountable, and this idea of accountability is not foreign to your new age metaphysical concepts of attraction and manifestation. The main differences between what you as new agers believe and what Christians believe lies with the terminology being used and whether or not there is a belief in reincarnation.”

“What do you mean when you say it depends on whether there is a belief in reincarnation or not?” I asked.

“For those who believe in reincarnation,” She answered, “ascension occurs after overcoming the cycle of reincarnation through right action in the world or reaching proper understanding of one’s Divine purpose or state. Ascension is blocked for those who still have karma to work through or who, in other words, need to learn lessons in overcoming their suffering. Christian belief is very similar, except that there is thought to be only one life, and thus one opportunity, to ascend into the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who linger in ‘sin’—which indicates wrong or unenlightened action—are judged unworthy of ascension and have their soul descend to a place of eternal suffering.”

“Ah, I see how they are both similar,” I said. “Eternal suffering could even be seen as having to repeat life on earth over and over again.”

“Yes,” She affirmed. “In the end, whatever doctrine you may follow, be it Christian, new age, Buddhist, or other, you are similarly held accountable for what arises within your life based upon your thoughts, beliefs, and deeds. You have limitations placed upon your soul concerning whether or not it will be permitted to leave a life of suffering behind in order to find a permanent home with ‘God’—or whatever name is given to this state of divinity.”

“I admit that all of this discussion of ‘reaping what we sow’ and ‘judgment’ makes me afraid of making mistakes,” I said.

“Maybe it would seem less ominous if you could interpret that your ability to make mistakes is evidence of how much you are loved and valued through your being gifted free will and the ability to choose,” was my guide’s response. “Because you have free will and choice, this gives you an ability to learn through making mistakes. If your choices create disharmonious fruits, you can make a choice to do or think something different. If your life was completely set out for you in a predestined and perfect way, you would miss this opportunity. So, this is all part of the holy plan, one where you would be able to experiment with choice and learn from experience.”

Our conversation paused for a while so that I could absorb everything that had been communicated. My mind then came up with another question. “How can we recognize the energies and philosophies that block our evolution or understanding?” I asked.

“You will recognize them through their backward integrated approach to spirituality and their focus upon materialism as the means by which you will find salvation,”[2] She advised.

“Is there also a forward integrated approach to spiritualty?” I asked.

“The forward integrated approach focuses upon the needs of your spirit over the needs of your physical form,” She instructed. “This does not mean you have to starve or deprive yourself, for it is about balance as I have said before. However, you will recognize the forward integrated approach because spirit takes precedence; that is, your material lifestyle will change to conform to the needs, values, and ideals of the spirit first.”

“I think this is what many of us in the new age feel we are doing or those of us who are Christian, Buddhist, or other,” I countered.

“Yes, it is true that many of you are learning the forward integrated approach,” She said, “but because you have been conditioned for so long that the backward integrated approach is the only way to survive, you may suffer from a split purpose. One part of you may be forward while the other is backward.”

“Can you explain more about the backward integrated approach,” I asked, “so that we are better able to recognize it?”

“The backward integrated approach keeps you focused on finding your salvation externally in the material world as opposed to within, where your spirit lives,” She answered. “When backward integrated, spiritual philosophies can become distorted or packaged in ways that allow them to conform to your materialistic agendas rather than the other way around. You are trapped and locked into attempting to serve the world and its co-created constructs. Some of you end up living a purpose that is split between satisfying two excessive drives at the same time. One is toward materialism and the other is toward becoming spiritually enlightened. You then have to go into denial regarding any contradictions that arise from trying to combine both approaches. You also have to go into denial concerning your individual level of accountability when it comes to the collective manifestations that arise over the long term—from following this kind of approach. If you could all see what you were truly doing, and how you were allowing your minds to be affected, you would stop. But your denial and need for rationalization is strong.”

“Why do we go into denial?” I asked.

“Because you are afraid to move beyond what you have collectively and culturally been taught is the way to survive,” She explained. “Certain energies, or those who are on the backward path, can then take advantage in order to offer you a different choice within the experiment of life.”

“Can you explain more about these ‘energies’ and how to recognize them?” I asked. “I know I seem to be repeating questions, but I just want to make sure I understand things clearly.”

“You will recognize the backward energies through their attempt to condition you to believe that your material wealth is a symbol of your enlightenment while your material lack is a symbol of your failure,” She replied. “They subconsciously teach you to believe and accept that if you do not enjoy material comfort through things and money, which you are falsely taught to believe are symbols of your worthiness, then you must feel unworthy or lacking in some way.”

“Are these energies the same as the gurus that are subtly teaching these things?” I asked Her.

“Energy is energy,” She encouraged me. “An energy may express itself through a guru.”

“Oh, I see,” I affirmed.

“Those energies that may lead you into unconsciousness are not necessarily ominous or intending to mislead you,” She assured me. “Sometimes, where you are being led is part of your evolutionary process. WE of all that is living want you to understand that whatever energies you encounter, express, or serve, you are here as part of a grand experiment—one where you are offered choices. You chose to be part of this experiment. You wanted to discover the truth for yourselves and to exercise free will lifetime after lifetime, to arrive at some point where you can choose to release what binds you in the physical world in order to become enlightened to the path within.”

“Sounds like a very Buddhist type of approach,” I said.

“Many world religions have their foundation in similar truths,” She replied. “Some of the understanding may have been distorted by those who interpreted teachings through a backward integrated rather than a forward integrated approach.”

“As humans, we tend to think religion and spirituality get distorted due to people in authority clinging to power or wanting control,” I said.

“That predisposition is part of the motivation for backward integration,” She reminded me. “It is not only authority figures who follow this kind of approach, but the masses as well.”

“I see,” I said. “So, it’s not about blame, really.”

“Blame is unproductive in the process of discovering the truth for yourselves,” She counseled.

“True,” I said. “Is there anything else we need to know?

“Just remember that those who teach a backward integrated approach do not necessarily do so consciously. The backward integrated approach is usually promoted unconsciously out of fear, which is an emotion you all struggle with. Both the one who teaches and the one who learns that, ‘There is nothing enlightened about being impoverished,’ may be reacting in defensiveness to the teachers who have come before and who became enlightened through giving up their preoccupation with their material forms.”

“I can see how that is true,” I said.

“For wherever there is a reason that a person chooses to follow a certain guru,” She explained, “it is because both the guru and follower find a certain type of philosophy attractive. For example, consider the assumption that you can become enlightened without releasing the need to cling to form. This idea will be attractive to both gurus and their followers who find comfort in their illusions, who need lifeless things, or who need the approval of others in order to feel worthy and comfortable with what they have.”

“I can see how that is also true,” I affirmed.

There was a brief pause in our conversation, and then She continued with Her instruction, “Many of you have been heavily conditioned to believe that your true worth lies in what you can manifest or acquire. However, I assure you that this is not the truth. What I mean is that your monetary wealth is not a reflection of who you truly are. The value of all your material wealth combined could never compare to the worthiness, beauty, and purity of the Holy Spark that resides within you—and within life all around. Your worth is not dependent on anything in form and never was. Whatever or whoever speaks otherwise, be it an angel, being, or human form, may be speaking from another agenda or form of misunderstanding, whether they are conscious of it or not.”

“That’s comforting,” I said.

“What is important for you, as individuals, to understand is that you are being asked to make a decision for truth,” She carried on.

“How do we do that?” I asked. “Some of us might not know what the truth is.”

“You can learn to make a decision for truth through learning from your experience with untruths,” She responded. “What matters less is whether your decisions are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ ones so much as that you are moving through a process where you are learning more about who you truly are. You tend to define yourselves by what the world values. However, once you can make a decision for truth, you can turn to it for all your self-definitions because its agenda toward you is wholly pure.”

“I’m confused,” I admitted to her. “Isn’t asking us to focus on the natural world asking us to focus on materialism and illusion in some way?”

“Not if it leads you toward appreciating the beauty of the Holy Spark,” She replied, “and not if it helps you to see how all life is connected and contains this Spark. The point is for you to begin seeing how all life can be revered as sacred. It is not to be revered as sacred based on its physical merit or what can be gained from it, of course. Life is to be revered as sacred based on the merit that it contains a Holy Spark.”

“Ah, I see,” I said.

“Currently, the natural world is seen as a means to an end,” my guide continued. “When seen as a commodity, it is objectified rather than revered, used rather than appreciated; and because all is a mirror, as you do to the natural world, you continue to do to yourselves and your fellows.”

“Is there anything we can do to become more forward integrated spiritually?” I asked.

“Yes,” She answered. “Try to examine more deeply the dual philosophies that subtly split your focus through asking you to believe that within your material life your worth is determined one way and within your spiritual essence your worth is determined another. Allow your worth to be firmly determined by your Holy Spark. In this way, you will transcend any form of judgment—or fear of judgment—you could encounter based on your unconscious actions within the material world.”

“That makes sense,” I said.

“In addition to this, begin to challenge the validity of any theory that would entice you to believe that you are less than who you are in order to persuade you to continue to conform to the unconsciousness in the world,” She advised. “You feel attached to your various forms right now. However, the light they shine is incomparable to the eternal truth of who you are. WE, of all that is living, encourage you to instead learn to fill your cup from the inside, with the knowledge of your intrinsic worth. Only then, will your perception of emptiness and want be removed.”

“Is there any other advice that you have for us?” I asked Her.

“Learn to question everything,” She imparted.

“Can you give some examples for what kinds of questions we can ask?” I inquired.

“Of course,” She said. “As one example, you can begin to ask yourselves what you want and why you want it. You can also ask, ‘How do I tend to define things such as my worth, my success, or my failure?’ ‘Who taught me these definitions?’ and ‘Are such definitions still practical in a world that is suffering the consequences that arise from humankind’s excessive behavior and misunderstanding of his true nature?’  You can also examine the definitions that you subscribe to, such as success, failure, abundance, wealth, and poverty.  For instance, when it comes to whether being ‘impoverished is not enlightened,’ you can become more mindful that while it is true that living in abject poverty is not enlightenment, it is equally true that any definitions created concerning ‘poverty’ are formed solely within the minds that make such definitions real.  One person’s perception of poverty could be another person’s idea of quiet simplistic living.  Thus, money is not in itself a good or bad thing, but when so many of you live in a state of addiction, obsession, and dysfunction, this indicates that a more innocent way to perceive money has become corrupted into something needy and grasping.  This neediness then results in unconsciousness and dis-ease.”[3]

“How can we cure this dis-ease?” I asked her.

“The cure for the dis-ease,” She answered, “is obviously the employment of simplicity and detachment while seeking to align with what is holy from a more purified, gentle, and unhindered state. So begin to challenge many of your Western world philosophies that would subliminally teach you to believe that a life of humility and simplicity cannot yield its own abundance. Become more discriminating concerning philosophies that leave you feeling that if you do not compete within the world in order to have money, possessions, or recognition, then somehow you have not used your gifts and abilities in a productive way. People tend to fear what they do not understand and, because of this, they become afraid of simplicity because they have subconsciously learned to equate it with being less-than in some way. Has the collective acceptance of this illusion and belief necessarily been an enlightened thing?”

“No, I guess it hasn’t,” I replied.

“Like I counseled earlier, begin to challenge your collectively accepted definitions, particularly of success, abundance, and what is truly required to have both,” She said. “Cultivate the ability to see and know success and abundance where they truly exist. If you seek to know them through the illusions and false light of the world, such illusions will not give you a proper glimpse.

“In fact,” She continued, “if you can take a good and honest look at the world around you, you will begin to see how what is most threatening to its existence is not a lack of material things but an overabundance of man-made commodities. The production of and then disposal of this type of abundance then comes to be seen as waste or pollution within your eyes.”

“I never thought of it that way!” I exclaimed. “Our artificial abundance can create our pollution and can also become something we consider ugly such as garbage and waste.”

“Yes,” She said, “Many of you don’t even realize how you are indirectly asking for all of these ‘ugly’ things to be part of your collective existence.”

“We ask for pollution?” I inquired.

“Of course!” She answered excitedly. “Think about it. Think about it deeply. As a species, you think too much but often do not think enough about the vital things! But, ask yourselves in what way you have attracted and asked for many of the man-made imbalances that affect your collective experience.”

“That might be hard for us to do if we really do not know what kind of questions to ask ourselves,” I acknowledged.

“It is really quite simple,” Mother Nature imparted. “All that is required is to look at the equation in a simple and practical way rather than seeing it as involving a mystical or complex process. For example, ask yourselves, ‘Do I not subconsciously ask to burn petroleum and to be able to live with the effects?’ and ‘Do I not ask to be able to manufacture to excess and to cope with the environmental upsets it creates?’”

“I admit that I never thought of it as our ‘asking’ for these things in that kind of way,” I acknowledged.

“Yes,” She said. “A problem occurs when many of you have not understood that perceived plagues within the natural world came by the work of your own minds, hands, and requesting in this exact kind of way. You request these things through adhering to a collective consumer mindset and its dictates regarding what to have, own, purchase, create, how you will transport yourselves from place to place, and more.”

“I can see now how we do bring these problems onto ourselves,” I put forth. “We seem to assume it’s not our fault or that it’s the government’s problem to resolve for us.”

“Yes,” She affirmed, “What more of you need to understand is how you have separated yourselves from knowing Me as a part of you. It is through this separation—and how you have acted out your feeling of being separated—that various effects have arisen through My material form. These effects merely arise as teachers for you to experience and gain new wisdom regarding who you are as a guest in this universe.”

“This all also ties in with what you have previously discussed regarding the Law of Balance,” I said.

“Of course,” She affirmed. “Remember that it is only natural that your collective material overabundance would turn into lack as a depletion of energy and resources becomes a perception. Wherever you see depletion, this is evidence that an overabundance of something—physical, emotional, or energetic—once existed in its place. This is a fundamental law of the universe and a reason to strive for balance. For the root of everything that is collectively manifested lies within the root level of humanity’s collective thoughts and desires. If you ask why you would ever need to create so much excess, the most logical answer would be that there exists a perception of depletion and lack. Then, ask yourselves why you would ever perceive yourselves to be lacking when nothing but abundance, magnificence, and beauty lie within you and the whole or ‘one.’”

Then, as I took a pause to think about everything Mother Nature was imparting to me, I noticed that if I looked upon the earth from a detached perspective, I could recognize two forms of abundance. One form of abundance was natural and full of breathtaking beauty. The other form of abundance was man-made. There was no life within it. I pondered how fascinating it is that this man-made form of abundance has become so over-abundant that it seems to clutter almost everything. When this kind of abundance becomes unwanted and disposed of, it is no longer seen as abundance anymore, but is considered waste.

Once more I heard the voice of Mother Nature beseech me, “Can you not see that when you focus too intently upon manifesting external abundance, you end up creating so much of it that you cannot appreciate it anymore? You end up wasting so much of what could be your treasure. Then you end up dwelling upon or praying concerning how little you have or how you want or need something more.”

“I see that now,” I replied.

“Learn to stand outside of life with an open mind and ask to be shown its true beauty and worth,” instructed Mother Nature. “Ask life to show you the difference between false light—what you have been falsely trained to worship that was never real—and the truth. The one thing you have been taught that you can allow to guide you is that love is the way. You are whole and perfect regardless of your status, wealth, or circumstances. You have been deliberately gifted with free will and choice to be able to choose your own truth and way. WE, of all that is living, love you whatever choice you make.”

“This all seems so overwhelming to grasp right now,” I told Her. “While my mind understands, the rest of me still carries a lot of fear when it comes to letting go of the world and aspects of my material security.”

“One step at a time,” She advised me. “As you look ahead to your future, trust that it is okay to be gentle regarding the perceptions you hold of your world and yourselves. Become miracle-minded in a way that allows you to use your love to honor all life as sacred. For all is worthy. Even the part of you that feels lost in sin and unconsciousness.” She then ended the conversation with, “Remember, beauty abides within…”



[1] This is a term used to describe our spiritual orientation. With backward integration, serving the world and our lifestyles takes precedence to serving spirit. Spirituality becomes packaged in ways to fit into our lifestyles that do not change and that may produce disharmonious fruits.  For example, we preach about oneness but still actively pursue what keeps us locked in separation consciousness and in competition with others (trademarks, hierarchies, copyrights, ideas of ownership, etc.). With forward integration, lifestyle changes so that we are better able to place our service to spirit first. With forward integration, we are more able to walk our talk. There are fewer incongruities and more harmonious fruits produced.

[2] According to thefreedictionary.com, the word “salvation” is defined as 1. [In general] a. Preservation or deliverance from destruction, difficulty, or evil. b. A source, means, or cause of such preservation or deliverance. 2. [Theology] a. Deliverance from the power or penalty of sin; redemption. b. In religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, deliverance from the cycle of rebirth and suffering. c. The agent or means that brings about such deliverance.

[3] The word disease is here (and in other dialogues) hyphenated to give emphasis to a state of lacking ease rather than just the idea of bodily sickness.

Continue to Chapter 8 >>