It must have been amazing for our earliest ancestors to witness a live chick emerge from what was before merely an amorphous goo. It was a high mystery.
Apart from the physical attributes of an egg, its spiritual attributes are far more amazing. Symbolically speaking, the egg is the perfect embodiment of undifferentiated potential—out of nothing, something.
If the universe is an egg, as many mythologies claim that it is, then the primary substrate of its existence is, in fact, undifferentiated potential. This is what the quantum physicists have been saying for quite some time now—at the subatomic level, everything is in flux. This is what enables us to use the Law of Mind.
With our imagination, we are able to call forth a particular manifestation from the undifferentiated potential of the Universal Mind, the great creative intelligence we call “God.” Just as we have been able to combine and recombine the raw materials of Earth and thereby create all sorts of things that do not occur naturally, we are also able to combine and recombine thoughts and images for the same purpose. It’s how we have been doing it all along.
As far as we know, we are the only species that looks upon our world as though it were a sea of possibilities and not simply “the way things are.” We see what could be more than we see what is. This is, of course, a blessing and a curse. But it’s been mostly a blessing. We live in better health and longer than ever before in history. In every way, our lives are far better than those of our ancestors, even our most recent ancestors.
It’s up to us to keep our perspective straight, to focus on making the world and ourselves the best that we can be.
“When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”
Just as a person’s face can reveal something about his or her personality, no one would presume that it reveals everything. There’s almost an infinity of stuff going on behind the masks that we wear.
Why do we presume, then, that the external world is any different?
I’m sitting at my dining room table looking out at the incredibly beautiful California Wine Country—hills covered in lush, green grass with vineyards and trees stretching out before them.
And like you, I sense that there’s something illusory about the landscape—the face of the “world”—that I’m seeing.
But what am I not seeing? The trees are all pointing their leaves at the morning sun, soaking in the light. The cells within the leaves are busy converting that light into food, which is then transported to the rest of the tree. Water is being drawn up from the roots, exuded from the leaves, along with oxygen, and it’s all taking place with mind-boggling precision.
One could almost say that the trees are conscious, but we would have to define what “consciousness” means. It might be better to say that consciousness is everywhere and that it’s operating in a particular way called “tree.”
There’s also a highway in the distance, where I can see people on their way to work. Each person is seeing this same world that I’m seeing, although from a different perspective and with different expectations. Every car contains a different kind of conscious awareness.
If I let myself, I can begin to see that there is more consciousness out there than face, that there’s more—WAY more—going on than what’s painting itself on my brain screen. There is so much more than the flat image reveals, indeed CAN reveal, that it’s no wonder that I begin to suspect that what I’m seeing is an illusion.
Maybe the word “illusion” conceals more than it reveals. Maybe what we call “illusion” is really more of a distraction. Maybe it’s the curtain that prevents us from seeing the real part of the world, the larger dimension, and the multiplicity of activities that are taking place 24/7 right before our eyes.
When we begin to see that consciousness is everywhere—that there is intelligent interaction between all things and at all levels—then time and space begin to take a back seat. The different time frames and spatial relationships begin to shift. Their boundaries seem to conform to a different dimension altogether. Even the colors start to reveal a deeper, more organic intelligence as they change across a timescape so different from my own.
When I look into that “face,” a personality so deep and so vast starts to reveal itself to me. I begin to sense that there are deeper realities still, dimensions that I cannot even imagine, much less perceive.
So, is the world an illusion? Not really. I’d say it’s more of a distraction. We see the painting, not the artist. And the weird thing about it is that in some inscrutable way, this painting paints itself. This painting we call the world is its own artist. But just as this world is one small component of a much larger world—the Cosmos—we can assume that there are lots of paintings and lots of artists, and they run deep, so deep that we could never count them all. It’s painters and paintings all the way down.
Rather than try to deny the existence of the world, as though it were a construct of the mind, maybe it would be better to look past the appearance—the face of it—and peer into what’s not so apparent. The reality of THAT might just be more than the average person could bear, which is why we are so enamored by the face and so blind to what’s behind it.
So, rather a rude title, no? It’s the best alternative to “Man, Know Thyself,” because of the problematic word “man,” which seems to exclude women. And even though the convention tells us that it doesn’t, that “man” means “mankind,” which includes women, it’s easy to see how it stacks the deck against them.
So, I thought I’d be clever and rework it into “WoMan, Know Thyself,” but that was no easier to read than that horrible “he/she” construction, both of which not only trip you up as a reader but require you to use a stepladder to get over them. But “You, Know Thyself” doesn’t work either, because who talks that way? The only possible answer was to put “hey” in front because at least it’s familiar—rude but familiar.
Well, I’ve never begun an article with two paragraphs explaining the title. But in this case, it serves a point—our language has so many presuppositions in it that it shapes the way we use it in ways that aren’t always obvious. We assume that “man” means “mankind,” when actually it doesn’t. We’ve gotten to a time when it takes more work to support that notion than the benefits it provides.
But the axiom still stands—KNOW THYSELF.
Ah, that’s it! Just leave off the first word altogether. “Thyself” covers who’s being addressed. But then…is it one person who’s being addressed or everyone? I suppose that that’s why the “man” was put there in the first place, to make sure it was meant for the collective, not just one person. Then the only possible solution is to say, “Y’all, Know Thyself.” But who talks like that?
And the problems don’t stop there (stick with me, this is going somewhere, I promise). If we’re addressing everyone, shouldn’t we say, “Y’all, Know Yourselves”? As you can see, the elegance of the original quickly gets mired in linguistic wrangling. Not only that but it introduces a conundrum—how many selves do I have? Shouldn’t we work that out first?
“Man, Know Thyself” is looking better all the time.
So, here’s the point. How many such contradictions exist in our thinking—the thinking that relies on word constructions to get its job done? And are we aware of them? Or do they bias our thinking in ways that are entirely unknown to us, steering us in directions that seem inherently unfair? The only way to know is to know ourselves—for you to know yourself and for me to know myself.
This ancient axiom just keeps on giving, doesn’t it? It contains within itself the very problem it addresses. How does our language shape the way we see ourselves and the world? Do we use words as tools, or do the words use us? It’s a worthy question.
Now, I’m not advocating for overhauling the language. That could cause WAY more problems than it would solve. There’s not a linguist alive who could rework such a complicated system—one that’s evolved organically over who knows how many thousands of years—without messing it up. (Esperanto anyone?) What I am advocating is a rigorous investigation into how we see ourselves and the world we live in.
That seems to be the perennial mandate. If language plays such a key role in this, then maybe that’s where we should start. And in order to do it, we have to be self-reflective. We have to question why we think the way we do and how our word constructions affect what we see. It’s not that our language (or any language) is flawed—they all are, at least insofar as they cannot provide a perfect tool for thinking. But they’re necessary for thinking. Perception alone cannot substitute for that. We have to evaluate what we perceive. Otherwise, we cannot plan for the future.
In that sense, our language IS our future. So we better get it right or at least get good at it. And that starts with using it instead of letting it use us. Self-knowledge begins here within y’all—all y’all—today.
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We’ve all done something that we regret. Shame keeps us from facing the loss that our action caused, which makes it difficult to be with the fact of the results of what we did.
By “fact,” I mean the changed reality that our action created. What we did cannot be undone—and we know it.
But being with the fact is different from mourning the loss. That’s how we know if what we’re feeling is true sorrow and not merely the emotion of sadness. Something has been broken and it cannot be repaired—that’s the fact. And our full-on acceptance of it leaves us feeling profoundly empty.
Emotions cannot exist in emptiness. They have no place there. If we’re in emotional pain, it’s because we haven’t accepted the reality of the absence. That which is gone cannot be retrieved, no matter how much we want it.
True sorrow can only be experienced within the emptiness of the fact of that. So when we finally accept the absence, there is no emotion, because the new reality is empty.
Why go there? Because it’s real. Emotional turmoil happens when we refuse to accept what is. It’s the reaching for the out-of-reach, desiring the unattainable, and the desperate clinging to what no longer exists that causes pain.
In emptiness, there is no pain. And it’s out of emptiness that something new can be born.
When we come to the stark realization that our life is an abject failure, that nothing we have done has gotten us any closer to God, then and only then can we begin our path of return.
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Did you know that you can see light in your body? This is what the Bible means when it says that Christ will return to Earth.
It’s very explicit about that. What it kinda keeps hidden is that you are the Earth. You are ground zero!
In this video, we’re going to talk about how you can open up and receive the Light of Christ, not just understanding butREAL LIGHT!
So, if you’re looking for ways to make God real in your life, you’re in the right place.
In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus gives us three clues to how we can fill our body with light. Not understanding but light.
First, he tells us that we are the light of the world and that a city on a hill cannot be hid.
This tells us that the world needs light and that we are the source of that light,“we” meaning humanity as a whole. But humanity is made up of individuals—you and me. We have to choose to find the Light of Christ. Each one of us.
And light is the life-energy made visible, right? So, we are the life of the world.
If you’re into feng shui, you know that you never build a house on top of a hill but rather halfway down. Otherwise, you draw too much attention to your home. You only build on top of a hill if you want people to find you.
And he makes it clear that everyone is going to know you’re carrying the light, because people are drawn to people who shine, people who are vibrant, people who are ALIVE.
Second, he says that we’re like a candle and that no one hides a candle under a basket. We put candles on top of candlesticks so that they light up the room and everyone can see.
And look, so far we’re talking in terms of elevation, right? On a hill, on a candlestick.
Hills, or mountains, symbolize heightened awareness. And candlesticks, like pillars and staffs, represent our spine and the kundalini.
Remember, these symbols were around WAY before Jesus’ time, but he knew what they meant. That’s why he used them.
And third, Jesus tells us to let our light shine so that people can see it.
Why? Is it so we can be popular? NO. We shine so that GOD can be popular.
We want to present ourselves to the word in such a way that people will see us and have hope.
We do it so that they can see that LIFE IS GOOD and that it’s worth living, in spite of how hard it is sometimes.
That’s the “good news”—if you open up to the power of the life-energy in you and you let it shine into all aspects of your life, everything, no matter how difficult, is suddenly worth the effort.
That’s what the word “gospel” means—life is good! Sure, it hurts, but it’s worth it.
When we live our lives as though they are brimming with possibility, it keeps us moving forward.
Instead of running away from everything, we seek out new experiences, better relationships, more meaningful vocations, and a heartfelt desire to cooperate, not fight.
So, even if you don’t believe in God or Jesus Christ, this is still the best philosophy in town. It WORKS! It makes life infinitely better.
There are two ways to be a minister, to serve God and humanity—two fundamental divisions of service. One way is to serve people directly by ministering to their spiritual needs through teaching, healing, and the sacraments. The other way is through prayer, distance healing, and soul work. One way is performed in the world, while the other is performed on what we call the “other side.”
Of course, most of us who have been doing this work for a long time do both. We work with people from the outside in and from the inside out. That’s one way of putting it. And this is preferable, because it generates a lot of motive power. Things get done.
But not everyone likes to work this way. Some prefer the hands-on approach, while others are much more attuned to the inner planes of action. That’s where they feel most comfortable because they don’t like to draw attention to themselves. They tend to be private in their spiritual work. They don’t like to talk about it. But when they go within and pray for someone, miracles happen. People’s lives change.
In this age of scientific materialism, there’s not a lot of recognition for the work that these people do. In fact, they’re generally regarded as kooks, New Age, airy-fairy, and a whole host of derogatory names too numerous to mention. And this could be part of the reason why such people don’t like to talk about what they do. But mostly it’s because they don’t care what other people think about them. They know that their work is real and that it gets real results.
These are the people that us teacher types love the most, because they are the ones who keep the Earth balanced and the flow of the Holy Spirit intact. They are the Silent Workers. They go about their sacred tasks quietly, without fanfare, and without the need for recognition. Because they know that all of the recognition they need comes from God and the Host above. They like it that way.
Our purpose in The Mystical Christ Academy is to give these quiet power people a few extra tools that they can use in their work that will provide a little extra boost. We work with those who like the outer activity, too. They have their own sets of tools. But it’s the inner corps, those who do their work in the dead of night on the unseen planes of life that we’re especially interested in, because they make the outer work so much easier for the rest of us.
They’re the ones who make the aha’s possible—those bursts of light that happen in the consciousness of those who are just starting out on the spiritual path, or the feeling of peace and the sense that everything is going to be okay for those dying in a hospice or back alley somewhere in the world. They are the ones who keep the flow of God’s grace pouring in, the stuff that keeps the planet spinning on its axis and keeps the food showing up on our tables.
These people are all over the place. They’re in the mountains of Tibet, the coal mines of West Virginia, and the Starbucks on Market Street in San Francisco. They are the school teacher who prays for her students, the doctor who cares for the people in her care, the bus driver who silently blesses everyone who gets on his bus. They’re everywhere doing their inner work, staying under the radar, quietly going about their business, and changing the world.
A scientist once said, “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine,” meaning that the human mind is not capable of a direct perception of reality. Even the most enlightened people in their highest experience of oneness can only be confronted by it, not comprehend it in its fullness.
Unfortunately, many people define “truth” as anything that validates their beliefs. This, however, is a bastardization of the word.
Scientists, on the other hand, if they are faithful to the scientific method, always seek to disprove their hypotheses and don’t stop until they’re either successful or unsuccessful. Even then, it’s only a step towards truth and can be subject to revision when further data is available.
Philosophers approach truth in the same way. They work within conceptual frameworks that prove to be the most comprehensive, but they’re always willing to revise their conclusions when those frameworks prove to be inadequate. But as with scientists, their willingness to transcend their conclusions is inversely proportional to their investment in them.
In the political sphere, truth is only as good as the data that support it, but that’s based on an unbiased assessment of those data and their interpretation, which then drives policy. The primary metric for ascertaining truth in this domain is whether the speaker is lying, which can also be incentivized by investment.
But then we have to ask, are they lying deliberately, or do they truly believe what they’re saying? And if so, is it a lie? This is where open dialog is of greatest importance, because ideologically driven people usually have at least some dedication to truth and can thus be open to debate, whereas those who essentially have no ideology but instead use ideas solely as tools for manipulation have no such dedication except to power. That’s another domain entirely. It has nothing to do with honest policymaking, only control.
What can be said, will be said.
The final arbiter of truth is the act of praying for truth. We ask for it to be revealed to us from the Universal Intelligence we call “God.” But this truth does not come in the form of an “answer.” Truth, as truth, is indefinite and unspecified from our human perspective. It is, you might say, free of content. You could call it the potential for truth, the depth of which is infinite. But this doesn’t mean that truth as we understand it doesn’t exist. It only means that its full range—its totality—is inaccessible.
Knowing this is the essence of humility.
Praying for truth allows the energy of it to descend upon us and, in so doing, cleanses our doors of perception and lets us see more of what is. It doesn’t give us the answer, but it does greatly widen our horizons. As Saint Paul said, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”
By itself, truth cleanses us so that we can peer a little more deeply into the heart of reality. It’s as though reality, then, sees more deeply into us, and we become better known by it, to the extent that we are capable of opening up to it.
Neither does praying for truth do anything at all, necessarily, for our understanding. That’s on us. We can pray for that, too, but it requires work on our part before what’s true can be integrated into our worldview and thus our activities. Praying for understanding greatly enhances our capacity for it, but capacity has to be implemented before it becomes useful in a meaningful way.
Chemists might know what a particular atom is, but unless they understand its valence, they won’t know what to do with it. An encounter with our shadow is a powerful event, but without integration, it’s meaningless. Integration is a form of understanding. And unless we understand our worldview in the context of culture and history, we don’t really understand it at all, and it devolves into an ideology.
And this leads us to courage, without which transcendence is impossible, because letting go of our conclusions can be frightening. No one likes uncertainty and will sacrifice almost anything to preserve their current understanding of reality. This is why the 9th Century Zen master, Lin Chi, said, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” It’s far less risky to hang onto our preconceptions than it is to let go of them. And yet, unless we do, our apprehension of the truth not only stops in its tracks but immediately starts to degrade. As Jeremiah said, “Our God is a living God.” The truth does not live in answers—it lives in the present moment.
Learning how to access our own wisdom is more important than learning someone else’s techniques and practices. Doesn’t it make sense that everything we need in order to grow spiritually is already right at our fingertips? Here are eight spiritual tools that we were born with:
Fill your body with light. Every cell in our body is filled with light and energy. When we allow ourselves to experience this directly, it enlivens our entire system. It also tunes us in to the divine intelligence that created us, and it reboots the original programming we were created with in the beginning. This light energy in our bodies, and the intelligence inherent within it, is the interface between us and God. When we put our attention on it, it grows stronger, and so does the interface. Our intuition gets better, events occur with greater synchronicity, and our thoughts manifest much more quickly. This is not a patented technique. We were all born with it.
Sit up straight and stand erect. This is a yoga exercise you can do all day long. In Buddhism, there is a concept called axis mundi. It means “center of the world.” It’s where Buddha sat when he came into enlightenment, and it’s represented in Christianity by Christ on the cross. It is the lifting up of the serpent by Moses in the wilderness, and it is the Central Mountain of the World of the Ogallala Sioux. When the ancient philosophers insisted that the Earth was the center of the universe, they were talking about axis mundi (philosophy and science had not yet separated). By sitting up straight and standing erect, we are telling the universe, with our bodies and our intention, that we are one with axis mundi.
Breathe. This is the first and last thing we do on Earth, and it is the most important tool in our spiritual tool bag. I saw a bumper sticker once that said, “Stop Holding Your Breath.” My reaction was, “Who, me?” It’s fear (apprehension and stress) that makes us hold our breath. And if Saint Paul was right when he said that perfect love casts out all fear, then breath and love are directly related. The formula is simple: when we breathe properly, our heart chakra opens.
Be grateful. Don’t be grateful for what you are experiencing, be grateful regardless of what you’re experiencing. Gratitude is the reset button of spiritual energy work. No matter what’s happening or how you’re feeling, gratitude restores the flow of grace. Gratitude is the one virtue within everyone’s immediate grasp. Why is gratitude so important? Because it dissolves resistance. And resistance, according to Ohm’s Law, restricts the flow of energy.
Relax. When I was a teenager, I was into alpine ski racing. You wouldn’t believe how slippery snow can be when it turns into ice, especially when you’re skittering across a steep slope of it at sixty mph. Next to strong leg muscles, controlled relaxation is the most important acquired skill. If your upper body gets tense, it becomes impossible to maintain balance and control, regardless of how strong you are. Similarly, when you’re walking on icy pavement, relax your shoulders and let them drop. This lowers your center of gravity and keeps your weight over your feet, making you less likely to fall. Spiritually, it works the same way: When we try to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders, we tense up. Rapid changes can throw us. Also, the smooth muscles in our bodies, like the ones in our stomach and small intestine, react to stress in a way that we cannot immediately control. They have a mind of their own, and like a tortoise with its head pulled back into its shell, they won’t relax until the coast is clear. Just telling yourself to relax is not enough. The body has to be trained over time to relax, through practice and repetition.
Pay attention to your attention. If you’ve ever flown an airplane or sat next to a pilot in the cockpit, you know that the instruments inside the airplane are just as important as what’s going on outside. We have instruments, too, and they’re always reporting valuable information to us. But, if our attention is always on the externals of our life, those inner reports will go unnoticed. We’ll be flying blind in the dark. Remember, in life there is more to the unseen than there is to the seen. Learn how to read the unseen. Pay attention to your instruments!
Find a way to serve others. In water pumps, there is a component called a “check valve.” It’s a spring-loaded valve that lets the water flow in one direction only. We all need an activity in our lives that employs the spiritual equivalent of a check valve. This means giving one hundred percent without getting something back. The keywords here are giving and one hundred percent. Giving means giving something of value, such as your time or your money. (Compliments, promises, and pats on the back don’t count.) One hundred percent means that you give to everyone, not just those you like—no room for prejudice and bias here. Like the rain that falleth on the just and the unjust alike, you have to give freely without thought of return. Serving and gratitude go hand in hand. Whereas gratitude dissolves resistance, self-forgetting service brings that resistance right up to the surface and into the light where you can do something about it. So simple, so fast, and so elegant.
Change the past. Everyone has a story to tell, and the stories are usually loaded with drama. So and so did this; so and so did that. And now I’m a mess because of it. But these are just stories. The actual events are like the lines of the drawings in a child’s coloring book; we’re the ones who add the color, and sometimes it gets very messy. Unfortunately, the drama is too deeply embedded for us to do much about it. It’s like a bad computer program—only a skilled technician should attempt to change it. God is that technician. Ask God to change the story. The events will stay the same, but the story you tell yourself about them will work for you instead of against you.
We do not need exotic and complicated spiritual practices to cultivate our spiritual energies. Everything we need is already within us. By simplifying our approach and our understanding of spiritual principles, we can achieve greater health, a higher consciousness, and a clearer conscience. The oracles of Delphi had it right: “WoMan, know thyself.” After all, what good is a spiritual practice if you can’t live it every day?