The first section of this book is directed to conveying an understanding of my perspective of our spiritual identity and of a spiritual way of life lived in harmony with the direction of our individual spiritual source. This source which we can allow to guide our life I refer to as our Real Self.
A spiritual way of life is an experience. ft is as difficult to explain in written terms as it is to explain the taste of a fresh orange to someone who has never experienced eating one. Thus, in order to convey my understandings I will combine mental ideas with experiential stories. I ask you to take a first step towards understanding my perspective by slowly reading the following story using your active imagination to fill in the gaps that words cannot convey.
Imagine a close, loving family who grew up together in a warm, loving community. Their village is beautiful, without conflict, and their land bountiful. They share all that they have with each other and all are comfortable.
(I suggest you pause and reflect after each paragraph in this story.) .
The family, neighbors, and friends are all different but special people in each other’s lives. In their community they all know each other very well, and they know how and what each other thinks, and most of the time they are in agreement. When they think differently, they just accept what the other thinks.
Imagine this loving community is a spiritual village and the home of your Real Self.
Now sense that although all seems perfect in your village you ponder on the areas where your ideas differ from those of others in your village and you decide to leave your spiritual village on a journey of experience and discovery.
You prepare for your journey and decide to journey to Planet Earth; you know it is a place where you can learn but you also know that for a while you must leave the memory of your village and family behind.
Imagine you commit to the journey and you fall asleep in your spiritual village and awake with all memory of it gone.
Imagine you wake up as your Physical Self with all your experiential senses but with no memory of your Real Self. Imagine you find yourself in Western society today. Your mind is blank, no knowledge of your real world, of your home, your family, or your friends. You are helpless and at the mercy of the society you are in. You soon learn its ways in order to survive, but somehow, within you, lingers a memory of a different way, a memory of your real identity. You experience this lingering memory in your feelings, not in your mind.
You are initially confused between what you are told is right or wrong and what feels right or wrong. You experience your environment and try to learn for yourself. You start to recognize a connection between your feelings and your own inner sense of right and wrong. You do your best to learn by your experiences and gain skills to survive and serve in your new environment.
As you learn to follow the direction of your feelings and your intuition you start to learn understandings from their guidance. You learn to recognize which of the various ideas within society are consistent with your inner insights and which are not. You start to generate ideas of your own which you have not been taught, but which you know are consistent with the guidance of your feelings and intuition. Although at first you don’t realize it you find you are developing your own unique consciousness, parts of which are in tune with the society in which you live and parts of which are not. Your inner impulses help guide you to grow to become an expression of the consciousness of your Real Self, living in a society which is not your real home. You start to be aware of your own unique inner spiritual voice and aware of moments of conflict between its sense of direction and that of the mental consciousness you have gained on your life journey.
You grow to realize that the others are no different from you. They also come from villages like yours and have also lost their memories; in fact, some even come from your own village. You realize that everyone is in a different stage of remembering the consciousness of who they really are. You realize that even the selfish and angry people are just confused because they have learned the ways of the world and do not remember the consciousness of their Real Self.
You find that living in the world gives an opportunity to experience conflict between yourself and others. You are never sure when you are involved in conflict whether you are expressing truth or if the person you are in conflict with is doing so; but when you find ways to transcend this conflict and it feels good inside you know you are treading the path of your spirit. You realize that you chose this journey to learn more of the truth of God’s will. You realize that your Real Self has been guiding you through your feelings to gain the skills and experience it needs to learn on the chosen journey.
You realize that on earth you meet people from many other-spiritual villages. Some have learned aspects of God’s will which are not generally known within your own village. You find you are able to see the way of God’s truth as it is the one which brings joy and harmony on earth. As you learn and others learn, you help each other to build a world in which there is less self interest, conflict, and anger. It becomes a world closer to your real village and the real villages of others and closer to the expression of the will of God.
When you leave Earth and return to your own village you return with new understandings of God’s truth. You are able to share them, others are able to hear and accept, but there is no conflict in your spiritual village. You realize that without conflict and its resolution there is no way to learn God’s truth. You realize that the only way the other inhabitants of your spiritual village can really learn is to take the trip you have taken and experience its sorrows and its joys.
This imaginary journey provides a background to the more theoretical ideas of who and what we are which I believe can help us on our journey by giving us a mental picture of our complex nature. The theoretical understandings of the ideas and concepts which I offer in the next section are of little value in themselves. The experience of putting them into practice in the school of life is the way in which they can be of value.