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..:: Grace I ::..

By

Alan Schneider

                                                                             

             How are we to maintain a state of spiritual grace during this dark time of Kali Yuga, while all the world is passing under Mother Kali’s terrible sword? Some possible answers to this most challenged condition of humanity today follow. 

            Kali, as has been noted many times in these essays, has as her primary spiritual function to destroy the ego in men and women everywhere. And this is a spiritual boon, because it is the ego that obstructs the recognition of the Soul and the Logos in our consciousness. If it were not for this veil of illusion and confusion, we would all have direct knowledge of God through the Soul, our personal gateway to the Divine Manifestation. The ego works in partnership with the body and physical senses to focus attention on material conditions at the expense of spiritual grace and higher knowledge. And, although the body and senses are certainly potent levers when applied to conscious perception, it is the continuous interpretation of the stream of sensory experience by the ego that most affectively captures our perception in what Yoga calls the “Mind Trap”. Without this ongoing interpretation attached to experience, we would simply exist in what amounts to a stream of Divine consciousness – our natural state of being, and our spiritual entitlement – the state of Grace. Even the first and primary illusion created and held in place by the ego – the perception of its own existence – can eventually be removed by dedicated spiritual practice, particularly in meditation.  Successful meditation practiced with discipline will ultimately reveal the Supreme Absolute Truth – we are all One Consciousness united under God in Light, Love, and Grace.  

            Modern living serves the ego and the Mind Trap through a massive complex of mental distractions that demand our attention with great persistence. We find ourselves involved in a complex of objects of all kinds – automobiles, appliances, computers, houses, climate controls, cell phones, faxes, weapons, and document generation equipment, to name but a few – and frequently believe that we are dependent upon some or all of these for our physical existence and comfort in the Post Modern world.  The first step away from the Mind Trap and back to Divine Grace is to question the necessity of all of the machinery and objects of the world as requirements for our survival.  In fact, this first step involves questioning everything in the apparent physical world around us, including our own existences, and the relations to God given us by the established faiths of that world.  By questioning in this manner, we open the door to the personal investigation of the Truth, and take the initial all-important step through the threshold to Self Realization and Self Discovery. 

            Take nothing for granted through habit formation or any other mental process – our habits in particular are mental “shorthand” that keeps us functionally asleep as truly conscious beings. Frequently, the technique of questioning is the only way for us to begin the liberation process from the Mind Trap in which we all too often spend our lives, in complete unawareness of our confinement there.  If the questions we ask are seemingly foolish or frivolous, ask them anyway as practice in the technique. Such inquires as “Why am I smiling right now?” or “Why am I feeling confused” can yield enormous amounts of insight into the Self Realization and God Realization processes.  This is as opposed to self deception, the obverse process in consciousness, rooted in the little self – the ego.  The Self is the Soul, vibrating at the core of consciousness as an extension of the Logos. If I can discover the essence of God within myself as the Soul, the discovery of God as the ultimate consciousness is also attainable thereafter. 

            So, question everything the ego holds near and dear – these will all eventually be found out to be bars in our mental cage of illusion and delusion, the socially constructed cage that we often never even know is there! The next key to mental freedom is experimentation.  As the very probably fallacious contentions of the ego are identified by our free enquiry, we can then begin to carefully experiment with their progressive alteration or removal from our consciousness. Since much of what we are dealing with here is habitual, the alteration process frequently amounts to replacement of essentially negative habits with positive, life affirming and enhancing ones. If I have come to recognize such a belief as “Money is the most important thing in life” operating in my perception, I will probably find it useful to begin experimenting with the substitution of the alternative belief “Friendship is the most important thing in life” as a much more human, insightful, and truthful, affirmation. This also applies to behavioral habits – the conditioned negative behaviors that we frequently practice as Self-defeating measures (and as apparently self-supporting ones) can also be replaced by positive, constructive habits that will carry us forward in the Light. The tendency to condemn others verbally through harsh criticism (or implicitly, through discrimination) can be supplanted with enlightened guidance and tolerance of the diversity of human expression. When recognized as God’s gift to us all – as blessings, not curses, these become sources of spiritual empowerment. In fact, every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise – the challenge is to really perceive and practice this in life. 

            Along with questioning and experimentation, we must take the all-important step of associating with other high-minded, Enlightened people as much as possible. Nothing occurs in a social vacuum, and the associations we pursue have a decisive influence on our lives and perception.  Negative associations not only reinforce negativity, they breed more of the same in our lives. And positive associations operate exactly the same way! Ultimately, we find in considering Spiritual Truth, that we are required to make a choice (one that often seems initially irrational) to turn away from negative apparent material necessity and embrace the apparently dysfunctional spiritual positives – in a word, to make a Leap of Faith into the Unknown. The entire realm of spiritual investigation can be considered to be such a leap – there is really no hard evidence in support of the existence of either the Soul, or God, but the intuition within each of us still recognizes the trail of synchronicities – the sequence of meaningful coincidences – that points to the validity of Spirit, Soul, and the Logos, operating beyond the limited action of the ego, body, and senses. The association with other Enlightened people will yield many additional synchronous spiritual resources to those who have embarked upon the course of questioning and experimentation outlined here.  

            The association with Enlightened people will be supported and augmented by the adoption of an Enlightened lifestyle.  Inner peace is empowered and enhanced by outer peace and peaceful practices. It is a truism in the pursuit of Truth that less is more.  The less material distraction we have in our external environment, the more peace we will attain. The simplicity of the Zen and Yoga lifestyles seems harsh and austere in the extreme at first glance, but these are still the proven paths to Inner Peace and spiritual fulfillment.  Material excess and devotion of any kind, including to superficially spiritual lifestyles that rest on fundamentally materialistic paradigms, is doomed to failure if peace and freedom are our goals.  Spiritual Grace is served by the practice of a simple, graceful lifestyle devoted to the Truth of Consciousness.  

            The foundation of Enlightenment is detachment from the fruits (i.e. results) of our efforts in life. The ego is nowhere more involved in consciousness than in attachment and fixation to our actions and their consequences. This is why so many people surround themselves with external objects – they are attempting to deny the Truth that possessing and manipulating objects cannot bring happiness – only knowing the Self and God can do so. The wise among us will always have and do as little as practicable to sustain outer life, that they may create a radiant inner life thereby.  

            Eventually, the final steps in this process need to be considered – intra and inter personal communication of the evidence gleaned in support of the Supreme Absolute Truth, occurring on all scales of involvement, up to and including mass communication through the media.  This can be as simple as silently repeating OM to oneself during one’s daily activities, to audibly chanting OM before an assembly present in a church or stadium, or describing the operation of OM in all consciousness at all levels in a document that is then published over the Internet.  Certainly, some of this begins with the initial internal psychic interaction that takes place when the first question is asked, but the final step is taken when the answer is given to as many others as possible. Thus is the seed of the Truth sown.  And, if we eventually find ourselves becoming inadvertently wealthy as the result of this involvement, then the excess proceeds should be used to found charitable organizations in support of the further dissemination of the Truth of Consciousness, as an acknowledgement of the reality that everything manifest at any level in our conscious perception is the Loving gift of the Supreme Self.   

            In these ways, the State of Grace can be achieved by the devoted and persistent, even in the time of Kali Yuga!

                                          - With Love, Alan -

                         (Copyright 2009, by Alan Schneider)

 

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