The articles in this blog are written from a spiritual – as opposed to a religious – framework. The basic premise of spirituality is that God loves all his creations, and we are a part of Him. Our incarnations on Earth are a result of forgetting our true Divine nature. The purpose of life is to remember our Divine nature and return to God through a process of self-purification. Every person, no matter what actions he has committed, will eventually remember his true nature and return to God.
Differences between Spirituality and Fundamental Christianity
Christianity teaches that each soul has one life on Earth, after which he or she is judged and then is either sent to heaven or hell. In spirituality, a person continues to be incarnated until she is purified and able to return to God.
Christianity teaches that certain actions are sinful and must be avoided. In Spirituality, there is no sin and no judgment of actions. As each individual is spiritually connected with every other, any action against another is ultimately an action against himself.
Divine justice is maintained in the Universe via the law of karma. The law of karma dictates that every action committed against another will be eventually returned in kind.
Commandments vs. Spiritual Law
Christianity teaches that certain actions are righteous, and others are sinful. In spirituality, there are no defined sets of actions that are considered right or wrong. Instead, spirituality recognizes that each thought, emotion, or action either brings one closer to God, or separates oneself farther from God. But the motivation behind one’s actions are important. Often, there will be both a positive and negative motivation for the same action. For the purposes of self-purification, both the positive and negative motivations must be recognized.
When a person is moving closer to God, it could be said that he is acting in accordance with “spiritual law”. In contrast: anything that is ego-centric and selfish is counter to spiritual law and leads one farther away from God. Spirituality recognizes that finding one’s way to God is a learning process which includes “trial and error”, and that spiritual law will constantly be broken during this process of self-purification.
In Christianity, it is generally taught that man has free will, although there is sometimes a debate about predestination (especially since God is all-knowing) and what it means. In Spirituality, God shares all that he has with his creations, and that includes free will.
It’s important to note that if the effects of karma were immediate, then people would be compelled to choose according to spiritual law, instead of feeling free to exercise free will. Therefore, it is important that some of the effects of karma carry over into other lifetimes. It should be noted, however, that the more purified a person becomes, the more immediate the effects of karma will be for that person.
Punishment vs. Self-Punishment
Christianity teaches that God will punish men for their sins. In spirituality, God never judges or punishes. However, people often judge themselves and therefore punish themselves. Such action is ultimately counter-productive however. The spiritual path is one of self-purification, and it is only possible to correct the faults that one is consciously aware of.
When a person judges himself, he is unwilling to accept his own faults. He therefore pushes his faults into the subconscious. Of course, his faults will continue to produce “negative” karma, but since he is no longer aware of the faults that are producing the karma, he is now in a worse situation than before.
The key to self-purification is therefore to accept ones faults without any self-judgement. Additionally, it is helpful to pray for help in eliminating one’s faults each and every time they are brought into conscious awareness.
(Dead) Truth vs. Living Truth
Christianity teaches that the “Word of God” is truth, and uses scripture to judge whether or not actions are righteous or sinful. In contrast, spirituality recognizes that Truth is a living entity and can never be codified. As soon as truth is written down and is made into dogma, it becomes dead.
In spirituality, it is necessary to ascertain the truth based on individual circumstances. Generally speaking, motives are more important than the actions themselves. Obviously, it is much easier to live by rules than continually make decisions about what is actually true. The latter is time-consuming and makes it impossible to avoid responsibility. Yet this is what is necessary in order to live by Truth.
The Process of Self-Purification
Ultimately, suffering in life is a result of our longing to be connected with God. However, we rarely realize this. We do know that we want to be happy and feel pleasure. What we don’t realize is that God is the source of happiness and pleasure, and our desire to be happy is actually a desire to reunite with God.
To return to God, however, it is necessary to go through a process of self-purification. The necessity of the self-purification process is a result of using free will in ways that were counter to spiritual law. This is what initially created the “fall of man”.
It is extremely important to understand the purpose of pain within this greater context of returning to God. Life’s pains and suffering are not meant as a punishment. Instead, pain is the guide that shows us what needs to be purified within ourselves. Pain should not be avoided, but instead accepted, embraced, and examined.
As we allow ourselves to experience pain, and investigate the psychological reasons for it, we will be able to bring into consciousness the faults that were had previously hidden from ourselves out of shame. This is important, because it is not possible to purify faults that we are not consciously aware of.
As we regain awareness of our faults, it is important to accept them without judgment. This is not simply because we need to accept ourselves as we are, but also to accept the fact that we cannot directly force ourselves to be “better”. Faults cannot be forced “out of our systems”. Instead, we purify ourselves via self-improvement techniques which include the following:
- Being consciously aware of our faults as often as possible (without judgment) when those faults result in selfish actions.
- Bringing back into awareness the experiences in our lives that influenced the creation of our faults, and being able to see how our misperceptions at the time led to the faults we have today.
- Completely accepting of our faults, while at the same time asking for spiritual help in purifying them.
Just as the body needs certain nutrients to stay healthy, the soul also needs certain “nutrition” in order to maintain its “health”. The most important spiritual “supplement” is working on self-purification. In addition, the following is a list of other techniques that are beneficial for spiritual health:
- Prayer and giving thanks
- Reading spiritual literature
- Treating everyone as Divine
- Recognizing that difficult experiences help the self-purification process
- Striving to fully accept and love oneself
- Constantly being aware of one’s Divine nature
- The teachings of Jesus Christ (both from the New Testament and A Course in Miracles)
- Joel S. Goldsmith (1892 – 1964), spiritual healer
- Dr. Joshua David Stone (1953 – 2005), spiritual teacher
- The Pathwork Lectures channeled by Eva Pierrakos
- Byron Katie (1942 – ), spiritual teacher
- Adyashanti (1962 – ), spiritual teacher
Much of my knowledge and spiritual philosophy is derived from the sources listed in the bibliography.