Fresh Thinking, Inspiration, and Vision on the Process of Spiritual Transformation
All of humanity could be a spiritual community. But that is unlikely to happen if there are not spiritual pioneers who develop and share an experience of community among themselves. That is why I am intent on developing spiritual community with people around the globe—a community of consciousness that transcends culture, race and belief. I hope you share that intent.
At the root of the word community is the verb commune. Any kind of community is about communion, and the word spiritual just emphasizes the point. We may be rubbing shoulders with other people, and there’s something happening between us as people. But there is also something happening in relationship to an invisible reality. We have the opportunity to commune with that invisible reality as we are communing with one another.
That invisible reality contains the essence of what can be known by people and what we can manifest in the world. It is the realm of potential that contains the inner impulse for people to become what they could become on earth, and for the earth as a whole to evolve and fulfill its destiny. It is the heaven for what could be manifest on earth, and so the invisible reality within us contains our future.
Humanity is present on earth to open the windows of that heaven, to allow something more of what is invisible to be known and experienced. Every person has that opportunity in every moment of their life. But the opportunity won’t be realized if the individual does not set aside specific time for spiritual intensification. Heavenly potential is known on earth because there is a place for it in consciousness, and part of making that place is setting aside time.
In our Full Self Emergence work-study program at Sunrise Ranch, we have been spending time meditating on the words of The Lord’s Prayer. It begins with that oh-so-masculine way of addressing God, “Our Father.” We had a good conversation about that, noting that Jesus used a word that conveyed a sense of familial closeness. Some say that the word translated as Father is more like the word Daddy or Papa might be in English. The word Father also implies conception. The spiritual reality within us conceives something that is to be born through us.
In addressing the Divine as Father, gender issues often come up. Depending on where a person is in their relationship with their own birth father, addressing the Divine that way may be a block for a person more than a touchstone for experiencing the Divine. And the question becomes, where is Mother God in all this? Where is the divine feminine?
Sometimes people go looking for the divine feminine, without realizing that we as humanity, if we’re going to speak in gender terms, are here to provide the divine feminine relative to the Father who is in heaven. We are here to provide a spiritual womb where what has been invisible and unmanifest may be conceived and born. We are here to provide a surround of love in which creation can be held safe. This is the opportunity every individual has in their life, and it is the opportunity that any community of people has together.
It’s interesting that when we speak of spiritual things we inevitably turn to physical reality as a way of talking about them. So we speak about God as if God were a father. God isn’t a father in the usual sense of the word. Virtually all of our words for the spiritual and the invisible end up being rooted in a physical reality, but the words can put us in touch with something else—an invisible essence. It is that invisible essence that we may touch and feel through the use of words that make reference to our physical reality. When we welcome invisible essence in our experience, something is conceived in our hearts—a new awareness is born and develops in consciousness, and ultimately a new reality manifests in our life.
A person has to make space in their life to have the experience of spiritual essence. For many people, they live without sufficient stillness in mind and heart, and without communion to touch spiritual essences and let those essences conceive something new in their experience. The Sufi poet, Hafiz, writes of this:
I know the way you can get
When you have not had a drink of Love:
Your face hardens,
Your sweet muscles cramp.
Children become concerned
About a strange look that appears in your eyes
Which even begins to worry your own mirror
A person gets that way when they don’t make room for the essences of the Divine. They get hungry, and they interpret that hunger in terms of worldly things. If spiritual hunger is not satisfied spiritually, a person attempts to satisfy it with physical experience. And while a physical experience, like eating, can satisfy a physical hunger, it cannot satisfy spiritual hunger. There is nothing wrong with physical things, or worldly things, but they do a very bad job at satisfying spiritual hunger.
There is only one way that spiritual hunger is satisfied, and it is through worship. And when I say worship, I’m not speaking about religion. I’m speaking about an intensified spiritual experience in which the invisible essences of spirit, the things that we cannot see but which we can entertain and welcome in our heart, are known.
Many of the teachings of Jesus address the attempt to satisfy spiritual hunger with a worldly experience. That shows up in a person’s life as an experience of self-concern. Here is one of those teachings from the Book of Matthew, Chapter 6:
Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Jesus challenged the common tendency to overlook the already-existing pattern of care that is present for a person, and the tendency for a person’s life to be swallowed up with self-concern when that care is ignored. He didn’t say that you don’t deserve any care. He said it’s already there—you don’t have to worry about it, you don’t have to be in a state of self-concern. You do need to receive what’s already there. You need to see it and welcome it and appreciate it.
The universe is providing for us in wonderful ways, and we have a part to play in receiving that provision. But the provision is already there, and it’s there to empower us to do the things that bring joy.
It is impossible to create spiritual community from a group of self-concerned people—people who are attempting to satisfy their spiritual hunger from worldly things. Self-concern, when it is allowed to dominate your experience, is the enemy of the communion which is at the heart of spiritual community. I know a lot of people who want the experience of spiritual community, but who are clinging so tightly to their self-concern that they can’t have it.
Just as self-concern is the enemy of communion with the invisible reality within us, deep communion is the antidote to self-concern. Set aside time and space for profound spiritual intensification. See what happens. See if your openness to what is within you connects you more deeply to the spiritual community that is around you. And then together, let’s build a global spiritual community that can change the world.
All of humanity could be a spiritual community—one that welcomes the destiny that is already present within us.
January 27th, 2011