Do We Get Punished By God?


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So, do we get punished by God if we are “bad?”  That is a question that can be answered very easily. No, we do not. For a start, if that statement were true, there would need to be a God to do the punishing.  This God would have to exist along the same lines as the God of religion.  In other words, an individual entity separate from the rest of the universe and beyond.  The God would also have to possess all the worst egoic, human traits you could imagine; just like the God of religion.

First of all, it would have to make a judgement that we had done something bad and then dish out the punishment.  Being judgemental is a trait of the egoic mind that does not exist within consciousness.  By way of an individual choice, we may choose to refer to Infinite Consciousness as God, but this is just one of many names conjured up by humans to describe the uncreated wilderness of bliss∗ that is our true nature.

The only punishing is inflicted by ourselves in ignorance.

∗ “Uncreated Wilderness of Bliss” – a phrase coined by the yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, as a description of our inner truth.

The Court Jester


I absolutely love this little parable from early 2019, so I’m posting again.

A king became exasperated with his court jester, who simply wouldn’t stop jesting.  Seemingly every minute of every day, the jester would be cracking jokes and playing the fool.  Eventually, the king decided he’d had enough and he condemned the jester to be hanged; ordering that he be taken to the dungeon to await his fate.  The day of the execution arrived and the king started to have second thoughts.  He felt that good court jesters were hard to come by, and after all, the poor bloke had only been doing his job.  But, the king also felt that he couldn’t go back to the way things were, so he wrote out the royal pardon on official parchment and added the condition that the jester was not allowed to ever crack a joke again.  He put the royal seal on it and gave it to one of his courtiers to take to the executioner.

The courtier ran to the gallows, and arrived in the nick of time to see the jester already standing on the trap door with the noose around his neck.  The courtier blurted out that the king had changed his mind and that the execution should be halted; he then proceeded to read out the pardon.  As the reading of the pardon came to an end, the jester just couldn’t contain himself and quipped, “no noose is good news”.  He was hanged.

Of course that rather amusing story isn’t actually true, but it aptly explains how we function in accordance with our conditioning, as opposed to our true nature.  When we are born into this world, we are pure, open and still aware of the love that we are.  Gradually, as the years pass, we become conditioned; we are told that we are good or bad, beautiful or ugly, intelligent or thick etc, etc; and we become what we believe (or at least we THINK we have become what we believe).  Then we enter adulthood and we get a job or career, adding that to “who I am” as we go along.  In the case of the jester, “jestering” was what he did, it was not who he was.  However, he was not able to drop the egoic belief that, “I am a jester”, so when the opportunity arose, he couldn’t resist the quip and was promptly executed.

Whether you are an ugly professor, a beautiful cleaner or a good retail assistant, the professor, the cleaner and the retail assistant are what you DO, they are not who you are.  As to whether you are ugly, beautiful, good or bad, these are only judgements made by other people that you may or may not believe.  They are also not who you are and do not have to define you.  So, in life don’t be a silly jester; or the joke will be on you!

The Body; Real Or Unreal?


It’s amazing how our views and perspectives change as we evolve through this life. If somebody asked me the question, “the body; real or unreal?” even 20 years ago, I’d have thought they’d been on the funny stuff. I remember when I was completely immersed in the darkness of ego, there was no question whatsoever that the body was real. After all, is it not who I am? Then as I found my spiritual pathway and I started leaning towards the Eastern school of thought, I adopted the view, “the body is unreal, an illusion.”

The only trouble with that is, that I was also leaning towards the view that the body is irrelevant, that it didn’t matter. Of course, this is not true, The body is essential to our experience in the physical because it is the only vehicle available to us. I have now gone full circle, and my statement to you today is, “yes, the body is real,” However, this doesn’t mean that I have regressed back to the darkness of complete unconsciousness. What it means is that my perspective has changed, therefore that statement is made in a different context.

The body is real in that it is made of the same stuff as my eternal reality. Infinite Consciousness has precipitated, or intensified itself billions of times over into tiny pockets of physical energy that we call human beings; and one of them is me! So, the body is real in that it is made of Infinite Consciousness that has temporarily veiled itself in ignorance. What is unreal is the form the body takes, although to the logical mind it is as real as falling off a log. Consciousness veiled in ignorance as an individual soul, perceives the bodily form, the finite mind and the world to be the reality.

To use an analogy, imagine a play being acted out in a theatre. Imagine all the colourful costumes and scenery, and all the lines uttered by the actors and their mannerisms as they act out each scenario. All of that only happens because they are all bringing the script to life. On its own, the script is inanimate; just words on pieces of paper, just still, doing nothing. But, it is the underlying reality of what is going on during the time the play is being acted out.

We are all acting out the script of Infinite Consciousness, the world is our theatre and the body our costume. Consciousness in its normal state just exists as it is, in eternal bliss. But when it veils itself in ignorance on this dreamland stage that we call the world, it dances out its story; it gets to know itself in its own experience as opposed to the eternal emptiness that just contains possibilities; albeit, an infinite amount.

So, to sum up. Yes, the body is real, but not the form. Rather, the underlying reality, which is Consciousness. Consciousness, as the body and the world vibrates at varying degrees of frequency. What we see as the body and the world is simply the image created by our minds as the interpretation of that frequency. Therefore, the one and only reality is Consciousness itself.

Passing Clouds


Cumulus_2In the physical sense, human beings do share quite a lot together; information and food are two examples that immediately spring to mind. But this only relates to the illusion that is life on this dreamland stage we call the earth. In truth, we are all just passing clouds regardless of our relationships with each other. Whether friends, siblings, parents, offspring, work colleagues, or even so-called enemies, we are all nothing more than ships that pass in the night. The only thing truly shared between humans is the experience of being.

Our true nature is that of infinite consciousness, which is all there is. The experience of “being” is the experience of our true nature; all else is an illusion.

 

Hope

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Thanks to Nick Fewings of Unsplash for the image

There are two ways of looking at Hope; like everything else, I suppose.  On one hand it’s great to have, especially from a religious perspective. To have hope in a world that has seemingly gone mad is surely a very positive thing.  But, I’m going to look at hope from a deeper spiritual perspective.  First of all though, what is it?  For me, hope relates to an event or something in the future that is going to be responsible for making me happy.  There’s only one drawback with that.  If I don’t get the thing I’m hoping for, or if the event I’m hoping for doesn’t happen, I’m in danger of my hope turning into pain and suffering.

Hoping for a certain thing or event to happen really keeps us blind to our true reality, which is the One eternal Self.  This truth can only be realised in the Now, or present moment.  Past and future constitute imaginary time and do not really exist.  The past that shaped and conditioned us, happened Now, and the future that everyone is worried about and that contains the hoped for things that we have spoken of, can also only happen Now.

Yes, hope can be a positive thing when it is understood for what it actually is, but it can also be a jailer, keeping us locked away in the mind-made prison of imaginary time (past and future).

Observing Our Own Fear


According to the likes of Eckhart Tolle and Rupert Spira, it’s quite common for people who are going through a spiritual awakening process to experience the resurfacing of negative traits, which were thought to have been dealt with ages ago.  Not only that, but also to experience feelings of fear, hopelessness and vulnerability.  This is something that I have been very aware of in my own daily existence for the past few years.  However, the fact that I am actually aware of these experiences, is a very positive factor.  I decided on this as a theme for a blog post, because I thought it would be very helpful for anyone who is experiencing the same thing as me.

My understanding of why this happens is because the ego (which doesn’t really exist) knows that it is on borrowed time, and does its utmost to stay alive; as long as there is fear and the derivatives thereof, the ego will continue to thrive.  Normally, we are so wrapped up in our egoic earthly existence, we get completely sucked in by the “story” being told by the mind.  We demonstrate negative traits and feel negative emotions without the awareness of them.  Not in the context that is meant here anyway.

I have written in many previous posts about how we are “the witness” to the drama that is going on around us, and not participants in the true sense.  So, I feel that it is encouraging to know that even though past negatives may have reared their heads, and doubt and fear have crept in, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  Even though these things still don’t exactly feel good, what is good about it is that I am observing these feelings not only within my body, but also as a detached witness who knows that this is not who I am.  With this understanding, all such thoughts and feelings pass through and dissolve away.  The Self is always exactly as it is; ever still, ever the witness and ever reflecting the light of consciousness.  

 

Debate


As I’ve gone through this life and gradually evolved, two things have occurred to me. Firstly, the actual mystery of life becomes less and less of a mystery. Secondly, and paradoxically, as the mystery of life reveals itself as the “simplicity” of life, I realise more and more how little I actually know; which brings me onto the title of this little post.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Debate! The above statement has brought home to me, like never before, the sheer fruitlessness of getting into debates about spirituality and religion. People have to grow and evolve at their own pace, and this quite often involves holding certain beliefs that may not ultimately be true, but are serving their purpose by way of a stepping-stone. I am also of the opinion, that if you get into a debate with another person about any subject whatsoever, the “winner” will not necessarily be the one who is closest to the truth, it will be the one who has the greater debating skills.

Swami, Sri Sathya Sai Baba always used to say, “never get into debates about spirituality and religion because they are sure to descend into arguments.”

I am now of the view that it is far better to remain as “the witness” and let others debate to their hearts’ content.

Happiness


Happiness is our true nature that is ever present; it is what we are. Because our true nature tends to be veiled by the ego, and we believe that the experience of happiness depends on outer objects and situations that the mind deems to be agreeable, it is commonplace for individuals to be completely oblivious to the joy that they are. However, we do get glimpses of this truth when it reveals itself from time to time. In the main, this is when worldly desires are met; it’s that momentary surge of joy we get when we hold the keys to the new car in our hand for the first time, or at the unboxing of the huge, new flat-screen TV. Because these desires are superficial and egoic, they cause pain and suffering when they remain unmet, and only a brief experience of joy when they are met. Once a desire has been met, it dissolves away and the mind then focuses on something else, equally superficial, as the focus of its latest desire. It’s a vicious circle that can only be broken by the experience of Pure Being; which is the realisation of the Self.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The only desire of worth is the desire to love, which comes from deep within ourselves. It is the experience of Being, Presence, Bliss, Awareness, or whatever name you want to give it. Language is very limiting and there are no words that could ever describe it aptly. But, whether we are aware of it or not, it is ever present and ever shining in all its glory.

A Visitation


I had an experience recently that was a classic case of rolling back the years. I find it interesting that the experience has a different meaning for me today than if I’d had it 10 years ago. For the first time in ages Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me in a dream. As expected, it was like being in the presence of a doting mother and best friend. Swami let me touch his face, and we had this moment where we were just in each others’ presence before the egoic mind brought me back to the land of objective reality.

Swami always used to say that if he comes to us in a dream, it is not a dream but a visitation.  He also used to constantly remind us that he was not the body, and did not encourage devotees to follow him as a physical being, or look on his form as an object of worship.  Nonetheless, it was very difficult not to; especially if you had the grace (as I did) to witness Swami’s amazing smile first hand and experience his awesome presence.  A few years ago I would have relished a visitation from the loving “God man” and would have felt so lucky and privileged that he’d blessed me in such a way.  Even though my recent visitation was an unexpected and wonderful experience; received with equal relish, I interpret the meaning differently. Back then, if Swami the physical being would have been visiting me; I would not have seen his form as a symbol of the one eternal Self.  Yes it’s true, that I would have known this, but confronted with Swami’s beautiful form, all thoughts of the formless would have flown away.

With regard to my recent experience, I enjoyed immensely basking in the presence and having my personal darshan of Swami’s form. But today, I understand what it represents and my interpretation of the visitation is that “The Higher Power” used a method that I would be able to relate to, to let me know that my little individual, egoic self has not been forgotten about.  That for however long I have left in this body, and for whatever work I have left to perform, I am not alone; the loving bliss of eternal spirit will always be enfolding me.