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Have you ever wondered if you are on the right spiritual path? Even if you may be confident that your current spiritual path is the right one for you, have you ever wondered how well you really understand the path, or how well you are actually following it.
The purpose of this little dialog is to lead you to the place where you feel completely confident that the spiritual path you are currently following is the most ideal path you can follow, and result in a powerfully sturdy confidence that you both understand the path and are following it in the best way possible. And we will accomplish this without threatening whatever spiritual path you are on now or may choose in the future. Does that seem like a big job for a little message? It isn't.
It only seems that way because Spirituality has been distorted into complications that have nothing to do with it at all. No matter what the nature of the religion or spiritual discipline may be, common to all of them is the fact that there is only one spiritual path.
I'll repeat that: There is only one spiritual path. The one spiritual path is the road from experiencing yourself as a relatively isolated and relatively limited human being to experiencing yourself to be in full contact with God, or an intimate manifestation of God.
Most people would agree that the one spiritual path is to come in full contact with God or to realize and experience themselves as an intimate manifestation of God, but most people also believe that the path to these high goals is booby trapped with so many difficulties that it is only very rarely achieved and most certainly not within their own reach.
This is not true. The one spiritual path is, in fact, a very easy one, and just as easily within your own reach as your ability to see a flower. The reason why the one spiritual path is so easy and so attainable is because you are, right now, already in full contact with God, and already an intimate manifestation of God. The problem is not in reaching or accomplishing such states of being, but in releasing our attention from the vast sea of distractions that hypnotize us into believing that we are not an intimate manifestation of God.
It's like being seated in front of a wonderful movie that we would find both easy and delightful to enjoy were it not that the company of friends seated around and about us relentlessly distract our attention from the movie to pay attention instead to an endless barrage of thoughts and feelings that have no relation to the movie at all. It appears as though the whole world and every aspect of it is designed to distract us from God. At least it appears to have that effect.
In fact, there is no such thing as a world separate and apart from God.
But it does at first appear to be that way, and hence it does appear that worldly distractions are to blame for continuously steering our attention away from our full Contact with God and into what seems to be an endless ocean of beliefs that have as their one theme the notion that you are separate and apart from God.
Think back to your first romance. Remember how much you desired intimacy with your beloved. Remember how that desire for intimacy was a desire to become one with your beloved. Remember how that desire for intimacy was the very nature of what you called love. God is Love. And God is One. All that God has created was, is now, and forever will be the absolutely intimate manifestation of God, an intimacy that is the very nature of God's Love, an intimacy whose reality is nothing less than the absolute Oneness of God.
But the sea of worldly distractions would hypnotize us into believing that God is not One, but, instead, two, in other words, that there is not the One God alone, but that there is God and also something other than God.
There is nothing other than God, and being hypnotized into believing that there is something other than God does not even slightly alter the Truth that God Alone is One. But the hypnosis can result in illusory appearances of things that are separate and apart from God. Such illusory appearances have no more reality than a dream in your sleep, but while you're sleeping, before you awaken, the dream can seem to be real.
This creates a vicious circle that can have the effect of locking us into such hypnosis. Since the illusory appearances of things separate and apart from God appear to be real, our beliefs in the possibility of things separate and apart from God becomes stronger, and as our beliefs in the possibility of things separate and apart from God becomes stronger, then even more consistently and insistently do such things appear in our perception, such that perception begets belief which begets perception which begets belief, round and round, tying us up into a tangle of hypnotism that appears to be impossible to escape.
All this simply because we allow our attention to be distracted from the Truth that God is One into illusions about the possibility of things other than God being real.
Illusions never make the illusory real.
Imagine a hypnotist hypnotizing a person into believing that an indoor tree next to his desk is actually a swarm of deadly snakes. Once the person has been hypnotized into believing such a thing, he will experience the tree as a swarm of snakes, filling him with fear and motivating him to take all manner of precautions to avoid being bitten by one of the snakes.
Yet all the while, no matter how intense the hypnosis may be, the tree remains totally intact as a tree, not in the slightest bit threatened by the snake hypnosis in any way. So the illusory world based on the beliefs that something other than God can exist in no way alters or changes the nature of reality in any way. It's as unreal as that illusory basket of snakes in the hypnotist's office.
So even while you may still appear to have things going on in your life that are less than or other than the nature of God, it's a great relief to realize that none of it is in the slightest bit real and True Reality cannot and will not ever be affected by it in any way. This gives us the peace and equanimity we need to dissolve our erroneous beliefs, or de-hypnotizing us from believing that God is not One because things other than God are possible.
We said earlier that the one spiritual path is the road from experiencing yourself as a relatively isolated and relatively limited human being to experiencing yourself to be in full contact with God, or an intimate manifestation of God.
Since the Truth is that God is One, you, yourself necessarily must be so intimate an expression of that Oneness that your own existence itself does not in any way intrude into the Oneness of God. God is One and Infinite.
To be initially experiencing yourself as relatively isolated and relatively limited is the hypnotic result of not merely believing that something other than God can exist, but specifically the result of believing that YOU can exist, not as an intimate manifestation of God but as something isolated from God instead.
The road back to full contact with God is to first of all realize that full contact or Oneness with God is always the nature of your existence and cannot be threatened by any illusions to the contrary.
No matter how much you allow yourself to be hypnotized into beliefs about being separate from God it never even to the slightest degree results in any kind of an actual separation from God.
No matter how far the Prodigal Son wandered from his father's house, his father held him in his heart and hence was always ready to welcome him back home, because as far as the Father was concerned his son remained intimately beloved.
No matter how much or in what ways you may appear to be separate from God, God always holds you in His heart and is always ready to welcome you back home, because as far as God is concerned, you remain God's intimately beloved Son in whom He is well pleased, because God is always and forever One, and you therefore are always and forever so intimately beloved by God that the fundamental Oneness that is God's primary nature, is not, and cannot, ever be threatened or violated or diminished.
This may appear at first to be a "heavy" or "deep" Spiritual Principle, but it actually is very simple. The principle is simply the fact that God is One and because God is One, God is therefore ALL. All there is, and all there possibly can be, is the absolutely intimate expression of God's Love.
The one spiritual path is simply to "practice" this. Many have called it, "Practicing the Presence of God." It involves nothing more difficult or more complicated than pausing for a moment and remembering, "Only God is Present Here," and then continuing on with your daily business.
Many of you will remember the story of Brother Lawrence who, even though he was totally uneducated, became widely honored and renowned to be a radiantly holy being simply by staying focused on the fact that no matter where he was or what he was doing, it was only God he was involved with.
What makes so many of us appear to fall short of the pinnacle of holiness achieved by Brother Lawrence? It is, as we mentioned earlier, allowing our attention to be distracted by all the beliefs and appearances swirling around us that are based on the belief that God is not ONE but that something other than God can be. How do we handle such a situation? Very simple.
Obtain a stopwatch or other similar device that can signal you every half hour, and every half hour of your waking life, pause for a few seconds and rest in the realization that "Only God is Present Here." You can do it with your eyes open and while you continue with whatever activity you are involved with, no one need know that you are pausing to remember God.
Think of yourself as flypaper. That's right, flypaper. And that every day from the moment you awaken till you return to sleep, flies, in the form of beliefs that claim that realities exist apart from the Nature of God, keep sticking to your consciousness, and that each belief in something other than God that sticks in your consciousness is going to bear fruit in manifesting as an illusory experience that appears to be less than or other than the Nature of God; and as the day goes on more and more of these flies stick to your consciousness and as a consequence more and more of your experience reflects things that are less than or other than the Nature of God, things like illness, suffering, confusion and fear. Why, this can go on not just for one day, but day after day after day.
So it's no wonder that we experience things like illness and suffering.
But, if you develop the habit of "Practicing the Presence of God," then each time you pause and remind yourself, "Oh, Only God is Present Here," each time you do that all the flies your flypaper has been collecting fall off. So if you pause to remember God every half hour of every day, you won't have a head full of flies! Instead, your consciousness will remain clean, clear and pure, resting in the Oneness that God is, and free to be, as God intended, a manifestation of God's Infinite Love.
It's as simple as that.
Nothing Real Can Be Threatened,
Love and Peace, Barefoot
As in so many things, especially with we alcoholics, our History is our Greatest Asset!.. We each arrived at the doors of AA with an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That Do Not Work" .. Today, In AA and In Recovery, Our History has added an intensive and lengthy "History of Things That DO Work!!" and We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it!!
KEEP COMING BACK!
On the Web Jan 6, 2003 in the Spirit of Cooperation
Three mighty important things, Pardn'r, LOVE And PEACE and SOBRIETY