spiritual questions and answers
humility where is the good in it
spiritual questions and answers
humility where is the good in it
What is spiritual astronomy? It involves looking at the discoveries of astronomy in a novel and more personal way that can lead us to making similar spiritual discoveries about ourselves.
For instance, Galileo made the claim that the sun was the center of the planetary system rather than the earth. This was proven to be true. We can also make a similar spiritual discovery that the world does not revolve around us. When the Lord was in the world he challenged people to make exactly this same important discovery—by teaching that “Loving God and loving the neighbor” were the greatest commandments.
(By the way, it wasn’t Galileo’s science that got him in trouble with the church, it was his challenge to a literal interpretation of Holy Scripture. He believed that true science would not contradict Scripture if properly understood.)
Since Galileo’s time, astronomy has made additional discoveries that our sun is one of billions of suns in the Milky Way galaxy, which is just one of billions and billions of galaxies far out in space. Thus, when we measure ourselves against this vast universe we become less than a speck. So there is no premise by which we can rationally support and embrace self-conceit and self-importance. Again, the Lord taught humility, and to serve others.
Are your worldly hopes and wishes merely insignificant specks of dust in God’s Infinitely wise eyes? Or are your hopes and dreams worthy of divine notice? When you sincerely love others, God can find an abode in your heart and mind. You can then provide residence for something infinitely more vast and important than the entire physical universe!
Discovering inner health and transformation
Who wouldn’t try to persuade their youngster to study for what they see as a promising career? Who wouldn’t pull out all the stops to influence investors to support their business? Who wouldn’t want to make their spouse feel the same way about having more children or a house move? It is surely normal for me to want the best for someone as I see it? Or is this sometimes as case of me wanting to get my way. Have things as I see fit?
I have to ask myself if my attempts at influencing others amounts to trying to make them think, act, or feel the way I do? All this made me wonder just how I might assess the way I manage other people in my life. Do I try to get my way with others too often?
‘Hang on,’ I hear myself say. ‘I don’t force anyone to do anything. That would be selfish.’ Okay so before the kids left home, I seldom shouted at my teenage daughter to keep her bedroom tidy. I seldom ordered anyone in the family to do their chores. In fact even now I rarely if ever voice explosive anger, never mind any verbal abuse or any threat of violence to get my way. But perhaps I don’t even realise if I use less obvious methods of manipulation?
You may have heard of the young woman who thinks she will be able to change her man after they are married. Make him tidier, stop smoking or whatever. But he may be of a different mind. And when she fails to alter his bad habits, she may end up just nagging him which can cause irritation but no change of ways. Telling someone what to do or what to think doesn’t usually work because people like to decide things for themselves.
Offering a point of view for their consideration and rational arguments to support it can be quite another matter. For this is respecting their personal choice. A father who insists on telling his daughter what to believe about politics, religion and so on, will appear as someone who thinks he knows best.
He may feel certain he is right. However, these days, less and less people will tolerate being told what to think. They really do prefer to make up their own minds. By claiming absolute answers to life’s issues, perhaps without realizing it, the father is arrogantly trying to impose his views. He would be advised to more humbly offer his beliefs for consideration and they even may be welcomed as his gift.
Many parents have learned not to speak dogmatically about matters that are dear to their hearts. But some still don’t want to hear anything that might distract from their agenda. And so they sometimes fall foul of the mistake of turning a deaf ear to their teenager’s point of view.
This shows when they refuse to pay attention to anything that opposes them, saying things like “I don’t want to hear it”. Or they may show a fierce look or glance, unpleasant tone of voice, or make rhetorical comments, or use subtle sarcasm. The trouble is how we come over to others is not always apparent to us, and we can get into unfortunate habits in how we communicate.
Making up excuses is something I have done at some time or other to cover up my embarrassment or mistakes. Perhaps you have taken this a step further and been engaged spinning a yarn to the media on behalf of your company or to your friends regarding your achievements. It is not only ‘spin doctors’ who twist the truth to suit their own ends. The trouble is when dishonesty becomes a habitual method of trying to get our own way.
Like when we refuse to admit something obvious, or use weasel words to give vague, irrelevant, rambling, responses to evade revealing our real intentions. For we hope that only by changing the subject and keeping quiet about what we are up to, instead of giving a straight answer, can we hope to change someone’s mind or actions.
Ray and Star Silverman in their book Rise Above It have given a Swedenborgian perspective on trying to get our own way. Whether we do this coercively or subtly, it is said to be a sign that we want to possess what belongs to another person for our own sake; having charge of what they think and believe.
Any apparent success in controlling someone feeds the ego trip that our ideas are more valid than the other person’s, and the illusion that what we want is more important than what he or she wants. A few people want to possess someone’s aspirations, values and even their deepest desires.
When you notice yourself starting to manipulate other people, perhaps for genuinely held reasons, you might however want instead to hold back. I find it helps me to remember the importance of giving respect to other people who need to find out things for themselves, be free to choose what they want, and take responsibility for their own lives.
Even though we each may have a specific superior talent for something or a more important social responsibility, nevertheless everyone has a significant role to play in the universal human family. Someone controlling their attitudes can rob them of their unique contribution.
In striving to overcome the love of power, I like to think I have discovered the power of love.
Copyright 2012 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems
Posted on30th March 2012
We not only have the means to prevent unwanted births, we have adopted similar means of preventing ideas from inseminating our minds.
For instance, the Ten Commandments can be read, stored in the memory as data, but never acted upon. The Lord, while in the world, simplified these ten laws into two – loving God and loving the neighbor. Still, the Lord’s teaching of loving God and loving others can simply be filed away in the memory as mere data.
Anything that prevents God’s ideas from taking hold in the mind and not being allowed to grow into the mature and loving actions of one who seeks eternal life and blessedness is spiritual contraception.
The Christian doctrine of salvation by faith alone is just such a spiritual birth control pill. The reason is that faith alone stresses “belief” over “acts of goodness” for obtaining salvation and entry into the gates of heaven.
This is holy hogwash!
Believing alone is like allowing a concept to enter into one’s memory without the conceiving. In other words, when an idea is not allowed to germinate and change the way we act in the world, how can mere “believing” lead to our spiritual rebirth?
Rebirth implies real, tangible process.
What possible process is involved when ideas simply remain as un-germinated seeds in the soil of the human memory? Those who embrace the doctrine of faith alone point out that no one is perfect and that no human act or deed of goodness can help us gain the credit of the Lord’s righteousness.
The doctrine of faith alone allows Christians to overlook their personal flaws and serves as a prophylactic to the commandments and introspection. Such believers cleverly point out that an individual who seeks salvation through good deeds seeks his or her own merit. But they miss the point that, because people are imperfect, they must seek and pray for the Lord’s help in becoming a better person. One does not seek merit if he or she approaches the Lord with sincerity and humility. (And one cannot effectively seek God’s help unless one sees specific inclinations and compulsions that need overhauling.)
The other thing people tend to overlook is that good deeds are not sincere until someone tackles their personal flaws. Otherwise, a person can accomplish good deeds for the sake of reputation, self-promotion, and even to keep personal agendas hidden from the world.
Repentance precedes good deeds. This brings innocence to the deed.
Love is faith put into action. True faith is the love to do what is true. Love makes faith alive. The warmth of Love is how faith germinates in our memory and grows out into the living actions of our heart. Any religious doctrine that deters the growth and development of spiritual love in our lives is “rebirth control.”
God’s heavenly kingdom consists of mutual love. Mutual love is more than our possessing the right idea in our noggins. It necessitates doing the right thing from a spiritual conscience.
Be honest. Don’t you wish everyone would think and be like you? If you could turn everyone else into “you,” the world would be six billion times better. I am not kidding.
Furthermore, you actually have the power to do so.
Not only would it be a good thing to turn everyone else into copies of “you,” God wants you to do precisely just that! In fact, it is actually one of God’s great commandments. The commandment is to love thy neighbor as oneself.
Confused? Let me explain.
God really does want us to look at others and see ourselves. But this is not to be understood as a spreading out of one’s self-centeredness in all directions. It is an act of humility.
When one person loves another as him or herself, he or she will then see the other in oneself, and oneself in the other. This spiritual love and consciousness is called empathy.
It is not the multiplication or the forcing of one’s will upon everyone else, either. It is the harmonious unification of the wills of many.
This unites one person with another. And even better, unites one society with another.
This union does not superimpose our likeness upon another person. Rather, it allows us all to take on the likeness of the Lord God, who is Divine Love.
Heaven is a likeness of the Lord because it consists of those who live in spiritual love and unity. Heaven on earth is the adoption of neighborly love by all its terrestrial citizens.
This is the deeper meaning within God’s command to be “fruitful and multiply.” God wants us each to increase the good in the world.
That would indeed make the world six billion times better.