Challenges Raise the Bar

A spirit teacher shares timeless wisdom with me, but
it seems to require never-ending intellectual, emotional
and spiritual development. I obviously don’t have what
it takes to absorb what He seems to think I can.

I struggle, as many others surely do, to live within
constraints not entirely of my own choosing.

Spirit claims that I do choose and am trying to avoid
accepting responsibility for choices I freely make.

But, how free are we to make choices when often
the choice I seem to need to make is the lesser of two
or more unacceptable options?

Spirit is unimpressed with my whimpering. It doesn’t
move Him. Constraints, He tells me, are necessary
to future progress in any discipline or area of
human development, including spiritual, intellectual,
or physical in that they provide challenges to our
present level of skill, as well as serving to soften
our ego’s otherwise smug sense of satisfaction in
the moment of victory.

Challenges that we have struggled to face and overcome,
He claims, seem to whisper in our inner ear, “Perhaps
we should raise the bar”.

Moving Forward

Hold on to the power of thought that you have, as long as it makes sense to you.

I Ching as a Way to Enlightenment

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of timeless wisdom
concealed within the I Ching Hexagram 35 – Advance.

Hexagram 35 is composed of two trigrams; Fire and Earth.
Fire is over Earth. Fire possess yang energy, and Earth is yin.

Advance develops from Great Power (34) and contributes to
the emergence of Damage to Illumination (36).

We create greater power by exercising lesser power.

The power to do what?

Yes. Without purpose, even great power is vulnerable.

To what?

To inspire others with power and purpose to use their power
to reduce our own.

The message?

Hold on to the power of thought that you have as long as
it makes sense to you.

But, there are times when your ideas seem to make at least
as much sense to me as my own do. What then?

Let them work it out.

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Moods of Doubt

“Without all the distractions of needless sounds you are more able to listen to me”.

Grass-Roots Spiritual Philosophy 101

A simple seeker had slipped into one of her periodic
moods of doubt regarding her spirit teacher. Did He
even exist beyond her mind? But, what can exist
beyond one’s mind? And yet, He voiceless thoughts
came to her. But, how?

Perhaps if she had something to eat, or did a load
of laundry. Simple activities seemed to help her
focus, or protect her from seeming to need to know
what seemed beyond her possible potential to know.

And, yet, the challenge to understand how she could
hear seemingly voiceless thoughts, other than her
own, gave her no peace of mind.

There has to be a way that thoughts can …

E.S.P.

I know, but how does it work?

It doesn’t work at all, in the sense of needing
a physical connection. Do you hear your own
unspoken thoughts?

Yes, but they develop within my mind.

And you think your…

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Compassion Expresses Care

A spirit teacher tells me that, at a grass-roots level,
compassion is as sophisticated a way as any to express
genuine care.

Gentle words of love and caring serve a need, both to
the giver and to the one receiving; but only when the
words are supported by caring deeds can they, at least
be seen to be genuine expressions.

Compassion is a beautiful word that expresses a deep but
simple emotion; genuine care for someone or something.
But, saying it is never enough. We need to support our
caring words with caring actions.

I could still be pretending.

Yes.

Coming Together

Challenges serve us well by developing our self-confidence and expanding our awareness of Life.

I Ching as a Way to Enlightenment

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of timeless wisdom
encoded within I Ching hexagrams. These sixty-four interconnected
symbolic forms represent a continuous development of awakening
within each of us. Our lives have meaning, both individual and
collective. Events and situations are never without meaning, and
none stands alone. They develop from previous causes and, in turn,
contribute to the development of whatever is to come.

I Ching 44 – Meeting, presents with the trigram Heaven above Wind.
Heaven represents Life and Life is all that there is, and yet,
Wind – the winds of change – moves within (since even under is
within, in this instance) Life, both our individual and more or less
collective life.

Meeting follows Removal (43) and develops into Gathering (45).

Meeting suggests coming together with someone or something, or
facing an event or situation that requires a response.

Removal expresses separation from; perhaps not willingly…

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There’s No Going Back

Once you begin to open your mind, there’s no way you can close it.

Grass-Roots Spiritual Philosophy 101

A simple seeker was meditating on the powerful symbolism
of the Tree of Life. It suddenly seemed to almost overpower
her with a feeling of intense devotion, when respect and
reverence were her usual spiritual limits.

Had they been self-imposed limits?

How could that possibly be?

Resistance.

To losing control?

Yes.

That’s possible, but, if it was then it would have been …

And still is?

But, it surely makes good sense to have at least a small
reservoir, or supply of …

Defensive mechanisms?

They do have survival value.

How can you explore the complexity of quality and intensity
of thoughts and emotions, and the ever-developing inter-
dependence between them, armed with …

Protection from them?

Not protection; distance.

How do they differ?

I explained that to you long ago. Once you begin to open
your mind, there’s no way you can close it.

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To Tolerate Ignorance is Disrespectful

A spirit teacher shares gems of wisdom with me, and I share
some of what He shares with me, with you. No charge.

He tells me that to tolerate ignorance, and other base
qualities in oneself or in others is disrespectful of those
others and oneself.

It is counter-productive as it slows spiritual development,
and so is also disrespectful of our future.

Then, how to respond?

Compassion is the answer and is the only way to achieve
peace of mind. Pity is arrogance pretending to be
justifiably superior.

If I pity the wretched conditions of others, then I am
not one of them, and, Spirit claims, to be with them and
not of them is impossible, as there are no faults of others
that we, ourselves, do not, at least potentially possess,
if only hidden at some level of our soul or psyche. How else
could we recognize the qualities of others without awareness
of them?

I know you, He tells me, because I know myself.

Awareness of Potential Danger

Awareness of our own strengths and weaknesses will reduce potential dangers along our chosen (more or less) way of life.

I Ching as a Way to Enlightenment

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of timeless wisdom
expressed within the I Ching hexagram 41 – Reduction.

Reduction emerges from Solution (40) and develops into
Increase (42).

Mountain is above Lake. Mountain is Yang and Lake is Yin.

Mountains have height while lakes have depth, and yet
we measure deep and high from our own unique perspectives.
That’s curious.

Why?

One mile or kilometer up or down is still the same distance.

It can make all the difference if you applied the same
measure to progress along the way; any way.

Our life as a way?

Yes, a chosen, more or less, way to live. And as mountains
and lakes, the ground beneath is rarely even. It dips and
climbs in irregular intervals and to irregular degrees.

But, in a boat on top of the lake?

I think you know from personal experience how an ocean
surface can become…

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Thinking for a Purpose

Existence before essence isn’t possible. Why do I find that realization devastating? I so enjoyed considering myself as an existentialist. Now, Spirit has gone and spoiled it.

Grass-Roots Spiritual Philosophy 101

A spirit teacher lures a simple seeker down (or up)
the garden path of enlightenment.

This simple seeker was meditating on existentialist
philosophy.

That’s not the usual focus of spiritual meditation.

So what?

As in, who cares?

Yes.

Also, did you know that your so-called existentialist
heroes were French revolutionaries?

Because they were with the underground resistance?

They were more than resisting.

Yes, perhaps, but in the process of resisting, in
their own way, they were also developing a
revolutionary philosophy of life.

Which came first?

The chicken or the egg?

Yes.

Perhaps they were never separate.

Exactly.

What does that mean?

We hone our skills, our thoughts, and our emotional
development, not to mention spiritual development,
in experience.

Then, why were Sartre and Camus not called
experientialists?

Experience is never enough. They and every deep, or
not so deep, thinker must first exist in order to
experience anything.

Were…

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Nakedness as a Cover-Up

Transparency seems to be a popular buzz word to demand or claim to express ethical business practices. But, from a simple seeker’s perspective, perhaps even nakedness would be insufficient to expose (or cover-up) inner intentions.

Grass-Roots Spiritual Philosophy 101

A spirit teacher shares His understanding of ageless wisdom.

A simple seeker was enjoying a warm and misty afternoon
beneath gently moving foliage. The trees shaded her from
direct sunlight, or would have, if the bright sun had been
able to reach her North facing patio at this time of day.
Fortunately, for her, her neighbours across the hall would
be dealing with summer heat while she enjoyed the breeze.

That thought distracted her from a message the trees were
sending to her. Their branches and leaves were anticipating
rain and were quivering with delight at the expected
pleasure.

Now, moist air or the hint of moist air turned her attention
to the sky. She saw what the trees may not have. The wind
had picked up and was moving the clouds away, unless more
were going to replace them.

Meanwhile, Tarot as a Way of Life, by Karen Hamaker-Zondag,

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