A: Well really the question isn’t the role that nature plays in your journey, but how you perceive nature based on your frame of reference. So for instance, right now it’s snowing outside slightly, and it’s very beautiful. It’s beautiful how the snow covers the trees, the ground and it brings light and illumination to everything. Seeing it another way however, you could see it as cold, nasty, slippery and dangerous, something impeding your work, the list could go on and on. The ego has endless problems that it can project onto anything. That being said, when you go out in nature, you tend to put some distance between your higher Self and lower self. It makes you realize that there’s more than just your personal thinkings and problems and that the world and universe is much more expansive. When you see beauty in nature it reflects to you something outside of your ego that is not of your creation, that is just there, and that is the reason why it feels good, relaxing, and more like home. A good practice would be to get out in nature and look around for about an hour a day. It really helps to expand consciousness. Also, when we observe nature, it tends to slow down our brain waves and brings us out of the highly stressful high beta waves down into alpha waves. This not only reduces stress, but it also tends to lower blood pressure and help us observe the self (“little s self”). Therefore, strenthening our awareness of the Self (“Big S Self”). That is why you feel so much better when you go for long walks. Conversely, then your ego takes it and thinks that longer is better and wants to do it all the time. However, it’s all about balance. The key isn’t just to become identified with the higher Self but to be aware of the small self and the big Self at the same time and have them come into a union. The ego is an expert at creating either/or situations. This is how on the Journey to Enlightenment, one of the first steps is the development of the spiritual ego. Knowledge of this will result in recognition of the spiritual ego versus true spirituality and help you realize that you are neither the big Self nor the small self but a union of the two.
A: I wouldn’t worry about it. When you’re done, you’re done. That being said, the ego’s questions and problems are endless, so you can always manufacture more questions and problems for me to answer. Also, the Self is forever expanding, growing, and evolving. So there will be continuous questions and answers. There is no “end”. The “end” is a fabricated concept of the ego. It creates time, and like I said, time can be used as a tool, but eventually, the tool takes over and starts to run the show, leaving stress, anxiety, depression and all sorts of human suffering. Learn to respect time, but live in the moment. Now that’s something to contemplate.
A: The importance of time is very much related to your question about the afterlife. Without time, there would be no importance or immediacy to the ego. Just picture this, if you had a job to do, set forth by your boss, but he put no time restraint on it. Many people would not even start the job, they would just let it sit there. In the same way, if our ego does not have something to compare our progress to, it tends to also not get started with a job, undertaking or journey. Herein lies the importance of time. So time is actually very important. However, the ego then because of its dual nature, of seeing thing only one-sided, not both sides or gradations in the middle, sees time and performance as the most important things and either strives for them, gives up, or creates denial to its own progress. One must take the middle ground when dealing with time and performance and see that they are supremely important, however not develop stress and anxiety around them. If you contemplate on these two things, with time and results on one side, and enjoying the present moment on the other side, and bring them to your heart center, a synthesis will occur wherein you respect time and progress but live in the moment, honoring them.
A: There is no afterlife, unless you count the life after this one (as perceived by the ego). The thing with the afterlife is that people think that after you have this life, then you die, and your soul goes somewhere else, when really it just get recycled into another body. The importance of having multiple lives, is just like when you would play a video game. When you play a video game, there’s a finite beginning, the time you play, and then the player dies. If there was no beginning, middle, and end, the game would be boring, there’d be no importance to it, and you wouldn’t learn from it. That’s the importance of multiple lives and reincarnation. The reason why we forget these lives, is so that we put importance on our present life in the moment. In the moment, is where you make spiritual progress and have spiritual realization and enlightenment. You do not have it in the past or in the future, you have it in the moment. If we didn’t put supreme importance on the current moment, we would not learn, just as if you play a video game and you have unlimited lives, you tend to put less importance on it and do stupid things in the video game that get you killed more often. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if you did not put importance on your present life. With the emotional and spiritual immaturity that we are experiencing right now in this world, if people were unhappy, they would just kill themselves. There would be no government regulations on suicide, and people would just be killing themselves left and right. There would be killing centers and mounting dead bodies in the world, similar to the problem that we have with trash. Basically, we would live in a hellish bardo. So treat your life with the utmost importance, but do not get stressed or anxious about how important it is. This is the art of spiritual discernment.
A: This is a very personal decision. On one hand, not having health insurance leaves you open to serious medical costs if something serious happens to you. However, I see your point. If you have health insurance, then you only have things that are covered by health insurance to pick from. You don’t tend to want anything medically done to you, and for good reason. You’ve seen time and time again how medicine has hurt people, has led to an increase in cost, and a lowering of health for the nation as a whole. It also tends to allow one to shirk personal responsibility for their health. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision, one that you must make.
A: Yes, there is. You can’t be close to somebody, and not pick up on their vibrational frequency. It’s just like tuning forks, if you set one up next to another one, and you hit it, both will start resonating at the same frequency. The difference between tuning forks and human beings, however, is that there is conscious decision-making in the process. The more conscious you are, the more of an ability you have to not be affected by someone’s frequency around you. Raising your consciousness level, gives you more options in life. It allows you to see things that you otherwise wouldn’t see, and pick up a more subtle vibrational frequencies and thought patterns and other people so that you’re not as much a victim to them. It also allows you to see your own thought patterns, tendencies and automatic assumptions so that you’re not victim to those either. All in all, the best thing that you can do to protect yourself is to your own vibrational frequency. Be conscious of yourself first, and that will lead to consciousness of others.
A: There’s quite a big difference actually. Why is this? When you work for yourself, all the responsibility rests on your shoulders, you get to see the fruits of your actions directly. When you work for somebody else, you don’t take responsibility for everything. Someone else is in charge. If something fails, you can blame it on somebody else. If something succeeds, it’s because of somebody else. Working for yourself is ideal for spiritual discernment and progress. That being said, if you find yourself in a good stable job making good money, with benefits, this may also add your spiritual progress because the fact that it will be low-stress, and It will give you more of an opportunity to work on your spirituality and your practice. Like everything, discernment between the two is needed. However, if you feel yourself pulled up to your own business, that would be ideal for spiritual growth.
A: There are many great practices out there. The key to any practice however, is consistency. Part of the big problem with any kind of spirituality today is learning about the spirituality instead of practicing it. For instance, putting in fact, or practice, what it says in the Didache will help you make serious spiritual progress. The same can be said of the Noble Eight-Fold Path of Buddhism. But it must be practiced. And Ideal practice for anybody would be to take any spiritual principle, from the Didache, the Noble Eight-Fold Path, the Neti Neti practice, anything, and do it consistently, every day. It’s also a good idea not to skip around too much. Doing the Neti Neti practice one day, then looking at the Didache one day, and the Noble Eight-Fold Path another day, it’s kind of like starting a different project each day. It’s best to pick one project, and finish it before going on to the next. That being said, you don’t have to become enlightened before you switch spiritual paths. There’s a specific type of discernment that has to be learned. Any spiritual principle, if really practiced with intensity and earnestness, will reap huge spiritual benefits. Some of the most powerful spiritual principles to put into effect each day are ones that you were already aware of. Things like being as honest as possible with yourself and others as long as it hurts nobody are great spiritual principles. Another one is to try to see the world through another person’s eyes; this will help you develop compassion for other people. Compassion eventually leads to unconditional love. Another great spiritual practice is focusing completely on the moment, instead of projecting oneself into the future or the past. Another great spiritual principle is to focus completely on the sense of self. What that feels like, both mentally, and viscerally. All of these are great principles, and great paths that will lead two serious spiritual progress.
A: Living in a higher-calibrating area would help. However, just because it would help doesn’t mean it’s necessarily something that you should pursue. Everybody has specific things that they have to learn in life. Just because it may be easier to live in a high-calibrating area, for spiritual progress, does not mean that it’s right for you. Maybe in a lower-calibrating area would be better to learn the things that you need to learn. That being said, being in a lower-calibrating area would certainly have a greater chance to pull you down. For instance, let’s take for example the Internet. If you spend a lot of time surfing the Internet, Facebook, and things like that, it’s going to gradually get into your psyche, and inhibit spiritual progress to a large degree. The same thing is true for where you live. If you’re surrounded by negativity, ugliness, and negative people, unless you are strong and steady enough in your own spirituality, it’s going to be easy to be dragged down by these tendencies. So to sum up, living in a higher-calibrating area has more of a tendency to pull you up, but that might not be your destiny. Just keep these things in mind wherever you live.
Q: My contemplation for the day is “For God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son.” Does this have a different meaning other than how it is traditionally interpreted? Is there another way to see this other than God sending a savior to save us?
A: Yes and no. Yes, He literally gave His son so that humanity could be saved. This can be a little hard to comprehend, that God has a son, literally, and that you are now “saved” because of his sacrifice. So there is another way of looking at it as well.
Upon close examination of your contemplation for the day, we find that not only are we saved if we accept this, but that we are unconditionally loved. For some reason, this is not emphasized near as much as the fact that Jesus is our Savior that God sent for us. But if you stop, pull back from your absorption in your everyday tasks, you can feel God’s love enveloping us. It feels like an all-encompassing peace, a peace that is there at all times, in all situations.
So, to answer your question, yes, God really did give his only begotten son because he so loved the world. And if you really want to feel the gift in this, stop and feel God’s love all around us. When the world seems like it has gone mad, God’s love is always there, will always be there, Amen.