Expressions of Spirit in Life
Though science may not prove its existence, and skeptics will deny it is real, individuals throughout time have had experiences that can only be classified as a higher order of consciousness. The common term for such experiences is that they are “spiritual” in nature.
One individual feels a sudden light and presence; another, an overwhelming sense of peace; while a third feels an oneness with all and everything that surrounds him. Such epiphanies come in many forms, depending on the individual’s nature, the culture one is raised in, and other factors.
Take the spiritual notion of “Oneness.” Throughout time, individuals have shared with the world their experiences of a profound connection with life. In some instances, it was a feeling of oneness with nature, in others a deep association with the entire universe, and in others still, a transcendent connection to the divine. In each instance, the individual experienced a sense of harmony, oneness, and unity with something far greater than his own limited self. These experiences reflect the actual Oneness that exists throughout creation, which is itself an expression of the spiritual Reality underlying all existence.
Another way we experience Oneness is through the deep bonds and connections we have with others. When we focus on the interests and concerns of another person, when we take to their point of view, and when we express our heartfelt thanks, appreciation, and gratitude, we are in essence moving away from our limited sense of self, and opening to a wider sphere of harmony, unity, and oneness.
Though such experiences of Oneness with the objects, elements, and individuals around us are truly profound, they are but one type of spiritual expression. For example, if I move from selfishness to self-givingness in my relationship with another, I not only experience a degree of Oneness with that person, but I also experience a degree of spiritual Love.
Then what is spiritual Love? It is certainly more than the physical attraction or attachment we have for another person. It is also more than the vital feelings and emotions we have towards others. It is instead something truer, deeper, and longer lasting. Spiritual Love occurs when the lover, partner, parent, friend, associate, etc. seeks to give of himself without expectation or reward, seeking only the fulfillment of the other person. Ultimately, the highest expression of spiritual Love occurs when we surrender to, and offer our deepest devotion to the Divine, thereby fulfilling Its intention in life.
In addition to spiritual Oneness and Love, we also experience the spirit as pure joy and Delight of being. One way we can feel that Delight is by being self-giving to another person, as well as feeling the joy of another person’s progress and happiness. We can also feel such Delight whenever we experience something new in the world, such as when we discover a new possibility, or come upon a new idea, or when we have achieved a new level of growth in our lives.
The Witness Consciousness
There is yet one other way we can experience the Spirit in our lives. Behind the layers of our human makeup -- i.e. our physical, vital, and mental parts -- there is a level of pure beingness, reflecting the true essence of who we really are. Behind the substance, movements, and sensations of our physical bodies; behind the desires, wants, emotions, and feelings of our vital being; and behind the thoughts, ideas, and beliefs of our minds, there is an essential silent and unmoving Self and Being.
From this profound inner poise of consciousness, we experience the world as pure “is-ness.” From this status, we make no value judgments; offer no opinions; express no wants and desires; experience no feelings, emotions, or sensations; and do not move, or take to action. In this state of Beingness, we just are -- silently observing the unfolding of truths of life around us, without reaction or intention.
Interestingly, through this inner poise of stillness, we can harness a formidable energy and power. By silently observing the world this way, we become sensitive to the true truths unfolding around us, which gives us deeper insight into life’s conditions, which in turn help us make the right decisions that lead to right actions. By looking out onto the world through a “witness consciousness,” we are not only detached from the intensities and sensations of life, but we gain a vast power to affect it.
In fact, when we shift away from our normal “aggressive consciousness” to this detached, calm, and equal witness consciousness, life has a tendency to respond with sudden good fortune. I.e., when we withdraw from the tumult and activity of the mind, and instead move to mental silence; when we withdraw from the reactions, likes, dislikes, wants, needs, and attitudes of the vital , and instead rest in a dispassionate neutrality and equality; and when we abandon our attempts to aggressively seek out life and take action, letting the world come to us on its own, sudden good fortune will likely follow. Although any of these inner movements can elicit the instantaneous miraculousness of life response, I would like to share several episodes that stand out.
Experience tells us that when we refrain from expressing an idea or our intention to another through speech, the other person tends to quickly express it for us! By restraining ourselves this way, the atmosphere around us gets charged with concentrations of mental and vital energy, which then penetrate another person’s consciousness, causing them to identify with it, compelling them to speak it out as if it were their own. Here are some true examples that demonstrate this phenomenon:
-A thinker was having a discussion with a similar individual. Ideas moved back and forth very swiftly. At one point, the first person decided not to express an interesting idea as an experiment in Silent Will. Several moments later, the second person expressed the very idea the first person held back.
-A writer wanted to interview several executives at a major US company for a book he was writing. His contact there refused his request. The writer was then about to describe several reasons why he should be able to meet with the staff, but instead restrained himself, holding his tongue. A moment later, the contact suddenly began to describe several reasons why it would be useful for the writer to meet with the executives, and then actually gave him permission to do so!
A variation of Silent Will goes something like this. If we withhold expressing a thought, holding it back for the right time, or simply letting it go because it does not seem to be right for the occasion, life tends to create conditions for its expression later on. Here is a true incident demonstrating this dynamic.
-A consultant, attending a meeting, restrained himself from joining a small discussion group where he had hoped to engage one person on an important matter. After the meeting ended, the consultant headed to the subway station to go home, and was then startled when the person he wanted to speak with earlier suddenly appeared beside him. They then discovered they were both headed to the subway, and then realized that they were taking the same train. As a result, over the next hour, they engaged in the very conversation that the consultant longed to have earlier with this individual.
Reduced and Soft Speech
In addition to withholding the expression of our thoughts and intentions, simply reducing the quantity of the words we speak tends to attract positive conditions. This is the case because there is a power in our speech. Our vocalizations originate in our vital/life center, and carry a life-power and energy. When we speak too much, these energies are squandered, which tends to attract corresponding negative conditions. However, if we conserve our energies through reduced speech -- or, better yet, by remaining completely silent -- they are fortified and strengthened, which tends to attract sudden good fortune from our surroundings. Here are two true incidents:
-An individual was engaged in a lively conversation with a close friend. At one point in the discussion, he overcame his urge to discuss a new idea that had entered his mind, and instead insisted that his friend speak what was on her mind. She then articulated several concepts that he had never heard before, which energized and thrilled him to no end. By moving to silence, life reversed itself and turned a mundane conversation into an ecstatic moment of freshness and wonder.
-A famous, baseball player hit a home run in pursuit of breaking the all-time record. His teammate then hit another home run after. In the dugout, the two proceeded to engage in a friendly, though somewhat heated discussion about whose ball was hit harder and further. This childish bantering continued for nearly ten minutes. At the time they began the dialogue, their team was ahead in the game. However, shortly thereafter, the other team tied the score. In fact, that rival club eventually went on to win in extra innings, which turned into a heart breaking loss for the home team with the two incessantly chatting players.
-An instructor noticed that every time he engaged in lengthy discussions about politics or other social issues with someone before a class, he would invariably run into some difficulty with that very student during the course of the day. He later committed to never engage in such idle, debate-oriented conversations before his classes, which helped him avoid such negative life response thereafter.
One of the ways we can avoid such pitfalls is to identify those areas of our lives where we waste speech -- i.e. our “speech threshold,” -- and then make an effort to draw back from it. For example, the trainer just mentioned could learn to refrain from speaking with students on controversial news topics before class, while a customer rep could cease from engaging in needless, idle conversations with her clients. In such instances, drawing back from one’s speech threshold fortifies positive energy, which tends to attract sudden good fortune back to us.
Why then do we speak so much? One reason is that we love the sound of our own voice! Another reason is that we also enjoy the stimulation that comes from interacting with others. It has been suggested that 80% of our conversations take place in a social context, and it is in these stimulating interactions that compel us to vocalize our thoughts and feelings. If, on the other hand, we recognized this fact and controlled ourselves in these social situations, we would not only reduce the quantity of speech, but we would elicit very positive circumstance on those occasions.
In should be pointed out that in addition to reducing the quantity of the words we speak, we can also reduce the volume and pitch of our speech. When we speak loudly and boisterously, life tends to get disturbed and attract negative outcomes. However, if we practice “soft speech,” by speaking in a low, soft voice, then good fortune moves our way. In particular, soft speech tends to attract money and other forms of financial benefit.
One 39-year-old wealthy American businessperson lost all 60 of his employees, and was prepared to file for bankruptcy. However, at a relative’s suggestion, he and his wife practiced psychological and spiritual disciplines, including speaking in a low, soft voice. As a result, two years later he was in a position to retire for life!
Equality of Being
In addition to mental silence, we can also practice vital silence. If we keep our emotions and feelings in tow when difficulties arise, not only do the problems tend to dissipate, but new, unexpected positive outcomes are apt to take their place. Here are several true-life examples:
-A training company secured work from a well-known global technology company. The class went very well, and the training company sent out an invoice to the client. Normally payment on the bill occurs within two weeks. However, the client informed the training company that they paid in 60 days. On hearing this, the individual managing the account at the training company nearly became unhinged. Fortunately, at the time, he was able to hold back his feelings, and eventually reverse himself to the point where he actually attained a state of calm and equality within. The following day the representative of the training company was shocked to discover that the client had paid for the work in full via the Internet that very morning! In essence, through an inner reversal from agitation to vital stillness, a long 60-day receivable had turned into a 2-day payment.
-A woman who had never driven a car long-distance was being hounded by a big-rig truck bearing down on her at high speed on a steep incline of an interstate highway. She was very concerned and bothered by the vehicle’s imminent approach. Several minutes later, the truck suddenly swerved off the road, taking an unmarked exit into what appeared to be desert wasteland. When asked what she had been thinking about before the truck made its unexpected exit, the woman said that she had simply decided to stop worrying about the threat. In other words, be still and calm about the matter, ever to the point of ignoring and forgetting it.
-In a famous story set in the 19the century, a man made a wager that he could travel around the world in eighty days. He personality was such that he never worried about anything, no matter how dire the circumstances. As a result, he was constantly able to overcome immanent disasters on the trip.
At one point, as he was about to complete the journey, he was arrested, which, in effect, caused him to miss the 80-day deadline, and, therefore, lose the bet. Undaunted by the false accusation, and remaining utterly calm, he escaped from his captives. Arriving at the final destination point of the race, he learned that he actually had returned one day early, and thus had now, in fact, won the wager! It turned out that he arrived on the 79th day because he saved one full day by traveling east to west around the world.
-A company rented workspace from an owner who offered this service. When the principle of the company went on a trip, his own manager and several staff members got into an argument with this owner. When the owner threatened to oust the company from the space, they threatened legal action against him. However, when the principle of the company returned and learned of this contentious situation, he decided to remain absolutely calm and composed. He also told his workers to do the same.
Several days later, the owner of the rental space came up to the principle, and, shaken, told him that his own son had a heart problem. The owner asked the principle if knew of a hospital where the child could be treated. The boy was then shuttled to a hospital that the principle recommended. There the doctors indicated the need for immediate surgery. However, the owner did not have the money to pay for such an expensive operation. Once again, the principle came through, and was able to arrange financing for the owner though a bank he had worked with. The operation on the child then took place, and fortunately turned out to be a success. As a result of these extraordinary events, the owner felt eternally grateful to the very man whose company he had once tried to evict. An individual’s absolute calm and composure in the face of adversity had attracted these most extraordinary circumstances from life.
The capacity to remain undisturbed in the face of intense circumstances -- whether they are extremely negative and displeasing, or even extremely positive and enjoyable -- is the inner power of “equality of being.” Any serious movement away from either of these disturbed states to one of equality of calm is sure to attract benefit all the way around.
Like taking to mental silence, moving from agitation, fear, and worry to a state of calm and equality is an indicator that we have attained a certain level of stillness within -- i.e. of Beingness --, which is one of the essential ways we can come to know the Spirit in life.
--Roy Posner 14:08, 14 May 2009 (UTC)
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