The Authentic Self and the Idea of God

I have come to think that potential, a concept which I have been contemplating for years, can be thought of as the ultimate Everything-and-Nothing, the All-That-Is, which is commonly referred to as God.

This idea of God is not a religious one. It is not our own best guess at what a person with superpowers would be like. For these sorts of gods, one might as well believe in the Avengers — they are defined by human ideas of personhood and are really no different than the superheroes of our favourite stories.

In my cosmology, God is simply everything that is possible, in a singularity of infinite Oneness. However, God is not a Self the way people are. God is not a being with a defined personality and consciousness who experiences things and reacts to them. God, rather, IS all the things, and space and time and everything.

But again, God is not a Self or a person. For to be a Self is to be contained and limited — to be set apart from the universe as a whole. Without the defining edge between yourself and the world, you would be God. And your edges are really your limits, the things that you are not. Your limitations ought to be valued, then, if you value your Self at all.

In fact, it is these limitations of Selfhood that allow for people to experience things. Only Selves experience anything, for to transcend Self is to BE everything. You see, experience requires change, such as time or circumstance. And in my cosmology, God transcends time and circumstance and physicality altogether. Moreover, God is the very thing we are experiencing — no matter what that is.

To be everything, God must ultimately be morally neutral in our human eyes. Morality is entirely created by Selves — and there is nothing wrong with that as long as you understand what that means. It means we are each free to pursue our own sense of morality: ideally what we experience and feel as being right and sacred with respect to our understanding of our authentic Selfhood. We will each have different ideas, and that is no trouble ultimately because God contains it all and is entirely neutral. Naturally, God is not a judge.

We people and everything we experience are God’s potential made “manifest” through the simple fact that we are experiencing it. By our own experience of ourselves and the world, we play out God’s imagination. Selves experience what God dreams into being, and there is value in this.

It matters what we genuinely believe and value and call sacred. It matters because we are experiencing God and Self at once, only Selves can create a sense of meaning to it all. It doesn’t really matter what you value — it matters that you value it, and bring meaning to it, and ideally this is done with careful attention to Self understanding.

Self understanding is the discovery of one’s authenticity. What you truly value is what has not been forced on you, or the result of certain insecurities and fears. What you truly value may not be what you have been taught to value. Be honest with yourself, and as you grow in awareness, allow for changes in your values too. Finding your authentic Self is not really the end goal of life; nor is it a race to the finish line. However, it is vital that you continue to learn and experience who you are. At the very least, you will find that knowing yourself allows you to create less suffering for yourself!

I have written several posts aiming to get a person thinking about what they value and who they are. There is a sort of worksheet of questions here that will help get you started:

Also, this post about deconstructing your false desires may be of use to you:


The Spiritual Practice of Silliness

And now for something completely different: a bunny wearing a hat.

Silliness is more than not taking things too seriously; it is the awareness that we create our own experience. It is to decide to take the world on your own terms for a moment. The practice of silliness is indeed a spiritual thing, more so even than laughter, which is generally a result of forces beyond yourself. Silliness, on the other hand, is a self-constructed experience of controlling one’s reality. It shows how you can change not only your mood but your entire perception of the world as you see fit. Practicing silliness with an awareness of its power boosts one’s confidence in one’s own ability to manage one’s soul and one’s experience of life itself. Indeed, some of the greatest minds and deepest hearts are seen at their best when practicing silliness.

Heart-Led, Intentioned Prayer Practice

A simple way to connect to your heart’s power and its own knowledge and language, and use that power in prayer:

Place your hand over your heart centre, in any way that feels comfortable to you. This connects you to your heart’s own awareness and intelligence. Did you know that the heart has its own neural cells, called now by scientists “the little brain in our hearts” that acts separately and independently from the brain in our heads? Gently shift your attention and awareness to your heart.

Now slow your breathing a little, as much as is comfortable to you. This relaxed state tells your mind and body that you are safe, so you are in a state to heal and manifest rather than being in “fight or flight mode”, which is stressful on the body. You can’t heal when you’re in the mode of defense and fight or flight.

Now imagine the emotions attached to any these words: compassion, care, appreciation, and gratitude. Can you create the emotion of gratitude in your heart right now? Can you create that feeling of compassion and care that you get when you look into a loved one’s eyes? Can you imagine the feeling you have when you appreciate the beauty of life?

Create any of these feelings, still breathing slowly, and notice: do you feel different? Can you sense your heart’s awareness?

In this state you may wish to pray. Gregg Braden explains that asking for things denies our own power to create what we want to happen, and also by asking for something, we’re implying that we don’t have it — focusing on the lack of it, which makes it seem out of our reach, even impossible to obtain.

Let your heart pray instead. For instance, if you wish for healing, imagine the emotions and sensations of being healthy, vibrantly vital, peaceful and happy, able to do anything. Practice generating these emotions in your imagination, because these feelings are the language of the heart, and your heart’s way of praying. Your heart has the power to connect with the divine and co-create the changes it wants to see in the world — but you have to let your heart do the talking.

I have a new group on Facebook for anyone who wants to join with others in prayer to manifest greater change in their lives and the world. Join us here!

Understanding the Role of Emotional Pain

So much about modern life seeks to dull and dispose of emotional pain, but this pain is both a teacher and an opportunity. We depend on struggle to feel that we exist at all. Struggle is what gives value to achievements and allows growth. Just as all life feeds of the death of something, all pain can feed joy and fulfillment. You wouldn’t want to read a story without any conflict or drama, in which the protagonist was always happy and content — neither would you really want to live such a life. Without struggle in your life story you are a hero of nothing.

And if you really were perfectly peaceful and content all the time, it would be as if life were living itself, without a need for your own effort to overcome anything. And in that case, it would be as if you didn’t exist at all, as if life would live on without you.

One of the worst bouts of depression I experience is not about crushing emotional pain so much as it is the overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of feeling anything — a mental state in which nothing seems to matter. However, in emptiness lies the greatest potential. Where there is nothing, like a blank page, anything can be written. So it becomes clear to me that states of emptiness are opportunities to change up your life. If you can connect with your potential in these moments, the infinite potential to do absolutely anything you can imagine, you can find new ways to live, new perspectives, and find new ways to fulfill your soul.

All struggle is an opportunity. It is necessary to feel alive and it makes achievements valuable in the first place. When you are in emotional pain, it is an opportunity to discover what your soul truly needs and gives you a reason to make greater efforts, which lead to growth and feelings of success.

I maintain that emotional pain is a spiritual thing — emotions are immaterial, and thus part of the spirit world. If we examine our emotions and pain, instead of trying to quick-fix them, we can learn what we value, what false beliefs are fueling continued and painful mistakes, and how to live better. In this way emotional pain is an ally, it is a signal that something is wrong either in your thinking or your actions. Just as physical pain tells you about your body, emotional pain tells you about your soul, and signals a time for action — a time to make changes and shake things up.

Spiritual Healing in Dreamcraft

wild turkey meeting

I have been working on a practical spiritual modality that I call “Dreamcraft”, and having covered the basics of my cosmology and beliefs, it is time to approach the critical subject of spiritual healing.

I speak from the perspective of someone who is healing from severe sexual/physical/emotional abuse in my childhood. Previously I had studied shamanism for several years but found that it didn’t support my own values. I believe that we each have the power to do the work and joy of spiritual healing ourselves, and so the idea of elite people doing the work for us (as in shamanic practice), just didn’t jive with me.

Spiritual healing, in my view, need not be as esoteric as you may think; indeed, it ought to be practical with results that you can truly notice and feel. My viewpoint is that to heal from past pain, we must build new “skin” over those soul wounds. What truly hurts is the soul, and it must be understood through soul discovery and spiritual exploration.

We all have access to our souls’ powers and spiritual senses, as the soul is ever-present and here with us right now. And our imagination is our greatest spiritual tool, as it is a direct sense of potential itself. Imagination shows us all that is possible, somehow and somewhere. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” This is something I embrace wholeheartedly: for I journey with my spirit to other times, other places, and other perspectives, as is the power of spirit to transcend these things — and I don’t worry about whether or not the experience is “real”. It is surely real in some way and that’s all I need to know. Even the Q’ero shamans of Peru, who claim a lineage going back to the Inca, like to playfully say that it doesn’t matter if spiritual experiences are imagined and made up entirely in your head, as our whole Earthbound reality is already “made up” by our minds.

I find that spirit exploration is a valuable practice for spiritual healing. Spirit exploration can be achieved in light meditation, or even a daydream — it need not require intense discipline, years of hermitage in a cave, or lengthy meditation in the lotus position. Close your eyes and explore, that’s what your spirit is meant to do. Get in touch with what your soul can sense. You may be surprised at how spontaneously things seem to happen — at times, you will feel that you aren’t actively imagining at all, but simply experiencing.

Where do you start in spirit exploration? This will be the topic of a later post, but you can visit your child-self, at different ages; you can meet other souls — like spirit guides — who may have something to tell you; and you can reach out to your higher self, the one who transcends time itself, for whom all lives and all time happen all at once, eternally and infinitely. The higher self is a concept of your ideal and infinite being, and getting to know this aspect of your soul will teach you things you didn’t even know about yourself now.

We should, I believe, be taught from an early age to explore our souls. What do our souls truly desire and need? Not material things, since soul is immaterial. What do our souls value? What truths do they live by? How do they see existence and how we ought to live? What are our souls’ powers and potential?

Another thing I believe we ought to be taught when we are young is to critically examine the things we believe — for when we are mistreated we learn to believe things about ourselves that aren’t true, and perhaps aren’t even logical. All belief is just perspective. If you have been taught to believe that you are ugly, unworthy of love, a bad person…you need to turn this around in order to heal. I like to use what I call “retrograde perspectives” to show myself other ways of seeing and thinking. For instance, you can go your whole life walking across the land…or maybe, just once, you could feel yourself “walking” by turning the Earth with your feet. You can imagine opposite ways of seeing just about anything. Retrograde perspectives show us new, imaginative ways to get out of “thought ruts” and cast out false beliefs that we carry from old wounds. If we don’t change our thinking, these false beliefs will continue to wound us, and the pain goes ever deeper.

Finally, healing from the past means making your present moment a good, safe place to be. For me, that meant cutting off contact with my whole family (and none, unfortunately, were worth forgiving — I believe forgiveness requires contriteness and/or apology and/or an intent not to continue hurting someone. Forgiveness and compassion are not concepts well-suited for atrocities and extreme behaviour). So one must consider the people that one surrounds themselves with, and the things one is doing in their present life. Are you working towards growth and healing? If you’re barely keeping your head above water, or if you are surrounded by drama, you won’t be able to heal — you need to create a firm foundation in the present first.