Week 21 – Spiritual Community

There is another aspect of spiritual community of which we should become aware and that is the community of the divine that guides and supports us. In every religion and culture there is a recognition that we are guided and supported. These may be recognised as archangels, angels, saints, Boddhisattvas, guides, ascended masters and may take on many different forms and qualities. This part of community is to recognise the support and guidance that we are given. Sometimes we recognise this support, guidance and protection coming from an identifiable source and sometimes we are just aware of its presence. The most important aspect is the recognition of its existence and of its reality.

While we may sometimes have disbelief at the individual source of guidance and we may also feel unworthy of its applicability to us we should recognise the gift even if we don’t recognise or acknowledge its source. The more we deepen into spiritual awareness the more we should acknowledge the presence of Spirit, in different forms within our lives. This presence may come as guidance and the recognition that there is some underlying direction in our lives. It may be the ability to call upon, through prayer or meditation, support and assistance in dealing with problems and situations. It may just be the recognition of an underlying protection and love.

Different religions and beliefs access and identify divinity in different forms, this is not just the overall unifying creative force, but elements of that force. The different forms they take usually represent different qualities that we need, strength and courage, love and compassion, healing, guidance etc. These qualities may come to you when you need them or we may call upon them as we need them. Often the choice we make reflects our background and beliefs but we can be open to all that inspire us.

It is one of the most important parts of this course that we recognise our spiritual nature and the implication that there is something beyond us of which we are part. Part of this is acknowledging the ways in which this interacts and communicates with us. We recognise the qualities and creativity that this brings but also we recognise the spiritual community to which we belong. This is not only the people in our lives who bring us the greatest lessons and teaching, bu also those with whom we share the journey. There is also the community beyond human form of which we are part. It may be more difficult to define, but it is no less real. This quality of being harder to see and touch make it more important to acknowledge.

We access these figures through prayer and meditation, but they are always there. We can learn to identify them to feel their different qualities. In the end we must recognise them, as with others in our community, as part of the Oneness, but we appreciate their unique qualities and support.

True Prayer – From supplements to a Course in Miracles
Prayer is a way offered by the Holy Spirit to reach God. It is not merely a question or an entreaty. It cannot succeed until you realise that it asks for nothing. How else could it serve its purpose? It is impossible to pray for idols and hope to reach God. True prayer must avoid the pitfall of asking to entreat. As rather to receive what is already given; to accept what is already there.

You have been told to ask the Holy Spirit for the answer to any specific problem, and that you will receive a specific answer if such is your need. You have also been told that there is only one problem and one answer. In prayer this is not contradictory. There are decisions to make here, and they must be made whether they be illusions or not. You cannot be asked to accept answers which are beyond the level of need that you can recognise. Therefore it is not the form of question that matters, nor how it is asked. The form of the answer, if given by God, will suit the need as you see it. This is merely an echo of the reply of His voice. The real sound is always a song of thanksgiving and love.

You cannot then, ask for the echo. It is the song that is the gift. Along with it come the overtones, the harmonics the echoes, but these are secondary. In true prayer you hear only the song. All the rest is merely added. You have sought first the Kingdom of Heaven, and all else has indeed been given you.

The secret of true prayer is to forget the things you think you need. To ask for the specific is much the same as to look on sin and then forgive it. Also in the same way in prayer you overlook your specific needs as you se them and let them go into God’s hands. There they become our gifts to Him, for they tell Him that you would have no gods before Him; no love but His. What could His answer be but your remembrance of Him? Can his be traded for a bit of trifling advice about a problem of an instant’s duration? God answers only for eternity. But still all answers are contained in this.

Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused wth supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Wy should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything love has to offer? And it is to love you go in prayer. Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him.

This is not the level of prayer that everyone can obtain as yet. Those who have not reached it still need you help in prayer because their asking is not yet based on acceptance. Help in prayer does not mean that another mediates between you and God. But it does mean that another stands beside you and helps to raise you up to Him. One who has realised the goodness of God prays without fear. And one who prays wthouit fear cannot but reach Him. He can therefore also reach His Son, wherever he ma be and whatever form he may seem to take.

Praying to Christ in anyone is true prayer because it is a gift of thanks to His father. To ask that Christ be but Himself is not a entreaty, it is a song of thanksgiving for what you are. Herein lies the power of prayer. It asks nothing and receives everything. This prayer can be shared because it receives for everyone. To pray with one who knows that this is true is to be answered. Perhaps the specific form of resolution for a specific problem will occur to either of you; it does not matter which. Perhaps it will reach both, if you are genuinely attuned to one another. It will come because you have realised that Christ is in both of you. That is its only truth.

Atonement
The start and the finish, the beginning and the end. Always return back to the beginning, to start the cycle again. An endless process of change, always growing and developing.

We stand At-One, the feet together, the head drawn up. The body is relaxed. Our breath is soft and gentle, our mind, still and quiet, the senses withdrawn. We sense the earth beneath our feet. We connect through the soles of the feet to the planet, rooting into the ground. We feel the light drawing us up, by the crown centre, gently extending us. Our silent mind turned inward. Our heart is open, balancing and merging the earth and Heaven connections.

We stand At-One with the Universe, the Earth our physical world and Heaven, our spiritual world. As we stand we feel part of both, not separate from either. In the stillness and silence we can sense our connection, our communion with Earth and Heaven. We can sense ourselves as part of the whole. At-one-ment is returning to our being, our true nature.

Atonement is the acceptance of forgiveness. It is accepting forgiveness, by seeing ourself as God sees us, perfect. It is accepting that whatever has been done at a human level, we are at a spiritual level are still perfect, as we were created. Atonement is not about paying a price for what we have done, it is forgiving ourself, and in doing so forgiving others. It is giving up the ego self and returning to God.

As we stand At-One, we are returning to that state of being which helps us to experience being at one with God, that is being in a state of atonement. The position is just a reflection of the real experience but it is a way to express our intent of returning once more to God. The position helps us to remember and in remembering we start to return.

Every time we stand At-One we create our intent for atonement, to forgive ourselves and everybody else and to return to our true state of being at one with God.

We are the beginning and the end. We are the link between heaven and earth. It is our privilege to be here in a human body, with physical sensation, emotional feeling and mental capacity. Yet all this also makes us capable of experiencing our true self, that part of our being that is permanent and unchanging. We can keep seeking for sensory fulfilment or we can seek our spiritual truth yet the simplicity of the solution often evades us. We need do nothing except look inside and be willing to experience.

There is no right or wrong answer to what we must do with our life, and any experiences and wisdom gained may be part of our purpose. Yet no experience and no wisdom is needed to experience God. To experience God all we have to do is to open ourself completely to the experience. We can get lost in the practice and preparation for the experience so much that we forget how simple it is.

At this moment, at any moment we can be with God. At-One with God. It is not the position that is important but the intent of the posture. To feel heaven, to feel earth. To be still, silent and withdrawn in order to be able to experience. At one with God in all innocence. Leaving behind all guilt. At that moment everything that we think we have done is forgiven. We cannot be guilty, because we are no longer separate from God.

What was never apart cannot be joined. There is no way that we cannot succeed in this because it is how we are and what we are. It is impossible to fail to be with God because we are always with God. The thought that we are separate is merely a thought, that passes and is gone. It goes and we remember who we are and who we have always been.

We are not separate and apart from God, and in that moment of union with God we are united once again with all our brothers.

The beginning and the end. In the beginning we were one with God. In the end we are at one with God, In between there is merely a thought that we are not with God, yet we awake to find it was all a dream.

We look to see God in everybody else, for in seeing God in them we see God in ourselves. It is impossible to be with God and still to think as though separate. In releasing others of any sins we perceive, we release sins we see in ourself. In healing them we heal ourself. In loving them we love ourself. In being with them we be with God.

In this world we do not know what is right or wrong, good or bad, our purpose or other’s purpose. We do not know what happens, what help us to grow and to experience. All we do know is that being with God, feeling Love is the state of being that allows us to fulfill our role in any situation. If we do not bring love we continue to learn. If we always bring love what else is there to learn. No right, no wrong, just peace and love.

Opening and Closing
At the start of any session spend a few minutes being At One either sitting or standing as appropriate. Prepare yourself then when you are ready open up.

Slowly raise the arms to the side of the body, sweeping them up until the palms touch each other in a prayer position above your crown centre. Then keeping the hands in prayer position slowly bring them down in front of the body breathing into each energy centre as you do so. When you get to the heart pause and spend a few moments at the heart. Then bow to acknowledge everyone you is doing the session with you and whatever you believe in. You acknowledge the truth in other people and asking for support and guidance from the spiritual community.  After bowing continue down through the remaining centres, letting your hands part.

At the end of the session repeat the same exercise. Sit or stand for a while feeling At One. Then raise your hands in the same way and come down through the centres with a sense of closure and completion. Again pause at the heart, this time fill your heart with gratitude. Bow with appreciation for the others, for this world and for whatever you believe in.

Gratitude Exercise
This does not feel like an exercise to me, it is so natural. At the end of any time that you have felt a sense of connection or openness, a feeling of presence or oneness then just bring attention to the heart and feel gratitude. Always at the end of meditation, the end of chi kung, Tai Chi or Yoga, at the end of prayer feel gratitude. Whenever you naturally feel the presence within nature, by the ocean, in beauty, come to your heart. Most of the time this will happen so naturally that you may not be aware. Just make yourself aware.

Exercise – At One with Nature
Community is not just about our spiritual being connecting to other spiritual beings it is ultimately about being at one with the whole world. If God is everywhere and in everything, then to be at one with God is possible anywhere. Yet there are places when we see and feel and touch the beauty of God. There are places where we senses the power of God’s creation. In nature we sense the beauty of God, we see the beauty in the tiniest flower and the magnificent panorama. We see God’s power in the ocean and in the mountains. We sense God’s enduring strength in the rivers and the trees. We feel God’s gentleness in the caress of the breeze, the trickle of water and the softness of the earth.

In nature we are able to sense every aspect of God, just by opening up our senses. Yet sometimes the sense of God in nature is so powerful that it opens us up. Nature intrudes on us to awaken us to the experience of God. Nature can transport us , a butterfly, a leaf, the bark of a tree, the sound of water, the feel of the breeze on our face, the mountains, the sun reflecting on the water. There are so many beautiful things to remind us of God.

The beauty of nature is within us. The expression of awe of wonder is inside us. We feel the softness and the power inside us. Nature expands our experience of God, to be At One. Although it seems to be outside of us, the beauty is within us. When we stand in nature we feel the softness of the heart, the strength of our certainty and the beauty of our being.

In stillness and silence we stand once more to feel the beauty of God within us, to experience once more ourselves as we really are, a part not apart.

This month once again spend time in nature. Be still and quiet, externally and internally. Feel your connection to the earth and to heaven. Try in the silence to be aware of your connection to the world, yourself as a part of the universe, not apart from the universe.