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Archive for the ‘mystic knowing’ Category

Remembering who we are, and where we are going, is a function of the soul. We can even say that there is a process guiding the soul. This process can be thought of as soul-making, or what our life here on Earth is really for. It is how we develop and draw out the potential we are innately endowed with. Soul-making is the lifelong process of acquiring the attributes, qualities, and character needed for our eternal journey. It helps us in both this world and the next.

As Marion Woodman puts it, “soul-making is allowing the eternal essence to live and experience the outer world through all the senses – seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching – so that the soul grows during its time on Earth. Soul-making is constantly confronting the paradox that an eternal being is dwelling in a temporal body. That’s why it suffers, and learns by heart. Soul hears with eternal ears, sees with eternal eyes, smells with eternal nose.”

Soul-making is not a solitary quest; it is for the benefit of everyone. It is a process of taking on a transcendent identity that results in nothing less than personal transformation which contributes also to our collective transformation. This is what the world needs most at this auspicious time.

A 50th way to explore your soul’s story – This is important stuff, be sure to give yourself enough time and find a quiet space to reflect on what you feel it is that really guides your life and where you think this is directing you. Think of times in your life when you became aware that you were drawing out a new virtue, quality, or potential that was already within you. What did this feel like? What was it like for you to discover for the first time that there was an eternal part of you along with the temporal part? Finally, after you’ve had enough time to reflect on these questions, write down the story of how your soul-making has expressed your own personal truth, as well as some part of the collective truth of us all.

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You know the value of every article of merchandise,

but if you don’t know the value of your own soul it’s all foolishness.

You’ve come to know the fortunate and the inauspicious stars,

but you don’t know whether you yourself are fortunate or unlucky.

This, this is the essence of all sciences—

that you should know who you will be when the Day of Reckoning arrives.

            —Rumi

Is this the greatest challenge of our lives? How many of us, as Jung has asked, are really prepared for the second half of life, for old age, death, and eternity? For Rumi, this is all a very practical matter, as much so as knowing the true value of anything in the marketplace. This is a lifelong process that begins as early as we become aware of our own soul – that unique part of us that is with us throughout our entire existence, before we were born and after we die. What happens is we tend to confuse our identity with the multiple facets of our physical form that we know for only maybe eight or nine decades, a mere fleeting moment of our soul’s eternal journey.

As we gain this deeper consciousness, we become increasingly reflective on what it all means to us. Could it be that it is not the I that looks back to review our life, but the soul? Why wouldn’t who we are at our essence be in control when it matters most?

A 47th way to explore your soul’s story – Memory is that soulful part of us that wants us to remember as much as we can before we leave this plane. Could it be the intention of the soul to re-member those eternal images, those soul qualities and virtues, most needed for the rest of our eternal journey? Think back to that time in your life when you first recognized that there was an eternal, changeless, ever-present part to who you are. What was this archetypal moment like for you? How did your own awareness of your soul change how you saw yourself? How did this knowledge of your soul give you a clearer vision of how you want to live your life? What was the greatest lesson that knowing the value of your own soul gave you? Write down this story of coming to know your eternal self.

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There is an essential give and take, push and pull, up and down, to life that is both simple and yet a core mystery of existence. Through this dialectic we develop character, form virtues, and gain integrity. The symmetrical nature of opposing forces helps us remember our wholeness.

This inherent opposition of life is designed to bring about growth, change, transformation, and evolution in life; and, ultimately, to shift our focus from the familiar to the mysterious, from the physical to the spiritual, and from time to eternity.

Here we have a fundamental principle of life that, in presenting us with endless pairs of opposites, creates contradictions, conflicts, and problems, or muddles, to be resolved. Each pair of opposites, as complementarities, adds up to a whole. Problems only arise when the whole is broken down into parts. In some traditions, the central problem of the human condition is precisely how to bring the two contraries into equilibrium, yet maintaining them as complementary forces. Knowing how to balance the creative and destructive energies is a guiding principle of human development.

A 40th way to explore your soul’s story – Identify a time, or an experience, when you were fully aware of a conflict of opposites going on in your life, a push and a pull between two forces that seemed to have equal power over you. What were the forces you were aware of, what kind of shift in focus or contradiction did this create for you? Did these opposing forces help you to understand any better your core values or virtues that you possess? How did you recreate a balance between these opposing forces for yourself? Tell this story of how you overcame, or resolved, the muddle these two opposing forces created for you, and post it here for others to benefit from, if you would like to.

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What was C. G. Jung really saying when he reflected in his autobiography, “In the end the only events in my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world irrupted into this transitory one.” He actually compared our lives to the life of a plant that lives on its invisible, hidden rhizome. The visible part appears above ground and lasts only a single summer. His point is he “never lost a sense of something that lives and endures beneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.”

Following this intriguing analogy, what is most important in our lives, as well as longest lasting, are our inner experiences, the dreams, visions, goals, and values that carry us onward toward our becoming who we are inside us, that “splinter of the infinite deity,” as Jung puts it. Everything else withers in comparison.

Our lives are “so fleeting, so insignificant, that it is literally a miracle that anything can exist and develop at all,” Jung also says. So what do we do with what we have, before it all passes so quickly away? How do we address the mysteries of our lives, of life itself, and how do we fit into this wondrous grand mystery? Is the story we would tell of our lives that of the blossom or the rhizome? (Or, is it at least some of both?)

The story of human development, and the life story we would tell about our life as a whole, is incomplete without the recognition of the soul and what its existence signifies – not only spiritual development but eternal life as well. Mystics and poets the world over have long described how consciousness continues on, in the eternal human soul, after death. And now some scientists are saying the same thing.

A 38th way to review your life story – If our life on Earth is but a fleeting moment, if our soul is the medium for spiritual growth, and if Earth is a platform for the ascent of the soul, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your day in this soul school? What inner experiences mean the most to you? Which moments when “the imperishable world irrupted into this transitory one” are the most meaningful to you? How have you learned to “isolate the eternal from the contingent,” as the mystics do, to shift your focus in this life toward eternity, toward the one, and away from the temporal, and the many? Tell this story of your deeper remembrance, and share it here for others to enjoy, as well.

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At the heart of our quest for understanding life are three questions: “Where have I come from?” “What am I doing here?” and “Where am I going?” The mystery of our origin, purpose, and destiny is intricately tied to the nature of the soul. The world’s sacred traditions have always provided answers to these mysteries of life.

Beyond this, it now seems that we are hardwired to remember where we came from and where we are going. Remembrance is a meditation that leads to a deeper reality. It is the conscious effort of reflecting on and listening to our own eternal thoughts that connect us to the heart of the universe. As our remembrance expands, our consciousness, our view of the world and our place in it, leads us to greater action in the world. Remembrance is a stepping-stone to spiritual transformation. As a regular practice, remembrance helps us remain conscious of who we are as sacred beings.

A 37th way to review your life story – Meditate on these sacred writings: “The spirit returns to God who gave it.” “What is unseen is eternal.” “All things proceed from God and unto to Him they return.”

Keeping your focus on the sacred, try to find, as Bede Griffiths did, that “window” in your consciousness where you “can look out into eternity” and “see the world as it really is” where “all is one, united in a single vision of being.”

Be thankful for the ability to remember; to remember who you are, where you came from, where you are going, and most of all for remembering that God’s love brought you into being. Be grateful for the gift of your soul, your link to the Imperishable.

Take a moment to remember all the gifts you’ve ever received as often as you can. Take twenty minutes of focused time out of your busy day, each day, to remember all those things that are most important to you, and to let go of the unimportant, so that you remain in touch with your essence. Remember to honor both your joys and your sorrows in your life, because both are what provide your life with its greatest meaning.

Keep up this practice of remembrance regularly. Ask yourself each day these questions: Am I me? Am I in my everyday life who I am at the core of my being? Am I in the process everyday of fulfilling my own potential? And if you ever find yourself answering no to any of them, then ask yourself: What else do I need to be doing to be fully me? With this regular practice, you won’t have worry about needing to rush to answer these questions at the end of your life.

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The ancient legends shedding light on the unborn soul tell us that we already know where we came from and where we are going. The part of us that always remembers, that always lives in close proximity to God, is called the “secret soul” in the Sufi tradition. What we seek is within us, as the sacred traditions also affirm. Our remembrance of this would fundamentally change us and transform all our relationships into relationships of authenticity, respect, and compassion.

The great mystic poets knew, ultimately, that remembrance links us to the spirit we all possess, which links us to each other, as well. Rumi puts it this way:

“What I tell about “me” I tell about you

The walls between us long ago burned down

This voice seizing me is your voice

Burning to speak to us of us.”

Walt Whitman says:

“I celebrate myself;

And what I assume you shall assume;

For every atom belonging to me, as good belongs to you.”

The practice of remembrance leads us from the depths of ourselves to the heart of our deeper connection with others. Remembering our true origin, identity, and destiny leads us ultimately to the service of humanity, through our own deeds and actions that benefit others.

A 36th way to review your life story – What secrets does your soul have to tell you? What is already within you that might lead you beyond yourself? How could remembering what is within you transform the relationships you already have and even those you don’t yet know you have? Reflect and meditate on these questions, asking your soul what it knows about the walls between us that are not really there, about the voice that is the voice of all of us, that burns to speak to us of us. How does every atom that belongs to you also belong to everyone? If you would like to, share this story that your soul tells you with us all here.

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Mystic knowing is essentially a matter of remembering what we once knew. Our birth into this world is not merely a matter of “a sleep and a forgetting,” as Wordsworth and other mystic poets have hinted at. This is but the earliest part of a lifelong, even eternal, process. The rest of the story is, most importantly, a process of remembering who we really are. This is how and why remembering is a spiritual practice. Wordsworth gives us a glimpse of the rest of that process, too:

Our Souls have sight of that immortal sea

Which brought us hither, can in a moment travel thither…

This process begins as a journey of descent, from the eternal worlds, characterized by knowing and forgetting, yet continues in this world after birth as a journey of ascent, characterized by eventually awakening to the reality around us, coming into full consciousness, and then gradually remembering what was once known from the sacred realm. Some sense that there might be something more to life, seek and often find what they are looking for, and then spend the rest of their lives striving to live in the ultimate balance of that remembrance. Others may spend their lives wholly in the temporal realm, forever in that state of forgetfulness, never knowing, or caring, that there was ever anything else to know.

All of the divinely revealed religions help us recognize our origin as well as our destiny. Similar to the other sacred traditions, at the heart of the Baha’i Faith is the belief that our purpose in this life is to prepare for the life beyond, that the soul is on a journey from and back to God. As the Baha’i writings put it, the soul “is the repository of the ancient, Divine mysteries of God.” The nature, path and progress, or the journey, of the soul, as it has been understood historically and universally, through these spiritual perspectives, is of the essence to living our lives today.

A 32nd way to review your life story – If the soul is our eternal identity, the only thing we take with us through this life and into the next, perhaps the one thing that makes us truly unique, then remembering where we came from, who – and what – we really are, and where we are going, could even be seen as the purpose of life. Who are you, really, in the eternal sense? In addition to all the usual identifiers we draw on to answer this essential question of life, what would you add to this long list of identities that truly makes you who you are, eternally? What divine qualities or virtues have you discovered that have been deposited into your soul? How has remembering what you once knew before your descent to this world helped you in your return journey, in preparing for the life beyond? Please feel free to share the essential parts of this story with us here.

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