Lessons Vol. 1
Many paths, one goal
So you found salvation by studying the words of Christ. So you achieved enlightenment by reading the teachings of Buddha. So you became transcendent following the path of Narayan.
I call it The Divine. Other people call it "The Source" or "The Universe". There are so many names for it, God... Allah... Brahman. But I call it The Divine because divinity exists in every religion. And even that has many different names!
All of these names are labels upon something which is beyond names and labels.
I think the closest we got to hearing Its name was when It said Its name is "I Am".
In Its purest form, The Divine is pure, limitless being. It is the state of existence and everything exists because of It and within It.
It is not only free will, and It is not only spirituality. It simply is. Even saying It is everything falls short because it is beyond everything, and it is nothingness too.
It simply is.
Question from a pantheist:
I used to feel this way, but then somebody pointed out: if everything is God what’s the point of it being God? If everything is God then the garbage on the street is God. What's the difference between everything being God and nothing being God?
Haha, the garbage on the street is definitely God! The Divine is in absolutely every molecule of our physical reality, as well as what is outside or beyond our physical reality. Meaning: it makes up our entire bodies, minds and souls: Meaning: we have full access to it at any time.
I have pondered about this very question myself. And I asked, what makes me any different from my cat, or the rocks in my backyard? And the best I could come up with is that everything is equal and that's exactly what makes everything so special. When I love the whole world, I love myself, my cat and the rocks in my backyard equally, because it's all the same thing when I become one with it all!
The first definition of pantheism reads:
"A doctrine which identifies God with the universe, or regards the universe as a manifestation of God."
Sure, why not? It was then that I asked myself what if there is a god who is greater than the universe, that contains our universe, as well as infinite parallel universes? And this frightened me, initially... the thought that there could be a god that is greater or more powerful than The Divine. But then it was shown to me that there is no way, for me personally, to acquire this knowledge. The peak of my understanding reaches to the limit of my highest being, which is still only scraping the bottommost surface of The Divine. This, even though our position as humans gives us the potential of gaining a greater understanding than my cat, or the rocks in my backyard.
The second definition of pantheism reads:
"Worship that admits or tolerates all gods."
Yes! Definitely! But all under one banner, you know what I'm saying? To you, a pantheist this is precisely the message I am trying to get across! Belief in the One. And then, to a monotheist, the message is belief in the Many. Why can't it be both? It goes infinitely in absolutely every direction imaginable!
An individual can choose to believe in whatever they want, and everyone's beliefs are valid. The act of belief creates the very essence of what is believed! On a personal level, I have sometimes gotten hung up when somebody expressed an ideal that did not align with my own understanding. Now I see it's easier to accept their beliefs, that they are right, but that I am also right. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and nobody has to be convinced of something that is not true to themselves. Which is: the very core of free will.
The difference between everything being God and nothing being God is irrelevant because God is both everything and nothing -- It is beyond duality. It is the unification of everything and nothing. It just is!
If nothingness was all there was, then there would be no existence. And yet, existence depends on nothingness to exist. How could there be existence without nothingness? If existence was all there was, how could we recognize it? We recognize existence because we know nothingness exists.
What do you mean by “The act of belief creates the very essence of what is believed”?
What I mean is that believing something is true makes it real. If you no longer believe it, it ceases to be real.
For example, I used to believe that I had to earn my way into the good graces of The Divine. I write a lot, and when I look back on some things I wrote five years ago I can really get a glimpse of what I believed back then. And that was my reality, it was true to me then. My soul was crying out for the release from my pain.
A few years later I discovered I did not have to earn anything. The gifts of The Divine are offered freely and I need but accept them to make them my own. So what I believed changed and now this is my (current) reality.
I don't think that what I used to believe five years ago was false because it was true while I was going through it. And maybe five years from now I will believe something different from what I am writing here today. But that doesn't make it any less valid to me at this moment.
The world an individual experiences is a perfect reflection of their inner self. So an individual can believe whatever they want and it will become their reality. I would like to make clear that I'm not talking about manipulating things in the material world, because I don't know how to do that. But at any time, I believe that as humans, we have the ability to master the control of our minds, which in turn changes how we perceive reality.
On sickness and suffering
So you're saying that the point isn’t finding THE truth about The Divine but finding YOUR own personal truth about the divine? That, in essence, everyone’s truth is meaningful, especially when it makes them happy? What happens then about all the suffering in the world? Your cat and the rocks in your backyard are one thing, but what about diseases, parasites
and natural disasters? Are we supposed to be comfortable with suffering as part of The Divine? Is it our own flawed understanding that believes everything The Divine is must be ‘good’? If it isn't good, then why should we worship it? If all parts are equal, then should we love hatred?
To your first question, absolutely! Any pursuit that puts a person in touch with The Divine, or their higher selves is a worthy pursuit.
On sickness and suffering,
Physical sickness is the physical manifestation of fear... Mental illness is the mental manifestation of fear. Without this fear there can be no suffering because sufferings become blessings.
Without fear I see that sickness and illness of every kind are bestowed to bring me closer to The Divine. Because when I am at my lowest points, it only serves to make my eventual return to The Divine that much more meaningful, and miraculous.
Therefore I see that it's suffering itself that allows people to find relief from it. Without suffering there would be no realization of peace, and there would be no salvation. So I embrace suffering lovingly, understanding the promise that it will subside. I accept it both in my own personal life, and on behalf of the whole of humanity.
I know that if I didn't have suffering I wouldn't recognize peace. I'd walk around all the time, blindly, without any appreciation for the stillness and beauty of The Divine because of the fact that I wouldn't have any chaos or ugliness to compare it to.
Even if suffering was completely eradicated in my lifetime, I wouldn't have the memory of suffering to compare my newfound peace to -- because even the memory of suffering is the acknowledgement that it exists. If suffering was permanently gone, so would be the memory. And what problems would arise then? I think at that point my free will would be compromised because I would no longer have the ability to participate in the fullness of the human experience.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
So, yes, the same love that extends to my cat, and the rocks in my backyard, extends to suffering as well. Suffering is a tool, it is a giver of lessons, a giver of experience, wisdom, and proximity to The Divine. Now should I worship it? Absolutely not, I don't believe an individual should worship any one portion of The Divine. Worshipping one piece of The Divine, takes away from Its entire glory - which points back at my statement that all parts are equal.
And so, to address your last remark, without hatred there would be no love! An individual can choose to hate something, but they are, in essence, hating their own very self, being that they are part of the whole. So suffering is necessary, and it's more than that, it's a blessing because it allows for the possibility of its opposite which is 'good'. However, in a way, I believe part of an individual's journey towards inner peace involves changing their perspective of what is 'good'. Because as I have described above, suffering is 'good', and hatred is 'good'. All of these things are necessary conditions that exist to give fullness to the human experience. Without any one aspect the rest of it crumbles because one cannot exist without the other.
And then, the bigger picture is seeing The Divine which holds every one of these aspects in Its loving arms, a big container that brings it all together in unison.
Lonely boy says:
It seems like life here on Earth is only tolerable when everything works perfectly in your reality. When it doesn’t go well, life here is like a prison for your soul. A prison where death is the only escape. Some people can control their reality, while others can't. Some people can't even think rationally. In a way some are trapped because they can't envision escape when all they know is their disabled shell. Even when I know there is the possibility of relief, I can't seem to do anything to find it. I want to enjoy life, and even trying to find an escape seems like too much hard work. Life was fun for me at first, but that part is in the past. I feel trapped. I want a way out.
Ask and you shall receive. There is a way out and it is freely available at any time, one simply has to accept it. And once one is out, one can come back any time they decide they want to. The only limits imposed upon an individual's own transcendence of the physical realm, and the mind, are the ones they put in place there themselves.
I understand it's hard to find the way out sometimes. On a personal level it's something that I struggle with. But I do have the understanding that I can come and go when I want and all I have to do is remember the way. Getting to the point of remembrance can seem like it takes a long time, but really, it's all just one moment. That's what every moment is. Every moment is the realization where we go from being a broken individual and back into the open, loving arms of The Divine, Who is always ready to accept us, no matter where we are in our lives currently.
Lonely boy's reply:
So what you're saying is one shouldn't try so hard. Because everything happens in good time. Like when you're looking so hard for the forest, but you miss it for the trees.
Exactly! I have come to find that the experience of transcendence (enlightenment, inner peace, etc.) is so subtle that, yes, it's very easy to miss! And I beat myself up a lot in the past because when I had found it... I believed that the experience of it was going to be a lot brighter and more powerful -- that I would hear trumpets and see the heavens opening up! Really, I had a way out all along, but then I had to recognize it was a lot more simplistic than what my preconceived notions about it were.
So again, yes, I was trying way too hard. The first big steps for me towards a more consistent experience of peace and understanding were matters of acceptance. When I accepted that I felt trapped and unhappy enough times, I realized, it wasn't so bad, that really I had so much to be thankful for in my life. And eventually, I was able to come up with solutions to resolve some of these issues. It's still not over for me, either. There are always ways to continue to grow and learn, so keep your chin up - if you commit yourself to finding the path it will be revealed to you -- that is a promise (from above, not from me).
On finding forgiveness and purpose
I lose my way and think on my own terms from time to time.
And when I reawaken, I often come to the same stumbling block. Should I do this or not?
I do things that seem to separate myself from The Divine. Be it, video games, junk food, chemicals, or negative behaviors.
And it seems I have three options. I can seek forgiveness and carry on repeating these actions automatically. I can correct my actions, and live a pious and ascetic life. Or I can take a closer look at why I do these actions.
So, upon deeper inspection, I have come to find that the will of The Divine is complete. It is so complete, in fact, that I am performing Its will as intended, whether I am aware of it or not.
So then I ask myself, why would The Divine allow me to forget, after I have already submitted myself to Its will? Either when I forget in an altered hedonistic state, or in a sober state of awareness?
And the answer I hear is; Every moment of perceived separation is both a lesson and a blessing. These moments all lead towards a fuller knowledge, a deeper wisdom, life experience and proximity to The Divine.
I can accept this but I continue to probe. Why me? Why would The Divine put conflict in my life when I prefer unbridled unification with The Divine?
And the answer I hear is; That is my purpose. The nature of my community, groups, and people I am surrounded by -- in my nation, my province and my city -- all have similar addictions, delusions and negative traits to these ones I am attributed. So that's my angle. I commune with all of these people and engage with them in a discourse about The Divine. Which, in turn, ultimately brings more people - from a place of darkness - to form a relationship with The Divine.
So then I have seen through my hobbies, career, family life and even with strangers, The Divine has been directing my actions to reach people on a deeper level of communication. To understand their pain, having suffered aspects of it myself. And to embrace them with all of the compassion and the love of The Divine.
I can do this knowingly, or unknowingly. I can accept my purpose happily or reject it resistantly. And either way, it doesn't really matter because it's both my choice and not at the same time. I am only held responsible for my actions at the level of the ego (on a personal level), because beyond oneself is a state of complete forgiveness.
How complete is forgiveness? It's so utterly complete that I need not forgive people individually for things that they did to hurt me. Instead, at every moment I should forgive the entire world - the whole of humanity - for what I think it has done. And then I see... that there is nothing at all to forgive.
I have been taught not to judge others.
But I don't think I was ever taught not to judge myself!
I judge myself because of my actions. Things I have decided that I don't like myself doing.
It is not my right to judge, even myself. What if I just accepted that only The Divine can judge me? I would then find that the acceptance of The Divine is so complete that even The Divine does not judge me. Actually, in every moment It waits for me with open arms!
So I don't have to worry if what I am doing is right or wrong.
The only thing I have to worry about is following the will of the Divine.
In terms of angels and demons: It's the demon's job to bring me down and distract me. It's doing its job right!
It's the angel's job to make me do the right thing, lift me up and remind me to remember. It's doing its job right!
And it's really no fault of mine, whether or not I discern incorrectly between which is which! Because no matter what I do I am also doing my job (purpose), simply by listening and following the commands of The Divine!
Both negative and positive experiences are valuable lessons that bring me closer to The Divine. And because time is both progressing and still (one eternal moment), complete unification with The Divine is both happening in our timeline on Earth and has already happened! So more people are waking up, and -- they are already awakened, in the sense that everyone is fulfilling their exact purpose, regardless of intent.
So there. I try not to fault myself for the things that I do. All I know is that I'm doing it all for a reason. That my purpose is to reach others in my life who are in similar situations, or with like interests. To show them the beauty of The Divine... And to assimilate them into the total acceptance, embrace, and perfect completeness of Its will.
On synchronicity, and signs
Lots of people I know like to talk about synchronicity. Personally, I used to think it was so special when they happened, that they were a matter of great significance!
And then for a long time they didn't happen to me.
When they started happening again recently there were so many synchronicities I really couldn't keep track of them! It was as if I thought of something and it instantly was created in some way, in my reality!
There were so many occurrences like this that they kind of lost their meaning altogether... That great significance was leaving because how could they be significant if I actually expected them to happen regularly.
Therefore as I awaken I see... Every moment is a synchronicity because what I see is a true reflection of my inner self.
People here often ask, “What is the meaning of <x> thing?” For example, “I noticed the same number, 1111, ten times today!” Or, “I looked up and saw an eagle soaring as a sunray pierced through the clouds!” “What does it mean?”
The meaning of it is exactly - and always - what you ascribe to it. If you decide it means that the angels are with you, then that is true to you! And if it means absolutely nothing to you, then so be it!
Every moment The Divine is speaking to us, not only through occurrences in our physical reality, but It also speaks to our minds and souls. Searching for meaning is redundant when we are fully surrounded by meaning eternally. As such, I believe that searching for a sign pertains to a lack of faith in what is eternal. I strongly suggest that one ceases to search for meaning outside of themselves in the world. Everything an individual needs to learn happens - and can be found inside - of one’s self through turning their focus inwardly. I believe that searching for meaning in numbers and other occurrences is somewhat of a delusional activity… Believe me, I’ve been there! At some point in an individual’s journey to broaden their understanding I’m sure they will come to realize this as well.
Love others compassionately, love oneself, love The Divine. The rest is just fluff -- it is extra. One will find true meaning in the absence of what is unnecessary.
On prophecies, and the second coming
The date of the (second coming/doomsday/apocalypse/rapture) is irrelevant because the fate of our existence is secured by The Divine. There is nothing to be feared and no knowledge that is necessary in the grand scheme of things. (For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.)
There have been many prophecies containing specific dates that have come and gone by with no occurrences. A date is a label on something that is beyond labels.
The ascension is beyond time so it has already happened. When it happens on our timeline it will not be constrained by the rules and guidelines we impose upon our reality.
I wouldn't look forward to a date knowing that personal transformation is also universal transformation.
I am not ignorant to the happenings of the world. I know that there is a pandemic, that the United States (as well as some other countries) are in turmoil, and that things generally suck for a lot of people. The thing is, this is pretty much a constant theme of humanity. That is: disaster, war, and suffering in general.
I want to say that even if a major event were to happen that, well, that's normal by now (in terms of millennia, not in terms of our lifetimes). So during my lifetime I might see, experience, or otherwise live through some catastrophic event(s), but really, it wouldn't be much different from what our ancestors experienced.
As far as a second coming, I think there are three ways to look at that. I can deny the possibility of it, ignore it, or not care if it happens. I could look forward to it and hope for it, praying for the salvation of humankind. Or I can accept that it is beyond the constraints of our notions of time, meaning it is secured, it has already happened. When did it happen? Or when will it happen? I decided that I do not need to know. It happened, it's happening now, and it will happen again. The second coming transcends all of time and happens at an individual level as well as a universal level simultaneously. It happens inside of you and permeates your entire perception of reality.
On the rising popularity of spirituality
That being said, bring on the ascension!
I notice it in the world around me. I think it is the goal of humankind to be fully unified with The Divine, but as a whole we're just not sure how to express it because we can't figure out how to put The Divine into words.
I think one of the steps to achieving this is that we as a race need to realize that every one of our faiths, religions, and beliefs represent, in essence, the same universal Truth. Really, we are all sons and daughters of the same Father!
So then maybe, in our lifetime, we will see humanity reach a planet-wide supreme understanding -- brought on by the proclamation of the message of unity and love -- and maybe we won't!
That last part I don't need to know. All I need to do is play my part in the grand creation, fulfill my purpose willingly and the rest of the world can come into perfect alignment naturally. As above so below.
Many people I know come to this place and ask the same type of question. "Are more people waking up?", "Is the veil between realities getting thinner?", "Is there a global ascension happening?"
Initially my personal answer was: "Yes! Absolutely!" Mainly because I wanted to get excited about it and hopeful that it was true!
And after I saw this question, maybe 50 times, I changed my personal answer. It became: "Anytime an individual wakes up, they believe the entire world is waking up around them. This is simply because the world around them is a perfect reflection of their inner self. So if an individual believes the world is waking up - then for them - it is!"
Of course, I saw this question continue to come up, and after a while I stopped giving an answer to the askers. I could no longer validate an experience for others which happens to them on a personal level. What I mean to say is, personal transformation equals universal transformation. So when an individual fully shifts their awareness into spiritual matters the result is that the world around them becomes inherently spiritual. It is in this way everyone is awakened around them when they are truly awakened. Because awakeningness (not a word) is so complete in their life that it spreads to everything around them.
I believe it is possible to leave this state of being, even after such an experience, and go back to not seeing the interconnectedness and totality of creation. And in these moments of perceived separation we are blessed with experiences and lessons to improve our connection with The Divine. This gradual improvement helps us in propagating the connection of others -- Ultimately expressing love and peace in every single interaction that we have. Well that is the goal, anyway, I believe. But it's much easier said than done. Truth is, in my experience with life there are still many moments where I do not recognize the Truth and I wander around the world aimlessly. But then I accept that is not such a bad thing, either.
On popular media versus spiritual media
I don't like to watch something unless I stand to gain something from it. So when it comes to cartoons, movies or reading material - if it advances me spiritually then that's a major win - but if I come away from it having not learned much, then I believe it was an utter waste of my time. A cartoon like Midnight Gospel would be at the forefront of the former kind of material. And a reality TV show would be the latter.
Many shows and programs including sports, talk shows, and even news programs are just vehicles to serve an individual advertisements. During sports games, even between the commercial breaks, there are advertisements on the walls of the arenas, on the jerseys of the players and even the creation of the need for team merchandise itself. The announcers are drinking branded soft drinks which are clearly displayed.
I think that the general aim of popular media is to get viewers to buy more. So when spiritual media programs come along and break down these constructs into the opposite direction I find these programs often get less airtime -- because they don't fit the criteria of what makes money. Advertisers are not going to fund programs that challenge the very nature of their business model, am I right?
And so most programs that I do enjoy have struck a balance here, and are in both worlds at the same time, and I think that there is nothing wrong with that. One can use any medium to express spirituality and make a little money on the side. I find that a lot of creators do get their ideas from the aether, as an artist, so do I. The Divine inspires all art, regardless of whether or not one is aware of it. So I find that sometimes when I watch a program, or listen to music on the radio, I might receive a divine message that I don't think even its creator intended! It's as if they are producing spiritual material unconsciously because the world is so spiritual that they cannot escape it!
And to the creators of art and media who intentionally hide and/or proudly display spiritual and divine themes in their creations, thank you so much! This is what I love to consume as an observer! As a content creator myself, my main objective is to reach the listener, and open their mind ever so slightly, so that they might then see the magnificence and glory of The Divine for themselves.
I believe manifestation is a double edged sword. Practices like channeling or envisioning success promise us we can manifest things (that are inherently meaningless) in the material realm, but that is not the true purpose of manifestation.
The Divine promises us it will give us everything we ask for but because material things do not exist on the plane of The Divine, It does not care about them and manifesting them is pointless. When I catch myself thinking, I want this thing (money, possessions) I realize why should I be given it when it is not really real? It might work and it may not but either way it's irrelevant because using manifestation for this purpose is settling for less than what you deserve and what is rightfully yours to acquire.
On the other side of the blade, the true purpose of manifestation as I see it is in the asking of spiritual blessings. In my life during my moments of closeness with The Divine I am brought in a place of prayer to the point of asking. And from a place of innocence and reverence I may ask for a real blessing. Such as: the wisdom to make a certain decision, forgiveness from a personal fault, or the clarity to see the beauty of The Divine and Its love. And these are the things I have certainly received in my life because they matter to The Divine, and It gives them graciously and willingly. And as a disclaimer, sometimes it was not instant. Sometimes it took weeks, months or years. But the timing is immaculate. An individual will receive what they ask for when the timing is perfect. So one must be patient and open their heart.
Above all, love oneself, love others compassionately and love the world around you. Everything else is just fluff.
On enemies and negativity
It doesn't matter who an individual surrounds themselves with. One should love everyone equally, with compassion. If an individual is peaceful inside it will spread into the world around them. An individual who casts people out of their presence because they think they are bringing negativity into their life may be short-sighted or selfish. What are they here to teach oneself? What can one teach them? Maybe it is that this "negativity" is only perceived at a lower level. In reality every person deserves complete forgiveness, and part of that forgiveness comes from oneself.
At a certain point in an individual's journey towards inner peace, one reaches a state where others' attempts to "harm and drown them in negative energy" have no effect on the peaceful individual. In this state everything is seen as love and even the "harm and the negativity" are received as blessings in disguise.
Without going into detail I've had a healthy amount of trauma and "enemies" throughout my life and at this point I'm so thankful for all of it, not only because of the lessons learned, but for how it moulded me into who I became at the other end of it.
And, yes! It's definitely hard to see it all as blessings in disguise, not going to lie to you about that. But even when dealing with individuals like this, who have ill intent towards oneself, one has the choice to accept them as they are, turning the figurative cheek. Or one can choose to reject them. Honestly, I personally feel that the act of rejection is unhealthy for oneself because one is rejecting, in essence, one's own self. I can't tell you the number of times recently, where I have identified something that I didn't like or agree with and promptly thought to myself: "I do the exact same thing, or, I used to do the exact same thing."
An individual is not obligated to interact with the people who bring them down. But one should do their best to not, in their heart, reject them. These "negative" people deserve one's love as much as one’s own significant other, or one’s own brother or sister.
On eternal life
I used to always think I had to do something to connect with The Divine.
Do a prayer, or a ritual...
But... The Divine is with me at every moment.
Even when I don't recognize Its presence...
"But, what if my beliefs are all wrong?" I ask myself.
Fear and insecurity arises.
But that's what faith is for.
I offer up my lack of faith, and the illusion that there can be disconnection from The Divine.
So blam! Here's eternal life. If I accept it, I realize there can be no disconnection from The Divine, even through the death of the physical body.
Eternal life is such a great gift because now I understand... How could I worry or become weak in a life which is guaranteed eternally?
No matter what actions I perform I am fulfilling my exact purpose which is also guaranteed eternally, simply by accepting its permanence.
So then I am assured I will along with The Divine, as It intends.
The faith and belief in this assurance rewards me with joy, peace, and compassion, that I spread as a messenger of The Divine. Gladly! For upon its sharing, it multiplies! And this, in turn (one day), will eventually bring humanity together entirely through the universally shared one faith in The Divine. Spread the good news!
Lessons Vol. 1
Written by Zack Otteson