Being able to see people’s auras (clairvoyance) or read people’s minds is usually equated with spiritual attainment and eagerly sought after. These are just two of many spiritual powers or gifts that are possible to attain, and that many people have. However, they are sometimes more of a curse than a blessing, especially if they were eagerly sought after. Why so? Eagerness for spiritual powers is usually a telltale sign of human pride and ambition, justified by the subtle ego that says it is purely to help others. It is actually more often to get praise and recognition for having powers and spiritual attainment. When your motive is not pure and pride is involved, you are much better off, and of more value to God, without these powers.
Secondly, if you desire gifts before you receive them spontaneously, you may not be ready for them. If your desire is first to serve God, there is nothing wrong with pursuing the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which is part of God’s kingdom or consciousness. As Jesus said: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things shall be added unto you.”(Mat 6:33) God will grant them to you when you have proven yourself worthy and responsible. And he will test you! With knowledge comes responsibility. This includes the knowledge you will gain from reading people’s auras or thoughts.
This brings us to the third point. Spiritual gifts can sometimes be more of a curse than a blessing because you may not only see or hear “nice” things, but all the garbage on the lower astral plane as well, including discarnate entities and foul spirits. Plus, you can’t just turn these powers off when you get tired and burdened from them. (For more on entities, see The Subject of Evil on page 2.)
So, if you desire spiritual gifts, seek the Holy Spirit and its gifts. And a good one to start with is the gift of discernment of spirits. Discernment is like spiritual gold. (See also The balance between non-discrimination and discernment - not completed yet.)
Creation vs evolution.
This might surprise you, but it is not either/or but both/and. The either/or mindset has been one of the biggest causes of division in society, needlessly pitting brother against brother. But have you ever thought that we may be living in an amazing universe that is ingeniously created to improve on itself and evolve? There are keys that have been given to us through the ages. Remember that the Bible is written partly in allegorical form, so when God created Adam and Eve in his image, it is not necessarily the human form that was referred to but the Higher or Spiritual Self. When they left the Garden of Eden they incarnated into physical bodies (their "clothes").
The entire process is described in the teachings of the Ascended Masters through the Theosophical Society (see Links page) and summarized in the book Space, Time and Self by E. Norman Pearson (The Theosophical Publishing House, 1957). Some important keys are also found in the book Climb the Highest Mountain by Mark and Elizabeth Prophet, especially in the chapters A Heap of Confusion and God in Nature. (Summit University Press). And a small piece of the puzzle that scientifically explains why scientists have not been able to find the “missing link” in evolution between ape and man is covered in the book The 12th Planet by Zecharia Sitchin (Avon Books, N.Y. 1978).
On a lighter note: Scientists have made tremendous contributions to mankind and have improved our lives in countless ways. However, not in all ways, and Mother Nature still confounds them in many areas. On the subject of creation:
Science vs. God. A group of scientists got together and decided that mankind had come a long way and no longer needed God. They picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they no longer needed Him. The scientist walked up to God and said: "God, we've decided that we no longer need you. We are able to clone people and do other miraculous things, so why don't you just go on and get lost." God listened patiently to the man and after the scientist had finished talking, God replied, "Very well, if you think you no longer need me how about this? Let's have a man making contest." The scientist replied, "OK, great!" But God added, "Now, we're going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam." The scientist confidently responded, "Sure, no problem." He bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt. God lovingly looked at him, grinned, and said, "No! You get your own dirt!"
The balance between self-worth and humility.
The word humility often brings up the image of self-denial like “I am nothing” or “I am a miserable sinner.” But to understand it and self worth, we first need to decide who “I” and “self” is. There are several references on this site to our Real Self, that spark of divinity in us which was created “in the image and likeness of God”. It is also known as the I AM Presence, or the Atman in the East. In any case, there is our permanent Real Self and our temporary unreal self composed of our bad (or self-limiting, unhealthy) habits and worldly consciousness, based on pride, vanity etc.
The key to true self-worth is to acknowledge that it is our Real Self that has all the worth and the unreal self that is unreliable, erroneous and not worth keeping. So we trust in our Real Self and God, who are one, to help us make the best decisions to transcend our lower self, get self-mastery and the Christ Consciousness and fulfill our divine plan on earth.
Only your Real Self is permanent.
This is best accomplished by acknowledging two things. Firstly, that our lower self can still cause us to make mistakes, and secondly that our excessive appetites for carnal pleasure or recognition etc. still get the better of us now and then, but they are only temporary and have no ultimate power over our Real Self. So there is no cause to worry who will win the “battle between Good and Evil” within you. You are made of Good, and the apparent evil is temporary and on its way out, unless your overall long-term desire is more for evil (illusion and unreality). (For more on evil, see The Subject of Evil on page 2.) Such a person would never be interested in reading a web site like this, so in case you think deep down somewhere that you are really evil, forget it! One of the biggest hindrances to souls on the spiritual path is their lack of self-worth.
Many of us have allowed our carnal mind (erroneous beliefs) to convince us that we are bad or that we are unworthy of being accepted by God or others. This is aided by believing the jealous criticisms of others. Note that true self-worth comes from ourselves acknowledging the worth of our Real Self and soul, not from what others say about us. If our self-worth is dependent on other people’s opinions, we will always be a needy victim of outer circumstances, like the precious young boy who committed suicide as described on the page How This Site Started.
Be able to laugh!
The best solution to being a victim of our carnal mind is to be able to laugh at ourselves and kick the unreal self in the butt! It thrives on us being over-serious and judgmental. (See also The balance between joy and serious on the General Balance page.) Being judgmental of ourselves is part of false humility. Our proud ego is the one that is clever and “wise” enough to decide and proclaim in front of others: “I am no good. I am a humble sinner. God will just have to accept me as I am.” On the other hand, true humility comes from trusting and allowing our Real self, as God, to work through us, not needing any recognition from others for the works we do, and giving Him the credit. And when we make mistakes, we take it as just being part of life in a physical, impermanent body, and as a lesson and opportunity to help us to do better in the future.
A light heart will always help to keep self-condemnation and false humility at bay. For example, if you drop something on the floor, instead of getting angry at yourself and proclaiming that you’re totally useless, just say to whatever dropped: “Hey, mister, are you trying to get away from me? You’re gonna have to think of something better than that next time. Come here!” If it happened to be a bowl of beetroot that fell and messed up your new white carpet, it’s a bit more challenging. But instead of trying to downplay how serious it is, try going the other way to the extreme, like: “Oh no, Lord, this is the end of me! This house is now a write-off. All of my life’s work and savings have just gone down the drain. What is left in the world for me?” Then smile and count your blessings while you start the clean-up job. This comes a lot easier when our heart is right with God, which involves our attitude to life. (See the Attitude page for more.) We will never have true self-worth if we try to perfect the imperfectable human self. And we will never have true humility if we try to be humble through the human self and it’s intellect.
The balance between growing via spiritual experiences and getting on with spiritual growth regardless.
It is important to try out spiritual teachings and see if they work for us or feel comfortable. Once we have become familiar with a certain teaching or teacher, we can start testing and having faith in what they present. But we should always pass it by our own Real Self or conscience and never blindly accept anything. Some people can hear or sense the voice of God (their Real Self) or conscience immediately, whether something is right for them.
Hearing the voice of God or conscience.
Hearing (or otherwise sensing) this is a great gift, although quite rare. We actually all have this ability within us, but our karma and density have tuned us out of that high frequency, just like a radio that's a bit off the station. The fact that we are not yet enlightened beings operating at that high frequency probably means one of three things:
We are not fully attuned to it, or
We are attuned to it but don’t always obey it, or
It is not the voice of our Real Self but an impostor we are hearing.
Unfortunately the last possibility is more common than many would like to believe (1). That is why the most valuable gift to pursue is the gift of the Holy Spirit of discernment of spirits, which will help to clearly hear or sense the voice of God.
The Holy Spirit and other spirits.
In order to receive the Holy Spirit, our motives must be pure. If your desire to receive it or other spiritual gifts is too strong, for instance before you are ready for it, you are likely to attract spirits that are anything but Holy, and they will tell you everything you want to hear.
A smile-break: A nurse walks into a psychiatric ward and sees one patient doing something totally against the rules in his cubicle and asks emphatically: “Who said you could do that?” The patient replies: “God said I could.” A loud voice is heard from the next cubicle, with utter contempt: “I DID NOT!” : )
There is much teaching in the world about how to purify our motives, thoughts, feelings and auras, and how to rid foul spirits and receive the Holy Spirit. The more mystical paths of the world’s religions have described different stages of purification and purgation. More modern teachings have also been released from the Ascended Masters for today, including invoking the sacred fire and the violet flame (2). Hearing the voice of God is just one of many possible spiritual experiences, but the most important. Note that people might have other gifts or experiences, like reading auras, but that does not guarantee that they hear the genuine voice of God. Thus the importance of purification and motive (3).
Other spiritual experiences.
All this being said, many people do have genuine spiritual experiences, and these are precious gifts from God along our spiritual path. They may be answers to our prayers or just surprises to encourage, comfort or inspire us. They are sacred and usually meant for us personally, and therefore best kept to ourselves. It is good to keep a record of them in a journal or diary. Having the continual desire to tell others can attract lower spirits. These genuine spiritual experiences are an essential part of our growth and can confirm that we are heading in the right direction or that what we have read or heard is true for us.
No spiritual experiences?
But what if you do not seem to get any spiritual experiences? Or the clearest message you seem to have got during meditation before bed is that you would be better off sleeping right now? What if an angel or Master has never appeared to you, or you have never heard the voice of God? Does that mean that the spiritual path is not for you? Definitely not! It probably means one of two things:
Firstly, your experiences have come in a form that you haven’t recognised. We all have different experiences for different reasons, and some are less obvious than others, like feeling a burning sensation in your heart (one that is very different to heartburn!). It may just be a sense of deep comfort and inner peace. If you’re not sure, take the time to recall in detail, in a meditative way, all your experiences in the past when you were either greatly inspired or challenged. You’re sure to come up with at least one! From now on, each time you make a mistake or a poor decision, look back in retrospect to when you were trying to decide which way to go on the issue, and try to remember anything that pointed to what would have been the better choice. It might be as subtle as a vague thought in the back of your mind. You’ll start seeing a pattern that will lead you to the way your Real Self communicates with you, and how your spiritual experiences manifest.
Secondly, it may be your test in this life to have faith in God despite no obvious spiritual experiences. If this is true for you, it means you have the previous experience and inner strength to pass this test, for God never sends as a test that we are unable to pass. You may actually be going through the “dark night of the soul” or the “dark night of the spirit”, which are spiritual dry periods described by many of the saints like St. John of the Cross (4).
In either case, you cannot put your spiritual growth or sense of joy on the shelf until you get the experiences your outer mind wants. This would indicate a deep unconscious anger towards God. Rather take it as a difficult test that comes only to those who are ready, and keep on keeping on. Ironically, sometimes we make more spiritual progress in apparent dry periods when we feel we aren’t going anywhere. Maybe it’s because, below the surface, our soul is striving the hardest.