The significance of Spiritual Awakening may not be immediately visible to the average person - and even less so to those who have never given any consideration to that inner or spiritual side of things. To make an otherwise long story short, observations indicate that (with due respect) the masses of mankind can at times best be described by the following admonition:
"How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?"
- Proverbs chapter 6, verse 9, The Bible (New International Version)
Most commentaries encountered to date by this Author seem to interpret this as a call to put aside laziness and apathy. This, in itself is a good thing, as, according to one authority, there is actually no laziness to be found in Nature itself. But here it is desired to go beyond the physical side of things and apply said admonition to get persons to put aside mental laziness, which can be shown to bear more dire consequences than physical laziness.
As far as spiritual awakening, spiritual awareness and other similar topics go, it may help to have a reasonable and sensible definition of what constitutes mental laziness. Without necessarily consulting a dictionary, mental laziness could be aptly stated as: the failure or neglect of a person to both consciously and deliberately use the powers and properties of their mind, in any area of their personal life. At this point, this Author would put particular emphasis on the phrase "... consciously and deliberately...", because, as stated previously, it has been put forth and substantiated that Thought or Mental Action is Perpetual, as well as Creative, i.e., there is no evidence to date that Man ever stops thinking, and therefore, the Thought of Man (both individually and collectively) is forever setting some sequence of causation into motion, which corresponds to the overall nature of the Thought (whether he does so consciously or unconsciously).
This has been put before the world-at-large by many of the writers and teachers of the past who were or are acquainted with the subject, but few put it better or more succinctly than this example:
"A man's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind."
- James L. Allen, "As A Man Thinketh" (c. 1902)
Allen goes on further to illustrate (metaphorically) what happens when any person undergoes spiritual awakening:
"Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless, and impure thoughts, and cultivating toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful, and pure thoughts, By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master gardener of his soul, the director of his life. He also reveals, within himself, the laws of thought, and understands with ever-increasing accuracy, how the thought forces and mind elements operate in the shaping of his character, circumstances, and destiny."
It is also somewhat significant to note that, even at this time in human history, only a relative minority of mankind seems to have undergone spiritual awakening, and by so doing, have gained any awareness of the various powers and properties of the human mind, even if it can be demonstrated that this knowledge is to be found within virtually all the religious and philosophical doctrines that have ever existed, or which have survived to the present day. At the same time, paradoxical as it may seem, it can also be propositioned that, whether or not those persons purported to be the leaders of those religions and philosophies opted to either withhold this knowledge or disseminate it, ignorance of this knowledge does not excuse anyone from any consequences of failure to implement it.
One might even go so far as to accept the premise that they need not wait for this knowledge to be imparted through any so-called conventional or established channel of religion, philosophy or science. The awakening to spiritual awareness (i.e., recognition of the inner or spiritual side of things) is by no means limited regarding the method by which anyone can become so illumined.
Next, it may be good to grasp that spiritual awakening and spiritual awareness are not so much about discovering something that did not exist before; rather it is discovering - or perhaps more precisely, re-discovering - something that has always been, even though it may have been hidden away for a time.
What is that something being re-discovered? There may be many ways to answer such a question, but for now, three key points shall be mentioned here (generally in no specific order):
(a) An understanding or appreciation of what this thing called Thought is, and what it is capable of doing
To put it rather briefly, the average person seems to have little or no real idea of just what it is to Think, let alone any idea of just what Thought or Mental Action is capable of doing. Coupling the preceding with what has been stated before in this discussion, as well as elsewhere, it can be traced out, and is worth repeating that Man - both individually and collectively - is continuously setting causation in motion to produce either his individual world, or the world-at-large, as observed by the mass of mankind. As indicated, the mass majority attribute all that is contained in the world to luck, fortune, chance, coincidence or to other unseen, inexplicable and therefore uncontrollable factors. On the other hand, the minority (i.e., those who have undergone spiritual awakening) recognize and realize what is behind it all.
(NOTE: Additional reference can be made to the discussion on Thought-Power)
(b) The nature of that which Man calls "GOD"
On the assumption that a person holds to a belief of the existence or providence of a Supreme Being, it has often been propositioned that a person's conception or understanding of what that Supreme Being is, i.e., its nature, in turn dictates and influences their conception of themselves, i.e., what they are, and what they are capable (or incapable) of doing.
To briefly recap something that has been previously stated, as the species progressed from its crude beginnings to its present state, Man sought to explain the various phenomena which presented themselves in nature, as well as the events that transpired in human life - whether individually or collectively - as due to the influence and actions of one or more "supernatural" entities. To summarize, by classifying these phenomena and events as "good" or "bad", the conception was eventually established of the existence of many such entities - some having a beneficial nature, others a malicious nature - as well as the formulation of various means to either gain or win the favor of the beneficial, and to minimize or appease the action of the malicious. All of this eventually coalesced into the various religious practices advocated (or in some cases, enforced) by human societies; some of which have been brought forward to the present day. And even in those forms and schools of religion which are practiced even in this time, it is more often found that the idea of two opposite powers - one "good" and the other "evil" - can be found at the core of their teachings.
Consequently, it can be put forth that, if Man's conception or understanding of the nature of "GOD" (regardless of whatever name or title he assigns to any such Supreme Being), brings up the notion of continuous warring between Good and Evil, this contributes to the belief that "Evil" is something which actually exists. On the other hand, any form of spiritual awakening will inevitably reveal something that has been traced out previously; namely that what might be termed "Good" is the one and only reality, and "Evil" is only something which has existence, because the belief of Man makes it so. Thus, the person who, through undergoing spiritual awakening, has attained any significant level of spiritual awareness, will "see" or be aware of that which constitutes the nature of Spirit (defined previously as: LIFE, HEALTH, INTELLIGENCE, POWER, OPULENCE and LOVE), even if and where physical sensory evidence would suggest the presence of that which is opposite to this Nature. And the preceding makes a vast difference regarding how the individual person may see or regard themself, as well as the world in which they live, move and have their being.
(NOTE: Additional reference can be made to the discussions on Universal Mind, and Good and Evil)
(c) Man's place in what might be called the order of the universe, inclusive of his relation to Spirit, and to the universe as a whole
It has indeed been mentioned in a previous discourse, but it is well worth repeating here - there exists schools of thought which postulate that, at some perhaps indeterminable point in time, the whole of the human race will undergo spiritual awakening and be, so-to-say, imbued with spiritual awareness, under the influence of some external agency (call it GOD or any other name), and, if and when this spiritual awakening occurs, that which is often called "original sin" and all the so-called "evils" that seem to plague mankind at present shall be effectively wiped out and done away with.
It is not this Author's place to dictate to another what to believe on this, but careful reasoning into the working of spiritual laws can show such a conception to be false. Rather, there is an opposite conception, which, if the same careful reasoning is applied, will reveal itself to "make sense", puts it forward that spiritual awakening and the attainment of spiritual awareness is a strictly individual process, which each and every human individual will, sooner or later, undergo for themselves.
From the previous discussion on Outward Manifestation, it was first postulated that, from the metaphysical or philosophical standpoint, Man (i.e., the human species) is the culmination of what may be called the spontaneous process of evolution, or the progressive unfoldment of possibilities and potentialities inherent in Spirit, under conditions which spontaneously occur in Nature. It has also been put forth that Man, being the pinnacle of the spontaneous evolutionary process, is the only entity that can carry the process of evolution beyond its present point; said carrying forward requiring the faculties of initiative and selection, which do not occur spontaneously in Nature, but rather are inherent in Originating Spirit itself. And many of the acclaimed authorities on the subject have expressed that postulation in varying terminologies:
"I say, 'You are gods; you are all children of the Most High'."
- Psalm 82, verse 6, The Bible (New Living Translation)
"The highest revelation is that GOD is in every man."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
To piggy-back on that last statement, it can be postulated that GOD or Spirit is, literally, in every form of manifestation that constitutes the so-called objective or physical universe; the only difference between one form and another being the degree of Intelligence demonstrated. It has also been stated previously that Man is more than merely a manifestation of Spirit - rather, Man is an INDIVIDUALIZATION of Spirit, i.e., a human being is a reproduction of the Originating Spirit (GOD), expressing individual personality; yet, at the core, or center of his (or her) being, Man is still part of Spirit. Going further, those same authorities ever sought to highlight that Man is perpetually unified with Spirit - perhaps a most succinct example of this is to be found in the Gospel according to St. John:
"The Father and I are One." - Gospel according to St. John,
Chapter 10, verse 30, The Bible (New Living Translation)
Even if this point has been raised before in a previous discussion, it is well worth re-iterating. Many authorities have asserted that this statement is not exclusive to the speaker to whom it is credited (Jesus of Nazareth), but is actually applicable to each and every human being, as defining the actual relation between GOD (Universal Mind) and Man (Individual or Individualized Mind).
As has been stated elsewhere, it is the recognition and realization of this unity between GOD and Man (and said recognition and realization can only come about through spiritual awakening) that puts any enlightened individual in touch with all the powers, properties and qualities of Spirit, inclusive of the necessary intelligence, wisdom and morality, which would result in the safe and beneficial exercise of such powers, properties and qualities. Conversely, in the absence of any recognition and realization of this unity (i.e., unless and until spiritual awakening has occurred), Man - both individually and collectively - believes himself to be subject to all manner of trouble and limitation, over which he has no control, or (as one other put it) "a thing, in a world of things" This is actually the real nature of so-called "original sin"; it is Man being ignorant of his relation to GOD (Spirit).
It has also been stated previously, that all indications suggest that Man does not come into the physical world "pre-programmed" with the knowledge of his unity with Spirit, and this fact may be considered a sort of natural "safety interlock" to prevent the otherwise unrestrained and indiscriminate exercise of his inherent powers. Notwithstanding, since Thought or Mental Action is always Creative and Perpetual, Man's initial state of ignorance of this unity does not exclude him from any consequences that may arise out of his ignorant mis-direction of his mental actions. Hence, Man must undergo some degree of what may be aptly called suffering, so long as he remains operating with an inverted or incorrect mode of thinking; the degree of suffering corresponding with the quality of his mental state. However, it is worth noting that Suffering, in itself, is not "bad" or "evil". Rather it can be considered to have a purpose, and a very important one - namely, it is only in the course of intellectually seeking the reason for suffering, that Man inevitably undergoes the process of spiritual awakening. The end result of such awakening is where Man attains the awareness of who and what he is, and what he is capable of doing - and more importantly, he applies that knowledge - thereby bringing an end to suffering. And, as stated before, the purpose of any and all sound instruction and teaching, is to provide a suitable foundation for said spiritual awakening to take place - once again, in a safe and beneficial manner.
And what might be considered a final point, previously stated, is worth re-iterating here - namely that Spiritual Awakening of any form is a strictly individual process, which each and every person (Author included) must undergo for themself. This is by no means an arbitrary position "plucked out of the air", but is the only logical, sensible and reasonable conclusion to be reached through careful consideration of the subject. And it is worth reminding the visitor that said careful consideration on the subject of Spiritual Awakening had been undertaken by some of the wisest and highly illumined individuals who ever passed through the world, at various points throughout human history. While at this time it may be impossible to ascertain how many persons actually performed such consideration, it is perhaps enough to be grateful that some record of their actions have either survived or been preserved to our present day, which may convey their findings to anyone who comes after them. The option to pursue the subject of Spiritual Awakening is freely placed before one and all, regardless of the means by which any person comes face-to-face with it, and the option before each person may be summed up by a quotation from a popular movie from the late 1990's; for the purpose of this discussion, any insertions by the Author are in parentheses:
"You take the blue pill (i.e., choose to turn away from and have nothing more to do with the issue) and the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.
You take the red pill (i.e., you choose to pursue the matter) and you stay in Wonderland (i.e., you become more and more aware of the infinite possibilities that are out there) and I (or anyone else who has so-to-say "awakened") show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.
Remember that all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more."
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