You may wonder why an afterlife researcher would write so ardently about the teachings of Jesus. Until recently I would have wondered about that, too! I have likely spent as much of my life studying the Bible as I have spent studying the afterlife evidence, but until a few years ago my two intense hobbies seemed to be unrelated. It is only now that I can see that they always have been parts of one whole!
Studying the afterlife and discovering that human minds really are eternal naturally leads us to seek and then to discover the purpose of human life. And once we realize that we come to earth in order to achieve rapid spiritual growth, many of us want to better understand both what spiritual growth actually is and what the best methods are for achieving it. All I can tell you is what I have learned as I have undertaken my own voyage! Fortunately, though, spiritual growth turns out to be a largely mechanical process that has nothing to do with any religion. And it can be achieved surprisingly easily.
Those that we used to think were dead consistently tell us that spiritual growth is humankind’s core need. And in the United States now that need is desperate! Growing spiritually helps us to thrive both individually and in communities, but this nation in particular is rushing headlong toward ever more dysfunctional isolation. No one living in our nation’s present climate can doubt that America is suffering an epidemic of loneliness that apparently is at the root of much of our political battling. And that loneliness traces at least in part to the rapid disintegration of the family. If ever there were a place and time in this world where spiritual growth was needed, then that place and time is right here and right now!
We have talked in previous posts about America’s insane political climate, and about the fact that even in its present sorry state the United States remains the world’s best hope. I have shared with you, too, the strong probability that the religion named after Jesus Christ has nothing to do with the mission and message of the genuine historical Jesus, and in fact the religion that bears His name even acts as a barrier between believing Christians and the teachings that Jesus came to earth to share with all of humankind. I hope you won’t mind if I assume that you are familiar with those earlier posts?
All the divisions among people that we perceive are artificial. And this is especially true of our racial divisions! There is much more genetic diversity within the continent of Africa than there is between east Africans and Europeans, who apparently lost the melanin in our skin via a specific set of genes introduced into Europe so recently that civilization was already beginning. In fact, it looks increasingly likely that human beings went nearly extinct so very recently that all of us are descended from common ancestors who lived less than 200,000 years ago.
So every human being on earth is your cousin! We all belong not just to one human race, but even to one extended family. Yes, our lack of understanding of what spiritual growth is and why it is important has allowed us to do terrible things to one another (Caution: this beautiful young man now haunts me, and if you click on the link he may haunt you, too). Humanity’s past has been horrible in every generation since civilization began! And if we don’t change course, it seems clear now that our future is going to be even worse. But the wonderful truth is that we know now for certain that there is no barrier to our uniting every member of the human race in the joy of perfect love. All of us are One! And we can live as One. But only spiritual growth can accomplish this trick. No fanciful hope or prayer for unity can be of any help at all. No worldwide government can do anything but make our present problems worse. You and I alone possess the power to uplift and unite the world! And the fastest way to make that happen will be for us to make our personal spiritual growth our first priority.
What is spiritual growth, anyway? We understand now that the only thing that objectively exists is the base creative force that we experience in a limited way as human consciousness. The pioneering quantum physicist Max Planck understood this very well, and in fact he may eventually be credited with having discovered the genuine God! He said in 1931, “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Exactly right! And every human mind is part of the one Consciousness that continuously manifests this universe. (Since now we better understand what God is, that word deserves a capital C).
Consciousness might best be described as an infinitely powerful and highly emotional energy-like potentiality. As is true of other kinds of energy, it vibrates. At its lowest vibration it manifests as abject fear and all the other ishy emotions, while at its highest vibration it is what we would experience as perfect love. The higher it vibrates, the more powerful Consciousness is, and at its highest vibration its power is infinite. When we are in the afterlife levels we understand this, and we so much crave to raise our personal vibrations that we sign up to leave our beautiful eternal lives to come here to earth and work out briefly in this spiritual gym. Our entire purpose in coming to earth is to learn how to raise our personal vibrations farther away from fear and toward ever more perfect love.
The key to making sense of spiritual growth is to understand that it is based in what we might call the physics of consciousness. And as is true of every form of physics, if we take the right steps we can expect our consciousness to respond in largely predictable ways. Eastern religions have pioneered a number of processes that can prepare us to grow spiritually, including meditation, yoga, chanting, and the esoteric teachings of great mystics. All of that can help, but for the most part it just quiets and tunes up the mind. No Eastern religious practice by itself can do much to raise our spiritual vibration because these practices attack the symptoms of low-vibration consciousness without ever attacking the cause.
The Gospel teachings of Jesus, on the other hand, are the simplest and most effective method for achieving rapid spiritual growth that ever has been devised! As I say in The Fun of Growing Forever, strictly following the teachings of Jesus can raise your spiritual vibration in a matter of months without the need for you to meditate, do yoga, chant, find a guru, go to church, or really do much of anything beyond using those teachings to reprogram your easily-reprogrammable mind! The Gospel teachings do this by removing the barriers to love, since when those barriers are gone your level of consciousness rises naturally toward love as a bubble will rise through water.
All of this is simple physics! And the most amazing thing about the Gospel teachings is that when you follow them strictly and begin to feel their positive effects, those teachings become remarkably self-reinforcing. The key for me was to learn what we are calling prevenient forgiveness, the trick of forgiving today everything that ever might happen in the rest of your life. Resentments and angers of every kind are very low-vibration emotions, so they act as ballast. They keep your consciousness vibrating at the lower end of its possible range. Get rid of your impulse toward petty angers, and soon you will have risen spiritually to such a level that nothing ever will bother you again!
Even if you don’t feel a pressing need to raise this planet’s consciousness vibration before it altogether self-destructs, and even if you weren’t thinking about trying to achieve a higher afterlife level, the little effort that growing spiritually will take you now is going to reward you richly, and pretty much right away. Spiritual growth feels wonderful! It means a life removed from stresses, a joyful love for each new face you see, and perhaps above all a certainty that you yourself are supremely and eternally loved. Whatever it is that you think you are seeking, growing spiritually is going to help you find it.
It is both sad and silly that even despite insights from Dr. Planck and other important scientists, the scientific community at large still refuses to accept the fact that all of our minds are part of one eternal Mind. The scientific community remains willfully clueless, but that fact need not hamper us at all! You and I are eternal beings being invited by the Lord Himself to live in the perfect peace of God. As Moses said almost 3500 years ago, “the eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut 33:27).