Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now I’m found.
Was blind, but now I see.
‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.
– John Newman (1725-1807), from “Amazing Grace” (1779)
It became apparent to Thomas and me as we were reading blog comments last Sunday that it was time for us to talk again about what growing spiritually actually means. Just a bit of a refresher course, since we haven’t discussed spiritual growth in much detail here in going on five years. And this is such an important topic! Giving people a place to grow spiritually is the reason why this material universe, with its billions of stars and its trillions of planets, even exists in the first place. Growing spiritually is the reason why you chose to be born in that material body to experience all these earthly pains. And teaching you how to better grow spiritually is the reason why Jesus even chose to be born from out of the Godhead two thousand earth-years ago. So you might quite justifiably say that this is the most important topic that anyone ever might conceivably choose to write about, hands-down.
As we said last week, Consciousness is all that exists. It is, as we said then, both the Sculptor and the stone on which that Sculptor works. And Consciousness exists in a range of emotion-based vibrations, from fear at the lowest and slowest vibration to perfect love at the highest and most rapid vibration. At its very highest vibration, Consciousness is what Jesus called the Father. It is the ultimate High God. Every human mind is a part of Consciousness, and exists somewhere along that continuum. And so, very simply put, spiritual growth consists in raising your personal spiritual vibration away from fear and more toward perfect love in the most efficient way possible. Of course, your personal spiritual vibration is going to vary in the course of a day. But its resting vibration, the set point to which it will naturally keep returning, can be raised if you will make the effort. And it is raising that set point as much as possible that you are eagerly bent upon doing when you and your primary spirit guide draw up your plan for spiritual growth in this lifetime.
Why can’t you simply resolve to grow spiritually when you are at home in the astral plane, so you can thereby avoid the need to live any more of these stressful lifetimes on earth? It turns out that growing spiritually is very much like exercising what amount to spiritual muscles. We cannot do it just by thinking about it. We have to do it by acting on it. Love and fear are not just theoretical forces! So in order to learn how the difference between love and fear actually feels in practice, how to cleave to the one and to push against the other, we come to this material universe, which is a place where we can experience that difference firsthand. Craig Hogan calls this planet Earth School, while I think of it more as a spiritual gym. But really, just one very stressful lifetime in which you can experience what it is all about should do it for you. You come here, you follow Jesus’s teachings as best you can, you raise your personal spiritual vibration to the upper fifth level of the astral plane with the help of some awful fear-based earth-experiences, and then you can cease incarnating on the earth forevermore. After that, your further spiritual growth can happen in the upper fifth and the sixth levels of the astral plane. So it is flat astonishing to me to realize that estimates have it that most of us have lived anywhere from several dozens to literally hundreds of lifetimes on earth!
How can we possibly be such dullards? Even given that we come back to earth with amnesia for the reason why we are here, you would think that we would keep some vestigial subconscious memory after a while that would make our learning just a little bit easier? After all, it is possible for you and me to get all the way to the top of level five, and past the need to incarnate again, in a single lifetime!
You can accomplish the requisite spiritual growth using Eastern spiritual techniques. But those methods generally require meditation, chanting, and other transformational processes that can take considerable time and a lot of personal commitment on your part, and they can sometimes take years before you notice measurable results in your life. By far the easiest method for Westerners to use is the one that Jesus taught, which feels familiar to people with a Christian background and is remarkably self-reinforcing, and which amazingly can show you noticeable effects in your life within a few months’ time. Very briefly, here it is again:
Spiritual growth is governed by simple Consciousness physics. Scientists have never been able to define Consciousness at all. More than a decade ago, before I ever knew Thomas, I began to wondered what Consciousness even was, since no good definition of it was to be found. Then from somewhere – I know now that it must have come from Thomas – but from out of nowhere came what is the best definition of Consciousness that we are likely to find. Thomas said in my mind, “Consciousness is an energy-like potentiality without size or form, alive in the sense that your mind is alive, highly emotional and therefore probably self-aware.” I thought, Wow!
Our minds are all part of that one Consciousness, so we are eternal by definition. Furthermore, because we all share a single Consciousness, as each of us raises our own Consciousness vibration within that whole, we each will minutely raise the Consciousness vibrations of all the other people on the face of the earth. It has been estimated that if only ten percent of the people on earth were to perfect themselves vibrationally, we could materially begin to raise the vibrations of this entire planet out of the fear-based danger zone where the population of the earth is at present. By removing more of the barriers to love’s awareness in the world, we can materially help to turn things around, very much as a bubble of air will rise in water toward the light.
All the divisions among people that we imagine are there are completely artificial, anyway. And this is especially true of all our perceived racial divisions! There is much more genetic diversity within the continent of Africa than there is between East Africans and Europeans, who began to lose the melanin in our skin via a set of genes that were introduced into Europe from the Ural Mountains less than eight thousand years ago, so recently that civilization had by then already begun. Europe was largely populated by East African migrants less than ten thousand years ago, as the last ice age ended. In fact, human beings almost went extinct altogether so very recently that every person on earth is descended from two common ancestors, a male and a female, who lived in Botswana less than 200,000 years ago.
So every human being on the face of the earth is your own close cousin. We all belong quite literally to a single extended African family. Yes, our lack of understanding of what spiritual growth is and why it is so important has allowed us to feel free to do terrible things to one another. Humanity’s past has been horrible in just about every generation since civilization began. And if we don’t begin to change course soon, it seems pretty clear that our future is likely to be even worse than our past has been. But the wonderful truth is that we know now for certain that there is no barrier to our uniting every member of the human family in the joy of literal familial love. All of us are members of a single family! And we know now that there is no barrier to our living as a single family. But only our universal spiritual growth can accomplish this ultimate goal. No worldwide government clumsily attempting to impose some sort of unity from above can do anything but to make our present problems even 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 individual spiritual growth our first priority.
The Gospel teachings of Jesus are the simplest and most effective method for achieving rapid spiritual growth that ever has been devised. As I note in The Fun of Growing Forever, strictly following the teachings of Jesus can substantially raise your own spiritual vibration, beginning in a matter of months, and without the need for you to meditate, do yoga, chant, find a guru, or really do much of anything beyond using those teachings to reprogram your easily-reprogrammed mind. The Gospel teachings do this by removing the barriers to love’s awareness, since as soon as those barriers are gone, your level of consciousness rises naturally toward ever greater love as a bubble will rise through water toward the light.
Spiritual growth toward love and away from fear feels wonderful! Perhaps the best thing about the Gospel teachings of Jesus is that when you follow them and begin to feel their positive effects, those teachings are remarkably self-reinforcing. The key for me was to learn the easy trick of forgiving in advance every negative thing that might happen in the whole rest of my life. Resentments and angers of every kind are very low-vibration emotions, so they act as negative ballast. That was why when Peter asked Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (MT 18:21-23). It is essential that you get rid of every one of your angers and resentments, no matter how small, since they can keep your consciousness vibrating at the lower end of its range. Get rid of your every impulse toward anger, and soon you will have risen spiritually to such a level that nothing ever will bother you again.
Which is a big reason why growing spiritually makes you so happy! Even if you don’t feel a pressing need to raise this planet’s consciousness vibration before humankind altogether self-destructs, and even if you aren’t thinking about trying to achieve a higher afterlife level, the little effort that growing spiritually will take you is going to reward you richly, and pretty much right away. It gives you a life removed altogether from stresses, a kindly feeling for each new face, 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.
Our frame-verse was written by a slave trader who was miraculously saved from a storm at sea, and he promptly gave up his former occupation and became an ardent abolitionist. John Newman saw the light of truth, but to this day materialist scientists remain stubbornly clueless. It is both sad and silly that even despite important insights given to them by the likes of Max Planck and Albert Einstein and other great twentieth-century physicists, the scientific community at large still refuses to accept the fact that all our minds are part of one vast eternal Mind. The scientific community remains so willfully brain-dead that even though they still cannot even begin to define Consciousness, they are currently spending a billion dollars trying to find a source for whatever Consciousness might be inside the human brain. But that clueless level of scientific folly need not hamper you and me! We know that we are eternal beings, and we are invited by Jesus Himself to live now, even while we are still on earth, in the perfect eternal 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).
Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Twas grace that brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
When we’ve been here ten thousand years,
Bright, shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.
– John Newman (1725-1807), from “Amazing Grace” (1779)