Friday, February 18, 2011

Devotional reading 180211

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. The traffic was very heavy because our President was flying out from SF airport. Helicopters were flying over our area for precautions. Road blocks were set up in all the major roads in and out of airport just in case some terrorists may launch any attack against him. The whole city was in high alert even though most of us were not aware of it. Kelsey talked about some precautions that we need to be aware of as we enter into the spiritual realm. Most Christians, especially those who were brought up in the West, were not aware of these potential dangers regarding the spiritual realm. This chapter is something we definitely cannot neglect.

The experiences of the inner world are the prime realities that give us our approach to life. The basis for our widely varying emotions and feelings and values. If we don’t deal with them directly, at the point of entry, these realities can operate autonomously within us. We can become puppets of the inner world, sometimes pulled happily by forces of light (which unfortunately have a way of shifting), or perhaps more often sucked into aggressiveness and destruction…If we are free of such problems, if we are healthy in body, mind and personal relationships, we can probably avoid looking inward, unless we become tormented by the collective ills of society in which we all share. So far, however, I have run into very few people whose lives were going this well at every level. When we really look at our actions and reactions to others we may realize how often they are unconscious and unsatisfactory, and this can be the first step toward an inward venture.

Most of the people I have known needed this relationship with the inner world more than they realized. When their masks were down, it was clear that they did not need judgment. They were already dissatisfied with themselves, already judging themselves too much. I have found in counseling that my task is often to encourage people to be more gentle with themselves. Many of us really need to discover what is good about us and to develop these qualities rather than to concentrate endlessly on all that is wrong. Often people who are the most vocal about their religion are lacking in balance for just this reason. They are practically unconscious of their best qualities, and they try to make religion compensate for what they feel is the muck in themselves.

There always seem to be people who try t to reduce religion simply to the act of turning inward and reveling in what is found there. But this is a very immature idea of religion. Similarly, when meditation is reduced to going inward and luxuriating in either images or simply feelings, it does not touch the real meaning of religion. In genuine religion, looking inward to discover what is there is only the first step. The real task begins as one learns to deal with the images and feelings that arise, and then goes on to relate them to one’s practical outer life at the office, helping or playing with one’s children, or going on a vacation with friends.

Our trouble in dealing with the inner world begins at the point where we see ourselves in the driver’s seat, responsible for our own actions, with no need to go back and discover a step at a time how our rationale is born out of interaction with spiritual realities. It is when men and women begin to feel that they have a rational knowledge of all there is to know about religious ways of dealing with these realities that they go off the deep end, with destructive results. Real maturity starts with realizing that we must go back again and again to the source and keep seeking practical religious wisdom and methods of handling what we find. We all remain beginners at this level.

Playing around with either the spiritual world or the physical one without this guidance makes us vulnerable to all kinds of forces we cannot control. We in the West have learned a great deal about matter and how to release its energy. But we are babes in the woods when it comes to understanding how spiritual forces influence what we do with our science. Eastern peoples, who are basically more introverted, have learned a great deal about accommodating themselves to the spiritual world, but they have not worried much about understanding matter.

What I am suggesting is that—although entering the spiritual realm is dangerous—if the three main conditions for going inward are met, then the perils can be lessened and largely avoided, and one can begin to think about some of the real rewards. These conditions, which we have discussed as making up the climate for meditation, are: (1) to be conscious of personal human need, particularly in starting on this way; (2) to realize that there is a spiritually creative center, a higher, loving will that has already conquered evil; (3) to keep working to form real human relationships. They are all so vitally necessary that without them the process dead-ends or worse. P 70-77

It is true that we seldom take spiritual world seriously. We enjoy hearing ghost story or supernatural phenomenon, but we don’t realize we can be influenced by it even though we don’t enter into the spiritual realm. We assumed there is a chasm that separates the spiritual world from the physical one. But what we don’t know (at least from a Western perspective) is that the physical world in many ways is interconnected with the spiritual or oppressed by the spiritual reality. We don’t admit or face it simply makes the spiritual force become unconscious or hidden. It does not go away or stop making impact in our lives. Our denial only makes things worst.

By connecting with the loving Heavenly Father through prayer and meditation empowers us to deal with this spiritual reality with ease. We focus not so much on the negative or evil undercurrent that are prevailing around us but on God. The victory of the cross is our shield and our weapon. We rely not so much on our will power to have victory over Satan but by the Cross of Christ. Satan had been defeated by the Cross and we simply proclaim his victory in the spiritual realm. Meditation and prayer are means for us to listen to God and to be molded by Him daily. As we train our souls to be constantly attentive to God, we walk in the light just as He does. The Apostle John said, “This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Our outward behavior should be an expression or display of our inner reality. Pray that you will spend time to meditate on His word over this long weekend.

With love from Him in the spiritual realm,

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