Much of spiritual experience seems to be about finding a place within ourselves that is less of our own conscious manufacture, and rather a place within ourselves that is there already when we let go. If there is truly a deeper more authentic inner presence and higher Self, then we all have an intrinsic capacity to not only recognise it, but to actually feel more at home there, as it is by definition who we really are.
It is here we must realise the bedrock of deep and abiding peace. This is opposed to fleeting glimpses of insight we may get when identifying with transient moods and mindsets that are geared around adjusting and surviving or thriving transient outer conditions. It is from this deeper sense of self we can discover our own love and a universal unconditional love as one and the same.
Personal spiritual experience at its beginnings, during its progress and maturing must include regular times of relaxing the mind and body completely. Our intent and personal insight are key, as are teachers or sources of inspiration, along with learning to put what is important to us into action. Yet the quiet private moments is where we can learn to rely on the full experience of what remains when everything to do with the body and thinking mind have fallen away.
This is getting beyond thinking and conditioned self identity to experience the substance of simply being, connecting with what many teachers and masters of all traditions refer to as the higher Self, spirit or changeless self which where our true sense of completeness and connection lies. It is so close, we can miss it, for it is within the consciousness with which we think and do. The trouble is we focus on our projections of consciousness and identify with them.
If we strip back the teachings of Jesus to the essentials and modern language, he taught the only way to spiritual consciousness and God-consciousness is to be in constant contact and identification with it through faith and authentic receptivity while living from good-will to all. Many teachings provide hints on developing this through prayer and meditation or communion, as well as applying this developing awareness to value-based thinking and living.
This approach is a universal approach, at the heart of all spiritual practices. It is independent of what we do in the world but not independent of how we do things. Naturally, the ideal of constant spiritual consciousness means doing all things, big and small, with a certain quality of mindfulness and soulfulness. It is a lofty ideal that is extremely difficult yet the practice yields great benefits. The path and destination then become one and the same. Love and goodwill in a mindset of service is harmonious to such a great desire, ideal and goal. It takes regular and committed practice while we attend to the tasks of living.
Our existential nature is an inseparable part of the universal source of life and consciousness. This ideal we can imagine and gradually understand more through experience. Personalising it as a cosmic parent, in whatever form we relate to, helps connect our personal human nature with this transcendent yet intimate state of consciousness. It helps open our mind beyond our separate and conditioned thinking to deeper and greater subtleties of love, joy and good-will to all life and creatures. It takes us not only beyond conditioned mind narratives, but beyond the intellect itself to a consciousness that includes intuition, creative and spontaneous realisation and gradually calm bliss and joy.
The Divine as ‘Father’ or ‘Mother’ invokes a personal love that is more than dissolving into a void or mindless mindfulness. This personal invocation encouraged by many masters and seers of all religions and persuasions harmonises our human nature with our cosmic nature which is of causeless pure love and pure consciousness. Aligning as a child to a parent creates humility, so we can drop our own narratives of the experience itself. This is necessary so we can be fully present and experience rather than intellectualise. With faith this approach helps us to step from searching to finding and being.
We can feel gratitude for life and awareness in any given moment, rather than the forgetful arrogance by the conditioned mind and manufactured ego that operates as separate self and self-made. The higher self is inseparable from the parent consciousness where child and parent, creator and created are one, just as in meditation the observer, observed and observing all become one.
Finally, the divine as parent connects us to our shared source and destiny as brothers and sisters. Humankind is aligned in spiritual unity which transcends differences of gender, race, culture, socio-economic status and even religious or idealogical affiliation.
Only through experience of our own true nature can we connect with the true nature in others and recognise our natures as one and the same. Nonetheless, integrity to basic morals and refined values are the foundation and framework in which we find fulfilment of quality and personal experience in this connection.
The realisation of being spiritual beings as brethren, not orphaned in a vast empty universe, but each a small yet integral part of a living and conscious evolving universe is at the core of true teachings beyond commentaries, rituals or institutions built around them.
Personal spiritual experience allows us to consciously commune and nourish ongoing personal experience and truth in life and with each other. Applying this in thoughts and actions, privately and with others, we can embody our own spirituality, yet be united at its depths -the spiritual ‘kingdom’.
Only spiritual realisation can truly transcend and harmonise the many persistent and inevitable divisions in the world. Personal spiritual practice is the means to harmonise and realise these ideals. Personal sovereignty lies in the true freedom this provides.