Our true spiritual development can seem a bit elusive because we’re often not clear on the difference between acquiring knowledge in its theoretical form and bringing it into practice as a means of “creating ourselves” by way of it. Many people can discuss what we can think of as “spiritual ideas” in a fairly intelligent way based on what they’ve learned through studying other people’s ideas, yet have no idea how to “apply it” in terms of “becoming it” as a practice and developing themselves through the experience it brings. We only truly learn (live and earn) through experience, and we only truly know what we actively demonstrate.
In an attempt to understand what we deem higher knowledge, we can then haphazardly take the approach of denying or excluding some aspects of our self that we deem to be of our lower nature, while trying to more fully utilize what we consider to be of our “higher nature”. We take the “divide and conquer” approach, instead of the “unite and empower” approach to our own well-being. Some deny and shun their physical existence in favor of some form of idea they consider higher or superior in some way. Some believe all they have to do is be able to recite ideas as theory without ever having to actually employ them in the practical sense as a means of producing whatever it is it claims to produce. These various approaches result from a basic confusion as to the actual purpose of life and the creative power of the soul to create not only itself, but also its perception and experience of reality.
The soul is equivalent to the Self and utilizes a physical manifestation as the means of growing and transforming itself to different states and ways of being. The “self” is not developed in the most basic sense (energetic) by material possessions and status, but through the qualities we embody and become that forms our character as a way of being in the world. It’s only the qualities and ideas we embody and develop into a habit through consistent practice that becomes a natural part of us. By repeating a process or attitude enough times, we “build it into our muscle” (subconscious), so to speak, where it becomes intuitive. With enough daily practice it becomes a natural part of our awareness and being as an unconscious and automatic perception and behavior. We acquire it as a form of skill and instinct where we do it naturally without having to think about it.
Our soul isn’t formed out of intellectual concepts that we preach and profess but never actually bring into practice. It’s only what we embody and “become one with” as a channel of expression that we become like in essence. It becomes a natural part of us and we perceive it in everything around us while doing it as a natural part of our personality. This is expressed through the axiom “you know them by their deeds”. It’s not what we say that reveals who we are, but what we do. Being and doing are extensions of the same thing. Our actions reveal our consciousness as a coherent state of being.
When the soul leaves or discards the body, it absorbs all the experiences it produced and acquired through the body, and they’re integrated into the mental paradigm of the soul as qualities that form our disposition, temperament, moral character, and natural tendencies. Some believe that all you have to do is imagine ideas, going on the fact that the subconscious doesn’t know the difference between an actual event and an imagined one, while failing to realize that the imagination is the means through which we program the subconscious with ideas that we want it to produce as part of our perception and form natural behaviors out of.
Most imaginary scenarios aren’t effective because most don’t know how to actually imagine something as a full sensory experience that elicits a desirable emotional response. Some repeat affirmations as a verbal script or saying that they think is the means for programming their subconscious, yet the subconscious is “experiential” in nature and is only “programmed” by an idea that’s turned into a full sensory reality as a direct experience in the imagination. The subconscious is also “emotionally driven”, which means that it moves towards pleasure and away from pain. As we form the desired reality in our mind as a representation, we have to present it in a way that naturally invokes a very positive and compelling emotion. If we portray it with any form of stress, fear, or anxiety associated to it, our subconscious will receive it as an idea to avoid, prevent, or move away from.
The Soul and the Faculty of the Mind
The soul can be thought of as the “mind” which is structured as a paradigm or coherent model out of accumulated memory that’s been integrated through experience. As we experience something we form all kinds of realizations around it that we didn’t know when contemplating it theoretically, and the experience itself is what “integrates” it into our paradigm through a process of adaptation. Once the idea becomes an actual memory as part of our paradigm it becomes an inherent part of our reality. We can only conceive of what we know from direct experience. The only thing we’re capable of perceiving outside of us is what can be formed, explained, described, and validated through our mental paradigm. Until we have an actual experience of something, we can’t truly know it. To have true knowledge of something is to be intimate with it by “becoming one with it” in spirit, mind, and body, as the expression of it.
The true means the soul has for developing itself in an intentional manner is by “drawing down” and acting to absorb the archetypal ideals and qualities of the higher, spiritual plane. We do this either consciously through active choice as to whom we want to become, or unconsciously through reactive behavior born out of our formative conditioning. The process of personal transformation as a conscious act of self-creation comes by recognizing the qualities in you that you’ve developed as strengths that are of what you decide to be an undesirable nature, often called weaknesses and vices, and choosing to replace them instead with more positive qualities, referred to as virtues. Vices and virtues are the negative and positive aspect of any idea that serves to contrast each other as a means of comparing, defining, and stimulating each other into existence. We can only know “hot” by how it exists in relationship it to what we consider “cold”, both of which are “temperatures” of the same thing separated only by degrees that move along a sliding scale from one extreme to another.
All qualities exist in a polar state as complementary opposites of the same idea. They exist as extremes of each other with a form of gradual movement along a scale that moves from one extreme to another. Fear and courage are qualities that oppose yet complement each other. When we’re experiencing fear of some kind, we have a choice to either respond with courage or cowardice. We can transform fear by choosing to embody courage in relation with it. When we’re scared and feel afraid, we polarize ourselves to the energetic state of fear and act naturally to attract and encounter situations that elicit more fear. Whatever “state” (mental and emotional) we exist in we act to multiply it through an accumulative process.
Fear causes us to stop, shut down and avoid what’s causing it, usually not taking any constructive action while being mentally controlled by the fear. This provides us with the ideal situation to “choose” to be either courageous or a coward. As we step into the fear with a sense of brave sense of conscious awareness, the fear begins steadily subsiding until it dissolves, and is replaced by a feeling of empowerment. The more we do this, the more courageous and confident we become and the less afraid and insecure. It’s not what happens to us in life that serves to shape us, but how we choose to respond to what happens through the relationship we form with it.
Our spiritual development comes by way of our soul’s recognition that it has the ability to self-create by way of acting on itself to transform vices as weaknesses into virtues as strengths. It comes through how we develop our character through our ability to actively choose what qualities as a state of consciousness we’re going to become and use as the means of experiencing ourselves. The soul creates itself through how it creates its own experiences of life. We are always the one creating our experiences, and naturally form them out of our perceptions. All intentional creation comes through our ability to become self-aware and form realizations around our true nature that provides us with the basis for making new decisions as to how we’re going to enter into relationship with life. As we make new decisions and begin willfully acting them out, we set a new pattern into motion that acts to transform an existing pattern as unconscious tendencies.
Conscious creation comes by developing our self through universal archetypes as qualities and ways of being that shape us to be a certain type of person who naturally lives a certain type of life as our “story”. Mythology of the gods is what provides us with the psychological tools necessary to be able to tell whatever type of story we have an inclination towards and true desire to tell. Once we realize how we want to be, we can recognize all the tendencies we have that are preventing or counteracting it, and can act on ourselves in a deliberate manner to transform them.
Only what becomes habit as a natural way of being is carried forward after the death of the body. Our material status and worldly success is meaningless outside of how we developed our character by way of them. In this way, having an easy life with no serious challenges can be a detriment to our spiritual growth and cause complacency. It’s not the circumstances of our life that matters, but only who we choose to become in relationship with and by way of them.