Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Purification of the Soul

If you take a closer look and study about the Ascended Masters, Angels and Saints, and especially examine the lives of the Saints, you acquaint yourself with people that believe very strongly in Jesus and in the Catholic tradition, yet they were able to bi-locate; they were able to levitate, and they were able to perform tremendous healings, because of their tremendous connection with their Spirit.

In the ways of the Shaman that have gone before me, I have been taught to look to the three masteries:

ONE - Awareness;
TWO - Transformation, and
THREE - Intent.
Awareness.   The more you deepen your awareness that what you are is a spiritual being ... that you are limitless, infinite, eternal and immortal ... the more you expand that awareness, the more incredible your life becomes.
Intent.   When your intent begins to shift your point of creation from your mind to your spirit and you use all the tools of Transformation to do that, it is amazing how different your life becomes.
Transformation.   Clouds just drift across the sky ... they neither resist, nor fight.  They just float.  They expand.  They contract.  They have very little substance if you should try to touch one.  And yet, clouds play an integral part in the ecology of this planet.

You are the energy in a relationship much like the clouds.  Without you, the Universe would be incomplete.  As you align yourself with that energy, time, money, health, relationships, love -- all these things -- you begin to realize that your Life is your Creation.

Your life is like a beautiful painting where you can change the colors, change the scenery ... change everything very much like an amusement park, or a multiplex theatre.  We get tickets, we can go on any of the rides or attend any of the shows.  We can see so many different stories.  The thing that we forget is that we can change what rides or shows are playing at any given time.  But, you are absolutely free.  You are limitless energy.  As you begin to let go of the thoughts that say otherwise, you will begin to experience freedom.  You will begin to embrace some of the ideas; explore with curiosity; play.

Allow for the possibility that you are not your thoughts, you are not your beliefs, you are not your agreements.  You are not your assumptions.  What you are is the energy that drives it all.  If you constantly broadcast fear, but expect to live a life free of fear, then you will be disappointed with your limitations.  You will be disappointed with the limitations you perceive.  But, as you begin to re-train your mind so that what you broadcast is that awareness ... that realization ... that you are that spiritual entity ... magic and miracles will occur.

Now, having received some formal philosophic education, I also weigh in aspects of others' perception of the Way.

The Qu'ran teaches that those will prosper who purify themselves.  (Qu'ran, at 87:14).  For one's soul to be purified, it must first be liberated from the constraints of its physical sphere of sensation ... one's five senses ... because no one except oneself can remove his own bondage.

Liberation cannot be achieved except by the direct perception of the identity of the individual with the universal self.  To that end, the study of the letter alone is useless; the spirit must be sought out by intuition. In a labyrinth of words, the mind is lost like a man in a thick forest, therefore, through great effort must be learned the truth about oneself from him who knows the truth.  Just as disease is never cured by pronouncing the name of "medicine" without taking it, liberation is not achieved by pronunciation of the word Brahman without direct perception.  The chief cause of liberation is said to be the complete detachment of the mind from transitory objects and a thorough renunciation of all Karma.  Then, the wise Initiate should devote himself daily without intermission to the study of scriptures, to reflection and meditation on the truths therein contained; then finally having got rid of ignorance the wise man enjoys the bliss of Nirvana even while on this earth.  (Viveka-Cudamani, or Crest-Jewel Of Wisdom of Sri Samkaracarya, translated by Mohini M. Chatterji, F.T.S., [1932] Theosophical Publ. House, pp. 25-32.)

In seeking knowledge, the Initiate must demonstrate genuine sincerity and a clear nature of intent of purpose.

According to Imam Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, a student of Imam Ibn Taimiya, a venerable Islamic teacher of the Tazkiya an-Nafs (the Qu'ran's source of self-improvement and spirituality), sincerity cannot coexist in a heart that contains the love of praise and commendation and the yearning to possess that which is owned by the people save in the manner that fire and water or a lizard and fish may coexist.  If your soul directs you to seek sincerity then first turn your attention towards your yearning and slaughter it with the knife of renunciation. Then turn your attention towards praise and commendation and forsake it with the asceticism of those who loved the world for the sake of the Hereafter. When your slaughtering of your yearning and the renunciation of praise and commendation becomes firm then attaining sincerity will become easy for you.

The intention of a person is not his utterance of the words, “I intend to do thus and such.”  It is an overflowing from the heart, which runs like conquests inspired by God.  At times it is made easy, at other times, difficult.  A person whose heart is overwhelmingly righteous finds it easy to summon good intentions at most times.  Such a person has a heart generally inclined to the roots of goodness which, most of the time, blossom into the manifestation of good actions. As for those whose hearts include, towards, and are overwhelmed by worldly matters, they find this difficult to accomplish and even obligatory acts of worship may become difficult and tiresome.  Further, worship and permissible actions can be turned into forbidden ones because of the intentions behind them, and permissible actions can become either good or bad deeds by intention; but wrong actions cannot become acts of worship, even with good intentions. When bad intentions are accompanied by flaws in the actions themselves, then their gravity and punishment are multiplied.  Any praiseworthy act must be rooted in sound intentions; only then could it be deemed worthy of reward. The fundamental principle should be that the act is intended for the worship of God alone. If our intention is to show off, then these same acts of worship will in fact become acts of disobedience.

The faith of an Initiate, therefor, is not put right until his heart is put right, and his heart is not put right until his tongue is put right because God has made the purification of faith conditional on the purification of the heart, and the purification of the heart conditional on the purification of the tongue.  (Da‘îf hadîth, Ibn Hibbân and al-Baihaqî, and al-Iraqî in his edition of al-Ihyâ, 8/1541.)  Hence, the need to ponder and take under advisement Blavatsky's The Voice Of The Silence.  This is an essential lesson the serious Initiate must master.

Once the Initiate begins to master the Silence that is the white-noise underlying din that is mundane living -- taking greater care before launching thoughts, words and actions that harm -- the Initiate will find himself squarely on the path to learning spiritual truth.

As a confirmed Roman Catholic, I have been taught, and have taught in catechism classes, that Our Lord gives us all the means we need for sanctification in the course of our earthly pilgrimage.  It is we who dispose of these means.  What are they?  The Eucharist, in the first place, the other sacraments, prayer, good works, and the acceptance of the trials of everyday life.

Holy Communion is the greatest source of grace we have. As it increases our charity, reception of this sacrament "wipes away venial sins" (Catechism of the Catholic Church ["CCC"], at 1394) and preserves us from future sins (CCC 1393, 1395).  The Sacrament of Penance purifies us as it removes our sins (though not always the temporal debt due to them).  Prayer, especially mental prayer, ardently practiced by all the saints, enlightens the intellect on the mysteries of faith, particularly the "breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love for us" (Eph. 3:18), inflames the soul so that it hungers and thirsts for His holiness (Matt. 5:6), and causes the memory to bear in mind the word of God spoken in Sacred Scripture and the good inspirations sent to us in prayer.  Without frequent prayer, the sacraments will have less than their intended effect.  The more we pray, the more the sacraments will assist in our purification and sanctification.  By good works, we witness to the love we have received and atone for our sins.  "Faith without works is as dead as a body without breath" (Jas. 2:26).  Acts of charity enable us to take the resources God has given us (time, energy, material goods) and use them to build up treasure in heaven.  Alms expiate every sin (Tobit 12:9).

Perhaps the most neglected means for purification is the acceptance of the trials of everyday life. Part of the message of Fatima is the acceptance of the sacrifices demanded by our daily duties.  It is as though we had King Midas' touch in our ability to transform acts performed in our homes and places of work into golden works of charity if we do all for Our Lord.  St. Therese, whose ordinary life became extraordinary because of her intense devotion, urged that even picking up a pencil be done for the love of God.

Our sufferings, permitted by God, serve to chastise us (Heb. 12:6), atone for our sins, and prepare us to receive the fullness of Jesus Christ.  St. Francis de Sales enumerates some everyday trials the acceptance of which is "more profitable for our souls than we can think":
. . . These concessions to the idiosyncrasies of others, this endurance of our neighbor's boorish and annoying acts and habits, these victories over our own humors and passions, this renouncement of our lesser inclinations, this effort against our aversions and dislikes, this heartfelt and meek admission of our imperfections. . . . (Treatise on the Love of God, trans. John K. Ryan, Rockford, IL, TAN, 1975, p. 269.)

Needless to say, patient endurance of greater sufferings, such as unemployment, poverty, sickness, and the loss of loved ones, is of even greater value and can effect a rapid growth in holiness.  The only Christian attitude toward such diminishment on the natural level is that it is an invitation to enrichment on the supernatural level.  (Serendipity!)

Voluntary penance is another excellent means of furthering our identification with our crucified Lord. Thus, it is always possible to carry in our bodies the dying of Jesus (2 Cor. 4:10).

All these efforts of ours must be done out of love for God, not merely the desire to be purified during this life in order to escape the pains of purgatory. "If you would do works meant for penance, they must proceed from a living flame of charity . . . [I]t is love alone which secures His love, and blots out sin."  (John Henry Newman, "Purity and Love" in Favorite Newman Sermons, ed. Daniel M. O'Connell, New York, The America Press, 1932, p. 169.)  Our Lord longed to ignite the blaze of His charity living in us during His earthly sojourn (Luke 12:49).  Is it not appropriate that we experience the wound of His love for us, we who have wounded His heart by our lack of love?  If our love has been wanting, then in purgatory we, like Christ, will suffer out of love.  If our love is perfected, like the Good Thief's, then when we die He will say to us also "Today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).

This is the process of the purification of the soul, in anyone's spiritual paradigm.

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