This is a brief, modern allegory for how best to live on Earth, according to every great spiritual tradition:
Go with God. Forge a conscious connection to God, the omnipotent Principle that is the only truth and rests at the center of everything.
Take your bike. This noble-savage life on Earth is an illusory manifestation of God. As a carnal being living in the illusion, make responsible decisions in the better interests of Heaven, Earth and yourself. (Biking, of course, is an efficient, non-polluting means of exercise and transport, a noble choice in today’s world.)
Don’t hit a bus. Like drugs, fire, sex, rock ‘n roll, and most other things on Earth, a bus can be a noble thing that enhances life, or a savage thing that damages life. Be discerning. Make moral, ethical choices to avoid the things of this world that harm or destroy you and those around you.
If you do (hit a bus), go with God. In the course of living on Earth we all encounter forces that cause us suffering. Especially at those times, remember that those painful forces are an illusion. Foster your conscious connection with God, which is the all-powerful, ultimate truth, which brings inner peace during lifetime, especially important in times of suffering, and which beams you to paradise when you die.
That, in a nutshell, is the basic principle shining at the center of every great spiritual tradition:
God is the only truth and the only real power, and life on Earth is an illusion that has no real power. God lives at the center of everything, so access the power of God and find inner peace by connecting your conscious mind with your soul. Give your life over to God.
As Hindus overcome maya, as Buddhists overcome attachments, and as Christians, Muslims, and Jews overcome sin, they’re all working on this same basic principle of transcending life’s destructive illusions to forge a conscious connection with God.
There are a few variations from one faith to the next:
Buddhists might argue that they don’t believe in God, but instead strive for nirvana, which is probably just a semantic difference. Striving for nirvana and fostering a conscious contact with God are essentially the same thing; both involve bringing the carnal mind (brain and hormones) more in line with our God-mind, or soul, or atman).
Christians, Muslims, and Jews each have a slightly different notion of sin (sin being the rough equivalent of what I call the savage side of life on Earth).
Jews believe that humans are born good, not sinful, but your human inclinations pull you off-course toward sin, or het, as you grow up in this world.
Christians believe that humans are born with a propensity to sin, and giving your life over to Christ and to Christian teachings can help you overcome it.
Muslims believe that studying the Koran discourages sinful (haraam) behavior by strengthening your faith and knowledge and by guiding you to do good deeds in society.
So, all of these great, time-proven religions help people to contend with Earth’s painful illusions by fostering conscious contact with God.
Again, that’s the fundamental aspect of spiritual growth, the core principle of every true spiritual path:
Connect to a higher power, God, to overcome suffering.
There are also various spiritual paths that are not religious and that focus on the core principle while trying to remain free of the exclusive trappings of the various religions (e.g. Christ is the chosen savior, Mohammed is the chosen prophet, Jews are the chosen people….)
Following is a list, with links, of some of the more notable spiritual paths that avoid the strictures of the traditional religions. I’ll try to list them roughly in the order of how widespread they seem to be. I hope to add to this list as I encounter other paths that are also built around this spiritual core.
- The 12-Step Program (Alcoholics Anonymous and its many off-shoots) has saved the lives of millions of people by turning them onto a spiritual path that is encapsulated very neatly in 12 steps and enriched by countless clever slogans. The 11th step, in particular, advocates seeking “through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” (Review the principles… or Enjoy some of the famous 12-Step slogans…)
- A Course in Miracles (ACIM) is a massive (more than 1,000 pages make up the textbook, workbook, and teacher’s manual) collection of information channeled in the late 1960s through the mind of Helen Schucman, a New York clinical and research psychologist. As such, a great deal of inspired philosophy and wisdom proliferates around the elegant, spiritual core. According to ACIM, the surest way to connect to God is through forgiveness… presumably because experiencing the vast suffering on this noble-savage Earth results in lots of emotional wounds that need healing. (Read more… )
- The Infinite Way is, likewise, a vast collection of channeled or inspired information. It exists as 1,300 hours of tapes and CDs from class and lecture work of Joel Goldsmith, the founder of the program, and transcriptions, books, and articles extracted from his vocal teachings, in the 1950s. Most of the lectures build around the core principle: God holds all the power, the trappings of Earth are powerless, so forge conscious contact with God through contemplative meditation, via the divine center within you. (View one example of those inspired teachings… )
- The Seth Material, again, is a vast collection of information channeled in the 1970s through Jane Roberts from an entity called Seth, who refers only in passing to God (the All-That-Is), which is the sum of all consciousnesses and creator of all universes. Seth’s main interest seems to be people’s outer egos, which shape the material world, and their inner egos (probably equivalent to what I call our astral and ethereal bodies), which work together in a vast community of highly creative inner egos to help people on Earth to shape their world. The more a person can connect his outer ego to his inner ego, the more he can shape the world with his thoughts and intentions. So, the Seth materials might be considered an “applied science” of the main principle… which involves fostering the direct connection between our conscious mind (outer ego) and God (All-That-Is). Seth seems more interested in our conscious contact with our spiritual bodies for the purpose of shaping our world with our intentions. (Read more… )
- Theosophy, based on the channeled and inspired teachings of Helena (“Madame”) Blavatsky, talks of an eternal, omnipotent, nameless power that embodies everything and is at the core of everything. Theosophy doesn’t seem to encourage people to nurture a personal connection to that divine power, but simply states that the connection exists and provides the source and foundation of life. Theosophy holds a special connection to ITC as described on this site, as it refers to a spiritual hierarchy under “The Seven Rays”… which seem to have some connection to ethereal cluster (The Seven Rainbow People) that facilitated the contacts between INIT and Timestream. (More about Theosophy… and the Seven Rays...)
If you know of other spiritual programs that might fit onto this list, please let me know via email or in the comments section below, and I’ll do some research. Thanks! MM