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Saturday, December 11, 2021

What Do "Sacred" and "Divine" Mean?

What Do “Sacred” and “Divine” Mean?

 

Part One: Personal Inquiry into the Concepts

 

Inquiring

 

It is good to begin to live in the inquiry around each concept.

 

“Living in the inquiry” means maybe once a day asking a question inside, such as any of questions suggested below, and being still and quiet and waiting at least a few minutes for some answer or insight to pop into awareness. If nothing comes, then going about one’s day but staying open.

 

And it also means asking the question now and then at random times, and being alert to answers or insights that pop in at random times.

 

What you do with what “comes” from inquiry, can vary. Any or all of those can be useful; see what you are called to do. You could be

  • writing it down
  • acting in a new way
  • teaching it to others
  • taking the new sense or response back into further inquiry
  • simply letting your consciousness absorb it into your being, without any mental effort.

 

Contemplating

 

There is also a useful approach called spiritual contemplation, which is even simpler than inquiry, and suitable for single concepts like this. Simply be quiet for a time, and keep repeating the word to yourself, gently, every so often, and see what arises in you as you gently keep your attention on the word. I recommend doing that in addition to the more elaborate process of inquiry using questions.

 

Sample Inquiry Questions about Personal Conceptual Meaning 

 

Here are some inquiry questions using the concept of “sacred” as an example, but please also use all these questions around the concept of “divine.”

 

What does this concept of “sacred” mean to me conceptually? 

Is it an important concept to me personally? Why or why not?

What is the significance of this concept in my life?

Why do I think or believe or feel it is an important concept for others to be aware of? 

What are the meanings I think others have of it? 

Is it truth, or is it a belief, when I say something is sacred or divine? How do I decide that? 

Is it honest for me when I apply the word to something? 

How do I know or decide what is sacred and what is not sacred? 

What do I mentally regard as sacred? 

What is not sacred, for me and/or for others?? Why is it not sacred, for me and/or for others? What does sacredness depend on, for me or them? 

How has my understanding of this concept changed over time? 

What is the leading edge of this concept in my own evolution of it or personal journey with it?

 What are my deepest personal questions I am living with, about this concept?


Sample Inquiry Questions about Religious and Spiritual Significance of the Concepts


 What do I think is or should be the role of the concepts of sacred and divine in any church's theology or religion? How would or do they express in its actions, its ministries? 

Are the concepts of sacred and divine important in my own spirituality or religion? If so, how, and if not, why not? In other words, what role does each concept play in my personal religion or spirituality?

 

Part 2: Experiences

 

For each concept, you might ask yourself questions like these, and make notes. 

 

What does it mean to me experientially? 

What do I feel experientially as sacred? What are those feelings, and how do I experience them in my body? 

How might others experience something as sacred? On what basis do I say that? What have I seen or known of others’ experiences of sacred?

 How has my deepest experiential sense and “getting” of this concept changed over time based on my experiences of it in life? 

What is the leading edge of this concept as I experience it in my own personal journey with it?

What are my deepest personal questions about my experiences related to this concept? 

Do I have any resistance to this concept, or am I uncomfortable about it in any way, or am I aware of some shadow aspects of me triggered by it in some way? 

What role does the experience related to each concept play in my personal religious experiences or spiritual experiences?

How does this concept show up for me in my inner experience? What meaning does it have for me there?

How does this concept show up for me in my behavior and how others see my actions? What meaning does it have for me there?

How does this concept show up for me in my experiences and actions as a social being, in culture? What meaning does it have for me there?

 How does this concept show up for me in my interactions with social systems? What meaning does it have for me there?

 

Which of the questions suggested above are alive for you around each concept? What questions not mentioned above, are alive for you around each concept?

 

This blogpost is part of a four-part series exploring these concepts. The others are What Does "Divine" Mean?, What is Theology? and What is Religion?

Questions and comments welcome below!

By Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore a central and essential part of our exercise and practice of our religion. 
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you. All results from using anything written in this blog are solely your own responsibility, which you assume by reading.

All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.

 


What is "Religion?"

What is "Religion?"

 

Here's a three-part definition I made up. A religion consists of

  • an object or focus of attention, 
  • a feeling about the object or focus, and 
  • a practice of paying attention to the object and having the feeling, some or all of the time. (That corresponds interestingly enough with mind, heart, and body.)

The object would be some sort of ultimate, most often, whatever is selected as being the ultimate cause and nature of everything we are aware of.

By “ultimate” I mean that for which there is nothing underneath, prior to it, a cause of it, or beyond or further into which we can become aware.

The feeling would be some sort of awe, reverence, appreciation, or wonder, and the object would be that which evokes the most intense of those feelings for a person. It has to be “evokes awe” rather than “is deemed worthy of awe” because it would not be ultimate if we apply to it some criterion of “worthy” of awe.

I choose “awe” because it seems to be the deepest, most profound, most “cosmic” of all emotions. It does not have "otherness" in it, as the concept of "gratitude" does. Also, it goes beyond appreciation. Its relationship to Divine, Unconditional Love that is an experience of Being, is beyond the scope of this particular blogpost.

The practice would be various actions that involve paying attention to the object and experiencing the feeling. These often involve rituals, but need not. Those actions are what is generally called “worship.” It is also plausible to regard the feeling of awe as worship--worship as a feeling--and the deepest, most meaningful worship practice, as feeling awe.

In some sense, everyone has a religion, given this definition, but most people hold it and experience it only subconsciously. And in most people who think their religion is one object/feeling, it’s actually something else that’s the ultimate object of awe for them--which they would be very reluctant to admit.

What is "a religion," to you? What is your religion? If you differentiate "spiritual" and "religious," what are the similarities and differences for you? What do you think they are for others?


This blogpost is part of a four-part series exploring these concepts. The others are What Does "Divine" Mean?, What is Theology?, and What Do "Sacred" and "Divine" Mean?

Questions and comments welcome below!

By Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore a central and essential part of our exercise and practice of our religion. 
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you. All results from using anything written in this blog are solely your own responsibility, which you assume by reading.

All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.

What Does "Divine" Mean?

 What Does "Divine" Mean?

Orienting Question: What have your own inquiries into “Divine” brought? Anything like or unlike described here?

 

Since our name is “Amplifying Divine Light in All” Church, it would be good to explain something about what "Divine" means to us.

 

We recognize and honor that for other religions, the word means something quite different. We also recognize and honor that even within our church, individuals have differing meanings.

 

So I’m offering my meaning, as Head Minister of the Church. Others within our church feel an alignment and resonance with this, as I do with their meanings.


There is no permanent answer


Also, the meaning is not fixed. As we live in the inquiry “What is Divine” our understandings, our revelations, our experiences, change over time.

 

By “inquiry,” I mean something as simple as uttering or thinking the word “Divine” and then being quiet for a minute or two, just alert to notice whatever pops into my experience or awareness, if anything, and just enjoying whatever does arise. Perhaps writing it down. But just letting it sink in, without analyzing or meaning-making til later. We do this practice multiple times a day, or whenever it occurs to us to do.

 

The question: What does "Divine" mean? points to the same thing as these other questions listed just below. Exploring these other questions, as we do often, is a means of “living in the inquiry.”

  • What do I sense/regard/feel as the most important thing to pay attention to?
  • What do I regard as Ultimate?
  • What most fills me with awe and reverence, and a desire to worship in some way?
  • What has most drawn my attention as I contemplate life most deeply?
  • What has the most significance, when I think about Life, about Existence?
  • What is most fundamental about Life, about Existence?

Exploring these questions is a more complex form of inquiry called “contemplation,” and can involve revisiting the question and then writing down all that comes in while being quiet.

 

What is "worship"?

 

In one sense, the meaning of “Divine” for us is “most important, most fundamental, Ultimate, of most significance, most awe-generating, most moving us to reverence and worship.” 

 

And for me, when I say “awe” I don’t mean a mental experience or even an emotion or feeling. I mean a mind-blowing, heart-stopping, breath-taking sense of Being awe, reverence, and worship that drops me to my knees because I cannot stand up—yet not feeling one iota of separateness of me from the “object” of my awe. Paradoxical experience of Being.

 

I also don't mean it's just one thing and that's "it." There can be many moments of awe in a day, if one is open to that experience.

 

What gives you that kind of experience?

 

We draw our answers from several religious traditions and sages, enriched by our own revelations and experiences.

 

Two of the possible ultimates

 

I’ve discovered that for me, while the vastness and complexity of what I understand to exist inspires awe, my heart detects something beyond that which evokes in my heart an even greater, overwhelming sense of awe, reverence, and worship: whatever power or force CREATES all that exists, ongoingly in each moment.

 

I know that for many people “All That Is” is their Ultimate, their God. My Ultimate, my God, is whatever is creating all that is. That’s a rational conclusion, because logically the Creator, or the Power or Force of Creating, is prior to the Created. 

 

It’s also a beyond-rational conclusion of my deepest religious/spiritual sensing about what is precisely the object of my religious awe, what I most profoundly feel a sense of worship about, what is truly my “God.”

 

And some religions don’t even distinguish: God is the Creator, the Creating, and the Created. That is true for me, yet my sense of awe prioritizes the Creative Power of the Creator--whatever that IS. 

 

I have some speculations about what it is. If quantum physics is correct that the Universe blinks in and out of “existence” (whatever the heck that means) zillions of times every nanosecond, then Creating is being done, from scratch so to speak, that often, and is thus ongoing.

 

Where does everything go when it blinks out? And why does it come back different every time, like the series of still cartoon pictures, each slightly different so when we flip through we create the illusion of a moving picture? And what power brings it back and where is that power located? What is the non-existence like?

 

Those are interesting questions which I spend a lot of my religious inquiry time contemplating—not just mentally, but experientially, through my heart and body and soul. Part of the answer probably lies in the common notion of a "Field of Infinite Potential."

 

What makes the inquiry into the meaning of “Divine” important?

 

The meaning each of us holds at any time has implications for our sense of who we ultimately are, and what our relationship is to the Divine. Those in turn have implications for our values, for how we live our lives and relate to others.

 

For example, if the Power of Creation is Divine, then so is every Created, which means every person, every living thing, anything which I can be aware of! 

 

Thus each Created fundamentally deserves and receives my reverence, my honor, my respect, in their fundamental nature AS a Divine Creation. On the manifest level of multiplicity, given I am a Created with a particular nature that has preferences, I might choose to avoid or seek to eliminate some other Created, and that is what I am being created to do.

 

This blog and this post are part of our church’s ministry. We seek to amplify the Divine Light in you, by prompting you to inquire and contemplate further into what Divine means to you. The more you sense, know, experience, and understand of that meaning, the more of that Divine Light is amplified in you, through you, as you. So be it!

 This inquiry is part of a four-part series. The others are: What Do "Sacred" and "Divine" Mean?, What is Religion?, and What is Theology?

Questions and comments welcome below!

By Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore a central and essential part of our exercise and practice of our religion. 
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you. All results from using anything written in this blog are solely your own responsibility, which you assume by reading.

All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Exploring the Inner Critic

 

 Exploring the Inner Critic

 

Question from someone: I have a critical voice inside my head. How can I keep it from holding me back in so many things I’d like to be doing or making me feel I am never enough?

Answers:

Criticism, Separation-consciousness, Power, and Creation

I can relate! For longer than I can remember, there’s been a constant stream of thoughts in my mind, foreground or background. Thoughts like: Not there yet, and ought to be. There’s something I’m not doing adequately or correctly here. Not good enough yet. Should, shouldn’t, ought to, ought not to. Those thoughts generate constant feelings like: discontent, disgruntlement, tension, frustration, even guilt. Of course I’ve been “working” on this matter for years, but lately I’ve revisited some old insights and received some new ones. They’re making a difference.

If someone outside of me were constantly criticizing me that way it would clearly be a toxic relationship. I’d label them an emotional abuser and I’d seek to leave. And if I saw someone else being subjected to that I’d pity them and say “You don’t have a good quality of life and wellbeing. This is not an appropriate way for a living creature to live. You are only half alive.” Yet those insights haven’t been sufficient to fully silence my inner critic.

From some teachings I’ve read recently, I realized that all this self-criticism is a form of resistance to what is. And resistance to what is not only makes what is persist, I now believe it is the most fundamental disempowering thing one can do.

For many months I’ve been living in the inquiry of what was the first step out of Unity consciousness into separation consciousness that I took as a soul, so long ago. I’m a bit closer to an answer as I realize that any form of resistance to what is immediately takes away or diminishes my empowerment as a Source Energy Being, my rightful natural portion of Divine Creative Power. So “If I were God, I wouldn’t have created whatever I am experiencing now” is a good candidate for that first step into separation-consciousness.

That seems to be why so many spiritual teachers suggest we start with self-love and self-forgiveness, and why they emphasize “acceptance” of what is. Without those, we are separate from our full power to change whatever is.

It seems paradoxical, but it seems true, that we must fully own that we’ve created whatever we are experiencing, no matter how awful it is, before we can access the fullness of our natural inherent power to change it. To get anywhere, we must start from where we are.

The profundity of that truth constantly amazes me, along with how often I attempt to start from somewhere other than a portion of the Creative Force that is creating what is right here right now. Frequent “other places to attempt to start from” include “should/shouldn’t, ought/ought not.” They don’t offer solid ground to stand on to start moving from.) I must be the Creator before I can be the Changer.

 

Criticism and Motivation

If the motivation of my Inner Critic is to spur me into improving, doing better, doing well, then its methods are known to be ineffective, inefficient, even counter-productive compared to encouragement, acknowledgement, and confidence in me. Our actions cannot contravene our self-image; self-image, or identity, overrides any emotional motivation. Criticism tends to create a self-image that actually generates the opposite of what the critic thinks it is promoting.

If the basic motivation of the Inner Critic is loving, then its expression as criticism is misguided. Loving-kindness is far more effective, efficient, and life-enhancing. How would loving-kindness be expressed by a revised, updated Inner Critic? I think it would give acknowledgment, encouragement, and express confidence. It would see the glass as already half-full, not be constantly focused and fretting that the glass is still half-empty. Acknowledgement, encouragement, and confidence accomplish in life-enhancing ways what criticism might be aimed at but actually sabotages.

 

Powerful side-thought about Inner Critic

How can I be radiating loving vibes to others, as I am called to do, when I’m constantly whacking myself over the head, inside?? I might say or do loving-kind things, and feel loving-kind often, but the fundamental constant vibration of my consciousness and embodiment has hostility, anger, annoyance, frustration, and resentment notes in it. And that thought doesn’t feel like a criticism, it provides incentive to allow and encourage Inner Critic to fade away or reinvent itself.

 

Standing as Creator

On the way to healing should/ought, and resistance to what is, these thoughts were helpful: Things start in the invisible. This is the opposite of the reality we are indoctrinated with. I sense that it’s the length of time between our intention and will, and the resulting manifestation, that leads us to doubt the degree of our rightful creative power: “It isn’t here yet so I must lack the power.”

On the upper dimensions, which our soul remembers our experiences of, manifestation is instantaneous so creative power is clear. Designing time into the process has led us to believe we are NOT powerful creators, that we are separate from creative power, that we are at the effect of our previous creations and cannot change them.

 
 

I am learning to not regard myself as trapped, stuck, at the effect of “what is” because what is now in 3D is what I created some time ago. I own and affirm my full rightful creative power, and don’t let the time gap convince me otherwise. I break out of feeling stuck with what is, helpless to change it because it involves suffering and I haven’t yet been able to change it, so I must lack the power. Then that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

Giving the Inner Critic a new job

From my training in NLP, I learned that however much suffering they cause, most of our inner parts are trying to help us, protect us, in some way. Rather than try to get rid of them or dissolve them, it is often easier simply to give them a new purpose, one that doesn't have the old detrimental side-effects.

So I'm working with giving my inner critic the job of noticing and being alert to when I am giving away my power, or feeling disempowered, and reminding me that to feel superb and super, I can reclaim my natural rightful creative power.

What's your experience? Share in the comments below.

 

By Rev. Alia Zara Aurami-Sou, Ph.D.

This article is presented and provided to you by "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission.
 
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore an integral and central part of our exercise and practice of our religion.
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.
 
All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.
We invite your comments and responses!

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Great Unwinding

 

The Great Unwinding

 

I wonder whether you've noticed something similar. My spiritual journey seems to involve retracing my steps that have taken me into the depths of separation-consciousness, and healing/dissolving each step by reversing it: realizing the truth of every illusion/lie that I accepted along the way. 

 

I suspect it might be true of everyone’s journey. So we’re precisely unwinding that which got wound up, back to the very beginning. I remember one teacher in the 80’s who did talk about such first steps as being crucial to remember and reverse. She wrote about "First Judgment."

 

We don’t have to know what the steps are. In my experience, my Higher Self is in charge of the process.

 

At the same time, though, on the other hand, I don’t think our awakening has to always be that laborious or detailed/specific. We and the planet have evolved to the point where miracles of huge healings can happen very quickly, especially on the energetic or soul levels from which our embodied experiences emerge.

 

What's your relevant experience? 

 

By Rev. Alia Zara Aurami-Sou, Ph.D.

This article is presented and provided to you by "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission.
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore an integral and central part of our exercise and practice of our religion.
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.
All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.
We invite your comments and responses!

 

Praise or Acknowledgment: Which is More Helpful?

Praise or Acknowledgment: Which is More Helpful?

 

Acknowledgment is expression of the recognition of what is, a statement of fact. Human emotional health as social creatures requires that we experience the visibility of ourselves to others that we receive through acknowledgment.

 

Praise is an opinion, an evaluation, a comparison, approval. Too often, people mistake acknowledgment for praise, and “not wanting to give the person a swelled head,” they withhold both praise and acknowledgment. Praise tends to make the recipient dependent on the opinion of the other, if true acknowledgment isn’t forthcoming.

 

Praise/approval is the sugar-laden soda pop life-damaging substitute that we turn to when life-enhancing fruit and vegetable juices of acknowledgment are not available. If acknowledgment is available, praise might be nice, but it’s not felt as necessary. 

 

Acknowledgment points at facts which the recipient can see also. The recipient forms an accurately positive self-image on the basis of their own perception of themselves.

 

(For some wisdom about the damaging effects of approval in the absense of acknowledgment see healthysenseofself.com and the book Healthy Sense of Self by my friend Antoinetta Vogels—helping create the book is a past ministry of the church.)

 

Toxic and Non-toxic Praise

 

It’s helpful to further distinguish two kinds of praise. In response to something you did I can use “I-statements” such as “I love what you did. I respond with elation to the elegance and wisdom I see in it. I acknowledge you as a wise person.” I can say a similar thing as “you-statements:” “You are so wise; I approve of you.” 

 

The first is closer to acknowledgment because it is statement of the fact of my response to what you did. The second is praise because it is my opinion of who you are. 

 

The first is healthful because you can form your own perception of what you did, perhaps seeing something in it you didn’t see before. The second is unhealthful because there’s nothing you can do except try to create more such approval from me about yourself.


By Rev. Alia Zara Aurami-Sou, Ph.D.

This article is presented and provided to you by "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission.
This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore an integral and central part of our exercise and practice of our religion.
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.
All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.
We invite your comments and responses!

Questions to Help in Grieving

Questions to Help in Grieving 

Recently I learned of the passing of someone beloved to me for 56 years. I emerged from my first round of grief with these insights that might be helpful to others.

I say "friend" here but the reader can substitute any term that fits their situation. 

Am I helping my friend and myself express our love by giving my self, including my body, all the times and spaces needed to express and experience my grief until it naturally is reaching completion? 

What did I learn from who my friend was, and what did I learn from being in our relationship? 

How can I be a better person for having known my friend? 

 What do I sense my friend learned from who I am and what our relationship was? 

Can I see, acknowledge, and celebrate all the good that my friend brought to others in this world? 

Can I rejoice now that our love for each other added love to this world so much in need of love? 

If there wasn't closure, a chance to say goodbye with gratitudes and acknowledgments, can I create that now, speaking and knowing my friend is aware? 

If I need to write all the gratitudes and acknowledgments, for my own reference, will I do that? 

What do I most want my friend to know or understand, what was left unsaid? 

 What do I imagine my friend would say to me if we were saying goodbye now? 

 If there is some regret, if there is something in the relationship that I wish we had a chance to change, to resolve, to heal, can I imagine doing that now, and feel it is actually done? How could I achieve peace around the "incompletes" in our relationship, so my grieving can reach a natural minimum?

 Can I keep my heart open ongoingly to detect any pain I feel that's associated with our relationship and with my friend's passing, and seek ways to resolve that pain so that only peace and love remain, so that my feelings and memories are not creating any pain in the future? 

Can I write or review and gratefully appreciate and treasure all the little idiosyncratic things about my friend, and our relationship, that made my friend, and "us" uniquely precious in all of creation? 

What could I do to help my friend's contributions to the world continue to the greatest extent? 

What could I do to help others who share grief at my friend's passing? 

 Is there any fitting physical memorial I can create that feels as if it anchors my friend's presence in this world with love, that would help me remember and would be beautiful or uplifting to anyone who perceives it, even if they don't know why? 

By Rev. Alia Zara Aurami, Ph.D.

Head Minister, "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church

This article is presented and provided to you by "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this article, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light.
Thus providing/presenting this article is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 

This article and our providing/presenting it are therefore an integral part of our exercise and practice of our religion.


None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.

 

All rights reserved under the Common Law. This means please respect our creatorship.
We invite your comments and responses!

 

Friday, October 1, 2021

Wonderful World News - Update

 Hi Everybody,

Just letting you know that publishing new posts in this series, after Day 197, is on hold until I can migrate this blog over to WordPress and develop a real mailing list so that more than two people will have easy access to read! I encourage you to browse all the previous posts in this series, because good news is always inspiring. 

Feel free to contact me to chat about how you're doing; contact info is in the righthand column.

Blessings and wishes for your greatest and highest well-being,

Rev. Alia

Saturday, September 25, 2021

What is "Grounding," Anyway?

What is “Grounding,” Anyway?

Spiritually growing folks are constantly advised to “be grounded.” Countless times in groups I’ve been told to energetically send a root or cord from my body down into and coiled around the “center of the earth” in order to “be grounded.” 

Somehow that never did anything for me; maybe I’m too literal-minded: the center of the earth is unimaginably hot dense metal. My body does not experience anything pleasant from presencing a planet-sized mass of molten metal. 

 I finally developed a practice that felt good to my body-mind in a way I imagined was what “grounding” was supposed to feel like and accomplish. I “ground” by becoming sensorily aware of my heart-love for Gaia, for the beauties, pleasures, joys, and comforts I so appreciate and am in awe and wonder about. That is all experienced in my chest; it is my body-mind’s groundedness to the earth, but through my heart, not an energy cord sent into the planet. 

Some spiritual people who have expanded their consciousness in a meditation or a retreat or workshop then “ground” by consuming a large meal of French fries and red meat or even smoking a cigarette. That kind of groundedness never made sense to me. It makes spiritual awareness an “either-or” matter, not a matter of ongoingly embodying expanded awareness. It seemed to me these people were contracting their awareness, leaving it behind, not grounding it.

That's why, when I guide a meditation, I don't end by calling people "back" from the state of awareness they got into, into some more "grounded" state. I say "Add to your awareness more of this time and place, your body, the people here; when you're ready, open your eyes and be fully here and how."

Grounding by direct body contact with Gaia certainly aways felt good to me. Many people do ground by walking barefoot on the soil, or lying down on grass, etc. Even drinking water. 

While that feeling of groundedness can be experienced as a contrast to highly expanded states of consciousness, it is not actually incompatible. Eventually I could abide in both as aspects of my experience all the time. 

Just becoming more aware of appreciating the air I’m breathing is a simple grounding process. Any awareness of how my skin is experiencing Earth, is grounding. Some people “ground” into the body itself. Maintaining sensory-proprioceptive awareness of one’s hands and/or feet is a common grounding practice. 

I’ve always felt that an important aspect of being grounded was being aware of physical and social reality. Being “mindful,” fully present with what is in the embodiment’s experience each moment. That truly is the missing ingredient of grounding for many spiritual seekers that I have met. Yes, it’s “Maya” or “illusion” and it also "is." It is our experience; that is its reality, and we unground from it to the detriment of our own and others’ wellbeing. 

But what is this experience we call “grounding.” Why is it such a highly recommended practice or state? I think what people mean by “ungrounded” is awareness only of invisible, intangible realities, expanded out of and away from bodily awareness. Disembodied and therefore not fully functional in practical life. No healthy ego which stays aware of how to live safely and well. (“Lost in Emptiness” is a phrase used to describe spiritual practitioners who regard physical sensory life, grounded life, embodied life as total illusion, unreal, and of no consequence, not worthy of attention.) 

If that’s what people mean by “ungrounded,” I too would regard that as an undesirable situation. However, I wouldn’t regard it as an inevitable part of spiritual growth, to be combatted via grounding practices. That seems very “dualistic.” I would regard it as a stage of spiritual growth in which awareness is still either-or: out there or in here. 

So it seems to me that groundedness and embodiment of spiritual awareness are really the same, then. Spiritual “realization” of our intangible, invisible True Nature or the Ground of Being is fully realized only when embodied, grounded, and integrated into a fully functional practical life. That’s the non-dual Realization: we are emptiness and we are fullness, and those are not-two. 

Given all the above musings and considerations, I was delighted to hear my friend Jeff Vander Clute talk about several ways of grounding that most people have never considered and might even regard as the opposite of being grounded. In his September, 2021 interview on Buddha at the Gas Pump, with Rick Archer, starting around minute 34:00, Jeff describes these experiences/practices which he (and now I) considers to be kinds of grounding. 

What they all have in common, in my view, is that they shift our experiences of vastness/emptiness/intangible pure awareness and sensory/body/feelings tangibility from either-or to both-and, then to integration, then to unification. So, ultimately, “being grounded” is the same as “being expanded” is the same as “embodied expansion.” 

 Jeff’s thoughts are: There appear to be actually five levels of grounding. The first is physical, such as for example earthing, walking on soil or grass with bare feet, etc. The second level is energetic grounding: subtle energy system techniques, such as those taught by David Router (whom I too am lucky enough to have benefited from quite a bit.) 

The third level is grounding in present circumstances: paying attention to the world, being attuned to what’s actually possible, staying present, not getting too far into the head or potential, such as thinking about the future. 

The fourth level becomes available and advisable once you’ve got the first three: grounding in the pure potential of limitless mind; we have that capacity, the capacity to create worlds, and we need to be very grounded when we’re manifesting if we would have the manifestations actually expressed or materialized. 

The fifth level of grounding is abiding as the foundation of existence, being the Ground itself. We can be grounded in matter, and we can be grounded in the Absolute Ground of All That Is. When we have all these, that seems to be the magic of the human; we become quite capable, says Jeff. 

To summarize, here are some perspectives on “grounding” that Jeff and/or I have identified above, and some (not all) aspects of What Is that we can be grounded into, taking “grounded” to mean “fully present.” 

Ultimately, possibly the meaning of “grounded” dissolves into “presence” and one is always present to something. To say someone is ungrounded or grounded, one would need to specify ungrounded with respect to what, or grounded with respect to what. 

Perhaps the object of the game is to have all these levels of grounding going on in oneself simultaneously and constantly, with focus and emphasis varying among them from time to time. (I ignore here all the complexities of grounding in Jeff’s levels 4 and 5 that are beyond space-time.) 

 • Grounded in our own body, its sensations, condition, needs, and so on. 

• Grounded in our physical environment, in the material world of the moment. 

 • Grounded in feelings and relationships that are happening now. 

• Grounded in subtle energies, especially our own subtle energy bodies. This includes being grounded into the heart chakra, or into any of the other chakras; usually the "hara" or Third Chakra is highly recommended as a place for grounding into.

 • Grounded in potentials of limitless human awareness as they are one with material reality. Without this grounding, intentions don’t manifest in experiential physical reality. I’ve noticed that as I grow spiritually, will and intention don’t stay abstract; they are merging with physical reality. I’m creating what I want not just in awareness, but also I create the experience of it in and as what I am seeing and hearing and touching right now. I think this is how great healers work. 

• It’s possible to be grounded in and as All That Is, Beingness as such. 

 • It’s possible to also be grounded as the continous process and power of creating All That Is. 

 • And finally, Jeff’s level 5, also described beautifully in many of the teachings of my favorite spiritual teacher, Adyashanti, one can also be grounded in and as, fully present and embodied as, that which is more fundamental than Being itself—which is beyond what words can speak of. 

Ultimately, it seems to me, to be “grounded” in all those is to be in the most expanded consciousness. To be grounded in any of them and not the others is to be ultimately ungrounded. 

I hope some of these musings and reflections have sparked some of your own questions and insights! Do share in the comments below! 

 

By Rev. Alia Zara Aurami, Ph.D.

Head Minister, "Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church

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