Updated: 29 July 2013
MASTER INDEX of articles written, posted online or recommended by Alex Paterson
This is Part 1 of an article describing my personal journey of spiritual self discovery.
This article, and the one that follows, (i.e. Part 2) serve as an introduction to 'A Course in Miracles'. (ACIM)
Link to 'An Introduction to A Course In Miracles Part 2' by Alex Paterson
Readers are invited to agree with, disagree with, seek clarification about, or put their point of view with regard to any of the subject matter in the following article.
Alex Paterson (February 2010)
Developing an 'awareness' of spirituality and the associated 'knowing' that God is the 'cause' underpinning all reality is central to gaining any 'real' understanding as to the true nature of reality and what appears to be occurring around us in the physical realm. 'Creation' is the expression of God (i.e. The Creator) through the auspices of 'extension'. God's Creation manifests as 'Spirit'. (see NOTE 2 below) Being an extension of God, there is an essential 'oneness' between the Creator and 'Creation' (i.e. Spirit). The concept of individuality is meaningless to Spirit because in reality, all is one.
Few humans at this point in
'time' are even aware of 'Spirit', let alone of God's primacy with
regard to reality. Granted, many humans believe in, and identify with,
one or more of the many forms of religion, not realising that for the
most part religion has very little to do with spirituality and much
more to do with the attainment of secular power and wealth by a tiny
elite who use the distorted interpretation of spirituality associated with most religions as a form mind control over the general
population for rather base and venal reasons. It is pertinent to note that the word 'religion' is derived
from the Latin/French word 'religare' which means "to tie out of the
way; bind fast; moor."
Source: Myetymology http://www.myetymology.com/latin/religare.htm
For more on this subject see:
Further, it is no accident that the overwhelming world view of reality as defined by 'Western Culture' is based upon the fundamentally false premise that all reality is 'physical' in nature and that everything else, including spirituality, is just imagination. This is despite the fact that there is overwhelming evidence at a quantum physics level that reality far exceeds the limited constraints of human experience in the physical universe.
NOTE 1: There is great irony in the notion held by the vast bulk of contempory scientific community that anything not 'physical' is simply imagination and therefore "not real", because the cutting edge of quantum physics has come to the realisation that imagination associated with 'Mind' underpins all reality. (more on this later, but see NOTE 2 below)
NOTE 2: 'Mind' is the activating agent of 'Spirit'. Manifestation of any sort is the product of 'Mind'. In 'reality' there is only one Mind because Creation is predicated upon an essential 'oneness' between the 'Creator' and His Creation.
For more on this subject see:
Developing an awareness of Spirit is by necessity a very personal experience. In my case it began at a very early age during my childhood with a series of other life flashbacks.
When I was about seven or eight years old I had series of lucid dream experiences with what is euphemistically called 'The Void'. The experience was terrifying to me as a child because 'The Void' had no actual form and as such is empty, yet paradoxically is so big as to be seemingly infinite, hence my childhood perception that it was HUGE. But perhaps more disturbing to me as a child was that IT could not be defined in any terms of this reality in that it had no tangible presence even though paradoxically I was intimately aware of its 'presence'. It was paradox in the true sense of the word. Because it seemed to be everywhere, yet nowhere, there was nowhere for me as a child to hide from it, which was why I was so terrified of it. I might add, IT never did anything to harm me; it appeared to be devoid of emotion and just seemed to be dispassionately observing me. (The quintessential dispassionate observer so to speak)
NOTE 3: Whatever 'the Void' is or was, I do not believe I was in the conscious presence of God during the experience. As I was to discover a few months later during my Near Death Experience (NDE), my experiences involving the conscious presence of God have always been accompanied by waves of unconditional love that our Creator has for us. By contrast, the Void as I experienced it seemed to be completely devoid of any feeling. The lack of any feeling suggests to me that the Void may be associated with that aspect of Creation that innocently wanted to explore the idea of separation. (i.e. "I wonder what it would be like to play a game on my own?")
For more on this subject see:
Near Death Experience (NDE)
My experiences of 'The Void' were followed a few months later by my 'Near Death Experience' (NDE) which occurred when was about eight or nine years of age. I was kicked in the chest by a horse which briefly stopped my heart. I found myself in a state of indescribable bliss, bathed in wave upon wave of unconditional love. The 'bliss' I speak of has no counterpart in the physical realm. If the reader were to take all the sexual orgasms they had ever had in their current life and put them all together and then multiplied the result by a thousand times, it would not come close to what I am talking about. What we experience as bliss in this realm is not even the shadow of the substance of the real thing. As I was to discover later in my adulthood, the 'bliss' I experienced during my NDE is our natural state of 'being' as Spirit, which is eternal. (i.e. it never ends)
The 'unconditional love' I experienced during the NDE also has no real counterpart in this realm. The closest we ever come to unconditional love in the physical realm is the love a mother has for her new born child. The 'unconditional love' I experienced during the NDE is the love our Creator has for us. It is important to understand that there is no value judgement whatsoever associated with unconditional love. Our Creator loves us unconditionally no matter what we do, think or say. By contrast, the love we experience and express for others in this realm is invariably 'conditional love', which is not really 'love' at all. (more on this later)
One of the most astonishing aspects of the experience was that I 'knew' that I was infinite, that I was immortal, that I was the universe in its entirety and that I was the author of it all. The 'knowing' I speak of was all very matter of fact in that I clearly remember thinking at the time; "Well of course I AM the author of it all - what else could it be!" It is important to understand that the 'knowing' I speak of is an absolute state in that it has no limit, nor counterpoint and as such transcends the doubt inherent in human experience. It needs to be understood that the physical universe is defined by 'limits' associated with the perceptual interplay between so called opposites (i.e. duality), such as here versus there, up versus down, big versus small, hot versus cold, male versus female, ying versus yang, light versus darkness, positive versus negative, good versus evil etc. However, the 'knowing' I experienced during my NDE transcended all those limits.
Further, the 'I' that I speak of was not the little 'i' associated with my childhood identity as Alex; rather it was something far vaster than that. It is the "I that is We"; that aspect of the Oneness who 'projected' the realms of perception, of which the Physical Universe is but just one example, in order to explore the "tiny mad idea" of separation from God. (more on the "tiny mad idea" of separation in part 2 of this article)
Whilst in this altered state of 'knowing' I was aware of the absolute nature of 'awareness', yet paradoxically I was very conscious of the fact that I was not absolutely 'aware'. It is important I clarify this apparent paradox and in order to do this I will use traditional Biblical terms such as 'God', 'the Father' and 'the Son of God' as utilised in 'A Course in Miracles' (ACIM), but the reader needs to be mindful that these words have nothing to do with the patriarchal gender associations of the Christian bible, as gender and patriarchy are separation ideas that have no context, nor meaning to Spirit and True Reality. (i.e. Truth)
NOTE 4: The term 'GOD' has been distorted, trivialised and discredited by mainstream religions and culture throughout history and because of that I have tended to avoid using the term 'God' in the past. However, since consciously experiencing the presence of God at least twice during my adulthood I no longer have difficulty with using the word God to describe our Creator. Other terms for God which are interchangeable include; 'All That Is', 'Creative Principle' and 'Source'.
'God' is the only thing that really exists. The statement "GOD IS" is a complete statement. God IS, because, being infinite, nothing else is. Clearly, the idea that something could exist outside or beyond the infinite, or that there could be multiple infinites, is an oxymoron.
As mentioned earlier, 'Spirit' can be thought of as the expression of God by means of 'extension'. Extension is a process of creation whereby the Creator (i.e. God) extends Itself without limit and is predicated upon an essential 'Oneness' between the Creator and its Creation. In essence there is no difference between God and his Creation as all is One.
God's 'Creation' is known by many names of which 'Spirit' and 'the Son of God' are but just two. For the purposes of this article these terms will suffice and are interchangeable. Being an 'extension' of God, 'the Son of God' (i.e. that aspect of Spirit that decided to explore the idea of separation) has all the attributes of its Creator, including free will and the ability to create. To Spirit, concepts such as form and time, and the limits that define those concepts, have no real meaning. There are no counterparts, nor opposites to Spirit because there is no other - just a 'Oneness' with the Creator which is both absolute and infinite. This 'Oneness' is experienced as eternal bliss. Clearly, none of what I have described thus far about Spirit (i.e. God's Creation) has any context or meaning to our experience as human beings in the physical universe. (i.e. the physical realm)
'Mind' is the activating agent of 'Spirit'. Manifestation of any sort is the product of 'Mind'. In 'reality' there is only one Mind because Creation is predicated upon an essential 'oneness' between the 'Creator' and His 'Creation'.
The 'Physical Universe' is but one of many 'realms of perception'. The realms of perception are all based upon an illusion of separateness from the Creator. As mentioned earlier, this illusion manifests itself as a perceptual interplay between a so called duality of opposites, such as here versus there, up versus down, big versus small, hot versus cold, male versus female, ying versus yang, light versus dark, positive versus negative, past versus future, good versus evil, etc. If True Reality is based upon an essential Oneness with a Creator who is infinite and formless, then it follows that the realms of perception can never really be 'real', because of the inherent limits that defines them. Rather, they can only ever be virtual realities. In fact they are described in 'A Course in Miracles' (ACIM) as "a dream of separation" in which everything is perceived to be separate to everything else. (more on this later)
NOTE 5: Definition: 'Perception' is the process by which
organisms interpret sensation from the senses (such as sight, smell,
touch, hearing etc) to produce a meaningful experience and
understanding of the world.
NOTE 6: All 'perception' is the result of the misuse of 'Mind' by that aspect of the 'Son of God' that decided to explore the "tiny mad idea" of separation. (i.e. the 'I' that is 'We') More on 'Mind' and the misuse thereof in Part 2 of this article.
Experience within the realms of perception is based entirely upon perception which by definition can only ever be 'relative' and therefore never absolutely 'true'. (see note 6 below) Being relative, the realms of perception contain objects of limited form and size of which atoms, cells, stars and galaxies are but just some examples in the physical universe. The human body is but just one example of 'form' - it occupies a limited amount of 'space' for a limited period of 'time', eventually disintegrating back into the nothingness it originally came from. (i.e. The Void?)
NOTE 7: It could be argued there is no truth whatsoever associated with the realms of perception as they are all based upon illusion.
By contrast, the 'Absolute' associated with 'Spirit' is infinite in the true sense of the word. As stated earlier, it is defined by an essential 'Oneness' with its Creator, which by definition can have no opposite. As such, it is beyond form, space and time. Concepts such as 'relativity' and 'separateness' have no meaning with regard to Spirit. The 'Absolute' nature of True Reality is beyond human experience or the symbolism of human words and as such beyond human description. The concepts of 'knowing' and 'awareness' in their true sense are absolute states associated with 'Oneness'. It is for this reason the 'knowing' and 'awareness' I experienced during my NDE was not actually the real thing; it was a pseudo form of knowing and awareness that is probably the closest one can come to from within the inherent limitations of the "dream of separation'' that defines the realms of perception. I am not engaging in semantics when I say "I was aware of the absolute nature of awareness even though I was not absolutely aware."
NOTE 8: It would appear that Yesua (i.e. the real name of the biblical Jesus) attained a state of "True Perception" of Oneness with God (which is our true state of being) whilst still being able to experience the illusion of being a human being on planet earth.
NOTE 9: It needs to be remembered that I came to 'know' all these things instantly during my NDE despite the fact that as an nine year child I had never met any of the concepts associated with the experience such as infinity, immortality, the Universe or the Absolute.
True Reality is based upon an essential Oneness comprising God and his Creation (i.e. Spirit). It follows on from this standpoint that 'Knowing' and 'Awareness' cannot be anything except absolute because there are no counterpoints within Oneness. In other words, in our true state of being there is absolutely nothing we are not aware of, and what exists is infinite. Needless to say, the human mind cannot really grasp such an astounding concept because the human mind itself is predicated upon an essential limitation associated with the illusion of being separate from God and everything else in the universe. My Near Death Experience (NDE) was a 'gift' the higher aspect of my Being (i.e. the Holy Spirit aspect) gave to the illusory aspect of myself that experiences itself as an individual separate from everything else, namely the ego Alex. Through the auspices of my NDE I came to 'know' (or more correctly, remember) that I am infinite, that I am immortal, that I am the Universe in its entirety, and that I am the author of it all. In other words, I came to remember that I am 'One' with my Creator and that nothing else exists. More importantly, I came to remember that my Creator loves me unconditionally (experienced as the waves of unconditional love washing over me) and that although God is beyond description, if there is one trait that is inextricably associated with God; that would be that God is unconditional love.
Yet I live in a realm that comprises none of these conditions. The realm I experience as a human being is based upon limits. Granted the realms of perception (of which the physical universe is but just one example) may be vast, but they are certainly not infinite. Further, the realms of perception are temporal by their very nature and need to be continually projected into existence. (similar to a movie which only 'exists' when it is being projected onto a movie screen) In the case of the physical universe, it has a beginning (the Big Bang) and an inevitable end (the eventual collapse of the so called physical universe). Whilst we all experience moments of passing joy (which are relative and never absolute), it is still a realm predicated upon birth, death, suffering and the fear that goes with the same. It is a realm in which mass murder on a mind boggling scale is central to its operation associated with the so called competition of life whereby all life forms in the physical universe seem to compete with each other for limited resources and consume one another in order to survive. (i.e. the survival of the fittest) Like many spiritual seekers before me, I was confused about the apparent paradox of the infinite nature of who I knew I really was compared to the 'littleness', uncertainty and fear I experienced as a human being on planet earth. And of course I was confronted with the biggest paradox of all; how could an unconditionally loving Creator create a realm of experience comprising such terrifying traits as fear, death, mass murder and suffering.
The path to me discovering the answer to this apparent paradox is an interesting story in itself which is the subject of part 2 of this article.
Link to 'An Introduction to A Course In Miracles Part 2'
MASTER INDEX of articles written, posted online or recommended by Alex Paterson
Copyright © Alex Paterson 1999
Alex PATERSON is an Australian citizen by birth. He writes articles and advises on issues pertaining to aviation, politics, sociology, the environment, sustainable farming, history, computers, natural health therapies, esoteric teachings and spirituality.
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