Does it fit? And how does it fit? These are questions raised by my experiences in soul regression. Even more generally, what does all of this have to say about what Spirit is saying in our time, and to our generation? I am almost done recording my spiritual journey up to the present. What have I learned over the years? What has God been teaching me? How do the things I am being taught currently fit with what I have learned in earlier stages of my life? Where has Source been leading me? Where does Spirit want me yet to go in my life? And why have I been led in the way I have? Why has the Divine led me on this particular path which seems so at odds with my earlier belief system? Why do I so often feel out-of-step?

As I have said several times throughout this account, I no longer believe in pure coincidence. I believe that everything that happens to us is by design. Therefore, I have to believe that there is a purpose in my being taught the things I have learned thus far in my life. There has to be a reason I have been led into experiences which directly challenge earlier beliefs.

So as I bring this story to a close, for now, I want to offer a few observations.

I have been amazed the past few years at the growing awareness in my surrounding society of spiritual phenomena. There was a time, perhaps a decade ago, perhaps about the turn of the century, that my wife and I were talking about our own growing spiritual awareness. At that time we were aware of only a few people around us who were traveling a similar path. And most of those awakening souls were not part of organized religion. I was an exception! At times we despaired at the small size of this movement. So few seemed to be walking a path of ascending in their spiritual lives. One day my wife ran across an article, in another context, which talked about the concept of critical mass. This article dealt with the fact that it does not take a majority to influence society. A relatively small number within a society is able to effect change.

This gave us hope! And certainly this encouraged us to motor on, each in our own quiet way, doing what we are able to spread the message of what God, the Source, the Divine, was working at in our day. This motivates us to continue to live our lives as we have, believing implicitly that what we are doing is in line with what Source is doing. We do not have to see the bigger picture; we only need to see what is set immediately before us. We can walk confidently into the black unknowingness of the future aware only of who is leading us and who is in ultimate control.

We are now more than a decade down the path from when we first became aware that we were being called to be part of a new way of thinking, a new way of believing. We were becoming increasingly aware that Spirit was moving in new ways on this planet and that we were part of that new move. During this time we were aware that the numbers of people who are opening up to God are increasing. And the numbers are increasing exponentially; it is an exploding movement. And it is exciting! We are so glad and thankful to be part of what the Divine is doing in our time and in our world.

We do not expect the path to be easy these next few years. I think there will be much distress, much discomfort, as systems of this world continue to disintegrate. It will not be fun. But we also know that we are infinitely cared for and loved. We know that there are many others with us on this journey. We must support and comfort one another as we walk bravely together into the future.

Before I leave this account, there are a few things I want to say yet under the heading: “Does It Fit?”. While my blog, which can be found under the “Journal” category of the Urban Monk, will be dealing with many of these topics in the coming months and years, I feel it right to at least briefly share some thoughts on how all the things God has been teaching me recently might fit with the way I was brought up, with the way I was taught throughout most of my life.

I no longer think it matters much exactly what or how I believe. As I stated way back in the introduction, “heretic” is a purely human concern. When I stand before God, I will not be asked how orthodox my belief system was! Therefore I no longer give nearly as much importance to the particulars of belief, scripture, theology, etc. Ultimately it is of little concern to me. I don’t have to know how everything fits. I don’t have to know whether it fits at all! That is up to Spirit. That is up to higher and wiser minds than mine. But I am still a human being with a brain! I still puzzle over things; I ask questions and seek answers. Therefore I do have some ideas about how some of these things might fit with my earlier ways of thinking. So, in somewhat point form, here are some questions, and accompanying thoughts.

1.  What does my new way of thinking say about heaven?

Heaven is a place where we continue. We continue to grow; we continue to learn; we continue to work; we continue to relate, to have friends, to love and care for one another. Heaven is also a place where, while we continue as individuals with our own personalities and minds, there is much more one-ness of thought, much more unity of understanding, than there is here on earth.

2.  What does this say about God?

God is the loving Source of all. Everything that is and moves and has its being comes from God. God is the definition of love. Without God there is nothing. God is all.

3.  What does this say about the afterlife?

Death is an illusion; we cross over effortlessly. Very quickly after our physical death we begin to regain our consciousness of coming home. This is where we belong, where we originate from, where our closest companions are.

4.  What does this say about judgement?

In the afterlife, in heaven, there really is no judgement, at least not how we think of it here on earth, in our various organized religious systems. True, there is evaluation, there is review of our spiritual progress through various lifetimes, and especially of the life just completed. After all, in that realm, truth reigns supreme. But judgement in the sense of guilt or shame or regret comes primarily from within our own selves. We may feel profoundly guilty over having really blown it! But our Spirit companions, teachers, and guides will probably communicate this as disappointment that we failed to learn and grow. This is all done in a sense of teaching. What do we need to learn now? How do we grow from this experience? What sorts of tasks will undo the mistakes we may have made in that life?

5.  What does this say about religion?

Organized religions are human efforts to gain some understanding of the ineffable, the divine, the unknowable, the mystical nature of being. Religion does play its role in society. In that sense we can say it is a gift from God. But it is certainly limited in its role. Many there be who transcend the need for religion. And religion has difficulty understanding those individuals and often will not tolerate them. There is in the Christian writings a statement that the Jewish religion out of which Christianity emerged was a “custodian” or “supervisor” (Galatians 3.24). In a recent discussion about this someone stated that perhaps the Church is now the “custodian” of our faith, in the same way that Judaism was for the people in previous times. That idea seems to me a very good way in which to view organized religion, if perhaps a bit simplistic.

6.  What does this say about salvation?

In the unlimited expanse of the Creator’s love and acceptance, everyone has their chance. In my own conservative, evangelical background, the sense is that a once-and-for-all sort of decision needs to be made in order to experience salvation. There is a definite element of fear instilled in adherents that we need to get it right; there are no second chances. Fortunately God’s grace completely transcends those ideas! In the reality of the Spirit world the sense is of wanting to grow toward oneness with the Divine mind, rather than the Christian sense of being either in or out. We are created with the longing to grow toward God. That is what motivates us to grow, to become more spiritual, to express God’s love and acceptance. It also provides a profound sense of being able to relax about all this. There is no urgency, in the sense of fear of missing my one chance at salvation.

7.  What does this say about evangelization?

Certainly, in the world into which I am entering, there is a sense of wanting to spread the word. But it is more in the sense of wanting to help others grow in their own spiritual awareness. Aiding growth in spiritual consciousness is a very different enterprise than trying to convince someone of the superiority of my religious arguments. It becomes a matter of heart, as opposed to a matter of the mind.

8.  What does this say about gospel?

The gospel, or good news (same word, same concept), is that we are here in order to progress, to grow, in our own spiritual consciousness. And as we individuals do that, we also are part of, and contribute toward, the overall growth of the spiritual evolution of the entire planet, and to some extent, the entire universe.

These are concepts with which I really am not well-versed. I don’t understand very clearly how all this fits into the big picture. I don’t see the big picture. All I know is that I am responsible for the task given me before I was born into this life. So “spreading the gospel” can take an infinite number of guises. Everyone has their own part to play. It might mean great and wonderful achievements. Or it might mean reaching and influencing one other person during our lifetime. It might mean primarily an inward, solitary type of growth, without much outward influence. It might mean affecting multitudes. We cannot judge.

9.  What happens when truth comes up against long-held beliefs?

The truth of direct experience versus faith: do we question the veracity of our experience? Or do we alter our beliefs? I asked this question on FaceBook awhile back. The answers I received were 100% on the side of shifting our beliefs. And some of those answers came from friends I know to be very conservative, devout, biblical Christians. This surprised me somewhat. Because what I have seen in Church throughout my life is that we do not want to go (either physically, or mentally) into areas where our orthodoxy gets questioned. We are taught not to go there; we are exhorted not to go there. That is one reason why my own spiritual path has at times caught me off guard. My background and training would not have predilected me to go the path I tread. For that reason I tend to use language like, “God had to drag me kicking and screaming into this!” Where I am today is not the natural outgrowth of my earlier life. Thus I am forced to believe that it is Spirit who has led me here; it is not something I went looking for.


The Way

Watched a video this evening which really blew my socks off! The Way, starring Martin Sheen, is about a father searching for his son, who has died at the beginning of his pilgrimage to El Camino de Santiago. El Camino, The Way, is an ancient pilgrimage through the French and Spanish Pyrenees Mountains. Often known in English as The Way of St James, church tradition maintains that St James (one of the twelve disciples of Jesus) is buried in Santiago de Compostela.

People take the pilgrimage for many reasons. In medieval times it was usually for religious reasons, to honour the memory of St James. Today people do it for personal reasons, for physical reasons, spiritual, psychological, recreational, and so on. The scenery is stunning, people are gracious along the way; it is fun to watch travellers on The Way and the many experiences they have.

In the movie, Thomas Avery, an orthodontist from California, receives word that his son has died on this trek. He goes to retrieve his son’s remains from France, and while there decides to walk The Way himself, in honour and memory of Daniel. As happens to many who undertake such a pilgrimage, he goes through many changes, within himself, and in his life. He meets others on the road, and gradually a group of four fall into the pattern of travelling together, slowly learning to know each other, despite the solitary nature of each of them and their reasons for undertaking The Way.

The movie, such a departure from typical Hollywood fare, shows the gradual healing process experienced by Thomas and his fellow travellers. Without going over the top, it shows each of them as very average, common people, with all their foibles, fears, secrets and goals. It really does a great job of telling this story, simply, and with a good sense of place and pace. It makes me want to walk El Camino myself!