For thousands of years, we have accepted certain spiritual misconceptions as truth. In this article, I would like to take a look at our ten most egregious misconceptions...
1. We are separate from God and each other
Many people speak about God, or to God, as if “He” were out there somewhere, external to us, dwelling beyond the physical universe in an invisible realm called Heaven. These same people tell us our separation from God began when Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit and were cast out of Eden. Our sinful ways continue to separate us from God, they claim.
But I have learned something infinitely more credible from my spiritual studies, including A Course in Miracles: We are not now, nor have we ever been, separate from God or each other. Our erroneous belief in separation is the cause of all human suffering. The human ego — or the separate self we believe ourselves to be — does everything it can to maintain the illusion of separation. In truth, we cannot be separate from God, because God is everywhere and God is everything-that-exists. All along, we have been dreaming a dream of separation. We can awaken from this dream anytime we choose.
2. You are a physical body
You believe you are a physical body, don’t you? Moreover, you believe the physical space between you and other people is what separates you from them.
In truth, you are not your physical body. You are Spirit temporarily incarnated in the illusion of a physical body. Think of it this way: When you go out and get in your car, you don’t become your car, do you? No. You are in it temporarily, using it to get around. Likewise, your physical body is a vehicle you use here in the physical world. You get into your physical body, but you do not become your physical body.
3. This physical world is real
We believe physical “reality” is real. Our physical senses of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching have convinced us of it. What’s more, we believe the physical world we see around us exists independently of us, and that it was created by God, nature, or other forces external to us.
In truth, everything we perceive “out there” around us is just a projection of our own mind. It is not real. It is an illusion. When you are asleep and dreaming, are your dreams real? No. They are images occurring in your mind. In like fashion, we are creating the world we see around us — and our experiences in it — with our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations. To change the world we live in, we need to change our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations.
4. Death is real
We believe we are physical bodies which eventually must die. That’s our greatest fear. Organized religion has flourished because of this fear.
But since our physical bodies are an illusion, then death must also be an illusion. That which we really are cannot die. We are eternal. “Death” is merely the method we devised to get ourselves back out of the illusion of physicality. It is similar to what happens when we awaken from our nighttime dreams each morning.
We do not cease to exist when we cast off these physical bodies. We merely discard them like worn-out overcoats and then go on to new adventures in other realms of existence. Without a physical body, we no longer experience pain or illness. We lose our fear of death.
5. God is a person
God is often depicted as a person in writings and in art. Take, for example, Michelangelo’s paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which portray God as a stern old man with a beard and an angry expression.
Portraying God as a person is called personification, and most people relate to God as if “He” were a person. We have personified “Him” as “our Father.” We have also personified “Him” as Jesus.
Not only have we portrayed God in human form; we have also given “Him” human attributes. We have described “Him” as jealous, vengeful, and wrathful. In one breath, we plead with “Him” to help us; in the next, we condemn “Him” for failing to do so. In effect, we have created God in our own image.
I believe God can be described as Love or pure consciousness or everything-that-exists. But God most definitely is not a person.
6. Suffering is good for you
Many people believe suffering is a normal part of life. Some religions even teach that it is desirable. Christianity, for example, teaches that Jesus suffered and died on the cross. Therefore, we should be willing to suffer as well.
I must concede that suffering can lead to a spiritual awakening and subsequent spiritual growth, because that was my experience. Traumatic events like illness, divorce, natural disasters, severe financial hardship, or loss of a loved one can precipitate a spiritual awakening. And I agree with Robert Schwartz who writes in his books that we pre-plan our upcoming lives before we incarnate — including the painful and unpleasant experiences we will have — for the purpose of accelerating our spiritual growth while here on earth.
But I don’t think we come to earth just to struggle and suffer. Instead, we come, hoping it will be a joyous adventure. I think we can grow spiritually through joy and happiness. I, for one, have suffered long enough. I choose instead to experience a permanent state of gentle bliss in life.
7. Fear, ignorance, and greed are normal human attributes
Fear, ignorance, and greed are among the most destructive of all human attributes. Think of the astonishing amount of suffering and devastation these negative attributes have caused. The pollution and destruction of our environment is just one example.
One could argue that the world would lose its karmic value without such negativity. There would no longer be any reason to come here for the purpose of spiritual evolution. That may be so, but why should we go on suffering as we always have?
We can overcome the stifling effects that fear, ignorance, and greed have in our lives. To do this, we need to understand that the world we see “out there” is just a projection of our own minds. Just as we awaken physically from our nighttime dreams, we can awaken spiritually from our daytime dreams of a world filled with negativity.
8. We are born into sin
One of the most outrageous claims ever made by religious fanatics is that we are born into sin. They claim we are sinners from the moment of our birth. They tell us we inherited our sinfulness from Adam and Eve who ate the forbidden fruit eons ago, precipitating the fall of man in this act of “original sin” which severed man’s relationship with God.
Religious fanatics define sin as any transgression against God’s laws. Lust is high on their list of offenses. God sent his “only son” Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sins, they tell us. Apparently, Jesus died in vain, because we are still sinners, according to religious fanatics.
For me, salvation means being “saved” from the illusion that this physical world is real. In truth, God never threw us out of heaven, and we are not sinners. We chose to “separate” ourselves in a dream of make-believe here in the physical world where, we believed, we could accelerate our spiritual evolution. To make our experience here seem real, we had to place ourselves in a state of spiritual amnesia. Physical “reality” is no more real than our nighttime dreams. We made it all up. We are here to learn from our mistakes. We will realize this when we awaken from the dream.
9. Religion and spirituality are synonymous
Some people say religion is a form of spirituality. Others say it is the diametric opposite of spirituality. Either way, religion and spirituality are definitely not synonymous, despite the claims of religious fanatics.
Religion is designed to save you from the threat of eternal damnation in hell. As such, it is based on fear. It looks to an external source for salvation from this damnation. Spirituality, on the other hand, seeks to release you from fear by teaching you the truth about who you really are. It teaches that salvation occurs when you awaken from this illusion you always thought was real.
In spirituality, you don’t need “middle men” who want to tell you how to behave. You don’t need a church interposing itself between you and God. You have direct, conscious contact with God.
In religion, God is defined as an external entity having human characteristics who must be worshiped, obeyed, and placated. Spirituality teaches that you and God are not separate.
Religion imposes an institutionalized set of rules, dogmas, and rituals you must comply with in order to get into heaven. Spirituality has none of these.
Religion teaches you that God “created the heavens and the earth.” Spirituality teaches that you create the world you perceive around you and your experiences in it with your thoughts, beliefs, and expectations.
It’s no wonder people are leaving religion in droves.
10. Spirituality is not very practical
Most people are obsessed with earning enough money to pay their bills and buy the things they think they need. And, when not working, they’re busy doing “fun things” which they hope will bring them happiness. Spirituality seldom occurs to them, and if it does, they believe it isn’t very practical. They don’t have time for it. They’re skeptical of it.
Not practical?! That’s utter nonsense. The truth is: Nothing is more practical than spirituality. Through spirituality, you learn how to attract into your life all the things you want — things like health and vitality, abundance and prosperity, love and friendship, knowledge and wisdom, and joy and serenity. Spirituality provides the answers to all of your needs and concerns. It provides a solution to all of your problems.
A call to action
Here again is my top ten list of spiritual misconceptions:
- We are separate from God and each other.
- You are a physical body.
- This physical world is real.
- Death is real.
- God is a person.
- Suffering is good for you.
- Fear, ignorance, and greed are normal human attributes.
- We are born into sin.
- Religion and spirituality are synonymous.
- Spirituality is not very practical.
These misconceptions have caused enormous suffering in the world and in our lives. It is time for us to discard them and awaken spiritually. ❖
Thanks Roy. It's good to see this synthesis of the spiritual work you have done these past, almost 4 years. You have created an opportunity for your own spiritual growth as well as for so many others. Blessings and Love,ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Sharon. I want you to know how delighted I am to receive your feedback. You are absolutely right: What I wrote in this latest blog post synthesizes everything I have come to believe in the process of my spiritual growth. Two things continue to be very important to me: Spirit Quest and the other groups which meet here at my house; and my spiritual writing which allows me to reach out to the rest of the world. I am so very grateful that I have been able to dedicate my life to my spiritual growth and the global spiritual awakening. And I am so very grateful to all of my spiritual friends who have played such a big role in my spiritual growth. This has given my life a sense of purpose, and I'm passionate about all of it. It's always good to hear from you, and as always, I miss you and hope you will be able to come back and spend some time with us here in Panama. ...Many blessings. RoyDelete