The Two Spiritual Goals
No matter a person’s spiritual path there are only two possible goals: To spiritualize the self’s life in the world or to transcend the self. The vast majority of people choose to spiritualize the self’s life in the world. Even if they’ve had higher miracles in which they perceive that the Truth is true and that the world is not they do not feel called to transcend the self. Being aware of Truth improves their life in the world and this is enough for them.
But a few feel called to transcend the self usually because they’ve experienced the reality of Truth in either a direct Revelation (only Truth) or a higher miracle. They feel called to Truth because It is the Truth and nothing else will satisfy them. They are willing to be wholly free from guilt.
Even those who feel called to transcend the self will go through a stage of spiritualizing the self’s life in the world. It is an inevitable stage when embarking on a spiritual path because when you start out all you know is the self. But whether one is satisfied there or feels called to go beyond only the individual can know.
A Course in Miracles is a useful tool for both those seeking a “better way” and those called to transcend the self. But your goal will determine how you read ACIM and which teachers of it, if any, resonate with you. If what you want is a spiritualized life in the world then you will probably spend your life studying ACIM and perhaps other spiritual teachings. But if you are called to transcend the self then you will understand that you are in a long process. You will recognize that the passages in ACIM that are about spiritualizing the self describe a stage through which you will pass. You will eventually reach a point where ACIM, indeed all study, falls away naturally. So it is helpful to discern which goal calls to you. Is a better life in the world because the Holy Spirit (Awareness of Truth in your mind) is with you enough for you? Or are you drawn to Truth like metal to a magnet?
Obviously, anyone I work with is spiritualizing the self’s life. If they were past that point they would not need to work with a mentor. But are they satisfied there or do they feel called to go past the self? This question is always in my mind as I watch their stories unfold. It can help determine how I answer their questions and help them through their blocks. Some know the answer if I ask but unfortunately the majority will say anyway that they want to transcend the self because in their guilt they think that is “superior” to spiritualizing the self. (Of course it is not. Both are temporary and fall away in the end).
Of course one’s goal can change. One may begin by thinking they want to transcend the self but find in time that they are quite satisfied with a better life in the world. And someone who thinks that they are happy spiritualizing the self may have an experience of Truth that then calls them to go beyond it.
If you are honest with yourself, putting guilt aside and what you think you “should” answer, which is your goal? If you have clarity on this, even if it turns out to be temporary, you can take a lot of pressure off yourself now. If you want to spiritualize the self you don’t have to pursue ideas or study that go beyond this. You do not have to try to understand what does not call to you. And if you do feel called to drop the self you can acknowledge that, for the time being, you are in the stage of spiritualizing the self. You can enjoy it knowing that it will pass naturally. You do not have to force yourself to be beyond it now.
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