Contemplating Death as a Tool for Spiritual Understanding

By Arnie  Vargas

For those of us who were born in the West, due to the way we have been educated, the theme of death has been a complicated one to understand, come to terms with and reconcile within us.  What we have been taught does not help us understand that part of the “earthly dream” we ironically call “life.” In order to tackle this phenomenon, we need to turn to our spiritual tools; otherwise, we can make no sense of it.

From a spiritual position, where we understand Source as Infinite, Perfect and Unconditional Love, the explanation of pain, loss, and everything else associated with a human death, presents itself as a metaphysical problem to be solved:  either Source is all we say IT is, or IT isn’t.   If we accept the Truth about Source to be unconditional Love, Perfection, and Infinity, then its opposite would have to be false or we would have what Mrs Eddy describes as “a Truth, and an erroneous truth next to each other, something totally incompatible.”  Therefore, let us contemplate death from a spiritual perspective, according to the teachings of Mary Baker Eddy and Joel Goldsmith that we have been studying.

If we look at death as a tragedy or the end of it all, we will not find consolation. Then how should we understand death?

I noticed how I felt this week at receiving the news of Whitney Houston’s passing. My heart sank and I felt grief and sorrow.  I never met Whitney personally, but her music played a big role in my adolescence and at that time, knowing about her Christian values, meant a great deal to me.  As time passed, hearing the news of her addictions and her tragic life, showed me how one can reach “the top” and still feel unhappy and unrealized.  What a great lie we have been taught about fame and money!  How many reach those goals, only to face the question: “and now what?”  This observation has helped me understand Jesus’s teaching: “seek ye the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness and everything else will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33)   Don’t look to false gods (money, fame, or anything else) for your good, since none of them will bring you happiness. However, if and when we find God, everything we need comes to us and we learn to see our earthly goods for what they are: worldly pleasures to be enjoyed in this world, and being material in nature, they too, will have an end just as all matter comes to an end, and that includes our material bodies and physical existence.

Contemplating Whitney’s passing, after I was able to accept and recognize the pain and sadness at her “loss” as claims, I was able to realize the following:

If Source is “All-in-all” then it is Source who chooses ITS existence in and as each of us, and lives unique experiences as each of us. Those individual experiences in and as each of us, include the type of entrance and departure into this “dream.”  Everything we recognize as the life and death of an individual, is nothing but Source having an experience on Earth and in all of it, there are clues to help us all to “wake up from the dream.”  We are all mirrors for each other.  As we contemplate our lives and the lives of others, we can begin to recognize spiritual truths that “those who have eyes will see and those who have ears will hear (Mark 8:18).” In other words, when we are ready we will be able to see all that involves human death in a much different way than what we have been taught.

In the lives of the rich and famous, such as Whitney, Source shows us how it is about “seeking the Kingdom of Heaven” which reigns within us that will provide for us lives of peace and harmony.  Those qualities cannot ever be found in matter.  The material world is forever changing. Money fluctuates in value and quantity at the mercy of the world market and the economy, and therefore, its value and amounts go up and down according to those human laws.  Jesus gave the example of building our foundation, not on what the world considers laws, but on spiritual law, when he gave the parable of the wise man, who built his house (spiritual values) on the rock (Truth).  When the storms came, the house remained intact because its foundation was strong. On the other hand, the fool built his house on sand (the easy and superficial), and when the storms came, his house collapsed because the foundation was faulty and weak. (Matthew 7:24-27).

When we enter a spiritual path and realize that we have to study in order to understand Truth, life can seem hard, boring, and monotonous.  There may be times when we ask ourselves “is it worth it to do all these practices?”  That is how the ignorant ego looks at the spiritual pearls of wisdom when confronted with aggressive mental suggestions.  If we decide that it is worth the work and we continue on the path, we begin to see that what at first “seemed” worthless and senseless, begins to give us results and our lives begin to show forth those results in more harmony and abundance at all levels. Now we realize that the work we did to acquire a spiritual consciousness, is giving us the promised results that “the world knows not of.”

As we contemplate Whitney’s life, we can see Love in form. In that form as Whitney, Source showed us that life has to be “more than food and the body more than its clothing (Luke 12:23).”  Source, incarnated as Whitney Houston, revealed that Truth in the same way It has revealed it before in the lives of the many who never reached human maturity of age, though they reached human fame and fortune. In that way, Source is showing us the importance of “building our houses upon rock.”  Source does all of this without harming anyone.  The teaching of the many wise Masters is clear.  Everything is taking place in this plane of maya, illusion, claim, where no one will be harmed for real.  Source would never permit anyone to be harmed because that would be harming Itself. That is the teaching we need to remember.  As Joel Goldsmith reminds us: “someday, we will wake up from this dream (not all at the same time, but at different times according to our soul’s purpose) and we will realize that it was all a dream, and that we never left ‘Heaven.’  ”  For me, that is not only a consolation, but a logical teaching before the theme of death and what it represents for the human race.

If death is real, there can be no God. The two cannot co-exist. That is what we have to contemplate and resolve individually for ourselves in order to overcome any doubt or dilemma within us when confronted with the claim of the finality of life again and again.  In our contemplations and meditations, we can come to an understanding of this Truth, which cannot be understood only with the intellect.  Therefore, let us take the following question to our meditation:

“I admit that I don’ t understand the concept of human death. What is death?  If Source is Infinite, how can I explain death and all that it involves for every human being?”

As you contemplate that question, what your Soul will give you will be priceless. I hope you do practice this and share with us your findings..

Much love and blessings,
Arnie

Advertisements

Happy Birthday!

Today is my daughter’s birthday.  Like 25 years ago, it is very cold, windy, and sunny here in New York City.  Unlike 25 years ago, I’m much more comfortable in my physical body today!

As every parent knows, holding that newborn child in your arms brings out feelings of overwhelming love, a desire to protect, and many fears: fear of being an inadequate parent, fear of being able to afford school, fear of having the wisdom to guide her, fear of not talking to each other when she’s a teenager!  The list goes on, and on! As those of us who have been blessed with the role of parenthood for a while know, we manage to get through all these aggressive mental suggestions one little bit at a time, sometimes more successfully and gracefully, other times it’s a bit more messy.  As I said to my own mother then, when I was exasperating her for the millionth time in our own parent/child play: “We [my siblings and I] survived your mistakes, I’m sure my child will survive mine.”

And she has.  She is a beautiful, compassionate, kind, loving, intelligent Perfect Expression of Self Unfolding Perfectly Unto Infinity!

For me, this is one of those “marker” days. One of those days when I consciously reflect on the path that I’ve traveled to get here, and many things come up. I’ll just share some.

A couple of days ago, my daughter and I had the pleasure of spending time together with friends, another mother and daughter.  We met when our daughters were in kindergarten and have kept contact over the years. As we sat at the restaurant, enjoying one another’s company, our meal, our conversation, I was struck by what a different set of choices our daughters have made than what was expected of me and my fellow mother at their age. In my head, I heard Orson Welles selling Ernest and Julio Gallo’s wines back in the seventies with the motto:  We will sell no wine before its time.

Yet our beliefs lead us to expect our children to develop a certain way, to a certain level, by a certain time.  Why can we exhibit patience with the maturation of wine but not so much with our children? Or with ourselves, for that matter.  How is it that we understand that fruit ripens in its own time, Source expressing and unfolding perfectly as fruit, following its own inner guidance, but we don’t apply the same understanding to ourselves? We know the consequence of picking fruit before it’s ripe, yet we frequently forget to apply the same degree of patience with our children.

Anyway, the two young women in my story are making choices that are unexpected in our society. I hear the defensiveness in their voices when we ask, “So, what are you doing now?” and the answer is not: I have a great job, I’m studying for my doctorate, I’m on a career track, I have a great apartment/house, I have a significant partner, I’m getting married, I’m starting a family. Instead of saying any of these things, they say, almost apologetically: I’m not sure, I’m still trying to figure it out, I’m trying this to see how it works out, I’m confused, I’m trying to get clarity, I’m hoping all my explorations will come together to represent a meaningful life.

Today, on this birthday, I’m taking a moment to celebrate and inviting you to join me: to celebrate the journey, to celebrate Self unfolding, to celebrate awakening awareness that allows us to witness Self unfolding, to celebrate uncertainty, to celebrate parenthood and childhood in all their forms and ages, to celebrate kindness and compassion, to celebrate the surprises of the unexpected. To celebrate Life.

What would you like to celebrate?  Please share!

Troy Anthony Davis

Over the past several weeks the story of Troy Anthony Davis, a 42 year-old-man who lived in the state of Georgia convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989 and sentenced to death, has been featured prominently in both the national and international media.  Mr. Davis proclaimed his innocence to the very end.  His attorneys, family, and hundreds of thousands of supporters will continue to do so in an attempt to prevent the same thing from happening again to someone else.

There are many details to this story:  the violent act that set this chain of events into motion, witnesses stating they saw Mr. Davis perpetrating the heinous act of murder and then recanting their statements, being brought to the brink of execution three times prior to last night, the grief and desire for justice of the murder victim’s family, the grief and desire for justice of Mr. Davis’s family, all of these details are part of the human drama.  The universal hypnotism that appears to present a power of good and a power of evil.  The erroneous belief that there is more than One power.

And this is the crux of the matter:  when we witness such dramatic events, that appear to be guided by a power beyond us, that seem to be the epitome of reality, how can we continue to affirm that there is only One Power, One Truth, One Mind, One Reality?

In struggling to express these thoughts into a clearer more cogent form, I turned to my Therapy of the Soul teacher, mentor, and friend, Arnie Vargas, who most generously shares his experience and wisdom as follows:

In looking at the Troy A Davis case, human sense cannot see anything except for two powers on the scene, which to human eyes seem like good and evil at battle.  Humanly, we see a family’s need for vindication for the end of the life of their beloved relative, and another family trying to save the family member, whom they believe to be an innocent man.  Humanly, the entire episode is puzzling and we are asked by our senses, to take sides, and judge according to appearances.

Divine Metaphysics teaches us that Truth cannot be seen with human eyes.   Human sense is finite while Truth/Source is infinite and Source is All-in-all.  It is difficult to see Source in situations such as this one, just as it is equally difficult to see Source when we speak of any so called “disaster” or “calamity.”    However, metaphysical and mystical literature reveal to us that the so called tragedies of this world are nothing but human perception.  To be human is to believe in good and evil. That belief in two powers clouds our sense of Truth whereby, where only a spiritual harmonious Universe exists, human sense projects good and bad outcomes and sees a distorted world.  In human form, there is limitation and when limited, the vision of Truth is obstructed.

Returning to the Troy A. Davis case, we see a man, whom many believe to be innocent, being condemned to death.  As spiritual students, the claims jump at us: death, innocent vs guilty, a need for vindication or mercy, etc.  The world’s Scriptures in one way or another tell us that; “God is too good to behold inequity.”  If that is true, what is the truth about this seeming reality?  Here, we can turn to the statement again of “Source is All-in-all.”  Source, appearing as Troy A Davis, decides to take on what appears as human sacrifice. The killed officer (also Source in form), gives up his human form in a so called death. To human sense there are killers and there is death.  But if we believe none of that can be real, what is all of this?  Here, even human language offers the answers to these puzzles of existence to human sense.  All of it, absolutely all of it, is appearance; claims.  To many, this sounds scandalous, ridiculous, unreal, insane.  But is it any saner to believe in an all good God, the Source and maintainer of all Life, who would allow death, killings, tragedies, etc?  What kind of God would that be, who stands helpless at the acting out of humans?  Is that God omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and unconditionally loving?

Mary Baker Eddy and Joel Goldsmith, have introduced the western world to the ageless spiritual wisdom of the east, whereby God/Source is Spirit and therefore produces only Spirit and Spirit’s attributes in its many manifestations.  Man is spiritual by the very nature of being Source’s expression.  So what appears human, exists only in an unreal world created by human sense.  The tragedies of this world when they appear to our senses, are opportunities to look at the world in a different way; a spiritual way, and rise above those limitations and limited views of looking at things.  The “good” of this world appearing to our senses is equally unreal.  God is the only good and that good is unknown to humans.  Until we are able to give up a belief in two powers, we won’t know what real good is all about.  How many wonderful things have come out of what looked like real evils?  Had it not been for the horrors of slavery, humankind would not have risen to the acceptance of that type of human commerce and practice as wrong, and stand up to end it.  Could it be that “evil” appears to our senses in order to assist us to wake up from the dream of the unreal to the real?  That is what spiritual literature suggests.

In the so called evils of this world, Spirit is never hurt.  What appeared in human form as Troy A Davis is truly Divine Spirit! That Spirit continues to be alive in another form, with a spiritual body, now in another dimension. That Spirit is just as alive today, as it was yesterday.  Until we know that without a doubt through spiritual sense, yesterday’s sentence can look like there is no God, no justice, no goodness in this world, and because of that appearance, Source’s reality will be denied or questioned by many, just as the round form of the world was denied and condemned as heresy in the 15th century and before, by those who believed the world was flat because that’s how it appeared,  until it became obvious, proven as false,  and thus the new reality became accepted by the many.

The world is not yet at a point where spiritual reality in every aspect and circumstance can be demonstrated, but that day will come.  “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days,” is the spiritual teaching regarding the eternality of life.  Life is eternal and indestructible.  That is the Truth for all of us and the more we consider that possibility, the more it will become our reality.  As many consider that possibility, its demonstration will also become more universal.

We can recognize the injustice of an act but if we stop there, we are doing ourselves and the world a disservice.  We need to denounce injustices, while at the same time affirming Truth and Principle; man is one with Universal Consciousness, that includes every man, woman and form of life. Unless we embrace our Oneness, we will continue to see “otherness” out there, thus justifying why evil must be fought.  Killings and wars occur due to limitation of vision.  Humanity is not massively yet at a point where we can see ourselves in our true nature and thus refuse to fight one another.  As we continue maintaining Truth in consciousness, we are doing our part in making this a better world.  Let us denounce injustice when we see it by reminding everyone of our Oneness.  Only the awareness of our Oneness with each other and with everything will resolve human problems at every level.

Why suffer?

Last Monday evening at our monthly Therapy of the Soul Association Meeting in NYC, we watched the movie “A Heart in Protest,” about the life and work of Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science and a pioneer of the modern understanding of metaphysical healing.  This documentary brought out again and again the many hardships, heartaches, and obstacles that plagued her life and how she triumphed over them through her diligent and relentless application of the principles of Science.

We talked about how Mrs. Eddy heavily cloaked her writings and teachings in orthodox Christian terminology because that was her background and because her audience was steeped in that tradition.  After all, of what use is bringing forth new ways of thinking and understanding if your audience doesn’t understand your means of communication, much less the concepts you are attempting to convey?

We also touched on how Joel Goldsmith chose to leave the Christian Science Church because he sought the freedom to expand on Mrs. Eddy’s teachings and work, and how his life, too, was filled with hardship. And we briefly spoke about how Goldsmith’s teachings are framed by the experiences and understandings of a teacher in the 20th century.

A basic precept of both Goldsmith and Mrs. Eddy is that what may be termed as mortal life is not reality, that it is a universal belief, hypnotism, mesmerism. Reality is the Oneness with Source, the Perfect Expression of Self expressing perfectly unto infinity.  The key is:  what we perceive as reality is a universal belief.

So, upon contemplation, it came to me that although both Mrs. Eddy and Goldsmith and, indeed, Jesus himself, suffered much in their “lifetimes,” why do we, in the 21st century, with the benefit of their teachings before us, have to perpetuate the belief that we can only accomplish great things through “suffering”?  Why must we continue to buy into the belief of pain and suffering?

Through The Wormhole TV Series

Recently, I was watching this television program on The Science Channel

Science Channel, Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole Season 2, episode titled “Is There A Sixth Sense?”

http://science.discovery.com/tv-schedules/series.html?paid=48.13969.131725.40125.5

What struck me about this particular episode is that it appears to be attempting to find material explanations for Spiritual concepts.  What I especially liked is that it gives those of us who are just learning to raise our consciousness a language and a means to quiet the material mind so that a higher understanding may prevail.  I’m not sure how to view this show online, or if it’s available in Spanish…help, please?

LIFE IS A DREAM

Recently, my mother had some surgery.  As a result of the anesthetic she started having extremely vivid dreams, and even while she was awake she was having visions.  It was frightening for her to think that she had no control of her brain, no control of her faculties, and that she could not differentiate between the real and the unreal.

This is what we go through everyday in our lives:  we try to live in the real world, face reality, get with the program.  But what is the program?  What is real?  Is what we accept as reality actually any more real than the visions my mother experienced?

Goldsmith says that what we call life is really only a collective hypnosis, that our real  world is the Spirit world.  What is your experience?