The courage to grow spiritually includes the courage to face the unknown. Our greater good often lies outside of what is currently known, and therefore what is comfortable. The change we seek — whether it is to create greater prosperity, attract a new relationship or to learn a new skill — requires us to move into the realm of discomfort and the unknown. However, it seems our brains are hardwired to keep us safe and to avoid discomfort. It’s ironic that we seek change, yet we also inherently resist it.

Faith is not about having all the answers. Instead, authentic faith allows us to enter more deeply into the questions. There is a part of us that is deeply connected with the Divine, even if we don’t yet recognize it. This is called the Spiritual Self.

The egoistic self sees itself as a human being in search of a spiritual experience, whereas the Spiritual Self sees Itself as a spiritual being having a human experience. The egoistic self sees itself as a noun — a person, place or thing.

It identifies itself with the physical realm: the body, the roles we play, the positions we hold, the wealth we have or don’t have. 

Plato described the journey of the soul. He said that before entering the body the soul knows all things. But just before it enters an earthly existence, the body is dipped in the River of Forgetfulness. This myth reminds us of the mystery inherent in the spiritual journey. Our lives are about remembering what we already know at some deep spiritual level. The great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have come to remind us of who and what we truly are.

Whereas the egoistic self sees itself as a noun, the Spiritual Self sees itself as a verb, as an extension of being, of loving and of expressing. When Moses encounters the Divine and asks, “Who shall I say sent me?” God replies, “I am that I am,” which more properly translated, means I am that which causes all things to be.

The Spiritual Self identifying with the eternal and radiant Source, recognizes the transitory nature of things. In the Bhagavad Gita it is written: “This self is never born nor does it ever perish; nor having come into this existence will it again cease to be. It is birthless, eternal, changeless, ever-same, unaffected by the usual processes associated with time. It is not slain when the body is killed.”

We free ourselves from mental bondage when we learn to identify more and more with the Spiritual Self. Three simple affirmations help us to remain in a spiritual consciousness and navigate the journey:

  1. Whatever I am grateful for, I will increase. Gratitude recognizes the blessings the Divine has brought into our lives and attracts greater blessings.
  2. Whatever I am responsible for, I can change. Responsibility allows us to recognize our participation in whatever is happening in our lives and what we did to create, promote or allow it.
  3. Whatever I am compassionate toward, I can heal. Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” As we extend compassion, we help elevate and shift awareness to wholeness and healing.

Gandhi taught us that “we must widen the circle of our love until it embraces the whole village; the village in turn must take into its fold the district; the district the province, and so on till the scope of our love encompasses the whole world.”

Let us move forward together on the spiritual journey with gratitude, responsibility and compassion.

Rev. Marty Bacher is a speaker, consultant and ordained New Thought minister. He has served as openly gay spiritual leader for over 30 years.

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