You are reading the 6-part series of articles called The Search.

The Search: Bringing It All Back Home

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 24 at 12:34 am.

This is the last of a 5-part series of articles called The Search. Start from the beginning here.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Clifton.

Alright, now I am going to ask you to do something for me. I want you to try to do something spontaneous. Go ahead. Try it.

The truth is, it can’t be done. Spontaneity has nothing to do with trying. Spontaneity is only about doing. One of the definitions of spontaneous is to be “said or done without having been planned or written in advance.” To be spontaneous is to be without forethought, and trying implies forethought. You can do something spontaneous, you can even spontaneously try to do something spontaneous, but you cannot simply and intentionally try to do something spontaneous.

Now you’re probably thinking I make no sense. You might be saying, since the spontaneous, moment by moment expression of God through one’s life is what we’re talking about here, it seems like nothing I’ve said so far makes any difference. All I’m doing here is teaching you how to try to do something spontaneous, and we just established that was impossible. And you’d be absolutely right.

But that’s only half the story. This is the paradox of awareness. See, each and every moment you are aware of consists of two elements: consciousness and light. Consciousness being this vast empty canvas, and light being infinite textures and colors of paint soaking in, and together they make up the piece of art we call existence. Without one or the other, this thing that we are aware of, every thing we are aware of, ceases to be. This is the same old dichotomy between agency and communion, male and female, depth and resonance.

And I will now introduce this as the ultimate and most fundamental paradox of existence: one cannot wholly sit back, observing existence as pure consciousness, as transparent witness and expect to get anywhere, and at the same time, one cannot grow through complete participation, existing as pure light. These are ideals, concepts set at extreme poles where nothing can exist.

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The Search: A Fundamental Desire to Be Whole

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 23 at 1:55 am.

This is Part 4 of a 5-part series of articles called The Search. Start from the beginning here.

The Arkansas House of Prayer.

Photo courtesy of the Arkansas House of Prayer.

Okay, so what the heck have I been talking about so far, anyway? About depth and resonance, and about how they work together to create a certain generous understanding, which can open your eyes to the kingdom of heaven, right? And the kingdom of heaven manifests itself in joy, faith, and hope, which together can lead to a peaceful ease that reflects the holiness of each and every moment.

Sounds kind of far out, huh? Like pie in the sky sort of talk, yes? Well, generous understanding opens one up to a renewed spirit, constantly unfolding, vibrant, passionate, and energetic. This fills you with joy, it gives you hope, and faith comes closely behind the deep intimacy involved with living in the light of this generous understanding.

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The Search: Listening for Resonance

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 19 at 1:01 am.

This is Part 3 of a 5-part series of articles called The Search. Start from the beginning here.

Find deeper meaning through resonance.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Clifton.

Resonance, as I mentioned in the last section, is the second characteristic of generous understanding, and likewise it is the second obstacle to developing generous understanding. It takes sensitivity to tune a guitar, finding just the right pitch, not too sharp but not too flat. Likewise it takes sensitivity to find the things that truly resonate in our lives. Depth experiences can be many, but only a few will truly resonate in your key. The depth experience is like the sound coming off your guitar strings, while resonance is like the tuning fork telling you when the sound is true to you. And what’s left after tuning the thing, after finding those sounds that resonate? Well, then you get to play of course.

But maintaining resonance is often difficult, as every guitar player will tell you. Once he’s tuned and played on a set of strings long enough, he’s got to buy another set. So it’s a never-ending process of tuning, playing, and updating; but eventually it becomes a never-ending process of playing.

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The Search: Experiencing Depth

Written by Philip Walter on Feb 5 at 1:11 am.

This is Part 2 of a 5-part series of articles called The Search. Start from the beginning here.

Go deep into personal transformation through genuine depth experience.

Photo courtesy of Bryan Clifton.

William James was very pragmatic in his philosophy. He understood all too well that in the spiritual realm, individual experience holds the key to profundity. No amount of Sunday School lessons, inspired sermons, enlightenment weekends, or yoga retreats can turn you on like the graceful kick in the ass of life experience. However painful and difficult to deal with, one’s own personal experience can set him free.

The first line of Patanjali’s Yogasutras states, “Thus proceeds Yoga as I have observed it in the natural world.” And Socrates admitted centuries earlier, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Both these guys are saying just what the Bible says. As noted earlier, from Deuteronomy “…the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart…” and even more powerfully, from Jeremiah 31: 33-34,

“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. All of them, high and low alike, will know me.”

And even more directly, from the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to Arjuna,

“Give me back the fruits of my actions, you bastard! They are mine. Who said you could claim them for yourself? The fruits and the actions are mine. You are merely my instrument. Go forth and enjoy the delight of pulling the bowstring. Enjoy the satisfaction of hitting the mark, knowing that no one has ever been born, and no one ever dies, for there is but one, and that one is me. And I am Krishna and you are Krishna – that One is what we are.”

All these thoughts point to the same truth: that the higher power, that governing force, which makes all existence possible, indeed God, is in all of us. It is amazing how the truth resonates everywhere.

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The Search: An Introduction

Written by Philip Walter on Dec 16 at 5:10 pm.

Live life to the fullest through personal spiritual transformations.

Now, what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. … No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may obey it.

Deuteronomy 30: 11, 14 NIV

I feel as though I am at the edge of a cliff. Jumping off would mean actually saying the word that is already viscerally in my mouth and in my heart. Turning back would mean remaining confused, being unauthentic. It would signify a failure to heed Bob Marley’s advice: “Get up. Stand up. Stand up for your right.” But just what are your rights? And even more difficult to answer, Just what is right?

William James spoke of a higher mind and a lower mind. For him, the aim of spiritual practice, and the pinnacle of spiritual or religious experience, was found in letting the higher mind win the war over the lower mind.

The higher mind is like your conscience. It is the presence that observes the world and your activity in it, knowing, in some mystical Jimminy Cricket way, what is best for you. It will forever reflect what you’ve been taught is right, always saying, in the tradition of Spike Lee, “Do The Right Thing.” The lower mind, however, is ruled by reptilian instincts and always prescribes to the instant gratification plan. Read the rest of this entry »

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