ILLUMINATION

Just as my last post corresponded with Christ Mass, I would like to weave this post into a message for the New Year. Once again, the timing seems to be “just right.”  😉

To date, we have discussed the first three of the Five Stages of Spiritual Integration, where we have witnessed the Soul come to the Realization that there was something greater, beyond, and more meaningful; pass through a process of Edification where spiritual growth became a more earnest and dedicated pursuit; and proceed to Transformation where a process of sanctification and holiness of body, mind, and Soul began and (hopefully) continues.

Now the Soul, having been faithful and devoted to the process for (typically) several years, is granted the opportunity to achieve something quite extraordinary, and unfortunately rather rare: ILLUMINATION.

The “Illumination of the Soul” is presented in one form or another in nearly all religious traditions. Once again, we see the “spiritual” serving as the “saving grace” within religions that have become dogmatically over simplified and often woefully detached from the lifeblood of mystical (personal, direct) experience. 

ILLUMINATION is, therefore a highly individualized experience of the inflowing and enduring presence of the Divine Light. It is often depicted in religious art as a Halo around the head of those who have experienced it, but this is not to be interpreted within the context of a (religious) conceptualization of a purely intellectual experience. 

ILLUMINATION is, rather, a Soul experience that has mental and physical implications. While it is true that it can bring with it increased physical vitality and Divine knowledge/wisdom, its ultimate aim is to bring the Soul closer towards Unification (post forthcoming, perhaps on Valentine’s Day) 😉 with God.

In the Christian Tradition, we find multiple references to ILLUMINATION experiences:

Moses’ face glowed when he descended from Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:29)

Jesus was “transfigured” during prayer (Matthew 17:2)

The Disciples received the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)

Saul was blinded by the LIGHT, and was transformed into Paul (Acts 9:3)

We also encounter multiple references to ILLUMINATION experiences within the writings of the Saints, where we read of in-flowing, in-dwelling, revelations, knowings, etc. that changed these individuals radically and permanently forever.

But now, a caveat: While much can be said about what ILLUMINATION is, not as much can be offered regarding the process of its attainment. This does not mean that there are not specific Spiritual Exercises that can foster it, but that it is more a “process and not a product” that we quickly and easily “get” somehow. 

ILLUMINATION is a GRACE from GOD that is bestowed upon those who steadily, faithfully, and painstakingly live IN GOD, and allow GOD to live IN them. THIS IS NO SMALL UNDERTAKING, but it is both possible and intended as an outcome of the Spiritual Quest. We can, by the Grace of God, attain to it. The PATH will continue to be shown to those who are duly prepared and are willing to persevere.

In closing, and as promised, let us now consider our New Year’s interface with this message: 

What better New Year’s INTENTION could be better than for 2023 to be a year of further individual and collective spiritual development and evolution?

What greater ACTION could we perform than to remain steadfast in our personal spiritual devotions/practices, and our acts of service to those who God has placed in our care?

And what greater HOPE can encourage us into and through 2023 than to continue to KNOW and UNDERSTAND that “Humanity is Rising?!?” 

A DIVINE PROCESS is most certainly underway. May we all choose to seek HIGHER, GREATER, and DEEPER ILLUMINATION in 2023!

Happy New Year, everyone!

Dr. Mik

TRANSFORMATION

It is very fitting that this next segment of our exploration of The Five Stages of Spiritual Integration falls very close to Christ Mass – the celebration of one of the most TRANSFORMATIVE events in human history; the “Advent of LOVE.”

Yeshua (Jesus) came to guide humanity upon a new path of complete renewal and restoration. His teachings, when understood spiritually, reveal a process of TRANSFORMATION for each individual, and for the entire world at large. 

Understood in this way, we begin to focus less upon the more basic and convenient concept of Atonement, and more upon a more challenging, yet evolved process of At-One-Ment where we seek to not only “believe,” but to also “become.”

But what does this process entail? How are we to engage it? What exactly is it and where is it meant to take us?

My dear friends, you ask such interesting questions! 🙂 Allow me answer them in reverse order:

TRANSFORMATION is a process of radical change that leaves us better than we were before. It carries us beyond the very good, but limited, stage of EDIFICATION and into a process of spiritual ILLUMINATION (post forthcoming), which constitutes a full experience of the Divine (Christ) Light.

We engage this process by desiring to go further in our spiritual lives, and by being willing to neither “count the cost” nor “leave any stone unturned” in our Quest to be sanctified (made holy) as we learn to be “IN the world, but not OF the world.”

This endeavor entails a willingness to release those things which are not conducive to the spiritual life (sin), and to ultimately surrender our lives to a more full and complete indwelling of the Holy Spirit (sanctification). It also involves a deepening of our personal experience of and relationship with God via an ever evolving spiritual life.

We accomplish these goals via a greater devotion to our spiritual practices to the degree that they become something we LIVE rather than simply DO. This is the spiritual meaning of “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Friends, this certainly does not mean that we can no longer enjoy the beauty and joys of a balanced and healthy material life, for as we become more deeply attuned to higher knowledge and vibrations our incarnation experience is actually greatly enhanced as we come to experience “peace in contentment” and “joy in fulfillment.”

We then go on to share these blessings that God has granted us with others and our world as we become “Change Agents;” radiating Life, Light, and LOVE wherever we may go. 

Please allow me to close with my favorite Christmas Meditation:

At some point during Christmas Day, find a quiet space and sit for a moment of meditation. Visualize and engage all five senses in experiencing the Christ Child and his Nativity. Spend some time with this in “active imagination.”

Next, imagine that the area in and surrounding your heart is the manger. Let it be made a soft resting place for the Baby Jesus and allow it to open to receive him.

Lastly, visualize the Christ Child being laid in the manger of your heart. Feel and experience his presence there, and allow his LOVE to completely envelop and TRANSFORM you.

Now, carry the POWER of this LOVE forward in your heart all the year long, allowing it to bless you and EVERYONE with whom you come into contact.

God Bless us, Everyone! 

Dr. Mik

EDIFICATION

EDIFICATION is a lovely word, and a much needed concept during these “transitional times” in our world and society. It comes to us from the Latin aedificare, meaning to “build up,” and in religious use; “to build up a Soul.” 

We edify others when we appreciate, encourage, and help them. We also edify them when we think and speak positively about them. Most importantly, we edify folks when we pray and intend for them. 

In the context of our current discussion regarding The Five Stages of Spiritual Integration, EDIFICATION refers to a time of in the spiritual life where one really “dives in” to the process wholeheartedly. This usually includes continued research into deeper spiritual constructs, but it is hallmarked by the introduction of the actual PRACTICE of spirituality. 

It is said that our spiritual home, while very difficult to reach, is not terribly far away from us. It is the distance from the head to the heart. This means that our work is not merely intellectual (thought), but more importantly affective and intuitive (discernment), and unfortunately humans have become increasingly distanced from their capacity to engage this “higher order” function over time. The good news is that this trend is now entering a stage of reversal (Thanks be to God). 🙂

Very well, so how does one “DO” spirituality? How do we “get out of our heads and into our hearts.” Well, quite simply, we can begin by declaring our desire to do so via the “conscious intention of the will.” What this means is that we make a conscious decision to think less and feel/intuit more. To do so, we begin a process of differentiating between the EGO MIND and the SOUL SELF (see A Model of Integration).

I have personally experienced, and have repeatedly witnessed, the transformative power of this discovery: that we are NOT ego, but that who we truly are is SOUL. This means that all of those thoughts of self-doubt, those reminiscences of negative past experiences, and our lingering anxieties and depressions DO NOT originate from within who we truly are, but are instead the stuff of a mental construction that forms though the many trials and tribulations from our lives “in the world.” 

Thus, when one develops the capacity to observe the Ego Mind from the perspective of the Soul Self, one begins to live the spiritual life. Additionally, one will discover that the as the Soul Self evolves, the Ego Mind will begin to heal and integrate, thus revealing the meaning and purpose of the term Psychospirituality (i.e., A Psychology of the Soul).

Consider the following psychospiritual exercise: 

Place both hands on your Heart Center and close your eyes gently. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose as you say internally “Glory to God in the Highest.” As you breathe, imagine that you are breathing directly through your Heart Center. Hold the breath for a moment, and then slowly exhale while saying internally, “Peace to God’s people on earth.” As before, imagine the exhale taking place through the Heart Center. Repeat this breath for a few minutes paying very close attention to your feelings and impressions. 

You will find that this “breathing meditation” will contribute significantly to your process of EDIFICATION as you become more and more attuned to the SOUL SELF and its direct origin and connection with Divinity. In so doing, you will begin to experience ongoing spiritual growth, and you will experience a deepening relationship with God, the greatest coach, counselor, and psychotherapist of all! 🙂

Advent Blessings to you and yours!

Dr. Mik

REALIZATION

Several years ago, I walked into The York Emporium at a time when a group known as The Socrates Cafe was meeting. The owner, Jim Lewin, introduced me to the group and whimsically warned them that I was a Forensic Theologist

What Jim was so cleverly referring to with this neologism was my deep interest in a field known as Psychospirituality, which is the integration of theories and interventions from psychology and spirituality. It also reflects my own conceptual way of capturing the essence of my work in sum via my own neologism: Psychotheosophy (Psychology-Theology-Philosophy), which is the sum of my many years of research and praxis within Integrative Psychology, Spiritual Theology, and Existential Philosophy.

I would therefore like to focus my next series of BLOG posts on The Five Stages of Spiritual Integration, which is a continuation of my Five Affective and Five Cognitive stages respectively. These last five stages represent the completion of our journey towards The Integrated Life by guiding us to our highest spiritual potential. 

For most people, the process of Spiritual Integration begins with the REALIZATION that there is something more to this universe than “meets the eye.” Consequently, they may become aware that there are realities that extend beyond their immediate perception, and that there are things to be known that lie beyond the grasp of current human knowledge. 

This may lead to a desire to begin a quest for deeper spiritual understanding. One might choose to begin researching various religious and spiritual concepts as s/he begins to form one’s own personal spiritual philosophy. One might also decide at this stage to engage a religious or spiritual community to provide camaraderie and support for the journey.

At this point in the post, I would like to pause and present some very good news: Human beings on our planet are AWAKENING rapidly in these current times of upheaval and confusion. In the wake of disillusionment with so called “leaders,” and at a time when materialism has reached its zenith, folks are beginning to look elsewhere for answers.

However, most are NOT turning to traditional religious institutions (which are rapidly losing members), but are instead choosing to explore a more individualized approach to SPIRITUALITY. Many are also learning to be “IN the world, but not OF the world” by moving away from both materialistic and absolutist ways of thinking and being. 

This is NOT to say that traditional religious systems are necessarily BAD, and there are certainly those within them that “get it” when it comes to embracing an Evolutionary Spirituality that transcends the boundaries and restrictions of rigid dogma and doctrine.

Thus, REALIZATION stands as a universal spiritual experience that can occur for those both within and without any kind of religious organization. What matters most is that folks begin searching more deeply into their innate spiritual nature and seek opportunities for continuous growth and expansion. This can lead to the next stage, known as EDIFICATION (post forthcoming).

Now, the practical side of all of this:

If you have not yet given much thought to the spiritual side of your existence, NOW IS THE TIME to do so. Not only will it enrich your everyday life, but it will also transport you to a higher way of living and being. Consider embarking upon a personal Spiritual Quest, and perhaps make a connection with a spiritual community in your area.  

If you have already experienced REALIZATION as I have described it here, then I encourage you to KEEP GROWING. Dig deeper into your current research and praxis, and seek the spirituality it contains (“If religion is the boat, spirituality is the lifeboat”). I will be back next time with the next step in this Psychology of the Soul

Until then, I pray that we will all experience greater levels of REALIZATION regarding our truest and highest nature as “Souls who live in Bodies, that have Minds, all of which is animated by Spirit;” and that we will proceed together in assisting humanity in its accelerating TRANSFORMATIONAL process.

Life, Light, & LOVE,

Dr. Mik

NOVID-22

People are SICK and TIRED. 

Yes – many people are truly getting sick, and almost everyone of us is exasperated and tired. 

We are living within and through a Viral Pandemic, BUT there is SO MUCH more to the story than a highly contagious and insidious illness from which many immunocompromised persons are dying. Unfortunately, the news is MUCH WORSE than that. 

Truth be told, the virus has merely revealed the tip of the iceberg of a much more dangerous situation that has been covertly lurking among us for centuries.

That disease is: MEGALOMANIA

What do people “of the world” do when they no longer have to grind and struggle to survive on a daily or weekly basis? They THRIVE. But unfortunately, some can quickly become spoiled and bored. They then go on to seek greater material wealth and sensual stimulation, but this rarely satisfies. What then remains to attempt to stave off the depression that accompanies this materialistic way of life?

MEGALOMANIA: The desire for POWER

And therein, dear friends, lies the crux of the plight of humanity. For as long as a self-appointed “elite” segment of society continues to seek and maintain power OVER, instead of power FOR, and WITH others (i.e. Empowerment), a truly enlightened society will not emerge. Psychological Integration and Spiritual Harmony just do not work that way. 

Instead, it is time for a rEVOLution of people uniting against EVIL in our collective society. You know who they are, and they also know who they are; and they are going to continue to push the limits of societal tolerance as they steadily gain more and more control that they will NEVER willingly return. No government in history ever has. 

We must realize that governments are now corrupt beyond measure, and they can therefore NOT be trusted to represent our voice, or to govern us honestly. We must also free ourselves from the digital and drug induced spells that they have cast upon us; so that we can truly and authentically call ourselves “woke.”

Trust me, friends; they do not care one “jot or tittle” about anything unless it is something they can politicize and weaponize in service of their own agendas. Politicism is the new racism, and they are turning us against one another. Divide and conquer: The oldest play in the book; and yet we remain ignorant and complacent.

And so, speaking of “movements,” I have an idea of one I would like to initiate myself. I am calling it NOVID-22. It’s premise?  “No more Covid agendas, lies, deceptions, manipulations, and/or politicization in 2022, and then no more of any of it, for any reason, moving forward.” 

May a “united people of good will” work together as we protect the vulnerable, establish natural herd immunity, and welcome and act upon the TRANSCENDENT REVELATIONS that have surfaced in the midst of this crisis. 

Only then will the PEACE and HARMONY that every non-sociopath desires in their “heart of hearts” be possible.

This mission is OURS, and the time is NOW. 

Life, Light, & LOVE,

Dr. Mik

IDEOLOGIES

The ‘human saga’ has been one of an evolving complexity. From the time civilization began, we have been compounding our world of ideas (and their manifestations) into what we have believed constituted ‘progress.’ 

In the midst of this activity, means of organizing ourselves became necessary in the midst of the plethora of concepts (and myriad machinations) in order to bring some kind of order to a now perceived ‘cacophony of possibilities.’

This means of compartmentalizing this ‘milieu of the mind’ gave birth to the formation of IDEOLOGIES, which are essentially systems of beliefs, creeds, doctrines, dogmas, ideals, principles, thoughts, etc. that would constitute the world of human knowledge. 

But where minds were once overwhelmed with information and needed to develop ways of organizing them, we are now faced with a condition of excessive and conflicting IDEOLOGIES that are threatening the very fabric of our civilization. 

We are essentially at war with ourselves as ‘this -ology’ or ‘that -ism’ strives for dominance; and the most frightening side of this conflict is that people are willing to invoke hate in the process leading to disrespect, marginalization, and even violence. 

While I have written previously, and do honestly believe, that these evolutions are designed to promote a more enlightened and illumined society, I do not feel that we are called to simply let it play out without any sense of responsibility. The Creation Story in Genesis states very clearly that, “God gave humans dominion” over the earth, and we are therefore accountable for the ideologies we embrace, and our subsequent enactments (and re-enactments).

Let us therefore engage an ‘Examination of Conscience’ for the history of humanity: 

How have we done as caretakers of the earth?

How have we treated one another? 

How have we honored our Creator during our tenure here?

I believe it is very clear, that while there have been some very wonderful advancements, we also have a very long way to go before we can honestly believe and say that we have done well. 

What then is the answer? Wherein lies the cure?

My thoughts, feelings, and inspirations regarding this matter are these:

 1) We do well to first identify that IDEOLOGIES have indeed become a serious problem in our world today, and commit to purposeful change. 

2) Next, let us assess our own personal devotion to IDEOLOGIES, and our tendency to value and honor them to the point that we fall out of charity, and even common-sense.

3) Lastly, may we free ourselves from the limitations and bondage of these mindsets and open our hearts and minds to the very real possibility of simplification, integration, and diversity.

It is time to settle the riddle of duality, embrace a balanced multiplicity, and learn to once again live in greater UNITY. 

May the PRESENCE and LOVE of GOD become our TRANSCENDENT REALITY that replaces our limited, conflicting, and segregating IDEOLOGIES. 

Life, Light, & LOVE,

Dr. Mik

PROJECTION

Psychology discusses the various ways in which the human mind reacts to threatening situations under the heading ‘defense mechanisms.’ These typically automatic (unconscious) reactions can include experiences such as repression, denial, withdrawal, and PROJECTION. 

While most, if not all of the known defense mechanisms are clearly in operation in these very threatening times, projection is the one that possesses the greatest potential for harm in our current collective situation. 

Carl Jung discussed projection as the externalization of our own ‘shadow impulses’ in order to avoid facing and reconciling them. By highlighting the flaws in others, we temporarily divert our attention from our own faults and resultant suffering as a way of denying what needs to be addressed within ourselves. While this may alleviate some pain in the short term, the longer term effects are often disastrous for self and others. 

Jung also highlighted how projection can operate on a much larger scale within entire societies, and any historical survey can reveal how people have always had to identify some form of enemy upon which to project their own darkness. This has manifested in history as racism, hyper-nationalism, exploitation, and ultimately WAR. 

Projection is currently OUT OF CONTROL in America, and our bi-polar nation is at war with itself.

Each and every one of us MUST NOW take personal responsibility to identify and reign-in our projections and deal respectfully with one another. If we do not, we will further weaken the very fabric of our nation, risk escalating violence, and open ourselves up to more extensive foreign interference. 

Friends, many of you know how much I dislike politics, and how hard I try to hold my own personal convictions ‘close to my vest.’ However, I cannot sit idly by and watch as a clearly diagnosable and highly treatable condition ravages the population, and threatens our nation. 

And so, I will say very bluntly: Stop acting like spoiled little children wanting their own way in everything! Accept that there are others with different thoughts, opinions, and values than your own! Take ownership of YOUR shadow and work to be a more compassionate and kind human being to EVERYONE, not just those with whom you agree!

Seriously folks, we are standing on the edge of something very dangerous right now, and the responsibility rests with EACH and EVERY one of us to open our eyes to how our own thoughts, words, and actions are either part of the problem, or part of the solution moving forward. 

Let us not be swept into polarization and opposition, but let us all remember that we are all on this journey together, regardless of our skin pigmentation, religious convictions, or political alignment. 

We MUST find a path forward in LOVE and UNITY. 

Projection is NOT that path. 

Be Well!

Dr. Mik

rEVOLution

As this year of ’20/20 Re-Visioning’ culminates in what will surely be known as one of the most critical (in more ways than one) elections in history, let us take a moment to FOCUS, CENTER, and GROUND ourselves in the midst of the turmoil and chaos that is unfurling all around us. 

It is at just a time as this that we have the greatest opportunity to truly ‘test our metal’ and ‘rise to the occasion’ of the ‘best selves’ we have been working to be and become. This is therefore NOT the time to be captured by any form of ‘group think,’ or to be swept into any kind of aggressive ‘social uprising.’ 

Instead, our society stands in great need of WISDOM, PATIENCE, and most of all LOVE as we enter the next phase of the NEW CREATION that is being co-created and made-manifest in our midst. 

The ‘contractions’ we are now experiencing are but a foreshadowing of the ‘birthing pains’ yet to come. We are still early within the process, and we will all do well to be prepared to face many choices moving forward regarding how we will elect to behave during this ‘Re-birthing process.’

Will we succumb to RAGE and HATRED if things do not go ‘our way?’ Will we embrace DIVISIVENESS and continue to FACTION ourselves into camps of ‘this versus that,’ and/or an ‘us or them’ mentality? 

Friends, I am not a fan of dystopian shows or movies, but I do believe they can serve a vital function for us now. They can show us who we DO NOT want to become, and how we DO NOT wish to behave in the midst of any future trials and tribulations. Let these fictions serve therefore as negative examples of how we will, in fact, face times of growth and change.

My appeal to my readers today is to ask that we each sit quietly with the choice that stands before us in this election, and that we base our decision upon our deepest spiritual convictions. Then, having cast our ballot, let us proceed with ACCEPTANCE and GRACE regarding the outcome. Were we not all taught to be ‘good sports’ as early as Kindergarten? 

I close with this thought as we proceed together within this current rEVOLution:

“It takes more COURAGE to practice PEACE when tempted towards VIOLENCE, to FORGIVE when anger desires to PUNISH, and to LOVE when pride demands VENGEANCE.”

Life, Light, & LOVE! 

Dr. Mik

HYPERCRITICISM

I remember a day when politicians were civil, where media outlets honored journalistic integrity (neutrality), and where people conducted themselves with decency and respect. 

Today we see and experience highly polarized politicians, heavily biased reporting, and ongoing deterioration of law and order within society. 

As I have prayed, meditated, thought, and felt my way through these current crises, one attribute that has stood out for me as a significant contributor to the problems is the concept of HYPERCRITICISM. 

I understand that we are all taught in school and college about ‘critical thinking,” that is, the ability to approach matters with a bit of healthy skepticism that enables us to remain open to alternative considerations. This is all well and good when it is practiced in a balanced and intelligent manner. 

The issue today is that many people have become incredibly HYPERCRITICAL to the point that there is an immediate default to a negative assessment and fault finding in everything they see and encounter.

“That guy is an absolute racist!”

“That woman is a complete wench!” 

“Those people are all _________ (fill in the blank)!”

There is no critical thinking taking place in such abrupt assessments. There is no consideration being afforded to the persons involved. There is only judgment and condemnation based upon one’s own polarized beliefs and attitudes. PROJECTION: pure and simple. 

It seems the game in town these days is to find any possible fault in a person, and to then exploit that for maximum effect in ‘bringing her or him down.” In this way, the criticizer feels elevated and can go on denying her/his own faults, as well as the fact that s/he is acting in arrogance, ignorance, and most importantly: FEAR.

Friends, more people need to be saying what I am about to say, and more people need to reconcile with the truth of it:

FEAR is destroying our society and world! 

The most recent exacerbation of this reality has been the pandemic, which is affecting people psychologically more than they realize. Even those not infected physically have become infected psychologically with FEAR, manifesting as HATE.

We have got to get a grip on ourselves and realize that there are forces that are seeking to influence and manipulate us into becoming disgruntled, miserable, and HYPERCRITICAL people. Peace, contentment, and fulfillment cannot result from this trend, and if we do not intervene CONSCIOUSLY, it will need to play out to an extreme (negative) position that is guaranteed to finally wake us up. 

Join me, if you will, in a small experiment:

As you go through your day today, study your interactions with others. Observe your mind and make note of the very first thoughts and feelings you experience with each interaction. 

Was your first thought a critical one?

Did that then lead to a judgment? 

Did you then make a decision to somehow reject that person?

If so, try this instead:

1) Adopt a personal mindset that you will look upon every person as inherently good.

2) See flaws, but balance them with positive attributes as well, For example, “Savannah’s hair may have been a bit wild, but her outfit looked great.” 🙂

3) LOVE that person as a gift from God, and consider how you might be able to BLESS her/him (judgment is a curse). 

One by one, WE are called to redirect this downward spiral and redeem ourselves from our current HYPERCRITICAL condition. 

LOVE is what matters!

Life, Light, & LOVE! 

Dr. Mik

SPIRITUALITY

There has been, and continues to be, a stark decline in memberships within religious based organizations, and yet interest in spiritual constructs within the ‘secular’ realm seems to be on the rise. 

What might this be about?

Based upon my own research and experience, I would say that this trend reveals that people are seeking a shift away from being told what they ought to believe in favor of being permitted to decide for themselves what they actually DO believe. 

This has led to the emergence of sayings like:

“Religion is someone else’s experience, spirituality is your own experience.”

“If religion is the boat, spirituality is the lifeboat.”

“Religion is humanity reaching out for God, spirituality is God reaching out for humanity.”

And the most common:

“I am spiritual, but not religious.” 

But what does this actually mean, and how does it ‘play-out’ in everyday life? 

If we study the situation historically we discover that spirituality has always existed within religion, meaning that below the exoteric symbols and teachings lie esoteric truths and principles that reveal universal realities. 

Take the concept of God, for example. Various religions present their own particular conceptualization of the First Cause/Primal Force from which all else came, yet it is the universal experience of that Essence that matters most to us, and which offers the most promise for impacting our individual and collective existence. 

Call God what you will, God is, and in God we “live, and move, and have our being.” 

Now, a solely religious person may have a serious problem with what I have shared thus far in this post, and they might demand that God be referred to by a particular name, as a certain gender, and with particular attributes that their own dogma and doctrine might dictate. Some would even be willing to end friendships, and/or even resort to violence to defend that which they have adopted as absolute. 

The basis of such behavior is FEAR, but “perfect LOVE casts out FEAR.”

I like to say it this way:

If you take five religious persons and put them in a room, they will most likely be arguing within five minutes. However, if you place five spiritual people in the same situation, they will most likely engage in patient and fruitful dialogue for more than five hours. 

This is possible because within each RELIGION we discover a wonderful SPIRITUALITY that offers life and vitality to the Soul. In Judaism it is Kaballah; in Islam, Sufism; and in Christianity it is known as Christian Mysticism. Each of these spiritual traditions contains incredible beauty and confluence, and each can benefit people of every creed and nation. 

The Unitarian Universalists express this openness wonderfully within their Fourth Principle that encourages “A free and responsible search for Truth and meaning.” 

I also RESPECT the right of each and every person to express themselves in an affirming and peaceful way via any religion they may choose, but I ENCOURAGE the avoidance of expressions that highlight “the LETTER verses the SPIRIT.” 

Is there not enough disparity, criticism, and violence in our world already? Have we not yet evolved beyond primitive thinking and misguided absolutism? 

Where RELIGION can often separate, SPIRITUALITY unifies. 

I pray that each and every one of you will be greatly blessed and fulfilled as you continue to evolve and express your own unique and personalized version of SPIRITUALITY, within or without the framework of any particular RELIGION. 

Let us remember that God is SPIRIT, and does not have a RELIGION. We may choose to follow one if we wish, but let us remember that RELIGION without SPIRITUALITY is merely a form without a viable function. 

I close with this thought for your consideration:

“Why do religions stand in opposition of one another? If they are authentically seeking and finding SPIRITUAL TRUTH, would there not be congruence, agreement, and co-operation between them?”

Life, Light, & LOVE! 

Dr. Mik