Attending to your Spirit’s purpose involves developing an active and sustaining worldview and working toward deeper integration and connection with the Self.
Actively attend to your worldview
There are always competing viewpoints in the world seeking our attention. This is a near constant state in the universe. Something or someone is looking for a hook or vulnerability in our unintegrated experience in order to grab our attention. Advertising, media, soliciting fundamentalists, and the popular culture are examples. Blame selfish and controlling people if you want, but at the core of a changing universe is a dynamic property that favors strong-willed intentions. A popular view has gravity. Perceptual streams have a current with pull.
The prescription, the protection, is not to leave a perceptual void in your field of awareness. You do that by actively attending to your own way – having your own strong-willed intentions. If you do not define yourself, there is a dynamic process – people, organizations, and social patterns – that would be satisfied to do it for you.
Here’s an “everyday” example from my working life prior to retirement. I was a director of several care facilities for mentally handicapped adults. Expansion in the company brought me into contact with the directors of a separate division with whom I needed to interact on specific occasions, such as updating corporate policies. The directors of this corporate entity had a strong obsessive vision for bureaucratic administration. They were controlling, and wanted the entire company to do things their way. I tended to prefer customizing my approach to fit circumstance and allowing staff the authority to do their job (when they’d earned it). My method for dealing with this was not to leave a hole in my own visions of how to manage staff and maintain client well being. That meant holding the space of my vision – keeping their intrusive obsessions at bay. The common ground we then found had to take my views into account.
When we are filled with the quest of our own dreams, we’re less vulnerable to falling prey by acquisition, less vulnerable to control by others. Stubbornness and oppositional mind may be short-term strategies that protect your current viewpoint. But as we progress it is more useful that we become mindful of our ongoing development. Keep to the direction and motion of the Path with open integrity. The result is an active understanding of your medicine, your worth, and the sources of impulse and belief.
When going it alone seems difficult, find communal shelter with a like-minded friend or group. Taking conscious refuge is a way of anchoring or informing your view. A healthy group provides support and sanctuary. At some point, we need to move forward again with the agenda of our own lives, the potentials of our Soul, bringing with us what we have learned and integrated along the way.
Moments of self-realization could also be described as integrated Presence, a state where we are connected to the Self and informed from that larger perspective. If we learn to listen, to get past egoistic distractions and focus our attention on a larger View, we can hear the transcendent Self speaking with words that are borrowed from our personal experience as a necessary medium. To reach this state and know that we are not deluded or channeling dissociated aspects of the ego, we must bring ourselves into our most open, honest, and unselfish postures. The goal is not to get tips on the stock market. Like Socrates listening to his daimon, the goal is to seek Truth and the enduring treasures of our lives. The contact may result in practical advice as well as metaphysical musings that stretch your current understanding. Some would call this the voice of Spirit, Soul, otherworld Teacher, or even God. I like calling it the Self or Soul. But because this connection often has a visceral component, I am calling that sense of connection Presence. Know the worth of Presence by the well-being it produces, and by the value of the communication.
As individuals, we are the mediums of all the communication that we experience from beyond the veil. We want to be clear. It makes practical sense to clean the mirror of our mind, to work toward personal integration within the wholeness of our psyche, and to work at transforming and expanding our views. Any sacred conversation we have with a “higher self” will be more elevated when the thoughts and words we have to loan are less ego enslaved, when the thoughts and words we have to loan participate more fully with the Presence alive within our world. Anyone with focused patience and a discriminating mind can do this work. (Many are called, but few are listening.)
It is not possible to be in constant contact with Presence, as it is our job, the job of the space/time personality to negotiate the world and accumulate experience. The demands of our lives sometimes overwhelm our knowledge of Soul. We are the ones who must look both ways before crossing the street (though I’ve been stirred on more than a few distracted occasions by the periphery of Presence back into focused preservation). We are the ones who must feed and clothe ourselves, and find a path through this world. But we are not alone. Presence follows us into the flow of our most sacred and attended activities. The opportunity to become alive – to grow, be creative, experience Beauty, and gather integration – is our birthright. The Soul supports us with its Presence. It is almost cliche: “Lo, I am with you always.” That sense of belonging to a larger purpose will ebb and flow with circumstance and our own ability to nurture that communion over time.