So this friend and I were discussing how one can better understand a good way to approach one’s life in the context of a spiritual effort.
This question of the molecular sensation of Being is an essential element in understanding our spiritual sensation.
Mankind usually thinks of everything regarding the intellect, the psyche, the soul, and the spirit using its thinking parts. As a consequence, our spiritual sensation — which is another expression for the organic sensation of Being, or the molecular sensation of Being — has atrophied. Almost no one has a spiritual sensation at all these days; some few have one that is marginally developed, and then there are the rare ones that truly understand what it is to have a spiritual sensation of being that is durable.
By durable, I mean a spiritual sensation that has the capacity to sense and receive, on a molecular level, the beneficial solar and cosmic emanations that flow through the atmosphere of this and all other planets at every moment. Without receiving these finer energies, the spiritual sensation cannot feed itself; and if the spiritual sensation is unable to feed itself, it can’t grow.
It’s possible to live an entire lifetime without experiencing the spiritual sensation, which was called influence by Jeanne Salzmann and the inflow by Emmanuel Swedenborg. The spiritual sensation isn’t necessary to live; yet without it, the action of life is an aberration, because it functions without the instinctive and natural moral compass that ought to inform all Being. Without the spiritual sensation, it is possible to do everything without caring much about others and without feeling any real Love. This is where most of mankind finds itself today.
This question of becoming more intelligently and mindfully sensitive to the molecular sensation of Being, the spiritual sensation, is a question that leads us to the idea of where we need to direct our attention in order to grow our spiritual sense of life. If our spiritual sense of life has good roots, good soil to grow in, and a sound foundation beneath it, it can grow into a place where there is value and significance and love and caring about almost anything, even a drinking straw. But without it, we are constantly attracted to and identified with what would have been called false gods in the Old Testament. Even today, those same gods are false, because they do not grow into our psyche through the spiritual sensation of Being, but are rather erected by our crude rationalities, which have no actual sense of Being, life, or Love.
So when I was speaking to this individual, who feels guilty (and, probably, angry at themselves) because they don’t practice, and they don’t feel they are progressing at the rate they should in their inner work, I pointed out that this idea of “progress” towards a mythical “transformation” of their inner Being wasn’t and isn’t helpful to any kind of real inner growth.
It swiftly becomes a form of punishment, in which high (but profoundly misunderstood) goals are set, impossibly high goals which one then fails to achieve, and chastises one’s self for. “I’m not good enough,” the dialog goes, and if one attends spiritual gatherings long enough one hears altogether too much of this.
Of course we’re not good enough; but this is our default, not a revelation, and we ought not wear it on our shoulders or carry it like a cross. It is rather a burden to be borne inwardly and quietly, in positive (not punitive) contemplation of what we are.
In our effort to discover Being, we ought not place our focus first on progress and transformation.
Instead, as I indicated to my younger friend, we need to focus on discovering foundation and support.
That is to say, our attention and our mindfulness must move downwards towards the earth of our being, not up into the heavens. We attend to the smallest things; and, once this is firmly rooted in us, we establish a foundation that can support us.
I mentioned to this friend yesterday that it's true, I have made progress, been transformed.
But what I progressed towards and what I have been transformed into is a person who understands foundation and support, which is where I dwell. So the progress, to whatever extent there has been any, has been towards this place where life begins.
This is the place where continually I pause and make new efforts at discovering relationship: not towards some lofty place where the sun shines brightly all day and all night and I am a wonderful person. My efforts are just made here, where I am, in appreciation and gratitude for these tiny things. Including the cells with which I began this series of essays — which form the foundation of my life, which penetrates all that I am, and offer the support for me to live and honor this action of life which has been given to me through Grace.
There is no point in attempting to progress or transform without the foundation and support that is necessary; yet everyone thinks that it is possible, and approaches it from that point of view. The incremental accumulation of Being that takes place over many decades of searching for foundation and support is always far more important and durable than the huge flashes of insight that appear to reveal the heavens.
Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.