Written by our consultant Mark
If you're reading this website, there's a good chance your spiritual life is not going as well as you'd like. Although it tends to deflate our ego, it's in our best interest to be honest with ourselves as to how we have been misled - either by others or ourselves. In fact, honesty and truthfulness are key if anyone wants to understand and free themselves from the influence of evil. Even if we're not sure if we can trust others, we can always be truthful with ourselves - even if we have yet come to true understanding.
Certainly it's no accident that the Judeo-Christian tradition describes the devil as "the father of the lie." When we take a step back and gain some perspective, it becomes clear that the M.O. of evil is not some obvious display of death and destruction, but rather a distortion of truth. There is a certain energetic economy in this. After all, why directly oppose someone if you can manipulate their thinking so that they voluntarily serve yourinterests without knowing it? Even better, if you can manipulate their self image then they will believe they are serving their own interest, and the same can apply to those who take an opposing position so that you end up profiting from both sides. (there is, of course really only one side here - the side of those being duped) So it starts to look like a kind of parasitic relationship, except that we're not only unaware of how we're being exploited, but we may even believe we're benefiting ourselves by believing in the lie and acting accordingly. The only difference between biological parasites and the spiritual variety is that once the program of self-deception is firmly in place, we voluntarily give our energy to the parasitic organism rather than it sucking it out of us.
So of course this begs the question: How can we know if we're being lied to? The bad news is the average person is probably largely unaware of the multi-layered systems in place that shapes their thinking, which is embedded in even the mainstream culture, but the good news is honest self-examination and introspection goes a long way in freeing ourselves from it. In addition to coming to recognize the truth of our situation this way, our conscious positive intention can align us with spiritual truth and in effect strengthen our spiritual immune system so to speak. A basic principle is energy follows intent, so an intent to know the truth inevitably leads to immunity against the lie.
The many ways and issues involving the distortion of truth is obviously beyond the scope of this article, but a lot can be seen by examining how we are appealed to. Aside from money, what are they saying to get you to "buy" what they're "selling?" Is it some sense of identity and pride, so that you do not feel so empty and insecure? While it is a perfectly natural spiritual instinct to seek greater meaning in life, is the identity being offered one based on arrogance, that you are somehow better than others by joining this "winning team?" Notice how while these qualities may seem to fulfill a sense of lack, it has a very different energy from that initial instinct to search for meaning, which involves true innocence, curiosity and a desire for growth.
And of course, sometimes the message is more neutral, we might think of a funny TV commercial advertising a product that is completely unrelated to the ad - but even these often amounts to a kind of distraction that splits our attention. Don't misunderstand, I am not saying these things are bad in themselves, but when the effects are added together it resembles something like "death by a thousand paper cuts" - or even "weapons of mass distraction." Just think of some of the most brilliant and powerful individuals we know, do you imagine they are consumed with things like the latest happenings on some "reality show" (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one) as if they know those people personally? Even if they did watch a show like that for some reason, would they waste the energy on all that drama? You can certainly be aware of things in popular culture without being identified with it, but if nothing else you can do a lot more with your energy by having more focus, and if you have no direction it tends to amount to cluttering the mind. The thing is, activities like watching TV or even social networking online are very often passive in terms of having any kind of focused intent, so even if the content is largely neutral (and on a subtler level, it may not be) it is as if your ability to focus your energy is being atrophied by lack of use.
As far as focusing our intent goes, the first thing that must be said is it really has to do with our heart. Just as the desire to know the truth and to live a meaningful life comes from the heart, the seeking and fulfillment of that drive will also register in the heart that way. Of course, as any spiritual person knows any time the words "desire" and "heart" comes up there is the possibility of self-deception. In recent years the book The Secret has popularized the idea of The Law of Attraction, which of course deals with this aspect of using our intent. Unfortunately this is often seen as a means to make lots of money or attract an ideal mate. Again these things are not bad in themselves, but it is the energy of greed and selfishness that is overlooked. When those who are enthusiastic about the prospect of using this principle to enrich their own lives are asked about using it in service of the world in some way, often not much if anything is said - sometimes you'll be greeted by complete silence. If this teaching empowers anything, in this context it only empowers the ego. Those who use it in healing work may have a bit more awareness of how it may be used in service, if for no other reason than the nature of healing is to serve others, but even there it is often limited in scope - and perhaps often it is only seen as a technique to achieve a certain goal, like provide a service and getting paid for it as many do.
Money, of course is a powerful symbol that goes much further than a medium of exchange in the minds of people today. When we look at how multi-national corporations are going as far as patenting the blue print of life and trying to justify ownership of something as essential to life as water, we can see how our idea of what is valuable has been co-opted by use of a distorted belief system. After all, these entities cannot exist without our support, and yet the system that exists is so pervasive now that one would be hard pressed to physically survive without participating - but that's assuming one was awake to these conditions to even think of trying in the first place. Sadly even people who are well informed often do little more than have an opinion of "I'm against that" about it - as if that goes anywhere near far enough in creating real change.
But this does not change the fact that a heart aligned with truth is vastly more powerful than harnessed energy of the unconscious behavior of many. Throughout history we have witnessed individuals who through their opened heart inspired others to open to the same potential in themselves. One way we have been misled is this view that we ourselves are like material objects, separate in space with a limited, quantified amount of energy, which would logically force us to conclude that we are helpless in the face of great evil. Not only does such a view cause a kind of horizontal division amongst ourselves, but it vertically alienates us from our higher spiritual nature which is connected to the true wellspring of energy and power. This may seem too good to be true, but my intent here is not to solicit your belief - but rather to invite you to see for yourself. Not only can we awaken from our slumber (or nightmare, as the case may be) by sincere introspection, but we can rediscover this state as our birthright and be truly spiritually empowered. In fact, realizing this truth involves something far more direct than belief - it is immediately available within yourself, even if it is only seen as a small spark in the beginning. Although spiritual friendship plays an important role, it is best understood as a reminder of our nature. In this remembrance there is a turning of the heart. The Sufis say there is the journey from God, (or if you like, ultimate reality) the journey to God, and the journey in God. Each step taken in that return journey brings us closer to truth, and upon arrival there is no longer any room for the influence of falsehood in that living truth.
Read the latest from Mark at his blog