The Spiritual Practice of Higher Consciousness
(From Confessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness)
by Ford Johnson1
Towards a New Spiritual Paradigm
A paradigm is a model, a pattern, or an archetypal ideal of something in form, experience, or concept. In a spiritual context, it is a pattern of beliefs, images, and practices that form inner and outer thoughts, words, and actions. Almost by definition, a religious paradigm is limited, for it sets forth a standardized depiction of inner and outer experiences that conform to the framers’ beliefs and accepted images.
But there are no absolutes within the unbounded scope of ALL THAT IS. Instead, there is infinite choice, for we are creative beings without limits. We are free to choose our beliefs, our paradigms. In turn, beliefs form our inner and outer spiritual constructs. That is why myths are so important to humankind. C. G. Jung and C. Kerenyi in Essays on a Science of Mythology2 as well as Joseph Campbell in The Power of Myth3 demonstrate the importance of myth in civilizations. Similarly, the ubiquitous nature of some myths (e.g., the flood, the child-god, the savior) suggests something transcendent at work. But what is conspicuously absent in these studies is the role myths play in structuring spiritual paradigms, which form the context for all inner experiences. Thus, life experiences, stories, beliefs, and myths are the substance from which dreams and inner experiences are made. As the mythology of a person differs, so do his inner experiences.
An interesting dialogue between Campbell and interviewer Bill Moyers touches on this:
Moyers: How does one have a profound [inner] experience?
Campbell: By having a profound sense of the mystery.
Moyers: But if God is the god we have only imagined, how can we stand in awe of our own creation?
Campbell: How can we be terrified of a dream? You have to break past your image of God to get through to the connoted illumination. The psychologist Jung has a relevant saying: “Religion is a defense against the experience of God.”4
What Campbell is saying is that inner scenery and images of Jesus, the Buddha, Muhammad, the Living Eck Master, among others often block experiencing what is transcendent in the experience. Indeed, the scenery only provides a context in which spiritual awareness can be expanded. Thus, religion might more aptly be considered a barrier to experiencing God. Campbell continues his response:
The mystery has been reduced to a set of concepts and ideas, and emphasizing these concepts and ideas can short-circuit the transcendent, connoted experience. An intense experience of mystery is what one has to regard as the ultimate religious experience.5
Campbell’s perspective on the ultimate religious experience may be an accurate description of the nature of inner experience for those filled with the doctrines of heaven, hell, and god, in western paradigms. However, it is not an accurate description of the experience of the light and sound of God or the planes beyond form. Through Moyers’s probing, Campbell goes on to articulate this point:
Moyers: There are many Christians who believe that, to find out who Jesus is, you have to go past the Christian faith, past Christian doctrine, past the Christian Church.
Campbell: You have to go past the imagined image of Jesus. Such an image of one’s god becomes a final obstruction, one’s ultimate barrier. You hold on to your own ideology, your own little manner of thinking, and when a larger experience of God approaches, an experience greater than you are prepared to receive, you take flight from it by clinging to the image in your mind. This is known as preserving your faith.6
Campbell is right of course. And herein lies the limitation of mythology and religious doctrine in reaching transcendence. All religions have planted images and stories about the nature of the transcendent experience, or the master, or the savior, which block spiritual growth and experience. But Moyers does not probe far enough. Even as he implies the need for escape from the limitations of Christian doctrine, he holds on to Jesus as the end point in the search for God. He seems unprepared or unwilling to seize on Campbell’s broader point and to let go of his paradigm.
Letting go is a frightening prospect. But how can a true God-seeker be limited by an image, concept, or paradigm? How can any comfortable teaching or paradigm encompass the limitless scope of ALL THAT IS? Truth as well as trust in spirit and in our higher self form the only path to the ONE. Our responsibility is to create the goal; a spiritual paradigm that is compatible with the universal nature of soul and spirit. We see this principle of goal-setting at work in our lives everyday. Indeed, it is the basis of the modern practice of project planning. While we are able to anticipate the steps involved in a particular manifestation on the physical plane, all planners and managers know that changes occur that cannot be anticipated. We adjust to the changes and move on, reaching our goal nonetheless. In many ways, this book is such a planning document for achieving our highest spiritual goal. It is detailed only as far as can now be described. But the process, always in the control of spirit, will lead us to our ultimate spiritual goal because that is the nature of spirit and the process. We will explore this principle in considerable detail in Chapter 16. There, we shall look at the practical workings of spirit and how we can employ it to fulfill our dreams and goals in life.
So, what is the process? It is that we set the forces of spirit in motion by what we think and believe. When we hold an image or feeling in our minds, spirit, in concert with God-soul, leads us unerringly to this goal. It will reach its object, no matter the deviations along the way. Thus, we move in the direction of our beliefs, which form the substance of our spiritual paradigm. Once locked in, spirit working with God-soul leads us to know the ONE. It matters little that we do not have full comprehension of what the ONE is. It is sufficient that we know, sense, intuit, and believe in the ONE. This alone will lead us there.
A remarkable aspect of spiritual unfolding is that even though our higher-selves must use stories and myths to expand awareness, they will turn them into lessons for our liberation. We see this in Graham’s journal. Even as he had experience after experience within the Eckankar paradigm, the fiction that underlay it was finally exposed and served as the pathway for his liberation.
Considering the thousand-year tradition of many religions, one is justified in asking: How can something so new as Higher Consciousness guide us to God-Realization? Having studied and participated in numerous paths and under many teachers, I have learned there are hundreds of different ways claiming to take us to this or higher goals (e.g. Ascension). Each path insists theirs is the one true way. I have observed two basic points in this search. First, thousands of years have elapsed since the founders of most religions (or those in whose names they were formed) had the defining God experiences on which those religions were based. Since that time, the transcendent truths that they tried to convey have been buried under mountains of ritual, debate, bureaucracy, hierarchy, and practices. The message that all enlightened beings come to this plane to convey is that each person is a spark of God. But in every religion, this message has been lost. To free an adherent from the clutter of this ritual and dogma could take lifetimes without much progress.
Second, in teachings like Hindu Yoga, Buddhism, and Sufism, the God-seeker is faced with an entirely new language and vocabulary, not to mention thousands of gods and innumerable inner planes with names unfamiliar to most. One is apt to conclude that the language of God is Sanskrit, and that if we don’t use it to express spiritual concepts, we can’t connect with the highest truth. Nothing could be further from the truth. The language of God is whatever you understand and with which you can communicate. The outer formality of language means nothing so long as inner sincerity, love, and a burning desire to follow truth and to know the God reality, is upper most in your thoughts and actions.
So, while a seeker can respect and learn from millennia of spiritual history, God is here and now. We need not search through dusty archives and study ancient rituals for the secrets to inner travel. God is not hiding from us. It is we who have covered our eyes from the light of God. No union of outer masters, a Pope, a Mahanta, or anyone else controls the experience of God. That is the stuff of control, egomania, and usurpation. This knowledge is not to be bargained or bartered for loyalty or coin. It is the gift of those who have traveled the road to God-Actualization and Ascension and returned to share their insights. There is much to learn and know about this mystery. One does need a teacher and the right information. But more than this is vanity, for who can place themselves above another without blaspheming?
This book presents the truth as I have come to understand it. There is no hidden agenda. The insights shared here can aid in brushing away the rubbish of ritual, doctrine, and dogma, a process which will allow the God-seeker to move on to the truth within. Once we experience the sublime realities of the inner Oneness of God and the unfathomable love there, we see the true path that lies within. Still, there is much to be learned. Hopefully, this book will help you on your journey to truth and enable you to tap the infinite knowledge within you. The teachers who carry this message, as part of the Great Work, will provide instruction and guidance. Their role is to guide and teach, making way for the student to become the teacher and in time an Ascended Master, and entirely different level of spiritual unfoldment.
The insights of the Higher Consciousness Movement, which embody the Great Work, draws from ancient traditions. Yet they cut through language, ritual, and excess baggage, leaving what is necessary for the inner experiences leading to Higher Consciousness. I have experienced the sublime realities of light and sound, met with Inner Spiritual Masters and more in many levels of the inner worlds. Many with whom I have worked have also had these experiences. For each, this was achieved through study, devotion, meditation, and guidance from the higher self, using images cherished by that person.
Finally, we don’t have to go to India, Tibet, or Minnesota to learn about God. It is a gift we already have; we simply have to open up and prepare ourselves for the transcendent experience of ITS reality. This book presents the methods and principles by which we can open our gift and experience the inner realities of ALL THAT IS.
- From: Cofessions of a God Seeker: A Journey to Higher Consciousness– Part IV (One Publishing Inc., Silver Spring, Md.) Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2es6ljn
- See G. Jung and C. Kerenyi, Essays on a Science of Mythology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993).
- See Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell and the Power of the Myth (New York: Doubleday, 1988).
- Ibid. p.209.
- Ibid. pp. 209-210.
- See William A. Tiller, Science and Human Transformation: Subtle Energies, Intentionality and Consciousness (Walnut Creek: Pavior, 1997).