Your mind is spiritual. The body is just a temporary overcoat of flesh; it can't be spiritual. The part of you that is spiritual is that part that thinks, feels, and decides how to act. It is the part of you that loves, feels compassion, and longs for peace and brotherhood. That part of you is your mind. When the body is no longer useful at death, it's cast off like a tattered overcoat you no longer need or want; but the mind continues.
This chapter explains that spirituality is a process, not a destination, and that growing spiritually means changing the mind.
The physical realm is the world of beginnings and endings, creation and destruction. Matter and energy change forms as ceaselessly as the ocean’s surface rises and falls from frothy wave to wave. Trees, mountains, buildings, and human bodies are all temporary. They're just the scenery, and when a drama is finished, the scenery is torn down to make room for another set that can contain another play. Only we, the players, are real and eternal—our minds are spiritual, and our minds are entirely separate from the brain and physical realm.
Since only what is in the mind is spiritual, then St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is no more spiritual than your town’s public library. The priest or minister is no more spiritual than a bartender. Going to church is no more a spiritual activity than going bowling on Saturday night. Giving money to the church is no more spiritual than spending money in a casino.
If your mind is composed of assumptions and perspectives that allow your natural love and compassion to come through, then you will feel love for more people in more circumstances. Ultimately, you will not need to forgive because you will feel no offense. You will not need to think of loving because you will love before the thought of loving arises. Your nature will be compassionate. You will be love.
Loving, compassionate, forgiving sentiments don’t require actions to be spiritual. The spiritual mind was inside you before you even felt compassion for a homeless person. You felt compassion because your mind was already such that you were going to feel compassion when you saw that person—that state of your mind is spiritual. Whether you stop and speak to that homeless person or give money or buy her a meal isn’t spiritual. Those are just things that happen in the physical realm, and nothing in the physical realm is spiritual. But they are the inevitable result of who you are in your mind. Who you are is spiritual. Because you love, you show compassion and give to others.
Feeling, thinking, or acting with love and compassion are the fruits that appear in the physical realm, but the spiritual you is the tree:
Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
– Yeshua ben Yosef
Your mind is the tree in the spiritual realm. The fruit is the natural outgrowth of your spiritual state that appears in the physical realm. But unlike the tree, you have free will and you can grow yourself into the tree you want to be. We and God are the only beings in the universe who have free will. The reason is so that we can grow in spiritual maturity.
The assumptions and perspectives aren’t infused in your mind. They’re constantly changing, and the spiritual person you are today is a different person from whom you’ll be a year from now, 20 years from now, and a thousand years from now. You will mature spiritually by bringing to awareness your assumptions and perspectives, comparing them with who you want to be based on your understanding of your place in the universe, changing them so you think, feel, and act differently, and seeing the results in yourself and in others’ reactions to you.
You have free will to change your mind to be what you want it to be. Your spiritual mission in life is to change your mind to be loving and compassionate. All the rest of the spiritual goals the luminaries have defined through the millennia will follow naturally as you fulfill that mission. You grow spiritually by changing your mind one assumption at a time. And as you change your mind, you change your nature.
Most people rearing children today teach them, by action and example, that the only important qualities in life are wealth, material success, achieving pleasure, and doing what someone requires. That’s what people learned as children and they never abandoned those beliefs.
Children learn that love is conditional—"I will love you if . . . you obey me, you take care of me, you don’t get me angry, you get good grades . . ." The child who obeys will be rewarded with "good boy" or "good girl." The words for the disobedient child are "bad boy" or "bad girl." But in both "good" and "bad" remarks, the child hears, "I will love you only if . . ."1
Schools are intended to help children "be successful in life"—in other words, conform to the requirements of society and the business world. There’s no talk of spiritual development or growing into a unique person in the schools. The assumptions that are taught and reinforced are those resulting in obedience, without critical thinking; children are taught to be preoccupied with the desire to acquire and consume. In other words, they are initiated into the cult of materialism through the pervasive influence of schools and other organizations they’re forced to attend.
During those early years, we also developed minds full of fears, anxieties, worries, and desires. The fears a child feels that she isn’t loved, doesn’t belong, and is otherwise inadequate aren’t created by the atoms and molecules in the world and aren’t part of natural maturation as becoming taller and growing facial hair are. The fears are taught by the people who rear the child. Today, as we go through our days, we create realities based on the childhood assumptions, and they result in fear, anxiety, worry, and frustration.
But as adults we can change the realities—that is free will.
Anyone who refuses to change the assumptions and perspectives that formed their mind as they were growing up remains a prisoner of childhood. Intellectually and physically, they are adults, but spiritually, they are infants.
To grow spiritually, you must abandon the assumptions you learned in childhood and take on the assumptions true to your eternal self. You must break out of prison.
Having broken out of prison by being willing to deny the assumptions with which you were reared, you need spiritually mature assumptions to look toward as models. This is a summary of the assumptions that all people will hold in the future society of peace and brotherhood. They come from the descriptions by the luminaries who repeatedly taught us about our place in the universe. In this heaven on Earth that is humankind's destiny, all people will reply "Of course" to all of these assumptions. They will be taken for granted.
· I am an eternal being having a physical experience.
· The goal for my life, over any physical realm goals, is to grow spiritually.
· My highest calling is to serve others.
· All other people are one with me.
· My love for all others is without conditions; I love without reservation.
· I help all others grow spiritually so humankind is developing toward heaven on Earth.
· I am one with nature.
· I am one with the Higher Power.
· The intuition that guides me is the Higher Power and beings on the other side of life whose sole desire is to help me grow spiritually.
For more information and resources about what spirituality is, go to http://ebook.youreternalself.com/chapter6.htm.
1 Chopra, D. 1999.