Q: I’ve heard you say your ministry rests on three core principles. Would you state these and explain why you believe they are important?
A: I think it is most accurate to say there is one principle with three elements to consider. I say this because these elements are so intertwined that in practice we do not separate them as stand-alone ideas that we memorize and attempt to put into practice. I think this will become clear as we identify these elements. The first is our understanding of God. The second is our understanding of the individual. The third is our understanding of the relationship between God and the individual.
God: We start with the understanding that God is omnipresent, that is, equally present everywhere at the same time. We formulate this into the statement, There is but one presence and one power in the universe, God the good, omnipotent. God is the life, love, power and intelligence that we see expressed in varying degrees throughout all creation.
The Individual: The spiritual essence of each individual, the soul, is an expression of the life, love, power and intelligence of God. At the soul level, every individual is complete. At the surface level, however, we have created a body-based, senses oriented self-image that is subject to the ever-shifting sands of circumstance. Our spiritual journey is the process of reestablishing conscious union with God, our source.
Relationship between God and the Individual: The relationship between God and the individual is one of unity. We may feel separate from God but in truth we are not. This understanding of oneness is the basis of all healing and harmony in our affairs.
Q: How do we establish our conscious union with God?
A: An image that many find helpful is that of a sponge immersed in the ocean. Think of God as the ocean and the individual as the sponge. The water permeates the sponge. If we think of the water within the sponge as the soul, we see this water is permanently one with the whole ocean. Now think of the water as the divine energy of life and the sponge to the individual, and you have a working model for your relationship to God. This is in keeping with Paul’s, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Carry this image with you throughout your day. Bring it into your meditation time. You eventually begin to see that God is not a being that you reach out to. God is an indwelling presence, the very essence of your being. You feel God’s presence as a loving support, which allows you to deal with your worldly affairs from your center of peace and power. In this sense, you become prayer in action. You bring to your life the peace and the freedom you hoped to glean by resolving your issue. This is in harmony with a paraphrase of Jesus’ instruction to seek seeking first the kingdom and the resolution to your issue will follow.
Q: Many today make the distinction between religion and spirituality. Would you characterize your ministry as a religious or a spiritual presentation?
A: When we think of religion, we tend to think of formality, ritual, hymns, memorized dogma and creed which, to some, represent the single point of entry into God’s graces. Stating our interest in understanding our spirituality implies a do-it-yourself approach that is free of religious trappings. My ministry would fall in this latter category, but with the understanding that it does take a specific approach to the spiritual experience. I laid out the framework for this approach in the above discussion. If the soul is complete and one with God, then there is a specific way to experience this oneness. Jesus referred to it as a narrow gate, not necessarily easy to find, but one leading to the fulfillment we seek.
In the name of the spiritual quest, a lot of people dispose of formal religion then spend much time and money jumping from one teaching to another without settling into a steady approach. This can lead to much confusion, as each teacher will have his or her own ideas on how it should be done. Ultimately, we find our own path, our own way, our own understanding that rises, not from the thoughts of others, but from our own direct experience with God. This is what I advocate, but I also understand the need for instruction when transitioning from a religious to a more spiritual approach. We make our greatest advances when we lay down the books of others and seek our own first-hand experience with God.
Q: There seems to be a lot of unrest in the world. There are wars, the looming threat of terror attacks, political unrest, rioting and a determined effort by some to undermine and shut down any who do not agree with their views. When you add to this the natural disasters produced by weather and geological occurrences, the belief of some that this is the long awaited end times may seem justified. How does your ministry deal with these kinds of issues?
A: Some years ago, a few well known futurists were predicting that the emerging internet would spark an unprecedented level of global communication that would unite the world. The reasoning was that if we could talk to one another we could surely work out our differences. So the internet has indeed made its splash and global communication is the new reality. The unintended consequence, however, is that every differing voice now has a global platform and they are not afraid to use it. Yes, the internet has brought people together, and much good has come of it. But it has also fueled a raging conflict. Another of our modern challenges is the advent of 24/7 news that brings all the world’s problems into our living room. We get blow by blow reporting from our own country and from countries we’ve never even heard of. This includes every mudslide, tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake, tornado, blizzard and hurricane that has either happened or could happen.
This ministry does not focus on the futile attempt to change the world. Our focus is on encouraging each individual to go within and deepen their relationship with God. Increased awareness of God brings a new, healthier perspective to the events of the world. It frees us from the emotional slavery of being bound by the ever-changing, often negative conditions around us as the dictator of how we should feel. Approaching issues from a spiritually stabilized foundation is much more likely to make us the kind of positive contributor that the world needs and longs for.
To be continued …