My Top Fifteen Suppositions About Spiritual Growth

My Top Fifteen Suppositions About Spiritual Growth

After forty years of putting my spiritual growth before all else here is my attempt to distill my philosophy down to fifteen suppositions.

  1. We know nothing for sure about God. No matter how much we believe, pretend to know about, resonate with, and want to think we understand about a creator, that does not make it real. However, anyone who has experienced at least one quantifiable spiritual encounter knows for a fact that some form of spiritual reality exists.
  2. If it were possible for seekers to be objective about the existence of God or an afterlife, it would be far more intelligent to believe there isn’t one. Just as people are too close to their loved ones to be objective about them, most of us are too closely invested with the possibility of immortality to observe the argument impartially.
  3. For all our lives we, along with our family, friends, associates, and fellow seekers have known some spiritual truths to be undeniable facts, but all of us are wrong about some of them.
  4. In 50 years of searching, I have found no evidence whatsoever that a loving, giving, prayer hearing and answering god exists. However, there is a mountain of evidence that people live on after death. There are over 3 million documented cases of Near Death Experiences, Group Death Experiences, and most significant, Shared Death Experiences that date back over 200 years.
  5. Our spiritual growth is completely different from our religious, philosophical, or intellectual progress. Just as brilliant people can compartmentalize their intelligence and do very stupid things, highly evolved people can have superstitious, primitive, unsophisticated, or ludicrous beliefs about God.
  6. Spiritual advancement is the process of maturing emotionally. It has more to do with emotional growth than it does with the development of our intellect, philosophies, spiritual or religious beliefs, or psychic abilities. Spiritual growth is not what we think; it is what we feel.
  7. People begin to grow spiritually only when they begin working on their emotional maturity. All other attempts to grow spiritually that are learned and acted upon are in effect, simply distractions.
  8. The countless inspirational books, workshops, teachers, religions, philosophies, and metaphysical beliefs that we have adopted into our lives have ultimately proven to obstruct, rather than assist, our spiritual evolution. The more we are able to purge ourselves of these influences the easier our spiritual progress becomes.
  9. The greatest factor in emotional maturity is our ability to give and receive love. It appears that we are born here to learn to holistically love all of creation — most importantly ourselves, followed by our relatives, friends, associates, humankind, and our planet.
  10. Love is a verb. It is appreciation and allowance in totality. Love happens when we totally appreciate and allow ourselves and others, to be who we truly are.
  11. Most religions and spiritual philosophies value love, but it is only one among hundreds of beliefs and requirements that they endorse, so our attention is divided into many directions rather than focused on learning to love holistically.
  12. Religions, philosophies, and spiritual beliefs are only needed to preoccupy our egos until our hearts can be occupied with holistic love.
  13. Evolved relationships are by far the best way to access, address, and resolve our emotional issues. Most of the hurt, healing and deep learning in life involve personal relationships in one form or another. If there were a divine a religion it would be relationships.
  14. If we were lucky enough to be born near good role models, they taught us how to love, if we weren’t, then some of the best people to help us with our relationships are skilled psychotherapists. They can make growing emotionally/spiritually much easier and quicker.
  15. God, the universe, or any spiritual powers-that-be can watch us endure more pain than we can imagine being humanly possible, all while watching our boss marry a supermodel and then win the lottery.

 

Why I do not support our troups

Why I do NOT support our troops

By Doyle Barnett January 19, 2112

            Recently, I went to Arlington West.  It is a display on the beach by the pier in Santa Barbara, California where every Sunday veterans and antiwar protesters stick one thousand wooden crosses into the sand. Each cross represents five soldiers who were killed in the Middle East. The protesters also post updated statistics of the wars including the number of soldiers wounded, the civilian casualties, and the current financial costs. I was moved, but in an unexpected way.

I felt uneasy, not because of the sadness I felt, but because I couldn’t help but think that those who live by the sword, die by the sword.  I thought, What else did they expect? But we all know what they expected: to get away from home, to have new adventures, and to learn new skills like firing guns, tanks, and missiles to kill people. They expected to be heroes.

Sure, when I looked at those crosses I felt sad for all of the needless suffering and waste of human lives. But I also thought of a quote from Henry Kissinger. He is a former National Security Advisor, Secretary of State, Harvard director, and Nobel Peace Price recipient.  He said ” … military men are used as pawns in foreign policy.” Kissinger’s statement was shocking; I guess that is why I remember it so well.

For thousands of years politicians have sent soldiers off to die in wars; billions have died for political ambition and corporate greed. Soldiers and most the masses have been indoctrinated into believing that they are heroes. “They give their lives for your freedom.” “If they didn’t fight, you would be speaking (insert a foreign language here.) And it all has worked; even some pacifists who would rather die themselves than kill another have accepted the propaganda that soldiers are heroes and should be looked up to and honored.

At Arlington West I thought about those 4,000 dead soldiers, (plus many more wounded) and that all of them volunteered to become trained killers—that’s what soldiers do. Most didn’t join the military because they wanted to bring peace to the world. If they wanted world peace they would have enlisted in the Peace Corps.

Many of them signed up for the military to get away from the American back-country or slum-ruts they were born in. It is no coincidence that the lower the class―the less educated the people―the more brainwashed they are to beat the patriotic drum. The military is, and always has been a money-making killing cult. Soldiers are conditioned into blindly following what the leaders tell them to do without questioning.

Others joined the service because they wanted world adventure or college tuition—not to save America. They enlisted to become soldiers; they wanted to learn how to fire guns and artillery, how to fly planes that shoot missiles, how to build bombs that kill people.

Soldiers claim that they join to serve America; if you question them they will tell you they want to kill America’s enemies, whoever they are at the time. Yet, if any of these patriots would have been born in another country—even the country they are now fighting, they would have joined that military and be fighting America’s soldiers. Some people join the armed services out of national pride; but in some cases their nationalism is just an accepted disguise for racism. And their patriotism was embedded only after they joined, only after they were brainwashed in to believing peace can only be obtained though war and by heroes. No one wants to see soldiers suffer but the “support our troops” sound bite is patriotic propaganda that enables warring.

I am a firm believer that social changes begin with our language—our national dialogue. If we can change the way we talk about issues we can change our beliefs about them. Forty years ago we stopped using the “N” word. Twenty years ago we started using the phrase “The N word.” It took decades but it eventually it caught on; now, most of the media has followed suit and we have an African American president. If we make it socially unpopular to be a solider maybe our impressionable young men and women will find better ways to serve their country.

We all know great people who are, or have been, in the armed forces; I have a cousin serving in Germany and one of my top martial arts students is a high ranking military attorney. He is a wonderful person, but he is serving the wrong master—he has bought into the propaganda. Just as some African-Americans fought for the south, and some Jews served in Hitler’s Gestapo, my student’s mindset is enabling the military industrial complex. Being virtuous is not the point; I am sure that there were some wonderful people serving in Hitler’s army. The point is that they were a part of the problem—not of the solution. In 1973 I read in a Playboy magazine that fighting for peace is like F***ing for chastity.

I was born and raised near the Ozarks. I got my first rifle when I was six; I grew up hunting and killing with my friends. After graduating from high school they enlisted and learned how to kill people; I joined a Zen monastery and learned how to meditate.

When asked why he did not fight for his country the Dali Lama said, “Of course the mind can rationalize fighting back… but the heart, the heart would never understand. Then you would be divided in yourself, the heart and the mind, and the war would be inside you.”

Sadly, many veterans still have the war going on inside of them. They estimate that 40% of the homeless are veterans, that there are about 40,000 veterans in American state and federal prisons, and that 6,000 vets commit suicide annually. With the thousands of lives lost in Iraq, more US soldiers are dying of suicide then dying in battle. *

My next door neighbor is a very conservative Mormon. He is also film maker. Two of his documentaries are about the trauma that vets and their families suffer after the soldiers return home. His first film was Between Iraq and a Hard Place, and his second was Warriors… In their own words. They are illuminating films yet he is still very pro US military. He just doesn’t get it—we can not simultaneously enable and stop wars.

We don’t blame bullets or guns for murders; we blame the people who use them. Why don’t we blame those who do all of the killing in war?  Just because the carnage is government sanctioned does that make it right? Is their karma is clear?

We have all heard the true stories about battlefields in WWII when the Germans and Americans stopped killing each other on Christmas day and instead competed in ball games. They did not have the heart to kill on Christmas Day. What if all soldiers lost heart to ever kill again?

Some estimates of the civilian death toll in Iraq is 1,455,590. If American soldiers took the life of only 5% of them, that is still 75,000 innocent people that our soldiers have killed because they were caught up in the military war machine. At what point will all wars end and who will end them? We can’t kill our way to peace.

We could end every war on earth today and we could prevent all future wars, if all soldiers would simply put down their weapons and refused to fight any longer. But there will never be peace on earth so long as we make soldiers our heroes instead of mediators.

Doyle Barnett DoyleB.com

*Thenewstribune.com 2011/05/26

What if there was a war and nobody came?
No soldiers. No generals. No heros.
No one to suffer. No one to die in pain.
Who would be killed? How many would lose their lives?
No violent murder for no cause.
No people to shoot with guns, to stab with knives.
Humans kill humans. Can you say that is sane?
Taking precious life. Emptiness now.
What if there was a war and nobody came.

Copyright © 1993 Charles Fry

 

Which stage of philosophical growth might you be stuck in?

WHICH STAGE OF PHILOSOPHICAL GROWTH MIGHT YOU BE STUCK IN?

Many spiritual seekers seem to fall into one of five stages of philosophical growth. While a few seekers will continue to advance through one stage to another the majority will stay in or near the same stage for their entire lives.

Most of those who don’t progress fall into one of two groups. The first, are those who are so overwhelmed by the challenges of life that they can barely hang on—let alone evolve. And the second group are those whose lives have been too easy for them—they are so lucky with love, family, health, or money—that they don’t have enough motivation to compel them to push on to the next stage―they simply hang on to what seems to be working for them.

And then there are those rare few whose philosophies keep evolving—year after year—decade after decade. Even though life slams them to the ground they continue to transform their beliefs. And when life is easy—they still push on. They are never complacent, even when they are at peace their philosophy keeps advancing.
Continue reading

The best person to help you grow spiritually is a good psychotherapist.

The best person to help you grow spiritually is a good psychotherapist.

Contrary to what most seekers think, if you need help with your spiritual growth then stop seeking advice from spiritual teachers, preachers, and New Age authors—instead, find a good psychotherapist. Why? Because gurus and metaphysical authors are just going to fill your head with more philosophical or religious beliefs that they think you should apply in place of the beliefs you are currently are using. So, your spiritual path will continue to be the Tao of belief upgrading. Because most seekers are constantly trading in (upgrading) one spiritual belief for a newer one, they think that they are becoming more spiritual, but in reality they are just becoming more philosophical.

Putting your thoughts/philosophy in order can make life easier, but it is a never-ending quest. However, if it is spiritual growth that you are most interested in then spending your life trying to understand the un-understandable can be a mental trap and a major distraction—you spend most of your time on your thoughts and beliefs instead of your feelings and emotions.

On the other hand, a good psychotherapist can help you to mature your emotions, and this is important because emotional growth IS spiritual growth. Your spirituality is not in your head, but in your heart. If the sole reason we are born on earth is to learn to love holistically—being able to love yourself, your mate, your family and friends, humanity, and the planet, then it is in the perfecting of these emotional relationships that you will achieve genuine spiritual growth.

With the invention of modern health technology there have been over a million recorded cases of near-death experiences. Add to that the thousands of near-death cases that have been recorded by Mormons over the past two hundred years, and we have a lot of evidence that points to life existing after death.

Most all of those who have had near-death experiences come back and say that they were asked by the light, “What have you done to promote love in your life? Or “Do you love others as much as you feel loved here by us now?” Those who died were NOT asked what religion are you? Or, what are your philosophical beliefs? It is people’s ability to love—their emotional maturity—that is emphasized not their speculations about God.

It is most likely the emotional growth that you have achieved in this life that will transfer as a part of your soul after you die—not your beliefs and philosophies. Your ability to love may be the only important thing you have to learn in this life.

All love involves relationships and emotions, and the best person to help you with your relationship issues is a good psychotherapist. Preachers and metaphysical authors tell you what they think you should do and believe. However, good therapists do not tell you what to do; they keep their own beliefs out of the session so they can focus on you and your processes. They are the ones that can help you to love and grow, emotionally/spiritually.

 

For more information on Doyle Barnett or his latest book:
Spiritual Growth is Not What You Think, go to www.DoyleB.com.

My top fifteen suppositions about spiritual growth

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN:
My Top Fifteen Suppositions About Spiritual Growth

After forty years of putting my spiritual growth before all else here is my attempt to distill my philosophy down to fifteen suppositions.

1. We know nothing for sure about God. No matter how much we believe, pretend to know about, resonate with, and want to think we understand about a creator, that does not make it real. However, anyone who has experienced at least one quantifiable spiritual encounter knows for a fact that some form of spiritual reality exists.

2. If it were possible for seekers to be objective about the existence of God or an afterlife, it would be far more intelligent to believe there isn’t one. Just as people are too close to their loved ones to be objective about them, most of us are too closely invested with the possibility of immortality to observe the argument impartially.

3. For all our lives we, along with our family, friends, associates, and fellow seekers have known some spiritual truths to be undeniable facts, but all of us are wrong about some of them.

4. In 50 years of searching, I have found no evidence whatsoever that a loving, giving, prayer hearing and answering god exists. However, there is a mountain of evidence that people live on after death. There are over 3 million documented cases of Near Death Experiences, Group Death Experiences, and most significant, Shared Death Experiences that date back over 200 years.

5. Our spiritual growth is completely different from our religious, philosophical, or intellectual progress. Just as brilliant people can compartmentalize their intelligence and do very stupid things, highly evolved people can have superstitious, primitive, unsophisticated, or ludicrous beliefs about God.

6. Spiritual advancement is the process of maturing emotionally. It has more to do with emotional growth than it does with the development of our intellect, philosophies, spiritual or religious beliefs, or psychic abilities. Spiritual growth is not what we think; it is what we feel.

7. People begin to grow spiritually only when they begin working on their emotional maturity. All other attempts to grow spiritually that are learned and acted upon are in effect, simply distractions.

8. The countless inspirational books, workshops, teachers, religions, philosophies, and metaphysical beliefs that we have adopted into our lives have ultimately proven to obstruct, rather than assist, our spiritual evolution. The more we are able to purge ourselves of these influences the easier our spiritual progress becomes.

9. The greatest factor in emotional maturity is our ability to give and receive love. It appears that we are born here to learn to holistically love all of creation—most importantly ourselves, followed by our relatives, friends, associates, humankind, and our planet.

10. Love is a verb. It is appreciation and allowance in totality. Love happens when we totally appreciate and allow ourselves and others, to be who we truly are.

11. Most religions and spiritual philosophies value love, but it is only one among hundreds of beliefs and requirements that they endorse, so our attention is divided into many directions rather than focused on learning to love holistically.

12. Religions, philosophies, and spiritual beliefs are only needed to preoccupy our egos until our hearts can be occupied with holistic love.

13. Evolved relationships are by far the best way to access, address, and resolve our emotional issues. Most of the hurt, healing and deep learning in life involve personal relationships in one form or another. If there were a divine a religion it would be relationships.

14. If we were lucky enough to be born near good role models, they taught us how to love, if we weren’t, then some of the best people to help us with our relationships are skilled psychotherapists. They can make growing emotionally/spiritually much easier and quicker.

15. God, the universe, or any spiritual powers-that-be can watch us endure more pain than we can imagine being humanly possible, all while watching our boss marry a supermodel and then win the lottery.