Having spent more than 35 years of my life on making a serious attempt at spiritual growth I have come to the unflattering conclusion that I am a lowly slug.
I did not approach God or religion for the purpose of “enhancing a positive state.” In spite of friends who always looked at my good side I found too much evidence, from sincere introspection, that in spite of what the world thought of me I was utterly depraved and quite capable of all sorts of ignoble behavior.
This is why I gravitated to the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg and George Gurdjieff. Both men embraced cosmologies which included the ontological reality of a Spiritual Sun as God’s abode and that we had to procure a matrix or plane of existence for ourselves that could receive the influence of divine good and truth flowing out from this moral sun in a way that would keep its holy rays from passing through us as though we were made out of glass.
This plane of reality, which can be formed during our lives on earth to capture God’s benevolent influence, is called conscience and personal responsibility. (What else would keep God’s influence from passing through?)
Most importantly, both men recognized their depravity before they could make real advances in spiritual growth. As a result of their success (admittedly through God’s help) they wrote amazing books to pass this knowledge on to others.
While religion may teach that we are born sinners, its methodology is so general that it teaches us that God can magically wipe away our sins through simple belief and faith. Beyond that there is no responsibility or need for introspection.
However, the founders of such successful organizations as Alcoholics Anonymous and A Course In Miracles recognized their flawed behavior and set about to look more deeply into these matters. Simple faith was not enough. True relationship with God for them meant that we had to get into the weeds and make a true accounting of our “slug-ness.”
I like Swedenborg’s and Gurdjieff’s spiritual systems because they do their best to topple our false sense of importance and begin the true process of spiritual evolution from the resulting rubble (called vastation). In other words, they both bring home the fact that I am indeed a slug! While Swedenborg was less confrontational with the public than Gurdjieff, he made the unflattering remark that even the angels in the highest heaven would dive headlong into hell if it were not for God—implying that they, too, were essentially slugs.
The world is not yet ready for such an epiphany. This is why nothing gets better. This is why we always fall back on finger-pointing to cover our asses.
Any comments, complaints or challenges?