Spiritual Maturity

The Art of

The Art of Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what thoughts are running through our mind at any point in time. It is the process of consciously identifying what stories we are telling ourselves in our head, and then noticing what impact those stories are having on us — physically, emotionally, and spiritually. By practicing mindfulness in this way we become aware of which thinking patterns are serving our goal of reaching spiritual maturity, and which ones are holding us back at the lower levels of our potential.

It is likely that so far in our lives we have found ourselves in competitions for nearly every aspect of life. Without even realizing it, we are in rivalries for basic physical needs like food and shelter, and for emotional needs like social standing and material accomplishments. Some of us embrace this competition and play to win, some of us shrink from it and just let the others win, and some of us deny there is a competition whilst still nevertheless hoping to do relatively well in it.

Whatever our approach, this constant state of competition does many things to our minds. It makes us fearful of losing. It makes us feel angry at others for spoiling our chances. It makes us feel jealous of others when they are winning. And its relentless nature makes us feel tired, and sometimes fall physically ill. These feelings seep into our mind and settle there, becoming filters through which we sift our thoughts, words, and actions.

The Mind-Body-Soul Connection

Mindfulness is the technique that begins the process of cleansing these and other dark-based feelings from our energy. We need to cleanse our emotions because they have an immensely strong pull on our behavior, to the point that they control nearly every aspect of our lives. Take, for example, how many emotions see us lose control of our eating patterns, resulting in us overeating or under eating, both of which change our body shape and set off a chain of health issues. Other emotions see us losing control of relationship patterns, causing us to manifest tension in our body cells — which also changes our body shape and sets off a chain of health issues. And still more types of emotions see us lose control of our spending patterns, causing us material losses and denying us physical security — again, changing our body shape and setting off a chain of health issues.

As an experiment, try standing in front of a mirror, and then start talking out loud about a person in your life. As you talk about this person, watch what expression your face takes on. Does your face harden or soften? Do you become intense, or nervous, or defeated? Do your eyes widen, or narrow? Observe your face like this as you think and talk about this person. The changes in it you can see are the link between emotions and the body.

All emotions, both the light and the dark, influence what our body looks like, who we spend our time with, what we spend our money on — and, crucially, the nature of our relationship with God.

To strengthen our conscious connection to God we must clear our energy of the clutter that is blocking us from feeling God’s presence. God’s presence is always there, but we tend to lose our sense of it when our minds are so preoccupied with the dramas resulting from our unharnessed emotions. Dramas feed off dark-based emotions like fear, anger and jealousy. When we have absolute mastery over our emotions, we stop feeding those dramas, and they wither away. When they are gone, we will strongly feel the presence of God in every facet of our lives.

The ascended masters don’t pretend that mastering the emotions is an easy thing to do. After decades of preparation for each, Buddha had to sit under the Bodhi tree for nine days to do it, Jesus had to endure 40 days in the desert to do it, and Moses spent 40 years in the desert to do it. We don’t have to go to those physical extremes to gain mastery — those ascended masters were breaking ground for us, we are just working with their findings. We can do it in the course of our regular, every day lives. All it requires is the discipline to commit to it and follow it through.

The Mindfulness Technique

Mindfulness itself does not result in mastering the emotions — the laws and principles are what achieve that. What mindfulness does is make us aware of what our “platform” is, or what our starting point is. Each person is unique from the next, no matter how much they may look alike on the outside, and every platform is different. Mindfulness shows us what we are working with in ourselves. It is the art that shows us who we really are.

Here is how it works.

At a point in your day when you are not thoroughly focusing on a task you are doing, suddenly, without lead-up, tune in to what is going through your mind.

Do not stop the train of thought that you are having — let it run its course. Just listen to it like it was a radio program. The part of your brain that is the train of thought is your “lower” mind, or your basic physical-survival mind; the part of the brain that is listening is your “higher” mind, or your connection to the finer realms of divine wisdom. Let your higher mind listen to what your lower mind is saying.

Wait for the train of thought to reach its end. If it looks like your lower mind is going to keep talking and talking, have your higher mind say “STOP!”, and bring it to a sudden finish.

Now calmly have the higher mind identify the nature of the lower mind’s thinking. Was the train of thought negative, positive or neutral? Negative thoughts include fear, anger, and disrespect of ourselves and others. Positive thoughts include gratitude, inclusion, and love. Neutral thoughts are matter-of-fact, like forward planning of things you have to do (although how you feel about the list you are putting together is something of which to be mindful).

Be as specific as you can with your identification. There are hundreds of types of negative, positive, and neutral thoughts — try to determine exactly what type yours had been right then.

Once you have made the identification, use your higher mind to discern why your lower mind had been thinking that way. For example, say you identified that your thought had been scornful of a work colleague (scorn is a form of judgment). Your mindfulness process would proceed like this:

Lower mind: “I was being scornful of Susie”.

Higher mind: “Why were you being scornful of Susie?”

Lower mind: “She makes me angry”.

Higher mind: “Why does she make you angry?”

Lower mind: “She thinks she is so much better than me, but she’s not”

Higher mind: “Why would Susie thinking that about you make you angry?”

Our answer to that will depend on how spiritually mature we are at the moment. If we are at the low-potential level, we will be able to come up with a long list of reasons justifying us being angry at Susie, and the mindfulness process could go on for a long time as our higher mind tries to get our lower mind to take responsibility for its thoughts. If we are at the middle-potential level, after only a bit more prodding from our higher mind we would quickly realize we’re not so much angry at Susie as we are dissatisfied with the competitive world. And at our highest potential we wouldn’t even be thinking about Susie at all, as we’d not be the slightest bit concerned that anyone “thought they were better” than us.

The level of spiritual maturity we are at will have a big impact on how well we can practice mindfulness. Consider what mindfulness looks like at the various levels.

Unskilled Mindfulness

When we are not in any way skilled in mindfulness we do not see the link between thoughts and emotions. We believe that emotions are an entity of their own — mystifying things over which we have no control. We take pride in our emotional outbursts, as they make us feel powerful and re-energized. We enjoy the adrenaline rush of dramas, and create them where none exists organically. We are not at all interested in grooming our thinking habits, preferring to stay in the same holding pattern our whole lives.

Developing Mindfulness

When we are moderately skilled at mindfulness we understand its purpose and appreciate the self-awareness it can bring. Because we are so busy with our material lives, we dip in and out of mindfulness rather than maintain it as an ongoing practice. Most of us at the middle level have strong commitments to moral causes that we will defend passionately, and our emotions can become very heated when our causes are threatened. In these situations mindfulness takes a back seat to defending our cause. Our subsequent reflection on our actions might result in mindful self-assessment of our beliefs, but it is likely that we will still view our cause as reason for heightened emotion.

Highest Potential Mindfulness

When living at our highest potential we conduct our lives in a constant state of mindfulness. Our connection to our higher self is so strong that we manage every aspect of our lives from it; our lower minds are well and truly subordinated. We have a sophisticated understanding of our unique body, and are able to eliminate physical tension from it. We have firm discipline with regard to managing physical triggers of poor behavior in ourselves, such as tiredness and hunger. We hide nothing from ourselves, and we never despair over what we find.

On Discovering Something Unpleasant In Your Psyche

Because we are developing our maturity and therefore still have one foot in the game of competitive self identity, we run the risk of falling into negative self judgment when our mindfulness reveals something in us we don’t like. And the further across the bridge to spiritual maturity we get, the more disappointed we are in ourselves when we slip into a low-potential expression of behavior. In those times it pays to remember that the spiritual purpose of mindfulness is simply to alert us to stumbles we are making on our way across the bridge. These stumbles are just pockets of insight into aspects of ourselves that we can choose to work on in our effort to reach spiritual maturity. Think of mindfulness as an inbuilt spiritual mentor who will point out our mental and emotional blind spots and weakness. This mentor brings these aspects to our awareness so that we can set to work improving our thoughts, reactions, and behaviors with a view to reaching our highest potential.

Developing Discipline

The technique of mindfulness is itself simple. The difficulty people seem to have is remembering to do it!

As we strive to reach spiritual maturity it is not unusual to find ourselves coming up with a few seemingly very good reasons to reject mindfulness. We might think to ourselves that our families, jobs, and social activities have priority over our self analysis (and we might think that self analysis is a bit vain, anyway). Or we might tell ourselves that no one else can see what is within us, so it doesn’t really matter what we’re thinking as long as we don’t say what we are thinking out loud! Or perhaps we might have read about mindfulness and thought it sounded like a very interesting thing that some people were doing, but because we are content with our life we do not see any reason to take it up ourselves. In any case, we learn what mindfulness is, and then willingly forget all about it.

When our mind starts finding reasons for why we cannot or do not need to focus on the quality of our thoughts, it is simply our ego (our pride, our social identity, our costume) and all of the ego’s offspring (fear, anger, jealousy) trying to prevent us from reaching spiritual maturity. Our ego knows that the more spiritually mature we become the less power it will have over our minds, because our more-refined selves have taken back our thoughts from it. Our ego therefore tries everything it can to prevent us from seeing that it is there, because when we see it, we will want to contain it. Our ego, having run so freely for so long in our minds, will fight to the end to avoid being contained.

For those of us whom, at this early stage, really do feel too pressured by material commitments to engage in ongoing mindfulness, a highest-potential thinking pattern would be, “I best serve others by understanding who I really am and my impact on those around me”. You might find that your willingness to master the art of mindfulness is powerfully strengthened just by saying those words to yourself, and suddenly your material burdens seems to not burn up so much of your energy as they did a moment before. This is because by consciously stating our intention to reach spiritual maturity, we have invited divine light to flood our energy. God always sends that light when we affirm that we seek to refine our character. That light is what is lightening our load.

The Ego An Intruder in Our Minds

The ego is not a part of our organic self. It is an intruder in our lower mind, formed through a jumbled mass of unrefined emotions. It survives by encouraging our lower mind to think that we have no choice but to engage in dramas and competition. It does this because its feeding source is the fear, pride, and jealousy that those two things generate. It simply cannot survive if our emotions are refined, because there’s nothing for it to feed on.

The ego’s power can easily be diluted simply by refusing to take it seriously. By not viewing it as something to be analyzed and studied, not seeing it as something dangerous and terrifying, we are refusing to fall into drama over it. That means it has nothing to feed on. And it gets weaker.

Embrace Your Mind

Buddha told us to “accept nothing that is unreasonable”. Jesus told us to be “as wise as a snake and harmless as a dove”. These two ascended masters are telling us that our mind is a valuable tool for enlightenment. It is the mind that identifies what emotions we are engaging and the impact they are having on our physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. It is the mind that directs the energy centers in our body to let go of those emotions. The mind is the thing used to identify existing perspectives, and, at the directive of the heart, the thing which maintains the discipline to reach for the higher perspectives. And obviously it is the mind that is used in the Art of Mindfulness. Reason has a key place in every law and principle, and the ascended masters and spiritual exemplars make that very clear. The onus is on us to increase the sophistication of our reasoning abilities at every opportunity we encounter.

The purpose of mindfulness is to bring us to awareness of our reality. There is no judgment attached to mindfulness — there is only commitment to reaching spiritual maturity. By engaging it regularly, we have made mastering the laws and principles much easier to achieve.

You may we wondering at this point how to know what answers to give yourself when using mindfulness to reach the highest-potential expression of mindfulness. For that, we look to the Art of the Higher Perspective.

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