Given this opportunity, my intention is to encourage your interest in cultivating a regular spiritual practice in order to consciously develop your own innate spiritual faculties. It is these spiritual faculties which enable us to exercise our spiritual gifts in concert with Infinite Intelligence.
For most of us, until we ourselves undergo a profound experience that is inexplicable to the intellect, it seems impossible to accept that reality far exceeds what we’re able to comprehend with our senses.
I’m reminded of a genial man I saw recently at an outdoor public gathering passing out bumper stickers for “the church of reality”. The motto on his tee-shirt read: “If its real, we believe in it.” We are left to speculate by what process what is real is determined.
I couldn’t help but think of my non-Spiritualist friends and family members, who when I speak of an underlying energy which supports and informs our visible reality, respond with fairly predictable resistance.
Based on my own process of discovery, I’ve attempted to describe ways to overcome total reliance on what is intellectually knowable and measurable and embolden our courage to explore our alternative ways of knowing. For this reason, I continue to search for language which might make awareness of a greater reality more easily understood. I’m delighted, for instance, that physicists are now attempting to comprehend particles that spark in and out of scientifically perceivable existence.
For those who have experienced the blessings of intuition and interior awareness, Spiritualism offers not only reassurance, but a means for the development of those sensitivities from what at first may seem like a liability into the highly regarded and useful spiritual power we call mediumship, through which continuity of life and continuous loving support is repeatedly demonstrated.
In A guide to Mediumship and Psychical Unfoldment, Spiritualist pioneers M.H. and E.W. Wallis state, “The capability claimed for old-time seers and prophets to see angels and hear voices is now known to be a natural faculty, which, in certain people, is perfectly normal . . . [and] . . . can also be cultivated to some degree by most people who care to study the subject and provide the necessary conditions for its development and exercise.”
They continue: “There could be no revelation to man of spiritual truth or moral duty if he were not a spirit possessing the capabilities of receiving and comprehending, of interpreting and applying, the revelations and inspirations which . . . quicken the inner (and higher) self.”
Notice they speak of interpreting and applying. Each morning I start my meditation with a cleansing breath and an affirmation from The Science of Being taught by our founding pastor, the Reverend Florence Becker, which begins, “The Spirit of Infinite Intelligence operates within and through ME. Permeating my being with the power of Right Action.”
It is through revelations and inspirations from within that we learn to perceive this power of right action which already permeates our being.
Spiritualism helps us realize that we are spirit living with a physical brain and body. The true self, our spiritual awareness, emerges into consciousness as we make a habit of incorporating all four aspects of our ways of knowing: 1) our heartfelt emotional awareness; 2) the moral compass of our spiritual ideal; which brings about 3) a heightened body awareness; along with 4) our ordinary reason. For the spirit permeates and activates every aspect of our being—it is in this totality, not through the intellect alone, that we become attuned to our most essential self and in this way brought into harmony with the essential well-being of those we love.
Before going into our sittings, it helps to reassure the intellect that we are not abandoning it and that we deeply appreciate it as an essential tool in navigating this world of the senses. Also, lovingly yet firmly clarify that it can by no means exercise control over your spirit and has to take its rightful place along with your other tools for knowing. The intellect, for example, cannot tell you what you most value, or explain why one experience has more meaning for you than another.
We are not asked to discard reason. When we sit for our spiritual practice, we are simply going within for a limited period of time to establish our connection with a “higher form of reasoning”, a process of inquiry into truth which acknowledges the expression of spirit through the physical and consciously includes what can be perceived from within.
I’m convinced combining the accumulated wisdom of Spiritualism with our own daily practice of prayer, concentration and meditation, is the surest and safest way for each of us to enter into harmony with the highest and best and to achieve a higher level of “right action”.
What is “Right Action” and how can we recognize it?
Implicit in the Buddhist idea of Right Action are: 1) respect for the life of all beings and a desire for their welfare; 2) respect for the property and possessions of others and 3) faithfulness and respect for the feelings of others.
The Biblical Ten Commandments provide another basic guide.
The Wallis’ write: “No one is or can be wholly independent. We inevitably attract congenial unseen influences, and become related to people in or out of the body, acting upon them psychically and in turn responding to their thoughts and influence. . . we should be aware . . . that we may take steps to guard ourselves against the intrusion into our thought-life of injurious influences, and at the same time determine to become factors for good by the intelligent exercise of our influence over others.”
Part of our development as Spiritualists is establishing the habit of testing any information which purports to guide us. Long-established principles of right action, such as the Ten Commandments, need to be taken seriously. If by the law of attraction, we find ourselves vibrating in harmony with impulses of covetousness or fear or hatred in conflict with these basic tenets of right action, it is a call to seek a higher more pervasive truth.
The Reverend Florence Becker taught that by repressing whatever agitations beset us, we do not meet them, and:
Inaction is not Right Action
We can learn through practice to face our adversities and release negative energy into a different channel to achieve a state of balance. In her words: “By mental effort backed by will you divert the disturbing influence into Calmness.”
Negative feelings—of grief, anger, fear, stress and frustration, when they arise, are a signal to become receptive, for they indicate a need for more information. The ongoing practice of receptivity permits the light from spirit to enter our imaginations.
According to Spiritualist Harry Boddington, the essentials to clear clairvoyance include self-control; absence of fear or emotion; lively interest in what is seen, with detachment from all other interests; and the calm formulation of a question.
Clearly state the issue. THEN LISTEN. Put your trust in Infinite Intelligence to guide you.
Positive feelings—of appreciation, love, joy, gratitude, and a clear image of an ideal outcome are your signal to take action in the physical world.
The answer may be completely unexpected. A true spiritual message often brings an element of surprise.
I wish to stress that however helpful it may be to pray or go inward on special occasions to resolve specific problems, it is far more useful to establish a daily practice that gradually polishes our mirror of sight into the higher realms where value, meaning and purpose reside. In a time of emergency, it is more helpful to have already overcome and resolved issues of intellectual ego control, to have gradually established a relationship of cooperation with the higher self, and developed a sense of trust that you and your spirit friends are at one in seeking the highest good for all concerned.
A testimonial is fresh in my mind:
My husband, Carlton, who just celebrated his 79th birthday, spent most of September motoring with me in the spectacular landscape of the “4 corners” area where the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah meet. We visited parks and museums, toured ruins left by ancestors of the peoples of the present Pueblo Indian tribes, and visited several of today’s Hopi, Zuni, and Navajo villages. Much of this land is at a comparatively high altitude. In part due to the altitude, by the third week, my husband seemed to be losing enthusiasm for hiking into more ruins. He was also dealing with the effects of a new medication he was prescribed just before we left on our trip. It had made him a little dizzy, so he stopped taking it. These factors came together on our way home. Apparently, he’d decided to take that medication again on the morning of a day we’d agreed to drive an hour or so before getting breakfast. At daylight we were on highway 50 in Northern Nevada, known as the “loneliest highway in America.” Carlton said he was cold, so I turned on the car heater. Then, abruptly, he said he was feeling dizzy and asked me to pull over. There was no shoulder, just a fairly short sharp drop into the desert. I asked him to hold on, I’d look for a place to pull off. Very soon, he again asked me to pull over. I was still driving on, looking for a likely place, when I noticed his head dropped back next to me beside his headrest. His eyes were rolled up, his mouth gaping open. I instantly pulled off the road at whatever sharp angle and stopped the car. I turned to him, speaking gently, put my right hand at the back of his head and felt with my left hand down across his face, neck and chest. There was no sign of breathing or any awareness.
I turned back toward the front of the car. I have to admit my first thought, far from spiritual, was, am I going to have to drive a corpse across the desert?
At this point the results of my years of meditation practice and my daily affirmations of right action automatically kicked in. Relatively calmly, without hysteria, I asked silently, what am I going to do? To be honest, I didn’t have the wit to direct my question to God or consciously call in my spirit band, but I think because it is part of my life to ask for guidance and try my best to attune to the highest response, I received immediate and forceful guidance to do what I would never have thought to do or considered doing:
Instantaneously, I turned toward Carlton and with both fists pounded him soundly on his chest several times while yelling, “Breathe! Breathe!”
He snapped out of it, put his head down, undid his seat belt, opened the door and stepped out of the car for fresh air.
When we got to the next town, I stopped at a medical clinic with a wooden front porch. Carlton lay down there on the porch while I called 911. It turned out the ambulance barn was directly across the street from the café I called from, so I was able to flag down the driver. By this time, Carlton was on his feet and able to walk into the ambulance barn office for a check on his blood-pressure. He was judged fit enough to get some breakfast and drive on to Reno for a more thorough check-up at the Veteran’s hospital.
I’ve told this story several times, to the doctors and to friends and family. There are some who consider themselves realists who assume that Carlton’s heart never stopped, so nothing really happened. Yet I’ve noticed it is the doctors who’ve taken my story the most seriously.
The doctor at the Veteran’s hospital asked me if I was a nurse, which surprised me, as I’d in fact had no idea what to do. My doctor friend, anticipating that part of the story, asked, so, did you hit him on the chest? I’ve learned since from a trained ambulance medic, that if a person can be reached within two minutes, a sharp blow to the chest is the way to re-start a stopped heart.
I cannot prove to anyone that spirit had a hand in saving my husband’s life. I am convinced. And I am deeply grateful.