William James Post-lude

I finished the book \”Varieties of Religious Experience\” by William James.

I finished my Sunday workout: 97 minutes of exercise equipment in my one bedroom apartment, and then an 11 mile run in the park. I ran in 36F temps with a strong east wind. As I type now, there is a light snow falling but it won\’t really amount to anything.

You may have noticed that while I was reading James, I quietly put down \”A Course in Miracles.\” Next to look at is several articles by Paul Brunton and \”Metaphysics\” by Aristotle.

At work, I may be in transition or maybe not. I interviewed for a promotion on Friday. The interview went well, but there are forces in the company beyond my control. And so here is the rub, the spiritual connection.

I am dependent on a higher consciousness (to which I don\’t have direct access) to work out the so-called \”luck\” or favoritism for me to get the promotion. I believe in the presence of the higher consciousness. My life seems to go better when I think my life is not my own but belongs to it. This moment in my history could be the end of a trail of delusions which I call spirituality. However, I don\’t believe I will turn off my faith. I can\’t control the volume of the higher consciousness\’s voice speaking quietly (if at all). The best I can do is maintain interior silence, listen to the silence, and then suit up and show up for my exterior life.

Life is either a blessing or a curse. I get the blessing if I put faith in my spiritual delusion and not the world.

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A Little Story About Higher Help

My higher power is so freak\’en subtle. Its as annoying as hell to live on intuition and not bright lights and bongos.

Last night and this morning, it seemed as if I was under out and out defeat; melancholy at its finest. God will never come. I don\’t know \”Why not me?\” I\’m doomed to be a rationalist; the wrong sort of disposition for spiritual flight.

I was up very early today, because I dread Monday morning of spring daylight savings. This year I go to work at 6 am and have been getting up at 3:20. So I am determined to get up early again tomorrow so I\’ll go to sleep on time Sunday night.

But, be that as it may, I am also cutting back on my running a bit since I have a race next Friday. After my depressing spiritual study, I worked out for 90 minutes on the ex-machines and then I went to the park for a 3 hour run. After that, I ate and wondered how I would spend the afternoon as it was only 1 pm. How does one spend the afternoon in solitude if there is not God to spend it with? I decided to meditate for a good long time, which also included a nap. I laid with my eyes shut and merely imagined light, thinking the prayer \”Father.\”

After like an hour and a half, I commenced to reading my current book:

Varieties of Religious Experience, William James.
This book originally came to my attention more than 25 years ago when I was new in Alcoholics Anonymous. but had never read it. After getting kicked out of the monastery, it was one of the books I deemed important to re-populate my shelves with, but again never read it; until now. Today, as I was reading, I got the answer to my conundrum about whether God is helping me and how to access that help. If you are in AA, you should recognize how strikingly similar the following passages are to AA\’s Big Book; and so I know Bill Wilson did not write the book up out of the blue but wrote it based on earlier published spiritual material.

If there is one thing I \”religiously\” do, it is to turn inward for intuitive thoughts. If there is one thing that brings me relief from my melancholy, it is to turn my life over to God. I believe that reading these paragraphs just at this particular time is God\’s answer to my prayers for knowledge of his presence in my life; that I am not the ignored child.

So:

What is God (97)?
The great central fact of the universe is that spirit of infinite life and power that is back of all, that manifests itself in and through all. This spirit of infinite life and power that is back of all is what I call God. … God then fills the universe alone, so that all is from Him and in Him, and there is nothing that is outside. He is the life of our life, our very life itself. We are partakers of the life of God; and though we differ from Him in that we are individualized spirits, while He is the infinite Spirit, including us, as well as all else beside, yet in essence the life of God and the life of man are identically the same, and so are one. They differ not in essence or quality; they differ in degree.” “ The great central fact in human life is the coming into a conscious vital realization of our oneness with this Infinite Life, and the opening of ourselves fully to this divine inflow. In just the degree that we comes into a conscious realization of our oneness with the Infinite Life, and open ourselves to this divine inflow, do we actualize in ourselves the qualities and powers of the Infinite Life, do we make ourselves channels through which the Infinite Intelligence and Power can work. In just the degree in which you realize your oneness with infinite Spirit, you will exchange…inharmony for harmony…. To recognize our own divinity, and our intimate relation to the Universal, is to attach the belts of our machinery to the powerhouse of the Universe. One need remain in hell no longer that one chooses to; we can rise to any heaven we ourselves choose; and when we choose so to rise, all the higher powers of the Universe combine to help us heavenward.”

To access this God (98):
“I think that the one thing which impressed me most was learning the fact that we must be in absolutely constant relation or mental touch (…) with that essence of life which permeates all and which we call God. This is almost unrecognizable unless we live it into ourselves actually, that is, by a constant turning to the very innermost, deepest consciousness of our real selves or of God in us, for illumination from within, just as we turn to the sun for light, warmth and invigoration without. When you do this consciously, realizing that to turn inward to the light within you is to live in the presence of God or your divine self, you soon discover the unreality of the objects to which you have hitherto been turning and which have engrossed you without.” “…That which we usually make the object of life, those outer things we are all so wildly seeking, which we so often live and die for, but which do not give us peace and happiness, they should all come of themselves as accessory, and as the mere outcome or natural result of a far higher life sunk in the bosom of the spirit. This life is the real seeking of the kingdom of God, the desire for his supremacy in our hearts, so that all else comes as “added unto you…” and yet it is proof of the reality of the perfect poise in the very centre of our being.” And “There is nothing but God; I am created by Him and am absolutely dependent upon Him…

Religion

Leadership
High Performance Culture
Innovation
Facilitation
Creative Thinking
Breakthru Thinking
Mindful Matters
Change

Is this just a list of industry buzz words?

I seriously love these concepts. I love them in spiritual terms. I love them in terms of character description. They might play into my personal religion. They infuse me with power and inspire me to pour energy into my projects. It is the concept behind the words which drives me to go above and beyond. In that sense, these words represent my God.

Do I have a dearth or abundance of spiritual experience? I find the answer to my experience of life in William James (see below). I have spent my life dancing or posturing or fighting or loving an inner idea which I can\’t quite make mine.

The more I learn about our so-called God, the more I think my problem is that I want what someone else says they have.

More from William James and The Varieties of Religious Experience:
\”Churches when once established live at secondhand upon tradition; but the founders of every church owed their power originally to the fact of their direct personal communion with the divine….so personal religion should still seem the primordial thing. (38)\”

\”Religion….shall mean for us the feelings, acts and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in the relation to whatever they may consider the divine. (39)\”

\”Religion, whatever it is is a man\’s total reaction upon life…total reactions are different from casual…To get at them, you must go behind the foreground of existence and reach down to that curious sense of the whole residual cosmos as an everlasting presence, intimate or alien, terrible or amusing, lovable or odious, which in some degree everyone possesses. This sense of the world\’s presence, appealing as it does to our peculiar individual temperament, makes us strenuous or careless, devout or blasphemous, gloomy or exultant, about life at large; and our reaction, involuntary and inarticulate and often half unconscious as it is, is the completest of all our answers to the question, \”What is the character of the universe in which we dwell?\” (42)\”