Unity Metaphysics 1
Lesson 12 Spiritual Evolution
The processes that we engage in as we evolve spiritually enable us to overcome our immaturities, false beliefs, and earthly limitations. God gives all the opportunities we need to be cleansed and purified of all that is not for our highest good or representative of our true nature. Because the Christ mind indwells us, we have an undeniable capacity to be transformed into consciously illumined beings.
In this chapter we will explore some of the ideas inherent in the concept of spiritual evolution and examine ways in which we can experience our spiritual unfoldment through an attitude of non-resistance.
12A SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION:
“Evolution is the result of the development of ideas in mind. What we are is the result of the evolution of our consciousness, and our consciousness is the result of the seed ideas sown in our mind. Therefore spiritual evolution is the unfolding of the spirit of God into expression. It is the development achieved by man working under spiritual law” (Keep a True Lent 165).
We progress in our development as spiritual beings by allowing the spirit of God to be expressed within and through our consciousness. The attainment consciousness is the result of this process, it is not an instant of Christ achievement.
12B THE SECOND BIRTH
“‘…Ye must be born anew…’ was the proclamation of Jesus. The first birth is the human—the self-consciousness of man as an intellectual and physical being; the second birth, the being ‘born anew,’ is the transformation and translation of the human to a higher plane of consciousness as the son of God. The second birth is that in which we ‘put on Christ.’ It is a process of mental adjustment and body transmutation that takes place right here on earth. ‘Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,’ is an epitome of a mental and physical change that may require years to work out. But all men must g o through this change before they can enter into eternal life and be as Jesus Christ is” (Christian Healing 25).
Being “born again” is a phrase which accurately describes the significant change we undergo when we commit ourselves to living spiritually-oriented lives. We feel brand new and we express ourselves in productive and fulfilling ways. We are “born again” each time we consciously dedicate ourselves to living a God-centered life. In other words, the “second birth” is not an event, but an ongoing process of spiritual unfoldment.
“The crossing out in consciousness of errors that have become fixed states of mind...” (RW/Crucifixion).
“Having once seen Truth, having once had the illumination, you find that the next step is to demonstrate it and not to be cast down or discouraged by the opposite. When the crucifixion comes and you are suffering the pangs of dying error, you may cry out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsake me?’ forgetting for the time the promises in the mount of Transfiguration. This is when you need to realize that you are passing through a transforming process that will be followed be a resurrection of all that is worth saving” (Atom-Smashing Power of Mind 155).
Crucifixion is an experience in which we let go of some cherished aspect of our personality or of our personal life as we have known it in order to unfold more of our spiritual potential. It usually feels very painful to us, even if we recognize how necessary it is to go through it.
“Chemicalization—A condition in the mind that is brought about by the conflict that takes place when a high spiritual realization contact an old error state of consciousness... whenever a new spiritual idea is introduced into the mind some negative belief is disturbed. It resists. With this resistance comes more or less commotion in the consciousness… This can be greatly modified or eliminated by putting the mind in divine order through denial” (RW/Chemicalization).
Chemicalization is the experience of inner conflict and upheaval which occurs when aspect s of our consciousness seem to resist the transformation process. We must remember, in these difficult times, that these elements of our current life are coming to our attention in such undeniable ways because they need to be healed. When chemicalization take s place, we have a wonderful opportunity to let our Christ mind strengthen and restore us. If we meet our challenges with a nonresistant attitude and accept them as part of our growth process, we will feel more comfortable with the aspect of spiritual evolution that involves letting go of old thought patterns.
“‘Agree with thine adversary quickly,’ remembering that the adversary is not the person or situation that stands before you, but your reaction to or feeling about it. It has been said, 'Things may happen around you, and things may happen to you, but the only things that really count are the things that happen in you.’ We can’t always control what happens to us. But we can control what we think about what happens - and what we are thinking is our life at any particular moment” (Discover the Power Within You 87).
“To have a good and rich life does not mean being set free from worldly experiences. It means having dominion and authority over them” (Sue Sikking Letter to Adam 157).
The only “adversary” to our spiritual evolution is to be found within our own consciousness. If we accept instead of fight the processes which are necessary for our growth, we will be able to proceed with poise and inner peace. Our attitude of nonresistance will enable us to meet all challenges victoriously.
“The restoring of mind and body to their original, undying state. This is accomplished by the realization that God is Spirit and that God created man with power like that which He Himself possesses. When man realizes this, his mind and body automatically become immortal… The resurrection takes place in us every time we rise to Jesus’ realization of the perpetual indwelling life that is connecting us with the Father. A new flood of life to all who open their minds and their bodies to the living word of God” (RW/Resurrection).
Resurrection follows crucifixion and is an ongoing experience in our spiritual unfoldment. It is evidence of our having overcome our belief in lack and limitation through spiritual mastery. Each effort with the attention directed toward God produces a new resurrection experience, new energies, truer thoughts, purer emotions, and happier attitudes. These are all evidence of the resurrection taking place in our consciousness.
“A change in which abundant spiritual life, even eternal life, is incorporated into the body. The transformation that takes place through bringing all the forces of mind and body to the support of the Christ ideal. The unification of Spirit, soul and body in spiritual oneness” (RW/Regeneration).
“As the mind changes from error to Truth, corresponding changes take place in the body, and the ultimate of these changes is perfection and wholeness in every part” (Keep a True Lent 96).
Regeneration is the process which begins in consciousness and results in the transformation of our temporal, physical bodies into eternal spiritual bodies filled with pure life energy. This aspect of the transformation process enables us to realize wholeness on all levels of our being.
“When a soul leaves the body, it rests for a season. Then innate desire for material expression asserts itself, and the ego seeks the primal cell and, builds another body. This is reincarnation. Reincarnation will continue until the ego awakens to the Christ mind and through it builds an imperishable body… But reincarnation is not a part of the divine plan and does not lift man out of mortal limitations. It is not an aid to spiritual growth, but merely a makeshift until full Truth is discerned” (RW/Reincarnation).
“A new soul is not created with every physical birth. A physical birth simply means that a soul is taking on another body. Every man inhabiting this earth and the psychic realms immediately surrounding it has gone through this process of dying and being reincarnated many times” (The Twelve Powers of Man 138).
“To give men opportunity to get the full benefit of salvation, life is necessary, and a body through which to express life is also necessary. So, when man loses his body by death, the law of expression works within him for re-embodiment, and he takes advantage of the Adam method generation to regain a body. Divine mercy permits this process in order that man may have further opportunity to demonstrate Christ life” (Keep a True Lent 93).
Although belief in reincarnation is not necessary for Unity students, there is a spiritual principle involved in this concept which is worthy of our consideration. Reincarnation is the process by which we have opportunity for successive experiences of embodiment on the earth. We are given all I the lifetimes we need in order to develop our spiritual awareness and to demonstrate our divine nature. Reincarnation is a provision of God's limitless love and wisdom for us in our process of spiritual evolution.
12I OUR PROCESS:
“Step by step, thought added to thought, spiritual emotion added to spiritual emotion—eventually the transformation is complete. It does not come in a day, but every high impulse, every pure thought, every upward desire adds to the exaltation and gradual personification of the divine in man and to the transformation of the human” (Atom-Smashing Power of Mind 124).
Spiritual mastery is not accomplished in one realization or one affirmation. It is a process. Our devotion to incorporating truth ideas into every aspect of our lives enables this process to occur in divine order.
12J OUR GOAL:
“Unspeakable joy, glory, and eternal life are promised to those who with unselfish devotion strive to develop the Son of God consciousness” (The Twelve Powers of Man 6).
The desire to unfold our spiritual potential contains within it the promise (assurance) of fulfillment. Our wholehearted investment in this process of spiritual evolution will result in our experiencing rich and wondrous blessings.
SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION IS THE UNFOLDMENT OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD INTO MANIFESTATION THROUGH OUR CONSCIOUSNESS.
IN UNITY BEING “BORN AGAIN” REFERS TO A CONTINUAL PROCESS OF COMMITMENT AND REDEDICATION TO OUR SPIRITUAL UNFOLDMENT.
CRUCIFIXION REFER S TO THE INNER CONFLICT AND UPHEAVAL THAT OFTEN OCCURS IN CONSCIOUSNESS WHEN WE RESIST LETTING GO OF OUR OLD WAYS OF THINKING.
NONRESISTANCE IS THE ATTITUDE OF POISE AND INNER PEACE THAT IS ACHIEVED WHEN WE REALIZE AND EXERCISE SPIRITUAL DOMINION OVER LIFE’S EXPERIENCES.
RESURRECTION IS THE EVIDENCE OF OUR HAVING OVERCOME OUR BELIEF IN LACK AND LIMITATION THROUGH SPIRITUAL MASTERY. THE CRUCIFIXION/RESURRECTION EXPERIENCE IS AN ONGOING PROCESS.
REGENERATION IS THE CONSCIOUS EXPERIENCE OF ONENESS AND WHOLENESS IN SPIRIT, SOUL, AND BODY.
REINCARNATION IS THE PROCESS BY WHICH HUMANKIND MAY EXPERIENCE SUCCESSIVE EMBODIMENTS ON THE EARTH PLANE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOUL UNFOLDMENT.
OUR DESIRE TO UNFOLD OUR SPIRITUAL POTENTIAL CONTAINS WITHIN IT THE PROMISE OF FULFILLMENT.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
- Describe your understanding of spiritual evolution,
- What does it mean to you to be “born again?”
- Share a time in your life when you had a “crucifixion and resurrection” experience. What did you learn from this experience?
THOUGHTS FOR REFLECTION AND MEDITATION
“We must meet the experiences of life
with the knowledge and understanding of their part in life.
To do this is to have power over the events of life.
We cannot stay in any place and say:
‘Here is where I want to be.
I don’t want anything else to happen to me.
I want to be away from the fret and worry of common life.
I want to stay on this high mountain, or in this ivory tower.’
This isn’t the way life is.
This isn’t the way to happiness or contentment.
Strange as it may seem,
happiness, joy, contentment and victory
belong to the overcomer”
(Sue Sikking Letter to Adam 160).
Shanklin, Imelda, What Are You? chapter 6 and 9, “Your Objective”, “Nonresistance.”
Butterworth, Eric, Discover the Power Within You, chapter 8, “The Law of Nonresistance.”
Transcribed by Rev. Evan Coleman on November 11, 2017.
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