Finding Contentment When Momentary happiness Isn‘t Enough - July 7, 2015
“Most of our life is spent seeking momentary happiness” says author Neil Clark Warren in his book Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness Isn’t Enough (p.6). I will be using this idea to look at what true happiness is and how we can find it in this modern world.
If you consider this statement closely you will probably admit that at some level of consciousness the is true, In our lifetime we devote years achieving momentary happiness, yet all the enlightened teachers inform us that this constant seeking of momentary happiness cannot provide the soul satisfaction we long for as human beings. The cry goes out for fulfillment-“I can’t get no satisfaction.” This is so prevalent in our culture and society that Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones made music history in their interpretation of “satisfaction” and its illusiveness. No matter how much, sex, drugs, rock and roll and materialism cry for our attention, from the “Baby Boomer” generation, these themes failed to satisfy us in the long run. We were somewhat successful in finding momentary happiness yet it was fleeting and like clouds in the sky ever changing.
So “Is that all there is?” as Peggy Lee sang in the song written by P. J. Harvey? In that song she sings about momentary happiness and the inner drive and desire for something more even though she despairs that she will ever find it. Her response is a classic of the 1960’s “If that’s all there is let’s keep dancing, let’s break out the booze and have a ball, if that’s all there is.”
However, that is “not” all there is to living. There is much, much more to be experienced and discovered. Others say in many different ways and with many methods for adding that missing “aspect” to a life that has been lived for the rush of momentary happiness.
Now there is nothing wrong with happiness, joy, and love but in reality they are emotions and emotions are like jet planes at an airport. They come and go in and out of our lives. Some bring happiness and others bring sadness. The question that I would like you to consider is this: Is there another approach to living that can bring peace, love, joy and harmony?
Many enlightened persons say that there is and they have established methods and guidelines for life fulfillment. Most of us who are over sixty have been exposed to their ideas through the counter culture experience and have tried to incorporate some of them into our lives with various results. I have explored paths of transformation from the western occidental and eastern oriental traditions. They all have been of value to me on my journey of transformation. I was first introduced to form and ritual and then later to the mystical aspects and finally into the levels of Mastery and Seership. It was at the highest levels that I was able to attain a form of integration with the Absolute Oneness, the all creative energy of life. I learned how to integrate these experiences into my everyday life. The common structure for me has been three fold and will be the subject of my articles for the next year.
I have been keeping a personal journal since 1980 for my own reflection and consideration. That would be thirty-five years. Now since I am retired and have the time available I am willing to share my reflections with others.
In the study of comparative religion it has been observed that all major religious groups have a form of these three practices. They intertwine and produce a three-fold cord which is very strong and resilient to the so called adversities of living.
These three practices are: contemplation, meditation, and spiritual formation. In the coming weeks we will look at each of them and how they can be of benefit to us as we travel on our “Journey of Self-Discovery.”
So I hope you are excited by the possibilities that await you for your own benefit, spiritual growth and development.
One last point I would like to make is that this journey moves in two directions. It is a journey inward and a journey outward. The experience of using what is discovered in one direction enhances what is discovered in the other direction. If you have read the biographies of the enlightened teachers you will see that they traveled in the same directions. So may you have happy travels on your journey of Self-discovery. More to come in my next article.
Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness is Not Enough.
Contemplation July 15, 2015
Who am I ? What am I doing here ? Where am I going? What is my purpose? These questions of ultimate concern have been the subject of contemplation for people throughout the ages. The ability to contemplate resides within all persons even though they may not have fully developed it.
Contemplation is a method by which we can awaken our awareness to a realization of the Ultimate Reality, the Source of all that exists. This simple process begins with awareness of the question that comes into our consciousness. The process continues when the individual is willing to receive the inspiration that follows the question. Contemplation opens us to a knowing that resides deep within our souls, a sense of union with the Infinite. This knowing comes through the faculty of mental concentration. As the mind focuses upon the Greater Reality that exists within each and every one of us, the answer to the question is revealed. When we receive an inspiration from within, we receive the “Word,” the illuminated idea in our consciousness. That experience has been called by some the “Word of God”.
This simple process of asking and receiving can develop into profound insight and inspiration leading to commitment and action. The ancient philosopher Socrates developed this question and answer method to a very high degree of awareness. Because if this development in his own soul he was asked to educate the elite leadership of Greece. Alexander the Great became one of his students. The Buddha, who used contemplation, taught the realization of Oneness for forty-five years. Jesus of Nazareth was a contemplative and inspired hundreds of people who went out into their world and proclaimed the Gospel of the Kingdom of God that resided within the individual.
All persons have had moments of inspiration but not all persons have entered into the experience of contemplation. The practice of contemplation builds a relationship in Spirit with ourselves, others and God revealed as Ultimate Reality, the ground of all being. We have a light within that can light our path in our life and our relationships. Contemplation is our own individualized realization of that light, that one Ultimate Reality that many of us call God. This realization of our Self and our unity with the Ultimate Reality brings about a centering of our mind and heart in the Oneness that is the Source of all and in all. We begin to live an awakened life and have awakened experiences that guide and direct us.
When we develop our ability to contemplate, we have a high degree of awareness and a greater experience of God as life. It has been said that whoever is led by the Spirit of God, aka Ultimate Reality, are the projection and progression of God in the creative experience called life.
Next week we will look at the practice of meditation on our “Magnificent Journey of Transformation.”
Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness is Not Enough.
The Art and Practice of Meditation July 22, 2015
What does it mean to meditate? Meditation is a proven method by which the body/mind is allowed an opportunity to be in a condition of restfulness so the Inner Light of Spirit can inform and directly inspire the individual. The phrase” Be still and know I am God” is a reference point for those who would develop a meditation practice. Every culture and civilization has a history of the practice of meditation in order to be in tune with the higher centers of consciousness. These centers are in the depth of our being. They are with us from birth to death Consciousness has eternal qualities and exist before our physical birth and will continue beyond our body mind death.
What can we do as individuals to enhance our awareness of the Eternal Infinite Presence which permeates all of creation? This is a profound question and requires that we take time to consider our response. I believe that every person can raise their conscious awareness of Self and God through the practice of meditation.
Consistent daily morning and evening meditation provides the foundational awareness for a Spiritual Life. Those who are willing to commit to such a spiritual practice will fine benefit in increased awareness of awakened states of consciousness. An increased sense of peace, love, joy and harmony will become their every moment experience.
Foundational to an active meditation practice is allowing the body and mind to be participants in the experience of meditation. First, our bodies should be allowed to be at peace, be established in a serene state of restfulness. I have found that sitting upright in a chair to be the most conducive posture for a meditation practice. In this posture the body is well supported and can be comfortable. Second, The mind is focused on a contemplative idea that takes a form of a statement. This becomes the point of focus for the mind. Examples of this type of idea of ideal can be taken from devotional literature, life experience or thoughts within the mind itself.
Some examples are “Peace be unto me”, “I am centered in the awareness of the Ultimate Reality of God”, “All is an expression of the Infinite”, I am aware of the presence of Spirit as my Spirit within.” Working with various ideas and ideals will give you a sense of your own individualized beingness and awareness. In one way it is like the wave being aware that it is part of the ocean, not separate from the ocean but individualized as a wave.
As you sit in the silence allowing your conscious self to relax and reflect, intuition begins to rise within you and you are absorbed into consciousness awareness. The higher state of your own consciousness allows you to become more aware of your inner self and outer experiences you participate in as you live in the external world.
A starting place for meditation would be fifteen minutes in the morning and fifteen minutes in the evening. This would be thirty minutes a day devoted to elevation of your own conscious awareness. The dividend for the investment of your time on your interior life will begin to be demonstrated in your external life. There will come to be a time where you will have clarity of mind and the ability to focus your mind. You will be able to do this with ease and grace. By grace I mean allowing all those ideas and ideals to come forth into your external life experience.
Meditation allows you to begin to see yourself as an individualized expression of the Ultimate Reality which is an expression of your true state of being. Out of this awareness comes peace, love, joy and harmony in proportion to the amount of time you are willing to devote to your meditation practice. From your quiet mind comes your own peacefulness, lovingness, joyfulness and harmonious living. Your Spirit will be liberated and you will become a greater expression of life in the ever present moment.
Next week we look at the idea of Spiritual Formation.
Rev. Sam Bowman
Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness is Not Enough.
Finding Lasting Contentment through Spiritual Formation - July 29, 2015
The purpose of contemplation and meditation is to establish a spiritual practice, which in turn leads to Spiritual Formation.
Some people and groups use the term discipleship as another term for Spiritual Formation. Since this method is individualized we use the term Spiritual Formation because the development of consciousness comes from within the individual. It's a process of integration of body, soul (mind, emotions and will) and spirit (inner most being) through guidance from within.
Through the development of consciousness, aka Spiritual Formation, we find our own selves and the importance of our ideas and ideals, we are directed from within and our living takes on a higher purpose and sense of aliveness. This process provides guidance and direction for our life and our relationship with our life experience. That's what leads to lasting contentment.
For me this journey of awakened self-expression began and continues into this ever present moment which changes through the passing of time but is always in the present, never in the past or in the future. I see my spiritual journey of transformation like a great spiral staircase with in a tower. I started my journey at the ground level when I awoke to the possibility of being Self and God Realized in this lifetime. I became aware of the oneness of the Presence and Power of Ultimate Reality (God) in my life. Periodically as I continued to climb the staircase through the practice of contemplation, meditation and spiritual formation I would reach a balcony that encircled the tower at that particular level. I was able to go out unto the balcony and walk around the entire tower and observe a reality that was an expression of my own experience at that time. After a period of reflection I returned to the inner staircase and continued my upward ascent. On each balcony I experienced a different reality which was an expression of my Spiritual Formation. As long as I continued to make my ascent the tower continued to extend higher and higher. I interpreted this to be an indication of Ultimate Reality that was drawing me up ward and onward.
What I have just described is my inner direction from Spirit or Ultimate Reality. Through this process of Self-discovery, I came to desire to embrace all aspects of my life. The result of Spiritual Formation is the same for all individualized expressions of the Ultimate Reality.
The journey we take is always a journey to a greater realization of ourselves and God. The experiences we have are our own and on the journey we can share them with each other. This is the beauty and glory of being created in the image and likeness of the Ultimate Reality (God).
Although each individualized expression of life is a unique demonstration of the Ultimate Reality there is a common structuring. This structuring reveals the true nature of the individual. It is in the self-realization that the Presence and Power of the Ultimate Reality, sometimes called God, can be revealed to us.
Know this, that like the wave in the ocean you are in possession of all that make up the ocean. You can flow with the currents and explore with the tides any place you desire.
How you choose to find your own contentment is up to you because only you can make the journey, the discoveries and the transformation. All you need resides within you. It is an Inner Active Experience.
If you choose to have assistance on your journey it will be provided for you. You must do the choosing. All I am offering is to be a friend to you on your journey if you desire to have a friend. If not another friend will be provided. We all get along with a little help from our friends. There is another friend that abides in you because this friend is a friend indeed. This friend is your True Self and will always lead you to your highest expression of your Ultimate Reality. Listen, listen to your heart song and you will find your Ultimate Reality and your highest good.
Blessings to you on your journey my friend as you find your own contentment.
Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness is Not Enough.
“The Nature of Conscious Prayer” Being all that you can be. ' by Sam Bowman 08-26-2015
As a young child my mother Adeline Bowman taught my sister Susan and I a simple prayer as many mothers have done. This simple prayer helped me to feel the love and care of God. My mother also taught the meaning of the prayer to us as well. It was her first prayer as a child as well. Mother said that God loved us all so much that he we caring for each child to see that they were safe.
For some people this prayer was not as comforting. The reality of death and suffering in their life was all too real for them. I am now sixty-eight years old and still find comfort from this simple prayer.
“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”
This prayer was the first awakening of my consciousness to the Presence and Power of God. My mother was a person of great faith in God and knew that we would be taken care of while we slept. She was confident that her two young children would be taken care of and would awake at the dawn refreshed and rested.
I want to turn again to discussion of the relationship between are “True Self and God.” One of the most important understandings we can attain is the realization of who we are, our true nature as Spiritual Beings and our relationship with the source of all life, God. This is the subject of this article.
Entering into the awareness of the Presence and Power called God is just the starting point of a never ending journey. With conscious awareness we give expression to an active relationship based upon intimate communication within Spirit. In all Spiritual Traditions the word “prayer” has been used to identify the process of active communication between the individual and the source of all life, God.
Prayer becomes the foundation of this active communication. Out of our awakened being comes the desire to have an awareness of conscious prayer which becomes the source of our good. This total reliance and relaxation is an expression of non-separation between that is the reality between Creator and the creation. It is an acknowledgement of confidence in the ever present moment. This experience becomes a place of peace and confidence. Reality in God teaches us that we do not live in a place of isolation or separation. We live in unity with God as individualized expressions of God’s creative self.
When we acknowledge our true nature and express a sincere desire to experience this awareness manifests through us, in us and as us. We demonstrate Spiritual Enlightenment. The infinite is expressing to and through the finite. We live at a new level of being, one of Eternal Connection with the Infinite. You could say that we are “In Tune with the Infinite.”
There are many examples of individual realization with the Infinite. “The Prayer of Faith” by Hannah More Kohaus, an early New Thought teacher of the 1890”s is one example of conscious prayer.
The Prayer of Faith by Hannah More Kohaus
God is my help in every need; God does my every hunger feed; God walks besides me, guides me way through every moment of the day. I am now wise, I am now true, patient, kind and loving too. All things I am, can do, and be through Christ the Truth that is in me. God is my health, I can’t be sick; God is my strength, unfailing quick: God is my all: I know no fear, since God and love and Truth are here.
Another example of Conscious Prayer is found in the “Invocation” by Charles Fillmore the co-founder of Unity School of Christianity. It is an expression of his Spiritual Unity with God.
“Invocation” by Charles Fillmore
I am now in the presence of Pure Being and immersed in the Holy Spirit of Life, Love and Wisdom. I acknowledge Thy Presence and Thy Power, O blessed Spirit; in Thy Divine Wisdom now erase my mortal limitations and from Thy pure substance of love bring into manifestation my world, according to Thy perfect law.
Both of these persons turned their mental awareness inward and found health, happiness and prosperity in the Presence and Power of God. This abiding faith in God is the strength of the soul and lost is the person who is without it. This is the nature of Conscious Prayer and the basis of a life of Union and Communion with the Spirit of God that resides inside every person.
This experience of prayer is a “Universal Experience”. It is available to all who are willing to be still and know the “truth of their own being.” As you are willing to know and to express this truth of Conscious Prayer you will be set free to live a life of abundant health happiness and prosperity. I want to encourage you begin this very moment to pray from your own awareness. If you feel that you cannot enter this experience ask God to provide it for you.
We are told by the Master Teacher, Jesus, the Christ that God is willing to give the best gifts to those who ask in faith believing in the goodness of God. In conclusion we can strengthen our conscious awareness through our own faith and from this faith have confidence to trust God’s goodness in every moment of our lives. Let this become your way of living and loving and you will truly be free to be all that you can be.
Finding Contentment When Momentary Happiness is Not Enough.
The Mystical Life of God – Sept 9, 2015
When I graduated from Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas on June 6, 1966 we were reminded of the high purpose of life as spoken by Jesus, the Christ, in the Gospel of St. Luke 11:9-10: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be open unto you unto you. For everyone that asks will receive; and they that seek will find: and they that knock the door shall be opened to them.”
High school opened many doors for me. The one that I consider to be the most beneficial was the door to my own understanding of God. In my junior year I was attending the First Southern Baptist Church. Here I accepted God’s call to me to consecrate my life which I was given by God to a higher and greater purpose. I said “Yes to God.” At the time I did not really understand what saying yes would come to mean to me over the over the next fifty-one years, but I was ready and willing to serve and follow the direction God wanted me to go. When I said “Yes” to God, the bond between God and me was established as an everlasting covenant. God called and I choose to answer the call. I consider myself to be very fortunate in finding God’s Grace so early in my life. Others have not been so fortunate.
Those who seek to find what they feel they have lost sometimes give up on looking. They ignore the Mystical Life of God and look outward for their satisfaction. This was my situation. I thought that all the living and life I would ever need was outside of me, out there somewhere to be discovered.
After spending fifteen years seeking the Peace of God by participating in various outward religious practices and behaviors I found a Spiritual Teacher who encouraged me to look within my very own soul. There he said I would find what I was looking for. His name was Joel S. Goldsmith and his approach to finding Peace with God was to go within our very own soul; our mind, emotions and will. When I began to follow Goldsmith’s teachings, I entered the experience of the “Mystical Life of God”
Joel was a person of Jewish heritage who discovered Christian Science, became a Christian Science Practitioner and taught “Science and Health with Keys to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy. He helped others to find health happiness and prosperity. He provided prayer treatment which became his spiritual practice. Joel Goldsmith eventually developed his own method of teaching and called it “The Infinite Way”.
The Infinite Way teaches the Mystical Life of God as all life in every place, all of the time. He taught there is no separation in all creation because God is in all creation expressing its power and presence in the Eternal Now. What appears as sin and separation is a condition in the mind of the individual that believes that sin and separation is possible and with this belief comes the very experience one expects. A mental state creates the physical experience; thus there is a lack of satisfaction in our relationships and experiences.
In the context of the Bible taught metaphysically an answer is provided that awakens the person to the solution to the foundational problem of soul separation. The exclusion of the individual from the knowledge and experience of the Ultimate Reality of God can affect the mind, emotions and will of the person.
The foundational solution to the separation issue is found in developing a reconnection with God through the practice of Meditation in the Silence, Effectual Prayer and Moment by Moment daily living. These practical steps change the consciousness of the individual and they become Self Realized which is the first step in becoming God Realized.
The realization that we are created in the image and likeness of God is a stepping stone to the next logical question. What is God’s nature? We are told that God is Pure Spirit and that as we recognize this we to come to realize we are Pure Spirit created by the intention of God as individual expressions of God. There is no separation in Spiritual Essence, God is expressing in the creation as us. We are an individualized expression of God. We are Spirit Being, having a spiritual experience in a spiritual universe that is a spiritual creation of God. All that is, is formed out of One Substance, God, Pure Spirit.
This awakening experience brings us to the Awareness of the Presence and Power of God, the Good. As our awareness increases we re-establish our knowing of the Truth that all is God in expression. Since an act of conscious will caused mental separation from the One Reality, we can correct the condition by choosing again to deny the illusion of separation and accept Truth that all is God. We awaken in the Ultimate Reality of God the Good. The Journey of Discovery is completed and we now join in gladness in our Unity of Spirit.
This is what the Master Teacher Jesus, the Christ (Anointed of God) taught as the basis of the Kingdom of God. This is his Eternal Reality and it is for his disciples and followers to return to the Oneness of God in the Mystical Union and Communion of Spirit. This experience of Oneness of Spirit is available to all of Creation. As we still our minds in silent meditation, effective prayer and our spiritual practice we can know God, the Good as an experience of our very own being. Oneness through diversity is the order of the entire creation because all comes out of all, to be all!!
Over the past five articles I have written, we have looked at the foundational basis of Unity Inner Active which is a Mystical approach to Spiritual Self and God Realization. We have explored Contemplation, Meditation, Spiritual Formation, Effectual Prayer and the Mystical Life of God. God Life is a revelation of Spirit to the Spiritual nature of all that is in God. In coming into the experience of the Spiritual Kingdom of God we participate in the Spiritual Life of God, the Ultimate Reality.
Jesus, the Christ, spoke about the “Living Water of God” that Spiritual Mystical Water of Life that is within each and everything in God’s creation. It is within you and me and everybody; it is the realization that in Spirit we are in the “Ever Present Moment” of God, the Good. Be encouraged to go within and find your True Self and your Source of all good, God. In God there is Peace, Love, Joy and Harmony. This is available to all persons and when you receive it your life will be transformed by the experience of the One True God.
My prayer for you is that you would have a blessed life in the Goodness of the Spirit of God. This is our nature and it is our destiny to awaken in God Consciousness in the Ever Present Moment.
Blessing to you in God,
Sept 23, 2015 The I that I am – recipe for a new way of seeing
By Sam Bowman
When I was a young boy I remember my mother enjoyed making cakes. The Betty Crocker pre- mixed cake mix had just become available on the grocery store shelf. She explained to me that most of the ingredients to make a cake were in the box. All we would need to do is to add a cup of milk, two eggs and some cooking oil. Then stir it up, put it into a cake pan and into a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes and you have a cake ready to be frosted and served as desert.
Working with intuition and awareness is similar to baking a cake. Just follow the guidance of the spiritual recipe and you can experience a "wonder-full life." The energizing ingredients in the inner life are contemplation, meditation and spiritual direction.
Success in the spiritual life is not about getting what you need it is about using what we already have within us. A spiritual life is lived from the inside out.
I have studied metaphysics since 1980 when I was introduced to The Infinite Way by Joel S. Goldsmith. That book changed my way of thinking and changed my way of living. The principles I found there opened my mind and heart.
Goldsmith introduced me to the idea of One Unified Consciousness expressing in everything and everybody in the manifested universe. At that time this was the greatest frame of reference I could conceive of and has remained my point of view for over thirty-five years.
Here is an example of the idea of One Unified Consciousness from The Infinite Way:
"I am. God is the mind and the life of the individual. There is but one universal ‘I’ whether it is being announced by Jesus, the Christ or John Doe. ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.’ God is the only I and we are the place where God becomes visible. The nature of prayer is not an appeal to God, but rather an actual experience of God."
Thanks to Goldsmith, I came to realize that I am an expression of God and so is everything and everyone else in the universe. My viewpoint became one of a Universalist and I have been one since that realization. God is all there is and all in all.
I realized that God declares, through the thoughts in our minds, the words from our mouths and the meditations in our hearts, what shall be and it is so. The Inner World is the place of intention and creation, the Outer World is the place of demonstration and manifestation.
The innate power of declaration is foundational to those who choose to live a spiritual life. This is the reason denials and affirmations can have such a powerful effect in changing our perceptions and level of conscious awareness.
In Unity this truth has been taught and people have caught the vision of the possible for over 125 years. There have been millions of people who have taken hold of Divine Ideas and used their inspiration to create health, happiness and prosperous living for themselves and others. They have realized the possibilities of Oneness in Body, Mind and Spirit.
We have an opportunity of adjusting our point of focus and seeing from a different point of view, an inward perspective. This change will bring an awareness of what has always resided in our souls; peace, love, joy and harmony. Activity and action in the outer world will be energized from the inner world of spiritual knowledge, understanding and wisdom.
Coming back to the most foundational truth found in the Hebrew Scriptures we are told, "In the beginning God." Genesis 1:1. When we can say this we can know our work is to declare our truth. We are a unique expression of God’s intention to demonstrate "light" in all its possible forms. We are to be the "radiant expression of God" as the teacher of oneness, Walter Starcke said in his book It’s all God."
Everything we do and desire will come to be our experience when we align with the principle, presence and intention of God within. Here’s an example of a "free form" of meditation that can help us to align with God:
This is the day the Lord hath made. I will rejoice in it. The ground on which I stand is "Holy Ground." I am heir and joint heir with Jesus, the Christ to all the "Heavenly Riches." There is one Power, one Cause and I am That. Thank you, God. It is done and so shall it be.
We all live, move and have our being in God. The "I that I am" is directing our minds to that awakened understanding. This illumination binds us together with love. Blessings come from our awareness of the presence of God expressing in, through and as us.
As we follow the recipe provided by our inner guidance, the "I that I am," we move forward in grace.