To live simply is to exist within the basic needs we all have. Food and shelter is required. Spirit messengers add to this list – family and study. Family, because we are born into the world with support. A structure that is usually designed to mold us into better people, before the character of our past lives begin to intrude during our late teens. And study, because we are put on earth to acquire the attributes we sorely need and to break down the flaws in our personality. Read More.
It’s hard sometimes to keep up the discipline to truly improve in this life. One has to release the material pull of the newest goods for sale, lower the priority to make and save money. And even more difficult is to train our thoughts, so we remain positive, support colleagues at work, refrain from gossip. The hardest part for me is to tone done my sarcasm and my self-pride.
I have read where we are rewarded one hundredfold for any sacrifice we make while on earth and I know the powers of a high spirit are such that no one in their right mind would wish for someone at my level to possess a force without successfully finishing my training. Even with those wonderful objectives in mind, I still get weak and self-pitying at times.
Also, I realize I should be loving, charitable, and fraternal without any promised reward whatsoever. But I am weak and thinking of a goal in the future helps me motivate myself.
So when I read a passage in Francisco (Chico) C. Xavier’s book, And Life Goes On, it intrigued me. The main characters in the book are at a temple in a celestial city. Many if not most of the audience are recent arrivals and are in the process of getting acquainted with the spirit realm. A spirit is giving a lecture of what it means for those who have just left their body.
Here is part of his speech;
“Do not deceive yourselves!
Just as was the case for we who have inhabited the spirit realm for many decades, you have brought here only what you made of yourselves … You have learned what you studied, you show what you did, you possess what you gave away!
In short, after having crossed the Great Boundary, we are simply what we are!
Thus, you will realize day by day in this place of blessed reality that all the disguises that used to hide our true individuality in the world are erased naturally, exposing our inner realm.
Without the constraints of the body, each spirit reveals who it really is.
In the ancestral home of the soul, we mechanically imprint our attitudes and words with sentiments and thoughts that are particular to us; we can no longer fake it.” [And Life Goes On, 2009, pp. 95-96]
In short, we are what we are inside, the thoughts that stream around our mind as we walk through life. Whereas, on earth, we are able to conceal our inner meanness toward others, as a spirit everything is revealed. Hence, working on our thoughts is an important step.
What comes next, is a hint at a future that I have not noticed before:
“Displaying everything we are and everything we have in the recesses of our being, the time for judgment has arrived, because the Divine Mercy of the Lord still offers to us, as in other colonies in the spirit world, this city-home as the antechamber for study and service. It gives us the invaluable potential to prepare our ascension to the Greater Life, in whose provinces we will apply ourselves in the acquisition of as-yet indescribable aptitudes as we continue the blessed struggle for our spiritual growth.”[And Life Goes On, 2009, p. 96]
The underling is mine. What are these “as-yet indescribable aptitudes”, what super powers could be waiting for us in our future. Who knows, as we improve ourselves, what will be given so that we may be a force for good.
Read my book, Explore Your Destiny – Since Your Life Path is (mostly) Predetermined, to learn more about the spirit world and what awaits us. What lies ahead in spirit worlds higher than ours. It is a universe, that someday all of us will be able to discover first hand.
There is an interesting article at The Gospel Coalition about why Christianity grew. It holds some lessons for Spiritism. After all, one of the tenets of Spiritism is to return to the days when Christian churches served its members.
Here is the list:
“1. Christianity drew from the worldly, accommodated religious communities of the time. It is hardest to find converts among the serious religious, easiest to get them from those who are most secular or nominal in their commitment.
2. Christianity probably drew its converts, in large part, from the upper class. Privileged classes tend to be the most skeptical about God and most unaffiliated. Thus there are more of them to be won to new religions. If, that is, they are dissatisfied with what they have found in the world.
3. Christianity spread because the Christians cared for each other in times of sickness and disease. Their communal compassion both staved off death and served as an example to outsiders of the transforming power of the Christian faith.
4. The first Christians also cared for outsiders, which won them a hearing with unbelievers.
5. Women were honored in Christianity. Baby girls were not killed. Females of all ages were to be protected. Husbands, not just wives, were expected to be chaste.
6. Christians had more babies than non-Christians, and abortions were considered anathema. The early Christians simply out-birthed the pagans.
7. Christianity grew when it remained an “open network” with connections into the lives of non-Christians.
8. Christians were over-represented in cities, which made them more influential than their numbers because culture tends to flow from cities to the countryside.
9. Christianity gave much needed dignity to human beings. They welcomed strangers, provided community, and offered a refuge from a brutal world.
10. Christian martyrs galvanized and inspired the faith of the early Christians.
11. Christianity in the first few centuries required great sacrifice and entailed a significant stigma. This process of sacrifice and stigma scared off free-riders and made Christianity a more virulent, vibrant faith.
12. Membership in the church was “expensive” and a “bargain” at the same time. That is, following Christ cost you something, but by becoming a Christian you also gained physical support, relational attachments, and shared emotional satisfaction with other believers.
13. Christianity promised rewards to its followers, the reward of being virtuous and the reward of eternal life.” [location of article]
Food for thought. I particularly like the last two. Isn’t this is what Spiritism is all about. The Doctrine could be considered “expensive” because it entails the de-prioritization of your material side while the “bargain” is supplying you a foundation to handle life’s vicissitudes with greater understanding, since you realize the process by which we are assigned each life. The reward is to know how to climb the path to become a pure spirit
“To a good man happiness in this world is of no importance, and no reality. This is not our home. A good man can find happiness only in God and in the contemplation of Him, even in this world. Even then, it is a happiness over-laid with sadness, for the soul cannot truly be happy separated by its flesh from its God.” [Taylor Caldwell, 1968 3rd edition, p. 80]
The passage above, was told to Cicero by his father, who in one paragraph explains the feeling of our existence on earth.
In our physical forms we are only capable of fleeting moments of real joy or happiness. It is extremely difficult to maintain a constant positive outlook, much less a high level of love and contentment.
I believe this is deliberate. We are meant to be here to work and learn. Our true reward is back home in the spirit world. Where we shall be enveloped in joy when we once more see our friends and family.
Not to say, we shouldn’t seek out moments of happiness and feel the warmth of satisfaction with our families, just that for some of us, less advanced, less sure of ourselves, this is a complex task.
Why am I reading this book? Because in a lecture by Geraldo Lemos Neto, he said that the book was reputed to have actually been psychographed, but the author felt that at the time, in 1965, no one would believe her. Although the concept of psychographing a book was accepted in Brazil during the sixties, in the United States, it would have been a new concept and Taylor’s book would. Most likely, not have been successful.
It may be my imagination, but the prose reminds me of Emmanuel’s writing. Or it could just be that now I deliberately look for Spiritist concepts in everything I read, hence I find similarities in different Spiritist influenced books.
“Our rational ability is opened at the first level by means of civic truths, at the second by moral truths, and at the third level by spiritual truths.”
He goes on to say, that knowing the truths is not enough, you must live them. Not only live them, but spiritually love them.
Civic Truths – Love what is fair and equitable.
Moral Truths – Love what is honest and upright.
Spiritual Truths – Love what is good and true in regard to heaven and the church.
Swedenborg extols us to not love them because they make us feel better or superior to our fellow humans, but because of our affection for the truths. Truths that become part of our conscience, embedded in us so we may retain these feelings in subsequent lives and build upon them.
There are certainly advantages to possessing money. The ability to work at what you desire, buy needed materials goods, be more charitable, all quite reasonable and no impediment for being a good Spiritist. On the other hand, part of our experiences to improve ourselves is how we react to varied circumstances. One of them is living a materialistically simple life.
In the book, The Messengers, by the Spirit author Andre Luiz, psychographed by Francisco C. Xavier, there is a Spiritual center in Brazil, run by a widowed mother and three children, two girls and one boy. After her husband’s death, life was difficult, and the added hardship of maintaining the Spiritual outpost was not easy to manage. The mother, Isabel, tried to explain the situation and that they should be grateful for what they have, the middle girl responded that the whole family should be grateful to God for what they have. Then Isabel said;
“You’re so right,” Isabel answered with a bright smile,”We should never complain, but be grateful for whatever our destiny gives us. And, you know, Mary, you probably wouldn’t understand the situation this clearly if you always had everything you wanted all the time.” [The Messengers, p 156]
How true! If we get everything we ever want, how will we ever learn about disappointments? How will we learn the value of a good earned by hard labor? Where will our pride be in ourselves if we don’t exert for what we desire? Required lessons for all of us.
The girl asked, “Mom, what’s your understanding of being poor?”
Isabel remained calm, “I think that times of difficulty can be one of the best opportunities we have to acquire good spiritual qualities. A rich person may have a very important job to do on Earth, but I really think the working people, besides their regular missions in life, are freer and happier. In tough times, it is much easier to find true friends, to realize Providence’s assistance, to see the beauty and to feel happiness in simple things. Of course, when I’m talking about the poor. I realize there are those who are very lazy or ungrateful. I’m talking about the hardworking poor of this world.” [The Messengers, pp. 156-157]
How many of us, have looked at the people who are living a simpler life, who have somehow escaped from the treadmill of incurring great debt to maintain a lifestyle that is expected of us, and not thought, couldn’t this be a better way of life? Instead of working to live, driven by an ever-increasing demand for material possessions, try to downsize, put your paying job in perspective, and think about your spiritual health.
Of course, this is much easier said than done. Whom am I to write this, after all I am still working a 9-5 job. I am attempting to not buy anything on credit, pay-off what bills I do have and attempting to break the habit of buying things to reward myself. Not enough, but little baby steps are possible, if you keep at it.
Spiritism was brought to us to unite of religions to send the message that we should realize that our life on earth is a classroom and that we are graded in our performance. Our ability to learn to love, be charitable, fraternal and honest in our daily life.
To achieve all of these goals, we must not allow ourselves to be slaves to the material world. Here are sayings that support the simple life from four religions.
Jesus – Jesus sent out his disciples saying, “Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts. Take no bag, no staff, no sandals, nor a second tunic – for the laborer is worth his food.” (The Gospel According to Mark)
Krishna – With a heart unattached to the outer world, those who seek Me find joy and happiness. (The Bhagavad Gita)
Buddha – A bird, wherever it goes, is happy because it is free of burdens. The monk who travels is happy with a single set of robes and a bowl for his daily food. He goes here and there, taking with him only the bare necessities. (The Khuddaka Patha Sutra)
To understand how one should live within the loving boundaries of our spirit benefactors, I suggest you read the book, 7 Tenets of Spiritism – How They Impact Your Daily Life.