The phrase “hope in action” could be described in various ways. At the most basic level it implies forward movement with faith in future results. It is a picture of a cavalry charge; lancers or armored knights valiantly attacking a position with certainty of victory. It is what all of us have longed for – a purpose, a goal beyond ourselves, an exalted resolution to achieve greatness … for the benefit of all mankind.
What many of us don’t realize is; that is exactly why we are on earth. The attainment of spiritual victory – for ourselves and humankind. Each person who serves as an example of goodness over a wasteful life is a shining beacon which lights the path to ascendance for others.
Many of these small victories by people go unnoticed. The good are lost in the commercial atmosphere of publicizing outlandish and destructive behavior … but this is only on the surface. Patterns of thought from upright and civilized citizens serve to combat the pull of gross materialism and absolute selfish actions from the “elites” of the world. For anyone seeking a better way, these waves of loving emotions, with bolstering from our spirit benefactors, serve to support and spur on many people striving for improvement.
A slow and gradual change, has been and will continue to occur. More and more people shall be incarnated on earth to reinforce the rational and good-hearted souls. As this tide rises up, almost imperceptibly, people on the fence will be swept along and they will be given examples to follow.
This is the slow-motion charge of hope. Each of us are in the troop of valiant brothers and sisters. We are not in this for one, but for many lifetimes. Each new existence on earth brings us one more step closer.
Joining the Charge
How do we become a member of this regiment of light? First, we must prepare ourselves. To prepare ourselves we must awaken. We must rise from our slumber and look around and see who and what we are and the society around us.
The spirit Joanna de Angelis tells us about the importance of being awake:
“Humankind, in general, lives in a sleep state, in lethargy, and that is why people suffer the worst sickness possible: ignorance of themselves, their destiny, and the meaning of their existence.
Comfortable with their situation, people may complain, but they do almost nothing to change society’s ills, ills that are often characteristics of themselves as well; due to their masochistic need to inspire pity, they bemoan themselves. They yield to circumstances out of self-indulgence and make no real effort to overcome any obstacle that may pose a threat or hindrance to their progress.
Unconsciousness prevails in the modern world because it gives in to immediate gratification, with no follow-up plan for attaining liberating emotions. Thus, society is divided into surreptitious, mutually hostile groups that grow further apart each day, whereas they should work together to eliminate separatist barriers and become aware of their infinite potential for self-realization and spiritual awakening.
But the moment inevitably arrives when individuals are induced to either awaken or remain dead to reality. In order to awaken from their heavy sleep, they must make every effort possible to break the chains of self-pity and unhappiness, self-depreciation and self-disrespect.
Being awake means self-fulfillment, being awake of one’s inner reality and the infinite possibilities for growth that are within one’s reach. It mean freeing oneself from the fears that keep one immobilized in uselessness, rediscovering the joy of living and acting, broadening one’s communication with nature and all living beings, multiplying the means of human dignification and making them available to everybody; and submitting oneself to the eloquent purpose of enlightenment found everywhere…”[i]
“Break the chains of self-pity” – doesn’t that describe the cult of victimization which pervades our culture today? Everywhere one looks, groups are de-crying their victim status, blaming others for whatever fantasy of failure they have. The spirit Joanna is telling us to discard that as utter nonsense. To stop imposing censorship, whereby any opposing ideas are shut down – instead to open up and listen to multiple viewpoints.
Doing so will expose each and every one of us to be unprotected from the world, so we may, as individuals, not robots, discern for ourselves the true path to the light. The road is not through shutting down all communication and living in a close and controlled environment. It is by living in the world, the planet chosen by the spirit realm for us to learn and grow. The path to awareness is to acknowledge the limitations, the class, the race, the culture, the sex, and the age in which we live … and to understand that we are here in the exact circumstances we need to be in order to apprehend what the spirit world has planned for us.
Only by the realization that we are immortal, and are destined to travel through multiple lives which present multiple scenarios of opportunities of growth can we begin to feel comfortable with our present circumstances, instead of retreating to a cloister and shutting off the world around us. For if we do that, then it is as if we were sent away to a very expensive college, and all we did was cut classes. Our parents would have spent a fortune and we would have learned nothing.
On the other hand, being awake means understanding our present time and place as being the launching pad for greater advancement. It means we recognize the hardships ahead but we have faith and hope that we shall be successful, because we understand that it isn’t our momentarily pleasure that we seek, but modification of our character.
The Path to be Awake
The spirit Joanna doesn’t just ask for us to be awake, she has written entire books about it. In her book Self-Discovery – An Inner Search, psychographed by Divaldo Franco, she tells us to learn to filter out bad conversations from our mind. Anything that serves to stir up primitive emotions – rage, jealousy, envy, hate, revenge – will cause negative emotions to permeate throughout our body. Hence we become unbalanced and prone to nervousness which leads to ill-health.
Joanna lets us know that “vicious behavior towards vulgar and licentious conversations induces health imbalances that produces gastric and hepatic disturbances.”[ii] Our own failing to control ourselves leads to stomach and liver problems.
Instead of letting in destructive notions, block them immediately and only allow feelings of love and harmony. This starts the process of re-wiring the brain and eventually better connects our conscience to our actions. Joanna describes the effects:
“Then, the individual discerns about what one must and can do. And, the individual also does not allow one to choose what pleases one but what should not be done. Immediately after one’s discovery on how to proceed, one lives calmly without the shocks of uncontrollable emotions.”[iii]
I can’t emphasize enough the veracity of her statement. I have lived it. I know there still are hard times and hard decisions, and emotions still get the best of me occasionally; nevertheless, when you are presented with a dilemma and you search for the correct response in your conscience – once you make the decision – all is calm. The problem is behind you, even though the consequences may still lie ahead, because you have thought them out and have accepted with gracefulness what will happen.
Joanna is completely correct when she states:
“Healthy thinking is a valuable commitment to generate optimism and peace. It initiates a program of right actions that gives birth to habits responsible for a second nature of the being, that is to say, another nature interpenetrated within one’s own nature.
In this direction, the course of time becomes pleasant, without tiredness or irritation, and the resting time will be designated by restorative tranquility that replenishes the expenses of awakefulness.”[iv]
Healthy thinking will become such a second nature, that without our knowing it, we will have greatly improved our personality. We more carefully think through our actions in the home and in society. Instead of being a catalyst of worry and gossip we shall be a beacon of joy. When we radiate quiet and loving dignity, it comes back to us in many ways.
The Better Way
Once you begin to feel the comfort and warmth of following your conscience, your actions have more purpose and more effect upon others. Since your effort has greater impact, you naturally desire to do more.
The spirit Emmanuel guides us in the direction we should follow:
“It is time you offered your cooperation in the assistance of others and, as a rule, you wished you could donate the most of yourself according to the circumstances. However, if this cannot be so, give the little that you do possess, to the extent of your wishes, for it is better to offer one’s very least than to deny oneself to provide assistance altogether, closing the doors to love towards others.
If a challenge to humility rises ahead, you will surely entertain reason for such an enterprise for its ability to show an angelical understanding to those who appraise your spiritual progress. However, if you are not capable of implementing it, do not exempt yourself from this or that minute gesture of tolerance. There is more fairness in articulating a meager impulse of sympathy than in abandoning fraternal assistance altogether, for the latter would consequently give passage to unfettered aggression when confronted by offenses and hardships, which are essentially nothing else than manifestations of the infirmities and imbalances in the behavior of others.
Should you not be given the opportunity to offer a day’s work to companions who are needier than you are, offer them an hour to their benefit whenever possible, for it is more beneficial to spend only a few minutes in the execution of good works than to exempt yourself from it, which would arrest the ideal and trust in goodness in our companions of experience and journey.”[v]
Emmanuel is telling us what we already know – to create a good habit, one must exercise it daily. To ingrain the automatic reflex of doing good – one must perform positive actions – even in the face of negativity.
I encounter challenges everyday – we all do. When I write about Spiritism, how we are immortal souls journeying through life after life in our quest for perfection, I encounter incredulity and comments which point out how stupid I must be. Sometimes I feel defensiveness rise up in me, but I try and quickly calm that down. Because, after all, before I was forced to confront absolute proof of the Divinity before my eyes, I would have said the same!
It’s not the other persons fault they believe I am willfully ignorant. They haven’t lived through the same circumstances and my rendition of my experiences didn’t resonate or connect with theirs. God bless them. A time will come when they will be ready to face the truth of their existence.
My failure to reach one person won’t stop me from slogging onward. I have faith and hope, that my small contribution may help a few people, who are open and willing to learn about the spirit realm and our part within it.
When I become discouraged I reread the message given to me and my wife at the Seara Fraterna Spiritist Center in Rio de Janeiro, in July 2014. The message talked of bringing the light of Spiritism to America; one paragraph stands out:
“The promise is happening and that seed is planted now, first in your heart, and then in your own country, which will be the beginning of a seed of many years and light. Don’t give up it, it will not be a fight that will require little effort. Fight the good fight and in close ranks, marches the best soldiers of the Father.”
I read it and I know I am only planting seeds. I may not see the plant break through the topsoil. But it doesn’t matter, that is not my job. I am here to plant seeds, not to harvest. I am trying to perform my duty, my little contribution to the spiritual growth of earth. I realize I am like the person who planted one or two seeds in a hundred acre farm and then would never be allowed to see even those few small plants sprout. But no matter … I have done what I promised to do.
This is what hope in action means to all of us. Failures will occur, they may outweigh the successes. But, these are all outward signs, for there were no failures inside you. You persisted in attempting to follow your conscience and your compass of love.
In the book Our Daily Bread, the spirit Emmanuel gives us comfort that our journey is bolstered by the spirit realm, under the guidance of Christ:
“Jesus is our perennial path leading to Divine Love.
From this blessed and eternal path come the seeds of the Heavenly Light given to ordinary men and women.
It is crucial for people to be aware of this, so that this treasure does not slip by unnoticed.
The sanctifying seed will always appear in the midst of the most varied circumstances.
Just as the generous wind freely spreads the principles of life among the plants, the Invisible Kindness provides all hearts the opportunity of accessing the path of love.
Nearly always, the divine spark appears in ordinary daily activities: in a book, in an insignificant incident at work, or in the timely remark by a friend.
If harmful weeds occupy the soil of your heart, and if you have already received the heavenly principle, cultivate it devotedly, sheltering it in the garden of your soul. The human word may fail, but the Word of the Lord is imperishable. Accept it and comply with it, because if you fell from the imperatives of the eternal life, sooner or later the angel of affliction will visit your spirit, indicating new paths to follow.”[vi]
There will always be signs and signals and hints and synchronicities to light our path. As we move forward with faith and hope we need to learn to discern the hidden directions.
Signs and Signals
Spiritism, which is a doctrine, not a religion, presented that we incarnate multiple times. Several religions, such as Buddhism, also reveal the same central fact of our immortal journey. People who are Spiritualists recognize that a higher authority rules our physical universe.
As we move through life, in this dimension with time to force us to move forward, the other side is constantly in touch with us. One door is closed while another is opened. We believe we made choices, but in actuality we took the road which was laid out for us.
To the casual bystander, it seemed as if our choices were natural, but in reality circumstances were manipulated to lead us onto the path which was determined before we were born.
As a subtle example, growing up I always wanted to go into the air force and become a pilot. In my senior year of high school I suddenly required glasses. The avenue of making the military a career was removed from the realm of my possibilities. Just one of those things, as people say; I believe it was an example of guidance.
As you move forward, with hope, learn to recognize the telltale signs. If you desire to embark on a course of action and everything falls into place, then you are most probably on the right track. On the other hand, if you are hindered at every turn, then you may wish to reevaluate your plans.
My wife and I wanted to move from our house. Our present house was too small. So we looked for other houses. Each time we found one we wanted, it was either too expensive or sold before we could make a bid. Then we decided to buy land and build a house. Again, we tried multiple times to purchase land – we were always too late. Finally, after looking at the cost of buying land and the cost of building, we decided to tear down our house and build upon our land. Everything went smooth.
The question is why? Why weren’t we allowed to live in another location? What was so important about this location? I don’t know. I don’t have a clue. But I am certain, that for some reason, we were forced to stay in place. The sequence of events denying us the opportunity to move were just too overwhelming to be mere chance (although it is certainly possible).
The wife of couple we know decided that she should visit John of God in Brazil. The visa for the passport, the tickets, the hotel, everything fell in place perfectly. She was meant to travel to Brazil.
Nothing is too small nor too trivial to be arranged by the spirit world. This is the central truth everyone should put deep into their hearts. We are much more watched, guided, and analyzed than most of us realize.
Go forth in the understanding that our mentors are always ready to lend you a helping hand. They are at your call when events seem to be overpowering and impossible to solve. Your guardian angel is ever vigilant on your behalf. The spirit realms requires all the agents of good amassed on our planet to push humanity one small step closer to a higher level. To a place where the earth will truly be a paradise. And your assistance is greatly appreciated.
[i] Franco, Divaldo, Life: Challenges and Solutions, Leal Publisher, pp. 77-78
[ii] Franco, Divaldo, Self-Discovery – An Inner Search, Leal Publisher, p.85
[iii] Franco, Divaldo, Self-Discovery – An Inner Search, Leal Publisher, p.86
[iv] Franco, Divaldo, Self-Discovery – An Inner Search, Leal Publisher, p.86
[v] Xavier, F. C., Pires, J. H. Spiritual Wisdom: Missives of Hope, Spiritist Alliance for Books, pp. 71-72
[vi] Xavier, F. C., Our Daily Bread, EDICEI, pp. 63-64