“My friend, if you have embraced the Christian Spiritist task in the name of the sublime faith, thirsting for a more uplifting spiritual life, remember that the Master has sent your renewed soul to the vast field of the world in order to serve Him.
You are not only to reach the way of the good. You are to act in accordance with the lofty principles that you proclaim.
You are to dictate worthy directives to others, but you are to heed them as well.
You are to proclaim the need for courage while sowing joy and blessings even when you are misunderstood by all.
You are not to be content with simply handling out coins and immediate relief. You are to always give a bit of yourself to whomever is in need.
You are to not only forgive; you are to understand the offender, helping him or her to get up.
You are not to criticize. You are to find unexpected ways to be useful.
You are not to yell. You are to make use of the time in order to materialize the good thoughts that guide you.
You are not to argue needlessly. You are to find a way to server others wherever you are.
You are not to merely combat evil with words. You are to preserve the good, sharing it with everyone.
You are not to condemn. You are to discover the light of love in order to make it shine in your heart until death.
Pray and watch.
Love and wait.
Serve and deny yourself.
If you are not willing to apply the Divine Master’s lesson to your own life, your faith will have been useless.”[i]
So said the spirit Emmanuel. To be a Spiritist, a Christian Spiritist is not an easy task. First, the perceived space between you and the Supreme Intelligence and all of its functionaries are drastically diminished by your knowledge of the organization and processes of the spirit realm.
Most people have an idea of God, but it is of a God far away, high above us. Yes, we think that God and His lieutenants look down on us with love, but they do so with little interference. Spiritism closes this space. Spiritism tells us every action, every thought is recorded and analyzed. Our deeds are watched as we go about following a curriculum fashioned by the spirit realm to educate us. Hence, we live in a glass house. Nothing is hidden. This concept is a bit unnerving.
Second is predestination. Nothing or extremely close to almost nothing happens by chance. Again, knowing you are on a ride, with all the ups and down, like a roller coaster, but you don’t realize there are tracks … is a bit disconcerting. Once you are a Spiritist, you wait for the next bend in the rails to give you a good fright. You know it’s coming, but what is it and what does it mean is constantly at the back of your mind.
You logically realize it is safest to just keep moving forward, doing the best that you can. Because, you can’t be passive and wait. You are expected to strive and contribute. But, you don’t want to charge off in the wrong direction. Finally, you determine that to always follow your conscience is the best advice.
Third, is the balance of spiritual improvement and the material necessities of everyday life. Once you realize that you are immortal and the life you are living is one of many, you devalue material pleasures, but you still have a family to take care of. They may not realize the transitory nature of life like you do, hence, until they do, they require a foundation to live, to achieve their dreams. To enable them to find out for themselves what the spirit world wants from them.
Last, is the truth of reincarnation. That we have had, and will have, many lives. One analyzes the trials in the present life and derives hints at what one must have done in a previous life. It can be a disturbing revelation.
This, coupled with the fact that every action has a reaction, makes one think what are the implications of past errors, for the current life and beyond. Finally, one knows in their heart, to not dwell on the past, learn from it and move on, vowing to alter that which led to mistakes.
I believe this is what the spirit Andre Luiz realized when in the eighteenth line of the poem Inner Peace, where he penned the theme how to live life; he wrote “An encouraging smile.” In three words he expressed that with our new-found knowledge of Spiritism, we shouldn’t turn solely inward, deep in introspection, but we keep our joyousness, for ourselves and others, by encouragement. A positive, a happy encouragement.
Andre Luiz understood the impact of the revelations that Spiritism may bring to each individual. The weight of the knowledge that we are being constantly tested can be a heavy load. But, after we pass an invisible line where we accept our place on earth and begin to take pleasure in the obstacles and our new outlook, life takes on a different flavor.
Life actually becomes more interesting. People and their situations become enticing dramas to be analyzed. And so, in the midst of this newness, we need to keep at the forefront an encouraging smile.
Serve and Deny Yourself
To become a person who inspires others we must learn to serve. To serve is to perform unselfish acts. Dampening down the selfishness we all have within ourselves is one of the first tasks we must carry out to become that which we wish to be.
The spirit Joanna exclaims to the world what we should emphasize in our character – Altruism:
“The antithesis of selfishness, it heals the wounds of the soul caused by it and fosters comprehensive health.
Altruism is a bright and shining star radiating an enveloping peace that reaches and overcomes the emotional and prejudicial distances that keep people apart. It captures all willing hearts with its radiation, and indelibly marks the periods of life with its presence.
The desire for possession, gratification of the senses and superiority, which typifies selfishness, becomes a yearning for selflessness, happiness and fraternity in the liberating arena of altruism.”[ii]
Whereas, once your satisfaction was in bodily stimuli, you become delighted in the acts of kindness and understanding. Exchanging one positive feeling for another is a time tested method to rewire your outlook and habits.
Your memories of buying luxuries or sensuous encounters usually fade away in a small amount of time. Dredging up remembrances never seems to provide the satisfaction you require. Therefore, more is needed. And, it is difficult to stop without filling the emotional need and the hours in the day.
Therefore, replacing the time and emotional fulfillment with service to others neatly exchanges a primitive desire for a more spiritually advanced sense of pleasure.
Joanna points out the long term effect:
“As altruism expands, it takes on an ethical aspect.
We can see this ethic as being the serenity that respects all behaviors without imposing its own way of living, of looking at life, of expressing itself.”[iii]
Wishing to serve the individual, in their time of need, removes the point of view imposed upon us by the society and culture we reside. We don’t examine the need of a foreigner differently than a citizen of our country, or of a diverse culture. We see what is lacking and attempt to supplement.
Joanna tells us that as we grow in altruism we replace civil laws and outlook with the application of Natural Law or the Law of Love. We query our conscience first and foremost and only secondly examine what may be in the penal code in the jurisdiction in which we live.
Once we instill the love of others within us, the next step is to act upon it. We take our newfound compassion and begin to find means to exercise our kindness upon those around us. Joanna tells us how these actions will commence:
“They begin as tolerance toward those on the lower levels of moral growth, providing them with fraternal opportunities for self-realization, while at the same time helping them directly with their inner and outer growth.
True tolerance is an invisible achievement that becomes a degree of progress because it encourages new expressions of solidarity, accentuating unrestricted forgiveness of all harm that has been done, with real forgetfulness of the offense.
Overcoming this challenge is a major step forward on the road to personal illumination, which opens the way for deeds of fraternal charity, of assisting the neediest, of being present wherever support and help are indispensable.
Action is the word of order throughout the universe. Movement is the mechanism that drives life in all direction.”[iv]
Our altruism promotes tolerance of those we seek to assist. As we help others, the old layers of past grudges and possible future ones fade away. We realize that everyone is on their own journey and their actions are all dictated by their spiritual level and their planned life on earth.
Instead of emotionally internalizing the deeds of others, we intellectualize them and fashion methods to support a positive outcome to whatever the person had to suffer through. Our thoughts, our analysis becomes real actions.
In the physical world, the actions may be giving food, helping with the rent, or just listening. This prepares us for life in the spirit realm, where our thoughts are actions. We are conditioning our minds to skip the physical phase for when we return to the land of energy. Where our minds morph the landscape around us and the environment we live in.
The Place to Start
As usual, the best place to start a new beginning is in the home. Kindness and inspiration should start where you live. Spiritist literature encourages us to conduct a family meeting once a week. Spiritist call this “God at Home”.
We started this meeting in our own home more than six years ago. We picked eight p.m. on Thursdays nights. We start on-time.
The reason for setting a regular meeting time and place is to make it easy for your guardian spirits to be at the home with you during the meeting. It may take a few weeks, but after you establish a regular meeting time, you will begin to feel the presence of good spirits.
These beneficial spirits, who have your best interests in mind, will help everyone in the meeting. They will assist the children in forming their thoughts and give the adults the openness and patience to learn and communicate.
We start the meeting with a prayer and then we read a passage from a Spiritist book. Since we have children, we started reading a Beginners Guide to Spiritism. Each one of us took turns reading a few paragraphs and then we discussed what we learned.
We review subjects such as what is the meaning of reincarnation, our immortal life, the need for charity, and other important concepts. More importantly, we allow the dialog to travel to whatever question the children can think of. The topics veer off to problems in school, friends, and family concerns.
Before we start the meeting, we fill up a pitcher of water and place it in the middle of the table. During the meeting, the spirits will energize the water. After the ending prayer, we all drink the water.
The meeting promotes our spiritual and physical health. As we discuss the aspects of our life on earth and our future life in the spirit realm, the spirits give us healing vibrations.
The spirit Joanna expands on the benefits of a weekly meeting:
“As a methodology to family education, the study of the Gospel of Jesus at home is a significant resource that contributes to the balance of all family members.
One weekly meeting, where the family gathers for an edifying and healthy conversation, for the discussion of common problems and the understanding of the troubles in relationships, is an excellent opportunity for the ethical and moral development of all, clarifying misunderstandings and figuring out solutions to whatever might be disturbing life at home and outside.
In a harmonious environment, distant from conflictive emotions, parents and children talk more naturally with other members of the family, trying to find the best ways to build understanding and a happy living.
Free from choleric exchanges, that healthy habit works as a link that binds those who have learned to respect one another and promotes salutary discussion about the fundamental problems inside the domestic group.”[v]
I can certainly attest to the effectiveness of our family meetings. My wife and I take the opportunity to illustrate the loving environment we should all strive for, and we are able to discuss many important family topics in peace and a rational manner. The best benefit of all, is that we ask the children for feedback, to determine in what ways we should set boundaries and discipline for the kids. We have always heard reasonable solutions and in fact I have learned to change my approach for one child, who couldn’t grasp the manner in which I was trying to communicate a certain concept.
I truly believe, the spirits present in the room, at our dining table, assisted the children to verbalize effectively what they were trying to communicate. After all, how many times have we all had a conversation with a child and ask why they did a certain thing, and we get a shrug in return? But, during the home meetings, a more rational explanation seems to emerge, I can only thank the spirits for that!
Home meetings work for adults without children too. When a couple or more adults live together, they too should have a respite from everything and allocate time for a spiritual conversation. In our culture an in-depth discussion of the spirit world, our place within it, and how should we fashion ourselves, often seems strange. As if we are talking about a forbidden subject.
The entire spectrum of our media has tried to expunge any exposure to a higher moral authority, with some exceptions. It is the same as the story of the emperor with no clothes. All of the emperor’s attendants told him he looked great, after he donned the invisible clothes. No one would tell him the truth.
Our media, afraid of offending anyone, but more importantly afraid of stating that there a moral truth which is not relative or fungible, has attempted to filter out any questioning of right and wrong.
The Spirit realm understands that all of humankind may not agree on what is correct behavior or not. Therefore, they wish us to have a dialog. With an interplay between different religions, philosophies, and doctrines, more knowledge will be spread and people can start their own personal discovery.
But a blackout of any discussion of a purpose of life beyond our temporary stay on earth only serves to stall the eventual ascendancy of our entire planet.
This is why each of us needs to do our utmost in becoming examples of spiritual enlightenment. And we can hone our communication and listening skills in our God in home meetings. This is the first small step of acquiring the altruism to effectively help others.
We can use this skill beyond the boundaries of our home to change society for the better. This is the reason Andre Luiz exhorts us to perform gestures of kindness. Each of us is like a wave hitting the beach. One wave does nothing to break apart the small pebbles to create the smooth white sand, but millions upon millions of waves, over time, does the job.
We must do our part, no matter how small it may seem to be. Each ripple of water will serve to smooth out the rock, not mattering how gentle it may appear. Spiritism, the Doctrine which can be summed up as “Follow the Golden Rule”, can lead us to elevate ourselves and the world around us.
Learn about the spirit realm, your place in it and how we are guided to the path of learning. Read my series of three books.
[i] Xavier, F. C., Our Daily Bread, EDICEI, pp. 373-374
[ii] Franco, Divaldo, Plentitude, Leal Publisher, p. 65
[iii] Franco, Divaldo, Plentitude, Leal Publisher, p. 67
[iv] Franco, Divaldo, Life: Challenges and Solution, Leal Publisher, p. 120
[v] Franco, Divaldo, Family Constellation, Leal Publishing, p. 133