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A life-changing experience

By Kim Michaels

 

You might have noticed that there are several places in this book where the masters say that for you the reading of this book can become a life-changing experience. Why do they say that? Obviously, because there is a real potential that this book can have a dramatic effect on your life—I have personally read many spiritual books, and I believe you will be hard pressed to find a book with a more profound yet practical content than this one. However, there is also a potential that the reading of this book will be just like reading any other spiritual book. The reality here is that the reading of a spiritual book will do no good in itself—the knowledge must be internalized and applied. As an old Indian proverbs says: “The knowledge that is in the books stays in the books.” Thus, let me offer my perspective on how one can make real progress on the spiritual path—as opposed to approaching the path as an escape or merely a form of entertainment.

I became consciously aware of the spiritual path at the age of 18. So for over 30 years I have been walking the path myself, including studying a wide variety of spiritual books and teachings, practicing spiritual techniques and being involved with spiritual movements. I have watched hundreds of people, many of them through personal relationships, struggle with spiritual growth, and I have personally gone through an incredible transformation compared to where I was at in consciousness when I started. Basically, if I have not experienced it myself, I probably know someone who has. Based on this experience, I see several important phases of the path, and knowing them can help you make maximum progress.

In a sense, every person on the planet is on the spiritual path, but the vast majority of them are not consciously aware of it. As described in Part One, we have grown up in a society dominated by forces that do not want us to know about the powers of the mind. And the spiritual path can be described precisely as a process whereby we become consciously aware of the powers of the mind—and thus able to use these powers for personal and planetary transformation. So for most people, one of the major turning points is when we become consciously aware that beyond the official doctrines of mainstream religion and materialistic science, there is an entirely different approach to life, namely a path whereby we systematically raise our consciousness to a level that is beyond what most people consider normal, or even human. Most of us become aware of this by finding a particular spiritual teaching, organization or guru. This first encounter with an “alternative” paradigm is our on-ramp to a conscious awareness of the spiritual path. Suddenly, we feel as if an entirely new world has opened up to us, and there are many new and exciting things to explore. Some people become fascinated by auras, crystals, astrology, alchemy, stress release, peak experiences, finding the ultimate guru or some of the other offerings in what I sometimes call the spiritual supermarket.

I am not trying to be derogatory, but I am trying to point out that in this exploratory phase, we are like children who have discovered an entirely new toy store, and we are having great fun trying out some of the toys we have never seen before. I have met a few people who got stuck in this phase, and who were so busy trying out new toys that for them the spiritual path has yet to become more than a form of entertainment. Yet most people will sooner or later – often sooner – move on to the next phase, which is when we realize that the spiritual path is really about raising our consciousness and also about doing something to raise the consciousness of humankind and bring in a better world. This is when we start to take the path more seriously and realize that in order to get results, we need to take a more focused and disciplined approach. For most of us, this means that we find a teaching, guru or organization that talks about how to raise our consciousness by using specific spiritual techniques. We then start studying this teaching and faithfully practicing the recommended technique, often in a way that requires major changes in our lifestyle.

This is a very important stage of the path, and it can truly bring great progress. I personally spent around 15 years in this phase, and had I not done so, I could not have moved to the next level. There is, however, a sizable risk that people can get stuck in this phase and come to believe that it has all they need, and that it will eventually take them to whatever goal their teaching defines as the ultimate level of consciousness. What is the problem with this belief? Well, the real problem is that despite what promises might be made by an outer organization or guru, the promises simply are not true. The reason is that this stage is what the masters call the outer path or the automatic path. The promise is that by doing something external – such as studying a teaching and practicing a specific technique (always portrayed as having unique effects that are better than any other technique) – you will automatically bring forth a transformation of consciousness. Yet think about this logically. Your consciousness is inside of you; it is an inner condition. How likely is it that doing something external – such as practicing a form of meditation – will automatically change the inner condition?

In reality, the reason why you sank into a lower state of consciousness is that at some point in the past, you made certain choices and came to believe in certain illusions. You will not rise to a higher state of consciousness unless you consciously look at those choices and transcend them by making better choices—choices that are not based on illusions but on a correct view of reality. This is what Jesus called “looking at the beam in your own eye,” and there is no substitute. I have spent over 30 years exploring the spiritual marketplace, and if there was a viable shortcut, I would have found it. I have found many who claim to have such a shortcut, but they simply do not deliver.

Now, I do not expect you to believe me. Based on my personal experiences and my observations of others, I know that we all have to go through certain experiences, and that might very well include following one of these promises of a shortcut. All I am saying here is that beyond the phase where we follow the outer path is another stage, and this is actually where the spiritual path starts in earnest. This stage is the phase where we begin to accept responsibility for our own progress, even our own salvation, enlightenment or whatever you want to call it. This is the path of inner changes.

At this stage, you find people who have accepted the fact that “If my life is to change and if I am to make a contribution to changing the world, then I must begin by changing myself.” I must begin by changing my state of consciousness, and this simply cannot be done without looking at myself, without looking at what is found in the Pandora’s box called my personal psyche. Thus, we enter the phase where the most profound progress can be made, namely the stage of self-observation, leading to self-transcendence. 

Yet even this stage of the path has several levels. In the beginning, we tend to take a somewhat simplistic approach and believe that we only need to look at a few simple things and that we can work through this rather quickly. This is a necessary phase, because if we truly knew how complex we are, then we would feel so overwhelmed that we might not dare to start the process. So we begin with great enthusiasm and often feel we are making rapid progress—which we are. The reality is, however, that we are making rapid progress by resolving some of the more surface-level hang-ups in the psyche. And when we have worked through those, we enter a new phase of dealing with some of the deeper psychological wounds and blocks. These are conditions that started many lifetimes ago, and they have therefore been reinforced – complexified – over many embodiments. This does not mean it will take lifetimes to work through them, but it does mean it will take time and effort. However, in saying this, I need to add a modification.

Any condition in the psyche can be traced down to a choice, but not just any choice. It is a choice made based on a specific illusion. Thus, what is truly needed in order to resolve the issue is a change in perspective, whereby we come to see through the illusion and therefore we can now make a better choice. This truly can happen in an instant, but in many cases the original choice is hidden so deeply that it takes time and effort to uncover it. You can compare it to throwing a rock into a stream. Smaller stones and gravel will accumulate behind the rock, so when you come walking upstream, you must first move the debris before you can move the rock itself. You do, of course, have the option of walking around the rock until you can approach it from upstream, but that requires such a radical shift in perspective that most of us are not able to make it before we go through a major transformation that I will describe next.

There is a built-in psychological mechanism that most of us experience as we become aware of the spiritual path. The path itself sets up a goal (however it is defined by a specific teaching) and it also makes it clear that we are not yet at the goal, which is why we have to follow a path to get there. The psychological mechanism is that we are somehow deficient and we need to overcome that condition—there is a gap we need to close. As was explained in Part Two, the human ego will try to make us believe that we can close the gap without looking at ourselves. Yet underlying this is the fear that if we do indeed look at ourselves, we might discover something that makes us unacceptable to God, the guru, our higher selves or whatever being we see as the one we have to please because that being judges our progress. This is what the masters call a catch-22, because we have one condition that prevents us from looking at another condition.

We now see three elements. There is you, there is the supreme being that you have to please and there is a condition that you must overcome in order to please the supreme being. This can work in two ways. Many religious people believe God is judgmental, and thus if they discover a flaw in themselves they believe God will send them to hell. Spiritual people have usually overcome this view of God, but instead we often think that if we discover a flaw in ourselves, we will be unworthy to approach the supreme being, and thus we condemn ourselves to our own private hell. What the ego offers to both kinds of people is the illusion that you can hide your conditions from the supreme being, and thus you can keep them hidden while doing the outer things that will automatically resolve the condition until you are one day free and clear. You can please the guru without looking at the beam in your own eye.

As I have said, this is a lie because we can overcome our conditions only by looking at them. As we move into the phase of taking responsibility for ourselves, we begin to see that this is a lie, and thus we see the necessity of looking at the conditions in our psyches. Yet we often still have remnants of fear, namely the fear that we could discover such a severe condition that it simply could not be overcome or that the supreme being would never forgive us for it. For example, I have met people who are so afraid that they might be fallen angels that they dare not look at their psychology, for fear that they might discover what for them would be the ultimate horror. In my experience, we will not make ultimate progress until we overcome this fear and thus become willing to look at any condition, knowing that it is simply an illusion that cannot affect our true beings. Yet how do we overcome this primal fear, the fear of damnation, of being abandoned by God, of being excluded from the kingdom of heaven?

Well, there might be more than one way to do it, but I have only found one that works for me. It started with a recognition that I was brought up with a false image of God and that the real God is not the angry and judgmental being portrayed in the Old Testament. After pondering this for years, I had an actual experience of seeing the real God. What I experienced was a being who is completely beyond form and thus completely beyond conditions. Any words I would use to describe that Being would take away from the actual experience, for how can finite words describe that which is infinite, formless and unconditional?

My point is that I believe this experience is possible for all and that until you have actually experienced God’s love as the unconditional Presence that it is, you cannot fully accept the most important fact of life. You see, what the masters have been saying throughout this book is that you were created as a spiritual being, as a conscious self that is beyond anything in this world. The material world is like a stage, a theater in which you can choose to play many different parts. Yet no matter which roles you have chosen in the past, you are still more than any part. I personally like the analogy of a sand box, where you can safely send your child to play because it cannot hurt the sand or itself. 

Thus, the basic, most insidious lie is that what you have done in this material world could have damaged you in such a way that God would not accept you back into his kingdom. The reality is that God created you out of its own Being, and God loves you the same today – no matter what you have done in the material universe – as the day you were created. Why is this so? Because God’s love is unconditional!

I know this might make no sense to you in your present frame of mind. I know this because I spent several years pondering unconditional love before it finally clicked and I had the inner, Aha-experience – the gnosis – of truly knowing that unconditional love is unconditional precisely because I do not need to live up to any conditions in order to receive it. I cannot earn unconditional love, because it is given unconditionally. Consequently, no condition in this world can make me unworthy of it. My only option when it comes to unconditional love is to either accept it or reject it. Yet God’s love is unconditional, so how can I actually reject it? Only by accepting some condition in this world and saying that this condition makes me unworthy of the unconditional love that is beyond this world. In other words, I can reject unconditional love only by making it conditional—and that’s stupid. When I finally saw that this was what I had been doing – and saw that it was stupid – something clicked in me and I was instantly free of the fear that I could ever be unworthy of God’s love.

And guess what. When you accept that – regardless of any conditions in this world – you are still worthy of God’s love, you can look at any condition in this world. Because you realize that it is the condition in your own mind that is keeping you from accepting God’s love—the love that is given without conditions and thus cannot be accepted until you can approach it without conditions.

It is my experience that until people come to the point or realizing this and having an experience of God’s unconditionality, they will not be able to look at the very core illusions that keep them from attaining a higher state of consciousness. And until we are willing to look at any condition in our own minds, we have only one option, and that is to defend our conditions—even using a spiritual teaching to do so.

The mechanism is very simple. If you have a fear of looking at a certain condition, you are not actually aware of this as a fear. Instead, you have hidden the fear by coming to believe in a very clever illusion crafted by your ego and the false teachers. This illusion says that the condition you are afraid to look at is not actually a flaw. Instead, it is a virtue, so you do not need to look at it or overcome it. It is a virtue that you can either take with you into heaven or that can even propel you into heaven. For example, I have met many spiritual people who believe that being judgmental of others – looking at the splinter in your brother’s eye – is both necessary and beneficial. If you try to tell them otherwise, they can go into an elaborate discourse to defend their condition. The same, of course, holds true for many other conditions that people have defined. In fact, based on this, one can divide people into two categories: 

  • There are those who have realized the need to look at any and all conditions. They realize it is the illusions and conditions that keep us outside the kingdom of God, because the kingdom is a state of consciousness where we have no conditions. We receive God’s love without conditions and we share it with the world without conditions. These people realize that it is not the conditions we hold on to that determine whether we get into heaven, but the conditions we let go of. They realize that in order to ascend, we have to surrender, give up, let go of everything, and that doing so is the ultimate liberation. The reality is that we have gotten dirty by playing in the sand box, and we simply need to wash off the dirt in order to get back into our Father’s house.
  • There are those who have not realized the need to surrender any and all conditions. Thus, they have come to believe in one or more lies that elevate certain conditions as virtues, and they are now bound to defend these conditions against all “attacks.” I know people who have been on the spiritual path for decades and faithfully studied the teachings of the Ascended Masters and practiced spiritual techniques. Yet they have not actually understood the basic dynamic of the path, meaning that they are now using the teachings of the Ascended Masters to defend their conditions and justify why they do not have to surrender them. Such people are virtually unreachable, and if you try to make them aware of what you see, they will interpret it as an attack and become quite aggressive in defending themselves, even accusing you of attacking the masters or of being a tool of the devil. Of course, as long as you are defending an illusion, there is no chance that you will see it as an illusion and thus overcome it.

My personal guideline has for a long time been one simple rule. In contemplating the Buddha, I realized that the essential key to Buddhahood is non-attachment to anything in the material world. This is how Gautama won his Buddhahood, when he was sitting under the Bo tree and was tempted by the demons of Mara. They were simply trying to get him to react to them in any way possible, and it was only by being completely non-attached that he could avoid being pulled back into the dualistic struggle. So my personal guideline has been that if I discover any resistance, any attachment or any need to defend anything in myself, I know this is a condition I need to look at and transcend. Because only then can I be free to flow with the unconditional love of the River of Life. I hope this guideline can be of some help to you, as you consider what conditions keep you from simply flowing with life.

My point is that the path offered by the Ascended Masters truly does work, but it does not work the way many people think. For example, I have met many people who have expressed that they really want to make progress, that they really want to overcome a particular limitation or block. Some have even prayed for help to overcome a particular illusion, yet they feel they have received no answer and they doubt the masters or the path. So here is what I see as the bottom line.

Everything revolves around free will. The real Ascended Masters will never violate your free will. You may be thinking with your conscious mind that you are asking the masters to show you how to overcome a certain limitation, but if you have an unwillingness to look at a particular illusion – a tendency to defend a specific condition – what are the masters to do? Are they going to follow your conscious will or your subconscious will? The answer is that they can only wait until you are no longer a house divided against itself, because you have fulfilled what is your responsibility, namely to become consciously aware of what you really want.

The law is unfailing. Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive.” The masters also have the saying: “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” The masters and your Christ self are always ready to give you the insight you need in order to take the next step on your personal path. The question is whether you are ready to receive that insight, given that the insight will always challenge one of your illusions. Thus, if you are seeking to defend that illusion, the masters must accept your free-will choice and withhold the insight until you have “ears to hear” because you have overcome the division and you are of one mind—ready to move forward.

So if you would rather defend your conditions, then obviously this book will not become a life-changing experience. Yet if you are willing to look at the conditions you have sought to defend, then this book – and the direct help of the masters through inner insights – can truly bring about a seismic shift in your consciousness, a shift that can take you to wholeness.

 

 

Copyright © 2009 Kim Michaels

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