As a longtime student of personal improvement with a focus on theory, psi phenomena and mediumistic ability, I have been taught numerous techniques which, in hindsight, were based on essentially the same assumptions. Look closely at what you are being taught. Is it based on things believed to be true at the beginning of the Twentieth Century? How much has Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung or Frederic Myers influenced your teachers?
These old views are not entirely wrong, but much has been discovered in recent years that make them mostly obsolete. This discourse provides a brief overview of how you can apply more contemporary research for your personal development. Supporting material is provided in the offered references, ethericstudies.org and the book: Your Immortal Self.
Have you wondered about your purpose in life? Yes, of course, it is to be a good citizen, family provider, faithful mate and trusted parent. Success in these satisfies your body-centric instinct to perpetuate the human species. But what of your spirit-centric needs? If this lifetime is a temporary experience that was initiated by your immortal personality, it is safe to argue that it is a deliberate experience and not just some god’s whim or an accident of nature to perpetuate the human species.
Years of seeking have left me with no doubt that this lifetime is intended to help me gain understanding about the actual nature of reality. In this regard, we likely share the same primal urge to gain understanding. This is an understanding with which organized Spiritualism is very familiar. Paraphrasing that understanding in terms of contemporary thought, Spiritualist philosophy is based on three assumptions:
- Duality: Mind is not body. Mind existed before this lifetime and continues after his lifetime in a conscious, living form.
- Connectedness: Parapsychologists refer to this as the psi field or psi functioning. You probably know this as psychic connectedness as in we are all one. The interconnectedness of psychic functioning is a fundamental characteristic of life, which as a collective, Spiritualists refer to as Infinite Intelligence.
- Progression: What you do matters here and hereafter. Increased understanding of the nature of reality leads toward greater spiritual maturity and wider access to the secrets of reality. This is thought to be an inherited purpose for existence. The ultimate objective of this purpose is sometimes referred to in Hinduism as god realization, as the seeker finally sees all of reality as it is, rather than as it is thought to be.
A Way of Progression
Many of the people who research things paranormal have speculated about the implications of their discoveries. For instance, James Carpenter’s last few corollaries in his First Sight Theory1 include the “so what” statements:2
“Someone who has become skillful in interpreting them is thought of as relatively psychic.” (Concerning consciously interpreting reaction to unconsciously sensed psi information) Corollary 12, Inadvertency and Frustration Corollary
“In other words, habitually paying attention to subtle information emerging from your unconscious can lead to more direct awareness of what has been psychically sensed from psi space.” Corollary 13, Liminality Corollary.
One point to clarify here is that increased lucidity, mediumistic and psychic ability, even healing intention, are all part of being a seeker. For seekers, these natural abilities are more or less developed along the way toward understanding. As such, seekers are always practitioners.
Call It Mindfulness
Your Immortal Self has the subtitle of Exploring the Mindful Way. The book title is a reference to the reality that our immortality is purposeful, as a continuing process of gaining understanding.
Mindfulness and mindful living have come to signify right living. As I stated in the book, “Not in a pretentious way or in an attempt to tell us what to do. People speak of mindfulness almost in a reverent tone, as if the concept relates more to God than to daily living. Always it is used to offer guidance in how to improve our life, how to be all that we can be.” The supporting concepts I speak of are illustrated in the Life Field Complex Diagram shown below.
Recognize the difference between simply living and following a spiritual path: It is true that simply living your life will bring experiences that inevitably teach you important lessons. However, the assumption is that the life lessons will be random, often repeated until you decide it is time to deliberately enter the mindful way. Consciously making the decision to gain understanding signals your unconscious mind to be more open to the less obvious aspects of your daily living.
Make a commitment to seek understanding: You must first recognize there is such a thing as progression toward spiritual maturity and then decide it is something you deeply desire. It is not necessary to change much in your daily habit. The few items listed here will help you turn your attention toward awareness of your daily habits for better understanding of their effect on you and your community. This is a lifestyle change rather than a single event.
Much of my recent writing is concerned with giving you reason to deeply desire spiritual maturity. As a pragmatist, the realization that what I do now matters here and hereafter, and that the resulting greater understanding leads to wider access to the secrets of reality (Item 3 above) makes it impossible for me not to seek greater understanding. If you can imagine your immortality, then I expect you will necessarily agree.
Find a way that fits your style: Not all ways fit everyone. As a technical metaphysician, my way is more suited to people who like to analyze their experiences. A good minister is one who is more amiable and expresses ideas in more feeling terms. A younger person might be more interested in a community approach. Examine the kind of lifestyle you have (or desire) and find a way that fits.
Learn to normalize concepts: With your different background and approach to learning, you may need to translate what I say here into terms to which you can better relate. The ability to normalize concepts into more familiar terms is an important tool for personal growth. Different cultures sometimes have important lessons for you, but may have described them in terms that do not make sense on first examination. Learn to take the time to consider other people’s perspective. An example of how normalization helps is in The Hermetic Concepts discourse.4
The Rest is Deliberate Thought
Stop and think: Some of our most detrimental habits show as automatic responses. Make it a habit to pause for a moment to consider if your response is appropriate. This will give you the opportunity to self-edit. With practice, it only takes a moment to ask if your response is appropriate and to consider the consequences.
Consider how your actions affect others: The responsibility of citizenship is personal responsibility and consideration of the greater good of the community. Just because you can does not mean you should. Deliberately seeking to be a good citizen represents an important step on the mindful way. Respect for the rule of law is a sign of spiritual maturity, as it demonstrates understanding of the concept of intended order. Now or later, you must accept responsibility for your actions.
Be open to unexpected outcomes: Our worldview is the keeper of what we unconsciously want and the source of the reality we create. As we consciously intend a version of reality, our conscious mind is the channel through which a version of that reality is sent into the ethers. That version of what you intend is influenced to some extent by your intention, but it is mostly formed out of habit and what amounts to a best fit solution based on your needs.
Good, bad or indifferent, your unconscious mind always expresses your unconscious understanding. As it is also influenced by your friends in spirit, it often works in your best interest, so be open to the possibility of something other than what you imagined.
Suspended judgment: Everything you do for self-improvement will have little lasting effect until you learn to avoid making decisions about what you believe or do not believe. Yes, living life requires many daily decisions such as to eat, what to eat, to work and such. However, making a believe-disbelief, accept-don’t accept or understand-don’t understand decision tends to solidify that point of view in your unconscious mind. By suspending judgement, you send a more ambiguous signal to your unconscious mind, enabling it to be more open to other possibilities.
A second reason for suspended judgement is the fact that you may not have all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. Suspended judgement is a wait and see approach to problem solving that can help you avoid those embarrassing errors in judgement.
Pay attention: An important functional area in your unconscious mind is what I refer to as the Attention Limiter. It makes the decision to pay attention to or ignore both physical and psi information coming from the environment. Your conscious intention to pay more attention to your world is a signal to your Attention Limiter to be more open to new ideas.
The Perceptual Loop in your unconscious mind acts as a second filter of information. Your expressed intention to pay more attention to your world biases the Agree, Disagree, Maybe decision more toward the Maybe result which makes it more possible for new ideas to be incorporated into your worldview. 2 See the life Field Complex Diagram, below.
Be informed: A foundation concept implicit in ancient wisdom schools is that, as a seeker, you should seek to learn everything you can about everything. The idea is that an informed person is more able to recognize natural principles.
Be curious: Everything, everyone and every event has the potential to further your understanding. Examining because of curiosity leads toward greater understanding while ignoring because of indifference tends to assure stagnation. Being curious is a natural way to send a message to your unconscious mind to pay attention.
Engage your world: Interact with the people, things and events around you. Being careful not to send a decide signal to your unconscious, examine how you think about things happening around you. Like curiosity, making a habit to interact in some way with the world around you, sends a message to your unconscious mind to pay attention.
Be a student/teacher/activist: Accept that, more than a student, you are a seeker of understanding. Then accept that a seeker is always a teacher. Good, bad or indifferent, you are always a role model for others. A favorite saying of mine is:
The Way of Progression
Through community comes knowledge.
Through teaching comes understanding.
It takes a collective.
The process of forming your thoughts into a meaningful statement to express to others is a valuable exercise for your self-education. By doing so, you teach others, and as they respond, you gain a degree of insight as to the reasonableness of what you say.
Have fun: According to James Carpenter,1 the most successful psi functioning practitioners are a handful to work with for researchers because they sometimes use play to break up the monotony of being a research practitioner. Part of engaging with your environment is playing. Pranks to see how people react and seeing what happens if … are ways some of the more effective practitioners interact with their world.
|“I found when adopting a certain attitude that I made contact with this (the Divine) power. It was an attitude of curious, childlike devotion to the great Spirit and if held for an unusual length of time, contact would manifest. I would become the operator of the Spirit Power.”
Paul Twitchell, The Flute of God3
Recognize that nature is organized in a systematic way based on a few simple principles. You may be familiar with the idea of Natural Law, but from my study, those usually described laws are based on a body-centric perspective. I discuss this a little in The Hermetic Concepts Discourse.4 I have also identified a set of organizing principles for the book, Your Immortal Self.5 Also online at ethericstudies.org6
Your mind thinks in terms of concepts, so rather than memorizing a long list of principles, focus on the underlying concepts. For instance, many of the organizing principles I have identified come from the Life Field Complex Diagram shown here. In that diagram, the Attention Complex is based on my understanding of reports from mainstream consciousness, psi and transcommunication studies. If you have a sense of what is said in this discourse and what is shown in the diagram, the underlying principles will become self-evident as you progress.
A measure of progression is a person’s degree of understanding of underlying concepts and integration of that understanding into daily living.
Code of Ethics
The Ethics as a Personal Code for Mindfulness Discourse7 explains the concept of adopting a code of ethics which you can reasonably accept, and then using it as a daily guideline for living. Here is the example from that discourse.
Personal Code of Ethics
Do not violate
- Do no harm
- Suspended judgement
- Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should
- Mindfulness is a way of life
- Citizenship means cooperation
- How will my actions affect me and others?
- Is it a belief or a supportable understanding?
- I will not impose my will on others
- Lessons come from new experiences
- Contemplation not meditation
All of the ancient religions I have studied appear to have evolved from the same dispensation of knowledge we attribute to Hermes of Egypt. 4, 8 Much of the spiritual teaching in modern religions share that same truth. It all comes down to a reminder that we are spiritual beings in a physical lifetime, that it is our spiritual responsibility to understand our immortality and to live in accordance with the actual nature of reality. We are told to find a teacher and seek understanding through mindfulness. Our purpose is progression no matter where we live. So here, now, it is for us to use this lifetime as an opportunity to gain understanding.
- Carpenter, James C, Ph.D. First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook). (Amazon)
- Butler, Tom. “Perception.” Etheric Studies. 2015. ethericstudies.org/perception/
- Twitchell, paul. The Flute of God. First. Eckankar, 1969. p. 94. ISBN is for second edition. ISBN-13: 978-1570430329.
- Butler, Tom. “The Hermetic Concepts.” Etheric Studies. 2016. ethericstudies.org/hermes-concepts/
- Butler, Tom. Your Immortal Self, Exploring the Mindful Way. AA-EVP Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-0-9727493-8-1. ethericstudies.org/immortal_self/
- Butler, Tom. “Organizing Principles.” Etheric Studies. 2015. ethericstudies.org/organizing-principles/
- Butler, Tom. “Ethics as a Personal Code for Mindfulness.” Etheric Studies. 2016. ethericstudies.org/code-of-ethics/
- Butler, Tom. “The Razor’s Edge.” Etheric Studies. 2016. ethericstudies.org/razors-edge/ .