A NHNE Special Article:
A Power Greater Than Ourselves
Wednesday, January 7, 1998
(From Smorgasbord 6)
By David Sunfellow
© Copyright 1997 By NewHeavenNewEarth
Published By NewHeavenNewEarth / firstname.lastname@example.org
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A Power Greater Than Ourselves
By David Sunfellow
Over the years, I've shared alot of thought-provoking material with everyone on the NHNE mailing list. But only a handful of publications have generated as many heartfelt letters as my Christmas message ("A Christmas Story", http://www.nhne.com/smorgchristmas.html). Along with many kind and supportive letters, I also received a number of letters from people who said they were wrestling with the same issues I am. Because of this, I thought it might be helpful to share a little bit about the roller coaster I've been on since last I wrote.
One of the themes that appeared in my Christmas letter, and which has also been popping up in other NHNE articles, is my growing sense of frustration with the apparent lack of authentic spiritual masters in our world. I have yet to meet or hear of anyone alive today who embodies the kind of perfection I believe is our birthright. And while there is certainly no shortage of people claiming to be perfect, those who proclaim spiritual mastership the loudest, often turn out to be the least developed and most lost. And this includes many of the eastern world's most celebrated "masters" who, along with whatever genuine inner strengths and powers they tapped into, frequently demonstrate glaring moral defects and/or an inability to function gracefully in the real world.
After emailing out my Christmas letter, I had a dream that reflected these painful perceptions. I dreamed I was visiting a woman who had been closely associated with Edgar Cayce. In real life, I knew this woman and also knew Edgar Cayce's son, Hugh Lynn Cayce. In my dream, both Hugh Lynn Cayce and the woman had grown up together. I saw pictures of them posing together when they were cheerful, idealistic teenagers. Now the woman was old and sick. I came to visit her and after studying her middle-class home, noting her debilitating illness, and becoming aware of the many sorrows she had known, I began to weep. "Even a person who spent their whole life with Cayce and the Cayce readings," I sobbed, "ended up living a normal human life. What hope is there for ever breaking free from the chains of suffering that bind us in this world?"
While I have no illusions about Edgar Cayce (he was a man with special gifts who also had his share of human failings), his life and work were uncharacteristically God-centered and sincere -- and so were many of the people who were drawn to him. Unlike many of today's flamboyant, opportunistic psychics, who are often more gifted at bamboozling gullible seekers than offering authentic intuitive guidance, Cayce was the real McCoy. Along with helping thousands of people with their day-to-day struggles, Cayce's legacy also includes hundreds of thoroughly documented, often very dramatic, healings, which helped give birth to the wholistic health movement many of us enjoy today. But my dream reminded me that even those of us who are fortunate enough to be surrounded by gifted human beings, and inspiring sources of information, often have trouble rising above the trials of ordinary life. More to the point, I came face to face with one of my greatest fears: that after all is said and done, myself, my loved ones, my friends -- all of us -- will grow old, suffer our share of earthly trials, and then leave this world without ever having reached the spiritual heights so many sources promise we can.
I realize, of course, that I/we are better off today than ever before. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to be born in many of today's western cultures live longer, healthier lives. We can pursue whatever interests and callings we have with little fear of starving to death, dying from the newest plague, being forced to serve tyrannical madmen, or being killed by marauding war parties. For the most part, we can love and marry whom we want, and follow whatever religious (or non-religious) path we choose. We also understand a great deal more about ourselves, and our world, than our ancestors did. Humankind, in other words, is clearly progressing from unconscious, self-centered, selfish, exclusive, uninformed, rash, warlike and narrow-minded levels of existence to higher, more loving and fulfilling ones.
But in spite these accomplishments, many of which trace directly back to spiritual impulses that laid the foundation for today's more peaceful, tolerant societies, our world is still surprisingly devoid of human beings who have reached their full potential. Today's world, of course, does have its fair share of inspired spiritual teachers, and teachings. But when was the last time these teachers -- as sincere, kind hearted and dynamic as many of them are -- walked on water, commanded the forces of nature, raised someone from the dead, or even did something as simple as stop or reverse their own aging process, heal a broken arm, repair a bad tooth, produce life-long healthy relationships with their children, spouses, friends, co-workers? Many of them teach that we can do all these things. But have they? Can we?
Lately, I've been hearing from a growing number of people who have become disillusioned with the hodgepodge of spiritual paths available today, as well as many of the spiritual teachers that champion them. Some of these people have had dreams and inner realizations similar to mine. Others, who were absolutely convinced a decade ago that our planet would be in the throws of major geological change by now, are disheartened that planetary-wide geological activity is at or below normal averages. Even Edgar Cayce's organization, THE ASSOCIATION FOR RESEARCH & ENLIGHTENMENT (A.R.E.) is currently mulling over the fact that Cayce's famous 1958 to 1998 "test period" is almost over -- without producing any of the major earth changes Cayce had predicted.
Last week, I came across an organization on the web that helped snap things into perspective for me. The organization is called "THE CENTER FOR MILLENNIAL STUDIES" (see "In Search of the Promised Land" in this issue for more details). Their primary purpose is to document and understand all things millennial. In reading their mission statement, one line leapt out at me. It said that apocalyptic expectations "have always proven wrong." While the statement itself was referring to literal end of the world predictions, it got me to thinking about humanity's ever-present longing for salvation and the various apocalyptic prophets and prophetic visions that have emerged over the centuries. Have any of them ever come true?, I wondered. Is there any valid reason to believe that human beings, in mass (or even one at a time), will EVER realize their full potential?
Two thousand years ago, ancient Palestine was a hotbed of apocalyptic activity. The Jewish people, suffering under brutal Roman rule, were expecting a Moses or King David-like Messiah to show up and lead them in war against the Roman Empire. Many, including the Essenes that some scholars believe were closely associated with Jesus, expected an all-out, end-of-the-world battle between the forces of good and evil. And, of course, thanks in large measure to the turbulence, uncertainty and desperation of the times, numerous false prophets appeared on the scene, fanning the flames. It was a time very much like today. It was, indeed, a time very much like other time periods in human history when the forces of change were destroying old cultures and creating new ones with such a vengeance that prophetic voices seemed to be everywhere, spontaneously venting collective hopes, dreams, grievances and delusions.
But unlike other prophetic ruptures that produced no lasting changes in the culture they appeared, the apocalyptic expectations of ancient Palestine came to dramatic fruition. The appearance of Jesus two thousand years ago changed everything -- albeit not in the way anyone expected. The world didn't come to a sudden end as many believed it would, nor was Rome violently overthrown by another Old-Testament-style warrior prophet. Nor even did most of Jesus' own people believe he was the one they had been expecting. But whole peoples were swept up in the wake of Jesus and his vision of love nonetheless. Mighty Rome, determined to crush the upstart religion that sprang up around Jesus, was instead converted. New nations, inspired by Christ's life and teachings, eventually emerged and became dominate world powers. And a growing host of human beings, some of whom were able to manifest the same kind of miraculous powers as their master had, began following in his footsteps and making their own mark on human history. Along with all the prophets and prophetic voices that came to nothing (and there have been many), here was one that had the power to change virtually everything it touched. Which brought me back to my ponderings.
"Rome," as they say, "wasn't built in a day." And like it or not, we've probably got a few more eons ahead of us before large numbers of humanity burst into the same kind of flames that Jesus did. In the meantime, I believe it is possible for many of us to start glowing a great deal brighter than we have been. But I don't think this kind of glowing can be achieved solely through our own efforts. One of my all-time favorite Pathwork lectures (Lecture 258, "Personal Contact with Jesus Christ," by Eva Pierrakos), summarized what I believe are the three "truths" all human beings must eventually incorporate into their spiritual journey:
"1. Only you yourself can effect your salvation. It is your responsibility. 2. You cannot possibly do it alone, you need the help of others who share the journey with you, who may often see what you do not see. 3. Without God, without the personal assistance of the personal aspect of God (Jesus), the undertaking is too vast for you to accomplish."
This particular Pathwork lecture was the last one ever done by Eva Pierrakos and, significantly, it focused entirely on Jesus and the importance of forming a personal relationship with him.
"How could you ever overcome the hurdle of your self-hate that fosters underneath all your defenses," this Pathwork lecture asks, "if it were not for the experience of Christ's personal love, forgiveness, acceptance, and total vision of you? How could you learn to love yourself without at least knowing, and finally experiencing, his love for you? How could you activate the power to change involuntary aspects that do not directly respond to your outer will? Only through allowing yourself to know -- and later to feel -- his total love and total acceptance of who you are now, no matter how flawed, imperfect and destructive your lower self may be, will you be able to do same."
Realizing the need for a direct encounter with God/Jesus/Spirit and actually having one are, of course, two different things. For while we can prepare ourselves, we can't dictate when, or even how, God will finally touch us. Indeed, as Pathwork lecture 258 points out, along with seeking the healing touch of God (or Jesus in this case), we also have to be patient, accepting of all aspects of ourselves, and continue, as best we can, to work on ourselves:
"You may be mentally completely reconciled to his reality. You may have used your personal will to make this total surrender and you may sincerely mean it. Yet you may not have experienced the emotional reality of his sweet and loving Presence. Often man becomes impatient and then he begins to doubt, thus disrupting the plant he has sown. When the emotional experience fails to materialize for a while, it is not that he keeps you waiting. It is that your inner barriers need to give way. And that can happen only with the context of your unique, personal rhythm pattern. Remember that and do not despair. Christ is here. He hears you. He loves you. He protects you. He is deeply concerned with you, even though your senses are still too dull to perceive it. But suddenly will the time come when you will be intensely aware of this fact. You will feel his loving, healing arms in which you can always rest and find new sustenance for your life work."
The main message I took away from my dream, then, was not that I, or anyone else, should accept our sad fate as pathetic, miserable, hopeless human beings. Rather than a call to surrender, I believe my dream, at least for me, was a call to arms; a call for me to seek more fervently the One in whom my (and our) ultimate salvation depends.
My hope and prayer, then, is that God may reach into each and every one of our lives, and personally touch and transform us. I pray that the kind of despairing dreams I've been having, and hearing about, are replaced with real life stories of being touched, and healed, by the likes of Jesus, Buddha, or whatever other authentic spiritual forces do God's bidding. I also hope and pray that as this millennium comes to an end, and the next one prepares to throw open its doors to ever-increasing heights of human achievement, that at least a few of us can be lifted up high enough to be beacons of hope to the next wave of souls that will be seeking, as we have, to realize their "full" potentials in this world.
Dreams have played a very important role in my life, and in the lives of many of my closest friends. If you would like to learn more about dreams and how to use them to receive guidance, help, and inspiration, I encourage you to check out the following resources:
Dreams & VisionQuests:
Dream Interpretation Services & Resources:
The Association for the Study of Dreams:
"For these, if paid attention to, brought back in the memory, written and kept and studied, interpreted as actual experiences which are symbolic and yet real in their nature, become guidelines to such an extent that one should be able to understand and rectify all those things in the life which are of an imperfect nature."
"The greatest book of study is that one of your own, written by the soul upon time and space--that of your dreams."
---From the book, "Season of Changes, Ways of Response", based on the A.L.M. Readings
If you would like to find out more about Eva Pierrakos and the Pathwork lectures, an NHNE Special Report on the subject is available on the NHNE website:
The Pathwork New York Region also has a website at:
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