What is missing in Spirituality?

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by Michael Alvin, D.D., Pastor, PhD

Living Circle of Life Church

What People do to be Spiritual

I have done a lot of investigation into what people actually do to try to be more spiritual. This includes both the internet and outer activities. Please don’t think that I’m being critical of these things, I’m merely trying to show that something very important is missing in these activities.  This is what I’ve found:

  • People keep going to the same church, once a week, without any change.
  • Members of internet spiritual groups argue endlessly about the meaning of spiritual terms, such as, “enlightenment”, “master”, “”nirvana”, etc.
  • People, especially younger ones, join various pagan or magic groups featuring ancient gods and ritual practices.
  • Members of various social media and spiritual groups constantly put on serene, beautiful, pictures, sometimes with wise sayings from sources such as the Tao Te Ching, The Dalai Lama, Mahatma Gandhi, Ru-mi, etc.
  • People spend many hours in chat groups about spirituality.
  • More people are reading books about the spiritual.
  • Members of social media groups often proclaim the rightness of their particular belief, while belittling others.
  • People join a variety of outer groups, which they believe to be spiritually oriented.

Once again, please do not think that I am being critical of these actions.  There is good in all of them.  However, none of these, by themselves will lead to the spiritual growth that the person probably desires.  Why?  Because there is something missing that is essential to spiritual growth.

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What is it that’s Missing?

The essential thing missing in all of these is an individual spiritual practice.  This is a physical practice that you, an individual, feel will help you spiritually grow.  It’s primary purpose is to help you to turn inward.  Within you is where the “one pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46), the spiritual wisdom, is to be found.  All true spiritual practices help you to find your inner spiritual Self. However, you must commit to a spiritual practice on a regular basis.  Spiritual growth does not come quickly, especially if one does not diligently pursue it.

This practice must be an individual choice.  The right practice is as individual in its nature as you are. Beware of those who say only their way is the right way.  But, how does a person know if a practice is a spiritual practice that is right for them?

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When is a Practice right for You?

  • It shows you a deeper meaning and purpose in life.
  • It feels comfortable and meaningful for you, not just because others are doing it.
  • It reveals a deeper reality than the outer world.
  • It helps you feel more compassionate and understanding.
  • It helps to lift your thinking and emotions upward.
  • It shows you how to apply its principles in everyday life.
  • It is helps you grow with mind and heart working together.
  • It helps you grow away from base desires and emotions.
  • After time, you still feel that you are making spiritual progress.  Don’t judge too soon.  Spiritual progress is often slow to appear in the physical world.

I do not claim to be a Yogi, a Buddhist, a follower of Hinduism, a Sufi, a Christian, a follower of Zoroaster, or a follower of any other organized belief system.  I am rather an initiate of that Ancient Wisdom which lies beneath them all.

My personal spiritual practice includes meditation, breathing practices, writing, and some yoga. I wish to help you find the spiritual practice that is right for you. If you have already found it, this blog will encourage you with spiritual insights, deeper knowledge, and clues to give you more strength to continue on your way.  We all need this. This is what this bog is about.  I invite you to subscribe.

I spent ten years as an initiate and student of a Master of The Ancient Wisdom Teachings, so that I could help people to grow spiritually.  Please give me some feedback through the comment section and I will be in touch to help you in your individual spiritual journey in any way that I can.

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Meanwhile, may God (The Source) speed you on in your Spiritual journey.

Please comment below.  Thank you for reading this! Please share with others who may want some spiritual guidance in their lives.

The Keys to Spirituality

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The Human Spiritual Circle

Your GPS guide to the Infinite

By Michael W Alvin, D.D., Ph.D.

Pastor of Living Circle of Light Church

The first stage of Man’s Spiritual development

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The first stage in a man’s spiritual development begins with conception.  Surprisingly, to live a physical life is a part of this development!  Man is a spiritual creature passing through matter because he needs a physical life to complete his development.

The human being needs the physical to become a separately conscious individual who can choose by his own volition to develop his Spiritual Self.  Also, the human becomes spiritually strong by overcoming the resistance of the physical world.

There are four stages in the life cycle of Man.  Each stage is a major challenge requiring a completely different orientation to life than he had during the previous stage.

The first stage is physical formation from conception to approximately 18-21 years of age.  During this time, a child develops physically, mentally, and socially to become a basic adult. A physical ego that is based upon matter has been fully formed by this age.

The second stage of spiritual development

The second stage of development is a process whereby the human learns to function as an independent adult.  This involves the establishment of a career, finding a mate, and possibly raising children.  Notice that this requires a complete change from the first stage when the human was, to some extent, a dependent child who needed the support of parents and community to even function. The second challenge is to achieve responsibility and find balance in a home, family. and career.

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I an sure that this all sounds boringly familiar.  Yes, but here is the catch.  Modern society has completely missed the actual purpose of life!  After a human has established himself as a reasonably good “householder” who is capable of responsibly taking care of work and family, the real purpose of life should begin.

The entire reason for our physical existence is to establish a body and mentality through which we can become aware of our Spiritual Self and develop our spiritual powers to help others. The complete ignorance of social science about human potential after middle age proves that they are unaware of this basic human purpose. After middle age, social science sees no further stages of development, only the continuation of the middle age stage and its related values.

What is called the “middle-age crisis” is the call of our Spiritual Self to begin development of our spirituality.  The rest of our life should be spent in spiritual practices which bring our Spirit into physical life.  We will discuss this third stage of human development in my next blog.  It will be full of surprises!

The physical level as illusion

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In spiritual discussions, I often see the physical referred to as an “illusion”.  It is true that the physical is not Reality and that it is deceptive in its nature.  However, these type of discussions speak of the physical level very negatively, almost as if the writers are in a state of “denial” and just want the physical to go away.

To view the physical so negatively could well be a  block to spiritual development.  Man must first feel that he is separate and in control his own material life so that he can eventually reach the realization of his own limitations and thereby choose to live a spiritual life.

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We should be thankful for our physical life even though it is an illusion.  To live physically is the only way that we can become individually conscious of our spiritual abilities and learn how to express them.

There are many valuable lessons to experience in the physical.  It is a school of life.  There is no way that we humans could possibly understand REALITY in the beginning of our lifetime.  Human understanding works in reverse.  It is by first learning that something is not true that we are able to work closer to the truth. We gain knowledge by taking a number of steps which move us slowly away from illusion and closer to the truth with each step.

The problem with Illusion

At first, we are fooled by an illusion.  We then realize our mistake and correct it from there.  The real problem comes about if we make the error of believing that the illusion of our senses is reality, when we believe that the material world is the only reality.  From there the human will quickly sink into the quicksand of material illusion.

quicksandHowever, if a person realizes that the physical is illusionary, it can then become a teacher through which he can move closer and closer to the truth.  He will then find that the physical is a school.

Experimental science works in the same way.  Scientists devise an experiment that reveals some approximate truth.  However, another experiment must be devised in order to reveal what still remains false about our new belief.  Out of the next experiment, we will come a little closer to the truth.  With each new experiment, we gradually work our way out of the illusion that our physical senses have provided to us.

Be sure to join me for my next blog when we will discuss the third stage of human spirituality.  This usually begins at middle age, a time when it is often right to begin our spiritual journey.  By this time, most of us have completely explored and mastered the aspects of physical life.  We are ready to bring the higher spiritual knowledge into our life.  To do this, we must overcome the material ego which we have built.  If we do not, we may lose the chance to fulfill our life destiny and simply spend the remainder of our life in spiritual stagnation.

Until then, bless all of you who read this!  I invite you to subscribe to this blog.  I intend to reveal many mysteries about the spiritual in our life cycle which are not yet known to many people.  This blog is not just a repetition of information that has appeared elsewhere. Much of it will be original teachings.  I believe that it will be worth your time to return.

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I would love to hear from you, my readers.  Either leave a comment below in my blog or drop me an e-mail at livingcircleoflightulc@gmail.com

God bless and keep all of you.   Michael

The Keys to Spirituality

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The Human Spiritual Circle

Your GPS guide to The Infinite

By Michael Alvin, D.D., Ph.D.

Pastor of Living Circle of Light Church

In my last blog, I promised to talk about the relationship between your Spirit and your ego.  I also said that I would discuss how different your Spirit and your ego are from the way many religions present them to be.

We have established who YOU (your Higher Self) are in reality. YOU are a Son or Daughter of God.  Your Higher Self is made in the image of God. YOU are a self-sufficient Spirit with marvelous powers and access to the Divine Mind.

The fall into Matter

YOU came into materiality to become self-conscious and express your divine capabilities.  However, Man had already had a setback a very long time ago.  He suffered a “fall into matter”. The material level of consciousness is very dark, limited, and dense.

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Man became fascinated with the physical world and too involved in it.  As a result, he forgot his spiritual nature. The spiritual Light became dim and seemed to vanish.  Man can no longer perceive his spiritual Source since he uses only his limited physical senses. Over a period of time, he developed an ego or lower self.

Man’s lower self

In reality, the lower self or ego is just a center where all of your physical senses meet to help you function in the physical world. It is a practical center to help you survive.  It is not your Higher Self.  It cannot tell you anything about your Source or answer questions about the meaning of Life.  All it can tell you about is the physical, nothing more.

However, the lower self has gained dominance over men.  It does not want to give its position of control back to the Higher Self. Consequently, there is always a battle for control between the lower self and the Higher Self in Man.  Part of any man’s spiritual development is to overcome his lower self by means of the guidance of his Higher Self and its powers.

Unfortunately, Man usually now comes into life, develops his body, creates his social world, works his job, raises a family, and that’s it. He has no idea that, after his bodily and social development, he was meant to learn about his Higher Self and develop his spiritual capabilities.

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After we are born, we go through “stages” of life.  This obviously begins with a physical formation period during which our body and cognitive abilities grow.  This is followed by a social activities stage during which we work, raise a family, etc. Yet, most people do not know that there are other stages of growth during which we have opportunities to discover our Higher Selves and learn to develop our spiritual abilities.  However, this does not happen automatically.  We must make sustained conscious efforts over a period of time in order to attain the spiritual level.

Stages of our life

As an analogy to our human life, consider the four stages in the life of the butterfly-   the egg, the caterpillar, the cocoon, and the adult butterfly.  .We may consider that the first two stages of our lives correspond to the egg and the caterpillar stages.  In these two stages, we work and learn how to function socially in the physical world.  We live, eat, and survive like a caterpillar on its leaf.

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Within the physical, we become very involved with our survival, our family, our social activities, our possessions, and our worldview. This may be considered to be the spinning of our cocoon. However, since we have forgotten our spiritual heritage, we never go beyond the cocoon stage.  At the end of our life, we still exist only within that terribly limited physical cocoon.

The great loss

We never make the effort to consciously develop our spiritual awareness.  We live and eventually die within the cocoon of the physical, unaware that there were much greater possibilities open to us-   that we could have learned to fight our way out of that cocoon and flown away as a spiritual butterfly!

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 We have no idea that we have a Higher Self that is self-sufficient enough to know the answers to Life’s questions.  We do not know that we have have access to spiritual powers that will enable us to heal ourselves and others.  We hear a faint, half-forgotten, echo of these abilities.  We think we might be more than we know, but, many people never investigate..  There are a few people, however, who do.

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Spiritual leadership

This is where our spiritual leaders and churches come into the picture.  Please do not think that I am against traditional spirituality. I’m not; it’s simply that the leaders do not go far enough.  The seeker hears many platitudes, many dry scriptures, and perhaps attends supposedly spiritual meetings once a week.  But they are never inspired or challenged to look within themselves or to develop their own spiritual consciousness and abilities.  They are taught to be followers.  The spiritual leadership seems to want to be spiritual “middle men” for the rest of the seeker’s life.

The job of a spiritual leader

The true job of a spiritual leader is to teach a person how to find his own Higher Self, which is a part of God, so that he may make this important connection for himself.  There is no real spiritual growth if an individual connection with the Divine is not made.  The  seeker is left with only second-hand information “about” God, not the God experience.  You cannot learn about God the same way that you learn about geography in school by reading a book.

You will not be able to overcome your own lower self unless you are taught how to make a direct connection for yourself.  The purpose of our life in the physical is to find our spiritual Self, overcome our lower self, develop our divine spiritual abilities, and help others to do the same.

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On our next visit together, we will discuss more concerning the stages of Man’s spiritual development.  The beginning of our development occurs when we discover our spiritual individuality. The opportunity for this often begins with what is called the “middle age crisis”.  Although it is usually not recognized, the calling of the Higher Self is the cause of the dissatisfaction that is felt at this time of life.

Until then, May God Bless All of You

Funny what people will settle for

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 The Human Circle

 A guide to spiritual growth

By Michael Alvin, D.D., PhD

Pastor of The Living Circle of Light Church


It’s Funny What People Will Settle For

Funny that people just settle for the ordinary life to which society conditions them to live.  Go to work, raise kids, pay bills, take a course, go to bed, go to work, pay bills, go to bed…”ad nauseam”. They never think that there might be a better way of life, a higher meaning to life.  They just settle for that little cage that society builds for them.  Does this remind you of a gerbil in a cage? Please don’t think that I’m saying that there’s anything wrong with working or raising kids.  It’s great!  But, surely, there’s something more to life than just the life that people usually settle for…

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Well, there is a better, higher way of life.  That’s the entire purpose of this blog-   to discuss the possibilities of this higher way of life.  Oh, yes, there are higher ways of life.  Just doing the things that society encourages you to do-   eat, sleep, have kids, pay bills, get old-   is just living an animal kind of life.  Sure, we may be a higher type of animal, but we’re still, basically, only being an animal if this is all we want.  As a species, “Homo sapiens”, is a higher animal.  However, we were meant to be something more than this-   a human “being”.  Surprise!  Being a human being is something quite different from just being a “homo sapiens” animal!

That gerbil cage that society has built for us has an amazing lock.  It takes several keys to get that lock to open, but, it can be opened.  I’ve been lucky enough to find several keys in my life.  I wish to share them with you because I so want for you to have your freedom!  The human being has tasted of freedom at one time and he circles around it like our planet does the sun.

The First Key to being a Human “Being”

The first key to being a human “being” may seem a bit confusing.  It’s to become an individual.  What, how could this help to make a person human?  This is necessary because it is what makes you “authentic”.   Begin by knowing who you are.  What do you really believe in?  What are your talents, interests, and abilities?

To be an individual is the beginning point of real psychological or spiritual development.  You cannot hide behind or continue to find security in those second-hand beliefs and values that have been given to you by society.  You must determine what you truly know and value, not what your parents, school, or a church has conditioned you to believe since you were a little kid.  To become a human “being” you must start by being “real”.

Authenticity is ground “0” in any quest for truth.  There is no such thing as living a “vicarious” spiritual life.  Spirituality means that YOU are there firsthand.

Of course, I’m not saying that you can’t be a member of some type of spiritual group.  What I am saying is that you must investigate and evaluate the basic precepts of your group for yourself.  Otherwise, you have no roots; your roots are only in the group.  If something happens to the group leader or the group itself, you may very well be lost.

Your individuality is the lowest point that your Spirit comes into the physical world.  This individuality is not the same thing as your ego or personality.  The personality is only that surface layer of second-hand attitudes and values that you have acquired over the years from your society.  The individuality is much deeper.  It is only  reached by a deep consideration of what you truly believe!

In my next post, I will discuss another aspect of individuality.  But the best part will be to share the next key with you.  Do you know what it is?  You are not the gerbil that society has convinced you to be.  You are a lion(ess)!

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 Learn how to be Who You Are!