“The modern world needs true spiritual guidance and development.” ~ Taoist Master Hua Ching Ni
A spiritual war is upon us and the individual is challenged to maintain integrity in a sea of greed, egotism, terror and fear. With no clear path toward spiritual evolution, so many of us floundering and losing ourselves to addiction, despair and self-destruction.
When in the past ordinary religions might have served to offer a pathway toward spiritual awakening based upon the experiences of their ancient sages, today, the best they seem to offer is communal support. Far too often, though, modern religions are mired in greed, scandal, pedophilia and outright terrorism. Religions are failing to provide the help one needs to spiritually thrive in this insane world.
“Spirit can hardly be found in noisy, crowded churches and temples. Even where the teachings of the past sages have been established they have been spoiled by the insensitive trend of the times.
The spirit of the world’s religions died long ago and left most temples and churches merely empty shells.
These places continue as superficial social conventions and can only supply their devotees with shallow activities, psychological games of shadow playing, and hypnosis, all of which have absolutely nothing to do with spiritual reality.
This is the faith of today’s world, and most of their achievements are not the true answer.” ~ Taoist Master Hua Ching Ni
What then, is spiritual reality? And what does it look like in a world governed by fear, distracted by materialism, and kept in conflict by egotism? It’s really quite straightforward, says Master Ni, who refers to it as the “plain, simple truth of your life,’ which is best understood as the profoundly important concept of inner peace.
“The first spiritual goal of Taoism is the restoration and realization of one’s own well-balanced being, and then one’s spiritual evolution.
The highest goal of life is to combine oneself with the spiritual energy of the universe. There is one way to eliminate all wonder, bewilderment and confusion and that is to have inner peace.
The primary method or principle for personal cultivation is to keep peace within oneself and maintain normalcy in one’s environment; thus you can dwell with the spiritual energy and the spiritual energy dwells within you.” ~ Taoist Master Hua Ching Ni
Comparing the teachings of ordinary religions to true personal spiritual cultivation, Master Ni notes that undeveloped human beings follow and devote themselves to belief systems, deities and spiritual figureheads. In contrast, individuals seeking genuine spiritual evolution understand these systems for what they are: illusions and traps.
“People mistake religious emotionalism and hypnosis for spiritual reality.
Often in history religious emotion has been exalted as truth itself. This gave birth to all kinds of religious prejudice and persecution. Religious mobs have carried out the mischief caused by the hot-blooded in the forceful image of a spiritual sovereign. This has not the slightest connection with spiritual reality. It is the manifestation of the impure, heavy, bloody energy of undeveloped human beings before having completed their spiritual evolution.
Many people are fooled by their own ignorance or that of others. And in their ignorance they fool others too. People like this have no hope of reaching the spiritual realm. They will have no chance to touch the real spiritual life. So, before you commit yourself to any religion, you should develop the mental ability to discern what is religious emotion and what is the spiritual truth. One is the right way to follow, and the other is only a psychological pitfall and trap. This is very important for a seeker of truth on the spiritual path.” ~ Taoist Master Hua Ching Ni
Generating this type of spiritual emotionalism has become a profitable art form. Take note of the costumes worn by Catholic Cardinals and deference to the Pope in his symbolic Mitre hat. Islamic fundamentalists and ISIS do the same when they emote fear and terror by parading captives in front of religious soldiers clad in all black robes with faces covered, armed with rifles and sabres. Using symbolic imagery as tools of dominance and control, as Master Ni points out, has absolutely nothing to do with true spiritual reality.
What would the world look like if individuals first placed their own spiritual development ahead of their desire to change the world in accordance with their beliefs about spirituality and feelings religious emotionalism? What if individuals were instead offered a plan of genuine spiritual cultivation, a path that led to actual inner peace?
“The spiritual process itself is a process of the evolution of the human spirit.” ~ Taoist Master Hua Ching Ni
Read more articles by Dylan Charles.
About the Author
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and co-host of Redesigning Reality, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
This article (Taoist Master Explains the Difference Between Religion and Individual Spiritual Cultivation) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Dylan Charles and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.
The Twelve Apostles and the Gruesome Manner of their Deaths
Paul said that the Household of God was built on the foundation of Apostles and Prophets, with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. During his ministry, Jesus commissioned twelve special messengers, or Apostles, to assist in spreading the Gospel. All twelve were Judean Hebrews.
The word apostle comes from the Greek apostolos which means one who is sent away, an emissary. It thus means a messenger sent to convey the “good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” See Matthew 10:1-7.
Twelve Men for Twelve Tribes
Twelve men were selected, which symbolized the twelve tribes of Israel as found in the Old Testament. Jesus set apart the Twelve Apostles, sending them out in pairs to preach the Gospel. Additionally, the Apostles were given the power to heal the sick, cast out demons, and raise the dead as part of their ministry.
Each of the Twelve Apostles gave up their livelihoods and all else to follow Jesus when called. Ten of these men were Galilean Jews who had Aramaic names. Peter and Andrew had Greek names. Other Apostles mentioned in the New Testament were Matthias, Barnabas, Adronicus, Junia, Silas, Timothy, and Apollos.
The Twelve Apostles are identified below, along with the traditional manner of their deaths.
1. Simon Peter: Also known as Simon bar Jonah, Simon bar Jochanan (Aramaic) and Cephas. Jesus called him Peter (meaning rock or foundation of the Church). He was a fisherman from Bethsaida of Galilee. About to be martyred in Rome in C.E. 64, he asked to be crucified upside-down as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Jesus.
2. Andrew: A former disciple of John the Baptist, he was the brother of Simon Peter and a fisherman in Bethsaida of Galilee. Crucified upon an X-shaped cross.
3. James, son of Zebedee: The brother of John. The first of the Apostles to be put to death, by Herod Agrippa I, 11 years after the death of Christ (C.E. 44).
4. John, son of Zebedee: The brother of James, both named by Jesus the sons of thunder. Death unknown. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that John still walks the earth and will see the Second Coming of Christ in the flesh.
5. Philip: From Bethsaida of Galilee. Crucified in C.E. 64.
6. Bartholomew; usually identified with Nathanael. Thought by some to have been skinned alive, then beheaded.
7. Matthew: The tax collector Matthew may have also been identified as Levi. He was killed by axe.
8. Thomas: Judas Thomas Didymus. Also known as Doubting Thomas. Killed by a spear in India in C.E. 72.
9. James, son of Alphaeus: Generally identified with “James the Less”, brother of Jesus, leader of the Jerusalem Church. Also identified by Roman Catholics with “James the Just”. Stoned at age 90, then clubbed to death.
10. Thaddeus: Traditionally identified with Jude. Crucified.
11. Simon the Zealot: or Simon the Cananite. Some have identified him with Simeon of Jerusalem. Believed by some to have been crucified in C.E. 74.
12. Judas Iscariot: The Apostle who betrayed Jesus. Also referred to as “Judas, the son of Simon.” He committed suicide.
13. Matthias was selected by the surviviing Eleven to replace Judas Iscariot. Matthias was stoned, then beheaded.
Instead of Arresting the Homeless Population, City Paying Them to Pickup Trash
(Jack Burns) With the problem of homelessness in some cities becoming an epidemic, one Arkansas city appears to have a common sense approach to tackling the problem head on. They’re taking taxpayer dollars and paying the homeless to pick up trash.
The Bridge to Work program started in April in Little Rock, Arkansas and pays homeless individuals $9.25 an hour to tidy up the metropolis and capitol city of the state.
Canvas Community Church runs the program which was only slated to last 6 months. But Mayor Frank Scott Jr. told reporters he is going to extend the program for another year.
The church and state partnership is welcomed by both the public entity as well as the religious one. Associate Pastor Paul Atkins addressed the program’s Board of Directors saying:
We’re super excited about what has gone on, and we hope to be able to keep the momentum going…We want to work with them on their next step. There are a lot of barriers that our people experience to go from homelessness and panhandling to full-time work. There’s a lot of steps in between.
So far, 380 people have joined the work crews with most signing up through the church. But space is left on each crew to allow more homeless people a spot on the clean-up crew.
According to Little Rock’s 12 News:
After a total of 130 sites cleaned, 1,821 hours worked, and 2,056 bags of trash—all within five months— hearts and minds have been changed.
Team Leader Felicia Cooks spoke about both the concerns she had before the program started as well as its success after she became a team leader.
This is just a dream come true for the entire community…When I first started, from day one, I couldn’t catch the vision, nor could I travel the journey…But, you know, we’ve taken out over 400-and-something persons. And let me tell you, that has been the most exciting thing that I’ve done in my life. The energy, just the positive (energy), the vision that Canvas Community Church has. You know, it’s just wonderful.
The City of Little Rock has infused $80,000 into the program’s first six months. Pastor Atkins says there’s still more work to do. They need more help.
“To make the program bigger and better, we do need folks to walk with our friends on a one-on-one basis…I hesitate to call it a mentor thing, cause you’ll probably learn as much as you teach,” he said.
Atkins says the homeless have lost the support of their faith-based communities and schools and have fallen through society’s cracks. They just need to be lifted up and supported once again.
“You know, that’s the kind of thing that you and I probably had from our families, and churches and synagogues and schools,” he said. “You know, we had it all around us, and that kept holding us up and pushing us forward. Our people have lost that, either because they did something to burn a bridge, or the bridge just fell in behind them, and they just need that extra support.”
Each clean-up crew is paid in cash and is given a meal for their work.
Mayor Scott has promised to continue the program for another year but the city must vote on his verbal commitment. Without funding, the program would likely have to look to the private sector for financial support. While this situation would be better if it were privately funded, spending the money creating jobs for the homeless is a far better solution than relying on the police state to solve the homeless crisis.
California is one of the highest taxed states in the union, yet its cities have yet to create a model program to assist the homeless by placing them in good paying jobs. Instead of paying the homeless to fulfill a needed service like Arkansas is doing, California authorities are destroying their tent cities, arresting the homeless, and throwing away all of their belongings, just to remove what many critics consider an eye sore.
How To Connect To Your Guardian Angel And Ask For Help
People often think that you have to be very holy or psychic in order to make connection with their Guardian Angel. This is not true. We are all born with our own Guardian Angels and they never stop surrounding us with love and guidance.
Angels help us stay connected with the Source, while ancestral guides support family members or spirit guides help us find the way back home. As we raise our vibration, we can more easily connect and communicate with wiser energies in the spirit realms.
Here are some tips that will help you connect with your guardian angel.
1. ASK FOR HELP
Asking an Angel for help is one of our most power spiritual practices. Angels can do nothing for us unless we ask. If you need help, just ask! We can ask the Angels for immediate help at any time and in any place.
Don’t worry about asking for too much. Angels exist beyond our experience of time and space. They respond to everyone with complete unconditional love. Create your own invocations, or prayers, that specifically call for the help you need.
2. ATTUNE YOURSELF TO YOUR GUARDIAN ANGEL
Communication with your angel will probably be subtle at first, but become more obvious with practice. Set up a regular time to meditate and attune yourself to your guides.
If you raise your awareness through meditation, you will feel the invisible presence of your spirit guides. Most people find this connection an exciting experience, but in fact it is a normal part of your spiritual enlightenment.
You can try and identify your spirit guides and when you feel comfortable recognizing them, you can ask for their names. During this clairvoyant vision, you may have a glimpse of someone who was close to you and loved you, like a wife, husband or a parent. These experiences will make you feel happy and inspired. Not everybody perceives the spirit guides.
3. ACT AS IF YOUR PRAYER HAS BEEN ANSWERED
Every prayer is answered and grace is always given. If you fear that your prayer will not be answered, then ask for help in understanding and seeing more clearly. Trust that you will see the love in every answered prayer. Have patience with this and let go of any expectation of how the love may be revealed to you.
4. ACT FAST ON THE GUIDANCE YOU RECEIVE
Pay close attention to everything you experience as you are being given guidance from intelligent spirit guides. Be patient and don’t ask too any questions at once. You will get the answers when you are ready to receive them.
Watch for their sign and act upon it immediately. Angelic help is infinite and unlimited – you cannot use it up or run out of it. You cannot ask for ‘too much’. The faster you act, the faster you receive more assistance!
5. TRANSLATE THEIR ANSWERS
The answers coming from the spirit guides will take many forms. Sometimes you may hear their thoughts channeled in your head. At first, you should ask them simple Yes or No questions and observe the sensations you have in your body.
With time and practice, you will understand which sensations mean yes and which mean no. Your answer may also come during meditation, or after a prolonged period of reflection. In other cases, you may receive it coincidentally, like an overheard conversation or something you read in a book.
These answers, in the form of signs, will help you overcome your negative traits, like fear or selfishness, inspire you in times of crisis and help you become a better person.
After asking your angel for assistance, watch for repetition of words you see, hear or think. Notice patterns like repeatedly hearing a song, seeing a bumper sticker or having a friend unknowingly repeat the very same message your angel gave you. Keep asking until you feel you completely understand the answer.
Thank yourself and the Angels for deepening and the relationship between you.
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