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Beyond Believing: Receiving and Practicing the Revelation of God
 

Beyond Believing:

Receiving and Practicing
the Revelation of the Divine

by Chris Tong, Ph.D.

Practical Spirituality Series, Book 1
72 pages
Date Published: April 2000
ISBN: 0717354237

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Table of Contents

Introduction

PART 1. Belief in God: A Critical Appraisal

1.1. Criticism 1: When examined closely, "belief in God" is not generally distinguishable from "doubt of God"

1.1.1. What do we actually mean when we say: "I believe"?
1.1.2. Because belief and doubt coincide, belief in God has had some profoundly negative historical consequences
1.1.3.   Religious fundamentalism is missing a key component of true religion (and true science): direct experience
1.1.4. The elephant, the blind men, and tolerance: different religious traditions represent different (partial) viewpoints on spiritual reality
1.1.5. The ultimate moral of the elephant and the blind men: find someone who can see!

1.2. Criticism 2: The basis for "belief in God" is generally neurotic

1.2.1.   Some statistics on belief in God
     
1.2.2.   Mortality and belief in God
1.2.3. Belief in God is a means for coping with a reality that otherwise seems too harsh, in itself

1.3. Appropriate criticism of "belief in God" does not mean that God does not exist

1.3.1. Nor does appropriate criticism of "belief in God" mean that the implications of God's existence are not of critical importance to humankind
1.3.2. Nor does appropriate criticism of "belief in God" mean that those who doubt God or disbelieve in God are any less neurotic than those who believe in God

1.4. We live in a God-impoverished culture, and consequently don't know of a better choice than "belief in God". Hence we settle for believing in God rather than finding God

1.5. Criticism 3: The fruits of believing in God are nothing compared to actual Spiritual Realization

1.6. However, there IS a natural and appropriate time and place for belief in God: at the very beginning of a genuine spiritual practice


PART 2. Practicing the Revelation of God

2.1. The varieties of "spiritual" experience

2.1.1. What goes by the name, "spiritual experience", vs. what is actually Spiritual
2.1.2. The inspirational force of experience and the binding force of experience
2.1.3. The Revelation or Transmission of God is filtered through our own archetypes (personal or cultural)
2.1.4. Spiritual experiences are, at best, a side effect of the actual Spiritual process to be enjoyed and endured, and, at worst (if misunderstood), a fascinating and binding sidetrack from the actual Spiritual process

2.2. The nature of Reality

2.2.1.   Reality is NOT fundamentally objective in nature; it is fundamentally Subjective.
     
2.2.2.   God, the Divine Consciousness, is Perfect Happiness
     
2.2.3.   God is the Source of all of this but not its Creator
     
2.2.4.   There is no actual inherent separation between God and human beings
     
2.2.5. We are not aware of God right now only because of something we are unconsciously doing (an act of self-contraction) in every moment
     
2.2.6. Because of this separative act of self-contraction, we end up identifying with a limited, mortal body-mind, and suffer all the limitations of that restricted identity
     
2.2.7. This mistaken identification leads us to presume our greatest potential is to make this body-mind feel better, and so that is how we tend to pass our lives, instead of finding out how to be restored to our original Divine Identity, and engaging the practice that brings about the real and eternal freedom of that restoration
     
2.2.8. Not because of any unfolding Divine Plan, but because of the inherent connection between God and beings, combined with Graceful circumstances that arise once in a rare while, a Spiritual Master appears in human form, who steadily transmits the Revelation of God in a manner that is completely tangible to all human beings who discover the Master.
     
2.2.9. Through a spiritual practice concentrated in contemplating the Divine Transmission of the Spiritual Master, the apparently separate being is led progressively but inexorably to the understanding and transcendence of the self-contraction, and the Awakening to the Divine Identity

2.3. The nature of Realization

2.3.1. Common views of human potential and destiny
2.3.2. The Perfect Realization and the Ultimate human Potential and Destiny: The Perfect Happiness of "There Is Only God"
2.3.3. Unlike a mere experience, a Realization of any degree involves a fundamental and permanent shift in one's sense of Reality
2.3.4. God-Realization involves a specific sequence of permanent shifts in identity (each less restrictive than the last) until the Ultimate Divine Identity (with no limitation whatsoever) is Realized
2.3.5.   God-Realization also involves a deepening in self-understanding and self-transcendence (since it is the unconscious activity of self-contraction that is keeping one locked in one's currently limited sense of Reality)
2.3.6.   Realization involves feelingly discriminating between God and "self"

2.4. The nature of genuine Spiritual practice: the relationship with God as mediated by the Spiritual Master

2.4.1.   The need for a Spiritual Teacher
     
2.4.2.   The need for a Spiritual Transmission Master
     
2.4.3.   The need for a HUMAN Spiritual Master
     
2.4.4.   The need for a LIVING Human Spiritual Master

Conclusion



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