Wednesday 20 December 2017

Tests, Trials and Tribulations

When a person reaches a certain stage on the spiritual path, that person is going to be tested. Those who think that once you decide to follow a spiritual course your life will be full of love, peace and joy have little idea of the reality of things. The point of spirituality is not to make the lower, earthly self happy but to burn out the fires of ego, and that is not a pleasant operation. So, true spirituality is putting yourself in God's hands and letting him do what he wants with you in the certain knowledge that what he wants is the good of your soul, and that might include temporary and short term suffering. Actually, I can go further. It definitely will include that. Moreover, the further you proceed in real spirituality, the more suffering you are likely to encounter. This can be physical, some of the saints have endured dreadful ill health, but it is perhaps more likely to be mental and take a form that those still ensnared in this world simply can't understand. All this is designed to extract you from attachments to your own selfish egotism. And don't most of us take to spirituality for, at least partially, selfish motives?

As we progress along the path, our integrity is tested. False motivations are brought out and must be jettisoned. Our goals are questioned and we are asked whether we can sacrifice personal happiness for love. It would be nice if we could be sure that this was what was happening when it was happening but often we are kept completely in the dark. God is not there when we call on him. Any spiritually pleasant feelings of expansion we may have experienced at one time are cut off. We are thrown back on ourself with no outer or inner support at all. We must just press on in faith, and hope that one day the clouds will clear. Which they will but there's no telling when. It is a bit like Frodo and Sam going across the wastes of Mordor to Mount Doom.

This is all part of the test we must undergo to become spiritually perfect. Just think about that phrase for a moment. Spiritually perfect. That is our goal. Could it possibly be an easy thing of accomplishment? It must be the hardest thing there is because it is the crowning achievement of any human being in this world. It really does require the sacrifice of the earthly self, and that is never going to be a simple matter. It wasn't for the saints, and it won't be for us.

But there is something else over and above this spiritual testing. The Masters told me that the further anyone goes on the spiritual path, the more they will be attacked by dark forces, and I have definitely observed this to be so. It takes various forms. It can be internal attack as these powers seek to gain purchase in your mind by influencing your thoughts and feelings in certain directions. Or it can be external when you find yourself under attack by people you know, people you might come into contact with or even people with whom you might be close.

Now, it's very important to be sensible about this, to maintain a sense of proportion and avoid feelings of paranoia, thinking that anyone who disagrees with you is being manipulated by dark forces. You might be the one in the wrong! Nevertheless, it is the case that often those who are doing God's work in some way, or even just striving to live a life in accordance with spiritual truth, are attacked and undermined by others. These people may have their own agenda but they might also be taken advantage of by the demons though, of course, this would not be possible if the demons were not able to find a point of entrance in the person's soul through which they could gain access. They can only work with what is already there.

Some of the forms that attacks commonly take are unjust accusations and lies about your moral character.  These can often be very cunningly delivered with truth twisted just enough to make them almost plausible. Chinks in your armour are constantly sought, and faults you may actually possess are exaggerated and given excessive emphasis. It's as though darkness hates light and wants to drag it down to its own level which it does by accusing it of its own faults. The well-known phenomenon of projection is often in evidence in which the accuser berates the accused for behaving in the way that it, the accuser, is behaving. The devil has a serpentine mind and twists and turns in a manner that can be quite confusing to a spiritual person, who, generally speaking, is someone who leans towards simplicity. That's because truth is simple. It's truth, and that's all there is to it. But lies are always devious, and the devil is a particularly skilled liar and distorter. Those he influences behave in the same way.

What's the best way to defend yourself against this kind of attack? If possible, break off contact with the person, but if that is not possible, try not to respond in kind. That's what the dark powers want. They want to drag you down. It may be that you have some kind of spiritual connection to the person who attacks you and it is your task to experience this and see it out. Those who believe in reincarnation might see this as a karmic thing, but even those who don't should be able to see that even this form of attack can be an opportunity for you to learn to rise above the abuse and miscomprehension of this world. God might even use unjust attacks on you as a means of teaching you non-reaction and detachment. It's easy to get indignant if you are unjustly abused or your good name is tarnished but you have to learn that God sees the truth and that's all that matters. If you are a villain in the eyes of the world what does that matter if God knows the reality? Ultimately, the desire to be thought well of comes from the ego. It may be that you have to learn to let go of everything including what past generations would have called your honour.

Tests and trials are all part of the spiritual life. We must be prepared for them and not be surprised if we are attacked by anti-spiritual forces sworn to an agenda of destruction.

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