Our Sunday Talks | Spirituality Podcasts for Spiritual Growth

Listen above to a special rebroadcast of an episode of Our Sunday Talks on the Inspirational Living podcast.

The Living Hour is pleased to announce a new podcast series “Our Sunday Talks,” which is available exclusively to our patrons who are sponsoring The Inspirational Living podcast at the $3 a month level or above.

The Our Sunday Talks series features readings from classic authors (East & West) on topics related to spirituality. Expect thought-provoking discussions on the soul, prayer, divinity, mystical experiences, enlightenment, love, and much more.

Gain access by becoming a patron of the Inspirational Living podcast today. I look forward to seeing you among our Patreon community.

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Spirituality Podcast Series – Episode List

Episode 1: Prayer & The Art of Believing

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: PRAYER is an art and requires practice. The first requirement is a controlled imagination. Ostentation and vain repetitions are foreign to prayer. Its exercise requires tranquility and peace of mind.

The essence of prayer is faith; but faith must be permeated with understanding to be given that active quality which it does not possess when standing alone.

Our Sunday Talk today is an attempt to reduce the unknown to the known, by pointing out conditions on which prayers are answered, and without which they cannot be answered.

Episode 2: Vedanta & The Immortality of the Soul

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: What question has been asked a greater number of times; what idea has sent people more to search the universe for an answer; what question is nearer and dearer to the human heart; what question is more inseparably connected with our existence, than this one, the immortality of the human soul?

Various answers have been presented to the world by various minds. Thousands, again, in every period of history, have given up the discussion, and yet the question remains fresh as ever. Many times in the turmoils and struggles of our lives we seem to forget the question; then all of a sudden, someone dies (one, perhaps, whom we loved); one near and dear to our hearts is snatched away from us. The struggle, the din and turmoil of the world around us, then cease for a moment, become silent, and the soul asks the old question, “What after this?” What becomes of the soul?

Episode 3: What is the Aim of Life?

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: You ask, “What is the aim of life?” In a sense, you cannot aim your own life. There is a destiny that aims it — a law which governs and carries it. To what? To an ever-increasing and boundless capacity for happiness as your power increases, and increase it must. You cannot stop growing, despite all appearances to the contrary.

The pain you have suffered has been through that same growth of the spirit pressing you harder and harder against what caused you misery, so that at last you should take that pain as a proof that you were on some wrong path, which you must leave behind as soon as possible.

Episode 4: How to Develop Real Spirituality

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: When we attempt to define the spiritual, we begin by declaring that the spiritual world is absolute. We speak of the Divine as absolute because we realize that we can add nothing to the wisdom, the power, the life, the light and the glory of the Supreme. We say that God is All in All, but we can also say the same of the spiritual world.

The spiritual world is, even now, at the apex of absolute perfection, so that there is no law in the cosmos through which anything could be added to the completeness of that world. However, the spiritual world, even though it appears to be the very reverse of the external world, is not a thing apart. It is not a universe that exists beyond or away from the physical or external universe. The spiritual world is, in truth, the very soul of the external world, and therefore is present everywhere.

Episode 5: The Divine Paradox: Mind vs. Matter

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: What the mystics know as “the Law of Paradox” is an aspect of the Principle of Polarity. Mystical writings are filled with references to Paradox in the consideration of the problems of Life and Being. Hermetic teachers are constantly warning their students against the error of omitting the (quote) “other side” of any question. And their warnings are particularly directed to the problems of the Absolute and the Relative, which perplex all students of philosophy, and which cause so many to think and act contrary to what is generally known as “common sense.”

Therefore, we must caution all students of spirituality to be sure to grasp the Divine Paradox of the Absolute and Relative, lest you become entangled in the mire of the Half-Truth. With that in mind let’s begin our discussion…

Episode 6: Realizing Selfless Divine Love

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: It is said that Michelangelo saw in every rough block of stone a thing of beauty awaiting the master-hand to bring it into reality. Likewise, within each one of us there reposes the Divine Image awaiting the master-hand of Faith and the chisel of Patience to bring it into manifestation. And that Divine Image is revealed and realized as stainless, selfless Love.

Hidden deep in every human heart is the spirit of Divine Love. It is the Truth within us; it is that which is real and immortal. All else changes and passes away; this alone is permanent and imperishable; and to realize this Love by ceaseless diligence in the practice of the highest good, to live in it and to become fully conscious in it, is to enter into immortality here and now, is to become one with Truth, one with spirit, one with the central Heart of all things, and to know our own divine and eternal nature.

Episode 7: Love Letters from God

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Walt Whitman looked upon everything in nature as a message to humanity from the Infinite. He says: “To me converging objects of the universe perpetually flow; All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. Did you ever think that every flower, every tree, every ray of sunshine, every beautiful landscape, is really a loving message, a letter from God to us, His children? If we could only read His handwriting in the rocks, in the fields, in the flowers, in the stars, in the moon, in the clouds, in the sunset, in all His handiwork, what joy would be brought into our lives!”

Whitman urged people to learn to read God’s handwriting by going direct to the fountainhead and studying and interpreting His messages for themselves. This is the only way to get their full meaning…

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Episode 8: The Divine Law of Human Service

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Life is serious. Each one must decide for themselves, acting from the intuitions of their own soul, and in the light which comes from the circumstances by which they are surrounded. The seductive voices of ease or temporal advantage must be ignored. Not even may public opinion be considered. The choice must be made under the behest of conscience.

The voice of God is the only voice which may bid the soul be still and listen; and when the choice is made, we find that the law of life, as revealed by all the lessons of human experience, is the Divine Law of Human Service.

The love of God is best shown in the love of humanity. Those souls which are the most reverent, and most completely fulfill the Divine will, are those that yield most readily and cheerfully to the pressure of human need. This truth is seen moreover in large, as well as a small, ways.

Episode 9: Native American Spirituality & Wisdom

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The original attitude of Native Americans toward the Eternal, the “Great Mystery” that surrounds and embraces us, was as simple as it was exalted. To them it was the supreme conception, bringing with it the fullest measure of joy and satisfaction possible in this life.

The worship of the “Great Mystery” was silent, solitary, free from all self-seeking. It was silent, because all speech is of necessity feeble and imperfect; therefore the souls of my ancestors ascended to God in wordless adoration.

It was solitary, because they believed that the Creator is nearer to us in solitude, and there were no priests authorized to come between them and their Maker. None might exhort or confess or in any way meddle with the religious experience of another.

Episode 10: Reincarnation & Evolution | Science & Religion

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: The Indian philosophy of Vedanta accepts evolution and admits the laws of variation and natural selection, but goes a step beyond modern science by explaining the cause of the “tendency to vary.” It says, “There is nothing in the end which was not also in the beginning.” And this law governs the process of evolution, as well as the law of causation.

If we admit this grand truth of nature, then it will not be difficult to explain by the theory of Evolution the gradual manifestation of our higher, spiritual nature. Each germ of life, according to Vedanta, possesses infinite potentialities and infinite possibilities. The powers that remain latent have the natural tendency to manifest perfectly and to become actual. In their attempt they vary according to the surrounding environments, selecting suitable conditions or remaining latent as long as circumstances do not favor them.

Therefore variation, according to Vedanta, is caused by this attempt of the potential powers to become actual. When life and mind began to evolve, the possibilities of action and reaction hitherto latent in the germ of life became real and all things became, in a sense, new.

Episode 11: A Mystical Understanding of God & Spirit

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: A Hindu child once said to his playmate: “If you can tell me where God is, I will give you a mango.” The playmate replied: “If you can tell me where God is not, I will give you two mangos.”

Yes, where is God not? While most religions teach that God is omnipresent, the majority of people have difficulty in grasping this truth. They are under the illusion that God must be sought in particular places and in definite localities, such as in churches and in Heaven.

Many make the mistake of attempting to fit their ideas of the Deity into their limited intelligence, and liken God unto themselves. They ascribe to Him hands, feet, a face, senses, and emotions. The majority are also unable to realize God’s ever-present nearness, but believe He is remote and separated from the universe, inaccessible and only to be approached through intermediaries.

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Episode 12: Growth & The Spiritual Laws of Being

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Overflow. And live in the present. Life is for us today. There will be no change for tomorrow unless we do the changing today. Today we are setting in motion the power of tomorrow. Today is God’s day, and we must extract from it what of life we are to live. Tomorrow, in the divine course of events, will care for itself.

The soul that learns to live in the great gladness of today will never weary of life, but will find that it is living in an eternal here and now. Now, all good is yours; now, all life, truth and love are your; now, you have entered in, and the good things of life are yours today.

Let your soul sing today and the song that comes tomorrow will be all the sweeter, will ring out over the vistas of time with an unmistakable clearness. Here is a soul who knows itself and has found life within itself, who has met God today. No more waiting, no more longing, no more weary roads to travel. You have arrived. The goal is won and peace has come at last. Today.

Episode 13: The Spirit of Hope vs. The Philosophy of Despair

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: According to Schopenhauer, we move across the stage of life stung by appetite and goaded by desire, in pain unceasing — the sole respite from pain is the instant in which desire is lost in satisfaction. To do away with desire is to destroy pain, but it also destroys existence — with death only comes complete relief from pain.

Thus the Pessimist tells us that “the only reality in life is pain.” But surely this is not the truth. The person who knows no reality save appetite has never known life at all. The realities in life are love and action — not desire, but the exercise of our appointed tasks.

Our sensations and power to act must go together. We can know nothing that we cannot somehow weave into action. To weave knowledge into action is the antidote for ennui. To plan, to hope, to do, to accomplish the full measure of our powers, whatever they may be, is to turn away from Nirvana to real life. A useful person, a helpful person, an active person in any sense, even though their activity be misdirected or harmful, is always a hopeful person.

Episode 14: Ancient Mexican Code of Moral Precepts

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Take always the good part, O my child. Sow, and thou shall reap. Thou will live by thy labour, and consequently thou will be satisfied, and cherished by thy parents and thy friends.

We live not in this world without much labor. We procure not easily what is necessary. I have borne much trouble to rear thee, and yet I have never abandoned thee, and I have done nothing for which thou can blush.

If thou desirest to live in tranquility, keep clear of harsh criticism and judgements, for these occasion quarrels.

Keep secret what thou hearest. Let it be learned from others rather than from thee; and if thou cannot avoid telling it, speak frankly, without hiding anything, even though thou believe it were well to do so. Repeat not that which thou has witnessed. Be discreet, for to be a tattler is a mean vice, and if thou liest thou will certainly be punished, one way or another.

Episode 15: The Secret of Work, Freedom & Attachment

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: You must remember that freedom of the soul is the goal of enlightenment, and each path equally leads to the same result. By work alone we may get to where Buddha got largely by meditation or Christ by prayer.

Here is the difficulty. Liberation means entire freedom—freedom from the bondage of good, as well as from the bondage of evil. A golden chain is as much a chain as one made of iron ore.
There is a thorn in my finger, and I use another thorn to take the first one out, and when I have taken it out, I throw both of them aside. I have no necessity for keeping the second thorn, because both are thorns after all.

So the bad tendencies are to be counteracted by the good ones, and the bad impressions on the mind should be removed by the fresh waves of good ones, until all that is evil almost disappears, or is subdued and held in control in a corner of the mind. But after that, the good tendencies have also to be conquered. Thus the “attached” becomes the “unattached.”

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Episode 16: Human Evolution & Limitless Possibility

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Humanity has ever stalked the world like an idle sleep walker, in a dream of bewilderment, unconscious of the boundless resources of our own nature and the limitless heights that the fully developed person may reach. Limitation has always clouded our vision. Of the limitless reservoirs of mental life within ourselves, we have been totally oblivious. We are a stranger to ourselves, an unguided wanderer, ignorant of our own greatness and possibilities.

We supposed we were made in an instant, the result of a fiat, and that our limitations were set by the divine decree that brought us into existence. We were never told that we were not finished, or of the slumbering possibilities within ourselves. But we are awakening from our long dream, to the realization that “The full measure of the individual has never been taken” and that the infinite path of progress stretches away before us.

Episode 17: Reincarnation & The Law of Karma

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: “Karma” is a Sanskrit term for that great Law known to Western thinkers as Spiritual Cause and Effect, or Causation. It relates to the complicated affinities for either good or evil that have been acquired by the soul throughout its many incarnations. These affinities manifest as characteristics that endure from one incarnation to another — being added to here, softened or altered there, but always pressing forward for expression and manifestation. And, so, it follows that what each one of us IS in this life, depends upon what we have been and how we have acted in our past lives.

Throughout the operations of the Law of Karma, the manifestation of Perfect Justice is apparent. We are not punished for our sins, as the current beliefs have it, but instead we are punished by our sins. We are not rewarded for our good acts, but receive our reward through and by the characteristics, qualities, and affinities that we have acquired — by reason of having performed these good acts in previous lives. We are our own judges and executioners.

Episode 18: Affirming Life in The Great I AM

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt:We often do not sufficiently recognize the truth of Walt Whitman’s pithy saying, “I am not all contained between my hat and my boots.” We forget the two-fold nature of the “I AM” — that it is both the manifested and the un-manifested, the universal and the individual. By losing sight of this truth, we surround ourselves with limitations. We see only part of the self, and then we are surprised that the part fails to do the work of the whole.

Factors crop up that we had not reckoned with, and we wonder where they came from, and do not understand that they necessarily arose from that great unity in which we are all included. It is the grand intelligence and livingness of the Universal Spirit continually pressing forward to manifest itself in a glorious humanity.

Episode 19: The Foundations of Spirituality & Religion

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: The way to find the truth is to do the truth — for only the truth that we can do is worth discussing. If you will give yourself to the business of living the truth that you have, you soon will have the living truth for this new day.

Too many people are holding up as saving doctrines matters of philosophy and speculation, matters of childish curiosity, because it is easier to hold these things theoretically than to hold living truth practically. The truths that save us are the ones that change our characters; the greatest translation of the Bible is the one that translates into present day lofty living.

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Episode 20: Our Shared Human Destiny

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Why am I here? Where am I going? What’s the point of it all? These are eternal questions asked by every man and woman who has ever lived. The true destination of human kind, the proper end of our being and life, lies beyond the present world in an order of things which are supernatural; and it is absolutely necessary that you should know this, and have supreme regard for this fact, in order that you may not live in vain.

This is the theme on which I plan to speak with you today — the one great thought I wish to bring before you, and to leave with you, in the full earnestness of its own proper consequences and relations. May the Spirit of all truth and grace serve to fix deeply and lastingly in your minds the living force of the thought itself, so that it shall be found hereafter the pole-star of your existence, lighting it onwards and upwards through immortality.

Episode 21: The Chapel of Silent Demand & Prayer

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: There will be built in time an edifice, partaking of the nature of a church, where all persons (of whatever condition, age, nationality, or creed) may come to lay their needs before the Great Supreme Power and demand of that Power help to fulfill those needs. It should be a church without sect or creed. It should be open every day during the week, and every evening until a reasonable hour.

It should be a place of silence for the purpose of silent demand or prayer. All who enter it for any purpose should be asked to refrain from loud talking or irreverent whispering. All who enter it should be counseled not to bring with them any frivolous mind or thought. It should be a place of earnest demand for permanent good, yet not a place of gloom or sadness.

Episode 22: The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: These are the hidden sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Thomas wrote down.

And Jesus said, “Whoever discovers the meaning of these sayings won’t taste death.”

“If your leaders tell you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they tell you, ‘It’s in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and outside of you.

“Whoever seeks shouldn’t stop until they find. When they find, they’ll be disturbed. When they’re disturbed, they’ll be [“¦] amazed, and reign over the All.”

“When you know yourselves, then you’ll be known, and you’ll realize that you’re the children of the living Father. But if you don’t know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

Episode 23: The Adventure of the Last Open Door

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Those of strong religious faith have been able to view death with tranquil eyes, because it was to them the gate into larger life. But, without dealing with the issues of religion and faith, we can say that even from the point of view of an inevitable adventure, death may lose some of its terrors, which are really the terrors only of the unknown.

We judge a thing by what it leads up to. It is foolish to judge a process by its beginning. A consideration of origins will never give the value of an evolving force. So the thing of importance is not where life came from, but where it issues. The value of life is that it is the only road, which leads to the open door of the new mystery. We need life, that it may usher us to death as to another birth.

Episode 24: The Magic Mirror

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The most difficult thing in the world is to make people believe in their own bigness, to take stock in their own latent ability. If we had a larger conception of our possibilities, a larger faith in ourselves, even those who are considered successful could accomplish infinitely more than they do. And if we only better understood our divinity we would have this larger faith.

We are crippled by the old orthodox idea of our inferiority. But there is no inferiority about the person God has made. The only inferiority in us is what we put into ourselves. What God made is perfect. The trouble is that most of us are but a burlesque of the person that God patterned and intended. And this is because we have no faith in ourselves, no knowledge of our divine possibilities.

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Episode 25: Pathways to a Beautiful Life

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: We are searching for pathways to a beautiful life. But often we don’t know where to begin, and what guideposts we should use to navigate our journey. The first thing to do is to recognize the great truth that every individual can live their own life exactly as they wish to. You are the real master of your own existence, and it is you who may determine how perfect and how beautiful that existence is to be.

Your life is in your own hands. You may live as you wish. You may secure from life whatever you desire, because there is no limit to life, and no limit to your capacity to live. The elements of life can be modified, changed, developed and perfected to comply with your own supreme demand. The increase of life can be realized in the exact measure of your largest need. You are in living touch with Infinite life, and there is neither limit nor end to the source of your supply.

Episode 26: Do Not Syndicate Your Sorrows

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The most selfish person in the world is the one who is most unselfish with their sorrows. Such persons do not leave a single misery of theirs untold to you or unsuffered by you — they give you all of them. The world becomes to them a syndicate formed to take stock in their private cares, worries, and trials. Their mistake is in forming such a syndicate. Instead, they should organize a trust and control it all themselves, then they could keep everyone from getting any of their misery.

Life is a great, serious problem for the individual. All our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows come to us — alone. We must go into our Gethsemane — alone. We must battle against the mighty weakness within us — alone. We must live our own life — alone. We must die — alone. We must accept the full responsibility of our life — alone.

Episode 27: No Room in The Inn: Christmas Symbolism

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: The world’s attitude towards the birth of every great truth is focused in a single phrase in the simple story of the first Christmas, the greatest birthday since time began. Mary laid the infant Christ in a manger because (quote) —”there was no room for them in the inn.”

For worldly success, fame, social prestige, laurel-crowned triumph, the inn is illuminated; welcoming music fills the air; and the inn doors are thrown wide open. But the struggle towards sublime attainment, heroic effort to better the world, simple consecration of soul to a noble ideal, means the manger — and a lonely pathway lit only by the torch of truth held high in the hand of purpose.

Episode 28: A Unitarian Sermon of Immortal Life

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: It is the belief of many that we shall all live forever. This is not a doctrine of Christianity alone. It belongs to the human race. But how did we come by this belief? Our ancestors did not sit down and think it out; never waited till they could prove it by logic and metaphysics; did not delay their belief till a miraculous revelation came to confirm it. It came to them by intuition; by instinctive belief, the belief which comes unavoidably from our nature.

In this same way came the belief in a higher power; the redeeming power of love; and the yearning for justice. Some faculties of the body act spontaneously at first—so others of the spirit. Immortality is a fact of human nature; it is thus a part of the universe, just as the sun is a fact in the heavens and a part of the universe.

Episode 29: The Best of Rumi

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Only the soul knows what love is. What matters is how quickly you do what your soul wants. My soul is racing ahead of me. It says, “The body is too slow for me — I am going.”

There is some kiss we want with our whole lives: the touch of spirit on the body.

Whatever you are seeking, is seeking you. What is planted in each person’s soul will sprout. There is nothing outside of yourself. Look within. Everything you want is there — you are that.

Until you remain blind and deaf I will be invisible. Look for the answer inside your question. Eyes cannot see you. You are the source of sight.

Whatever I was looking for was always you. Your calling my name is my reply. Your longing for me is my message to you. I see my beauty in you. I become a mirror that cannot close its eyes to your longing.

Be foolishly in love, because love is all there is.

Episode 30: The Logic of Faith

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Every act of our lives is an act of faith, based upon experience. We take food and drink into our mouths without thought of the process of nutrition, or understanding how waste tissue is restored. We take air into our lungs, though ignorant of the chemistry by which it will oxygenate the blood. We fall forward as we walk, depending on our unconscious will and muscle to maintain our center of gravity.

We direct our steps to a distant point without anxiety lest our brain should become confused and fail to lead us back. As the jingle rhyme so quaintly puts it — My feet they take me through the house; they hoist me up the stair. I only have to steer them; and they take me everywhere.

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Episode 31: The Problems of Life | Science vs. Religion

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: We have heard much of the so called “conflict” between science and religion. But there can be no disharmony between true science and true religion. The conflict is always between false science and religion, or between science and “superstition,” which is false religion.

There is no such thing as “religion” or “science” taken separately. Science is true knowledge. All true knowledge is divine, and relates us to the infinite through the understanding. Consequently all true science comprehends religion, and genuine religion must be scientific.

Episode 32: The Golden Thread of All Religions

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: THE great truth we are considering is the fundamental principle running through all religions. We find it in every one. In regard to it, all agree. It is, moreover, a great truth upon which all people can agree, whether they belong to the same or to different religions.People always quarrel about the trifles, about their personal views of minor insignificant points. But they always come together in the presence of great fundamental truths, the threads of which run through all. The quarrels are in connection with the lower self, the agreements are in connection with the higher self.

The belief that God is the Infinite Spirit of Life and Power that is at the back of all, that is working in and through all, that is the life of all, is a matter which all people and all religions can agree upon. With this belief there can be no infidels or atheists. There are atheists and infidels in connection with certain views that are held concerning God, and thank God there are!

Episode 33: The Golden Spiritual Law of Service

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: We have heard much of the so called “conflict” between science and religion. But there can be no disharmony between true science and true religion. The conflict is always between false science and religion, or between science and “superstition,” which is false religion.

There is no such thing as “religion” or “science” taken separately. Science is true knowledge. All true knowledge is divine, and relates us to the infinite through the understanding. Consequently all true science comprehends religion, and genuine religion must be scientific.

Episode 34: The 6 Points of Conduct | Krishnamurti

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: In all the world, there are only two kinds of people — those who know, and those who do not know; and this knowledge is the thing which matters. What religion a person holds, to what race you belong — these things are not important. The really important thing is this knowledge — the knowledge of God’s plan for us. For God has a plan, and that plan is evolution.

Once you have seen the truth of this, and really know it, you cannot help working for it, and making yourself one with it — because it is so glorious, so beautiful. And because you know it, you are on God’s side, standing for good and resisting evil, working for evolution and not for selfishness.

There are Six Points of Conduct which are specially required for those who are dedicated to the evolution of themselves and others…

Episode 35: The Ever Growing Power Within You

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: As a spiritual being, you are a part of God, or the Infinite Force or Spirit of Good. As such a part, you have an ever-growing power which can never lessen, and must always increase. Every struggle of the mind — be it a struggle against pain, a struggle against appetite, a struggle for more skill in the doing of anything — is an actual pushing of the spirit to greater power, and a completion of yourself — and with such completion, happiness. For the aim of living is happiness.

There is today more of you, and more of every desirable quality belonging to you, than ever before. The very dissatisfaction and discontent you may feel concerning your failings are proof of this. If your mind was not as clear as it is, it could not see those failings. The God in yourself — the ever-growing power in yourself — has made you see an incompleteness in your character; yet that incompleteness was never so near a relative completion as now.

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Episode 36: The Power & Wisdom of Silence

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The words of the wise ones have great power, but their silence is more powerful still. The greatest people teach us most effectively when they are purposely silent. The silent attitude of the great soul (noted, perhaps, by one or two of their disciples only), is recorded and preserved through the ages; while the obtrusive words of the merely clever talker (heard, perhaps, by thousands, and at once popularized), are neglected and forgotten in, at most, a few generations.

Lao-Tzu, in his own life, exemplified his teaching that the wise person “teaches without words.” Disciples were attracted to him by the power which ever accompanies a wise reserve. Living in comparative obscurity and silence, not courting the ear of followers, and never going out to teach, people still sought him out and learned from him wisdom.

Episode 37: What is Worth While? (Part 1)

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Life is large. We cannot possibly grasp the whole of it in the few years that we have to live. What is vital? What is essential? What may we profitably let go? Let us ask ourselves these questions.

To begin with, what may we let go? Who shall say? By what standard shall we measure? By what authority decide? Each of us must answer that question for ourselves. But when I look about for an answer, I find only one that satisfies me. It is this: We may let go of all things which we cannot carry into the eternal life.

Episode 38: What is Worth While? (Part 2)

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The question of life is not, “How much time have we?” — for in each day, each of us has exactly the same amount: we have “all there is.” The question is, “What shall we do with it?” Shall we let this priceless gift slip away from us in haphazard deeds, or shall we adopt some plan of saving, and of systematic doing, in our lives? What shall this plan be? How shall we determine what things are worth giving time to? Let us think about this question.

In our thoughts, let us not forget one point — time spent in being interrupted is not time lost. A strong thinker once said, “No one knocks at my door who is not sent by God.” We are spending time well when we are paying it out to God, to buy the things he means our lives to own, whether he is putting before us a duty to be done, a friend to be won, a small service to be rendered, a book to be written, a child to be consoled, or a house to be set in order.

Episode 39: Why We Must Take the Hard Road

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: There is an aim which all Nature seeks. The flower that opens from the bud (the light that breaks the cloud into a thousand forms of beauty) is calmly striving to assume the perfect glory of its power. And the child, whose proud laugh heralds the mastery of a new lesson, unconsciously develops the same life-impulse, so as to prove the power it has felt as its own. This is the real goal of life shining dimly from afar — for our fullest power has never yet been attained. It is a treasure which must be sought (its extent and distance being unknown).

No person can tell what they can do, or suffer, until they have tried. Their path of action broadens out before them. And, while that path appears, there is power to traverse it. It is like the fabled hill of Genius that ever presents a loftier elevation above the one attained. It is like the glory of the stars which shine by borrowed light — each seeming source a tributary to one more distant, until the view is lost to us.

Episode 40: A Fundamental Law of Life

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Now, without referring to any religious idea you may have about Jesus of Nazareth, without considering whether He was or was not divine, recall that He spoke these words: “Give, and it shall be given unto you, in good measure, running over.” And this appears certainly to be so; not because He said it, not because God has said it; but because it is Truth, which we all (whether we admit it or not) worship as God. No person can honestly say that they do not put the truth supreme. And it is true, this principle of giving and receiving, except that there are only a few people who go the limit on it. But going the limit is the way to unlimited returns!

Well, then, what shall you give? What you have, of course. Suppose you believe in this idea, and suppose you start giving it out (the idea itself) tactfully, wisely; and start living it yourself in your business organization. How long do you think it will be before you are a power in that organization, recognized as such and getting paid as such? If this idea is true, it is more valuable than all the cleverness and special information you can possibly possess without it.

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Episode 41: The Mystical Symbolism of Easter

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Jesus once said said, “Except you be born again, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” A wise man replied, “How is it possible a man my age may once again enter my mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus said, “You are a master of Israel, and you do not know? Except you be born of water and the spirit, you can in no way enter the kingdom of heaven.” Then he gives an additional clue, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the son of man be lifted up.”

As Moses lifted up the serpent”¦.do you think a man lifted up a brazen serpent as told in the story and that everyone who looked on it was instantly healed, and those who would not look were not cured? It’s not any serpent. A serpent is a symbol of the power of endless self-reproduction. For the serpent sheds its skin, and yet does not die. We must be like the serpent, who grows and outgrows. We must learn the art of dying that we may live. By laying down all that we now believe, we lift ourselves up to the belief that we are what we want to be. That’s how we do it.

Episode 42: Thought Tonics: Discovery of a Lost Trail

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: When our suffering seems almost beyond endurance, we may always gain relief by making a bold “change of front.” This is considered the most difficult problem in military tactics when made in the face of an enemy, and it is often the most brilliantly effective move of wartime science.

Instead of declaring, as we so often do in our mental anguish, “I can’t stand it any longer,” let us assert with Paul, “I glory in tribulation;” “I take pleasure in infirmities;” “I can endure all things.” Let us “agree with our adversary quickly” while we are in their way, and make friends of our adversities. Nothing else will so quickly disarm their power and neutralize their sting.

Episode 43: The Kindergarten of God

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Life is a great school — we but tiny children, learning our little lessons, performing our little tasks, playing our little games, enjoying our little pleasures, suffering our little pains, disappointments, trials and sorrows.

I feel that we are in but the kindergarten stage of existence, learning the first lessons of Life — fitting ourselves for the grander, broader, fuller life in store for us. And I feel that this little kindergarten experience will continue until we have learned its lessons well—have firmly grasped the principles designed for our baby minds.

And I feel that when we have proven our ability to weave our little mats — build our little blocks — draw our little pictures — mold our little clay forms — sing our little songs — then, and not until then, will we pass into a higher grade, where we will spell out the lines of the Primer of Life, and acquire the elementary principles of Cosmic Mathematics.

Episode 44: Let the Sunshine In | Soul Growth

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: There is plenty of sunshine in life, if you only look for it. And there is plenty of shadow in life, if you only look for it. But in the things that seem all shadow to others, you will find the sunshine if you but train yourself to always look for it.

It is true that what may seem bright sunshine to you, others will find nothing but shade — for they are afflicted with a mental cataract that shuts out all the rays of the sunshine of life. But when you learn to love the sunshine and look forward to seeing it always, you seem to draw it to you.

The Law of Attraction brings to you your share of the sunshine with which the world is plentifully supplied. But, if you fall into the habit of looking for and expecting the shadow, the shadow will always be found.

Episode 45: Unexpected Farewells | Leaving a Sweet Memory

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Life is very critical. Any word may be our last. Any farewell, even amid glee and merriment, may be forever. If this truth were but burned into our consciousness, if it ruled as a deep conviction, and had real power in our lives, would it not give a new meaning to all our human relationships?

Would it not make us far more tender than we sometime are? Would it not oftentimes put a rein upon our rash and impetuous speech? Would we carry in our hearts the miserable suspicions and jealousies that now so often embitter the fountains of our loves? Would we be so impatient of the faults of others?

Episode 46: More Thoughts from Gautama Buddha

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: “The darkest night is ignorance. The greatest prayer is patience. From a withered tree, a flower blooms.”

“A dog is not considered a good dog because it is a good barker. A man or woman is not considered a good person because they are a good talker.”

“Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.”

“If a traveler does not meet with one who is their better, or their equal, let them firmly keep to their solitary journey; there is no companionship with a fool.”

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Episode 47: The Greatness of Always Doing Good

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: My counsel to you is to seize every opportunity of contributing to the good of others. Sometimes a smile will do it. More often a kind word, a look of sympathy, or an acknowledgement of obligation. Sometimes a little help to a burdened shoulder, or a heavy wheel, will be in order. Sometimes a word or two of good counsel, a seasonable and gentle admonition — and at other times, a suggestion of advantage to be gained and how to secure it, will be received with lasting gratitude.

And, thus, every instance of kindness done (whether acknowledged or not) opens up a little wellspring of happiness in your own breast, the flow of which may be made permanent by habit.

Episode 48: Successful Trusting in God

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: There is a kind of giving that sometimes seems harder to practice than any other, but that should be easier: namely, the giving of ourselves. That is: Surrender.

It ought to be easy for me to give to God. To give Him my troubles, for instance; to give Him the responsibility for the result of my efforts; to give Him the care of my interests; to put my fortunes into His hands; to entrust Him with my health, and with my hopes.

It ought to be as easy as it is to give to Him all responsibility for developing the seed that I put into the ground. It should be as easy as trusting Him to keep the boat that I launch afloat. It should be as easy as trusting Him to see that I get nourishment from the food I eat.

Episode 49: The Religion of the God Within

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Destiny is determined, for nations and for individuals, by factors and forces that are really fundamental — such as our attitude toward one another. Ideals and motives are more potent than events in shaping History. What people think about the abiding concerns of life means more than any contemporary agitation or upheaval.

Everything which we hold in our consciousness for any length of time becomes impressed upon our sub-conscious, and so becomes a pattern which the creative energy will wave into our life and environment. This is the secret of the power of prayer.

Episode 50: Native American Prayers

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Earth teach me quiet ~ as the grasses are still with new light.

Earth teach me suffering ~ as old stones suffer with memory.

Earth teach me humility ~ as blossoms are humble with beginning.

Earth teach me caring ~ as mothers nurture their young.

Earth teach me courage ~ as the tree that stands alone.

Earth teach me limitation ~ as the ant that crawls on the ground.

Earth teach me freedom ~ as the eagle that soars in the sky.

Earth teach me acceptance ~ as the leaves that die each fall.

Episode 51: Where Do We Come From?

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: We enter into life without having an awareness that we are alive — as do the trees, the flowers, and the bees, which all possess life, but not the realization of it. An infant does not know that he or she exists. They are, as it were, unconscious. It never occurs to them to ask whence they came. But the time arrives when the child perceives that they are here and that they are somebody. An irresistible instinct compels them to reflect on themselves and on the world around them.

The same question is forever rising anew in the young mind, without having made any effort to get here: “Where do all these things come from?” And this simple question takes us a long way. It is like the song of the cuckoo bird which you hear in the woods in spring-time. You do not know where it comes from; it attracts you; it perplexes you. You follow it, but it retreats — until, maybe, in order to set eyes on the mysterious singer who is always fleeing and escaping you, you go into the very depth of the forest, discovering unknown paths, curiously formed rocks, wild strawberries, strange plants.

Episode 52: The Material Mind vs. The Spiritual Self

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: There belongs to every human being a higher self and a lower self — a self of the spirit which has been growing for ages, and a self of the body, which is but a thing of yesterday.

The higher self is full of prompting ideas, suggestions, and aspiration. This it receives of the Supreme Power. All this the lower self regards as wild and visionary.

The higher self argues possibilities and power for us greater than men and women now possess and enjoy. The lower self says we can only live and exist as people have lived and existed before us.

The higher self craves freedom from the heaviness, the limitations, the pains and disabilities of the body. The lower self says that we are born to them, born to ill, born to suffer, and must suffer as have so many before us.

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Episode 53: Imagination Creates Reality

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Your own wonderful human imagination is the actual creative power of God within you. It is your savior. If you were thirsty, water would be your savior. If you needed a job, employment would be your savior. Your imagination is the power to save you from whatever circumstances you now find yourself.

You can experience your heart’s desire through the use of your imagination. Nothing is impossible to your imagination. Your imagination is unlimited in what it can accomplish. If you can imagine something, you can achieve it.

The way to use your imagination creatively is this. Relax in a chair or on a bed and close your eyes. First, determine what it is you wish to experience. Then, in this state of complete relaxation, bring to mind the end result of what it is you desire.

Episode 54: Spiritual Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, and it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from a voicing care.

Rejoice, and people will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.

Episode 55: Growing Toward the Divine

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: A sense of uncertainty, of uneasiness, a lack of poise, of equilibrium in the life, is fatal to high success. We must think deeply enough into the nature of things to get rid of uncertainties. We must be rooted in the truth of being, and feel an unwavering faith that we are a part of the great Mind which creates and governs all things.

There is a sense of certainty, of absolute security, when we know that nothing can wrench us out of our orbit, that no accident on land or sea, no disease or discord, can separate us from our union with that great power. Once having this security, fear departs, uncertainty and anxiety leave us, and all the faculties work together in harmony.

Episode 56: The Vedic Way of Blessedness

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: When we understand the true meaning of life, we know that life is opposed to death, as light is opposed to darkness. Life, in its most abstract sense, means being, and death means non-being, or non-existence. Where life is, death cannot exist.

If life be a reality, then what we call death must be unreal. That which lives or exists can never die or become non-existent. And that which does not live in any form whatever, can never become existent. Existence can never become non-existence, and non-existence can never become existence. This is the law of nature. Whatever exists will continue to exist.

Episode 57: Every Day is a Fresh Beginning

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: When we awaken from sleep and so return to conscious life, we are in a peculiarly receptive and impressionable state. All relations with the material world had been (for a time) shut off. The mind is thus now in a freer and more natural state, resembling somewhat a sensitive plate, where impressions can readily leave their mark.

This is why the highest and truest impressions often come to us early in the morning, before the activities of the day and their attendant distractions have exerted an influence. This is also one reason why many people can do their best work in the early hours of the day.

This fact is a valuable one in connection with the molding of every-day life. The mind is (at this time) as a clean sheet of paper. We therefore can beneficially use this quiet, receptive, impressionable period by wisely directing the activities of the mind along the highest and most desirable paths, and, so to speak, set the pace for the day.

Episode 58: Life is Much More Than Sorrow

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: The man or woman who tastes only the bitter in the cup of life, who looks only at the clouds which rumble in one quarter of the heavens while the sun is shining cheerily in another, who persists in pricking and scratching themselves with the thorn, and refuses to enjoy the fragrance of the rose, is an ingrate to the world and a torment to themselves.

The record of human life is far more melancholy than its course; the hours of quiet enjoyment are not noted; the thousand graces and happiness of social life, the loveliness of nature meeting us at every step, the buoyancy of spirit resulting from health and pure air, the bright sun, the starry firmament — all that cheers us on our journey, that warms the heart and makes life pleasant — is omitted in the statistical narrative, which can only deal with facts.

Episode 59: Your Unconscious Influence on Others

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: I heard a wonderful sermon once on the subject of unconscious influence. The idea expressed was that whatever influence we have on others, or in the world at large, will always be almost wholly unknown to us. Our unconscious influence will always be greater than our conscious influence, just as the part of the iceberg under water is greater than that above the surface; and just as our so-called subconscious mind is greater than our conscious mind.

How do I know what my influence on my baby son in the cradle is, or how far-reaching it is? It may affect him profoundly and extend on throughout his whole life — for good or for ill! A harsh word to his mother may lay the foundation for his attitude toward her, toward all women. My love for her, and the way it is expressed, may set his standard for all his years. I think he is too young to take notice of such things. But that is not true. Child specialists have said that a human being’s character is largely formed before they are three years old. What part has my unconscious influence been in forming it?

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Episode 60: Nobody Can Cheat You But Yourself

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: People suffer all their life long under the foolish superstition that they can be cheated. But it is as impossible for you to be cheated by anyone but yourself, as it is for a thing to be and not be at the same time. There is a third silent party to all our bargains. The nature and soul of things takes on itself the guaranty of the fulfillment of every contract, so that honest service cannot come to loss.

If you serve an ungrateful master, serve them the more. Put God in your debt. Every stroke shall be repaid. The longer the payment is withholden, the better for you — for compound interest on compound interest is the rate and usage of this treasury.

Episode 61: Just Be Glad – The Gospel of Human Sunshine

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Wherever you are, or whatever has happened, just be glad. Be glad because you are here. You are here in a beautiful world; and all that is beautiful may be found in this world. It is a world wherein all that is rich in life may be enjoyed beyond measure; a world wherein happiness may overflow eternally in every human heart; a world wherein all the dreams of life may be realized; and all the visions of the soul made true. Then why should we not be glad; first of all, that we are here; that we are in this world; that we may stay here for a long time if we so desire, and enjoy every minute to the full.

The real truth is that this world is nothing less than a limitless sea of happiness, the vastness and glory of which we are just beginning to know. And life itself is a song, while time is one eternal symphony. To be in tune with life, therefore, and to be in harmony with the endless music of time, we must of necessity be glad. But after we have learned to be glad, under every circumstance, it is no longer a necessity. It is a privilege, and has become a part of our active, living, thinking self.

Episode 62: The Wisdom of Osho

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: “Experience life in all possible ways — good-bad, bitter-sweet, dark-light, summer-winter. Experience all the dualities. Don’t be afraid of experience, because the more experience you have, the more mature you become.”

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”

Episode 63: Being Moral But Not Religious

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: There is no surer indication of confusion and decadence in spiritual matters than the severance of morality from religion. “He is a highly moral man, but he is not religious”; “She is exceptionally good and virtuous, but is not at all spiritual,” are common expressions on the lips of many people who regard religion as something quite distinct from goodness, purity, and right-living.

If religion be regarded merely and only as worship, combined with adherence to a particular form of faith, then it would be correct to say, “They are a very good person, but not religious” in some instances, just as it would be equally correct to say, “They are an immoral person, but very religious,” in other instances — for murderers, thieves, and other evil-doers are sometimes devout worshippers and zealous adherents to a creed.

Episode 64: Breaking From the Past

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Your ability to take a new hold on life depends upon your ability to break with the thoughts of the past and acquire a new outlook on the present and future. Taking a new hold, then, is simply a matter of gaining the right perspective of time. If the past continues to be something to you, then the unpleasant events of the past will continue to live. Their hold on you will prevent your taking a new hold on life.

If you would take a new hold on life, then life must ever be unfolding new viewpoints to you. The value of an unpleasant situation of yesterday lies entirely in its ability to contribute to your good of today. Today is the only time you, as a student of Truth, can recognize. You can do nothing now about the past beyond letting it go.

Episode 64: The Creed of the Dauntless

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: I BELIEVE in Love, Truth, and Life. I believe that God’s love, within me, is strong enough to wipe out every appearance of fear or hate from my life. I believe that the truth of my being is mighty enough to lift me out of ignorance, falsehood, and superstition. I believe that God’s life, my life, is powerful enough to overthrow every obstacle before me.

I believe in my higher self, my Divine self! I believe that this Divine self, which was implanted within me at the beginning, is now coming forth, casting out all that is unlike itself and manifesting its fullness and perfection.

I believe that I am a child of God! I believe that I am made in God’s image and after God’s likeness. I believe that through me (God’s child) the Divine spirit is doing mighty things. I believe that the faith now being increased in my consciousness will remove all doubt and disbelief. All belief in adversity and limitation must yield to my faith, quickened to believe in only God, only the good.

Episode 65: The Great Life Principle

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: We live in the midst of God, and yet we do not know God. Mysteries press in upon us on every hand, and yet we fail to understand. A worm goes to sleep and wakes up a butterfly. An egg is warmed for a few weeks and a chicken breaks forth from its shell; a bullet cuts its way through flesh and the body restores every organ, cell for cell and nerve for nerve.

A nut, an egg, or a grain of sand, hides within it the secret of life. To explain one of them is to explain everything. Yet how often is it looked upon either as a miracle or a fraud when a person turns the inspired eye of faith to the inner power and is lifted from hardship to health, from poverty to abundance — or when in peril by sea or land discovers a guardian angel who points out a star and a way.

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Episode 66: The Soul’s Birthday

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: “At sunrise every soul is born anew.” So rise today to a new consciousness of your new life. Let your soul unfold its wings and rise to grander and better things. Give up all unpleasant memories of the past. Yield to the past its own. Give to it all the beliefs in limitation that you have entertained about yourself or others. To the past give all your old thoughts of doubt, hate, fear, and disease. Cast from your mind all thought of age and death.

Enter a new world today — a world of light, hope, faith, love, happiness, understanding, and health. In the world of light, there are no shadows of adversity. The light of God shines within you and about you, dispelling every shadow. There is no darkness within you because God, the light of Truth, shines from the innermost depths of your being. Let your soul rejoice in the light of God and be radiant with rays of spiritual glory. By doing so, your mind and body will respond to the light of Spirit, and you will be mentally and physically illumined.

Episode 67: Gaining the Right Perspective

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Those who gain the right perspective of life are able to look at life through the mind’s eye, the eye of Spirit. The picture of life that they see is in accurate proportion. It is not discolored by extreme opinions. There are no unwarranted uses of flaming reds (or heavy passions), of offending yellows (or jealousies), of depressing blacks (or unforgettable griefs).

On the other hand, those who do not have the right perspective of life behold a strange vista. The people around them are given power to affect their own life; hence on their canvas individuals are out of proportion to the rest of the picture. Their mental canvas lacks depth. They fail to give the right place and importance to those things that matter most. The path that their picture unfolds to us is not one that invites us to walk upon it. It really does not look like a path to us at all, since something within us tells us that it is not the true way. We are inclined to view their picture of life with doubt because it betrays a mind that appears to lack depth, feeling, warmth, and the right perspective of life. We are not mentally akin to them; hence their canvas does not inspire us or stir us to sympathetic appreciation.

Episode 68: Gaining the Right Perspective

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Those who gain the right perspective of life are able to look at life through the mind’s eye, the eye of Spirit. The picture of life that they see is in accurate proportion. It is not discolored by extreme opinions. There are no unwarranted uses of flaming reds (or heavy passions), of offending yellows (or jealousies), of depressing blacks (or unforgettable griefs).

On the other hand, those who do not have the right perspective of life behold a strange vista. The people around them are given power to affect their own life; hence on their canvas individuals are out of proportion to the rest of the picture. Their mental canvas lacks depth. They fail to give the right place and importance to those things that matter most. The path that their picture unfolds to us is not one that invites us to walk upon it. It really does not look like a path to us at all, since something within us tells us that it is not the true way. We are inclined to view their picture of life with doubt because it betrays a mind that appears to lack depth, feeling, warmth, and the right perspective of life. We are not mentally akin to them; hence their canvas does not inspire us or stir us to sympathetic appreciation.

Episode 69: Heavenly Silence & Peace

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Is the kingdom of heaven right here, right now? Is it right where you are? Yes and no. It is not the world of fog and shadow, pain and disease, arguments and misunderstandings, bitterness and war, in which you sometimes find yourself engulfed. It’s a place of heavenly rest and peace that exists back of all this world of turmoil. Let me give you an illustration from the natural world.

Invisible radio waves live in an ethereal world. To the invisible waves there are no three-dimensional barriers, no hindrance to its movements. To the world of the radio there is no world of stone walls, of impenetrable iron and steel. Are these two worlds (the world of radio and the world of three dimensions) two separate worlds? Yes and no.

Episode 70: Leave it to God

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: When you are confronted with problems that you cannot solve, or find yourself in the midst of conditions that are distressing, do not permit yourself to become disturbed for a moment. There is a simple secret that will invariably set you free and change everything for the best. And the secret is this — “Leave it to God.”

When you do not know what course to pursue, leave it to God. When you do not know where to turn, or how to dispel the darkness that may surround you, leave it to God. When you do not know where the path to the greatest good may lie, and have not yet become aware of that supreme light of the soul through which all things may be discerned — rest serenely in the faith that you can leave it all to God.

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Episode 71: The Lord’s Prayer for Daily Life

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Henry David Thoreau, tucked away in his Walden cabin, famously said that most of us lead lives of quiet desperation. That was in 1845. Today, things are not so quiet in the United States. Anxiety and depression are regular rites of passage from which millions never graduate. Civility meanwhile has long been dropped from our national discourse. It’s a sad state of affairs for a country that has the highest church attendance in the world. Around 75% percent of us say that we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, where is our joy? Where is our vitality? Where is our peace of mind?

The Son comes to complete our happiness in THIS life, yet it’s clear not many are receiving “the good news”. Instead, we are often sold a gospel that forsakes the living hour for a future heavenly reward: a spiritual reckoning that asks for little and receives even less in return. Simply accept Jesus Christ as your savior, we are told, and you’ll be hanging out with the good Lord for eternity. If it were only so easy.

Episode 72: Our Father Who Art In Heaven

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: The Lord’s Prayer begins with an idea that seems easy enough to understand. Jesus wants to establish God as our heavenly Father, and we as his children. What we often fail to notice though is what Jesus doesn’t say. Yet what he leaves out is just as important. What Jesus doesn’t say is that we should pray to God as “My Father.” We are taught to address him as “Our Father” because prayer is not about individualism. It is not a private wish factory, churning out favors so that we can escape the hardships of life. Its purpose is to bring us together: to bring unity to our relationship with God and his creation.

But why does Jesus describe God as a father figure? Why not “Our Mother” or “Our Creator”? Or why not just say “Our God”? Before trying to answer this, we need to recognize that our lives are defined by our relationships: the good and the bad. The roads we’ve taken have been paved by the arguments, joys, sadness, and desires we’ve shared with our family and friends. These roads though frequently do not lead to Christ or the kingdom of God. So Jesus demands that we tear them up.

He challenges us to hate our fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters, and abandon the life we’ve come to know. It’s an alarming request. If a preacher ordered his followers to do that today, we would call him a cult leader or religious crackpot. So what are we to make of this demand?

Episode 73: Hallowed Be Thy Name

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Jesus establishes God as a heavenly father figure, but that’s not enough for most of us. Without a name, he seems lost in abstraction. Try as we might, we simply can’t bring him into view. There is only the vague presence of someone hovering around us—like the adult of a Charlie Brown Peanuts Special, always outside the frame, speaking in a strange indecipherable language. Jesus understands our predicament, but unlike Moses, who chiseled the Word to fit the hardness of our hearts, he isn’t going to bend the gospel around our weaknesses. He’ll allow for the idea that God has a name, but he isn’t about to tell us what it is.

Why the secrecy? Because Jesus understood that once God is given a name such as Yahweh or Elohim, it doesn’t take long before we start asking for special favors. Jesus, as we know, wanted to break the belief in a God that plays favorites. He wanted his followers to realize that in the Father’s eyes all races of people are equal: the gospel of Christ beating at the heart of all true religions. “They who are not against us are for us,” proclaimed the carpenter’s son. That includes Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Jews, and others. What we label ourselves isn’t important as long as we follow Christ’s gospel of love, charity, and good works — as long as we climb the mountain and live up to our potential as God’s children.

Episode 74: Thy Kingdom Come

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: With the second line of The Lord’s Prayer, we arrive at the heart of the matter: God’s kingdom. To understand how Jesus views his Father’s kingdom, we first need to do something that will seem strange. We must take all discussion of “Heaven” off the table. There will be no talk about heaven with a capital “H,” the place we think we’ll go to (if lucky) when we die. We’re just not going to go there.

Why? Because as soon as we see heaven and hell as proper names, as specific places where rewards and punishments are meted out, the acceptance of Christ and all associated good works become petty acts of bribery. The afterlife must remain unknown, because the quality and strength of our faith, as well as the morality of our actions, depend on the mystery. For this reason, Jesus calls us to attend not the dead (who are beyond our reach) but those who are living and can feel our touch.

It is by nurturing the living God in ourselves and others that we make the Father’s kingdom come. But what exactly is this kingdom if it is not what we normally take for heaven? The Gospels provide us with plenty of clues. But also many false leads. We need to be careful when applying our winnowing fans.

Episode 75: Thy Will Be Done

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: In the Book of Luke, there is a curious statement about God. Luke quotes the prophet Isaiah as saying that through Christ (the Lord) all mankind shall see the “salvation of God”. Considering the ham-fisted way that Jesus’s twelve apostles (not to mention the Pharisees and Sadducees) often handled Old Testament scripture, we might be tempted just to pass over this comment from Isaiah. But that would be a mistake.

Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, has been inspiring prophets since the beginning of the world. Jewish scripture, like all holy scripture, is capable of profound revelation, and this quote by Isaiah is a jewel of an example — albeit one that is rarely talked about. Our silence surrounds the disturbing question: From what exactly does an all-powerful God need to be saved? For humankind, “salvation” means being rescued from “the wages of sin,” but is God a sinner too?

Some would argue that Jehovah certainly is no saint, considering the peevish, jealous, and wrathful behavior he exhibits in the Old Testament. But when Isaiah refers to God’s salvation, he isn’t talking about liberating Jehovah from his penchant for tormenting servants like Job just to win bets with Satan. He is talking about the justification of God’s will, and the choices he’s made. To illustrate God’s situation, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son.

Episode 76: On Earth as it is In Heaven

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: In the last two chapters on the Lord’s Prayer, we’ve established that our entrance into the kingdom of heaven depends on our sense of wonder; our ability to think and love; our patience; and our acceptance of will as a matter of choice — a choice shared equally with God, the Father. We’ve also learned that the kingdom is filled with potential, and with treasures that can be experienced today and every day. Unfortunately, we often lose sight of this. Even those who have dedicated their lives to preaching the Word of God often remain just outside the kingdom’s doorway.

Take for example the story of Jesus and the scribe in the Book of Mark. In this story a teacher of Mosaic law asks Jesus which commandment supersedes all others. Jesus replies that it is the first of the ten: “The Lord our God is the one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength.” He then adds that the second most important commandment is: “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thou dost love thyself.” The scribe heartily agrees and congratulates Jesus on being so wise. Jesus, in turn, acknowledges the scribe’s own wisdom, telling him that he is “not far from the kingdom of God.”

This story shows once again that Jesus did not view heaven as a celestial mansion in the sky or a Garden of Eden revisited. Instead, he saw God’s kingdom as a hidden reality waiting to be brought into the light. Much more than a state of mind, it is a state of being wherein the heart, soul, and mind work as one — and which find their perfect stride in Christ. Hitting that stride takes more than having one’s heart in the right place or possessing wisdom (such as the scribe had), it means tapping the latent power of the Holy Spirit to bring harmony to our divided house, and likewise to God’s.

Episode 77: Give Us This Day

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Up to this point in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus has been laying a foundation — one that establishes our relationship to God and his creation. When we recite the beginning of the prayer, we are thus engaging in an act of grounding, reminding ourselves that at the core of our existence we remain rooted in Christ.

With the foundation complete, Jesus moves on to what many of us think is the business of prayer: asking for things. But as we mentioned in Chapter 2, prayer isn’t about asking for special favors. In fact, it isn’t even about “asking” at all — since, as Jesus says, God already knows what we need before we ask him. So what is prayer about? The simplest answer is that it is about gathering and release.

When we think about gathering and Christ, the first image that comes to mind is probably the shepherd. Many of us see Jesus as the “Good Shepherd” gathering his lost flock back within the fold of his love. This image is popular because Jesus often used sheep and shepherds as metaphors when he taught. He described those who deliver the gospel of Christ as lambs among wolves, and those without Christ’s guidance as sheep without a shepherd. He also warned us of embracing false teachers who come in the guise of innocent sheep but have sinister hidden agendas.

Episode 78: Our Daily Bread

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: Knowing that we can claim ownership of our inheritance in the living hour is one thing. But what are we supposed to do with that knowledge? The childhood keys of wonderment and immediacy help unlock the door to the kingdom of heaven, but they don’t have the power to usher us across the threshold. To cross into the kingdom and gather our inheritance, we have to move beyond the carefree world of the child and into the care-driven world of adults — to expand our concerns beyond the “me” to include the “us”.

We can begin by recognizing that although the spontaneity of the child and the adult are similar, they are not one and the same. Take for example the miracles that Jesus performs in the Gospels. If we can set aside the unanswerable question of whether or not these miracles actually occurred, we can begin to see the miracle stories as parables of spontaneity, ones which teach us that living in Christ means immediately responding to the needs of others. Whether it is healing the sick, walking on water, or turning water into wine, Jesus never hesitates but responds spontaneously and confidently to those who call out to him.

Spontaneous charity is taught also by the story of the Good Samaritan. In this well-known parable a man gets robbed and beaten while on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho. A priest and a local man pass by him as he lies half-dead on the road. Finally a stranger from Samaria stops, tends to his wounds, and takes him to an inn to recuperate, paying the man’s bills — all without giving his actions a second thought.

Episode 79: And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: We’ve just described our journey toward a life in Christ as a rising. But the act of “rising” (such as rising above petty arguments and concerns) can sometimes get us into trouble. The reason is that when we rise toward our divinity, we often look down on others with a misguided sense of superiority. Jesus condones none of that. He knocks us off our pedestals by insisting that we wash the feet of others if we are to have any part of him.

To keep us grounded, Jesus also teaches that our rebirth in Christ is owed to both spirit and water. This lesson is one that’s largely been forgotten. Most Christians today see water simply as an accoutrement to the ritual of baptism, forgetting that the performance of rituals was something that Jesus only grudgingly accepted—for he knew how often they become codified into new forms of idolatry.

We can see such idolatry in the way the Pharisees rigidly held to their laws of the Sabbath. When it came to baptism, Jesus saw it as something which needed to be done for the sake of the community, rather than for himself—telling John the Baptist that they must suffer the task so as to (quote) “satisfy every claim of religion.” In other words, Jesus allowed himself to be baptized to fulfill the religious expectations of Israel, so that their minds would remain open to receiving the gospel of Christ.

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Episode 80: As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

Spirituality Podcast Excerpt: We already know that water follows the path of least resistance. It also has another defining characteristic: it seeks its own level. This means that when water flows into a container (be it a cup, lake, or pool) it rises to a height that is level all around. Likewise, the Holy Spirit seeks its own level within us. And its height is largely determined by our ability to forgive others, just as God forgives us.

When we refuse to grant forgiveness, the water of the Holy Spirit dries to dust — the same dust that Jesus writes in when the angry crowd seeks to stone the adulteress. The dust we shuffle through daily, when we demand that others pay for their offenses and failures to live up to our expectations.

In our anxiousness for retribution, we forget that ultimately every offender pays for the offense that matters most: trespassing against the Holy Spirit. And the payment levied by God is that person’s continued separation from his kingdom and a life more abundant.

Episode 81: And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Having led us through forgiveness, the Lord’s Prayer turns to temptation. Jesus approaches the subject from a curious angle. He asks us to pray that the Father will not lead us into temptation. “This inevitably causes us to ask: Why would an all-good God lead us to the devil’s doorstep? If we believe in the Lord, does he not reward that faith by leading us away from temptation?”

Before answering those questions, we need to remember that we are partners with God in this life. Although he regularly grants us blessings in the form of our “daily bread,” how we use and respond to that bread is up to us. Every blessing and talent bestowed by the Holy Spirit carries with it the seeds of our salvation, and our ruin.

This lesson is taught through the story of Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. Jesus becomes (quote) “full of the Holy Spirit” before it leads him to his sit-down with the devil (a confrontation the Spirit will arrange on our behalf, too, since we must follow in Jesus’s footsteps). But why does the great tempter appear when we are full of the Holy Spirit and its glory? The popular cry among Christians is for God to save us from temptation because our “spirit is weak”. The whole sequence of events sounds strange.

Episode 82: But Deliver Us from Evil

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: When pride is overcome, we cure a symptom of our separation from God, but not its root cause. We are like the frog born at the bottom of the well, who is unaware of the larger world that exists beyond the walls of its home. These walls are what psychologists have come to call the ego, and the well itself what Jesus (lacking our modern lingo) called the pit, where the fire (that is, our desire) is never quenched. It is what some have called our “original sin”. Yet “sin” is the wrong word. For sins are connected to choices. And we did not choose to be placed in the well — although it is our choice whether or not we remain there.

The well is better described as our original condition. And Jesus’s entire ministry was about teaching us how to overcome it. Asking people to abandon their egos though is a tough sell. Because while we know that egoism leads to pride, hate, violence, theft, adultery and every evil under the sun, we also believe that our egos define who we are. We think that if we lose our ego, we will lose our identity; and we are offended by those who suggest otherwise.

The offense we take is registered in the Gospel of John during the story of the Last Supper — the last fellowship for Jesus before he crucifies his ego, abandons the well, and experiences full consciousness in Christ. At the dinner table, the disciples cry out against the “harsh doctrine” they are being taught. Their shock, however, is not over the eating of the flesh and blood of the Son of Man (as those are just metaphors), but that in becoming “united” with Christ that they will lose their sense of self.

Episode 83: For Thine is the Kingdom, Power & Glory

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: The Lord’s Prayer began by grounding us in our relationship with the Father, and it ends now by solidifying our faith in that kinship. We have already talked about how the kingdom, power, and the glory of God are played out within the living hour; but most of us are not satisfied with this (quote) “daily bread”. We want to know that there is a divine plan, with a definitive beginning and end, that’s been arranged by the Father.

Our desire to see the culmination of God’s plan is what led Jesus’s early Jewish followers to believe that he was an earthly messiah. And it fuels today such false beliefs as the rapture and Jesus’s second-coming out of the clouds. Without an end-game in place, we find our faith under assault, as we try to make sense of a world filled with horrors, suffering, and loss. Yet it is precisely this lack of knowledge in God’s final act (like our uncertainty in what happens to us after we die) that creates the condition which rewards those with the faith of but a mustard seed.

If we are to acquire that life-giving faith, and get glimpses of the Father’s divine plan, we must take a “big picture” view of our lives and the history of the world. This means letting go of human time and entering God time. With human time we focus on beginnings and ends, and see time as a product that can be saved, lost, and spent. And we view morality within the limits of those human constraints. But with God time, we are dealing with a cyclical ebb and flow that cannot be pinned down — and where moral reckoning occurs on a timeline that far exceeds an individual lifetime.

Episode 84: The Magic Word

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: In an old pamphlet written by Don Blanding, he tells of a time during the trying years of the Great Depression, when he found himself financially, mentally and physically “broke.” He was suffering from insomnia and from a physical lethargy amounting almost to paralysis. Worst of all, he had a bad case of “self-pity,” and he felt that the self-pity was fully justified.

He was staying at a small Art Colony, trying to rebuild his wrecked life and wretched body. Among those at the Colony was Mike, a Hawaiian boy. Mike seemed to be always cheerful, always prosperous. And, naturally, Blanding wondered why.

So one day, he asked Mike what good fairy had waved her wand over him and turned all that now he touched into gold.

For an answer, Mike pointed to a string of letters he had pasted over his bed–“L-I-D-G-T-T-F-T-A-T-I-M.”

Blanding read them, but could make no sense out of it. “What are they?” he asked.

Episode 85: Goodness and Greatness

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Goodness, simplicity, greatness — these three are one, and this trinity of perfection cannot be separated. All greatness springs from goodness, and all goodness is profoundly simple. Without goodness there is no greatness. Some people pass through the world as destructive forces, like the tornado or the avalanche, but they are not great. They are to greatness as the avalanche is to the mountain. The work of greatness is enduring and preservative, and not violent and destructive. The greatest souls are the most gentle.

Greatness is never obtrusive. It works in silence, seeking no recognition. This is why it is not easily perceived and recognized. Like the mountain, it towers up in its vastness, so that those in its immediate vicinity, who receive its shelter and shade, do not see it. Its sublime grandeur is only beheld as we recede from it.

The great individual is not seen by their contemporaries; the majesty of their form is only outlined by its recession in time. This is the awe and enchantment of distance. People occupy themselves with the small things: their houses, trees, lands. Few contemplate the mountain at whose base they live, and fewer still go to explore it. But in the distance these small thing disappear, and then the solitary beauty of the mountain is perceived.

Episode 86: Staying Out of Mental Ruts

Spiritual Growth Podcast Excerpt: Those of us who would like to make rapid progress in the direction of truth must keep out of the ruts. We occasionally need to revise our opinions — politically, socially, religiously, and otherwise, just as we need, from time to time, to reset our watches, or adjust the variation of our magnetic needles.

We form our conclusions upon any given subject from the evidence before us at the time. However, we may not always be in possession of all the facts in the case. We may find that we have placed too much stress upon this point and not given that one sufficient importance. Hence, we are liable to err — even the wisest of us. And we notice that those who generally err the most, think they err the least.

It is this natural and inevitable tendency to imperfection and incompleteness of judgment that prompts the truly wise person to be cautious in their assertions of fact and induces them to hold the case open until all the testimony is in. And in whatever relates to the unknowable, or purely speculative, it is never all in, and no finality can be reached in this life.

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