By Drs. Ron & Mary Hulnick

Originally published in the MegaZEN Well-Being Journal by Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami

What is Spiritual Psychology?

For more than 35 years, we have provided students with opportunities for learning and applying life-changing Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology at the University of Santa Monica. You may be asking, “What is Spiritual Psychology? What are these Principles and Practices? Can they help alleviate the mental anguish and emotional suffering I experience at times? Can they assist me in transforming my consciousness and my life—knowing my life purpose and living into it?”

We say, “Yes. That is exactly what they’re designed for!”

If you delve into the meaning of the word psyche, you’ll find phrases such as “breath, principle of life, soul.” But if you explore the meaning of the word psychology, you’ll see “the science of mind and behavior.” Somehow, in the translation from essence to clinical practice, the most important aspect of “psyche” has been lost. We recognize our calling as restoring the spiritual dimension to the Heart of an authentic psychological inquiry. It is this reintegration that is the Heart of a truly Spiritual Psychology, which we define as the study and practice of Conscious Awakening. As my [Ron] first spiritual teacher was fond of saying, “The reason psychology was inspired onto the planet was because humanity forgot why it was here.”

And what does Awakening mean? It begins with the awareness that we simultaneously reside in two worlds. We are most aware of the one known as physical-world reality. It’s the world of our everyday existence, including relationships, work, finances, health, weather, politics, etc., with which we are familiar and which we think of as reality. It is the world we know through our five senses

And, as we are becoming more and more aware, beyond five-sense, observable material reality, there is another reality. It is non-material, multi-dimensional, and spiritual in nature. For our purposes, we define Awakening as becoming more and more aware of this “other” reality, where we experience our Essential Spiritual Nature as Loving, Peaceful, Joyful, Free, Enthusiastic, Beautiful, Creative, Wise, and more! The Persian poet and mystic, Jalaluddin Rumi, was certainly speaking from an Awakened state when he wrote:

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep.

Awakening into the Awareness of who, or more accurately what, you truly are and living your life from within that Awakened state is the essence of Spiritual Psychology. Today, as the evolutionary tide on the planet is rising, and larger numbers of people are Awakening to the Awareness that they are, in fact, Divine Beings having and using a human experience, the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology provide context and tools for living into that Awareness. It is, in fact, our destiny to Awaken; for as we do so, we are actually Remembering that which is and always has been true.

This can be considered your personal introduction to what we speak of as “the Michelangelo effect,” which was so brilliantly expressed by the master sculptor himself when he said, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” In just such a way, Awakening is not a journey of “becoming”; it is a process of “Remembering.”

Now here’s what to us is the most interesting and exciting part. This process of Awakening is not primarily a meditative process, though we encourage a spiritual practice we refer to as Spiritual Exercises. Awakening can be facilitated by engaging in an active process of releasing or dissolving the self-created barriers within your consciousness that are all that prevent you from knowing the Majesty of your Soul—from experientially knowing that you are the Presence of Love. As written in A Course in Miracles, “Your task is not to seek for love but to seek and find all the barriers you’ve built against it,” and to that we add, “… and to dissolve them.”

Entering the Spiritual Context

What does it mean to be a Spiritual Being having a human experience? Might it be that Teilhard perceived most of us as seeing ourselves in exactly the opposite way? Clearly, he was aware of the tendency to define ourselves as human beings who occasionally, if we’re fortunate, have a spiritual experience.

Teilhard’s quote is a powerful statement regarding the Spiritual Context—the Awareness that you are a Soul and that your life serves spiritual purpose—for it opens a portal to another way of perceiving yourself, your life experiences, and your purpose for being on this earth in human form.

Our journey into the Spiritual Context begins by distinguishing between what we refer to as the Goal Line and Soul Line of life. Both are important to understand, as many people are simply unaware of these two dimensions.

The Goal Line of Life

The Goal Line of Life refers to physical-world reality—the stage upon which you play the starring role in the adventure that is your life. In this reality, your primary vehicles for navigating the world are your mind and emotions, which then inform your choices and behavior. You take action, produce results, and receive feedback from the Universe. You utilize feedback to maintain or alter your course as you pursue your goals.

You use your mind, emotions, and behavior (along with your five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell) to navigate toward success—as you define it. On the Goal Line, everything is perceived in terms of polarity; life is lived as a continuum with so-called negative experiences on one hand and positive experiences on the other. The underlying assumption is that the more you achieve on the Goal Line, the happier and more fulfilled you will be. From this perspective, life largely consists of continually striving for more and more positive experiences, as defined by success in the physical world. For example, earning as much as you can and receiving recognition for your accomplishments are goals you can easily spend an entire lifetime pursuing.

You can probably relate to this way of evaluating your experiences because it likely matches the way you’ve been taught, conditioned, or programmed to perceive the world and your place within it. Utilizing this dualistic way of thinking and seeing, you make plans, measure your success, and even determine your own worth and value based on your progress in achieving your goals. Hence we refer to this orientation in the world as the Goal Line of Life.

Moving Beyond The Goal Line of Life

In today’s world, a growing number of people are realizing that material achievements alone are not a sufficient yardstick for measuring success. They are realizing that the quality of their inner experience throughout their life is at least equally important, if not more important, to living a fulfilling life. As spiritual teacher John-Roger said, “Life is lived internally, and we just participate externally.”

In fact, the larger cultural conversation has expanded into explorations of authentic success, which is beautifully expressed in the words of author and teacher Robert Holden: “All the happiness, success, health, and abundance you experience in life comes directly from your willingness to love and be loved.” In his book Authentic Success, he urges self-reflection: “If your definition of success has little or no measure of love in it, get another definition.” When you begin moving into an Awareness of authentic success, you find yourself considering the possibility that Spiritual Awakening has relatively little to do with how successful you are in physical-world reality.

Spiritual Awakening is fueled by a deeper yearning, a spiritual longing. So many find themselves asking questions such as: “Is this all there is?” “Isn’t there more to life than this?” “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” and “How can I experience greater meaning and fulfillment in my life?”

These questions are murmurings of the Soul, resonating within your heart. Answers to them are revealed as you experience your own process of Awakening.

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The Soul Line of Life

You may be asking, “Just what is the process of Awakening?” Awakening doesn’t take place externally in physical-world reality, although the benefits of Awakening can definitely be experienced on the Goal Line of your life. Rather, Awakening occurs internally within each person as a process—an ongoing series of experiences and awareness. We refer to the dimension within which Awakening occurs as Spiritual Reality or the Soul Line of Life.

The Soul Line of Life has been addressed by spiritual teachers, mystics, and sages, and all of the world’s major spiritual traditions throughout recorded history. These teachings have in common the notion of a Unified Consciousness, or Awareness, that is the essence of all that exists. This “Unified Consciousness” is often referred to as God, Spirit, the All of the All, Higher Power, or any other name that refers to such a deity.

It’s what German physicist Max Planck, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918, was talking about when he said in a 1931 interview for The Observer: “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.”

Further, there is widespread agreement the word that best describes this essence is Love. Study of the world’s great spiritual traditions reveals that the process of ascending into Higher Consciousness is characterized by ever-deepening levels of Love. Where spiritual traditions differ is in the practices of how to get there—not in where they are going.


Foundational Principles of Spiritual Psychology

The realization that Awakening is an inner process that can be nurtured and encouraged is what inspired us to bring forward the Principles and Practices of what we refer to as Spiritual Psychology, the study and practice of the art and science of Conscious Awakening. This includes learning how to identify, recognize, and navigate within the context of a “Spiritual Being having and using a human experience.”

The Principles of Spiritual Psychology

Spiritual Psychology contains 33 Principles as well as an abundance of Practices that we have experienced as foundational and facilitative to the process of Conscious Awakening.

You may be noticing that simply considering the idea of the Spiritual Context invites a radical change in perception about who you are and what you’re doing here on this planet. Reviewing the following Principles invites you to enter the Spiritual Context—opening a doorway to liberation. Read through them slowly; perhaps even read them out loud. Some people experience an upward shift in consciousness simply by reading them.

  • The nature of God is Love.
  • We are not human beings with Souls; we are Souls using a human experience for the purpose of Awakening.
  • Since we are all a part of God, our Essential Nature also is Love—and we have the opportunity of knowing our Loving nature experientially, Here and Now. 
  • Earth functions as a school for Spiritual Awakening, meaning Conscious Awareness of the first three Principles above.  Everyone registers for their specific Curriculum.
  • Spiritual Curriculum consists largely of Healing unresolved issues residing in your consciousness. It also includes opportunities for service, sharing your gifts, and living into your Heartfelt dreams. 
  • Unresolved issues are anything that disturbs your Peace.
  • Unresolved issues are not bad; they’re simply part of your Spiritual Curriculum.
  • Unresolved issues are blessings, as they are opportunities for Healing and Awakening. 
  • The work of Healing, or resolving unresolved issues, is spiritual work and is a major aspect of what Spiritual Awakening is all about. 
  • One of your greatest opportunities for Awakening occurs when your school is in session—i.e., when your unresolved issues (upsets) surface. 
  • Healing is the application of Loving to the places inside that hurt or suffer; or Healing is the “flooding with Loving” of all the places inside that hurt or suffer, thereby dissolving them.

The Realities of the Ego and the Authentic Self

Within Spiritual Psychology, we draw a distinction between two centers of awareness, the ego/personality, or small self, and the Authentic Self or Soul. To comprehend and operate within both physical-world reality and the Spiritual Context, it’s helpful to know how both the ego and the Authentic Self function in your consciousness.

The ego is composed primarily of your mind and emotions. Your mind consists of all your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs; some of these are deeply held and form the foundation or matrix upon which you construct the framework of the reality you use to navigate through your life. It is your mind that reasons, thinks things through, and evaluates according to what you believe to be so. Righteousness and judgmental thoughts or words tend to be hallmarks of egotistical thinking.

Your emotions, or feelings, utilize the information produced by your mind; they are your thoughts felt physiologically. They are a source of energy through which you take action in the physical world. Your emotions are a reflection of your thoughts and beliefs; as such, if someone does something to violate an important belief of yours, you will likely feel strong emotions toward them. For example, if I believe taxes are too high, I’ll feel justified in the upset I experience when it’s time to pay my income taxes.

The ego also encompasses the unconscious, including memories and unresolved issues that are outside your awareness but may still be influencing your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. We have found that there is no need to unearth the contents of the unconscious, as the material stored in this repository is often there for a good reason. In fact, it could be overwhelming to instantly become aware of all this material. As you Awaken, learning opportunities within your Spiritual Curriculum will surface from your unconscious all by themselves in accordance with the Wisdom of your Authentic Self. You can imagine your unconscious as a repository of time-release capsules, each one surfacing in Spirit’s timing as a stream of opportunities for your Healing and Awakening.

The most important aspect of an ego’s nature is duality. The ego divides all events and experiences into positive/negative, good/ bad, and right/wrong, based on the way the ego’s belief structure has been conditioned. All experiences pass through your personally constructed perceptual filter and are immediately sorted into a category. As the eminent psychiatrist Dr. David Hawkins put it, “Perception is edited observation.”

The ego holds a misidentification with itself as lacking and unworthy. Your perception as filtered through your ego based on right/wrong thinking and often manifesting as harsh judgments. Ego-centered eyes are not soft eyes that see with Love and Compassion. This is why it’s profoundly important to See the Loving Essence within yourself—to look at your Self through the unconditional Loving of Soul-Centered eyes.

The reality of the Authentic Self is Love; it is altogether different from that of the ego. The Authentic Self has no sense of duality. There’s no dividing of experiences into right and wrong. At the level of the Authentic Self, you simply see what is. You are fully Awake and Aware of your Essential Nature, which is Loving. You’ll have experiences that are derivatives of Love, such as Peace, Compassion, Joy, Acceptance, Enthusiasm, Happiness, and (believe it or not) an enhanced sense of Humor.

Recall transcendental moments in your life: a breathtaking sunset over the ocean, looking in your beloved’s eyes on your wedding day, seeing your newborn baby for the first time. These are examples of times where you saw through Soul-Centered eyes. The ego allows you to operate in the physical-world reality through the use of your mind and emotions. Through the ego, you can only know about the Authentic Self as a concept or feeling. Since you, like almost everyone else, were conditioned to be successful in physical-world reality, you’ve likely come to think of your ego as who you really are. Your efforts may be focused on success in the material world and attempting to get other people to like or respect you so you’ll feel comfortable and experience belonging.

Moving from Ego-Identification to Authentic Self-Identification

As you Awaken into who you truly are, your ego faces a huge challenge. The presence of a newly discovered Authentic Self, which your ego did not previously know existed, seems to threaten its very existence. In fact, you may even have begun having experiences that transcend the mental and emotional levels that are the domain of the ego. In reaction to this, your ego will often attempt to block efforts at spiritual development because it views the process of Spiritual Awakening as a threat to its very survival.

Whereas the Authentic Self is concerned with growth, the ego is predominantly concerned with, and attached to, ego patterns such as self-importance, recognition, perfection, glamour, comfort, security, and control, all of which it perceives as essential for survival. Your ego does not realize that maintaining these patterns significantly limits you from experiencing the Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment that are available to you.

However, from a spiritual perspective, the ego serves a most useful purpose; without it, there would be no arena within which the Healing process could go to completion. Only through the mechanisms of the ego, which operate on the mental and emotional levels, can patterns be stored within your consciousness so that you have the opportunity to heal them.

Understand that your ego has been serving you to the best of its ability. It should be appreciated and respected, rather than judged for its function. Your ego is a tool best utilized in service to your Authentic Self. One of the Principles of Spiritual Psychology says it this way: “The mind is a tool to be used in service to the Heart.” When embarking upon the path of Spiritual Awakening, it is simultaneously a major challenge, opportunity, and blessing to move from ego-identification to Authentic Self-identification. It’s so easy to fall into the trance of five-sense physical-world reality, looking at yourself and others through the judgmental lens of ego-centered eyes, perceiving through the perceptual filter of good/bad and right/wrong. Your emerging job is to Lovingly educate your ego so that it becomes a willing and faithful servant, one that is dedicated to assisting you in negotiating physical-world reality in service to fulfilling your spiritual purpose.

It is a game-changing event to experience the Loving Essence within yourself. When you Awaken into the Awareness of the Love that you are, it opens the door to living within the Spiritual Context—that of a Divine Being having and using a human experience, a Being who simply sees everything as it is and for whom all that it sees is infused with Loving. It is the foundational Practice of Spiritual Psychology. It is this Awareness that changes everything!

The Foundational Practice of Spiritual Psychology

Whereas the Principles provide entrance into the Spiritual Context, the Practices are a methodology for Awakening experientially. While there are many Practices, perhaps the most important practice is the Soul-Centered Basic Skill of Facilitating Compassionate Self-Forgiveness.

The Importance of Forgiveness

Ever wonder why Forgiveness is so important? In February 2014, we had the privilege of listening to Patrick Chamusso, who had been incarcerated with Nelson Mandela for the better part of 17 years at the Robben Island maximum-security prison in Cape Town, South Africa. He was speaking to a group of students and alumni at a University of Santa Monica event.

Patrick talked about how Mandela stressed the importance of forgiveness. But it wasn’t “forgiveness” as many of us understand that word—forgiveness for those who have done “bad” things to us. As Patrick so beautifully expressed it, along with an upward gesture of his hand from his heart, “You must take the pain out of your heart and let it go.”

What does that really mean and how can we do that? Just what is the “pain” that we must release from our Heart, and how do we “let it go”?

We all resonated with the pain that Mandela was talking about as the suffering that automatically results within us whenever we engage in the process of judgment—which is blaming, making wrong, condemning, vilifying, and so on. Think of it this way. If you got a thorn in your hand from picking roses from a rose bush, would you be more concerned with blaming the rose bush or getting the thorn out of your hand?

Compassionate Self-Forgiveness is the process that releases the thorn from your hand. It dissolves judgments and brings a Healing balm of Loving to the places inside where emotional pain resides. Without this process, freedom from emotional suffering would be impossible. Once you uttered your first judgment, there would be no way to retract it. You’d exist eternally in a self-created hell where you’d erect buildings, rituals, and philosophies that all supported eradicating the dangers of rose bushes—none of which would do anything toward releasing the thorn. You’d be like the proverbial prodigal son, only you’d never find your way Home.

Compassionate Self-Forgiveness is your return ticket. It’s the simplest and most effective way we know of returning Home—of being restored to your Heart and to the Awareness of the Loving that is your Essential Nature. This is so important that it’s worth reviewing in a bit more detail.

Why “Compassionate Self-Forgiveness”?

Complete Forgiveness means letting go of any and all judgments. By so doing, you literally move within your consciousness from the place of judging to the place of Loving through the Healing Power of Forgiving. You might think of it this way: to travel from the land of judgment to the land of Loving, you ride on the train of Forgiveness.

It’s through the Healing action of Forgiving yourself for judging that you are liberated—not through the action of forgiving others for “causing” you pain. While forgiving someone else for doing something you perceive to be “bad” or “wrong” is surely a positive step in a healthy direction, can you see that inside yourself you are still holding a belief that what they did was “bad” or “wrong”? You are still engaged in the ego’s way of thinking; when you so engage, you are simply entering into a more subtle level of judging.

It’s through the Healing action of Forgiving yourself for judging that you are liberated—not through the action of forgiving others for “causing” you pain. While forgiving someone else for doing something you perceive to be “bad” or “wrong” is surely a positive step in a healthy direction, can you see that inside yourself you are still holding a belief that what they did was “bad” or “wrong”? You are still engaged in the ego’s way of thinking; when you so engage, you are simply entering into a more subtle level of judging.

And why Compassionate Self-Forgiveness? Because the word Compassion means to be with someone who is suffering—and to be with them in a Loving way. It is an action of the Heart. It is a way of being with yourself when you are the one who is suffering. It’s a good thing to keep in mind that you, just like everyone else, are really doing the best you know how to do, given your Spiritual Curriculum. That realization immediately takes you to a place of Compassion and Compassion makes the Forgiving process so much easier.

Remember, the emotional suffering you experience takes place in the ego-centered dimension operating in physical-world reality where you exist within the imprisoning duality of right and wrong as defined and perceived by you. In order to alleviate suffering, consider how your current definitions and perceptions of reality—which lead to judgments of yourself and others—are at the root of your mental anguish and emotional suffering.

The good news is that you can experientially test this process and observe the results of your experiment. You can release the judgments, limiting beliefs, and misinterpretations of reality that you are holding; restore yourself to a place of Peace; and experience for yourself the degree to which your life changes—all through the method of Compassionate Self-Forgiveness.

One morning a few weeks ago, I (Mary) awakened with the awareness of a very old memory that had seeded many of my childhood terrors, including a fear of the dark. Throughout my childhood, when my mother and father would put me to bed, my last request to them each evening was, “Please leave the hall light on.” My parents invariably granted my request, giving my small self (ego) a sense of safety, security, comfort, and control.

As the details of this memory surfaced, I realized how deeply fear had imprinted upon my consciousness and informed my life. I was experiencing a heaviness and waves of fog—not a good feeling. I began unraveling the memory and Forgiving myself for my judgments and misunderstandings such as, “I Forgive myself for judging myself as afraid of the unknown. I Forgive myself for judging myself as unsafe. I Forgive myself for judging myself as unprotected. I Forgive myself for forgetting that I am Divine.”

The shift in my energy was instantaneous and profound. The heaviness and fog immediately lifted, revealing crystalline Clarity, a sense of Freedom, and deep Peace. I commented to Ron, “I feel sooooooo much better!” Though I have been practicing Compassionate Self-Forgiveness for many years, I became once again aware of its power and the powerful shifts in consciousness that flow from it. Another barrier that I had built against the Awareness of the Love that I Am was dissolved. I am forever grateful. I was reminded of this quote, attributed to Mark Twain, which is one of my favorites: “Forgiveness is the fragrance a violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”

Ron and I have both been utilizing the Practice of Compassionate Self-Forgiveness for many years, and it has been life changing and consciousness altering. For me, it has been incredibly helpful when slogging through difficult times such as visiting a historic Egyptian temple along the Nile and going into shock after passing through an ancient initiation site, exploring the inner and outer darkness of the Pit of the Great Pyramid at Giza, climbing down and back up a narrow and steep winding staircase inside the Physician’s Tomb at Saqqara, facing a challenging illness, holding the Light for my Beloved Ron when he experienced open-heart surgery and extended recovery, the deaths of my beloved parents, and standing as a Spiritual Warrior during a two-year onslaught of negativity from an outside source. On and on it goes. I have truly learned experientially the Healing power of this Practice.

Self-Compassion and Self-Acceptance through Compassionate Self-Forgiveness

In our work, we often experience many beautiful moments flowing from the Healing power of Compassionate Self-Forgiveness. Here’s an example in which we had the privilege of witnessing a lovely young woman moving from emotional upset and self-judgment to Self-Acceptance, Peace, and Joy.

This blessing took place as we were completing a culminating class weekend with second-year students who would soon be graduating from the University’s Master’s Program in Spiritual Psychology. The weekend was breathtaking in the Beauty and Fullness of Spirit’s Presence. The students’ sharings were one exquisite High Note after another.On Sunday morning, one student stood up in some upset about feedback she’d received from a few of her classmates about her class project, which was about feminine beauty and fashion. They’d expressed that they found her project to be superficial, materialistic, and not very spiritual. The experience triggered for her some deep material associated with what had been some of her deeply held “secret” judgments of herself and her stand for Beauty as less than spiritual. In that moment, however, the young woman began Compassionately Forgiving herself for judgments of herself as anything less than Beautiful just as she is—and then sat down.

Our head audiovisual technician—who’s worked with us for years and is very “tuned in”—looked at Ron, who nodded back. Then he immediately began playing a recording of Billy Joel singing “Just the Way You Are.” Moments after the first chords were played, the entire class began singing along, gently swaying in their chairs, serenading not just the young woman who had shared but also themselves. We were all suddenly outside of time and space, experiencing the miraculous that occurs when Hearts open and the transcendent Power of Spirit pours in, bringing with it the experience of Oneness, Peace, Contentment, Acceptance, and Love.

We moved as a group into the Authentic Self level, where experiences of Love, Happiness, and Joy are all that is. The Radiant Beauty and absolute Peacefulness of their faces as they sang into the Great Silence are deeply etched in the memory of our Hearts. I (Mary) am forever grateful for this experience and doubt I will ever forget it.

A Story of Radical Transformation through Compassionate Self-Forgiveness

Here’s another beautiful example of a student’s experience in daring to live into her Spiritual Curriculum. In one of the University’s live classes, Ron shared: “One of the primary ways disturbance comes in is when you judge.” One of the students truly heard this message with the ears of her Heart. She took Ron’s words as her personal challenge to courageously move out of the experiences of the judgment-induced contraction and separation present within her consciousness. Ron’s message had been reverberating within her for a month when she shared:

“I have been in this process of Waking Up into the Awareness of how much darkness I’ve had in my life, my heart, and my body. I’ve really been struggling with feeling safe and free. What I’ve been noticing is that when I judge, it collapses my Universe. I get scared and start judging everything that’s happening. As you can imagine, I shut down and my life shuts down. I’m unavailable to the Awareness of anything else.

“In response to Ron’s statement, I made a decision that whenever I started to feel inner disturbance, I’d immediately take responsibility for that disturbance and begin engaging in Compassionate Self-Forgiveness. What I’m finding is that when I say ‘I Forgive,’ Oneness wraps around me and I experience Forgiving my judgments of myself, others, and the world, and Forgiving any misunderstandings for all time.

“My inner experience is that something inside of me keeps opening like a rose blossom, naturally revealing its full beauty. The Universal Love keeps growing and evolving inside me into the experience of Freedom, Peace, Acceptance, and Receiving. Whatever part of me thinks I’m not beautiful, whole, perfect, and meant to be right here, right now, I just let those judgments go. I forgive and I am restored to Peace, Acceptance, Self-Trust, and Awareness of the Love that I AM. Something changes within my body, within my consciousness; it’s like I’m crossing a bridge.”

This woman’s sharing demonstrates a high level of Ownership—of courageously choosing to take Responsibility for what was going on within her own consciousness—and she is experiencing the benefits of her choice. She’s experiencing herself releasing the crystallized barriers that were the products of her judgments and misunderstandings. She’s stopped trying to figure anything out and started allowing the energy to flow through by practicing Forgiveness … Acceptance … Compassion … Peace … Loving … and voilà—Freedom.

It’s been said that it takes great Courage to see the face of God. We have found this to be true, for no matter how many books you have read, seminars you’ve attended, and ideas you’ve contemplated, Awakening occurs when you muster the Strength of Heart to begin implementing what you are learning. When you dare to open your mind and Heart to new ways of Seeing and Being, and experience the results for yourself, is when you begin to experience Awakening.

We like to refer to Compassionate Self-Forgiveness as the cosmic delete button, the way we dissolve the barriers that have blocked us from the Awareness of our Essential Spiritual Nature.

The Inherent Nature of Conscious Awakening

While many seekers will accept the Principles of Spiritual Psychology as part of the process of Awakening, there is an inherent challenge. Due to our indoctrination into a Goal Line orientation to life, it’s tempting to think of the process of Awakening as one of becoming more Loving. Thus, we try to turn the process of Spiritual Awakening into a Goal Line project, which is one focusing on achievement. However, it is impossible for you to become a more Loving person. You can’t become more of what you already are—a Divinely inspired, Loving Being. So what can you do?

You can become more and more aware of,
and awake to, your inherent Loving nature!

Indeed, the process of Spiritual Awakening is nothing less than becoming more and more aware, experientially, of your Loving Essence. As you Awaken and become more and more aware of your Essential Loving Nature, your attitudes and behavior automatically become less critical, less judgmental, less controlling, less righteous, or less blaming—and instead become more kind, caring, Joyful, Creative, and Compassionate. People who notice your shift might think that you’ve become a more Loving person, but the truth is that you are simply behaving more in harmony with your inherently Loving Nature.

This brings us to the nature of Awakening. It’s important to understand that Awakening is an ongoing process that continuously takes place over periods of time—with rare exceptions, such as the Indian sage Ramana Maharshi, who Awakened at age 16. It is also a totally experiential process. Think of swimming: you can read about swimming, including instructions on how to swim, but until you get into the water and begin experiencing the process, you will never really “know” what swimming is. Awakening is like that.

As author Henry Miller said, “The Buddhas and the Christs are born complete. They neither seek love nor give love, because they are love itself. But we who are born again and again must discover the meaning of love, must learn to live love as the flower lives beauty.”

The Real Story of Awakening

What is the real story of Awakening as you live more and more fully into the Awareness that you truly are a Divine Being having a human experience? What happens as you integrate skills such as Seeing the Loving Essence and Heart-Centered Listening and they become a Way of Being?

What transpires when you catch on to the fact that life is happening inside your consciousness and not “out there” as you previously thought? What happens when you realize that your experience in physical-world reality is determined largely by the beliefs found within the matrix of your perceptual filter, functioning as your internal operating system … and you consciously begin downloading and installing a “Spiritual Orientation” software upgrade?

What shifts occur when you realize you are the architect of your life, and that your inner and outer choices are the building blocks of your future … and you begin making more Self-Honoring choices, choices more in harmony with your Loving nature and your Soul’s Purpose?

What happens when you wake up to the Authentic Empowerment available through taking responsibility for your judgments and upsets with the intention of releasing them … and you begin realizing you are at cause rather than at the effect?

What happens when you begin to apply Loving to the places inside where there is hurt … and you engage in Compassionate Self-Forgiveness of your judgments, misinterpretations, and misidentifications—and you let them go?

What happens when the deep wellspring of Compassion that resides within your Authentic Self begins Flowing abundantly through you … and you wake up into the Awareness that you are Love?

Here’s what happens! You’ve struck it rich! This is when life truly begins, for in those moments of Revelation, you know the Mother Lode, the Source of True Gold, is within you—in fact, it is you! You’ve experienced your Authentic Self, and your Awakening Heart is aware of the download of Spirit’s Blessing through you as you.

Your consciousness becomes a conduit for Living Love and your course through life, an expression of that Love—for you know, as poet Rod McKuen knew: “It doesn’t matter who you love or how you love, but that you love.” To which we would add—for you are Love!

Remember that growth is an ongoing process, not an event. We support and encourage you! The Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology are practical tools you can use each and every day of your life in service to your Awakening.

Classes Begin October 6, 7, & 8, 2023

Loyalty to Your Soul 2022 & 2023 participants click here for discounted first month.

USM University of Santa Monica mantra logo Spiritual Awakening, Life Purpose, Meaningful Contribution

The Soul-Centered Living I Program information is the registered property of the University of Santa Monica and Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick and may not be used or reproduced in whole or in part without the expressed written permission of the University of Santa Monica.


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