Like every other spiritual genius and mystic, Dr. Hawkins understands the difference between religion and spirituality. Having true "religion", or spirituality, is about the life that is dedicated to the application and practice of spiritual principles. This can happen in a church or not in a church. It can happen if a person chooses to call God Buddha, Christ, Yahweh or Self. It can happen in the business world as well as in the helping professions. It means that there are spiritually minded people and unspiritually minded people in churches, businesses and the helping professions and that we are foolish when we pretend that having an ego is not the human condition.
What matters is that a person's life be all about the development of a quality that I like to call "character" or "integrity". It means that a person is whole and at one. It means that they have found purpose and meaning in life and that they are aligned with becoming ever more effective, efficient and usefully whole at fulfilling this purpose and calling. It means that their thoughts are on how they can best serve others and the world at large. They are responsible for themselves and so are able to be responsible adults in the world. They have a sense of the unity and brotherhood of mankind, understanding that all men and women are created equal and endowed with certain inalienable rights and that those who seek to interfere with these rights are to be understood as being a threat to the common values of mankind. It means that one is principled, firm and strong in their convictions about these values as they are the Truth and that this Truth shall set us all free.
For me, the greatest traps I have found have been when I have fallen into a deification or a vilification of personalities, the "human elements" and the "human powers" within religion over the integrous principles that are taught. It is when I have worshiped ideas, practices, teachers, books and techniques over the direct seeking of Truth in my own life. Or I have gone to the other extreme and "thrown out" useful ideas, books and people because I have been unwilling to forgive or developed some sort of prejudice. It has been when I have become "stale" on fixed forms, ideas, groups and teachers when I have really outgrown them. It has been when I have refused to pray or have asked to "see things differently" in prayer because I have been holding on to some sort of attachment, belief system or emotional pleasure of "being right". It has been when out of "sentimental" loyalty to practices, family and tradition, I have ignored the inner guidance of Spirit that was calling out to me to do something "different" with my life.
The person who's life is dedicated to integrity and character is unmistakable. It is an "intangible" that is easily recognizable because the "unconscious" is not fooled and we "know" when we are being lied to or about. It is our lack of character and integrity that refuses to take action based upon our understanding due to our desires for "popularity", "approval" and "acceptance" or any of the other empty promises of the ego mind. So spiritually-minded people tend to rely more on an "intuition" or, as Bill Wilson put it, a "vital sixth sense." Being "in tune" with this intuition or "sixth sense" is one of the fruits of a life dedicated to the cultivation of character and integrity through spiritual living. Therefore, while religious worship and devotional practice have been beneficial to me at many times in my life, and legitimate religious practices and leaders are a beneficial and stabilizing influence to mankind and society at large, my true "loyalty" must be to God alone and I must eventually "let go" or "cut away" anything and everything that stands in the way of my direct seeking for inspiration, revelation and insight from Divinity. This is the life of the mystic. It is not an "easy" or "popular" road but I would not have it any other way. Indeed, at this point, there seems to be no other choice.
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