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How to Handle the Spiritual
Challenge of Worldly Life

by David Truman

Our special opportunity
Why a mortal life is a life of cosmic opportunity.
Throughout the universes, angels are said to envy the unequaled opportunity that human birth represents -- our chance to climb the mountain of evolutionary progress, starting nearly at the animal level and reaching to celestial heights. That cosmic climb provides ascending mortals with a depth of comprehension and compassion which no purely heaven-born entity can acquire.
We must not feel that we are spinning our wheels here, and thereby prevented from getting on with our "real" spiritual work. This IS our real spiritual work. Let us not suffer the tragic effect of undervaluing worldly life -- which is to live carelessly, and thereby forfeit the evolutionary benefits right living provides. We should be grateful for this special opportunity, and take FULL advantage of it.
The spiritual challenge of worldly life is to live appropriately under a wide variety of conditions, through the myriad events and tests of life, from here to eternity. To LIVE right, we must THINK right. That means:
Face it until you get it right?
Our greatest reward for doing right: we get to keep on doing right.
Regarding the spiritual challenges of life, people say, "Oh yeah, I get it: I've got to face this junk until I get it right!" Well, yes and no. Maybe it's true that if we handle ourselves well in this place and time, we'll be raised to another world. And perhaps in that new context, we'll get something different to handle. But even so, no matter how many different schools of experience we go through, no matter how many times we graduate from one to the next, we're always up against the very same demands. And there's always room in us for improvement.
With respect to the spiritual challenge and expectation, it is more accurate to say, we get to face it NOT until we GET it right, but until we KEEP it right. At least! We need to understand that we won't just do it until we get it right -- hopefully, we will be doing it right LONG AFTER we get it right.
Understanding just may deepen forever
We do better to expect to learn forever, than to simply desire to "get it," and get it over with. Like right living, understanding is an eternal path, not a one-shot deal. About understanding, people say, "First you understand something, and then, later on, you REALLY understand it. Each time around, you learn a given lesson better than last time." There is no end to spiritual insight; there is practically no limit to the depth to which you can carry it. And there's no end to the subtlety and brilliance of appropriate spiritual response. So your clarity builds, and your understanding continues to deepen.
Getting straight for heaven
They say "You can't take it with you," but your problems may just be the exception to the rule.
It is said, "You take your problems with you wherever you go." Your character doesn't miraculously change just because you travel to say, a foreign land -- or even to heaven. There's no guarantee that a person who goes to heaven will miraculously start acting appropriately there. The way we act and react here is pretty much the way we will act and react there. Now that's great news if you're good -- but what if you're a jerk?
Consider this account of one woman's near-death experience: She "died" on the operating table and went to heaven. After a while, the time came for her to return to earth. But she didn't want to go back, so right there, in front of Jesus and a heavenly tribunal, she pitched her usual tantrum. As the story went, Jesus looked a little concerned, but he maintained a compassionate orientation -- and explained why she had to go back.
Walking through the Pearly Gates is not going to magically cure our hang-ups and personality defects -- that's what the challenges of life are for! We've simply GOT to learn this stuff, and try to get it right, because that's our evolutionary job description. Here, there, and everywhere, the purpose of evolution is to help today's jerk become tomorrow's bright and shining star. That's why no matter where we are or what our job is, the spiritual expectations and responsibilities will always remain the same.
Keep your eye on the ball
Every moment of life deserves the best we can give it. Everything we do is a chance to exercise our "spiritual muscles."
The following chart shows how to bring a spiritual perspective to the routine moments of life, by consciously replacing lower intentions and orientations with spiritually appropriate ones.
To be lazy, sloppy, and unfocused
To be energetic, committed, and well-focused
To work exclusively or primarily for one's own interests
To work for the love of God, and for the betterment of humanity
To be careless, callous, selfish, or absent-minded when interacting with others
To be caring, empathetic, and attentive when interacting with others
To be unconstructive, doubtful, faithless, defensive, or negative
To be constructive, confident, full of faith, and positive
To work exclusively or primarily for self-benefit and personal material gain
To responsibly care for the needs of loved ones. To attend to the spiritual as well as the material benefit of everyone we contact professionally
WHY we must learn to respond in a spiritually appropriate fashion to the events of life.
Ultimately, our RESPONSES to the events of life determine our evolutionary progress. This is WHY we must learn to respond in a spiritually appropriate fashion to the events of life, especially the difficult ones -- the strenuous efforts, the difficult people, the stresses, the disappointments and setbacks, the emotional trials. The chart at the bottom of this page describes appropriate responses to some challenging situations.
As we mature in our spiritual understanding, we grow to understand, better and better, what it means to meet the challenges of practical life. Eventually, we will reach the point where we're always looking at the so-called problems of living from a spiritual perspective. We will always apply spiritual yardsticks when evaluating our "performance."
To be angry, defensive, and offensive in response to the offender
To be humble, caring, empathetic and forgiving. To stand up firmly but gently for the truth where valuable spiritual principles are at stake
To engage in business practices or charges that are unjust, unfair, or which hurt the legitimate best interests of the employer or customer
To give the benefit of the doubt to others when reasonable questions arise. But be fair to yourself too. Always strive to give your employer or customer great value
To be discouraged, blaming, irresponsible, impractical, or unconstructive
To be responsible, practical, and constructive -- and rise willingly to the challenge

by David Truman

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