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First a disclaimer: This is a path I seek, that I work toward every day. It is not something I have fully realized but I feel that I have the tools I need to advance along it each day. I will offer some of those tools to you as well as suggesting some different ways of looking at yourself and your spiritual venture that will be more compatible with a path of joy. One of the things that influences our spiritual path is what we believe about God.

I have certain minimum requirements of a God for the path of joy. I will not believe in any God who is less generous, less forgiving, or less loving than I, or in one who has less of a sense of humor. Some of you may think this gives God a lot of leeway but if you honestly look at your own beliefs about God you may find that you do believe in a God who is more judgmental and less forgiving toward others than you are.

I will not believe in any God who requires that I experience life through pain, suffering, and struggle. I can believe in a God who gives me those options but not one who requires them of me. Such a God is too small, far too petty. I believe that many of us choose to experience certain kinds of pain, suffering, and struggle in order to widen our emotional vocabulary and perhaps to be more compassionate toward others who have the same experiences and toward ourselves. I’m simply arguing that pain, suffering, and struggle are not necessary ingredients for spiritual growth.

The other aspect of a God concept that coincides with the path of joy is what I call the Unfinished God. If the Creator can truly be called a living God, then there must be new things for that God to experience, new things to create, new ideas to consider. Any God who knows everything there is to know, has experienced everything there is to experience—past, present, and future—and can do anything She/He wants to do, has to be bored out of Her/His skull. This is a picture of a frozen God, not a living God, a God who is more like a perfect statue than a living being.

God continues to grow because that is one of the most fundamental aspects of being, of God’s Being and our being. This leads us to one of the most important aspects of the path of joy. A path suggests a destination. In spiritual circles that destination might be called enlightenment. What the Unfinished God concept leads to is the understanding that there is no ultimate destination. There are many goals and plateaus along the way, many levels of enlightenment, but no final or ultimate way of being. God continues to experience, learn, create, and change. We continue to experience, learn, create, and change and will continue to do so in the non-physical state as well.

On the path of joy it is possible to back off a little and not be so hard on ourselves, so demanding in terms of where we should be, what we should have accomplished. Whatever destination we arrive at, there will immediately be a new destination to move toward and a new one after that. So it is important to pay attention to the journey, to live for the moment, because the journey is all there is. The goals and destinations are simply way stations, not permanent resting places. If we can learn to enjoy the journey more, the destinations will take care of themselves.

The other thing that can help us experience the journey with more joy is to let go of the idea that there is only one best possible path for our life. I believe that we can move onto a path of joy at any point in our lives, regardless of what has gone before. I also believe that it can take many different forms in any individual’s life. We are so multidimensional, even within the physical experience, it would be impossible to express and experience every possible enlightened path. We are always on a journey and we can allow that to become a path of joy at any time.

Another aspect of the God concept that can make it easier to be on a path of joy is that of non-judgment. In spite of the religious ideas about God as a judge, it seems that this is probably not the case. Those who have had near death experiences (NDE’s) overwhelmingly report that the presence, whatever form it may take, is completely non-judgmental. The only judgment involved is that of the individual as they review their own life experiences and the impact they have had on others.

Love is the Answer

The path of joy is based on a holographic theory of God and creation. In the beginning God had nothing with which to create reality but Itself. As a result, all of creation is made out of God stuff or soul stuff. The smallest portion of creation is made out of God stuff and contains the essence of Divinity. The physical-spiritual polarity doesn’t make any sense because the body is made out of spirit so there can be no division. Being physical isn’t a form of soul-slumming. It’s simply another form that spirit can choose to take.

Since God has been compared to light and love, it can be said that we are made out of light or love. Love is part of our fundamental being. This means that there is a positive bias in the universe. The very stuff of which we are made is Love. The most natural way for us to be in the world is loving. It takes a great deal of energy and personal will to move us away from love, away from self-love and love of others. The full weight of the universe is gently but continuously pulling us toward that bias and toward the path of joy.

To walk this road on a daily basis requires constant awareness until the path becomes habitual. One awareness to practice is trying to recognize everyone and everything you see is an aspect of God, as you are. All of your experiences throughout the day are a kind of feedback telling you what is in your own mind. Seeing yourself as the recipient of feedback rather than a victim of circumstances or of others’ behavior gives you more power and more options. Those who aggravate you the most are your greatest teachers and they’re trying to lead you back to the path, not sabotage you.

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