Toward a Metaphysical Society
by Marian Nelson
The more we embrace metaphysical principles as the basis of reality, the more interesting the world at large becomes. Think about it: what would happen if an all-inclusive principle based on love became day-to-day reality on our planet? What would the world be like, and what, in practical terms, would we be like in it? To me, these are not esoteric questions, but speak to our future development.
However, it isn't very logical or practical to passively wait, hoping that when the divine light bulb goes on, the social issues that confront us will all be automatically resolved. It's important to begin seriously addressing them now and to consciously move toward creating a society based on spiritual values that exclude no one.
Take, as an extreme example, our perception and treatment of "criminals." From a metaphysical perspective, there is no legitimate basis to pass judgment on another — ever, and as individualized expressions of an all-inclusive Source, whose operating premise is unconditional love, neither is punishment deserved — ever. Judgment and punishment are strictly human values, ones often projected onto a stern father-figure god of our own making.
The current choice to bury alive a large segment of our population and then largely ignore it goes to the heart of how we regard both ourselves as individuals and humanity as a whole.
In truth, all of us are "guilty" of the same one thing, whether we're paragons of virtue or serial killers: ignorance. By what stretch of logic can it be argued that ignorance, i.e., lack of knowledge and understanding, deserves punishment?
How many of us are fully aware of who we are or why we are here? I have flashes of insight as I gradually open up to the knowledge that there is more to me than I'd realized, but when the old reactionary beliefs kick in again, I find myself back in denial. Fear of the "unknown" and disbelief in self are underlying reasons, but it's my ignorance that perceives an unknown and that questions my power and value. How can punishment correct this dilemma?
Question: Is it likely our hypothetical criminals would have sought to hurt anyone, had they fully understood their spirituality? That understanding would mean experiencing themselves as an eternal extension and expression of all that is — perfect in real terms. It would mean realizing that they could not harm another without harming themselves. It would mean having the awareness that all sense of personal isolation is an illusion.
Assuming the legitimacy of these principles, it's quite logical to conclude that anyone not living them is, quite literally, insane. The insanity stems from the ignorance we all share to varying degrees, and the solutions for insanity and ignorance are healing and education toward greater self-awareness, not punishment or revenge.
Of course, this raises another question, namely, who is going to help the criminal heal? The very best that can be said of the current prison system is that it is a holding pen for those judged to be outcasts (whether dangerous to others or not). At worst, it intensifies the beliefs that produced antisocial behavior in the first place, helping create the "hardened" criminal by the cruelty it inflicts.
Part of the difficulty is that we haven't decided as a society whether to make a real commitment to "rehabilitation." In fact, we have yet to form a clear definition of what it is or how to make it work. Once we do (as indeed we eventually must), a belief in the criminal's ability to transcend the thinking that put him or her in prison is required, along with a decision to set no limits on what it is humanly possible to achieve.
Obviously, if a person presents a physical danger to others, restraint is necessary until there is no longer a threat. But isn't it also our responsibility to do all we can in the meantime to help such people regain their sanity?
To begin to reshape society according to the spiritual values cited above, we will have to find new answers for this and many other complex social issues and then start implementing the means to create the desired changes.
As a practical first step with respect to imprisonment, we should immediately separate violent from nonviolent criminals. It makes no sense to keep them under the same roof. Eventually, alternatives to incarceration are needed for those posing no physical threat (e.g., financial restitution for money crimes).
A third group, comprised of individuals whose stated crimes have harmed no one (popularly known as "victimless" crimes), should be set free to live their lives as they choose, without any restriction.
A survey of penalties for various crimes reveals the confusion and illogic with which we exact retribution. Penalties for a given crime can fluctuate widely from state to state, and a violent crime sometimes brings less punishment than a nonviolent one. Depending on geographical location, a rapist or even a murderer may be eventually released, while someone possessing a single marijuana cigarette may face life in prison without the possibility of parole. Is this sane reasoning?
From a metaphysical perspective, how will we redefine our ideas of crime in order to respond to it intelligently? What methods can we use until our beliefs in victims and predators have been released and we realize our power to banish that scenario from our personal and collective realities? In other words, what can we do while gaining the necessary wisdom to know the answers?
A key factor will be our choice not to succumb to the desire for revenge — possibly a more difficult factor to deal with than crime itself. In examining that desire, we will be forced to look honestly within ourselves, to challenge our beliefs, values, and priorities.
We will also have to face the uncomfortable knowledge that the actions of those we label criminals reflect the contents of our own hearts and minds and often show us our shadow side in exaggerated form. Frequently the only difference — albeit an important one — is action. Criminals often remind us of what we have disowned or refused to acknowledge in ourselves, so we punish them as revenge and hide them from view. Is it any wonder we keep running out of space to house them?
If we accept, at least theoretically, that what is real in us contains nothing needing to be hidden, disowned, or deserving of punishment, we can cease projecting self-hatred onto others. We can look upon even the most violent among us and know that, no matter how heinous their actions, behind the images they present they are no less the divine children of God than saints. We can realize that the extent of their insanity also reveals the depth of their need for healing.
We may not always be able to emotionally embrace this awareness yet, but if we accept it as ultimately true, we can begin acting as if, until our self-limiting beliefs catch up to spiritual reality. The channeled entity Seth makes the point that "Reality is, above all, practical." The flip side of this statement is that living an illusion is not. And again, based on metaphysical truth, isn't living a self-created illusion what we've been doing, and what has given us the world we have now?
I certainly have no easy answers for how to begin effecting our transition as a species from one focused on fear and isolation to one focused on love and connectedness. But the questions I'm raising here are ones I've also been asking myself, and they are important and timely for everyone.
We are supposedly evolving toward an enlightened state in which we realize our innate divinity. Making every effort to consciously move in that direction can only hasten the event.
How we define and treat criminals is, of course, just one of many areas of collective life requiring more focused, serious consideration, as a natural adjunct to personal efforts to grow and evolve. There is no conflict between love of self and love of others; wholeness embraces both.
Since society expresses our collective beliefs and values, perhaps the most general question to ask is this: How do we change our social institutions to reflect where we are heading, not where we've been?
I know some individuals who associate only with other "metaphysical" people, deliberately avoiding contact with the world at large, essentially writing it off. Admittedly, I divorced myself from worldly dramas (including the evening news!) for a couple of years, because I feared getting sucked back into negativity and being unable to successfully apply metaphysical values to consensus reality. The price was that it became increasingly difficult to be in the world as a full participant.
But that Seth phrase kept repeating in my mind, until its meaning finally sank in; metaphysical values are practical, and whatever fails to reflect them is based on illusion, not reality.
Whether government institutions rule or serve us; how we value, define, and approach the education of our children; and what values we choose to express through our laws and the judicial system are just a sampling of the challenging issues we confront in this period of major transition.
Primary focus is properly on personal growth, because each of us is responsible for herself and himself, but as we reach new levels of spiritual understanding, the next pertinent question is how to apply the knowledge in broad social terms. Our response to this question as it arises in many contexts will determine how rapidly we grow individually and together.
We won't fear personal involvement with the conventional world if we realize we are here to change it. Ideas have a psychic reality, and we are all telepathically linked, so what is shared in small gatherings becomes available to all. We can accomplish great things if we thoughtfully address social issues at the same time we are addressing our personal ones.
You may believe, as I do, that the old fear-based order is in its death throes and will be replaced by a new order based on a greatly expanded awareness of self and reality. Assuming this is true, we each have a responsibility to do what we can to ease the process of change. Ultimately, it will be as smooth or as painful as we make it.
This quote of Seth's (from The Nature of Personal Reality) sums up the "mission" quite nicely: "You are here to aid in the great expansion of consciousness. You are not here to cry about the miseries of the human condition, but to change them...through the joy, strength, and vitality that is within you; to create the spirit as faithfully and beautifully as you can in flesh."
Marian Nelson conducts workshops and classes on various aspects of metaphysics and personal growth, with emphasis on identifying and changing beliefs. Also available to facilitate group discussions on a metaphysical approach to social issues, she can be contacted at (206) 762-1571.