What is Spirit?
The following is an excerpt from an incredible book called Greater Community Spirituality. This chapter describes what our relationship to Spirit is. The word Knowledge here is used to mean Higher Self or Spirit. You can read the entire chapter as well as the rest of the book here.
IN THE GREATER COMMUNITY, KNOWLEDGE is the essence and substance of all religious experience. It transcends the expressions of this experience in terms of theology, devotional ritual and spiritual practices, which vary considerably from one world to another world. However, the essence of spirituality—the motivating factor in religion, the real call of religious experience—is Knowledge.
Knowledge represents your bond and your intrinsic relationship with all life. Yet Knowledge has a specific mission for you in this life—a mission which you are encouraged to discover, to accept, to integrate and to fulfill. In other words, Knowledge is not everything within you; Knowledge is your connection to everything. Knowledge is intelligent; it is here for a purpose. Knowledge is the part of your mind that is spiritual and permanent. It is the part of your mind that knows who you are and why you have come here, who you must reach and what you must accomplish.
Knowledge is within you now, but you cannot lay hold to it. It is not there for you to acquire and to use. Rather, you have an opportunity to come back into relationship with Knowledge. Here your personal mind, the mind that is conditioned by your world, and your Impersonal Mind, the mind that you have brought with you from beyond the world, reunite in a meaningful relationship based upon a purpose in the world and upon relationship with the world and with people who support that purpose.
All of these definitions are valuable,but to experience their value, you must consider them deeply. If you say, “Well, I like that definition,” or “I don’t like that definition,” or “This sounds right to me,” or “This does not sound right to me,” you are merely trying to relate to your own past judgments, evaluations and experiences when encountering something new and revolutionary. If you do that, you will not understand the meaning of what we are presenting. You will only be exercising your former beliefs, ideas and evaluations, and no new learning will occur. Stretching beyond your own ideas and assumptions and reaching out for something which is greater that transcends them is an act of courage, integrity and commitment to your personal development and to true contribution in life. This is the road to Knowledge.
Knowledge is with you. It is in you, but you cannot reach for it and grab it, take hold of it and use it for yourself. Rather, it represents the promise within you that you have a greater identity and a greater purpose in the world. It represents the promise that there are greater relationships within the world which you can find and develop given the correct understanding and the realization of an underlying purpose in life which is yours specifically to fulfill. Here your definition of your purpose must remain undefined, for in truth it is something that will come together very slowly. You cannot simply identify it and say, “This is it. This is why I am here. This is what I will do.” Many people do that, but that is reckless. It only reveals their impatience and their ambitions. The real discovery of Knowledge and purpose is something quite different.
It is very important to give Knowledge a practical definition in the world, for Knowledge must lead to action. As an idea or an ideal, its value is very limited. As a motivating force that leads you, guides you, and even at times impels you to do certain things that transcend your personal interests, Knowledge has a meaningful definition. This is the experience of Knowledge.
You may have difficulty with the word God and with other kinds of words that have been implanted in religious traditions with which you are familiar or from which you have developed since childhood. However, Knowledge is the very core of your spirituality. You reunite with God through Knowledge. You reunite with yourself through Knowledge. You reunite with others through Knowledge. Knowledge is the medium.
Therefore, we have different definitions, and they all seem somewhat distinct. Why is that? It is because Knowledge is so great and has so many facets. Knowledge is at the very center of intelligence in life, here in this world and throughout the Greater Community. You cannot simply define it by one aspect. Knowledge is the Great Presence that stands behind all the manifestations of life. You see it here, and then you see it there. It looks different here than it does over there. Then, you experience it anew, and something new comes with it. Knowledge is the greater part of you living in manifest life. It is translating the Will of the universe into your mundane worldly experience. As you are able to come into proximity to Knowledge, to pay attention to Knowledge and to open yourself to Knowledge, its translation can be given to you with increasing frequency and depth.
You will welcome Knowledge within your heart, for it will be known to you, and it will resonate within you. It will resonate in a part of you that you rarely experience. It will resonate all the way down to the core of your being. Even if your mind is protesting against it, even if your fears are aroused, and even if you are confused, angry or resistant, it will be true for you because it is true. This is communication; this is being; this is purpose; this is identity that transcends all worldly thoughts, beliefs, cultural identifications and political associations—even your personal will. This is Knowledge.
To begin to understand the reality of Knowledge, we must look at the evidence of Knowledge. This evidence can be found in your experience. It is the experience of being moved to do something or moved not to do something. It is the experience of irrational restraint. It is the experience of foreseeing something and knowing something and then having it happen. It is the experience of being moved to go somewhere, to do something, to associate with someone, or to disassociate from someone. This represents the deeper movement of your life. It is not something that is impelled by your ideas, emotions or feelings. It is something deep within you that moves you at your foundation. This is the evidence of Knowledge.
When individuals are deeply moved to do something that sets them on a different course in their lives and in a different direction from where they were planning to go before—this is evidence of Knowledge. When individuals feel that something wrong is going to happen and then act to avoid a dangerous situation—this is evidence of Knowledge. When individuals extend themselves to others in a profound way, bridging the gap between their divergent personalities with such impact that they are both changed—this is evidence of Knowledge. The experience of affinity with life and affinity with another, the experience of a greater motivation in life to exert a greater effort or to reach a goal that must be accomplished, however undefined in the moment—these are the evidence of Knowledge.
The rest of this chapter is freely available here.