Spiritual Nourishment and Growth
Lesson Objective: Understand how to use our physical lifetime to achieve our purpose of creation and prepare for our eternal life in the spirit world.
Divine Principle Reading:
Good or evil in the conduct of the physical self is the main determinant of whether the spirit self becomes good or evil. This is because the physical self provides a certain element, which we call the vitality element, to the spirit self. In our everyday experience, our mind rejoices when our physical self performs good deeds but feels anxiety after evil conduct. This is because vitality elements, which can be good or evil according to the deeds of the physical self, are infused into our spirit self.
The spirit grows through give and take action between two types of nourishment: life elements of a yang type that come from God, and vitality elements of a yin type that come from the physical self. The spirit self not only receives vitality elements from the physical self; it also returns an element to the physical self which we call the living spirit element.
- Vitality elements come from the physical self and help the spirit self grow.
- Vitality elements are the deeds performed by your physical self and can be both positive or negative. These deeds determine whether or spirit self becomes good or evil.
- Life elements come from God and help the spirit self grow as well. Life elements are mainly associated with God’s Word.
- When our spirit self is healthy it is able to return living spirit elements to the physical self which help us in our physical life.
2. Do a pair share discussion:
- Share a time where you did something for others and felt good.
- Share a time where you did something and did not feel good.
3. Explain: Vitality elements can be positive or negative and can help us grow or become more selfish.
4. Choose one of the following ways you can receive life elements from God that resonates with you or think of your own. Spend 10 minutes on one or more of these exercises and soak up God’s love for you.
- Nature: Go on a 10 minute walk and focus on recognizing and feeling God in the natural world around you.
- Traditional: Read God’s word and pray for 10 minutes and focus on gaining God’s insight for you today. Read it out loud and with feeling so that God can use your own voice to talk to you.
- Reflective: Write a journal reflection about where you are at right now in your life and talk to God through your journaling. Ask for God’s insight on your life.
- Giver: Write a message of encouragement to a friend in need and focus on channeling God’s love for that person.
Concluding Point: The spirit self grows through vitality elements and life elements which means we grow spiritually through our actions and our interaction with God. We need to be practicing both of these things on a daily basis to help our spirit self grow fully.
Divine Principle Reading:
The spirit can grow only while it abides in the flesh. Thus, the relationship between the physical self and the spirit self is similar to that between a tree and its fruit.
It can be inferred from the above that the spirit self can attain perfection only during a person’s earthly life. The spirit mind guides the spirit self as it grows in the soil of the physical self. The growth of the spirit self toward perfection progresses through the three orderly stages ordained by the Principle of Creation. A spirit in the formation stage of life is called a form spirit; in the growth stage, a life spirit; and in the completion stage, a divine spirit.
A spirit fully matures as a divine spirit when the person’s spirit self and physical self unite through perfect give and take action centered on God and form the four position foundation. A divine spirit can accurately feel and perceive every reality in the spirit world. As these spiritual realities resonate through the body and manifest themselves as physiological phenomena, they can be recognized through the five physical senses.
All the sensibilities of a spirit are cultivated through the reciprocal relationship with the physical self during earthly life. Therefore, only when a person reaches perfection and is totally immersed in the love of God while on earth can he fully delight in the love of God as a spirit after his death. All the qualities of the spirit self are developed while it abides in the physical self: Sinful conduct during earthly life aggravates evil and ugliness in the spirit of a fallen person, while the redemption of sins granted during earthly life opens the way for his spirit to become good.
- The spirit self grows through three stages which are the form spirit, life spirit and divine spirit.
- The spirit self can only grow while in the flesh.
- Only those who become a divine spirit on Earth can truly enjoy God in the spirit world.
- True Parents have taught us that the place we settle in spirit world resembles the place we have been living in during our physical life. True Father says:
It is not God who decides whether a person’s spirit enters heaven or hell upon his death; it is decided by the spirit himself. Humans are created so that once they reach perfection they will fully breathe the love of God. Those who committed sinful deeds while on earth become crippled spirits who are incapable of fully breathing in the love of God. They find it agonizing to stand before God, the center of true love. Of their own will, they choose to dwell in hell, far removed from the love of God.
2. Read this excerpt from the book Life in the World Unseen about the lower and higher realms of the spirit world. This book is written by Anthony Borgia who communicates with Edward Benson in the spirit world to address the realities of the spirit world:
At once we found ourselves upon a very wide expanse of grassland, but we both noticed that the turf felt less soft beneath our feet; it was, in fact, becoming hard as we walked along. The beautiful emerald green was fast vanishing, and the grass was taking on a dull yellow appearance, very similar to earthly grass that has been scorched by the sun and has lacked water. We saw no flowers, no trees, no dwellings, and everywhere seemed bleak and barren. There was no sign of human life, and life seemed to be rapidly disappearing from beneath our feet, as by now the grass had ceased altogether, and we were upon hard ground. We noticed, too, that the temperature had fallen considerably. Gone was all that beautiful, genial warmth. There was a coldness and dampness in the air which seemed to cling to our beings, and cast a chill over our very souls. Poor Ruth clung to Edwin’s arm, and I am not ashamed to say that I did the same, and was very glad to do so. Ruth then visibly shivered, and stopped abruptly, imploring us not to go any farther. Edwin threw his arms around both our shoulders, and told us that we had no need to be the least afraid, as he had the power to protect us fully. However, he could see the state of deep depression, as well as oppression, that had fallen upon us, and so he turned us gently round, placed his arms about our waists, and we once more found ourselves sitting beneath our own lovely trees, with the glorious flowers close beside us, and our own warm air once more closing upon us with its heavenly balm.
Again we found ourselves upon grassland, but with a striking difference. The turf upon which we were walking was infinitely softer than that of the interior of the realm. The green of the verdure was even brighter than we had thought possible. The flowers were growing in still greater profusion, and the intensity of color, of perfume, and of health-giving power transcended anything we had encountered. The very air seemed to be imbued with rainbow tints. There were few dwellings at the spot where we were immediately standing, but behind us were to be seen some of the most stately and beautiful houses I have ever seen. In these houses, so our friend told us, lived wondrous souls who, though nominally belonging to our own realm, were by virtue of their spiritual progression and particular gifts and work, in close contact with the higher realms, into which they had full authority and the requisite power to pass upon their various occasions. Edwin promised that we should return to this place after we had seen as much of the city as we wished, and there we could discuss—in one of the houses—my future work, as well as Ruth’s. He had taken Ruth under his wing, and for her part she expressed her gratitude for his kindness in doing so. It had several times crossed my mind what form of spiritual work I could engage myself upon, as soon as I had become sufficiently familiar with the new life and the new land.
Just as we had been heavy with chill and oppression at the borderline of the dark spheres, so were we now warmed and filled with such an elation that we were almost silent in wonderment. As we moved along, bathed in radiance, we felt such a spiritual exhilaration that Edwin’s description of the visitations of personages from the higher realms at once came to my mind, and I almost knew what to expect when I should be fortunate enough to witness such a visitation. Standing here, one had the overwhelming desire to strive for that progression that would entitle one to inhabit one of the lovely houses, and to qualify for the honor of serving one of the dwellers in this higher sphere at whose gateway we were standing.
We walked a little way forward, but we could proceed no farther. There were no visible barriers, but we felt that we could not breathe if we went onward. The whole atmosphere was becoming so much the more rarefied the farther we penetrated, that in the end we were bound to retrace our steps on to our own ground.
I could see many souls dressed in the most tenuous of garments, the soft colors of which seemed hardly to belong to them but to float about the fabric of their robes—if fabric one can call it. Those of them who came sufficiently near smiled to us with such a friendly greeting that we knew we were not in any way intruding, and some waved their hands to us. My friend told us that they were aware of our purpose there, and for that reason they would not approach us. They would allow us to enjoy our experience by ourselves, and quietly to absorb the beauties and splendors of this wonderful borderland.
- What kind of environment would we be surrounded by in the spirit world?
- What kind of people do we surround ourselves with now?
- What kind of spiritual environment do we surround ourselves with now?
- What aspect of your life do you need to focus on so that you can live in the beautiful realms of spirit world and enjoy your eternal life?
4. Explain: God gave us a blueprint for growing our capacity to love through the four realms of heart. So our focus now should be in the two realms of heart we are living within: child’s love and sibling love.
5. Practice growing your realms of heart:
- Give everyone 4 half size pieces of paper.
- Have everyone reflect on these two questions for both their parents and one sibling (if they don’t have siblings, they can choose a close friend).
- What is one thing you admire about your parents/sibling?
- What is one thing about your parents/sibling that you have a hard time with?
- Ask everyone to write down one word on each paper to represent the answers to these questions. For example:
- Parents: Humor (admire), Stress (hard time)
- Sibling: Fun (admire), Mean (hard time)
6. Explain: Relationships can be challenging and no one is perfect. But God gave us our parents and siblings to help us grow our hearts so that we could live in and enjoy the spirit world. To do that we need to take an active role in our relationships. We need to focus on what we appreciate about our families and let go of the things that we hold against them.
7. Do a Shredding Ceremony:
- Have each person come to the front one by one and shred the paper that has the negative qualities written on them.
- Then have each person say out loud what they admire/appreciate about their parents and siblings.
Concluding Point: Our physical life is the time we have to prepare for our eternal life in the spirit world. To do that, we need to focus on growing our heart, personality and character so that we can be good children, siblings, spouses and parents. These relationships can be quite challenging, but we need to work through our conflicts so that we can grow to become ideal people. If we can master all those realms of heart we will be able to truly live with God in the spirit world.