In this series of articles we have looked at what in our character lends us dignity and worth. We have looked at men and women whose actions have demonstrated their sense of ethical rightness. We have examined the challenge of maintaining our integrity and creating our own atmosphere of sacredness and joy under adverse conditions. And we have looked at the equality of all souls and our intrinsic worth as citizens of the spiritual democracy of eternity.

In this column, we continue deepening our look at what it is to feel our own self-worth, and why it is important for us to do so. I hope you are not tired of this subject! This series just happened to me. I did not plan it. One thought led to another. That is still occurring in my natural process. So we could be looking at dignity and self-worth for a while.

As I have thought about dignity during these past few weeks, the concept seems to me to be enormously rich in potential. Perhaps it is because gaining a sense of ourselves as conscious and spiritual beings is the prerequisite to undertaking a path of spiritual seeking that will endure. It is difficult for us to sustain seeking the truth of our natures until we acquire a vision of ourselves as substantial, dignified and worthy persons. To "keep on keeping on," we have to feel that we're worth the trouble.

Religions tend to imply we are not worth the trouble. It is assumed that we humans are hopeless sinners, with no native worth, needing the redemption of a Savior to cover our sins. So a religionist keeps on keeping on in order to emulate the Lord he follows, while knowing he is doomed to failure and casting himself on the mercy of a benign Savior. The plus and minus of that path is a whole field of pondering in itself. Let me digress briefly!

The plus of my being an Episcopalian and participating in the spiritual community of the Eucharist is that the cross is always with me. Its image — in my mind, around my neck — calls me to constant remembrance. And half the battle in living a conscious life is simply remembering to do so.

The minus is the tendency for a religious believer to abdicate personal responsibility for living a beautiful and true life by the choices he freely makes.

I have no quarrel with estimating human nature as intrinsically prone to error. As a mystical Christian, in my own devotions, I confess my sins daily to myself and twice a year, in a formal fashion, to my priest and pastor.

However, I also feel shriven and forgiven before I ever confess. I carry Christ within me. Christ is the beating of my heart. Christ is the constitution of every cell of my being. There is no room for aught but forgiveness in the unconditional love of this vibration. Religion would have me live in fear. I prefer to live in love.

Religion really does not know what to do with the believer who internalizes the Savior and allows the consciousness of Christ to abide within his mortal heart. However, the Confederation entities which I channel assure us that we can safely assume that we are intrinsically worthy, "warts and all." The ET source, Q’uo, says,

"Q’uo, 12-10-06: When we see you, we do not see form. We see a different level of illusion which we would call vibration. We see your vibratory display as if it were the petals of a flower of infinite beauty unfurled for us to see. Every quirk, every imbalance that colors you in this or that way, we see not as mistakes or errors in thinking but as your own individual beauty. To us you cannot make a mistake. To the Creator you cannot make a mistake. For just as you are, exactly as you are experiencing life, you are gathering up information to offer to the Creator."

So, according to the Confederation, we are beautiful beings, just as we are. That perspective is healing and strengthening. How do we avail ourselves of this vision of our own beauty? We are so good at seeing outer beauty! We praise the sunrises and the sunsets. We glory in the bracing mountain winds and the sweet shelter of the valley. We appreciate beauty in inspiring people and in the works of art that move and uplift us.

We are not so good, sometimes, at seeing the beauty of ourselves. We can easily become judges of ourselves to the extent that we are not able to transcend the surface details of our lives. We do not penetrate into those regions of ourselves that lie below the surface. Perhaps we do not even see the way to get beneath the surface of self. Perhaps we are wrapped up in observing what seems to be a world gone wrong. I love G.K. Chesterton's words, written in 1906:

[lyrics start] "From all that terror teaches, From lies of tongue and pen, From all the easy speeches that comfort cruel men, From sale and profanation Of honor, and the sword, From sleep and from damnation, Deliver us, good Lord." [lyrics end]

Indeed, deliver us from the lies and glib hypocrisy of others and also of ourselves! Yet our prayer can well be taken further. We can pray to see the easy lies we give ourselves. We can pray to wake up. We can pray, with sure knowledge that we are heard, for the strength and perseverance to live our lives with the discipline it takes to craft them into the shape and dance of beauty.

Once we have awakened to our spiritual nature, moments of inspiration tend to be fairly frequent. In those moments of peace and power, we can consider that the spiritual path is an easy path. Yet in my experience, the commitment of the self to a life lived consciously produces more catalyst rather than less, so that we have grist to grind as we practice living what we are learning. The Hatonn group, another Confederation source that I channel, observes,

"My friends, it is so easy to think that the feast, the love and the unity that you experience in moments of inspiration will be a natural fruit of your attempting to manifest these qualities through your being. However, this is far from the truth. When you choose to seek the truth, you embark upon a very personal journey and one which will differ from person to person because of the unique nature of each being. Therefore, the first fruit of seeking may well be dissension. And the peace that you find will only be found at the end of a process that may be very painful."

The Confederation view of life on earth is that it is a refinery of souls. We set up the particular nature of our matter to be refined, they say, before we incarnate. We choose incarnational themes with which we shall challenge ourselves again and again before we take birth. We spring from the womb loaded for an incarnation rich in opportunities to learn. Here is Q’uo again:

"It is into this environment of entities living in their own private suffering and fear that the challenges and the lessons of third density are aimed and experienced. The Earth experience is a refinery. Again and again you receive catalyst that causes you to question who you are and why you are here. These questions and these feelings can pound and shake you until eventually you begin discovering that the process has uncovered some of the gemlike beauty of your deeper nature."

It takes some time, patience and willingness to endure the fiery furnace of difficult experiences to come through that fire into the blessed awareness of our own deeper nature. Most of all, it takes nerve. Because when we do hit incoming catalyst that seems challenging, the last thing we as human personalities want to do is to deal with it. We would like hard times to go away and stay away!

And yet the very best way to meet such challenging catalyst is to wade right into the thick of it and engage joyfully. The ensuing engagement may seem to stretch us and cause us pain. Yet, at the end of such work, always, the light shines through, cleaner, clearer and brighter than before. We become tempered.

Hatonn shares these encouraging words:

"Do not let your heart falter because there are great difficulties, minor disagreements or poor feelings. Know that your third density is doing what you planned for it to do and now is your chance to use it wisely."

Using a fiery furnace wisely — there's a concept hard to grasp with the mind of our culture! Our culture would avoid that furnace entirely. The Confederation feels differently. Hatonn says,

"Many and many are the sources and the messages which you may read or hear which are of an inspirational nature which express to you the perfection and the unity of the present moment. And many are the blissful moments that you may gain from taking in such beautiful and consoling thoughts. We would suggest that you make a practice of availing yourself of this idealism, this beauty, this vision of perfection and unity on a daily basis, not only through meditation but, insofar as you find it helpful, through inspirational works."

It is indeed good to read inspiring words. Yet silence will teach us far more than words, if we set our intent to receive the communication that is unspoken, yet present, in every moment. That "still, small voice" which no outer ear can ever hear is communicating with us the instant we ask for that communication. Will we be aware of the information pouring through us as we sit in silence and allow our minds to rest? Probably not. And yet this in no way keeps the information from being given to us and seated within the deeper mind of our hearts. It is usually only later that we discover that we have found healing and comfort, beauty and peace coming to us like sweet old friends.

The Confederation pairs two concepts inextricably in speaking of finding the heart of self: discipline and beauty. The beauty of spiritual things is subjective, but when we are awakened to it, however it comes to us, that beauty is infinite and stunning. And our response is to pursue that beauty, which leads directly to our disciplining ourselves, our thoughts, our speech, our lives.

I think of my spiritual path in terms of beauty. I hope to create my incarnation, all of it, as a work of art to be offered up to the Creator upon my death. Therefore nothing whatsoever is insignificant to me, for all things can be made beautiful by one who seeks to do so.

It is a discipline indeed to follow a rule of life each and every day. And yet in that very discipline lies our growing awareness of ourselves as pieces of the consciousness that is love. Hatonn says,

"If you do seek truly, you will find that inspiration carries with it a mandate for action and it is that action which takes a discipline of the inner self. Such disciplines are not much understood in your culture. The discipline of the mind, the character, the personality is hardly recognized."

I think that the Confederation is very kind to call our daily buzz-fest of trivia and killing a culture! However, it is so that we cannot look to society for support of our quest for self-worth by living true and sacred lives. We shall need to believe in ourselves and in the beauty of who we truly are in order to persevere in our quest. Q’uo encourages us:

"Day by day your beauty astounds us, your courage amazes us, and we cheer for you and love you. We are always here if you would ask us mentally to deepen your meditations."

I open my arms and embrace your spirit. I salute your color, fire and beauty. May we all live beautifully today.