The Spirituality that I embrace, centers around recognizing the importance of the following eighteen points. If interested, it is important you read them carefully to see if what I offer, corresponds to what you feel you need. Here are my points:
- There are many paths to God and each of us, according to our culture and soul inclination, needs to find a way that works for us.
- We may discover our Spirituality without necessarily being a member of any particular Religion.
- Divinity is both transcendent and immanent, and thus exists both beyond all things, while at the same time is present within all things.
- If we wish to grow our Spirituality, it requires dedication, discipline, sincerity and the willingness to ‘work on ourselves’ in different ways and at different levels, as according to the kinds of issues and challenges we may face at any particular time.
- While becoming more Spiritual may initially start off with the need to use Spirituality to ‘feel better’ about ourselves – that is, to prop up our wounded egos – the deeper aim is ultimately to go beyond our egos and enter more into trans-egoic (beyond ego) states of being! This deeper aim will only be put into practice much later, when we are ready for it.
- This does not mean, however, that we need to deny or seek to transcend our ‘personal egoic self’ – that is, the us that wants to be successful, do well, be liked, etc. Rather, the name of the approach I advocate is an integrative one – about our trying to ‘bring down’ a higher energy into our personal self, so that more and more, this aspect of ourselves will be ‘lifted up’. Thus, our ‘personal us’ is continually being moved in the direction of wishing only to do that which is aligned to what our higher or ‘Impersonal’ Self desires. Put another way, we all have two main ‘us-es’ (the personal and the impersonal) and the name of the game is for them both to merge and support each other. Just as the Impersonal us must not be used to drown out our personal needs, so similarly, our egoic self must not hijack our spirituality and try to use sacred energy to serve its own ‘seperative/egoic agendas’!
- Spiritual work will always include psychological work. (For example, if we are angry with, and have ‘unfinished business’ with, our own personal father, it will most probably affect how we see and relate to, our idea of God, and therefore, if we are to come closer to the divine, it may require working at healing our relationship with our personal father!)
- The aim of being spiritual is not to feel high but to be free. Therefore, going through periods of ‘feeling unhappy’ may not necessarily mean we are off track.
- Spirituality also has its dark face and if we are sincerely on our path, we need to be willing, at times, to confront that dark face, if it chooses to erupt into our lives in some particular form or other!
- Becoming more Spiritual and being more fully human, are to be seen as one and the same thing. Therefore, if we wish for some yardstick to try to ‘measure’ our Spiritual growth, it will be by how human we are becoming. I regard it as much more important that we be able to act wisely, be courageous or relate kindly to difficult people and be able to open our hearts to our world, than, say, achieve some fantastic yogic posture, develop some ‘great psychic ability’ or quote some long sacred text by heart!
- It is important that we discover an appropriate code of Ethics for ourselves, and do our best to live by that code. (e.g. Buddha’s Noble Way or the Ten Commandments, etc).
- It is important that we honor the pace we are going and neither try to run before we can walk – that is, not try to embrace states of consciousness we are not yet ready for ( a practice known as ‘spiritual by-passing’)- nor remain overlong at levels that we are now ready to transcend and leave behind.
- Being Spiritual today is no longer, as in the past, a solitary activity. As we enter the 21st century, we are entering collective states of consciousness, which means that as a species, we are seeking to ‘evolve together’. As part of the larger whole, therefore, each of us are challenged to embrace that ‘I’ within us that is slowly becoming a ‘We’!
- Our personal development, therefore, needs to be aligned to human-collective and world need. Our Spirituality will open up for us much more quickly as we attempt to live more and more as the solution to the problems of our world (as opposed to still being part of those problems.)
- It is therefore important that we seek to ‘make a difference’, and so practice difference-making as best we can. We do not need to wait until we are perfect before being able to be of assistance to our planet. Each of us has his or her unique ‘Service Work’ to do, in those particular areas of life which our souls have drawn us to concern ourselves with.
- There are two forms of Spiritual Practice that always need practicing, both of which are equally important. The first is engaging in practices (e.g., meditation, yoga) which are not of themselves ‘Spiritual’, but which are designed to put us in states conducive to our spiritual self opening up. The second is practicing expressing the fruits of that work, by seeking to relate to ourselves, our fellow human beings, our society and our planet, in increasingly conscious, loving, kind, supportive and intelligent ways.
- The great challenge for each of us is to walk our talk and discover a way of living conducive to allowing what is truest and best about us to surface. There is a strong link between our living ‘holistically’ and being Spiritual. Our spirituality needs to be well anchored in the world and not only may we not need to abandon our everyday work in order to grow our soul life, but it may be a powerful medium through which it emerges. (For example, if all the good financial advisors went to live in the Himalayas, it would mean the world of finance would remain solely in the hands of the sharks!)
- Thus, the fabric of our everyday daily life, with all its many difficulties and challenges (paying the mortgage, dealing with problematic relationships, etc) is the medium for our spiritual development. Put simply, most of us need to find ourselves, not by abandoning our world, but by trying to live in it as gracefully and as abundantly as we can. We cannot be effectively spiritual unless we are well embodied in life. The art is to discover how to ‘Be in the world but not of it.’
The Oxford Dictionary defines liberation as: ‘the act of setting someone free from slavery, imprisonment or oppression’. Liberation, therefore, has both inner and outer dimensions which are intrinsically inter-related because if we are not free inside ourselves, it will inevitably limit our ability to live a liberated outer life, even if the society we live in is a relatively free one. The same can hold true the other way around as well. Many of us, therefore, need liberating not only…