Getting Real

What is Spirituality?

How are we to understand the soul?

What is the purpose of Spirituality?

What do we need to live Spiritually?

What does Spirituality Involve?

Why is it we fail?

What is going on in my life?

What kind of work should I be doing?

What I am supposed to be doing?

Will I ever be happy?

Will I ever meet someone?

Where are we all heading?

 

                  The DK Foundation

                                     Getting Real 4

           What do we need to live Spiritually?

 

There are in circulation some weird and wonderful ideas of what it means to live a spiritual life. Many of these ideas are a product of the imprint of Piscean mysticism which emphasised the split between heaven and earth and which make it hard for spirituality and the everyday to co-exist in any cooperative relationship. In many cases the form has become completely divorced from appreciation of the purpose that it serves. As a spiritual model, Piscean mysticism has now done its work and served its purpose. This means that its ability to help the human family is reducing.

We have, around us, all that we need in order to live a spiritually useful life - all of us, by courtesy of the fact that we are here in incarnation. We need no special conditions, props or paraphernalia; we need only the understanding that, regardless of our circumstances, we do have all we need if we can produce, from within ourselves, the right kind of approach and the right kind of effort in support of our goal to do and to be better, whatever we perceive that to be.

Up to the Third Initiation, to what we commit is far less important than the fact of commitment. Spirituality needs commitment not concepts, something which religion has never wanted to acknowledge.

The circumstances in which we find ourselves are not coincidental or irrelevant. They reflect who we are and as we change so our circumstances will change. If they seem to us unsuitable or intolerable then they are exactly where we need to start. To use imagery drawn from IT: these are the windows we must shut down before we can get to the possibilities and relative freedom of the desktop. Our circumstances are not as they are by coincidence; they are there because our personality has attracted or created them. If we rely on simply swapping up our circumstances without changing anything else about ourselves, we will find ourselves recreating the same traps and problems. Our circumstances reflect us. Through looking at them and through looking at ourselves in those circumstances, we will discover a great deal about ourselves, as we are now, but whatever that might be, it is not all there is to us. There is, in addition, all that we may be if we will work steadily and sanely towards unfolding our potential, working through our circumstances and letting experience change us as we strive to change circumstances, in line with our aspirations.

We do not start our lives on Earth with a blank slate. We bring through into incarnation the quality of consciousness developed in past life and this places us - to carry on with the IT imagery - within certain windows when we are born. This is known in esotericism as the Law of Opportunity and it places us in the circumstances which reflect our being but, by virtue of being reincarnated, we are equipped with a fresh supply of opportunities. The natal chart, appropriately read, will reveal these opportunities. We have to understand, however, that opportunity is something the unfoldment of which we may need to assist through awareness and intelligent choice. It may not come rapping on our windows.

The realisation that, to lead a spiritually active life, we do not need anything other than ourselves and the circumstances in which we find ourselves, which should be such a liberation, all too frequently is a source of great disappointment because it doesn’t promise transportation to another place, a rapidly altered reality and ready answers. It means that we could be spiritually committed and, yet, still staring at the same grey streets, turning into the same in fulfilling job, enduring the same pain of a failing relationship, the same difficulties in the family, and yearning for something different. Indeed, spiritually aware people, all over the Western world, are experiencing all these things but, hopefully, growing stronger and more purposeful as a result of the awareness, disciplines, and priorities conferred by their spirituality. Maybe, in time, they will see their way out of their uncomfortable circumstances or find a new way of looking at those circumstances which, as we have said, are not there by chance, but because they reflect who we are.

This is true spirituality because it involves transformation and not evasion. Spirituality does not begin when pain and difficulty end; it begins with a willingness to see pain and difficulty as a starting place. It is purposeful work on self with the intention to bring about a change in consciousness.

Embracing spirituality does not guarantee sudden change and a cessation of difficulty. It involves living with a certain understanding and a willingness to look at self; it involves holding certain values and letting those values inform our conduct and decisions over time. If we are wise we will expect our spirituality to encompass the everyday, to help us make headway with and through habitual situations, not set it up as something apart which needs the high, unpolluted altitudes of the Himalayas or the sunshine and history of Egypt to sustain it.

Our spirituality needs to enable us to give a value to the opportunity which is our lives, as they are. It needs to inspire us to do better. Our lifetimes, in incarnation, are the biggest opportunity we will ever know and it is up to us to give them value and distinction. This is the choice conferred by free will. Spirituality offers us a way to do that. It does not have to involve religion; it does not have to involve ritual and practices - although all or any of these things might help. It needs to involve the knowingness that we can make ourselves into something more than we are, the willingness to see ourselves as we are now and the acceptance that this path to unfolding our potential is governed by certain rules.

These rules do not govern dress, circumstances or the quantity of knowledge held. They govern intention; the extent to which the outer appearance matches the inner reality; how well and honestly we live and work with the understanding that we do have; and how much effort we put into those things which we know matter, which include picking ourselves up after perceived failures and shortfalls. This is how we become better i.e., more useful through the living of our lives.

We have all we need and when we think we do not it is because we have an idea that spirituality is about certain conditions and activities. We may want different conditions and, indeed, may benefit greatly from changing our conditions but that is what we perceive we need. It is not what spirituality needs. Spirituality needs only life and a being who is aware that there is something higher to which to aspire and work, who knows where to start and is committed to the goal.  It is this realisation that makes every day valid and important and which makes communication with familiars as important as communication with a spiritual teacher.

True spirituality knows no separation between what we call spiritual and the non-spiritual. It knows only the one life which is dedicated to its goal and which encompasses all facets of that one life and deals as carefully and as considerately with detractors of that goal as it does with those who give ready agreement. It is not simply sitting in meditation or development circles that builds spiritual muscle but the extent to which we can take the awareness created by those experiences into all areas of our lives.

Yet, to work effectively with everyday situations, we have to create ways of remaining aware and not getting caught up and zombified by the routine. This is the value of contact with people who are also working to remember, of teaching, practices and ritual, and of creating a sacred space in our homes and in our lives. The purpose of these things is not to escape and forget and take the eyes off the everyday but to strengthen us and our awareness of ourselves and our conduct in familiar circumstances, including those in which we are challenged. So much disappointment and disillusionment comes to people who have engaged with the idea of spiritual development from the erroneous expectation that to embrace spirituality is an insurance policy against suffering and ordinariness.

On the contrary, in its early stages, a spiritual path is likely to bring more not less suffering because different perspectives and values are introduced, against which everyday situations have to be assessed. This rarely makes familiar circumstances more comfortable. Yet, the eventual  rewards of having embraced a spiritual path will be those of clarity and strength, and later, the experience of integration. Then a person knows, without any shadow of doubt, that we have all that we need and understands the origin and nature of all suffering.

Change starts with our appreciation of the desirability of change. It starts with us and where we stand. Truly, we have all that we need to do better and to be better. What we perceive that to be may change with time and experience but the important thing is to start with who we are and with what we know.

 
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