means to be Ourselves: 2
this series of articles we are looking at attitudes and practices which,
although they may be adopted with good intention, stand to trap the spirit
of the aspirant, especially those working alone. The usual reasons for
this are that the idea has been taken out of context, that there is an
inadequate sense of perspective, or that the idea is anachronistic. We are
all the time changing and the spiritual slant has to change too if it is
to remain vital. This is becoming increasingly evident
as the Aquarian Age begins to settle in.
line with the DK Foundationís approach we are looking at this matter in
the context of the western, post New Age landscape.
this article and that which follows we are looking at what it means to be
enemy of authenticity is the kind of conditioning that creates
preconceptions about what is involved in spiritual development. I am
defining authenticity as the true expression of any being, in this case
the personality that is aware of spiritual values.
that I do not say that conditioning is the biggest enemy of authenticity.
We are all conditioned. We are the product of conditioning: our psyches
are fashioned from all that our ancestors have thought, believed and done.
Conditioning creates continuity in consciousness.
every new generation and each individual lifetime is an opportunity to
challenge those features of our inheritance that, in the light of our
understanding, we find unhelpful and unproductive, whether they take the
form of the standards and attitudes of a previous generation or aspects of
the national mentality, social mores and spiritual attitudes of the times.
of whether it is made on the mental, or physical levels, when it is
undertaken consciously and with understanding of what spirituality is,
this kind of challenge to the status quo, expressed through the lifestyle,
represents an individual's contribution to the process of evolution.
comes to change there are wheels within wheels. An astrologer understands
this readily because he works with the cycle that is the Great Year, with
the synodic cycles of the planets, as well as the smaller cycles created
by the Earth's axial rotation. All of these cycles form wheels within
wheels and all contribute towards the kaleidoscope effect that creates new
angles in consciousness.
main, however, spiritual aspirants are amongst the people most resistant
to the idea of change because for what we are searching is timeless and
the immutable. Indeed, this Truth does not change but the angles from
which we perceive it, understand it and approach it are moving points. A
time must come when the new way becomes an old approach, and what once was
revolutionary becomes ripe for challenge.
not always been the pole star and one day Vega will replace it. At that
time, any questor still using the light of Polaris to orient himself is
going to go off course, because this is what happens when the angles
approach opened up in the age of Pisces is still conditioning our
understanding of spirituality, but the angle is now changing.
made this point in a number of the articles on the web site, notably in
the series 'Getting
Real'. Almost certainly we will return to it again because the
significance of the individual personality to the functioning of the
seventh ray has yet to be closely examined and explained.
article, however, we are not looking at the big picture but at the small.
We are assuming the spiritual validity of the personality, the vehicle of
the soul, and looking at what is involved in developing spiritually.
thinks of it this way of not, a person who has committed to spirituality
is trying to raise vibration. Different people will call this trying to be
better/more loving/more altruistic/ spiritual/more positive but it amounts
to the same thing i.e., refining being or, as Castaneda puts it,
straightening out the human form.
therefore is common, the ways of approach are innumerable and in order to
know which way to go it helps to know from where we are starting out and
what we are trying to achieve.
this, tidily on a page, it is self-evident but it is not so obvious when
you are confronted with a teacher or a representative of a tradition,
especially one with qualities that you admire, who is earnestly telling
you that the only way to get where you think you are wanting to go is by
the route on which they are travelling. Then, if that way is not
attractive to you for whatever reason, the result can be confusion and
be few people involved in spirituality who have not been told that the
route they are pursuing is worthless and that they should follow another.
sure, there are many people turning round on the spot because they are
following a path that is taking them, not forward, but back into memory.
are indulging in whatever form of spirituality represents the line of
least resistance for them and makes them feel good and comfortable. Often
but, not always, this is linked to a memory.
again are following what most others appear to be following.
would be very unwise to dismiss any of the above situations as a waste of
time. Without starting somewhere and trying something, how do we get a
feel for what is right or wrong? Trying out something is the surest
method. Otherwise we make ourselves dependent upon other's experiences and
other people are different from oneself.
But if we
are going to take the trial and error route - and, if you think about it,
what other route is there? It is not the way of our time for those of us
born into the affluent West to follow unquestioning in the footsteps of
our parents or to have our spiritual path chosen for us by the culture
into which we are born.
can advise what kind of spiritual activity is going to work best for a
person, not whether individual groups or organisations will be helpful.
This is something that only experience can show.
And so we
need to be discerning and yet the voices that would guide us and warn us
are likely to be the very voices that we discredit if we have preconceived
ideas of what will be involved in our spiritual development. We have
probably never been in greater danger of mistaking the packaging for the
real article than we are at the present time when spirituality has been
made a consumer product.
form it takes, what we call our spirituality should be able to pass one
basic test. When we are alone and facing what everyday can throw at us,
are we aware of a different way to react? The test is not whether we react
differently: that may take years of effort, but are we aware of ourselves.
Or do our habitual reactions go unnoticed and unchallenged because, when
real life intrudes, we put aside or forget what we call our spirituality?
If the latter is the case we may be caught up in packaging and
I will not
say that as a professional astrologer I have seen it all because I have no
idea whether I have or not. Indeed, I am very conscious of not having had
much of certain kinds of experience, namely working in any depth with
people from non-western cultures, but I do know that in twenty years of
practice I have encountered literally thousands of spiritually awakened
people imitating others because they have assumed that development
involves, not making more of what they are but becoming other than they
they are trying to turn themselves into some bland, standard issue 'good'
person, able to exude the odour of sanctity and remain untouched by the
folly of the world. Meanwhile, their true qualities, which potentially
have inestimable value to themselves and to the world, are neglected,
undeveloped and even denied.
produces waste and negativity and it is all based upon preconceived ideas.
One thing that common sense should tell us, that for as long as the more
spiritually developed keep themselves out of everyday affairs there will
be no end to folly.
I have seen
sharp, able people giving up successful careers and businesses that they
have created in order to conform to their idea of what a spiritual person
does. Usually, because they are active, goal oriented people, they have
become bored, lost and unfocused, and not infrequently a drain on the
state. And I have seen countless practical people who feel utterly
worthless because they are not able to be 'someone' in the New Age
hierarchy of yoga teachers, counsellors and therapists.
I have seen
women whose spirituality involves lots of pink, lilac, soft music and
talking to angels, who have asked me to explain why their men are so
'unspiritual' and will not follow their good example. And I have seen men
whose own rather simpler spiritual impulses have been so criticised and
judged by the women in pink that they have shut down altogether.
I have seen
people who are on the wrong line (see last month's article, What it means
to be ourselves: 1 and, also April's Letter of the Month: The two lines of
spirituality), and others who have spent years within spiritual traditions
that, by their nature, are buffering them against the very things with
which their development requires them to deal.
this is how it would have been for me if I had not worked out for myself
that, like many spiritual aspirants, I was trying to tackle my chief
problem on too high a level. Until I had better boundaries, no matter how
I packaged myself and no matter how I liked the idea of transcending the
condition, I would remain, at heart, an angry, resentful, confused person.
Self honesty told me that. I was never going to learn to set boundaries
amongst mystics who were trying to lose all that remained of their own,
and so back out into the world I came, into one of the most undignified,
messy but instructive phases of my life.
the kind of realisations that walking a spiritual path brings. We each
have to find out what we most need if transformation is to be real and not
simply cosmetic. This means having the space and the humility to allow our
preconceptions to be challenged.
personalities are not a lottery. They are part of the awesome planetary
system of checks and balances. We have brought into incarnation qualities
that the planet and our soul grouping needs. Through expressing them we
make our contribution and though expressing our qualities purposefully and
positively we will raise vibration.
people this involves living in a way that conforms to some degree to
conventional expectations of a spiritual life; others will have to cut
right across the grain of such expectations.
does not mean reinventing. To be good does not mean conforming to a set
model; it means developing a less self-centred, more inclusive perspective
that takes us closer to soul consciousness. What we are and what we have
we may express differently but we will still have the same qualities and
we will also have the means to get started immediately on the task of
straightening ourselves out .