The DK Foundation

Releasing the Spirit 1

This is not a good time for those who do not like a challenge.' DK. December 2002

‘If you feel inadequate, say this everyday:

The past is within me,  

The present is around me,  

The future is above me.

As you say the last line stretch up in your imagination, towards a light in the heavens, leaving yourself feeling taller in relation to your surroundings. Over time, you will feel stronger. Share this with others if you wish.’ Matreiya, December 2002  

It is interesting how periods of time, which, whilst we are living through them, do not seem to have any outstanding features, should have such a distinctive character when viewed in retrospect.  

Looking back at the 1980s is to look back to another era. In Britain, in those years, Conservative politics were shaping the structure and ethic of public life by design, and the New Age was in full flower.

And as significantly large numbers of people opened up to ideas that were new to them and discovered a different way of understanding reality, against the backdrop provided by one of the meanest-spirited political regimes we have ever had in this country, there was enormous expectation and optimism.

There are indications that the same pattern was in evidence in other parts of the western world.

This is not to view the 1980s as a halcyon period; if it was the Golden Age of anything it was spiritual naivety and that polarity between the spiritual and the everyday is still causing problems. Nor was enthusiasm for New Age ideas free from the acquisitiveness that had the West as a whole in its grip. But in all its aspects, positive and negative, it was different from what we have now at the beginning of the 2000s, when we are in the shadow of major global disruption and dramatic economic slow down.  In Britain, we also face social disintegration, the product of strong individuality with nowhere to go but into alienation.

There is now little in the way of expectation or optimism. Against this backdrop, the development circles, the crystals, the little rituals, the leisurely methods of self-discovery and creative expression, look very fragile and self-indulgent.  Yet it is precisely at such times that we need to bring to full consciousness and apply all those fashionable things, which we were spouting so freely in the 1980s. We also have to decentralise in out thinking and get the focus off ourselves. Through the New Age, spiritual ideas have met with individuality. This is a blend, which produces self-importance.

Our need to align ourselves with like-minded people and to accept group discipline is now very great indeed. In isolation, spiritually aware or not, we are not useful to ourselves or to our planet.  Nor are we useful when we are sitting piously on the sidelines.

In the 1980s New Age defined itself as other than materialistic. This dualism between spiritual and material which was a feature of spirituality in the Age of Pisces, encouraged a lot of drifting to the margins in order to take on ‘spiritually correct’ work: healing, therapies, teaching spiritual disciplines. Being able to work in these fields full time was viewed as a mark of attainment. In the 1980 and 1990s the New Age was not only acquisitive it also very status consciousness, and it was not great on responsibility.

In reality, in Britain at least, many, many practitioners were simply scratching a living and a lot of those practitioners and would-be practitioners have now given up, disillusioned and in many cases, too old if not too proud to get back into the job market. They have become a drain our societies, far from its biggest drain admittedly, but a spiritually aware person should not be any kind of a drain on his society.

Lets not be squeamish about acknowledging this. The squeamishness of the spiritually minded about money and material responsibility is one of the first things that has to change if spirituality is going to be an effective force in the 2000s.

We live in complex societies and we use a range of services. If we use those services we should not disdain to work in those sectors. This kind of fastidiousness and snobbery, quite deservedly, gives spirituality a bad name, and it has given New Agers a bad name amongst many people with a greater sense of material responsibility.

The creation of market places enclaves for the spiritually correct is also undesirable from another standpoint: that of clearing the most refined, spiritually aware people out of the mainstream and leaving the running of our societies in the hands of those who may be entirely materialistic and wholly bereft of any spiritual refinement.

I know somebody - I expect we all do - not badly off, who in the mid 1990s disappeared into a rather expensive community for two years in order to find himself and who, when he came out expressed disgust, disillusionment and righteous anger at the way the world was going. His anger was inappropriate. What had he done to stop it?

Monasticism belonged to the Piscean Age, and it was not self-discovery that underpinned the monastic ideal but service to God in circumstances of considerable material deprivation.

This is the Age of Aquarius. We are part of our societies whether we like it or not. This brings responsibilities. Our developing spiritually is not the slightest use to us or to anyone else if we don’t make a contribution. All it will do is take us further into separation and isolation. And whether it is pride or fear that underpins the separation they are equally unhelpful because separation is against the law of the soul.

Group activity is the only remedy for the kind of alienated individuality we are experiencing in Britain now.

In the upcoming series of articles called Releasing the Spirit we will be look at some of the attitudes and values that will need to change if spiritually aware people are to become effective in their societies.  

Suzanne Rough

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