The DK Foundation

What it means to be Ourselves: 2

Finding a Path

In 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.

In line with the DK Foundationís approach we are looking at this matter in the context of the western, post New Age landscape.

In this article and that which follows we are looking at what it means to be ourselves.  

The biggest 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.

Please note 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.

Even so, 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.

Regardless 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.

When it 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.

In the 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.

Polaris has 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 change!

The approach opened up in the age of Pisces is still conditioning our understanding of spirituality, but the angle is now changing.

We have 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.

In this 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.

Whether he 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.

The goal 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.

Put like 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 crisis.

There can 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.

And for 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.

Many more 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.

Others again are following what most others appear to be following.

But it 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.

Astrology 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.

Whatever 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 preconceptions.

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 are.

Usually 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.

This 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.

Certainly, 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.

These are 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.

Our 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.

For some 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.

Refining 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 .

Suzanne Rough

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