What is the Point of Spirituality? | The Journey of a Lifetime

In Article Of The Month, What is the Point of Spirituality? by wjjhk

every man had something of value beyond the horizon - Annie Proulx
Them Old Cowboy Songs


In going consciously towards what we value, we are able to make a spiritual path for our own feet to walk. What that thing of value might be, is less important than the fact of our committing to something that makes us get out of bed with a sense of purpose, that structures our lives and makes us use time discerningly, that requires intelligent choices and sacrifices made willingly, because it is this expenditure, and not the goal itself, which refines energy. Some goals, of their nature, promote a divisive, competitive or harmful intention. Even so, courage, hardiness, resourcefulness and tenacity may be demonstrated by those who serve those goals. This should not be overlooked. These qualities denote a real engagement with life, which those who have embraced spirituality so often lack. Never be lofty about what another sees beyond the horizon. It is misguided.

A sense of superiority is its own form of separation, and a spiritual identity can make us not simply superior, but unctuous, full of opinions and judgement, and deluded about our own effectiveness when, in reality there is often a fearful, flabby or resentful relationship with a life.

The people we are now are capable of understanding that, with our perceptions, we have created and are maintaining the life that holds us. An active throat centre gives the capacity to look intelligently at what we are doing and why. What we do not like, we must make our responsibility to change. It may take a lifetime. The credulousness of the New Age was not that of ignorance: it was the product of strong personalities with spiritual ambitions, who wanted results without effort and sacrifice; who wanted things to be other than they are, because in reality, the lazy or timid personality earns nothing for itself, not now, not ever, because, energetically, it cannot. New Age credulousness arose from desire. 

In the first instance, we have to make the real world, not imagination, the place of work. The worlds of the imagination have no life. There is more to be gained from cleaning up an unholy mess than sitting and thinking beautiful thoughts amidst one. The one transforms, puts harmony where previously it was not; the other simply holds the idea of something different: latency, unrealised. We can spend a lifetime preparing and never be ready to deal with the life that confronts us. Many have.

We may well send out the imagination on ahead to look around, but then we have to work out how to take the whole of ourselves to that place, whatever it may be. It may take years and involve many changes of route. The horizon, after all, is all around us. 

Our personalities are vehicles that are wired in a certain way. We cannot change our constitutions, which require us to function on four levels: the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual, but we can bring ourselves under control, change direction to bring in fresh experiences, develop different perceptions and a new way of understanding and, hopefully, a less beleaguered, self-centred relationship with life. This is both the best that we can hope for and the best thing to hope for. If these changes lessen separation and isolation, and sustain themselves, then this is true spirituality.

The traditions, which supported the efforts of those who have gone before, may support us too, but we do not need saints, saviours, teachers or esoteric knowledge. Knowing about these things and surrounding ourselves with them is not spirituality, although the efforts they inspire us to make, may be. No one is ever going to deny the value of inspiration and no one who has been inspired will ever forget the person or circumstances, which brought it to them. It is true grace. Even so, the only indispensible things are a lifetime to call our own, time to use consciously, and something of value beyond the horizon towards which to steer ourselves away from where we are to where we would be. 

This is the journey of a lifetime, and it takes us through an everyday landscape. This is spirituality for the people we are now.

Suzanne Rough
June 2013