Seeking a path

Labyrinth, Glastonbury

Over the past few weeks, I have had a lot of emails from people trying to find their way through the maze of possibilities now available to those seeking their spiritual path. Tap ‘spirituality’ into the search bar of Amazon and you will be faced with around half a million choices. Not so very long ago, you could trawl every bookstore in town.. and most towns had a fair few to choose from… and you would be lucky to find anything more than a bible. Ask for the esoteric section and the assistant would look at you with a blank expression and/or back away from the weirdo before directing you towards the poetry shelves. There were books… but not many, and they were both hard to find and expensive because of their rarity. The best places to look were the scruffy, second-hand and antiquarian bookshops, invariably tucked away down a side street in a seedy part of town. When you found a good one, you didn’t forget.

These days, it seems as if everywhere you look there are books, CDs and videos promising you the earth and the heavens… or heaven on earth… or ascension… or, well, you get the idea. Spirituality has become big business.

I have lost track of the number of Avatars and Ascended Masters currently plying their trade. Call me old-fashioned, but I have a deep distrust of anyone who has to tell me they are such a thing. Inspire me, make me think, lead by example and show me the results made manifest in the way you face your life and the way you inspire others… ‘show, don’t tell’ is as important in the spiritual world as it is for writers. The true spiritual teachers I have had the privilege to know would never see themselves as any more than students sharing a journey towards the Light.

While there are some excellent books, many reputable schools and organisations and a handful of genuine spiritual teachers, it is very difficult to wade through such a plethora of promises and find the ones that speak to the heart. It becomes even more confusing when the lines have become blurred between the truly spiritual and those books and systems guaranteeing worldly happiness and success. Many of the techniques employed are very similar; indeed, many of the ‘feelgood’ systems appear to have hi-jacked magical techniques lock, stock and barrel, repackaging and rebranding them as something new and unique that will bring the subscriber their heart’s desire.  The trouble is, they have taken the heart out of the practices to do so.

The true intent of those ancient techniques that work upon the personality is not to hone and polish it for worldly success and a happy life.  The need to ‘Know Thyself’ is at the core of all spiritual paths, but not in order to make money or attract a mate, though your life will change if you follow the old teachings and find yourself opening up the greater potential of your own being. Such studies give access to great joy as inner balance is real-ised. Confidence comes with the knowing and eyes come alive with wonder. ‘Success’ may well come too because of the expansion of understanding of yourself and your world, and though it may not always be measurable in worldly terms, by the time it arrives, you value each experience for its true worth.

The purpose of such study has a higher aim than filling a bank account or an empty space in the bed. Sadly, there are many self-proclaimed spiritual leaders who seem all too happy to fill their own at the expense of the true seeker, confused by the sheer amount of information and promises now available to them.

Mankind has always recognised that there is something beyond himself. For some the highest good is seen in the heart of humanity and how, beyond the petty griefs and greeds that shadow his days, humanity can know compassion, generosity and love. For others, that ‘something’ is reflected in the small gods of hearth and home and the spirits of Nature. Still others raise eye and heart towards a universal Intelligence. While the beliefs of individuals differ, there seems to be a common need to perceive and acknowledge a higher good.

For much of humanity’s history, that higher good has been found through the direction of bodies of religious knowledge. For centuries, religion and politics were closely aligned and until relatively recently, it was simply not good for your health to question the prevailing belief of your country. Those who did so publicly suffered for their freedom of thought. Sadly, there are many places where this is still true today and the emergence of a genuine and global freedom of belief is an ongoing process still far from its goal.

Over the past few decades, much of the world has seen a real, noticeable increase in the freedom and desire to question dogmatic teachings. More and more people are recognising that the key to spiritual development lies in their own hands and heart. It is not necessarily a turning against the traditional teachings, but a desire to understand their inner truth and deeper meaning, as well as an acknowledgement that to follow the rules blindly is a far cry from taking personal responsibility for our own lives and actions.

Our personal relationship with our own spiritual nature and our concept of divinity is unique. Whether we look to the heart of humanity or a higher Source does not matter if we truly seek to grow into the best of ourselves. There is no lid on the sky and no limit to the inner vision that can lead us forward.

No book, no school, no one human being can teach you ‘spirituality’. What they can do is share knowledge, experience and a system that has been found to work and give results. They can be your guide, hold your hand on the journey and share it with you until you reach a door through which you alone may walk. It is not always a comfortable journey to examine your self and begin to fit the fragments of your being into a bigger picture, becoming part of something whole. Not for nothing is it called the Work. But it is always worthwhile. Spirituality cannot be sold any more than you can sell a sunset… but you can be shown where to stand and in which direction to look. And no-one, no matter how much they charge, can teach you to be a spiritual being… because that is something you have always been.

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36 thoughts on “Seeking a path

  1. Lovely, Sue. I think people have moved away from traditional churches because they want to have an individual relationship with their deity and not a dictated relationship with the man-made structures of the church that have been used to control people for centuries.

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  2. Oh Sue, This is incredibly wise and beautiful. I absolutely loved this piece. Your writing is, as always, outstanding. You know, I was thinking of all the spiritual or religious beliefs, all the churches I have tried and the different cultural based spiritual belief systems I have looked into over the years. I have taken bits and pieces of this and that if it seemed right for me, and a lot of that has been alone out in nature, or quietly thinking to myself about life and all the precious things we live through. I am glad to have had the experience of getting to live as a human filled with all kinds of emotions, creative aspects, sorrows and joys. None of it has been wasted on me, even when at times it seems like it. I think as you noted so wonderfully, it is such a wonder that spiritual beings are able to live the human experience. It is sort of like a box of crayons where you get to experience the wonders of all the colors, and the pains, the joys, the rages and the sense of love in every waking minute of every single day. Rain or shine, rich or poor, spiritual or “atheist,” we all get to experience all that we can whether we live a long life, or only for a few seconds. There is more beyond what we get to see here and now, just as when we go to sleep we often go to strange places nothing like what we perceive to be the real world, in which we get to be all the characters at the same time. Thank you so much for this gift of such amazing and incredible thought. This is another article I will read over and over.

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  3. Wow, Sue. A beautiful and empowering post. I loved the line: “Spirituality cannot be sold any more than you can sell a sunset.” That made me smile. And the last lines, to me, are a powerful summary of the spiritual journey – that the place we seek is in fact where we already dwell, and all that’s needed is to awaken. Naturally, that’s something that I find difficult to do except in momentary glimpses. A dual process of letting go and acceptance.
    It seems that I’m finding lots of wisdom in blogland today. Time to pay attention. Thanks for the lovely post.

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  4. What a great post. I always feel strange when people “earn” with spirituality. Even though I see logic in the sentiment that it is fair to take a fair income by writing a book or doing healing work but I just can’t shake the feeling thats not how it should work. But maybe that is just me. I often think we need to allow ourselves to be guided to the right books and teachings. That is something that escapes logic explanation but my experience is that I fi d the right book ir teaching when I am ready and when I need it. 🙋‍♀️🐝

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    1. I agree with you, Bee…the teaching comes when we are ready. I have never felt comfortable with the idea of people making vast sums selling ‘spirituality’…and especially with some of the stuff out there that purports to pass for it!
      On the other hand, I do recognise that writers need to eat and pay the rent, just as organisations and schools, such as the Silent Eye, have admin costs that have to be covered.
      Here, we operate on a not-for-profit basis and keep our costs and workshop prices to a minimum. We don’t pass on our personal costs to the students or attendees. Anything extra that ends up in the kitty goes to helping people who could not otherwise share events with us, believing that access to any kind of spiritual path should not be dependent on income.

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      1. Hi Sue, thats exactly how it feels the right way. You need to be able to pay your bills and make descent living but getting rich seems just wrong. Have a happy wednesday 🙋‍♀️🐝

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  5. This is such a beautiful post. Yes, spirituality has become BIG business just like religion did. But, I totally agree, Sue, “Show me, Don’t tell me!” And this quote says it all for me! “Our personal relationship with our own spiritual nature and our concept of divinity is unique.” Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Jan. There are many out there making claims of various kinds of adepthood, but proof has to be in the pudding, as the saying goes.
      No matter what path we follow, though, it will always be, at the deepest level, uniquely personal.

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  6. Sue, I agreed with everything you’ve said. My own spiritual journey has led me down many paths. I finally feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. I read and study, being more solitary in my endeavor. It’s personal. You know, I did not understand I was searching until I found meditation. That opened my mind to what was inside of me. When you find your own power and connection to the divine was when I realized that it was always there. I just had to learn to listen. Thanks for an amazing article. You always inspire me. ❤

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  7. Well said, Sister! “Spirituality cannot be sold anymore than you can sell a sunset.” Love this. And your quote at the end that we are spiritual beings having a human experience is one of my all-time favorites.

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      1. Sue, my pleasure and I just loved your beautiful post. I tried to reblog but I guess so many people did reblog it that it didn’t work anymore. I have a very strong spiritually related to an incredible thing I experienced, and I will tell you why one day – sooner than later. My husband and I have had a very busy summer (3 vacations in 6 weeks, and actually I am a homebody.) Again, thank you for your inspired and inspiring post on spirituality. I will begin again next week with the photo prompt. I love to do your photo prompts! Karen 🙂

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        1. Thanks, Karen… you do have to click into the post to get the reblog button, and I am finding, since WordPress have been playing again, that you have t refresh a page before the reblog button works a lot of the time, especially if you have left a ‘like’ or a comment.
          I look forward to you rejoining the prompt… and to you telling your story too! 🙂

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  8. I liked your view very much; clear, kind, succinct.
    Nisargadatta teaches that you have only one teacher, the inner one. He says that if you could benefit from the help of another guru, your inner teacher will guide you there. I so appreciate a life of autonomy.

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