There is a lot of discussion going round at present about the new era in spirituality, the new wave of esoteric thought and a coming age of enlightenment. Some of it deadly serious, some seemingly less so. Some may seem ludicrous to others… though not to those who believe it… and that is a starting point for much heartache and worse. I’m a firm believer in the saying, ‘a thousand monks, a thousand religions’. Every one of us sees our own path a little differently, even when we nominally share a faith or set of beliefs.
The older I get and the more I learn, the more I see a very simple and common thread running through most belief systems, regardless of the symbols and tenets of doctrine, beyond the stories, scriptures and legends. It goes deeper than what we are taught and told, to a deep inner seeking that seems common to us all.
Whether we seek the answers in religion, faith, science or philosophy, there are deep-seated questions and a desire for understanding and purpose; a quest for a way to grow into ourselves. And because these are undoubtedly profound questions, we often take ourselves and life itself very seriously in light of them.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating any abrogation of responsibility. On the contrary, being responsible for oneself and one’s own thoughts and actions is, perhaps, the single most important thing we can choose to do. It pulls together the threads of all other parts of life. To take responsibility in that way requires that we be conscious, aware of what we do, who we are and the consequences of our actions, their impact on lives other than our own. It means accepting responsibility for ourselves.
It doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes. Just that we can see them, perhaps learn from them, be aware of the effects of our choices and make choices within that awareness. It means putting into practice an inner honesty and accepting all of ourselves, good and bad, light and dark.
Speaking of one of the most deeply spiritual women I know, revered by many across the world, someone once said of her that she is an angel… but no saint. Looking around me at others I love and in whom I see the beacon of the soul glow brightly, that is another common thread, one of acceptance and joy. It doesn’t seem to matter what religious or spiritual background they come from. They share a playfulness… even a naughtiness… that accepts both themselves and others for who and what they are, and they share a lightness of being that is a delight.
They are living in their own truth. They are fearless in this regard and, either quietly or publicly, follow their own path in honesty; not hiding their human flaws and foibles, not pretending to perfection or sainthood. Just Being… and with joy.
It’s not a bad example to follow.
When we began to build the Silent Eye, there was a moment when I worried that I ought to become staid and ‘respectable’. At least publicly. Then, I realised, that would be denying the reality of who I am. It would go against anything I wish to be, do or share. It would not be me. And after all, I am only of any use to the service of the school as myself… whole, flawed and occasionally slightly cracked.
I have a feeling that this is what the new current in spirituality is about. A conscious acceptance of who and what we are. On all levels… and we are all such a mix of contrasts and opposites within ourselves, perhaps it is about integrating the inner contradictions, realising the human and the divine within, balancing the passive and dynamic, the tears and the laughter, the gifts and the flaws. Just being who we Are…
Being a small, nondescript Mum, nicknamed ‘the hobbit’ by my six-foot sons and laughed down upon from their greater height, you may think I have neither knowledge nor authority to speak of the currents of the coming age. You may be right. I’m not telling anyone what to do here. But for myself and for as long as I can, I shall live within that truth that knows neither barrier nor label… and give it the whole five feet.