Spiritual Journey: Are You Ready?
by John Williston
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are many people today who have embarked on a journey of personal
and spiritual self-discovery and there are many more looking for
a way or a path upon which to begin.
is no question that at this time there is an increase in spirituality
and spiritual seeking that is divorced from organized religion.
Necessity has always been the mother of invention and as people
need to know their spiritual selves so the Universe provides.
Consequently we are experiencing what could be described as a
proliferation of the "New Age" movement bears witness
to this revolution as does the increase in spiritual healing options,
personal growth techniques, seminars, etc.. Indeed, it perhaps
seems that there are almost as many gurus as disciples, which
speaks to the deep and abiding need that people have to know themselves
and to find meaning and purpose in their lives.
need has even become apparent in the most unlikely of places such
as the local gym. I am, of course, speaking of the introduction
of yoga and meditation classes; yoga is first and foremost a spiritual
practice from which the practitioner reaps an inevitable spiritual
benefit. Yoga is actually about creating God Union or union with
slay thy enemies, enjoy a prosperous kingdom" says the Baghavad
Gita. A great yogi master, Sri Aurobindo interprets this passage
wherein one possesses "a state of inner poise and wideness
which is the foundation of spiritual freedom. With that poise,
in that freedom, we have to do the "work that is to be done".
The enemies the Gita speaks of are our ego, fear, anger, greed,
and so on. The work that is to be done is to slay these enemies
so that the disciple can begin ascending the hill of Yoga –
God union. This, then, is what is commonly referred to as one's
spiritual work and it isn't easy.
our spiritual work brings us to a state of non-alignment with
the ego. We become separate from the mass consciousness and align
ourselves with our soul's consciousness. This results in ultimate
freedom and self-determination. Unshackled by the external influences
of others in our circle, such as the media, the legislators, the
church and other influences, we are guided by the higher, intuitive
knowledge that rests within each of us. This knowledge is found
on the other side of our fear and anger, in a state of love. This
is the state of self-realization.
question of how to attain this state is often asked. The answer,
as given in many great spiritual texts, is to overcome the ego;
a task to which many aspire yet few achieve. Why is this?
one's work means confronting and overcoming our fears and our
anger and few of us are up to that task on our own. Almost, if
not all, of our fears are based on our childhood experiences and
yes, some can be carried over from other lifetimes (perhaps the
hardest to comprehend). Consequently, and although we are adults,
it is the little boy or little girl whom we carry around inside
of us, deep within our heart, who has never had the chance to
heal, but who in fact dictates our responses to so many of life's
you automatically respond in an emotional way (or close off all
emotions) and without any control or thought, it is your ego and
your child who is responding; it is your child's heart. The ego
is your greatest enemy.
ego is your defense and survival mechanism. It has learned what
it takes for you to survive in the world. It generally does not
want to surrender control to your heart, your Soul, although you
and I both know that we want our heart, not our ego, to be in
control; it is our highest calling. And it is in our heart where
our Divine Self dwells. We are not our ego, we are our heart.
long as the ego is in charge it can be very difficult to get through
to your inner child. This requires nothing short of declaring
war against the ego; literally killing off those parts of us that
bring about personal destruction. These consist of greed, anger,
grief, fear, laziness, sensual preoccupations and a myriad of
other unproductive attributes that keep us from our true self,
our Soul self. To declare war on the ego can be exhausting because
it is a valiant opponent, however the rewards of doing battle
are both tremendous and wonderfully liberating.
I was in the midst of doing my own spiritual work I was wracked
with confusion, doubt, fear, anger, and fatigue (overwhelmingly
so at times). At the same time, I knew that for as much as I could
not go back to where I began I wasn't convinced that I could go
further (did I mention frustration…). However, if one remembers
that the night is always the coldest just before the dawn and
perseveres - success is assured. It is at moments such as this
that the advice and support of a spiritual teacher can make all
of the difference.
needs a spiritual teacher, counselor, or coach while on the path.
This coach should have extensive personal "gnosis" or
personal knowledge through experience of the path. There may also
be times when it will then be necessary to strike out on one's
own, in isolation, involving intense study. If you should find
yourself in a period of self-directed study, it is because your
next step of personal growth is one that only you can provide,
and it may well be the darkest part of your night, or the so-called
dark night of the soul. Ultimately only you can do battle with
your demons, but a spiritual teacher can provide a tremendous
support mechanism and help to provide some context and a sense
are many paths from which to choose if you want to begin or continue
your work. Regardless of the form you are called to, it will require
your commitment and patience. The journey can be a long one but
don't get caught up in the process as what is important is that
you come to realize your own Self - your own Divinity. When this
happens you realize your own freedom, and go forward in life not
based on fear and anger but on the potential of true love.
May you be well and truly happy.
Williston is a Reiki Master and Sensei located in Halifax and
can be reached at 443-5376.
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