..The Intuitive Times


The Spiritual Journey: Are You Ready?

by John Williston

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There 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.

There 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 spiritual revolution.

The 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.

This 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 the Divine.

"Arise, 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.

Doing 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.

The 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?

Doing 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 interactions.

When 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.

The 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.

So 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.

When 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.

One 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 of understanding.

There 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.

John Williston is a Reiki Master and Sensei located in Halifax and can be reached at 443-5376.

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