Thursday, August 15, 2013

Simple spirituality is like the African bush

My son Alex was telling me about academics doing field work in the African bush, and all the data gathering and analytical work they do with tracking devices and other hard and software. He is now a veteran wildlife tracker who learned the basics years ago from his Shangaan mentor and life-long friend Renias Mhlongo. He laughed about it, saying Renias could probably get the same results as the scientists in just a day in the bush. That may have been an exaggeration, but the message was there: true, but simple, understanding comes from a long period of dedication to and passion for whatever pursuit one engages in.

Spirituality is no different. Getting to the core of life and loving it, is perhaps one way of putting it. Any discovery along the path which brings another building block of experience or realisation feeds our growth towards maturity in our understanding. It is an ongoing process which brings clearer vision and greater contentment in everyday life.

The great teachers including Lao Tsu, Buddha and Jesus have all expressed deep understanding in simple terms because that is what they were drawn to do by the suffering they witnessed around them and tried to explain to those who came to them that the answers to difficult questions are often simple. Jeshua ben Joseph, the soul of Jesus of Nazareth and author of the channeled works A Course in Miracles and The Way of Mastery says we are often confused by the smorgasbord of apparently enticing ideas while the deepest truth is often simple, so simple that most people might pass it by.

 Popular writers who have influenced my understanding, Deepak Chopra (who attended an English church school in India), Eckhart Tolle (who transcended an almost suicidal state of mind to become what has been called a modern mystic) and Thomas Moore (who became a Christian monk in his youth and later migrated to finding beauty and truth in art and music, and as a therapist gleaning his understanding from the everyday woes of modern life) all embrace the same liberating view that we do not live life; Life lives us, something which Jeshua also emphasises over and over, “You are that One”, meaning you are one with God and that he (Jeshua) is not a saviour from hellfire, but an elder brother, a teacher and saviour from delusion.

When we grasp the full implications of the fresh idea that our highest selves are animated only by the creative spirit of the universe (even the highest selves of tax collectors and prostitutes, corrupt politicians and criminals) and that we are not captives in an insane world, any more than a bird or the rising sun is, we have room to begin to relearn our purpose on this planet, not to accomplish comfort and security, power and influence, but through learning from our experiences and finding, not through “rationality and control”, as I remember Thomas Moore putting it in one of his “soul” books, but through the “gifts of the soul”. 

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