Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Spiritual Path

I was recently sent an Internet article that talked about what was referred to as The Spiritual Path *. Whilst there was some very interesting and useful information to help relationship issues and other emotional problems, the majority of the article seemed to focus on New Age philosophy which has always seemed too ‘airy-fairy’ to me, and Theosophy. It got me thinking and I should like to share with you the thoughts that came to me on reading the article. 

New Age practitioners expect one to accept spiritual messages purely on trust, without any attempt to provide meaningful proof of where such messages originated; Messages received, allegedly from other planets and solar systems for instance. Indeed I am of the opinion that so-called New Age thinking has damaged Spiritualism by encouraging people to accept ‘messages’ even when such ‘messages’ do not contain one jot of evidence to prove that the individual bringing the ‘message’ is really the person that the medium claims it to be. Conversely, the greater willingness of sitters and congregations to accept information without requiring proof, has made mediums lazy. Far too many appear in public to demonstrate mediumship before they have developed their psychic gifts to a competent level where they can fulfill the true requirements of a medium. i.e. The need to prove beyond reasonable doubt that life continues in a Spirit World after we leave this one. It is different when a medium is giving a private, one-to-one, reading. Then the need for proof, though important, is less essential, especially where the medium is using his or her gift to help the sitter with an emotional or spiritual problem. In public though, the need for proof is paramount, in order that people, other than the recipient of the message, can also be satisfied that communication between the two worlds is taking place. 

There is a need in my view, for a return to basics where the training of platform mediums is concerned. Every aspiring medium should be required to provide proof that the communicator they claim to be receiving information from, really is that person. Such proof will take many forms, such as physical description, relationship to the recipient of the message, details of any physical infirmities, personality, reason for passing to the Spirit World, even addresses, details of friends, neighbors or relatives and many others. To obtain such information the medium must not only be sensitive and alert to information being transmitted from the Spirit World to any of his or her five physical senses but also maintain two-way communication with the communicator by asking mental questions. This requires time and a level of dedication and hard work from the student that seems lacking in many today.

The other focus of the article was on Madame Blavatsky's Theosophy which as a Spiritualist I have always found far too intellectual and exclusive, the fact that Madam Blavatsky was at first a Spiritualist notwithstanding. The concentration on becoming a ‘Master’ by communing with ‘Arisen Masters’ always seemed to me to be ego driven and elitist.

I have always believed that we, as individuals, choose to come to live on Earth in order to learn spiritual lessons through our interactions with other life that shares the planet with us. We try to learn tolerance, understanding and how best to help one another. All this is helped enormously once we have convincing proof of our immortality through contact with those close to us who have passed on.

I believe we should be striving to be the best physical person we can be but also recognizing that we and all others will frequently fall far short of the ideal. We should always try to guard against becoming judgmental. At the same time we should be trying to understand the true relationship that exists between us and all other life on the planet (animal, vegetable and mineral), not focussing on trying to become some kind of esoteric "master". Whilst I think mystics have contributed a great deal to our understanding of God and our place in the scheme of things, I have never thought one should encourage people generally to lead lives insulated from the physical world to a greater or lesser degree. For instance, I have always questioned the true value of the contemplative life chosen by nuns and monks in both the Christian and Buddhist traditions. I believe nuns and monks are sincere in their convictions and many are truly ‘good’ people but have always wondered about the wisdom of cutting oneself off from normal physical life when it is the very thing we have chosen to come to Earth to experience! I know they still have their human challenges in the nunneries and monasteries but can it be the same? This is not to say that I disagree with encouraging contemplation and meditation but I believe such practices should not take over our lives. They should instead, take their place alongside the rest of what life on Earth requires of us.

In many ways the early Spiritualists, with their insistence on treating Spiritualism as a science that required proof of its claims, were in advance of many modern Spiritualists and mediums. Returning to basics in my view means reverting to their approach. After all, they were operating in societies with a far less liberal attitude towards their Spiritualism than is the case in many places today. We are much more liberated in the practice of Spiritualism than were they. It behoves us therefore to be at least as rigorous as they were in the practice of mediumship.