Many of us are brought up thinking that there is a separation between ourselves and God, or Spirituality. Its just how it has been taught. Also, western culture, and popular media, in general, create a vacuum between anything remotely Spiritual and our own daily experience. This is created by a desire, on one hand, that would like God to materialise before their very eyes, as direct proof of existence, but this violates the principle of free will and is unlikley to happen as people are encouraged to move towards a relationship with God under their own steam. On the other hand there is a general pessimistic outlook within the popular media that seeks to diminish the credability of Spiritual experiences or ideas and tries to explain such things in terms of current scientific terminology. The effect of these factors is to create uncertainty, and this coupled with negative peer pressure reduces the opportunity to have a balanced discussion on the subject.
The key to breaking this stranglehold is to encourage experience. Direct Personal Spiritual Experience exists on a spectrum that includes creativity (ideas), love, intuition, personal relationships, personal expression (art AND science) and ultimately these everyday experiences help build a relationship with God, with Spirituality. When understood properly, you understand yourself to be an expression of Spirituality.
If you combine these everyday experiences with a sincere intention to develop Spiritual awareness, then God, Spirituality, will respond in kind. The responses can be very subtle, however, you will be able to detect them within yourself. As you proceed down this route, you will be able to obtain a greater level of direct working knowledge of God, as the response you receive will mirror your own commitment, determination and practices.
Using introspection is an obvious valuable tool to be used in this process, and you need to be able to look within yourself in order to see the results of your endeavours. As you proceed down this route, introspection will turn into meditation – a deeper form of introspection that allows a Spiritual aspirant to concentrate on God, the underlying source of everything in our lives.
Although this is very much a private experience, occuring within your own Consciousness, its good to have the support of like minded people whom you can share your experiences with. Ultimately, when the private, yet conscious, connection is established, the benefits of that overflow into our everyday lives and become self evident, not only to yourself, but also to others.
As you start to see results, you will begin to realize that there is no separation between yourself and God. There is only a difference in terms of Consciousness, in terms of magnitude. A drop of water is the same as the ocean, but it is not the ocean. It can also be said that our everyday level of Consciousness exists on a lower energy level than that of God, and that all your efforts in attempting to contact God, or Spirituality, are in fact attempts to try and synchronize these energies, even for a short time. Once synchronized, a resonant quality occurs between yourself and Spirituality that, I suppose, could be called awareness of the Soul, an awareness that you then possess. It cannot be taken away.
At this point, you start to work with your new level of awareness. Spirituality becomes very much a part of your everyday life and you see it within all your daily interactions, in places, in faces, in thoughts and ideas. The emphasis now changes to nurturing, sustaining and deepening your connection.
This outlook can bring a new quality to your daily life, insomuch that a sense of peace and satisfaction may descend of your way of life that you may have been missing before.
To summarise, an experience of Spirituality does not need to be like encountering a burning bush on your way home, it can start in a much more ordinary way. But you will need to be on the lookout for these occurrences, through the process of daily introspection, and be ready to accept them, or at least not deny them – put anything unusual in a pending ‘folder’ within your mind – reserve judgement.
By Cam Braidwood