What is a 'Spiritual Path'?
To answer this one must ask many, many questions, gather every scrap of information they can get hold of, study & apply their growing knowledge to a practical unfolding of their spiritual nature through direct personal experience.
At the ‘Community of the Druids Nemeton’ we simply believe that a Spiritual Path is:
‘The Spiritual Path is one where an individual seeks an understanding about, & union with, the Universe.
The path is strewn with lessons & experiences that teach the individual about life, themselves & their place in it.’
The Spiritual Path is not a game or a fad & is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Once you have declared that you wish to travel the Spiritual Path, that is made a mental decision & engage in practical activities, the Universe will guide your life through experiences, both good & bad, this happens anyhow but the difference is you are conscious of developing your Self-Awareness, you will experience a vast range of emotions before you're through, these may well include some of your worst fears.
But don't be scared or put off. The Universe is trying to help you to sever emotional & mental attachments to this realm of existence thereby releasing & liberating you.
The Spiritual Path
The Spiritual Path is a journey for you & you alone. You alone are responsible for your decisions & actions.
No-one else has influence over it or should be taken as an intermediary to the Universe (for example, established religions & self-proclaimed Masters, who state that their way is the only way, the one true way/god etc. & that through them you will find salvation).
The spiritual being that you already are is already awakened, already conscious, already empowered, & already eternally free.You are an infinite being, who will live forever.
You don’t need any one method, teaching or person outside of yourself to access this. All that is needed is a deep relaxation into the source of what you already are. You are the authority of your life & you decide when, where, & how you will find, feel & experience the Divine.
The Universe will teach you everything you need to know, as it is the very highest teacher & the very highest authority on everything.
You are connected to the greatest source of divine love you can imagine!
Once you establish your relationship with the Universe (the now conscious & self-aware part of your personality) of the journey has already begun (in reality this began with the first breath you drew in this incarnation). Just remain open & watch for the signs. And through these signs you will learn the lessons you need to learn, do the things you need to do, & journey to the place in your life you should be.
What, When, Where, & How???
Perhaps you’re wondering what exactly a spiritual path is & what are the secrets to walking it?
How do I establish my relationship with the Universe???
The spiritual path is not really a linear path that one walks from A to B, but rather a journey. We all have the same starting point & finish line, birth to death of the physical body (the spirit & soul are immortal & are an integral part of the Source), but we are free to choose our path between A (birth) to B (death & rebirth), & this is your Spiritual Path…one where an individual seeks an understanding about, & union with, the Universe (according to one's personal philosophy this may be perceived as God, Universal-Mind, the Source, the One & All, & in physics' as the Field - 0 energy).
What then is A for you?
What then is B for you?
For between these two is your personal spiritual path. So one needs to spend a great deal of time investigating this, finding what resonates with you.
When you plan a journey you have your starting point & your desired destination (achieved through your personal investigations & experiences), your goal, 'understanding about, & union with, the Universe'…otherwise how do you know when you have arrived???
Then there is of course is the route…how am I going to get there??? …Just remain open & watch for the signs.
How do I open up???
What are the signs???
Without a starting point & a destination we are just LOST, stuck in a lay-by of life – the slow evolution of our soul, for there is no right or wrong when it comes to your spiritual path, for there is more than one path up the mountain. It is about the speed you may wish to evolve at in this current incarnation.
What then is A for you?
This evolution of consciousness normally is a slow process & most personalities (your current consciousness developed by past experiences & memory) are not aware that they are part of an evolutionary growth & it takes many lifetimes to achieve.
However, as the personality comes closer to perfection, it does become aware of its purpose & it begins to long for spiritual unfoldment. Before this spiritual awakening, the personality may or may not have already have believed in a Universal Power/God(s) & may have followed a religious faith in the traditional way. But there is a difference. In the traditional religious life the believer may have tried to follow the doctrines, dogma & policies of their faith to the best of their abilities & understanding, but they basically remain on the same slow evolutionary path of consciousness.
With the spiritual awakening, spiritual growth becomes the main focus of this personality. The slow evolutionary process now becomes a spiritual revolution, not only in regard to the speed of the growth of consciousness but also in regard to the overthrow of established values.
This spiritual growth over many life times is like a logarithmic curve where the experience gained is doubled over ever shrinking time spans…
This spiritual revolution may take place within the confines of an established religion or it may happen outside a religious faith. Within a religion, these awakening spirits will sooner or later come in to conflict with established doctrines, dogma & policies.
In any way, whether the awakening & subsequent spiritual growth takes place within or without an established religion, the awakening personality will begin to follow the spiritual guidance that comes from within rather than the established rules, doctrines, dogma & policies of organised temporal religions & the current culture of their society.
Spirituality is no longer something that one does on Sunday mornings or other established times & according to established rules, but rather it becomes the central purpose & focus of life. With this, we may say that the personality is now on the spiritual path.
What is B for you?
Do you truly understand what your goal is…your soul’s desire???
Can you see, feel, & sense it???
Is it clear in your mind???
If you cannot answer these questions & many other questions relating to this…then you are still at home & NOT ON A REVOLUTIONARY SPIRITUAL PATH…yes you are still evolving spiritually but slowly.
You may have left your home but are now in reality LOST…
Having clearly defined where you want to go, you must now plan the route…the JOURNEY, your personal Spiritual Path.
VARIETIES OF SPIRITUAL PATHS
While the real goal of the spiritual path is the same for all…The Spiritual Path is one where an individual seeks an understanding about, & union with, the Universe.
The path is strewn with lessons & experiences that teach the individual about life, themselves & their place in it…there are many different roads that one can travel & one may even travel without a road.
Also the goal may be described in different terms without always recognising that it is the same goal. This is so because we all have different starting points & different preferences & opportunities. Many spiritual travelers will not expect to reach their goal in their present lifetime, while others may realise that they do not really need to travel anywhere.
Some of the better-defined roads are the different forms of Yoga, the Tao, the Gnostic teachings, the Rosicrucian's & various ancient & modern Mystery Schools… Just remain open & watch for the signs…
While the Mystics are generally regarded as a distinct group, they really traveled each on his or her own individual path.
Looked at from a different perspective, we may say that there are two different approaches that often intermingle in each individual spiritual path.
The Doer mainly works in the world as a healer, alchemist or magician, trying to master the non-physical energies & forces.
The Mystic, on the other hand, follows mainly the inner path, seeking Union with the Divine Self & in the process becomes a knower & a teacher.
However, ultimately Knower & Doer both become one.
The Spiritual Path is a journey for you & you alone. You alone are responsible for your decisions & actions. No-one else has influence over it or should be taken as an intermediary to the Universe…however, the recorded experiences of the many mages & mystics in all religions (ancient spiritual practices, not doctrines, dogma or policey of temporal powers) is of particular interest because we can learn from these what the spiritual path looks like when it is not guided by specific verbal or written teachings.
Most of these individuals in past centuries did not know that there was such a thing as a spiritual path & that others had traveled the same or a similar route. They just felt a longing to come closer to the Universe/God & to feel at one with IT, to melt into Divinity like a drop of water which becomes one with the ocean.
Each of them had different experiences & many of them walked only part of the way, but by constructing a composite picture from a large number of their writings we can discern a distinct pattern of the typical mystical path.
Few mystics seem to have travelled all of this 'typical' path, but this may be because we can see only one life-time of a multiple-life-time journey.
This typical mystical path may best be described as a five-stage journey & we may easily see its relationship to contemporary spiritual practices.
The Awakening - The spiritual awakening is the beginning of the mystical path & also of the spiritual path in general. It may be sudden or gradual. Often it comes as an emotionally overwhelming 'mystical experience', possibly ending a period of great emotional torment & suffering. Another frequent setting is during a spiritual initiation ceremony.
Purification - The aspiring mystic realises that they are not yet worthy, they become acutely aware of their imperfections, of the impurity of their thoughts, feelings & actions. They start to cleanse themselves of all selfish or impure desires (not the social morals of the culture but the imbalance they personally have with the Universe). Commonly this is combined with periods of fasting. Worldly pursuits no longer hold any interest. Periods of study, meditation & practical actions are greatly extended.
Illumination - After the self (lower animal nature) has been sufficiently cleansed or purified, that is integrated into the Self (higher divine genius) & the mind remains fully focused on the presence & the qualities of the Divine, a state of illumination may unexpectedly arise. This will be similar to the experience of awakening but even more intense & longer lasting. It may be predominantly emotional with feelings of indescribable Divine love, being at one with 'All That Is' &/or combined with visions & voices, or it may be predominantly mental with profound insights & states of pure knowing. Commonly the initial peak experience is combined with perceiving an intense or blinding inner white light.
The Dark Night of the Soul – Previously all the energies were focused only on what was perceived to be transcendental & divine. But there was still one thing left that had not been surrendered, that is the will, the central part of the Self. To give up the will, the innate instinct for personal happiness had to be surrendered. This is called the 'mystical death' or the spiritual crucifixion. During illumination the mystic seemed to walk hand in hand with the Universe/God & sunned themselves in eternal Divine bliss. Gradually the self & Self begins to accept total surrender. It gives up itself, its ego personality, asks for nothing & desires nothing. Now there is total passivity & acceptance of whatever the Universe/God has ordained or whatever comes. Now the mystic is finally ready for the last stage of their earthly journey.
The Unitive Life - Finally, by giving up everything, the mystic has gained everything. By being completely passive, they are able to be filled with the Divine Spirit. No longer do they experience the strong mood swings between divine bliss & utter desolation, they have now settled into a feeling of constant peaceful & love-filled union with the Divine. However, this is not the goal of their long journey, just a by-product. The real achievement is that the mystic is now an ideal tool or instrument of the Divine Will to be used for manifesting the Great Plan on earth.
While now the mystic still lives in the world, they are no longer of the world. They may become a great reformer, healer, inventor, statesman, educator or spiritual teacher but whatever they do is never for any small or selfish interests, instead it is always for the greater good of All That Is. They now live a life of service. Whatever they do, they are now a spiritual master, even if that is not always apparent to the outside world. After their passing, as many believe, they will be an ascended being, not needing to return to earth (philosophies that need a thorough investigation & experimentation).
AN INTEGRATED SPIRITUAL PATH
Presently travelers on the spiritual path have two important advantages as compared to those in former centuries. We now have published information on the nature & variety of spiritual pathways so that we no longer need to find our way alone in the darkness of ignorance.
Furthermore, with the information explosion in recent decades & the learning of technical skills, our capacity to understand & communicate has greatly increased. What formerly could only be expressed as incomprehensible mysticism, can now be understood & presented in rational & scientific terms. This makes it much easier for us to come to the stage of illumination instead of being bogged down for long time spans in emotional misery, which formerly was the lot of most mystics.
We can access the techniques & practices of the magickal & spiritual traditions of the world. Finding a greater understanding of the signs along our personal journey…guides to aid us from A to B, to speed up our spiritual evolution in the best possible way.