Goddess and Manifesting our Spiritual Destiny: What we can salvage from old religious traditions and what do we need to re-define.
‘If you want to be spiritual, ask uncomfortable questions,’ Goddess News, Spiritual Blog, Divine Feminine,
Dr Joanna Kujawa, Spiritual Detective :).
A couple of days ago I met with two friends (one an old friend and one brand new) in a café and discussed various spiritual matters. The two men are amazing evolutionary leaders in the area of spirituality, organising life-changing, transformational global events. I am not the organisational type but rather an experimenter, seeker and writer in spirituality.
The meeting was soul-opening and we discussed things such as the original spiritual experience, institutionalised traditional religions and alternative spirituality. My friends focused on what the old traditions (my terminology here) have still to offer. My point of view was that we need to move on to a new spirituality which is completely non-denominational and centred on inner practice. This blog has come to me as a reflection on that meeting, with the addition of my own reflections related to Goddess Manifestations in our Lives.
But I do admit that even though I have moved past traditional religious concepts and belief systems, I can still see value in some things they offer for evolutionary spirituality. One of these things is the idea of free will. I remember when, many years ago, I was in my early 20s and had arrived in Paris. At the time I dreamed about being a famous writer like Jean-Paul Sartre or Simone de Beauvoir. For a brief time I was taking care of an old lady who lived on Avenue Hoche, a beautiful avenue leading to the Arc de Triomphe, next to the Champs Elysee. My employer was an old man and survivor of the Holocaust; we had long philosophical discussions. One day I brought up the idea of free will and he laughed and said, ‘You Catholics and your free will’ then he made some convincing arguments against it.
I listened to him, thought about it back then, but remained somewhat unconvinced. It is only now that that day has come back to me and, after meditating, I have had an insight regarding free will. I still believe in the importance of it but with a twist. It is easy to dismiss the concept, especially when at times we feel we don’t have a choice – but that is a lie, as we always have a choice, except sometimes choices may not visible to us. Why is that?
Perhaps this choice is invisible to us most of the time because we have a wrong understanding of the working of free will. We have been taught to believe, especially in the West, in the power of one, in having it all and doing it all by ourselves. I admit I used to subscribe to this belief (because this is what it is). Friedrich Nietzsche outdid himself writing about free will and found himself to be misused by the Nazis in the most despicable way. Maybe it was not his fault, I do not know. However, the result is that his ideas did not do us any good in our spiritual evolution. Then came Ayn Rand and her famous book The Fountain Head, which elevated individualism to its heights. Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely an individualist myself and am not a big fan of collectivism at all. But I do not believe that free will is about either individualism or collectivism.
Free will is about cooperation with the Divine Realm. So my definition of free will is that we do have a choice to answer the call of cooperation with our Spiritual Realm or to stay caught up in the mundane realms of material existence. To believe and explore our Spiritual Heritage or to surrender to the limitations of our biology. To embrace our Divine Destiny or to strategise within the limits of our material existence. This is how I see our free will – as a Choice to be More. And this is precisely why I love the Gnostic teachings – some of the very few, if not the only, teachings in the West that point inwards rather than to external worship. And, in this sense, Gnosticism, like Hinduism and Buddhism, teaches the same inner focus. And so do mystics of pretty much all traditions.
William James, a great American philosopher, said once that old religions ask us to worship other people’s spiritual experiences (for example, Jesus’ or the Buddha’s) rather than showing us how to have a profound spiritual experience.
I believe that free will is about making the choice of moving towards original spiritual experiences … but we do not have to do this alone. Apart from the help of earthly spiritual teachers, we can always connect through meditation, self-inquiry, linking with nature, quietude, journaling, etc with a Higher Spiritual Guidance. Yes, I do believe we have Spiritual Guides; I have experienced them many times in my meditation practice. But this requires walking against the noise of the mind, which is conditioned by our societal demands.
I will give you an example. I know that I am late with this blog and my mind was trying to make me write one so I did not miss my deadline. But my soul wanted to be quiet. My soul wanted me to connect with Her, and with my Spiritual Guidance, which is always WITHIN. This was a bit of a struggle but I listened. It is by going within that we enter timelessness (it is only in this material realm that linear time exists), that we enter the waters of creation and manifestation.
Yes, I know that we think we need to do something and sometimes we are asked to do something to facilitate manifestation but Being Still always comes first. It is in stillness that our connection to the Spiritual Real can be found and experienced. It is in Stillness that we hear our Spiritual Guides. They are always there, available to us. It is we who are not available to them because we think we know better. WE think we know and we think we need to strategise and take workshops on how to do this better. I think not unless they begin with looking within first. At least not until the Guidance is clearly heard.
The other thing I learned from the old religions and which I value is Grace. Although Grace is a strong concept in Catholicism, it is seldom represented as a part of the Trinity, in the Feminine form. Nowadays it is called the Holy Spirit and presented as a neutered entity. However, many scholars nowadays will tell you that Grace equals the Holy Spirit equals the Feminine Divine Principle, which for whatever perverse reason was neutered in the process of the institutionalising of Western Religions.
I love seeing and create connections between different spiritual traditions and Grace reminds me most of the Hindu principle of Shakti. Shakti is also known as the Creative Principle of the Universe, which is present in all and everything as she performs Her Cosmic Dance of Creation. She is also our Great Awakener. In some Hindu traditions, it is through the awakening of Kundalini Energy (Shakti manifests within us as spiritual energy) that awakening occurs. It certainly awakened me in this way as I have described in many blogs. She is also the ecstatic energy of the Universe and often experienced as such.
So yes, old systems have preserved some essential spiritual concepts but it is up to us to experience them, to call upon Higher Guidance – and that might require Stillness and Spiritual Practice. Daily. It is up to us to transform the old into something that uplifts, connects us to the Possibility that we can be. In fact, it is not even Possibility. It is, as the sages say, who we truly are. So here we are back to that pesky Free Will. Will we choose the Greatness of who we really are or will we settle for what we are told we are by societal demands.
What does this mean in practice and I can speak only from my personal experience:
- Have some way of getting in touch with your inner world: meditation, journaling, walking in nature, chanting, etc
- It is pretty much essential that we make this practice as regular as possible, ideally a daily practice which might be at first a challenge as we live such busy lives. I listen to my Delta waves meditation when on a train to work which also keeps me sane during the long commute.
- Try to stay committed to the practice. That is not to answer a phone when it rings when we are meditating or walking in nature.
- Actively, ask for guidance and call upon the Spiritual Realm which, incidentally, is a great way of distracting the incessant mind chatter and focusing on the intended connection with the Spiritual Realm
- Be patient. Sometimes, at the beginning we are given spectacular spiritual experiences as a form of encouragement but what really counts is a regular practice- unspectacular as it may seem.
On a personal level, I would like the Friends of the Goddess News Blog to know that I have published a small (65 pages) Workbook on Journaling to Manifest the Lost Goddess In Your Life on amazon.com. For my Australian friends, it is cheaper to purchase it as a pdf form my website (in interested) . Journaling is an excellent introduction to our inner life, self-reflection and ultimately meditation and manifestation. If you are interested this is the link to amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Journaling-Manifest-Lost-Goddess-Your/dp/1718617917/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529032157&sr=8-1&keywords=joanna+kujawa
And to my website: http://www.joannakujawa.com/shopping/
Our next blog will be about the practical aspects of Tantra.
I would love to hear your thoughts in Comments as the Goddess News is intended as a free spiritual dialogue for us all.
With Much love,
Dr Joanna Kujawa