The Philosophy of Spirituality
By: Cinnamon Moon
By: Cinnamon Moon
© Cinnamon Moon
Spiritual philosophy is all about your relationship to Spirit, Great Mystery, the Creator or however you perceive the source of life to be. It is not a religious aspect that needs to be taken into context since it does not maintain a creed or dogma. What it does do is make you aware of your inner spirit and its interrelationship to all aspects of life. As well, it can and often does compliment religious traditions and is found everywhere there is someone to raise the questions of "what is my purpose in life?" or "how am I to serve?". When you are able to see that you are a part of the whole you also find your place in it and how you can contribute your services to promote the well-being of others as well as the evolutionary processes of life (which includes your own).
When you feel called to walk a path the spiritual philosophy that exists there will manifest itself in unique ways. They are comprised of the experiences the path brings to itself and those who walk it. What does this mean? It means that it all begins with the Self as we get to know our inner spirit. We are indeed spirits with bodies, not simply bodies with spirits-there is a difference.
If we perceive ourselves as bodies with spirits we put the physical before the spiritual and in doing so it tends to sit on a back burner. The mundane life takes over and we are led down mundane paths. We may focus on our day to day lives, our goals and our dreams, but these are material things that do very little to help us evolve unless we balance them with our spiritual natures. We only end up walking blindly through life as if we were biding our time or treading water until we reached the end of its span.
Reflecting upon the mirror of our soul, what is often called the Great Smoking Mirror, and reversing this concept allows a new door to open for us. When we perceive ourselves as spirits with bodies we begin to view life differently. The body is the host, the home our inner spirit resides in for the time it is here on earth. We need to tend to it, but it does not control us. This includes our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions. (Yes, it takes time to learn this after it is recognized...that's what spiritual paths teach and why we feel called to one or another.) It is at this point we realize one of the most important lessons there is: the inner spirit is here to evolve as it guides us through that process. The lessons we learn teach us discipline, they imprint us with their truths, and help to formulate our philosophies.
Conscious awareness of the inner spirit's evolutionary goal allows us to set it free. To come to know it through introspection or knowing ourselves inside and out brings the inner spirit up to our surface consciousness. It slowly rises up and becomes the still, soft voice of guidance. It echoes right from wrong (call it conscience); it echoes truth (call it intuition); it echoes direction (call it instinct); it echoes its wisdom (call it spirituality); it echoes life (call it whatever you like). In all these echoes the inner spirit makes us aware of its guiding presence by touching us from the inside out as we come to see it reflecting our true Self. Our senses react to things that are taking place. When situations arise some of us listen. Those that do open the door to the rise of the soul or spirit and allow it to step forward.
Once the spirit has attained this foundational recognition it gains more and more freedom because we learn to trust its voice, its accuracy, its wisdom, and believe in its guidance. We "know" it without question; but, it does take time. That knowing tells us when to react, what we should do, and where we are headed. It guides us through our senses to nudge our thoughts and actions. In this way everything we do promotes or hinders our evolutionary progress through our free will. We can be mules at times, we are human and that is our failing-to fight the simple truths. We want to complicate issues and make them difficult for ourselves because simplicity seems too easy. Truths wear masks that permit them to hide in the most obvious places. When the inner spirit takes down those masks we practically trip over them. When we learn to trust in the guidance our spirit offers we begin to see the world through an ever widening perspective. Horizons grow to infinite proportion and bring optimism, joy, love, and more understanding than we may ever have imagined possible. We see that everything has an energy of its own and lives amid the harmony of life in its own way. This shows us our link to the Web of Life and with that comes a sense of respect.
We can see that when we harm others we are actually harming ourselves. We can see that when we give to others we contribute to the Web of Life and enrich our paths. Right action becomes a way of life. Through right action we gain our intent, when we listen to our inner spirit we gain our integrity, and when we follow its guidance everything we do is done impeccably. These are three little magick words: intent, integrity, impeccability. They keep us on our paths and they keep the light shining in the darkness. It is part of all evolutionary processes to grow and manifest that growth through the creativity we possess, for we are all co-creators with Spirit. In the creative process we learn to wield our gifts and skills as we master them always moving on to discover more. Out of the darkness of confusion and what is unknown we step forward. Little by little our inner spirit gains in its radiance until it shines for all to see.
As our spiritual awareness grows we may become interested in ancient teachings, different pathways, or simply feel a need to do some exploration. The areas that interest us are those we pursue because they call to us from the inside, from the core of our being. If we choose to answer that call we are eventually led to a pathway that makes sense, it feels like we are home and says "this is right for me". It can take time for some to find their way, but time is not the issue. Every earthwalk has its own pace. It is upon the journey itself where we experience life and those experiences develop our character. How we react to them speaks of our developmental stage and the wisdom we have earned. We are here to live a life, not begin and end it only. It is the space in-between these two points where we learn our lessons and grow. It is this space, if viewed as the stillness between the heartbeats, in which we come to know the residing presence of Spirit in our lives.
In hindsight you may find your own examples of this. If you ask yourself how many times you have set a goal and achieved it only to find that you had gained much more in the process, you will then see what I mean. If you feel you have failed to reach your goal and had to strive again and again you will see the strength you needed to build and the lessons you needed to be worthy of the gain. Either way, gains would have presented themselves and you learned to master your way. This is what walking a spiritual pathway is about. It shows you through experience and life why you are here, what your gifts truly are, and how to use them to serve others by serving Spirit. We don't all have to be master surgeons or world leaders or any other position of high influence. We only need to see that in being of service to others we are serving all of life and in that promoting our own evolutionary growth. When we leave our bodies behind at the end of our journey we will take that growth with us into the next life that awaits and a new cycle will begin.
Whatever path you choose, it will be right for you or you will know early on that it is not fulfilling. When you find your path open to it. Allow your spirit to guide you as the spiritual philosophy that you are to follow emerges. With it will come the knowledge you have gained and the wisdom earned to be true to yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. All paths hold the wisdoms and teachings for those that walk them. The perspectives may vary, but the truths are there. They may be hidden behind the masks of patterns or cycles, they may be blatantly standing out, but they are there. When we can see this for ourselves we become tolerant and respectful of others, understanding that we all have valid roads before us leading to the same place...to Spirit and our own evolution that adds to the evolution of the Web of Life.
So it is that each and everyone of us must come to nurture and develop our own spiritual philosophy. It grows as we grow, it shines as we do. With the proper intent, with the integrity we hold and our impeccability we merge together with that philosophy and our spirit evolves. This is both simple and complex depending on how you choose to perceive it. It is also a truth that awaits near the beginning of every path walked. Find your truths and become aware of your Self...your philosophy is there within you. Make a statement as you journey down your path by walking your talk, not simply giving lipservice to it. Let your inner spirit shine forth and speak for you as the world watches you pass by. When you touch a life touch it with beauty, love, and service leaving behind a smile that says "I'm glad we crossed paths today". Do this and you will find your way blessed beyond measure with treasures and gifts of Spirit.
Additions by Tink:
Have you ever wondered just where in the acceptable scheme of things Pagan Spirituality lies? It can include a general form of transcendence and transcendentalism and quite often neo-pagans tend to include some theism into their Spirituality. Before we take this any further lets set some definitions for transcendence, transcendentalism and theism, then we can see how they play a part in the spiritual life of many pagans.
Lets start with the term transcendent-according to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant that which is transcendent are things that exist outside of the human experience and are therefore largely unknowable. In this he included the soul and God.
Transcendentalism itself as a philosophical concept was created by Plato which he saw as the existence of absolute goodness but beyond description and knowable only through intuition. It was actually later religious philosophers who applied the concept of transcendentalism to divinity. Their understanding was that "God" can be neither described nor understood in terms taken from human experience. This doctrine is a fundamental principal of orthodox Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In the middle ages scholars narrowed and defined the both transcendence and transcendentalism to signify concepts of unrestricted generality applying to all sorts of things. They recognized six transcendental concepts, essence, unity, goodness, truth, thing, and something.
Theism-the term itself is derived from the Greek word Theos which translates as "God", so we have belief in ones God who is personal and worthy of worship, one who transcends the world but takes an interest in it. and who reveals his purpose through certain individuals, miraculous events, or sacred writings. A theistic God is personal if he can be understood by analogies drawn from human experience and if humans can enter into a personal relationship with him and petition him in prayer. Very broadly speaking this is a belief in any God or Gods, however in it's typical usage in philosophical and theosophical terms theism is a form of monotheism, the belief that there is only one God. However the term pantheism which is also drawn from the same root word is the belief that God is immanent, pervading everything that exists, that he is identical with the world. Deism means that God created the world and then left it to it's own devices and had no further contact with it or it's inhabitants.
So, now that we have a basic understanding of these terms how, if at all, do they apply to pagan spirituality? Most pagans accept a form of transcendentalism as described by Plato without the "adjusting" by later scholars. Most pagans find that their Deities are only knowable by intuition, but that they are very knowable in this respect. Many pagans also apply some form of transcendence to their Deities, feeling that while they may have some form of contact the Deities remain largely unknowable.
Most pagans would say that they believe in some form of pantheism, particularly those who follow a Witchcraft or Wiccan path, their usual meaning when they say this is that they follow one or another pantheon of Gods, Egyptian, Celtic, etc., however, if you closely read the correct description above you will see that actually that is not what we follow, while we may agree with the basic principal that God is pervading everything and is immanent many pagans feel that their are many Gods and Goddesses and will choose to pick the one that seems the most appropriate at the time. They find that there is a freedom and a fulfillment in studying the various Deities and choosing those that they can feel aligned with. While many of these pagans find that these Gods and Goddesses do meet all of their spiritual desires many others feel that these Deities are only minor parts of a greater whole and see Spirit or God as a major "Force" which they can tap into and work with through the auspices of one of the Gods or Goddesses There are many other neo-pagans of today who see their God as Spirit, as one individual (very like the Christians do) but with a willingness to be touched by the individual. They still do prayers for intercession to this Deity and see it in a protector/parental role.
Others who also worship a single Deity (called God or Spirit or whatever they choose) see it as more approachable and instead of doing "prayers" for intercession will simply ask in a humble way for Spirit to work directly with them and help their efforts along, much as they would the elementals or other-worldly helpers. They may feel a strong rebellion to the idea of their God being seen in a parental role that they have to beg for favors or permission, therefore their God becomes much more of the transcendental God of Plato than anything else. Those who choose to worship multiple Gods without seeing them as parts of a greater whole are actually following a path much more ancient than that of Plato, they are following in the footsteps of ancient Atlantis, Egypt, the very early Mayan civilization. Their Gods are as strong and real and powerful as any single Deity ever worshipped.
Additions by Nofi:
If we look at philosophy as a point of view standing at a certain space in time, we could say spirituality is a changeable issue in the eye of the looker. The inner core of spirituality is walking along deity path, but what exactly is this path? To each of us it can mean different things. One can see it as being a good faithful Christian / Jew / Muslim etc., another can simply see it as communicating with Flora and Animal kingdom, and yet another can take it as a life time mission to achieve illumination. Spirituality has no belonging to any of the present known religions, it is the very essence of all known religions at the same time.
This essence can be summarized in one sentence: " Love all, like you love one, like you love yourself ". Love is a feeling. philosophy is a view. spirituality is a concept. If we combine all three, we create a path we can walk through for a life time long, and more. Now lets take each of these components, and see how we create that path.
We all know what love is. Since its a feeling, we can not measure love. but we can all describe where that feeling resides within us ( usually we will point to our physical heart area), and we all know what it bring into our lives when we experience it. be it in the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level.
Philosophy is a personal or popular point of view, fitting certain conditions at a given time through history. Human history I should say. hence at one point we can take part of philosophy as general view along with many others who think the same way as we do, while at other times we can have our own philosophical extraordinary. A good example for such human extraordinarity is being a pagan living among a very religious Christian/ Jewish/ Muslim community.
Spirituality is containing the love, holding a personal philosophy as inner truth and expressing it practically in our mundane life. Now lets take it to practical human example : lets say we have a person growing up in a certain tradition, being taught that specific acts will lead to particular results. This person had just turned 20/30/40 years old, and questions s/he had through out life are beginning to haunt him/her. we all come across these questions at certain times: Am I relay that good / bad person everyone see in me? What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Why was I born? What is my role in life? Do I make a difference at all? When these questions rise in us, we are ready to step into the spiritual path.
We all come to life with certain patterns in us. these patterns are already part of a spiritual path we walk, whether we realize it or not, if only by the pure being a spark of Deity. Once we open our mind to contain more then just the physical mater we can see with our physical eyes alone, we begin to walk the personal inner truth (philosophical), and are able to express or spread that feeling of love all over = Love all, like one, like yourself.
Practicing this philosophical / inner truth spirituality as a way of life, is what makes the difference it is a lifetime mission, presented usually as singular lessons / stages. When we assimilate one lesson, we feel expansion, and we are able to move on to the next one. Our lives are formed out of constant lessons assimilated on different levels, spreading way beyond this physical life time experience. what we do or act upon today, is a result of yesterday, and creates the tomorrow. We touch much more then we can see laid before our physical eyes. When we are able to see and understand it, we are able to love all, like one, like ourselves.
Spirituality is not religion. It is a personal path existing in and of itself. While it may compliment and enhance your religious tradition, religion itself is not necessary for spiritual growth and enlightenment to take place. This is a powerful truth for it means that you have the option of finding your own path in life, and rightfully so. It is the goal of Spirit Lodge to openly share the methods by which these paths present themselves. The process of exploration and discovery reveals that each path has the same teachings presented in unique ways. Together they create a marvelous mixture of intimate personal relationships with the creative life force. By finding your own path you will grow in respect, tolerance, and balance with theirs...the true sign of a spiritually evolved individual.
By investing in your personal philosophy and finding your spirituality you will discover the emergence of harmony in your life. Everything around you takes on sanctity and deeper meaning. Nature, humanity, and all living things are seen as valid aspects of life that are equally important. In this perception a respect for the ways of others begins to develop and tolerance for the differences brings about an honoring of all paths. This promotes a state of balance in one's life and allows room for all.
Spirituality and its development begin with an awakening. This is a quickening that reveals we as humans are not simply bodies with spirits, but rather that we are spirits with bodies. We come to understand that we are all spiritual beings and thus a part of the whole of life. It is an awareness allowing the identification of your inner spirit to take place bringing with it a need to connect. In this process the inner spirit is set free to eagerly participate in the dance of life. You will come to realize that by allowing your inner spirit to guide the path of growth and development advancement is quickly achieved.
You learn to tap cosmic energies that contain fundamental information; bringing with it an enlightenment that is achieved once the reality of this vast network of energies is revealed. These energies are born of the Creator and permeate all of life connecting and weaving themselves in a vast network. Once perceived, it is then that the inner spirit guides you in learning to work with them. They are tapped through meditation, guided imagery, and journey work, with a wide range of approaches that are as numerous as those utilizing them.
When the methods taught are mastered, they both inspire and become a dominant influence in your life. A transformation begins to take place that affects your nature and disposition in the most positive ways. Attitudes become optimistic as the essence of the creative force in your life reveals itself clearly. Its reality and meaning give purpose to your efforts and show you the way to serving others. At this point other realms of dimension begin to unfold and Otherworlds open their doors to you revealing even greater expanse of the spirituality and teachings of their domains.
It is the inner spirit that is your true teacher. It knows what is needed to bring about spiritual growth and fulfillment. It manifests the reflection of this growth guiding you to the path that is right for you to follow. The inner spirit allows you to explore, to comprehend, and come to terms with higher forms of consciousness. It will take you into the realms of understanding that exceed the mundane reality, lifting the Veil of Illusion that is the physical world and disclosing your true calling in life. Once grasped, this calling leads to greater opportunities in fulfilling your purpose. Your path begins to cross with those of others who are able to initiate beneficial changes, help you to see new opportunities, and achieve your spiritual goals. It is a process that is always in motion, always progressing, and always exciting.
The spiritual attunement to life, energy, cycles, and patterns requires effort in the exploration and adaptations you will apply. It requires a decision to do the work that is necessary. Greater understanding is achieved as you strive to know your true self and your place within the universe. This attunement takes place within the individual first. You come to know the Creator so intimately that it becomes impossible to not see that presence permeating everything around you. This awareness then expands outward to touch the lives of others with respect and honor. It will emanate from within and others will see or sense changes that range from subtle to those that are quite profound.
Through meditation, guided imagery, and journey work we grow. By touching the lives of others a sharing of spiritual enlightenment is achieved. It is then that the Gifts of Spirit are embraced as blessings in the process and both parties experience growth. We at Spirit Lodge invite you to examine the many articles presented here to further your understanding of the wide range in spiritual paths. Considering the variety of methods of achieving spirituality you will find that as a seeker there will be one that is right for you.
Spirit to spirit and heart to heart,