(This is the non illustrated version; after I get proper permission, I will have some beautiful pictures alongside this blog)
I have been writing about what I consider true 21st Century Spirituality before (on my zaadz blog), about Open Source Spirituality (here & on zaadz), and now I’ve had the opportunity to test some of the principles in the first free seminar I facilitated in over a year (I did work with managers etc.; but that was all a set agenda – this was not).
Looking back to the times when I was still a guru, more or less, there is a remarkable difference in how I felt during this seminar; there was none of the very subtle tension, the subtle power-game that was always there in the back-ground for me in the past. (Just to be clear: I perceive that subtle tension in retrospect – if you would have asked me then, I would have most probably denied its existence.)
Let me explain: When you are guiding people towards a higher spiritual realization on a vertical ladder of ascent to a spiritual ‘highest goal’ you must be both, at least one step further than they are (so as to also provide for the ‘transmission’ of the energy from a higher altitude), and you need to have ways and means at your disposal to help them move upwards. This is possibly one factor for that subtle tension.
Another one is that, when there are other men present, there is a basic masculine principle at work – you have to ‘prove your status’. Since the spiritual leader, guru, master, or whatever you want to call him, is also the alpha-male, and this also always translates as status, it is subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) under attack. Hence, tension.
The spiritual path understood, as it almost always is, as a path of acention (Wilber, Cohen, others love to talk about altitude; a higher/lower hierarchy where higher is regarded as ‘more enlightened’) you quite naturally needs leaders, gurus, masters, ‘spiritual teachers’. If you are called to play that role, as I felt I was for some 6-7 years, then quite naturally you always stretch to the ceiling, do your very, very best to stay within the higher reaches of your realization all the times (at least when you’re not in the realm of sahaj samadhi, spontaneously going on, which nobody is as I know from being personally with some ‘enlightened teachers’ in their private life beyond the need to ‘perform their role/service’).
People who have been following this blog know that I quit my ‘spiritual career’ a year or two ago, and have – to my own satisfaction at least – deconstructed the myth of the spiritual authority significantly, and I’ve also shown the patriarchal, authoritarian, gender-biased and abuse-prone tendencies in what I call ‘vertical spirituality’. So I won’t go into that here now. I just mention it to explain why I – in retrospect – know that I was under tension before, and now I’m not. The whole drama of that type of spirituality seems to have dropped off from me, and I’m very happy that I took that long a break from conducting or facilitating free and open-2-all seminars.
Since some of the participants in this seminar used to participate in my seminars in former time, in the beginning of this one I firmly deconstructed my leader’s role and our tendency to look for expertise and leadership in areas which belong to our heart of hearts, our innermost being. And as that was well taken, the beauty and joy of mutual empowerment and support, the mutual apprenticeship that flowered where incomparable and a source of a ‘group love-affair’ without the collusion that very easily crops up under such circumstance.
Creating Dynamic Presencing constellations, doing a constellation (Hellinger style) on helplessness, anger and sadness, and using all kinds of other methods to both, look at issues that challenge us, and freely explore the deeper spiritual and mystical dimensions – the seminar revolved around self-empowerment, finding and expressing what we really and truly want, and gaining trust in our indwelling authority on all things that concern our deeper life and higher meaning.
Being truly and effortlessly at peace with myself as a malleable, fallible, imperfect human crossroad of being and becoming; championing mutual empowerment and mutual apprenticeship; understanding that it is a most joyful activity to be true to myself and others; doing and not-doing what I truly want and thus being an encouragement to others to do likewise, it has become visible, clear and obvious (in a real-time situation, in the experiment of this 5 day seminar) that the vertical energies and powers (the light that streams down on us from ‘on high’; the angelic forces that can ‘overshadow’ people; the healing that emerges from deep sources of being; etc.) are truly natural to us and therefor naturally unfold in a field of people that move to a more authentic space, that are courageously being whoever they find themselves to be, in a field without a leader claiming or (subtly) expressing higher authority, revelation or enlightenment in word or behavior…
I’m well aware of the ambivalence and paradoxical nature of an endeavor where I was clearly facilitating the process and leading in some manner, yet, as a servant of people re-claiming their own spiritual authority and power. And when someone said, “What you have been expressing these days – I already knew it inside of me; maybe it wasn’t as clear, but it was there…” I was very, very happy.
So what have I learnt?
- Dynamic Presencing works just as wonderful when I hardly ‘do’ anything; it is self-generating significant experiences for its participants which shows as:
– streams of light pouring down from ‘on high’
– waves of spiritual & also simple joy
– feeling to be one with all creation
– feeling human closeness / intimacy
– liberation of ancient sadness
– being “overshadowed by” and eventually becoming an angel
– seeing the factuality of the beauty of all things
– participating in divine ecstasy
– seeing deep into the soul of an other
- I’m relaxed utterly, being whatever it is I am; feeling whatever I feel
- I don’t have to do anything
- Not having a spiritual goal in mind I freely surf the waves as they appear on the shore of my awareness
- Deconstructing external authority, and reconstructing one’s inner guidedness relaxes everyone
- It’s very, very easy to truly listen; not as a method to get anywhere but as aï¿½ natural happening
- Affirming my fallibility and imperfection is joyous and relaxing
- I have a new gusto for spiritual experiment and research.
So I’m happy to embark on the path of doing more of these seminars – and the organizer of this one already booked me for next year (to do a whole series; among others a training in “Dynamic Presencing Constellations”). And I feel I’ve reached a milestone on my mission to:
Co-create a society and culture that supports and empowers individuals and groups to live according to their innermost values and insights, and that can make their living with what they really, really want to do.
3 Replies to “Self-Empowered Spirituality”
there is a strange paradox at work when you deconstruct ‘spiritual authority’ as I certainly did during my seminar; it’s an authority doing it – me.
People come to my seminar because they do see me as some kind of authority for them, this is inevitable. The one insight, though, that can change your whole attitude to the projection that is (always) going on in a bigger or smaller degree is: Any authority anybody ever has over me is originating with me in the first place.
If I meet someone that I deem as somehow ‘over’ me in whatever area of life than it is me doing it, which is easily seen when the person turns out to be maybe not so worthy; he/she immediately looses all authority over me. That means, by it’s very nature, that not only does anybody’s authority is given by me, it can also be taken by me. So I have no authority whatsoever, if you or anybody doesn’t give it to me…
Now we do get into difficulty here when I am very clever in eliciting this authority-giving-away impulse from you; for instance by laying truth-claims to the nature of reality, life’s meaning, etc. or by claiming to be a messenger of the Divine (which always also makes me divinity’s representative, as the ‘pure divinity’ doesn’t happen to appear directly to people ((or so they believe)). It’s maybe similar to a pathfinder in the wilds – he/she is an authority, or so I trust, in finding the way which I think I can’t.
Back to the seminar: I used the authority given to me – maybe unbeknown by the participant in the first place – to deconstruct it in such a manner that it’s easy for people to reclaim their own heart-mind’s authority, and if, which is a natural thing for human beings it seems, they keep on projecting it on me that they are aware that they just do so for the moment.
Which is why I love the concept of ‘mutual apprenticeship’; we keep on learning from each other – if in a learning situation we are; as we might also be in a joyment-situation 🙂
And yes, Krishnamurti was a rigid person in many senses – so why did he not learn that getting pissed of doesn’t help, and neither does an authoritative statement, that “It’s not here!” Because who is he to tell me where it is?
So regarding someone as ‘above’ me is quite natural; 14 year old Felicia is way above me regarding understanding pubescent girls, some of the ‘in’ music, and more; it seems wise to me to honor her as authority in that regard.
What I’m deconstructing, when I deconstruct spiritual authority, is the unaware or unreflected projection of the same, and also as a quasi permanent trait that resides in the person and not in one-self.
Lovely blog, Mushin. I can feel through your words a powerful sense of excitement and joy at what happened at the seminar and the potential for more. Yes!
I do have a question — I’m curious how you approach projection within the context of the seminar.
It is my experience that anyone who is in a position of ‘guide’ can be projected upon by others, and even though the guide may be absolutely clear and free of guru-type predilections, many people will still project father/mother/saviour etc. And that even when the person involved engages with the people projecting and brings what is happening to the dialogue, it still happens ( I still remember Krishnamurti getting so pissed off at people doing the ‘guru’ thing on him – “Don’t look at me! It’s not here!”).
I have experienced groups where collaboration and ‘equality’ of spirit (shall we say) is 100% encouraged. The one I’m thinking of was guided by a woman. And, I also know how many people still regarded her as ‘above’ them.
And, I am sensing that more and more people are ‘available’ for the kind of work you are sharing — and this in itself creates the shift towards support of the ‘indwelling authority’.