Spiritual Warriors – A Necessity for Our Time

       What form should such examination take? Many of us are travelers who interact with people around the globe, and directly engage with individuals, activities, and energies that prevail in other parts of the world. We eagerly learn from indigenous peoples, shamanic cultures, and Eastern traditions. We enter into their practices and worldviews – and tell ourselves how these others seem so authentic and real.
      While this may be true, what stance do we take within our own cultures, our own environments, our own traditions, and our own people? My experience is that many Westerners look beyond their own borders for inspiration. And once finding this inspiration in some distant land, they then attempt to bring it home…and share it with colleagues, clients, students, friends and families.
       As a developmental, transpersonal psychologist, I believe that a healthy connection to our Western mystical roots is exceedingly important. When you live out of your authentic self, you contact that extreme point where your human nature touches the Absolute. It is where your ground, your being, your identity, is penetrated by the sacred.
      Sociological cross-cultural research tells us that erosion of a strong cultural and spiritual identity leads to a self-image that loses its definition and becomes more fragile. We become thwarted in our development if we deny an essential part of our being.
      My message for this council is that I believe it is now time to pay more attention to what is at “home.” Rather than dismissing our Judeo-Christian tradition as one that is mired in hypocrisy, dualism, and historical violence, we must explore and open ourselves to the original mystical sacred ground that is the foundation of Western spirituality.
     Additionally, we must examine more closely, the intrinsic Western core values and strengths of who we are individually and collectively. Along with this, we should engage in an open analysis of where our culture and tradition may have lost its way. Only in this way can we engage in the process of transforming it.
       We are a mixture of light and shadow. The places and cultures where we were born, where we now live, where we our traditions and roots evolved, are a mixture of light and shadow.
        Only through such examination, will we be able to gain true insight into ourselves, our worldview, and the paradigm in which we function. And it is the first and necessary step to take if we are to facilitate real change in other people and in the little corner of the world where we live.
     Understandably, many people only feel secure if they maintain the same worldview as their community, friends and relatives. The prevailing worldview in Western culture during the early 21st century is Postmodernism. This serves as a “super theory” or paradigm for interpreting human experience.
       Postmodernism holds the view that there is no absolute truth, because everything is relative and determined by individual perceptions. Clearly, it has arisen as a reaction against Pre-modernism when the church was the ultimate authority, governing every aspect of a person’s life. It also counters the Modern worldview that holds nothing is true unless it can be verified by the scientific method.
     Many of us in Eurotas, who are active in the Transpersonal field, have grown up and been significantly impacted by the Postmodern worldview. This is understandable – popular culture, academia, psychology and modern intellectual thought supports it. Postmodernism reflects both our cultural norms and also the transpersonal values of multiculturalism and diversity – where the only thing true, are peoples’ perceptions.
     At the same time, when we think about the concept of relativism inherent in Postmodernism, we must realize that it argues against the Absolute. And if there is no Absolute, then there is no God, there is no sacred.  How can the individual soul and God be One, as our Western mystical ground and other spiritual traditions teach us?  
      Chief Black Elk of the Sioux Nation (1863-1950) is reported to have said…”at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” In the Qu’ran, the holy book of Islam, it is written…”the entire universe, in the way it is created, in the way it is controlled, bears witness to the oneness with Allah.” In the Mundaka Upanishad in Hinduism, we read: “Above time all is Brahman, One and Infinite.” Jesus said: “When you make the two One, and when you make the inner as the outer, and the outer as the inner, and the above as the below, and when you make the male and female into a single One…then shall you enter the Kingdom.” Having an open heart, said the Jewish mystics, and knowing that we are not separate from God, are one and the same. “God is the stronghold of my heart” is a line in the 73rd psalm, in the Old Testament.
        Today, more than any other time, it is important for us to understand that our Western institutions and worldview cannot erase darkness in individuals or in society. Opening the soul to divine energy is the only way. When Divine light, this love beyond measure flows, it can immediately begin to heal and transform.
       Living in these times as we do, it is very challenging for us to let go of our fears and needs to gain acceptance. Therefore, it is not easy to deeply explore the contradictions and splits in our own worldview, the worldview of popular culture, and the worldview of our colleagues and friends in the Transpersonal field.
       If we are to become the spiritual warriors that I believe we are meant to be, we must do this. And in so doing, we will be able to lead lives that are God-directed rather than ego directed. Then and only then will we be able to pass the message to others that they are much more than  physical bodies with thoughts and emotions. Rather, we will be able to say with conviction that their true nature is to be one with God.
     Said the monk and mystic Thomas Merton (1915-1968): “We stumble and fall constantly, even when we are enlightened. But when we are in true spiritual darkness, we do not even know that we have fallen.”