Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Recently, I attended a ritual/celebration of a local spiritual group. During the course of this event, I was surreptitiously "initiated" into this order, although I had explained to the leader that I did not wish to become officially affiliated with this or any other such group (though I love its members and its overall spiritual principles.) This experience led me to rethink the whole issue of the direct path vs. the mediated (via priest, guru, leader, or text) journey.
During the course of the celebration mentioned above, I witnessed sincere devotees performing practices that obviously meant a great deal to them. I saw the features of deep spiritual devotion on the faces of many during prayer and meditation. I saw ample evidence of great love between the members of the group for one another and for their teacher. Clearly, those who embrace this particular approach to divine connection receive great gifts as their reward.
However, for me, the direct approach is the one I prefer. I find that any assertion about matters spiritual can be countered with an equivalent counter-assertion, and that my skeptical mind will inevitably seek out the latter. I prefer to follow my own path of reasoning or intuition rather than accepting the words of another, even though these are (presumably) the result of divine inspiration. Above all, I do not wish to pledge my allegiance to any human official or founder of the instittution, even though many accept this leadership with love and gratitude.
In other words, I am a maverick. I do not pretend to have all the answers--or in fact, any of the answers. I prefer to live in the center of mystery, for that is where I find confirmation not in words or techniques but in the overwhelming experience of connection with the Beloved Herself. I am thus a "solitary practitioner," following what is often a lonely path, but one which has given me immeasurable rewards and incalculable joy.