After 15 days in my ‘micro - climate’ spare room, my first ‘grown from seed’ carolina reaper chilli plant peeped above the soil! The spicey heat of this chilli is at the top of the list and the seed takes up to a month to germinate. In comparison, the mild jalapeno chilli plants take on average 5 days to germinate and reach the light, under the same conditions.
Thinking about the fact that the ‘hottest’ chilli takes so much longer to germinate, left me reflecting on the journey of our personal spiritual development. It may appear to be strange leap in my usual stream of consciousness, but it became well and truly planted.
There is a trend in spiritual devlopment, to understand concepts in modern generic terms. This can be helpful at times as it helps us to understand concepts within a our usual frame of reference. Confusingly, there is also a trend to use rather quaint expressions too - such as emanations, faculties etc.
Jargon is something I resist where possible. Yet I do feel a discomfort in using modern, technical language that suggests there is a step by step process that fits all; when we seek to develop with the presence of spirit.
Last week I received a rude email from a student demanding to be pointed to the ‘mechanics’ of animal communication. She just wanted to know how to do it ‘now!’ - no self - development, no theory, no science, no evidence of how and why it works - just the mechanics. As a teacher that’s my red flag and I take pride in teaching from a basis of reasoned intelligence.
The course in question, offers a certificate and is externally approved, so it is vital it has a thorough curriculum appropriate to the level of attainment. Despite my concerns and attempts to help her, she just became offensive. I gave her a refund. I do not wish to offer a certificate in my name for someone who has not put in the work and I was more than happy to part company with her.
I admit I have an issue with the use of the word ‘mechanics’ for any form of spiritual development. I also wonder if modern day mediumship development, has done us all a disservice by offering too many ‘how to’ courses. It’s never a matter of ‘how to’ but more a matter of 'being.' Furthermore, my aversion of this term goes as far as conjuring images of Ikea furniture and restarting a car with a flat battery! Then I begin to concern myself with all who do not consider themselves, practically minded. We are missing the amazing creative conscious mind in all this, when we reduce understanding divine spiritual experiences to mere mechanics.
Also, ‘How to’ is just marketing jargon, significant for those who use search terms in google. If you want to sell your courses, entitle them as ‘How To.’ But be warned, that if you can’t show them how to, your reputation is damaged. As an online course creator, I see a lot of spiritual courses that begin with “how to’ and just don’t offer the solutions they promise in the title. We are in danger of students who have taken the ‘how to’ but don’t know the ‘so what now?’
Given we are all unique, we have different ways of expressing ourselves. It needs to be celebrated - cultivated. I love that we live in a world of many languages, philosophies, traditions and cultures; yet the life force and emotion is universally understood. Also as our awareness is evolving constantly, how can we possibly reference ‘mechanics’ to demonstrate our individual, genuine spiritual potential and development?
This reminds me of my old days of assessing mediums for the SNU on their Training and Awards Committee. Apart from my discomfort with the checklist of criteria to pass, it was often clear from these assessments, that many students had emulated their teachers in their mannerisms.
Of course, having studied extensively with someone, it is workable they may adopt similar habits. It was commonplace to consult with my assessment colleagues and correctly agree who had trained them, or who they had emulated. When the student was asked who they had trained with, or who they admired in this field, it was subsequently correctly confirmed. Sometimes, the demonstrations of mediumship could only be described as a direct impersonation!
In such cases we can only offer the benefit of doubt that this has been subconscious and unintended; whilst encouraging the medium to find their own natural path and working style. Also important, is letting them know they are showing too many similarities. Of course without the presence, power and love of spirit, many failed. Mechanics or copied techniques cannot provide these qualities.
The path of spiritual development, mediumship and animal communication cannot be reached by mechanics alone. Good practices for working ethically and publicly can be taught and must be. However, the power of spirit and associated communication needs time, presence, patience and self - development. There is no time limit on this and more than one approach.
I used to tell my students at the Arthur Findlay College (and many other places), that it wasnt a space to show us how good you are, at what you do. It was somewhere safe to fall flat on your face, pick yourself up, find out what went wrong, try again and be supported by each other. It must be a non - judgemental space of learning and support with each other! I get that we have become a results based, focussed society, but spiritual development is for all society - ancient and modern.
Our ancestors would send those on the path of spiritual development into the wilderness to discover their own divine power, through meditation, connection and ceremony. Or perhaps, depending on your traditions, partake in trance inducing plants, to experience realms of consciousness, ordinarily unseen. There were no mechanics - just pure natural spiritual realisations, embodied without timescales.
Technique (or mechanics) is meaningless in comparison to the truths communicating the love of the eternal spirit. That has to be earned and learned through self education of the individual.
What we really need in terms of techniques should be what we all need naturally. It must be all that is natural to us such as light, space, comfort, nurture, nourishment, care, dedication etc.
My carolina reaper chilli will need much warmth, sun and nourishment to reach its full potential. It will take time to grow strong and produce the hottest chilli spice in the world. The jalapeno, will be easier to grow and just require light, space, food and water - but it wont have the ‘kick’ of of its powerful cousin. That’s great for when we want mildly spicey food too. There is a place and a need for all varieties in life. Yet it is important to know that sustenance and power is not governed by a ‘one size fits all’ expectation.
If you choose spiritual strength, relevance and service to spirit, you do need patience, dedication, self - knowledge, care and kindness. Mechanics won’t cut any corners, speed up the process or convince anyone of your genuine intention. The loved ones, the animals and the power of spirit don’t respond to mechanics - but they do know genuine spirit power, soul, love and kindness.