Communional spirituality is that which engages us directly with spirit
Communional spirituality is that which connects us to the numinal aspect of our being – our spirit. It is communing, communicating and engaging intimately with that, which as a rule, is termed as spirit in spiritual traditions. This spirituality is distinguished from the plethora of other transpersonal practices by the fact it acts directly upon our personality to change it and make us ‘a better person’. In the Orient it is often described as developing virtue, a notion that is not about morality or codes of behaviour, rather that which deeply touches our heart and soul. Basically it is whatever makes us less ego-fixated and thus more aware of ‘the other’.
The term spirituality here denotes how our spirit affects us directly to become more like it and reflect its nature. When it touches our heart it makes us more aware of other sentient beings and concerned about their well-being. We come to see them as valuable and important as ourselves, so become able to relate to others in a genuine and open way. We perceive creation and all beings in it as an integral whole; so feel part of and one with all that is.
To be spiritual and ego-centred at the same time is impossible. Either one or the other state is prevalent at any one moment. Either we feel with and for another or we don’t. There can be no pretence in this place: we are either loving or we are not.
This spirituality therefore is rarer than we care to believe. Much for what passes as spiritual, is in fact an attempt to avoid life and the pain it appears to causes us. Avoidance of suffering is not true spirituality. Meditating, chanting, dancing or worshiping our way out the unpleasentness of the human condition is not what constitutes a spiritual life, at least not in the terminology of Core Realisation.
The simple fact of the matter is that either we care for that which is not our self or we don’t. That means not being solely concerned about our personal feelings, hopes, desires and ambitions. It is about being aware of the needs, feelings and reality of others and the whole. When we are not, this does not make us a bad person, simply it a typical human being.
What is important is not to fool our self that we are being spiritual when we are not, which for most of us is most of the time. This is unavoidable as we have bodies with impulses, wants and needs and are primarily concerned with satisfying them. In that sense, we are no different to any other creature; no more superior, noble or special. To delude ourselves we are, is what stops us from becoming truly spiritual in the first place.
On top of that we have our conditioning to deal with and the egoic defences they give rise to. These are designed to have us avoid further trauma, pain and anguish and to seek personal gratification to give our life some pleasure and meaning. Fulfilling this, typically unconscious, agenda becomes a life-long pursuit where spirituality has no place or seeming value.
Communional spirituality is not a spiritual bypass.
So how can spirituality be integral and congruent with the human condition? By having an intimate relationship with the numinous aspect of our being. The idea is to be consciously aware of this numinal reality in our everyday life. In other words to cultivate a capacity to act in accordance to our spiritual nature, rather than from solely our egoic perceptions.
The key is partnership, collaboration, a conscious symbiosis. It is consistently and repeatedly reaching into spirit to be guided, healed, nourished and loved. It is realising we can’t do it on our own, solely from our personality and expect to find true well-being and meaning. Our sense of purpose, value, worth, meaning and integrity can only truly come from a deep sense of our integral place in existence/the universe/life.
The attempt to become all-knowing, perfect, sublime, pristine, glorious, elevated and detached from the human condition is not actually part of any spiritual script. Our ‘idealised self-images’ are in fact superego generated to keep us searching for a mythical state where we are either beyond or impervious to psychological conflict; a place where painful emotions, mental anguish, flawed thinking, unrealisable desires and destructive impulses are absent. This however is nothing other than a detachment and a separation from the very human condition we need to experience to grow through it. Rather than simply to trying to rise above it, embracing the life we find ourselves in, is the way to protect ourselves from any possible detrimental effect life can have on us and liberate us from the negativity inside ourselves.
When we feel close to our spirit all that stuff doesn’t matter in the same way anymore. We stop identifying with our traumatised, tormented or distorted states. Yes, sure we still have them, but they don’t impinge on our personality as before. We accept them for what they are and realise they are transient spaces which with time will reduce both in intensity and impact. As long as we stick with our numinal reality, the difficult, unpleasant and hostile personal states cannot affect us in a destructive or lasting way. Yes, temporarily we feel awful, we may even believe in the script in our head, that we are worthless and pointless. When we reach out to our spirit and let ourselves be touched by it, the other stuff recedes and seen for what it is: mainly the result of outer conditions upon us and not of our actual inner nature.
We come to realise that our inner demons are the result of traumatic or chronic painful experiences in childhood. It is the experiences of existing in this dense, material, fixed and harsh world that causes our soul great distress and eventual distortion. This is not a world where our spiritual nature can be easily made manifest. We keep bumping into a world that is anxious with surviving and where narcissistic self-interest is the order of the day.
Love, benevolence, altruism, kindness and trust do not seem to be rewarded on this earth. Confronted with life’s challenges, we find it easier to respond in a defensive and altogether more brutish way. Looking after number one, in the classic self-serving manner we all know, may seem expedient but comes at a spiritual expense: we lose ourselves in a morass of survival responses, which however normal they seem, do not reflect our authentic nature. So how to stay true to our original spiritual nature, confronted with everything life throws at us?
Communional spirituality as a the natural way
The answer to that quandary is to resort to spirit, what Chinese mystics described as ‘the way of nature’. To have a seeming infinite supply of guidance, vitality, positivity, inspiration, well-being, love, even joy is the obvious recourse. In a way it is a no-brainer. Why struggle relying on the limited capacities of our personality, when we can depend on the limitless resources of our spirit? In the numinal space of our being we have access to exactly what we need to survive, respond, evolve, develop and flourish.
For sure, it is no walk in the park. For one, we tend to look in the wrong places, or keep on going back to using the same old defunct and ineffective strategies, or forgetting to ask for help at all. One may also ask, if spirituality is such an asset then why is it not a lot more popular? The straightforward answer is that genuine spirituality is a bit of a double-edged sword. It does enables us resolve current life or persistent psychological issues, yet it also tends to bring further deeply buried material to the surface. The more we manage to clear out, the more supressed childhood feelings come to light. It can seem a never-ending task; making oneself whole. In a way though, this is the very purpose of spirituality: to keep on developing as a person and evolving as a soul.
Hence we can’t use communional spiritual practice to make everything right. That is not what life is about, to find a nice little niche and stay there. That is not evolution, that is stagnation. This is the last thing our soul would want, as then our time in his world feels wasted. We are here to grow, like all nature is. Good times can be had but not at the expense of the momentum to unfold and realise our spiritual potential. As the saying goes: keep on trucking!
The proposition here, is that we are essentially a numinous being, a spirit. What is of prime significance, in this modality, is that we as spirit are an integral constituent part of the One/Dao/Source/Great Mystery/Great Spirit/Creator/Divine/Absolute/Supreme Being/God, or whatever we may prefer to call it. As our spirit is integral to all that is, it acts as the link between us the human being and the rest of existence, life, the universe. Once this numinal and matrixal integral state is experienced, it is no longer a notion, it is a reality.
In Core Realisation we don’t go out of the way to try to have peak experiences; instead the main focus is cultivating an everyday capacity to sense, feel and know the integral nature of our being, the integrality of all things and our place in the marvel called life.