12th September 2012

earth splittingThis is a big one in Western thinking and in modern spiritual writing. It is the belief and idea that all human beings are essentially separate and that human beings are separate from the natural world, and the other forms of life found within it. In the Western tradition this idea developed from early interpretation of the Bible, which saw the natural world as a resource which man was custodian of. As industrialisation emerged the distinction between man and nature deepened, until we now have an extreme situation of environmental degradation. Another way of understanding “separation” is to ask yourself what are the underlying values that define how human beings relate to each other and to the rest of life on this planet.

Another aspect of separation that came out of the Bible was the idea that man is separate from the Divine, from God. This is very different from Eastern religious thinking where God is found in man and in all of life. So for people brought up in Western traditions of thought, God is either implicitly or explicitly (depending on how much you think about these things!) separate from human beings. When considered metaphorically, this is part of the concept of the Fall – ie when human beings descended in consciousness and became separate from God and the Divine.

So what? Well, when we start to explore spirituality through our practice we are affected by our beliefs about what God is and what our relationship to God is. Those beliefs are either drawn from our own experiences of religious worship and study or from the effects of religion on the cultural discourse in which we grew up.

How does this affect our spiritual practice? Well, consider that we often see ourselves as separate from the energy that we connect to in meditations, Reiki and other forms of practice. We perceive it as being separate from us but in fact it is a part of us – we invoke or invite in energies that have different names or qualities, and implicit in this is that they are separate from us. From my perspective, all of these energies are a part of us, but “us” is a far broader word than just the personality that we use to navigate this world.

It is my sense – and this is a personal perspective – that at the heart of many spiritual practices is the search for where we came from, a yearning to reconnect and to stay connected to something that sustains all of life, and that this connection feels like being in love with all of life everywhere. It is just that while we are here, we are experiencing what it is like to be “separate” from this, from each other and from the rest of life here. My sense is that this cycle of experience is drawing to a close and that this is one of the drivers for more and more people becoming interested in spirituality and spiritual practice. But, for now, that is just my perspective……..

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