There is no denying that choosing to find or walk a spiritual path through life is rewarding and perhaps the only way we begin to live a spiritual life, but in truth, there is only life and there is no path for that suggests that either side of the path is something which is non-spiritual and that cannot be. All was and is one and is connected.
It is the connected nature of our world which is so evident, when we choose to look, either as an individual or as a scientist, or as anyone who wants to know how and why this world works as it does. Everything happens for a reason and every single act or thought has an impact whether we know it or not - just as the Butterfly Effect attests.
This famous 'story' suggests that a butterfly flapping its wings in South America can affect the weather across the world. No doubt, like many things, it is a simplistic scenario which should be taken metaphorically more than literally but there is no doubt that in a world of energy exchange, for that is what this world is and that is what we are, every exchange of energy has an impact beyond what we may perceive or realise.
Nothing happens in a vacuum; everything affects everything else. A relationship exists because two or more people are involved and each contributes to the reality and function of that relationship. One could argue the same applies to the relationships we have within between the differing aspects of Self. Every decision we make, every thought we have, every act we carry out has an effect on ourselves and on others.
I have personally experienced the power of changing myself and then seeing my partner and my relationship change. In fact it was only when I realised that the only thing I could change was myself and that if I wanted my life to change and my relationship to be other than it was then the work had to be done on me. I was as surprised as anyone when I saw that as I changed, my husband and our relationship changed.... fortunately for the better although that is never a given. Whenever we seek change, even in ourselves, there is a chance that a relationship will not endure because it no longer works for those who share the relationship with us.
It is the understanding of that connectedness which enables us to make the greatest changes in ourselves and our lives. In truth, while many people believe, as so often demonstrated, that it is Love which is the greatest power in the world, many do not also recognise that Love is the absolute in connectedness. The opposites are in fact Love and Fear. Love is always embracing, connecting, sharing, accepting and opening to all things while Fear is rejecting, separating, demanding, judging and closing to many things.
When we operate from a place of Love we fear nothing because we reject nothing and we know that we are connected to everything and everything is connected to us. When we operate from a place of Fear we love nothing because we see ourselves as separate, endangered, vulnerable, and needing protection.
Love possesses the power that it does because it reflects most completely the underlying source, power and energy of this world and it is therefore most in harmony with all that is. It is most in harmony with what we call God. We can only experience Fear when we see ourselves as separate, as 'other', as isolated and therefore vulnerable. There can be no fear when we are living Love because we are always and utterly connected and therefore accepted, supported and validated.
And if the greatest power is Love and there is something to which we give the name of God as being all that is, the source, foundation and being of everything, including ourselves then all is One and all is God and all is as it should be.
In this world of ours, if we see it as a spiritual experience then every single thing is God and is spiritual. A path is something which leads somewhere but it also exists to divide and separate from that which is on either side and if God exists, and I happen to believe S/HE does, then everything is God and we are not material beings having a spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having a material experience.
And, by the very nature of such a God, this material world is an expression of God, a spiritual expression, made manifest in matter. The stuff of which we and all things are made is conscious energy and that energy differs only in the speed at which it vibrates. This material world vibrates more slowly than the world beyond this which we call Death and no doubt it vibrates differently to the countless other worlds which must exist. But it is all God; it is all sourced in the same energy expression.
When we can see the world like this, as one, as absolute connectedness, as a perfect, material expression of that which we call God, we are then unable to see ourselves as separate, to see things as other, as divided into spiritual and not spiritual and at that point there is no Path, there is only Life.
All spiritual teachings urge us toward connectedness and counsel against seeing ourselves as separate in any way from this world and everyone and everything in it. It is in becoming one, or becoming conscious that we are at one with all that is, that we are not separate but connected, that we find God and our place in this magical and challenging world.
In ancient times it was believed that the world was like a web and the Goddess sat spinning, this world and everything in it, including us and our lives. Quantum physics allows us to see this world like a net where energy expressions emerge and fall back in an ever-constant play of life upon the cosmic web. When you see yourself as an energy expression emerging from a web of energy there is no way you can see yourself as separate for the energy which creates you connects you to everyone and everything else in this world and beyond.
Visualize a net, a fishing net or a cobweb, it doesn't matter, and then see this as the universe with everything from worlds to whales emerging from that net of energy or consciousness. We can never not be connected except in our minds. We can never fall because there is nowhere to fall. We are inexorably, in the net and of the net and from the net of cosmic consciousness which we call God.
In essence the spiritual path is a process, a practise, a structure which takes us to the place where we realise it is only that. It is not who we are nor is it who we need to be indefinitely. It is a bit like therapy where you can gain insight and grow emotionally and psychologically within the therapeutic structure but the goal is to move beyond it; to realise it was merely a support you needed for a time but something which must ultimately be found to be unnecessary and if retained too long, a hindrance.
In this instance, unlike the journey to Ithaca where it is the journey which matters and not the destination, it is the destination which matters and not the journey. It is understanding that the journey and the destination are one which makes for a truly spiritual life.
Unless the spiritual path leads you to a realisation that you do not need the path, nor the concept of the path, but that it is a spiritual life which is what matters and that you are that life, then you will always remain separated, held to a narrow path where you may look back, forward and to either side but without the sense of connectedness which true spirituality bestows.
It is in knowing yourself as a spiritual being having a material experience in a world which is a part of all that is that you find all that you will ever need and all that you will ever be. We are God and God is us and every atom of this world is a spiritual expression of God. God creates us and we create God in a wonderful web woven throughout time in a perfect expression of Now!
It is at times like this that I wish there were another word for God because these three letters conjure up such fixed images and have such connotations that they obscure the very reality of what could or must be 'God.' God is the consciousness, the energy which is all things.... you, me, the web, a grain of sand, a planet, a spider, a breath..... All that is is all that is and within that 'All' is everything which has mattered, does matter and will ever matter in this world of Matter.
Everything is One; Everything is Now; Everything is God. And this God need have nothing to do with any religion. In fact, God often has nothing to do with religion because religions are, in the main, man-made and seek to limit and confine God as an instrument of power. God was, is and always will be far, far more than anything a few words, a book, a set of rules or a system could ever describe or explain.
The Tenth and final lesson on the spiritual path is that there is no path, there is only life.