Jean Houston on Spiritual Awakening

The Spiritual Quest – from Jean Houston (Admin)

December 9th, 2011

If I am to know God directly, I must become completely God, and God I, so that this God and this I become one I.
–Meister Eckhart

Wandering the Earth as I do, I eventually run into everybody. And almost everybody I meet seems to be on a spiritual quest, or if not, they have a growing hunger for it. The hound of heaven woofs at their heels urging them to wake up to their spiritual possibilities.
The thing about everybody is that they try everything. For sheer creativity and inventiveness, nothing beats spiritual adventuring.
People meditate or fast or pray in search of Divine connection. They make outlandish promises–giving up sex, calories, comfort. They go mad or go manic, become zealots, hush their minds into quiescence and empty themselves of thought hoping to tempt God to fill the void.
They walk on burning coals, sit in the snow, count their breaths, twirl into ecstasy, make pilgrimages to places where God or His/Her local incarnations are reputed to have placed their feet. They try out religions as different as possible from the ones in which they were raised, go on spiritual shopping sprees, twist their bodies into uncomfortable positions, change their names.
Mostly, they shout at God, begging the Great One to finally show up in their lives.
I’m not criticizing these practices; I’ve tried them all. And don’t laugh–so have you, in other ways, perhaps.
There are many signs that point to your being on a spiritual quest, even if you have not named it as such:
Do you wonder every time you pass a book counter if truth is to be found on its shelves today?
How many books have you bought this year that have “soul” in the title?
Are you always heading off to a seminar or a church retreat?
Is your house filled with angel images–cards, statues, books, candles?
Do you have an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, a medicine cabinet full of supplements?
When you get the flu, do you take vitamins and echinecea instead of standard brand antibiotics?
Do you frequent health food stores?
Have you thought about trying to be a vegetarian?
Have you quit the softball league and signed up for a class in yoga or Tai Chi?
Are you surfing the Internet?
Do you find yourself hiding what you’re reading when your relatives enter the room, even though it’s not the least bit sexy?
Have you divorced a spouse because he or she just wasn’t on the same wave length?
Do your kids think you are weird?
Do your CD’s thrum with chants and drums and Celtic harps?
Are you a fan of TV shows about mythic heroes, outer space, immortals, parapsychology?
Are you sometimes unaccountably surprised by joy?
Are you reading this book?
If you have answered “yes” to any of the above, chances are you’re hooked! As well you might be, for the complexity of the present time seems to demand a deepening of our nature if we are going to survive. Deepening requires exploration. And for all its byways, exploration leads ultimately to the spiritual source of our existence.
Not since the days of Plato and Buddha and Confucius, some 2500 years ago, has their been such an uprising of spiritual yearning. But instead of being a Mediterranean and Asian phenomenon, as it was then, the explosion of spirituality is now happening worldwide.