The following article first appeared in Australia’s Living Now Magazine, April 2011, and is based on passages in ‘SPIRITUALITY UNVEILED: AWAKENING TO CREATIVE LIFE’.
Written by Stephen Wollaston (aka Santoshan)
Rabbi Michael Lerner reminds us that,
“We are the heirs of the long evolution of Spirit. Each of us is the latest unfolding of the event of Creation. Our bodies are composed of the material that was shaped in the Big Bang. And, so, too, our spirit. The loving goodness of the universe breathes us and breathes through us, giving us life and consciousness, and the capacity to recognize and love others.”
Spirituality beckons us to embrace the capacity to love others in inclusive and creative ways. This involves recognizing the profound unity we share with all people and Nature. This is more than just a mere knowing, but a spirituality that is authentically lived.
When we consider how the Earth is holistic and forever in the process of evolving, we realise that we are all incredible products of its awe inspiring creativity and how this is an important part of who we are. When we take part in the creativity that exists so abundantly around us, we find enrichment in every moment. Thich Nhat Hanh points this out: “Everyday we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
Yet spirituality comes with responsibilities about non-harmfulness. Just as any responsible parent would not intentionally wish to harm their children, but would cherish and help them with their growth and appreciate their beauty and abilities, similarly we need to cultivate the creativity of other people and life. Through being at one with this spiritual core of our being we participate more wholesomely in life. And through this comes the realisation that all things touch our lives and are intrinsic parts of who we are. Wayne Teasdale points out how,
“Native Americans know that all beings are part of the web of life, and we have responsibilities to this great web of interconnection. Native cultures are keenly aware that nature, the earth, the Great Spirit, and the spirit guides have taught them everything they know. It is all a gift from the divine realm through the mediation of these more familiar spirit guides who inhabit all worlds.”
This ongoing search for growth helps us to discover our creative potential and become architects of a harmonious Earth. Ultimate gifts are those which reshape our lives and lead to spiritual maturity, to the birthing of the fruits of wisdom and compassion and treading lightly upon the Earth. Here the creative impulse takes on deeper meaning when it becomes an expression of spiritual living and connects us with the wholeness of all life’s growth. This supreme art emerges as a result of our relationship with the Earth and leads us to an awareness of every moment being sacred. Because of this interrelation, we have an individual and collective responsibility, not only for humanity, but for all life, as we are all one family, created in God with infinite positive potential to achieve spiritual greatness.
We all possess the power to touch other lives and manifest essential gifts such as kindness, friendship and helping in the creative process of human and non-human life, even in the smallest of activities. Through awakening to deeper dimensions we touch realms that have been realised by many mystics. Although no two humans or blades of grass are identical, all connect with an underlying unity. All life possesses a unique spark of the divine and its potential to create – to bring about harmony, balance and beauty into the world. Ways of expressing this are many. Traditional routes involve dancing, singing, painting, sculpting, writing, drumming and storytelling. Whether we are artists, students, nurses,
Stephen (aka Santoshan)
teachers, labourers, activists or healers, there are numerous profound ways of making our daily actions a dedication to skilful and compassionate living. “A person’s true wealth is the good he does in this world” the prophet Muhammad wisely reminded us. Matthew Fox points out that,
“We are creators at our very core. Only creating can make us happy, for in creating we tap into the deepest power of self and universe and the Divine Self. We become co-creators, that is, we create with the other forces of society, universe, and the God-self when we commit to creativity.”
Yet we need to be on guard against any powers or people seeking to dampen our enthusiasm, imagination and energy. For here lies a death of our abilities. It requires environments that are open enough to encourage new perspectives and have the courage to reach beyond restrictive boundaries; for everyday contact with creativity supplies us with a sense of authentic belonging, which we experience in essentials such as music, art and places of great beauty, and has the power to heal divisions and wounds when opened to in compassionate ways.
If we wish to continue living on such an awe inspiring and wondrous Earth, we need to learn how to read Nature’s signs and understand her ways and use our creativity to support the multiplicity of life Nature has sought to celebrate. Ellen Bernstein points out that, “Just as we have the power to spoil the creation, we also have the power to make it whole. We have the power to mend the earth and to mend ourselves, to sew the pieces back together again.”
ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE BOOK ‘SPIRITUALITY UNVEILED’:
“This is an example of integral thinking at its best. Santoshan has achieved a masterful synthesis.”
– Marian Van Eyk McCain, editor of ‘GreenSpirit, Path to a New Consciousness’.
“This is a timely book which points a way forward … It also puts God’s beautiful creation back at the heart of our relation with the divine …”
– June Raymond, a Sister of Notre Dame.
“‘Spirituality Unveiled’ is for the here and now … it motivates us to live compassionately and face the challenges of contemporary life with hope.”
– Ian Mowll, Interfaith Minister.
The book, Spirituality Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life, is published by Earth Books (2011), 144pp, ISBN: 978-1-84694-509-0. £9.99
STEPHEN has served as a council member of GreenSpirit (www.greenspirit.org.uk), their editorial and publishing team and is the designer of GreenSpirit Magazine. He was given the name Santoshan (contentment) by an English swami who trained at the Bihar School of Yoga and has a creative background as a spiritual writer, graphic designer, artist and musician. He was the principal bass guitarist of one of London’s first punk rock bands, The Wasps (see Facebook page and YouTube), and is the author and coauthor of several books on spiritual matters, including ‘Spirituality Unveiled: Awakening to Creative Life’ (Earth Books 2011), ‘Realms of Wondrous Gifts: Psychic, Mediumistic and Miraculous Powers in the Great Mystical and Wisdom Traditions’ (revised Smashwords eBook edition 2012) and ‘The House of Wisdom: Yoga Spirituality of the East and West’ (Mantra Books 2007).
After a significant mystical experience when he was 19 he went on to do a degree in Religious Studies and a Post Graduate Certificate in Religious Education at King’s College London and also studied Psychosynthesis psychology. In recent years he has helped to establish The Gordon Higginson Fellowship (www.ghf-web.com) and write two popular development manuals (‘The Spirit World in Plain English’ and ‘Spirit Gems’) with the renowned UK medium, Glyn Edwards, and has taken a deep interest in creative, Yogic and Nature centred spiritualities. As well as profiled on various websites, books authored and co-authored by Stephen have their own Facebook pages.
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