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Black Elk

Solve et Coagula: Reflections on the Spiritual Path

June 9th, 2009

A spiritual way needs to both hold and guide you, and open and free you. Sometimes these can appear to be contradictory functions, but when they work there is a dance between the two processes that helps you to reach your goals: in Druid terms the illuminations of wisdom, creativity and love.
When either dynamic moves to its extreme, it challenges you to identify your boundaries and claim your power. In other words, when a spiritual way seems to be confining you, restricting you, the gift hidden in this experience lies in the opportunity it offers to identify what you really need and to move towards this, rather than being submissive or ‘obedient’.
But here’s the subtlety that needs to be appreciated: some limitation is necessary. Restriction serves its purpose in the scheme of things, and so you must be attentive to not being reactive, and simply acting out ‘the rebel’. Instead of prematurely rejecting the limitations of a system, idea, practice, doctrine or group, it is worth exploring the way in which the perceived constriction may actually be a valuable part of your journey.
Likewise the sense of ‘lostness’, of lack of boundaries, of yearning for definition and guidance, brings its own gifts of an opening-out-to-the-new, of transformation in the face of the Mystery, of Not-Knowing,
Again, rather than acting out of fear, and going for premature ‘containment’ by following external prescriptions, it is helpful (when one can) to allow the process to occur. Like the movement of the tides, after a while one’s psyche will naturally be drawn back to the other pole and will find containment and direction.
In this way we can both follow traditional spiritual paths and be open to the Spirit, can learn from the ideas and practices of teachers and teachings and can be empowered individuals who follow their own star too.

2 Responses to “Solve et Coagula: Reflections on the Spiritual Path”

  1. Welcome home Philip! I really respond to this – you put it so beautifully. I spent yesterday afternoon in the British Museum (birthday treat!) looking at the wonderful Hindu, Jain and Buddhist artifacts. What you write here seems to resonate so wonderfully with the spirit of these particular paths. Holding the possibility of both these approaches within us feels right to me; that constant forming and dissolving keeps something vital moving within us – it’s the lack of movement that scares me. I love the thought that I can draw wisdom and guidance from something without denying the possibility of other ideas; I also feel a great sense of comfort that the Mystery is beyond my complete knowing; that there will always be something new to discover; that whatever I release, something else will take shape within me, hopefully enriching me.

    Thank you for this – it felt so apt reading it after yesterday.

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