The Spiritual Shopper

by Brian Robertson and Simon James

“He was a wise man who invented God.” (Plato)

Henry Ford once remarked about his cars, “You can have any colour as long as it’s black.” Today in the western world we can have any colour, size or shape we want.  We have an over-abundance of choice in almost every aspect of our lives – in our purchases, education, food and, ultimately, our beliefs.  

At the beginning of the 21st century, we are faced with a plethora of religions and belief systems that offer an alternative to the orthodox methods of achieving a relationship with God. We have the freedom to believe whatever we wish and, perhaps more importantly, the freedom not to believe at all.  

The concept of choice has been the driving force of western consumerism. There has been an even broader range of choice created in the form of “fusion”. Here, we take the elements of one system and apply them to another.  For example, we may take the main ingredients of an East Indian recipe and combine them with a classic French one to create fusion cuisine.  Likewise, in the realm of spiritual belief, the so-called “New Age” is a fusion of aspects of Eastern philosophies, ancient mythology and native traditions, blended together to create “New Thought”.   

Today, spirituality has become the more acceptable side of religion.  It has become a fashion accessory of the lifestyle-driven.  Spirituality offers a warm and fuzzy feeling for those who no longer have the time, energy or commitment to embrace an organized system of belief.  Walk into any bookstore and you will find titles such as “Spirituality in a Box”, “The 10 Steps of Spiritual Enlightenment” and so on. Even the language of spirituality has been watered down so as to make complex spiritual concepts more comfortable.

This notion of spirituality as something distinct from religion is a particularly 20th century concept.  As the religious writer, Professor Denys Turner, says, “No mystics (at least before the present century) believed in or practiced mysticism.  They believed in and practiced Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, etc.; that is, religions that contained mystical elements as parts of the wider whole.” 

Modern views of spirituality will often call for subjective experience as validation of a personal relationship with the Divine. This is reminiscent of the current marketing obsession with the ‘sales experience’ in which the shopping encounter must be absolutely pleasurable from start to finish in order to ensure returning customers.

Can we, however, buy a spiritual experience?  Is the subjective spiritual experience a real or is it part of the modern myth of that ultimate aspiration – the “feel-good factor”?  If there are no demands made upon the individual, whether in the form of dedication, time or commitment, how valid is the experience?  In other words, can there be gain without pain?  With these questions in mind, let us consider the mediumistic path.

The teachings of mediumship are comprised of principles and disciplines rather than laws or instructions. ‘Principles’ implies values, philosophy, ethics and doctrines, while ‘discipline’, instruction within a field of study.

Our teachings encourage the quest to seek an at-one-ment with the Creator.  To the true medium, humanity is on a continuous journey toward the Source of all life, with an opportunity to evolve along the way.  Life itself provides the opportunity for that unfoldment to take place.

Those of us who embrace mediumistic teachings understand that we are fully responsible for our actions in this world and that our actions have consequences, whether in this life or the next.  This means that the choices we make in life are important.  We are responsible for our actions and choices as they affect both ourselves and others. In order to have a “warm and fuzzy” feeling about life, we have to actually do something. That something might require us to act based upon commitment, out of loyalty, or just because it seems right.

Being a medium is difficult, time-consuming and demanding.  It sensitizes the individual to the importance of living this life fully, and it constantly asks for the best a person has to give.  Being a medium is also rewarding and life enriching; it teaches that love is the one constant in this life and the next.  To the “everyday medium” the Great Spirit is not an experience that gets better with each new idea, but is instead a way of life that expresses itself through action. To the medium, there is no better or new; there is only the constant evolution of understanding.  

The practice of mediumship is about the evolution and emergence of the true nature of each individual. It is not just about the latest technique, mentorship programme or trend in spirituality for the person who has tried everything. Modern-day spirituality is in danger of offering an experience that accommodates the desire of the consumer, in which there are no obligations or duties to others.  Those of us who call ourselves mediums, however, must remember that the true spiritual experience can only be gained through living and is as long as life itself. 

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