How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?

Light on Light Magazine – August 9, 2019

You know the answer to the old joke: Practice, practice, practice! The concept of spiritual practice is both as ancient as humankind and also ever-changing in today’s fast-paced world.

In any group that is essentially tribal in nature, ritual is deeply engrained in the culture and tends to be practiced as a community. Elements of sacred practice may include fire, chanting, dancing, drums and perhaps ingesting some kind of substance to heighten the experience. A shaman, trained from birth or a very early age, leads the ceremony in special garb. The purpose is to enter into a state of communion with a God or gods, nature spirits or other intelligences normally beyond our reach. As the great religions of the East and West emerged, similar practices developed, often with the use of candles, song and sometimes wine, and generally led by a rabbi, imam or priest trained in the mysteries.

In the East, practitioners sat to still and focus the mind in meditation, while Western religions generally put more emphasis on prayer. Over time, as the individual grew more likely to be educated and less attached to the tribal culture, seekers began to experiment with various practices from other traditions. This was particularly true in the late 20th century, as closely held religious and spiritual techniques became open secrets accessible to all. Yet the rise of science led many away from orthodox practices with intense ritual and toward more rational, social religious communities, such as Protestantism, Reform Judaism and Unitarianism.

But the tide has turned once again and the spiritual path beckons even those who do not consider themselves to be religious. Just as today’s physicists are beginning to describe a material world based on consciousness rather than substance, more and more people of all ages are looking for spiritual practices that are less tied to organized religion and codified dogma. If we live in a quantum field of infinite possibilities, what methods would best help us to maximize our potential?

And so we turn a fresh eye to the mystical traditions and shamanic practices in our attempt to crack the codes that will usher in a new level of consciousness, not only for ourselves as individuals, but also for all humanity. There is a sense today of being on the verge of a new era of inner awakening, where the truths that guided our ancestors back in the earliest times can be rediscovered at the next rung of our evolutionary spiral, showing us the way to lives of purpose and loving service – and giving us hope for the future.

We are listening less to our religious leaders and more to the still, small voice within that guides our spiritual journey. And as we learn to hear that inner guidance and to trust its whisper, we are continually surprised at the grace that comes through. So let us explore ways to quiet the chatter of our busy minds and enter into the light of Spirit that will open us to new worlds of possibility. All it takes is practice, practice, practice.

LIVING LIGHT, by Rev. Deborah Moldow, is a regular feature of LIGHT ON LIGHT MAGAZINE

Click here to read the magazine. The Living LIght article is on p. 10