As we gain access to spiritual power, it becomes more important to remember that the aim of spiritual work is always and only to be more surrendered to divinity.
Have you ever seen the musical Jesus Christ Superstar? There is a powerful moment in the story where Jesus is asking God to help him understand why he must die and he sings:
Why then am I scared
To finish what I started
What you started
I didn't start it
At this point, Jesus has an epiphany and reconnects with all of the inspiration that had fueled his early ministry. He realized that he had mistakenly started to think of what was happening as if it were his agenda. When he remembers that his work had always been dictated from something higher, he feels a surge of courage and faith rush back in. Suddenly he is not just a person trying to enact a plan, he is surrendered to a divine plan that he is ready to see through to the end.
As we open more deeply to our own spiritual potential, we inevitably gain access to greater power. We’re able to see with piercing clarity, we find wellsprings of strength and conviction within, and we often find that we have tremendous influence over the people around us.
As these extraordinary characteristics grow within us, our spiritual work must expand to include more practices of purification, renunciation, devotion, and worship. In the excitement of realizing expanded human capacities it’s easy to forget who started this.
Your spiritual path was not started by you, so you could become a superman or a superwoman. It was started because you were touched by a source of love and wisdom that wanted to shine through you into the world.
When increased human capacities are overly glorified on the spiritual path, it tempts the ego to run away with the show and make it all about glorifying itself.
Over the last eight months I’ve been adding more practices of devotion and purification to my own personal ritual. That means more time spent in silent contemplation of the divine, it meant setting up an alter that displayed realized beings that I admire, and it means spending time in prayer asking for the strength, clarity and sensitivity to be true to the path. It also means reading sacred texts – not to learn, but simply to commune with the sacred spirit of the wisdom they contain.
Purity doesn’t mean being perfect. It means remaining in service of divinity. And whenever you discover that you’ve lost sight of who started this, it means returning to the source and connecting once again with the reason you entered the spiritual path in the first place.
We entered the spiritual path because something opened us to a higher possibility. It might have been pain, trauma, or personal tragedy that opened us up. It might have been revelation or spiritual insight that did the trick. But something made us recognize an immaculate source of love and wisdom.
We saw it, maybe for just a minute, or maybe longer, but we saw it. We knew that we were capable of being a vessel of that immaculate love and wisdom. In fact, we realized that only that was truly worthy of our lives.
We embarked on the spiritual path. We found ourselves in the world, but not of it. Maybe we were living a human life that was in many ways normal, but we were not motivated by the same things that motivated most of the people around us. We now had your heart set on the possibility of becoming a reflection of divinity and grace.
That sacred purpose moved us along the path, and eventually we started opening to profound insights, powers and capacities. At that point our ego tries to muscle in. “Hey, I want this!” it will say, “Yes, be a vessel for divinity, but do a little something for me too.”
Practices of devotion and purification protect us from being fooled by the ego’s beckoning, and if we do get fooled, they help us find our way home again. The way home is always back to the source, back to whatever it was that introduced us to the divine in the first place.