The Winged Life

He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
He who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.
William Blake

Some years ago, I studied the lives of three well-known dancers/couples who danced in the early to mid-twentieth century and were all students of Christian Science which, at that time, was a thriving and innovative worldwide phenomenon. Here are the resulting articles.


Ruth St. Denis

We should realize in a vivid and revolutionary sense that we are not in our bodies but our bodies are in us. Ruth St. Denis

When Ted Shawn first saw Ruth St. Denis perform in 1911, he was enthralled. He was nineteen; a student fresh from religious studies and a ballroom dancer. He looked at the famous, thirty-two-year-old dancer with adoration. She combined his two great loves; dance and spirituality. Little did he realize that three years later, he would see her again, she would employ him to perform ballroom dancing routines in her shows, and, within the year, they would be married. Continue reading “The Winged Life”

Principles To Live By

The Eleven Principles of Metapsychiatry

  1. Thou shalt have no other interests before the good of God, which is spiritual blessedness.

The vast majority of people live their life with innumerable interests before spiritual good and that accounts for the unhappiness that the vast majority of people feel at their most honest soul level. Good relationships, material abundance, fulfilling work, enjoyable and enthralling interests, and glowing health are not excluded by having our undivided attention on the spiritual path. They are an accompaniment to it. For the sincere seeker, qualities such as peace, assurance, gratitude, love, and spiritual good are always of primary and supreme importance. Continue reading “Principles To Live By”

In Search of Truth

The Love of Devotion
Chapter 1: In Search of Truth – the Nature of Spiritual Teachers

Past Teachers

Several decades passed and I continued down the path of awakening. My first book, The Love of Being Loving, speaks of these years. One never forgets one’s past teachers or disciplines. In my case, Metapsychiatry (and its founder, Dr Thomas Hora) and Christian Science had been my main spiritual influences. Such allegiances are forever enshrined in our heart and continue to help, inspire, and mould us. They are pivotal to our development and our total and absolute devotion to them secures the progress which blossoms from that commitment. The cemented bond between teacher and student surpasses time and space, and the love of a teacher can be beckoned whenever requested. Further, one often has an ongoing commitment to the other students of a teacher and, indeed, the entire group of that pathway. Nevertheless, in spite of loyalties, our inner spiritual drive will take its own path through the terrain it determines is best. It will have its own timing and will guide us to whoever is most beneficial to the next stage of our growth. Continue reading “In Search of Truth”

The Process of Change

Chemicalization of thought is a metaphysical term referring to the mental and physical disturbance that frequently accompanies the process of change. It happens when loaded thoughts, emotions, and past events start to surface from the basement of our consciousness. Although not particularly enjoyable and often downright distressing, this process is immensely helpful in bringing to our awareness those thoughts that need healing and elevating. Continue reading “The Process of Change”

Likes and Attractions

Many people have a fear of being accused of liking someone. It is meant as a put-down. It implies we are pathetic and delusional about our own worth. In order to avoid any such implication, we can go to great lengths to make sure that we never extend the hand of friendship or open our heart to another, in case it is misconstrued or rejected. As one becomes more whole within oneself, one naturally becomes less able to be humiliated. To be able to humiliate someone is a sure way of keeping that person in check. However, if we are not easily humiliated then we have taken a great power from our enemies. Continue reading “Likes and Attractions”

Healing Grief

Grieving is commonly experienced in the wake of all sorts of apparent losses, not just death. Every time we feel we have lost something of value, we tend to grieve. We deny it. We bargain to try to make the loss less painful. We get angry. We get depressed. We, sometimes, get sick. And if all goes well, we eventually accept it. This is the human process. The spiritual process, however, takes on a different dimension. Continue reading “Healing Grief”

Metaphysics and Enlightenment

img_4479The Love of Being Loving

The Love of Being Loving is about awakening and expanding our spiritual consciousness. It is also a personal journey. However, that which is elevating for a single consciousness is also elevating for human consciousness as a whole. There are no secrets. Nothing is withheld by God. Yet, it is only by our own sincere searching, the evolutionary stage we have reached, and the grace of God that we come into contact with spiritual pathways and teachers that are right for us at any particular time. This book is based on the metaphysical teachings of two spiritual paths and their corresponding founders: Dr Thomas Hora of Metapsychiatry and Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. The ideas expressed have a universal quality. Spiritual principles, if true, are true for everyone. That is the yardstick that validates their authenticity. Authentic spiritual ideas also have the universal power to heal. Healing is the building block of both individual and collective spiritual evolution.

This edition of The Love of Being Loving has many quotes from Thomas Hora and Mary Baker Eddy and also a few other relevant teachers. The quotes lived with me for the years that I studied both spiritual disciplines and were foundational to my learning.

The Love of Being Loving on Amazon US
The Love of Being Loving on Amazon AU
The Love of Being Loving on Book Depository


 

The Love of Devotionimg_4484

The Love of Devotion is the result of several decades of spiritual work. It began the day I first opened the metaphysical door and stepped into a world which, although only minimally understood at the time, was strongly desired. Metaphysics is concerned with the ultimate, primary, inner aspects of existence. It does not see life in material terms but sees life in terms of thought and it has a strong emphasis on healing. Everyone’s greatest need is for the healing and wholeness which spiritual awareness brings. However, we are often reluctant to commit to it. We, eventually, must come to the realisation that the purpose of our life is to align with our spiritual nature. Try as we do to find other options, there are no viable alternatives which will withstand the inevitable consequences of misplaced loyalties and loves. It is the way for us to find our soul-home.

As students of life, we seek both relief from suffering and growth of happiness. Deeply considering uplifting ideas raises our consciousness from the realm of the material problem into the powerful and harmonious realm of the spiritual. It is what a dedicated spiritual practice is all about. We give up our own ideas, hurts, fears, and grudges and concede to the Greater. We expand and we heal. It becomes apparent that it would be impossible to feel alone as we are intimately connected to a thriving life-force. It is everything, yet, it is nothing. It grows silently and steadily. We are already it and It is already us. We continue to go forward with our spiritual practices and these practices increasingly envelop us in loveliness. We come out the other side as a transparent being; nameless but with the mark of God.

This edition of The Love of Devotion includes quotes, at the end of each chapter, which were in the original edition and were meaningful to me at the time of writing.

The Love of Devotion on Amazon US
The Love of Devotion on Amazon AU
The Love of Devotion on Book Depository
The Love of Devotion (large print) on Amazon US

Ruth St. Denis

We should realize in a vivid and revolutionary sense that we are not in our bodies but our bodies are in us. Ruth St. Denis

When Ted Shawn first saw Ruth St. Denis perform in 1911, he was enthralled. He was nineteen; a student fresh from religious studies and a ballroom dancer. He looked at the famous, thirty-two-year-old dancer with adoration. She combined his two great loves; dance and spirituality. Little did he realize that three years later, he would see her again, she would employ him to perform ballroom dancing routines in her shows, and, within the year, they would be married.

Spirituality and dance were one and the same thing for Ruth. In the summer of 1903 when Ruth was twenty-four, she picked up one of her mother’s books. It was Science and Health, the foundational text of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy. Mary was a force to be reckoned with – brave, intelligent, and radical. She was a woman unto Ruth’s liking. However, unlike Mary, Ruth was plagued with personal insecurities which created many emotionally-turbulent situations throughout her life.

The first six weeks after reading Science and Health were a turning point of wonderful and beautiful magnitude for the young Ruth and it laid the foundations of her relentless spiritual longing. She said,

I had never been even dimly aware of the tremendous new world that had now opened before me. All the hours I could spare were spent in reading this book or in going for long walks by myself. I seemed to have joined that class of thinkers who are in the dawn of ideas, eager for a blaze of light. To sense the power of thought as a vast discovery of the soul occupied me for long hours. (I was) filled with wonder and a strange inward vibration which was unlike anything I had ever known before. This definite condition of spiritual ecstasy remained with me for some weeks and then gradually faded, and left as a residue a love of spiritual things and a realization of metaphysical values which has been with me always. Ruth St. Denis

Ruth always packed the book in her suitcase, along with the Bhagavad Gita and her Ralph Waldo Emerson books, for her trips. She became a life-long follower of Christian Science and based one of her teaching groups on the principles of the book. She applied for formal membership of the church on two separate occasions but was, unfortunately, rejected. Even then, the church had the markings of its future downfall – rules and regulations.

Denishawn – the Child of Ruth and Ted’s Union

All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused. Martha Graham (a student and teacher at Denishawn before her own significant dance career.)

Denishawn, named after both, was the child of Ruth and Ted’s union. It was a performing company, a top dancing school, and a cultural icon of the day. It was a child they nurtured for sixteen years together. Like all good parents, they both played their part. Ruth was the spiritual and aesthetic inspiration. It was she who fascinated audiences although, later on, Ted became one of the most important male dancers of his era.

Ruth was not good with money and could be emotionally restless and reckless. Ted tended to be more grounded. He maintained the structure and routine of their lives so that their company and school could continue to function. He was responsible for their financial well-being. After Ted moved away, Ruth had financial problems for the rest of her life. It was an area she could not seem to master.

Ted and Ruth were genuine friends. They had a true spiritual, intellectual, and physical compatibility with each other. However, they were also genuine enemies. Both were very ambitious and they would often compete with each other with disastrous consequences.

Erotic, Exotic, Esoteric

You and I are but specks of that rhythmic urge which is Brahma, which is Allah, which is God. Ruth St. Denis

Ruth’s free-spirited love of the Divine and, at the same time, honest and uncensored love of the human was the hallmark of her dancing. This combination made for a dynamic, captivating individual. Her dancing was a combination of raw physicality, exotic themes (based mainly on Egypt, India, and Japan), and uplifting and beautiful spiritual treasures of choreography. She was held in awe by her many fans. They were, sometimes, left speechless after her shows. Some were speechless for other reasons: shock, confusion, indignation, and offence. One of her offences was to dance barefoot. Those close to her loved her with a protective passion. She was a brave dancer.

Ruth and Ted remained married for more than fifty years but the last three decades were spent apart and both were involved with a range of other relationships including, for Ted, a number of gay relationships. They continued to dance with each other, on and off, even into Ruth’s eighties. Ruth’s relationships tended to be affairs of the heart, more than affairs of the body. She longed for emotional and spiritual closeness. She was frequently criticised for her many and varied relationships, often, with much younger men. As she possessed a magnetic attractor field for men, it was a rather tempting way for Ruth to try and allay her insecurities (with little success, as one would expect).

Ted told Ruth, much later in their lives, that their marriage had become an archetypal form of spiritual love to the general population, that it had a special meaning for other people, and that it was not for either of them to destroy that even if they had not lived together for many years. Some wondered if Ted’s concern was more for his own vulnerable position as a bisexual man in that day and age. For whatever reason, they never did divorce.

This article is part of Dance: A Spiritual Affair

Spiritual Withdrawal

Some people will reach a point in their growth when they will wish to withdraw from the world. It is not the withdrawal of an antisocial or fearful person running away from the world. Short periods of withdrawal are, of course, beneficial to everyone. However, the type of withdrawal we are talking about is for the purpose of deep, spiritual transformation. It is the withdrawal of someone who is, generally, already competent in the world. Otherwise, our shortcomings will rise to pull us back into the world where they will be thrown at us again for educational reasons. Withdrawal is not really a choice, nor is it difficult. The attachment to the world will have already diminished and we will crave the solitude that seems to be the only way that we can connect to that which we seek. Continue reading “Spiritual Withdrawal”