“Ten easy steps to open your psychic senses.” “How to become spiritually aware with five simple tricks.” “ Five keys to unlock your spiritual potential.” The stuff just kept on appearing in odd places and, every time it did, I growled. Such titles may grab your attention, but what are they really offering? They may be a necessary starting point, something that turns your attention in a new direction, but can they really do what they say? And at what price?
I was thinking about it as I refilled the honey bottles. It is a process that takes time. Mere seconds to set up the funnel and fill it with honey, but nothing I can do will make the honey flow into the bottle any faster than its nature allows. The slow golden ooze runs at its own speed and all I can do is wait and watch to make sure it does not overflow.
My son buys his honey from a local bee-keeper by the bucketload, enough to last him the year. The buckets are great for storage, but really awkward to use on a daily basis, so every few days I transfer a measured amount from the bucket to a more practical squeezy bottle.
The honey, so diligently created by the hardworking bees, is raw…untreated, unheated, just filtered. To heat the bucket and force it to flow faster would take longer than just filling the funnel and waiting… and be potentially detrimental to quality, micronutrients and taste. So, I wait. It should be a boring job, but there is a fascination in the process; time passes quickly, watching stray sunbeams light up the tiny bubbles in the flow, seeing universes form and dissipate in the glowing stream of light that makes its unhurried way through the spout.
It is an exercise in patience. I cannot make it flow faster… and why should I even try? It is beautiful, moving at its own pace, falling into spirals on the viscous surface below. The slow speed of honey is a perfect expression of its nature… impatience just an expression of the nature of Man.
“To every thing there is a season…”The phrase sneaked in as I watched, realising that the flowing gold had something to teach. Humankind is impatient; we force the pace of many things and that can become a double-edged sword of Damocles. We eat force-grown and imported fruit and vegetables out of season; great for variety and year round nutrition, but are they as tasty than their seasonal counterparts grown locally? We don’t eat strawberries just because they look good, but because the fruit is fragrant with the essence of summer sun and rain. Once upon a time, when the strawberry season was short and sweet, they were a delight and a treat to be looked forward to all year. Less so now when we can eat them in December.
We schedule births, and while such surgery can save the life of a mother or child, it is very often simply a matter of convenience these days, and I wonder how, or if, such artificially induced births might impact upon the bonding between parent and child. We fly around the world chasing the sun for our holidays and introduce new technologies as fast as they are invented, with little thought given to potential problems or long term consequences. Society is geared to buy on credit what we could save for… but we are not very good at waiting for anything.
In some respects, this impatience has been a positive factor in the rapid growth of human civilisation. We have changed the face of our society and adapted our environment to our needs in ways no other species has done… and yet, the consequences of that rapid growth come back all too often to haunt us. Plastics fill our oceans, killing aquatic life already under pressure from overfishing. The very success that has allowed our species to thrive now sees us in debt at both personal and national levels. We invade the green spaces, driven by the necessity to build more homes that will, in turn, consume more energy, the provision of which further damages our world.
For many people, it seems as if their world is spiralling out of control. Individually, there seems little we can do to change the way our world is being shaped by big business and power politics, though each of us can contribute to change by making choices in our own homes and lives. The awareness of the need for change, though, goes beyond the practical levels for many people who believe that change must start within… and there are plenty of opportunists who will prey on those who seek to begin a conscious spiritual journey. Like those adverts that had started me thinking.
Whatever is forced to grow, evolve or unfold before its time, risks losing something of its essential nature…and often, something of its initial attraction. The personal, spiritual journey is no different.
There are so many books, groups and systems around now that promise rapid and easy routes to spiritual growth or advancement. You have only to buy the book or sign up to find the meaning of life… or so many of them would have you believe.
On the other hand, there are many excellent books, groups and courses are available that can play a genuine and valuable part in that journey, by sharing perspectives and techniques that act as signposts, and offering shared experience and companionship along the way. It is up to the seeker to discern the difference, and discernment too is part of the path.
The spiritual journey is just that… a journey, with a beginning and a destination… and a whole landscape of experience, understanding and realisation in between that must be traversed step by step. That journey is unique for every one of us. But there are no ‘quick fixes’… the flower cannot bloom until all its petals are formed. Only you can walk your path, growing at your own pace and learning to express your essential nature… and there is a beauty in that.