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Uniting for a better world

Stephen Wollaston (also known as Santoshan) is a council member of GreenSpirit, a network of people who celebrate the human spirit in the context of their place in the natural world and work towards  a more just, sustainable and peaceful way of life in harmony with this planet. Stephen is the designer of GreenSpirit's magazine and has authored or co-authored five books on spiritual matters. He holds a degree in religious studies and a post-graduate certificate in religious education from King's College London. He was given the name Santoshan (contentment) by an English swami.


Santoshan
    "In the light of contemporary knowledge about 
the
harm we are doing to our beautiful planet 
and the
mass extinction of hundreds of species every day,
Spiritualist principles of ‘the brotherhood of man'
and ‘personal responsibility' need expanding to
encompass wider realms 
of spirituality."

What is often termed ‘Modern Spiritualism' burst forth into a world that was vastly different from the one in which we now live. Like any movement, it was a product of its time. Yet it managed to break through old perspectives and put forward new and ground-breaking inspiration.

It filled the need of many to discover first-hand experience of the spirit world. The West was at that time more predominantly Christian than it is now, its outlook influenced by perspectives that even some Christians have since redefined, such as seeing our physical world as separate from the spirit and therefore less spiritual.

Its teaching about the Fatherhood of God is also generally looked upon as being focused on a transcendent reality that is separate from physical life. This exclusion of a more Earth-centred Mother God has since become something of crucial importance in how we relate to and perceive the realms of nature.


Learning from Eastern traditions

In recent decades there has also been an explosion of interest in Eastern traditions. Yogic, Buddhist and other perspectives have become interwoven with some contemporary mediumistic teachings. For instance, seeing the world as an illusion - which is not believed by everyone within the Yogic and Buddhist traditions - and looking upon our physical senses, which have taken millions of years to evolve, as not being spiritual, whereas abilities of clairsentience, clair-voyance and clairaudience are seen as the opposite. Once again, some contemporary teachers coming from Eastern perspectives have reassessed these ideas, 
as they can lead us away from finding the spirit in everyday life and, by extension, to not caring enough about the natural world of which we are so intrinsically a part. This includes not only other people, such as our sisters and brothers of the African Plains, but also other species such as the creatures of the world's jungles, rainforests, woodlands, mountain ranges, skies, rivers and oceans.
 

What is important now?

There is of course much wisdom to be found in teachings about how we each create our own reality, how we often don't perceive life as it truly is, and generally see other people, species and phenomena as distinctly separate from ourselves, whereas in reality, of course, we are all profoundly interconnected. But this is a different teaching from seeing the world in a purely negative light and as unreal, and not recognising the spirit that is an integral part of each and every one of us.

In order to move forward, we need to ask ourselves ‘What is important, helpful and true for us now?' and ‘What is it that our development ultimately needs to embrace?'. It is when we come to reflect healthily upon our development that we realise it cannot be separated from the Earth's or the universe's evolvement. For to truly explore our spiritual nature is to search for deeper dimensions of being and discover a unity and wholeness that is the sacred ground of all activity and life.
 
 
Responsibility goes far beyond 
sister and brotherhood
 
On the whole, the important message mediums give is one of personal responsibility, along with a call to find sisterhood and brotherhood with others. And also how our lives are continuously evolving - that we are eternal spirit beings and responsible for our actions, even the act of not acting when we should. Few mediums would promote only the survival of the ‘human spirit' as the sole area of development to consider. In the light of contemporary knowledge about the harm we are doing to our beautiful planet and the mass-extinction of hundreds of species every day, Spiritualist principles of ‘the brotherhood of man' and ‘personal responsibility' need expanding to encompass wider realms of spirituality, including updating the wording to include women and global responsibility. In place of a search only for ‘human unity', ‘human evolvement' and ‘human afterlife', there is a crying need to accept the rights of other species, and to live together harmoniously with the Earth.
 
 
Spiritualist movements remain silent about our planet
 
I know mediums who are deeply concerned about diminishing ecosystems and rainforests. Yet Spiritualist movements themselves are often silent and slow to take active roles in environmental issues. When I was involved in the SNU's Publicity and Public Relations Committee during its centenary celebrations, a question was raised regarding which charity should receive a collection. I suggested Greenpeace, but others found this far too political and radical to consider.
 
 
Embracing the radical and relevant

Ultimately, if we are prepared to open our lives to the evolving spirit and an ongoing unfolding spirituality, we will find not only a communion with the spirit through departed loved ones, but a communion with the spirit in other deeply enriching areas. These include embracing radical and essential teachings and practices that are relevant to our times, taking us into areas of growth where we discover the universal spirit in all. That in turn unites us deeply with contemporary concerns about the natural world and helps us find an infinite variety of spiritual gifts, not only of a mediumistic kind but also those deeply compassionate gifts that lead us to harmonious living with, and caring for, other life.

"Spontaneous acts of compassion come from being 
at one with the continuously flowing creative energy 
of the spirit."
"Spontaneous acts of compassion come from being 
at one
with the continuously flowing creative energy 
of the spirit."

 
   
Following such wisdom becomes a matter of opening to the potential to be active in each moment; of awakening to that which, paradoxically, is both the same spirit in all, and the uniqueness in all. Spontaneous acts of compassion come from being at one with the continuously flowing creative energy of the spirit.

This revelation of the spirit happens naturally through us and in a sense makes us all modern-day prophets, because we find deep communion with the spirit in profound ways that spur us into creative action. Such creativity unfolds as a result of our awakening and becomes an outward expression of revelation, as it connects us with the spirit that is continuously seeking to reveal itself in new acts of wholesome and caring inspiration. That inspiration radically resists going with the flow of contemporary consumerism and plundering the Earth's natural resources. It touches deeply our lives, emotions, minds and imaginations, helping to enlarge us and lead us to discover previously unrecognised realms of possibility and gifts. It entices us to move beyond boundaries, beyond restrictive patterns of belief, to re-establish our kinship with the Earth and the spirit world.


Part of our spiritual journey

Instead of running away from life and contemporary problems, we include everything as a part of the spirit's journey. When we include the natural world and all existence, we open to a path that is spontaneously life-affirming - to understanding every day and thing as sacred and needing our attention, instead of seeing spirituality and the spirit as being somewhere else. Through this we awaken to universal realms of growth that are by their very nature all-inclusive, enriching and creative. We discover means of making the world in which we live a more loving and just place; and ways to touch others' lives, which ultimately help us find more spiritual meaning and purpose in our development.
 


Spirituality Unveiled
   

Uniting for a better world

In my work with GreenSpirit I have suggested the idea of having interlinked groups that share its vision, such as GreenSpirit Spiritualists, Christians and Buddhist. I hope that now may be the time for us all to work together in order to make the world a better place.

• To find out more about GreenSpirit, 
visit: www.greenspirit.org.uk

• The book ‘Spirituality Unveiled' by Santoshan (Stephen Wollaston) is available from www.amazon.co.uk in both paperback and Kindle editions.
 
 

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