The Impact of Martinus Cosmology: An Informal Study

Introduction

It is very difficult to gauge an estimate of how many people outside of Scandinavia are familiar with Martinus’s works – and it is even more difficult to find out what any of those people think about those works. Still, I put out a short survey asking people about how Martinus’s works and ideas had impacted on their lives and in this short article for the general reader I share what I found. 

In short, respondents talked about how ‘invaluable’ Martinus Cosmology was for them, and how it simplified their spiritual journey. 

Whilst this was only an informal study conducted for this website, its results suggest interesting avenues for further, more formal research. 

Current literature on Martinus’s influence

Whilst the academic research literature into Martinus Cosmology is very small, it does provide some indication of how many people have been interested in this work and what might account for the relatively small size of that interest up to now. 

One study explicitly talks about the numbers of people showing up as interested or at least aware of Martinus’s works. Bertelsen describes how difficult it is to estimate numbers, but highlights how around 400 people attended Martinus’s 70th birthday celebration, 1200 people his 90th, and how about 1400 people attended his funeral in 1981 (2016). Hammer (2009) also affirms the 90th birthday and funeral attendance figures. Bertelsen also quotes a Danish newspaper estimate from 2005 that about ‘2,000 people at that time participated in study groups based on Martinus Cosmology’ (2016). 

In terms of wider interest, Hammer speaks of Martinus as having gained some ‘celebrity’ in Denmark and as being ‘so well known in his own country that his name is a household word among “spiritual seekers”‘ (2009). Martinus Cosmology also shows up on the radar of the Danish Pluralism Project, a collective research project which was launched in 2002 at Aarhus University. This perhaps gives a further indication of what Hammer writes about Martinus Cosmology, how ‘From the 1970s and beyond, Martinus Cosmology has entered into the common cultural pool of resources from which modern “spiritual seekers” can pick and choose’ (2015). 

We can conclude from these studies that interest in and awareness of Martinus Cosmology is very likely to be much bigger than extant studies have been able to record, but that further research and data collection is needed before anything reliable can be said about it. 

A number of reasons for the lack of data about interest in Martinus Cosmology have been suggested. First, as noted by Bertelsen (2016), because Martinus Cosmology does not involve any kind of membership, it is not possible to estimate the size of interest via this route. 

Second, as also noted by Bertelsen, ‘Martinus wished that his person or work should not be made into an object of any association, new religion, sect, or global organisation’, which contributes to his work maintaining a relative anonymity. 

Third, it may well be that the issue of language presents as a factor. As Hammer points out,  Martinus’s analytic style ‘makes few concessions to the more casual reader’ (2015). Certainly, when placed next to some of the more popular forms of contemporary spirituality found in mainstream bookstores, Martinus’s texts present a more challenging read. 

Given this context of few studies into the issue and the possible reasons for low exposure outside of Scandinavia, it is perhaps particularly difficult at this time to expect large respondent numbers to any survey on the impact of Martinus Cosmology. 

Study Method and Results

The study centred around asking four basic questions: 

1. Generally, how important or valuable has Martinus’s work been to you?

2. Can you think of examples of any personal problems or issues or concerns you had that reading Martinus’s works helped with?

3. How have Martinus’s ideas influenced you in your life or your spiritual journey?

4. Is there anything else you can think of or that you’d like to add about how valuable or useful Martinus’s works have been to you personally?

Using a strategy of convenience and snowball sampling (which involves asking people you know for participation), and messaging via Facebook, two respondents provided written responses. Results were anonymised for this report. 

Importance and value

Responses indicated the very high value (‘It is absolutely invaluable to me’) and importance that Martinus’s work had for people. Martinus’s work was considered to help make sense of life and to provide hope. One respondent wrote how ‘I dread to think of life without it’. It was also seen to possibly help ‘save people from falling into depression and despair’. 

Personal Support

In terms of what personal support respondents felt it provided to them, a key theme was that Martinus Cosmology provided inspiration and courage to deal with the most challenging situations in life through forgiveness. Particular support in the areas of helping to understand sexuality, relationships and marriage, as well as parenthood, also emerged. 

Influence on the spiritual journey

Both respondents talked about how Martinus Cosmology helped them connect with prayer and connection to a higher power. Respondents also talk about how, in using Martinus Cosmology, there is felt to be little need to rely on special meditation techniques. Instead, acquiring a simpler, but also broader understanding of what is ‘good’ or ‘right’ through Martinus Cosmology seems to have helped respondents gain a simple focus for their spiritual life. 

Further comments

Both respondents emphasized that Martinus Cosmology helped them gain a greater awareness of how they behaved with regard to what Martinus calls the microcosmos, in addition to the mesocosmos and microcosmos. In other words, how they behaved with reference to their own bodies, their fellow beings and the world around them. Tolerance as a behaviour featured prominently in their responses, and one respondent mentioned how Martinus’s analyses helped validate adopting a vegetarian diet. 

Conclusion

Whilst this study had only a few respondents, such that it is not possible to make any general claims for its results, it does show how, for those that did respond, Martinus Cosmology offers a highly valuable resource for making sense of the world and one’s own life in it. 

Further research is needed to investigate more into what that value could consist of, and how prevalent it is amongst groups of people interested in Martinus’s teachings as well as society at large. 

References: 

Bertelsen, H. (2016) ‘Chapter 32: Martinus Cosmology’, in Bogdan, H. and Hammer, O. (eds) Western Esotericism in Scandinavia. Boston: BRILL, pp. 254–263.

Hammer, O. (2009) Danish Esotericism in the 20th Century: The Case of MartinusHermes in the Academy: Ten Years’ Study of Western Esotericism at the University of Amsterdam. Edited by W. Hanegraaff and J. Pijnenburg. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Hammer, O. (2015) ‘Martinus Cosmology’, in Handbook of Nordic New Religions. Leiden, The Netherlands: BRILL, pp. 58–61.

Exciting website updates at antonjarrod.com on the horizon

What’s been happening?

Of course, a lot has been going on for people all around the world during these past months, and people I know have been managing their isolation and social withdrawal in different ways. One of the many things that I’ve been focusing on is the planned (and much delayed) website update, and I’ve really welcomed the chance to have a bit more time to dedicate to this project. 

And so I thought I would write a quick post to give an indication that I am now hoping to launch a new-look for this website next month in June!

I am very happy about it! And this is not only because I’ve been planning it for more than a year now and have up to now made very little progress, but also because I’ve got lots of exciting new content and directions to share. 

Growing interest

Looking at some of the figures from my website control panel, interest in this site has grown a lot since I first launched it in November 2016. 

The aim for the site back then was simply to have a place on the web to call home; a place where I could share my work, research and interests in and on modern spirituality more widely. 

Some three and a half years later, this is still a big part of the aim. Whilst I think that a good number of people will always be interested in exploring their own spirituality and issues and ideas related to this, I think that particularly at this time in the history of the world there is a need to look at the deeper causes of things, to the essence of things. And that is what ‘spirit’ is, after all – the essence of things. 

16000 Visits Per Month!

The figures show that between 14000 and 16000 visits per month are made to this site, and the numbers are growing month on month, and year on year, as this graph shows: 

Line graph showing increasing visits per month to www.antonjarrod.com between November 2016 and February 2020

The annual trend can be seen to increase as well over the three-year period from November 2016, as this graph shows:

Line graph showing biannual increased growth in visitors to www.antonjarrod.com, with trendline

I am personally very pleased with these results, and when I checked the figures I was massively surprised to see numbers in the tens of thousands – I was hopeful for figures in the low hundreds at best. 

Furthermore, it does seem that visits to antonjarrod.com come from all over the world. I particularly like this map from my web host, showing global reach and visitation for the period May 2019 to May 2020. 

Screenshot of map showing global annual visitor spread for www.antonjarrod.com between May 2019 and May 2020

I know that I should not read too much into these figures, but my take from the picture I’m getting is that I should feel encouraged to try and produce high-quality content that people find useful and interesting. 

Work being done in the background

Well, the work to do a website update is indeed quite challenging. I will fill you in on some of the things that I’ve been doing. 

But first, it might be worth mentioning that I have been working practically by myself on this project – and this is the main reason why it has taken so long. Yet, I am very grateful to my friend Njteh for his expert tips and advice for how I might approach this project and for what kind of changes I should make. Massive thanks to you!

Web design is now much easier than it was when I took a course in web design basics back in 2002 at UCL. Those were the days! I remember spending ages trying to learn Dreamweaver – remember that? 

Still, web design today is not at all straightforward. To get the project on the road, I’ve had to learn more about content writing for the web, and the technical aspects of creating ‘staging sites’ and so on. I’ve also had to do a huge amount of research into the best kind of theme and layout that would work to really update this website and make it look fresh. It has taken a long time; hopefully it all works out and the site will launch fine next month, but there may still be a spanner in the works. I live in hope, shall we say. 

Final thoughts

The most important thing, however, is still ‘content’. As a writer who was sort of trained in an old fashioned way i.e. who learned the art of writing by reading the great masters of literature and thought from the past, I’ve had to get out of my comfort zone to write for the web, and write for a whole range of different audiences. This has been very exciting and I think that my writing is much better for it.

The challenge for me has always been with finding a way to communicate extremely difficult and complex thoughts in a way that is easy for people to understand. I hope I strike the right balance.

Yet it is not only written content that I’ve been learning to create – it is also video and graphic content too. I’m very excited about the next steps along this particular line, and hopefully the new site will make it easier for all this kind of content to work well together. Remember, you can see my latest video content on my YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/antonjarrod

There has been a lot of work going on in the background, and I can’t wait to share this with visitors to this updated website next month (or soon in any event). 

Please check back soon and watch out for further announcements. 

Anton

Armageddon – what does it mean, really?

Photo of bush fire destruction in Australia

I recently finished translating an article by Martinus, based on a transcript of a meeting and discussion he had towards the end of his life, where he talked about ‘Armageddon’ or ‘ragnarok’ as it is called in the Scandinavian languages. I will update this article with a link to the translated version when it is published. 

There were some really interesting points in that article, especially concerning death, and I thought it would be a good time to talk about this subject. Like many people who get the news on a regular basis one way or another, even without looking for updates, I had been wondering about the bush fire events in Australia and the virus epidemic in China, especially since I was due to travel to both of these countries. At this time of writing, I am now in Australia, but I had to cancel my trip to Beijing because of the epidemic, most unfortunately (I hope to resume my visit when the epidemic has ended and all travel restrictions are removed). 

Well, putting all these things together – the article about Armageddon, the great devastation by fire in New South Wales and the coronavirus epidemic in China – I wondered that a person could easily think that we are in an ‘Armageddon moment’. Some of the language people have been using in response to these events in the last weeks has indeed been apocalyptic. For example, an article on the BBC News site has the headline ‘Australia fires: ‘Apocalypse’ comes to Kangaroo Island’ (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-51102658). But what does ‘Armageddon’ really mean, from a modern, non-religious perspective? 

First, the word ‘Armageddon’ has an enormous emotional baggage that comes with it. We can’t really say that it is a scientific term. In a modern spirituality or spiritual scientific perspective, the word perhaps does not have much use. But there are phenomena or aspects of reality that we might say could be summed up by the ancient word ‘Armageddon’. And those phenomena concern the nature of change in deep reality as it pertains to the way different levels of reality come to impinge or impact the physical dimension, which is where we have a main waking consciousness. 

I did a video a short time ago on ‘how the spiritual dimension relates to the physical’ (https://youtu.be/ma64C6Ws4-M), which might be useful to have a look at because this idea of ‘Armageddon’ has much to do with the relation between different dimensions.  

Essentially ‘Armageddon’ can be said to represent this: changes occur at the essential level of being and reality, which compared to this zone of being might be said to be a higher dimension of being. These changes are manifestations of the will of living beings at their source of being – their deepest and highest transcendent selves. These manifestations of will are also energies, forces, that get sent out through the dimensions of reality where living beings manifest. These energies meet other energies, sent out from other living beings, and ultimately from the universe, which consists of all the living beings put together. When these energies meet each other, a living being has an experience. All experience is, ultimately, a meeting of energies in this way. One of the very first concepts introduced by Martinus in his main work, Livets Bog (The Book of Life), is this: 

‘… the experience of life can only exist as an interaction between two forms of energy, namely, the energy radiating from the universe in the form of our surroundings, and the energy radiating from our own inner being in the form of our manifestation’

(https://www.martinus.dk/en/ttt/index.php?bog=51&stk=2)

We on this planet are living beings who in our deepest selves send out energies and forces of manifestation. The whole experience of being human on this planet is the result of a great symphony of these emanations of energies being sent out from our deepest selves as they interact with our environment and other living beings. The thing about these energies is that it is a universal law that they return to their source. An energy sent out does not disappear, or gets lost. It is never diminished or increased. It is preserved in returning to its source. But the returns don’t all happen instantly. They all occur according to many different rates and rhythms, velocities.

What is more, this grand orchestra of sound would be a cacophony if it were not directed or overseen by a higher intelligence. The order we see in the physical world, the natural world, the pattern of the natural order in which we have our life and experience, is a consequence of a higher dimension of causality. The physical dimension as a whole, as I said elsewhere (https://youtu.be/ma64C6Ws4-M), is a consequence of a deeper order of causality, a higher level of intelligence and consciousness. It is this higher order of intelligence that sets the pattern of possibilities for the return rates of those energies sent out by living beings at a lower order of existence: us. 

And it is this intelligence or consciousness, or this higher natural order, that in fact determines that these returns of energy get collected up and not returned all at once, but in waves. The waves build and peak, crash and ebb, according to a higher direction of energy, force and will; by a higher order or living and being. We can also use another ancient word for these building and returning waves of energies and forces: ‘karma’.

We are quite used to observing ‘cycles’ in nature, and we can even see such things as periods or stages or shifts in time and history as it pertains to human society. We can sense, albeit vaguely and imprecisely, the effects of these waves shaping our experience of life and our evolution and development as human beings, as societies and as a planet. And we can see how there are peaks and troughs, ebbs and flows, times of great change and transformation, and times of lesser. Behind these manifestations are the actual driving forces of changes and transformation – the returning energies of our own original sending out of energy, coming in waves through time and space according to the higher dimensional patterning occurring at the very same level of essence that includes our own essence. 

And here we have the beginnings of a more modern, spiritual understanding of Armageddon.  

Armageddon is an old way to describe the manifestation of great change occurring as a result of a major returning wave of karmic energies to their sources, saved up over time and accumulated, only to be released in a great wave in order to promote the transformation and change – or progress – that will inevitably result. Yes, such changes are dramatic and drastic sometimes, painful and accompanied by great suffering, as all great shifts in history seem to be. But by going through this change and tumultuousness, we move forward; and having received our returning energies, we can send out new energies and thereby change everything.

To go beyond the old words ‘Armageddon’ and ‘Karma’, we need to start learning about energy in a spiritual sense, cycle principles, the nature of the self. There are a lot of teachings from the last 100-150 years about these things. We can start to acquire a theoretical knowledge, and then we can start to put things to the test, become spiritual scientists. It isn’t easy, but it is possible. It can be done. I’ll be giving some insights into this on this website and through my social media channels like ‘YouTube’ (https://www.youtube.com/antonjarrod), so do check back over time if you are interested to find out more about this kind of stuff. And as always, feel free to leave a comment or question below. 

Latest videos on racism, Martinus Cosmology and more

My new project of short videos on introductory topics and questions related to Martinus Cosmology is going really well, and I’m really pleased there has been a growth of interest in the subject.

Check out the latest videos on my YouTube channel. And please get in touch if you’d like any questions or issues addressing in the videos or on this site.

 

Who was Martinus and What is Martinus Cosmology

This is the title of my latest video on the subject of Martinus. It is still quite surprising how few people in the English speaking world know about Martinus and his life’s work. People interested in religion and spirituality know something about such figures as Madame Blavatsky, Rudolf Steiner or G.I. Gurdjieff, but not many have heard of Martinus.

In this video, I give a quick, accessible introduction to Martinus as a person and what Martinus Cosmology is.

Talking about “My Spiritual Journey” (and how difficult it is to find the words)

For a long time I had experienced a sort of writer’s block when trying to find the right words and expression for a short series of videos on my spiritual journey. The main reason, as far as I could discern it, was to do with accuracy – principally, being unable to accurately express something as vast and all-pervading as the direct encounter with spirituality over a whole lifetime, in just as few short words. The task seemed impossible as I thought through it: how on earth (literally) could I give another person any sense of the enormity of what has been experienced? At best, all that could be communicated would be the scantest, most irrelevant and most superficial details.

After all, dealing with spirituality is by nature dealing with the very things that language has not been built up to describe, namely, the non-physical. Yes, we have a developed a whole system of words for abstract concepts, but the spiritual world lies as much above and beyond the world of thought – the natural terrain for concepts – as the world of thought lies above the world of matter. Trying to capture the nature and reality of spirituality and its experience in a rather crude material like “thought” seems just as pointless as like trying to catch the wind in a sieve.

Of course, I was well aware that there was a long and illustrious history of people writing about spirituality and their encounter with “that” in ways that marvelled and excelled, and brought language to its own limits. Yet, the landscapes they had painted, and the worlds they had described, were all coloured by the language and concept-systems of the traditions and religious teachings in which they were embedded. When St John of the Cross talks about his dark night, it is a dark night illuminated and bound by Christian teaching and imagery. For someone sitting firmly outside of the religious traditions, those tropes and concepts and images would not be helpful. I could not paint my own picture in the language of the spiritual tradition, as it seemed to me.

Yet, at the same time, it was not my objective to create a new language for the experience I wished to talk about. I had to find a practical way through the difficulties and not be overtaken by them or prevented from speaking. So, even whilst they remained, and I was left to use words such as “spiritual journey” and “God” in my eventual and resulting videos, I was able to speak something about my experience, since childhood, of encountering spiritual reality. And I was pleased to be able to release the final and third short video this week.

My practical solution: I told a simple story, in three parts, of how I came to the decision and determination to look for and at spirituality in a serious manner, and where that led to. This meant, my own spirituality, my own experience of it. As far as can be achieved in what amounts to a total of 30 minutes of speaking, I am pleased to be able to highlight the main shape of a story of becoming and realisation, and awakening to what is my current truth. What it lacks in detail, comprehensiveness, and perhaps originality in terms of what I light upon, it makes up for in being able to condense in as short a space as possible the “impossible-to-describe” reality of experience regarding spirituality reality.

True, I have side-stepped the thorny issue of language and representation, and I’ve gone for communicability instead of accuracy and precision, using common words and frames of thinking, even though I still feel I haven’t quite said very much about the real nature of the “journey” that I’ve been on, but that work can be for another time. For now, as part of my work of sharing insights into spiritual reality and our encounter with it, I am pleased with the result and feel that it would help encourage conversations with others about their own spiritual journeys, where they’ve been, where they are, and where they see themselves as headed.

 

7 Ways to Spiritual Health: Tips for carrying out your own spiritual health check-up

Photo of a lodge on a green field by a lake. Anton Jarrod describes how to organise a spiritual health check-up

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Our spiritual health is as important as anything else

We go to get checked out by the doctor; we take our car to the garage. But how often do we check our spiritual health? Indeed, what is spiritual health? In this short post, I give you 7 ways to do your own spiritual health check-up. I’ve found all of these activities to be very helpful over the years. Simply adapt them to your own needs and requirements.

A spiritual health check-up is where you take time and space to examine your own spirituality. You look at your life as a whole, but in spiritual terms. You look at where you are at in your journey. If you listen deeply to yourself, you own spirit and essence will let you know what you need to focus on, and what your spiritual health needs are. You will then find the specific meaning of spiritual health for you as it is right now. So look forward to some quality soul-time…

Tip 1: Prepare a retreat – home or away

A retreat is a great way to get time and space for your health-check. You don’t have to go far – I often do my check-up at home, over a weekend. If I’m really pushed for time, then I simply take a day-out and go on a long walk or hike. If you can get away for a few days, that’s wonderful – but don’t convince yourself that this is necessary, otherwise you’ll miss opportunities to take the check-up when you need it.

For your retreat, what you want to do is make sure the focus is on you. It can be difficult to get time away if you have family, but carving some time out for you is what this check-up is all about. You want to be able to set your intention on checking in with yourself and your emotions, your body, your thoughts and your deeper self. So plan your retreat day or weekend around dedicated “sessions” for your check-up and make sure you build in enough time for everything you want to do. For some ideas about how to create a retreat at home, check out this article from The Chopra Center: http://www.chopra.com/articles/12-ways-to-create-a-stay-at-home-yoga-retreat#sm.00001ui1c06i5xfgusxvi21v3hkns

Tip 2: Review your life

This is what the health check-up is all about. You want to review your life and give your own essence or spirit a chance to connect with where your life is. It is so easy to get lost in the maze of daily life – your check-up gives you time to step out for a moment and reengage with your deeper being and purpose. This is why spiritual health is important, and why it is important to review it.

Plan to look at your whole life in a deep way; if you won’t have time, or you have already done this, do a shorter review of the whole, or focus on a particular time. Whatever you choose here, answer for yourself these key questions: Where have I been? Where am I in my life right now? Where am I going?

Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash. Anton Jarrod explains how important it is to have a spiritual check up.

Tip 3: Review your guides

It’s time to look at your guides for your spiritual journey. These are the people or ideas or books that have been most helpful and supportive on your way. It’s time to review whether they will accompany you as you continue your journey. As you review your life, think about how these guides have helped you on the way. What was it you gained or took from them, in a deep way? What will you take with you from them?

And then, honestly, think ahead about where you are going. Will these guides still serve you well? Perhaps you will need to find other guides, ideas, people to connect with. This can be difficult, but is this where your soul is taking you? Or, perhaps you simply need to reengage with these ideas or guides that have served so well. What then? Perhaps it is time to go more deeply and discover more about them.

Tip 4: Connect/Disconnect with people in your life where needed

It can be difficult to take steps to connect with others, or disconnect from some of the people in your life, for spiritual health reasons. But one of the most profound outcomes from a spiritual health check-up is learning that such changes need to be made. For the good of your soul!

We often have defences we build to protect us from difficult decisions like disconnecting from someone or entering into new relationships. We often need the quiet, safe surroundings of the retreat to hear the soul speak here. But don’t worry about getting it wrong – there is no room for doubt here! The right decision always feels absolutely right, whole and meaningful. Your soul will be yearning for the change that is about to happen. Go only where and if it is feels completely right – this is the hallmark of deep alignment.

Tip 5: Reorientation towards the divine/spirit/X

Whatever your name or sense is for the divine, spirit, “god” or “goddess”, now is the time for reorientation towards this. Your deeper self is most healthy, happy and flourishing when it is pointing towards the divine.

Daily life sometimes means we forget our deep connection to the profound Source of being. But taking time out of our day for recalling, remembering and reaffirming the divine connection is something that can take pride of place on your retreat. There are a thousand ways to do this, but the best ones are those you create for yourself.

Tip 6: Return to life with gusto

As your health check-up is completed, spend some time capitalizing on the new energy, insights and motivations that you feel inspired with. Think about what you’ve achieved in the short space of time of your review, and how you have now found yourself again. You have spent some time thinking and feeling into where you are going. Now you can set foot in that new direction, or keep going in the direction you’ve been going but with new energy.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/52/Summer_Solstice_Sunrise_over_Stonehenge_2005.jpg. Anton Jarrod explains how to create a spiritual health check-up

Tip 7: Look ahead to the next check-up

If taking a spiritual health check-up works for you, then think about keeping yourself in good form by keeping one eye on the road ahead and planning your next check-up. Giving yourself a spiritual goal will give you a sense of direction, and what better way to check you are on course than by reviewing where you are at a later date.

I often try to take a retreat and look at my spiritual health once every three months. I find that the solstices and equinoxes are perfect times for reflecting on the spiritual journey. But don’t feel restricted in any way. If your soul is calling out for it, then answer it as soon as possible.

Conclusion

By taking time out of the day, month or year to focus on your spiritual health by reviewing where you are, what you are doing and what your needs are, you will be giving your soul some valuable attention. Let it speak and it will guide you through the following weeks and months to where it needs to be.


Author:
Anton Jarrod

Photo of Anton Jarrod
Anton Jarrod

Anton Jarrod is a writer, thinker and practitioner of modern spirituality. He is currently writing about issues in modern spirituality, as well as the work of the largely unknown but important Danish thinker Martinus. He is the author of Martinus Cosmology and Spiritual Evolution: the essential ideas and teachings, as applied to the Gospels, published in June 2017.

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The benefits of having some kind of spiritual theory

you need a spiritual theory

Reading Time: 5 minutes

So many ideas, but what is important?

There are many, many ideas and theories about spirituality that have sprung up over the last hundred years or so. Some of these are more or less serious, original, popular, well-articulated or worthy of attention. Some tend to emphasize particular aspects of spirituality, like perhaps the emphasis on psychology in some of the work of Ken Wilber, or on the social constructive elements in the work John Heron, whilst others go for a more broad-based approach, as found in the work of Martinus, whose “Cosmology” makes an account for every aspect of existence. In the midst of all these ideas and theories stands the individual, and what emerges as the most important thing is this: what is your theory?

How it can help

For those people whose spirituality is not lived under the direction of one of the world’s religions, or the worldview that these religions draw on and promote, it can be a very good idea to develop some kind of theory of spirituality. By this I mean anything from a simple, overarching framework of the spiritual universe, to something much more complete in its details. Having such a theory can really help guide practice and development. It can be a shining light in an otherwise difficult terrain.

It might be worth adding here that I also mean by “theory” something very broad and plastic. In this regard, “theory” means simply an idea that is more or less expanded. As applied to spirituality, it means a more or less expanded idea of the spiritual universe. Not everyone is a Plato or Isaac Newton. Yet it is not necessary for each and every person to develop an entirely complete theory. It is not necessary to build a theory for others to use, or to convince others. I’m speaking here only of what is relevant to the individual who feels they are on some kind of spiritual journey.

A theory of spirituality can help give the spiritual journey a certain shape and direction, a form. It can help the traveller get a handle on some of the challenges of the spiritual life. As well, it can help contextualize and conceptualize what the lived experience is. It can help one see more clearly where one is, where one has been, and where one is going. It can help one triangulate one’s position, but also help answer questions that nobody else can answer. One of the challenges of the spiritual journey outside of religion is that very often there is no other guidance but that which lies within. Having some kind of spiritual theory can help give that inner guidance a shape and vessel through which to speak.

What is needed

To get such a theory, it is necessary first of all to think. To get and build one’s own theory, it is necessary to think about everything one has come to realize and verify for oneself as being one’s truth or belief. This might involve, of course, drawing to mind the many important things that have influenced one through one’s life. This can include the many different ideas and theories shared by others in conversation or in books, or in one’s previous education. But it is still more important to come to some kind of recognition and valuation of what, ultimately, one believes or holds to be true oneself, despite what other people have said, thought or written down.

Such a theory does not need to be written down, although of course it may help if one finds writing helpful. The important thing is not that it is written, but that is thought through. It can take time to go through such a process of bringing to mind everything related to this theory that one has, or that one is forming. But it is time very well spent, because then the traveller will be much clearer about the journey, the terrain and the road one is taking through it.

As mentioned above, the theory I’m speaking about here can be more or less complete; it can consist of something as simple as a few broad strokes and “big ideas” about how everything goes together, or it can be complete and detailed so as to cover everything that exists. Its completeness is not of immediate importance, as it can always be developed and refined later. With this theory, simple or complex, one can measure one’s experience of life against it, and gradually come to an ever more accurate theory. This would also be the beginning of an individual’s spiritual science.

Isn’t such a spiritual theory redundant?

It might be argued that it is not necessary to spend time undertaking such an exercise, because people already have their theories of life and operate under them every day, and use them every day, continually refining them in a natural manner without any effort. However, this would be to mistake theory with something like a perspective, worldview or view of life, which can be more or less unconscious. It is true that our worldview is always coming into play and always being refined and added to by experience, by everything we read or speak about with others. However, this is something that is quite passive within us. A theory is something that we create, by our own mental power, and which involves will power and analytical processing. It means making choices about what the world is like, perhaps independent of our worldview.

It might also be countered that people cannot make such a theory, that it is too difficult or that one cannot escape the many influences that have fed into our worldview. Here, it may feel true that one’s theory of spirituality actually comes from this writer or that writer, and that one cannot think any differently to that writer. However, there will always be some kind of reason why one agrees with this or that view, and why one takes this or that idea on board. Here it will be important to rediscover those reasons, and not take anything for granted. One cannot truly have a theory if one does not attempt to own it, no matter where the thought may have come from, whether from Plato or Kant or the woman down the road. Here, it will be most unlikely that one’s whole theory of spirituality and the spiritual universe comes from just one source. As such, it is important to go within and try to work out where one’s ideas have come from. As an ancient philosopher once said, the unexamined life is not worth living.

A basic need

There are very many reasons to start thinking along these lines, and continue thinking through one’s ideas about spiritual reality, as well as build them into a more or less simple theory. It is not necessary to create a Newton’s Principia of spiritual reality, as I’ve already said, but of course if you can then all the better for you. What feels right depends on many factors, including who you are, where you are and what you can do, as well as what you feel you need. However, I would contend that all who are exploring spirituality need to have at least some kind of theory. If they do already have this, then certainly it can be a good idea to look at it and develop it.


Author:
Anton Jarrod

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Anton Jarrod

Anton Jarrod is a writer, thinker and practitioner of modern spirituality. He is currently writing about issues in modern spirituality, as well as the work of the largely unknown but important Danish thinker Martinus. He is the author of Martinus Cosmology and Spiritual Evolution: the essential ideas and teachings, as applied to the Gospels, published in June 2017.

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I’ve decided to change the look of my website, ready for the publication of my forthcoming work, “Martinus Cosmology and Spiritual Evolution”. The old website took too long to load up, and so this website is cleaner and simpler.

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