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.
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.
Whilst the spiritual life is never dull and whilst it always seems to be a time of richness, June 2018 will be particularly interesting for me as it will be a time where I move a step forward with the “public” side of my spiritual practice. Over the last year I’ve been experimenting with various kinds of online publication, trying to find my feet with all the tools and options that are available, and the various kinds of media through which communication can be made. But it’s really only now that I can see a way forward that works in terms of sharing and promoting my work.
And what is that work? Well, I’ve been very busy as someone who has been following and investigating the spiritual journey for the last twenty years, having been interested in spirituality all my life. After making a serious commitment to the spiritual life more than a decade ago, I’ve been working on developing high quality analyses of a whole range of themes and issues related to this area, which in the last years I’ve started to share. Certainly my book on Martinus Cosmology was one fruit of that work, but there are many more things that I’d like to share from what I’ve learned, and so it is very exciting to start making this work available now.
We live in a very curious time, and a very fortunate time, because we live in a zone of reality where all the pieces of the puzzle of the mysteries of life are here already. But it may surprise some people to hear that they are not only found in one work or the work of one writer, culture, or tradition. And they are not found only in physical materials. Instead, the whole of life itself, including all of our experiencing and perceiving, now appears to humanity as a great teacher, as a puzzle waiting to be pieced together. Sure, many people are writing and speaking about this, including myself, but such writings are only aids or supporting works to the major work of life itself. Whilst these aids can help us understand and learn the language of life, just as a language book can help us learn Spanish, it is only life itself that speaks, and when you learn that language it is not necessary to then rely on books, or teachings on spirituality or religious traditions.
And this is what is new. In the past, in order to develop spirituality, in terms of spiritual identity and understanding spiritual reality, you had to follow the leader, you had to read this or that book, subscribe to a system of belief, follow certain practices. This was the religious way. Whilst today it can certainly be interesting and rewarding to consider religious teachings and to read this or that book on spirituality, such things are not the foundation of the new spirituality. Sure, people can completely reject religious ideas and instead focus their attention on popular authors of spiritual books and newer spiritual writings, but these can also be treated in a religious way. The new spirituality that I talk about and which forms part of my own journeying has far less to do with all this.
There are enormous possibilities for development, spiritual evolution, and evolution of the planetary social, economic and political situation as regards all people, whether or not they feel responsive to the new spiritual impulse and dynamic that is currently interacting with us. Yet with these possibilities there also come many new problems, challenges, issues and so on, many of which are invisible and have yet to be articulated. It would be highly irresponsible to not speak up about bumps in the road if they are likely to make people fall. And it’s also with this in mind that it feels like a good time to share something from what I’ve learned about spiritual journey.
It is not only a new perspective on the spiritual journey that you gain from travelling its road, as it is also life itself that gets perceived in a new light. The spiritual journey doesn’t happen outside of life, but within it – it cuts through it, forging a new path. And from this path you inevitably look at life in a different way, from a different vantage point. It is one of the fruits of journeying. Everything that is going on around us, our shared experience, looks somewhat different from that viewpoint. And this can be interesting, and worth sharing, even if those who don’t have that viewpoint can’t see it, value it or trust it. But this doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t share it.
So over the coming months I’ll be creating more content on spirituality and sharing it more widely, with the hope to reach those people who would really find it interesting and useful. There is so much out there, perhaps an overwhelming amount of material, but this shouldn’t deter anyone from sharing their own output – we find what we need and what we’re looking for, and life finds a way to put us in contact with it, so all one needs to concern oneself with is putting “it” out there.
Magic, Spells and Witchcraft – A spiritual-scientific view.
In this video, I talk about how there might be a different approach to goal that is sought by modern practitioners of magic, and offer up some thoughts about how developing a spiritual scientific practice might work.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I’m sometimes asked what is Martinus Cosmology and how is it different to other spiritual writings. In a nutshell, Martinus Cosmology is nothing more than the cosmology set out by Danish spiritual writer Martinus (1890-1981). In this usage, “cosmology” means the science or theory of the universe as an ordered whole, and of the general laws which govern it, to follow the definition in the Oxford English Dictionary (second edition). Also, ‘a particular account or system of the universe and its laws’. So Martinus Cosmology is the particular account of the universe given by Martinus.
At a most basic level, each and every person has their own cosmology. I have my account of the universe, you have yours. This or that scientist, theologian or football player has theirs. It is easy to imagine that some of these accounts of the universe are more detailed and comprehensive, and coherent, than others. It is in this regard that it is best to think of Martinus Cosmology. Martinus went to great lengths to give as detailed an account as he could of the universe that he saw and experienced. What resulted was a complete description of all the basic laws and principles, and all the facts and details, that he saw the universe consisted of. This is Martinus’s “world picture”.
According to this world picture, the universe does not create itself out of nothing. Nor is the universe a purely physical, mechanical entity. It is on the contrary, like we find in many religious accounts, a spiritual universe. However, the description of the universe according to the religious systems is not complete or useful for scienetific purposes, says Martinus. It relies on many outdated concepts and symbols, which are by now less useful. As a result, Martinus set out to create a new picture of the spiritual and physical universe, one that could be relevant for the people of today and that also took in all the details and realities of the modern world. What is more, he felt that there were many aspects of the universe that were not described quite accurately, or well-enough, by this or that religious system. So Martinus’s cosmology set out to address this need.
Martinus broke new ground when he published his main and secondary works, including Livets Bog (The Book of Life) (1932-1960) and The Eternal World Picture (1963-1981). First, he created a new language and set of descriptors that could account for what we might call physical and spiritual realities. With new concepts and ways of discussing reality and the universe, people could now talk about spiritual subjects without referring to this or that religion. In this regard, Martinus forms part of that early twentieth-century group of thinkers who paved the way for a spirituality independent of religion, of which we are today the inheritors.
Second, he created a very easy to read symbology. With about one hundred colour and black and white symbols, Martinus illustrated the many principles behind the universe in a way that everybody could understand. In this regard, Martinus made thinking about the universe more accessible. Martinus felt that everybody should be able to engage with high-intellectual thoughts about the deep structure of the universe and that it shouldn’t only be philosophers, mystics and spiritual adepts who should consider such things. Instead, he was much more interested in promoting a more open spirituality, whereby people didn’t have to rely on others for their spiritual nourishment.
Third, Martinus set out to provide a comprehensive world picture; a picture that could include an account of everything from the creation of physical phenomena and consciousness to suffering and joy. He wanted to account for everything we find in life, from abortions to zoos, as well as all the basic principles and processes underpinning the whole universe.
Finally, Martinus wanted to create an eternal world picture, or something that would be as valid today as in a thousand years’ time. In another sense, a picture of the reality of the universe and being that is not only valid for us, but for valid for all beings. Here, Martinus is perhaps offering a candidate for a universal language. Readers will have to determine for themselves whether they feel Martinus has achieved that, and in what ways it could be argued either way. Nevertheless, it was Martinus himself who claimed that his picture of the world was eternally valid.
I’m very pleased to start sharing my work on Medium. Over the coming months, I’ll be publishing short articles on modern spirituality, as well as Martinus Cosmology, here.
I have a real passion and deep interest in this field. I’m particularly interested in seeking out and applying the works and ideas of the field’s most profound thinkers. The last hundred or so years has, in my view, opened up entirely new possibilities for spiritual development and evolution. However, many new challenges and issues arise as well, and I wonder whether these are being so well articulated in our time, or having their solutions sought. There are many new questions that need answering by and within this field. What is more, I feel that the field itself as a whole needs to develop and move forward.
My background consists of the following intertwining strands. First, there is my formal/informal, independent intellectual work and investigation into modern spirituality over the last twenty years. This has involved a deep engagement with many of the main thought currents on spirituality that have emerged since the 1850s. This has involved using qualitative approaches and techniques to examining texts, contexts and philosophies that have emerged out of or fed into modern spirituality. Although my formal educational background has consisted of studying other subjects, namely English literature and Social Policy, my analytical research in spirituality has involved applying the epistemological and methodological tools I’ve picked up over the years to this area of study.
Second is my practical, developmental and inner transformational work, which has been going on for as long as I can remember, but which took on more formal aspects back in 2003. Here, the main thrust of this aspect was to develop reliable, sound and valid approaches to personal, inner work. I hope in the future to get the chance to write up some of this work for publication.
Third, there is also the encounter with the difficult-to-describe, call-it-what-you-will “something” behind reality. Perhaps the word “spirit” or “essence” captures something of it. It has taken time for me to recognize this essence as being there, but now I can more easily and readily affirm it as being an integral part of my own background and journeying. Again, I hope to write up something about it in the future.
After exploring more deeply my own sense of “vocation” since around 2011 or so, and after having got the opportunity to take part in and complete a two-year interfaith seminary training programme that finished in 2016 and culminated in ordination as an interfaith minister and spiritual counsellor, I decided to start writing about modern spirituality. My first book, “Martinus Cosmology and Spiritual Evolution”, is now available and aims to introduce readers in the English-speaking world to the profound works and ideas of Martinus, a still little relatively unknown Danish spiritual writer of the twentieth century.
Now, in 2017, after more than 20 years of serious exploration and work, I’m happy to share some of the results of this work. Look out for the forthcoming articles on spiritual development and the future of modern spirituality.
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.