We all have our unique journey of spiritual leadership, so let me share mine. It started at the age of 13 when I began doing martial art. It became a lifelong love affair with all of its mystery, symbolic language and rituals, and it inspired me for more than 30 years, before I began converting it into writing.
From when I was 19 it continued into reading large amounts of spiritual litterature. I started out with Taoism, moved on to Zen-Buddhism and went aboard in the I Ching (the ancient Chinese oracle book). Soon after that I began reading the Vedic scriptures.
I loved it all and felt incredibly inspired. Especially when I found "The Tao of Physics" by Fridjof Capra a couple of years later and began studying the bridge between spirituality and science.
This was more than a decade before the craze of quantum physics in the mid 00's, and the spiritual activism it brought with it around the world.
Bible with a twist
By contrast the Bible and its content never really appealed to me. It came later to seek that out, but it never got me on the hook.
As a cultural Christian I felt an obligation to understand the religion of my own culture, so I studied it and wrote about it in my first book (a memoir about my spiritual mentor) but still, Christianity was never really my thing.
However, one of the spiritual scriptures that has always inspired me is the Zohar. It's the central scripture of Kabbalah, which is the mystical Jewish tradition of interpreting the Bible.
Its wisdom is of immense depth, and I often read it with joy and wonder. It gives me a different approach to the Bible, and strangely enough I find it easier to relate to my own culture through that. Or, to rephrase a Danish proverb,
"Sometimes we have to cross the river to get water."
When I was 34 I met my spiritual mentor. I had spent ten years straight burying myself in the craft of journalism and starting a family. I was in a traditional trajectory of life with a great job, a wife and two wonderful kids – and I was bored to death. My spiritual thirst came back like a tsunami.
Everything accelerated into a whole different orbit from that point. I had my spiritual awakening through that meeting, and it brought with it an immense process of wondering and research in both spiritual and scientific litterature combined with many different experiments. I really wanted to understand.
It also got me to India where I met my Yogi friend from the Saraswati lineage. He opened my mind further to the bridge between science and spirituality. It was because of him and his lineage of knowledge that I understood what spirituality actually is, and that it can be explained through physics. Well, most of it at least.
I also understood that I have my own independent journey in spirituality. I didn't fit the regular profile of a seeker, and I couldn't surrender to any regular practice. It didn't make sense to me, so I continued creating my own path. Including the experiment of abandoning it.
A futile attempt that taught me an important lesson. We cannot escape our destiny. We can only build upon it. In essence that's what spiritual leadership is all about. To understand our destiny and build upon it in our own true spirit.
It took me another ten years to finally get that, and again it was the spiritual scriptures that helped me. Only this time they came from my own hand. Every time I sat down to write, something spiritual came out. I couldn't stop it. It was simply the kind of writing that wanted to be shared by hands. I had no other choice but to surrender to it.
Surrender to destiny
It's surprisingly difficult to do what we are supposed to do in life. We always try to do something different. Surrendering to our destiny, and building upon it, is a life skill that few people master. But it's key to our spiritual leadership. It begins with being able to do that.
From there and onwards it's entirely a process of creation, and not just any creation; our creation. We actually get to create life the way we want it, but it only lasts if we first surrender to our destiny. It's a paradox, but I have found it to be true. Not just for myself, but for many other people as well.
Letting it happen
I have given it a lot of thought during the years to why this is, and I have come to the conclusion that it has to do with the principle of "letting it happen".
It's something I first came across in martial art many years ago, but I have found that it applies to any process of creation. Writing, painting, music, cooking, love making, etc.
The principle is this,
You don't do it, you let it happen.
It's a simple principle, but it carries a lot of depth. Potentially all the depth there is. It might actually be this principle that we would refer to as The Holy Grail. The fundamental principle of how to master life.
A choice for life
It applies to leadership too. If we try to lead, we will fail. If we let our leadership happen, we will succeed.
Being able to do that takes skill. A lot of skill. That's why most of us never begin to master life until rather late in it. Usually around the age of 49. We somehow need the mileage of life to fully understand how to handle it.
When we reach that point, we are confronted with two choices. We can either surrender to life in disillusion about not being able to understand it. Or, we can surrender to our destiny, and start building upon it.
The latter is what I consider spiritual leadership. It's taking that kind of responsibility of who we really are, and letting our spiritual leadership happen.
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