Following the recent publication of the RSA's Spiritualise report, author Vivienne Duke explores spirituality in the every day, addressing her six new ways of thinking.
Q: Are you curious? If the answer is yes, I address this post to you.
Q: Did you experience a major, catalytic life experience in 2012? Was 2013 your ‘annus horribilis’ or did you make and carry out a major life changing decision? Was 2014 a year of change and growth or recovery?
Q: Are you feeling like there is something more to life? Are there things around you that seemed OK before and now they seem wrong? Do you feel restless? Are you feeling stuck? Are you feeling a shift inside that you cannot quite explain? Do you feel like you want to do more with your life and you are here for a greater purpose?
To explore these questions, I’d like to take you on my own personal journey, one which took an unexpected and profound twist back in September 2012 and ‘jolted’ me rather spectacularly out of my ‘slumber’…and therein lies Lesson Number One: Life is a journey of unexpected twists and turns - learn to go with the flow.
I started by asking you some questions for which I will give you some answers whilst trying to open your mind to a slightly different way of thinking…within and therein lies Lesson Number Two – Spirituality is a different way of thinking for the open minded.
If your answer to any of my questions above was ‘yes’ then you are going through a process of awakening to your true inner self and please take comfort from knowing that this is happening to pretty much everyone I meet in my business and personal circles these days. There is a big shift going on out there; this is Lesson Number Three – Spirituality is the process of awakening to your true inner self.
A conversation I had following the brilliant Spiritualise report recently published by the RSA primarily led me to writing this post. It really resonated with me and the two books I have recently written and published covering my story over the last two years. What made my story interesting enough to write a book about it? If you had asked me that question two years ago, I would have said, “nothing”. Up until September 2012, my life was what one would call ordinary. I grew up in a loving, stable family with two brothers; left school and got a job in a bank; got married (we celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary last year); had two lovely children (a boy, now 20 and a girl, now 16) and set up my own business in 2000. I went to church as a Brownie and Guide and stopped going as soon as I was a teenager - I have never been strongly religious and certainly didn’t even think about spirituality, although I did have an open and curious mind on the subject. I had a successful small business providing flexible working recruitment and consultancy (mainly in the financial services sector) but in 2008, the credit crunch hit so I had to close it down. I then went into business with someone else, where my ‘gut instinct’ was screaming “no!” and my head was ignoring it because, on the face of it, he seemed impressive. Fast forward to September 2012 and I was experiencing a number of life challenges. I was trapped in a business relationship with a toxic individual who had quite literally sucked the life out of me; my financial situation was not healthy and my dad was in hospital - we had been told he was dying.
One evening in September, after a particularly trying day on all counts, I was at a loss as to what to do next. I had no more clever answers coming from my conscious mind (it had given up!) and all that was left was for me to ask, “why is this happening to me?!” It was at this moment that I had the most unexpected and powerful spiritual experience, where I was not only told why this was happening to me, I was also told what I was here for.
I knew I had connected with something very profound. I was given some awesome answers that really helped me and have continued to receive these from that day forward. They have been life changing for me and for others who I have been able to access answers for, transforming my way of thinking and therefore my life and business.
This set me on a path I never expected to be on. Something opened up in me and the more I had these experiences, the more I realised that most of us have been missing a trick for a very long time in terms of the amazing power of our minds.
Now if you have answered the questions above I hope you will have come up with some answers that paint a picture of your life recently and what has happened to you and the effect it had on you and/or is having on you. These are all examples of ‘lessons’. Lessons are presented to us throughout our lives so that we can learn, develop and progress. I learned a lot of my lessons in hindsight, by looking back over my life and highlighting repeating life patterns. I realised I had not been learning the lessons I should have and following this realisation, my life began to transform. So Lesson Number Four is – Spirituality is understanding and accepting that life is a series of experiments. Some will succeed and some will fail. Both successful and failed experiments are good, so long as we learn the lesson. Then we can move forward.
So…what happens to me when I get these amazing answers and how does it happen?
It has been my quest over the last two years to find a simple explanation and I hope this is the answer you have been waiting for. As individuals there is a part of our consciousness that most people are disconnected from (to varying degrees) and is hence largely untapped. This is a shame because this is the part of our consciousness that is incredible and will give us creative, innovative and wise answers to any question we might have. There are a lot of names given to this part of our consciousness including: God; Source; Universal Mind; Higher Self; Super Conscious; Angels; Spirit Guides; ESP; Psychic, Channelling. This tends to throw quite a bit of confusion over the concept of Spirituality because everyone uses different names for what I believe is fundamentally the same thing. To me, it is about connecting to a higher consciousness. I don’t think any of us will fully understand what this is and I’m cool with that. All I know is that when I tap into this higher ‘power source’ of consciousness, magical things begin to happen.
In the aforementioned moment when I had asked the question, “why is this happening to me?” something changed. I was not trying to come up with clever thoughts like I normally did when I had a question or problem to solve. I wasn’t expecting any answer so my head was clear. As a result, I inadvertently connected directly to a higher consciousness. From that day forward I resolved to practice this art of connecting.
How do I connect? The answer to this is easy. There is only one thing getting in the way of us connecting to that higher power source and that is our conscious mind…that seemingly clever thinking tool that runs our lives and how we think and feel and yet actually can be a complete block to us accessing our higher consciousness. I have a visual for this. Imagine this great encyclopaedia of Universal knowledge floating around above you. It accesses you via a channel that comes into the crown of your head. However that channel is completely clogged up with all the thoughts that are spinning around your head so there is no way the higher conscious thoughts can get in there. I have often found my thoughts running away with themselves; my ‘monkey mind’ going into overdrive; my head spinning with thoughts; can’t think straight. Does this sound familiar? Our busy thoughts completely block us connecting to this higher consciousness.
In answer to the question of how to connect, this is absolutely simple and there is a growing resurgence of these techniques sweeping the UK – particularly in the business world. Some call it ‘mindfulness’. I call it ‘channelling’. It is quite simply clearing our head space; opening up that channel and reconnecting the mind, body and spirit. There are a number of widely recognised approaches to doing this. They include simple breathing exercises; meditation; yoga; walking; tai chi and prayer. Anything where you are ‘resting’ your conscious mind; being ‘present’ and focussing on that mind body connection will get you to the ‘spirit’ part, which is what I refer to as the higher consciousness.
It honestly is that simple. I have been practising meditation and channelling for two years. It does take time and practice to switch your conscious mind off and all those thoughts that persist on flying in but it gets easier and easier with practice and then the magic starts to happen. You also have to really believe that this is going to work because otherwise your conscious mind will start jumping in again and trying to rationalise things away. So Lesson Number Five – Spirituality is about belief that when you clear your head space and open up your channel, you can connect with a higher consciousness.
I have a lot of magic in my life right now. I get answers to anything I ask. They are always amazingly creative and wise answers and have hugely helped my business and my own health and wellbeing. I can channel through this connection to heal people (yes, you did hear me right – tapping into this power source can heal people, physically and emotionally); I know my true inner self and I know what I am here for i.e. my life purpose. Since I got myself on that path, I experience incredible synchronicity in my life where everything I need appears at just the right time; my life just seems to flow. I am the calmest and healthiest I have been in years. People I haven’t seen for a while say I look ten years younger than I did before I embarked on this spiritual journey. The other incredible development in my life has been the impact on my general approach to life. If I’m honest, I was pretty selfish before… Most things I did were for myself and my gain. I think we could all recognise that in ourselves if we were completely truthful. Now that I am in a position where I have fully connected to my higher consciousness and ‘awakened’ my spirit (or soul) I find myself wanting to help others. Not just thinking it but being REALLY driven to help others and pursuing it with a passion and commitment I have never known. I feel a sense of Oneness with everyone…and therein lies Lesson Six – We are all One. We are all here to collectively evolve and enlighten ourselves and the planet.
I see this in others around me who have found their connection and true inner self. It ignites something in you. It awakens your inner hero and I am seeing people transform into superheroes all around me.
Imagine what the world would be like if this happened to everyone.
Founder - People Help People and Awakening Heroes Academy (AHA!)
Author – ‘These Wings Can Fly’ and ‘Awaken Your Inner Hero’
Footnote: I sincerely hope this has provoked something in you. It was a challenge to condense two years of learning and experience into one article and I would be delighted to continue this dialogue with you directly. You can contact me through my RSA profile or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org