Spiritual Practice in the Modern World
There are many kinds of spiritual practice and many different practices within the kinds. Our spiritual journey is personal; but certain things are common, if not required. Nearly every spiritual school has some practices that are different from other schools, but the most important ones are essentially the same in all real spiritual schools. Let’s investigate some of the categories.
Feel Good Spiritual Practices
This type of spiritual practice is based more on emotions than on the spirit and soul. They are exemplified, I feel, by the highly successful series of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Here is part of their own definition of what the books are about:
“With well over 100 million books sold to date in the U.S. and Canada alone, more than 250 titles, and translations into more than 40 languages, “chicken soup for the soul” is one of the world’s best-known phrases and is regularly referenced in pop culture. Today, over 25 years after it first began sharing happiness, inspiration, and hope through its books.”
As the definition indicates, it is all about happiness and inspiration, making people feel good. It is about the mind, not the soul.
An article about this kind of spiritual practice that I found on GoodNet starts by telling us that the spiritual techniques covered in the article “can bring comfort, create better lifestyle habits, and set positive intentions …”. There is no mention there of the spirit and soul, which is what real spiritual development is all about.
Here is their list of practices:
- Start the day with a short meditation or prayer
- Go for a walking meditation
- Take short spiritual breaks throughout the day
- Count your blessings
- Read books about spirituality
- Find a spiritual community
- Incorporate spirituality into your daily routine
- Have patience and dedicate yourself to finding your path
While all of these have benefits, there is no mention here of the spirit or soul. It’s all about mental happiness and being content. This type of spiritual practice is popular in the New Age movement.
Wikipedia says: “A spiritual practice or spiritual discipline (often including spiritual exercises) is the regular or full-time performance of actions and activities undertaken for the purpose of inducing spiritual experiences and cultivating spiritual development. A common metaphor used in the spiritual traditions of the world’s great religions is that of walking a path. Therefore, a spiritual practice moves a person along a path towards a goal. The goal is variously referred to as salvation, liberation, or union (with God). A person who walks such a path is sometimes referred to as a wayfarer or a pilgrim.” It seems they get it better than the folks at GoodNet.
Another article on the site Panda Gossips lists ten spiritual practices, but the title of the article indicates that the primary purpose of these practices is to gain happiness. Their list closely matches the one above, but also includes listening to good music and memorizing scripture. While this one is more religious and spiritual in its details, this article also is mostly concerned with making oneself feel good rather than the development of the spirit and soul.
Physical Spiritual Practices
Another style of spiritual practice that is found in some modern schools is more physical than spiritual. It is all about what you do in the physical world. You feed the poor, comfort the grieving, pray together with others, etc. You go to reputed spiritual places like Sedona, Arizona, or maybe just a spiritual retreat held by a church. You might take trips to a beach, to the mountains, or into a forest to escape the materialism of the world. Again, these are all good things to do, but they are not particularly spiritual. They can be aids to spiritual growth, but they don’t do the important task of awakening the dormant spiritual faculties.
In Cosolargy, we are concerned less with the physical and mental, and more with the spirit and soul.
Another category of spiritual practices are those intended to destroy or “kill” the ego. This idea is found in some Eastern spiritual schools and has been successfully promoted in recent times by some spiritual writers, including Ekhart Tolle. It is surprising to me that so many people fall for this idea without bothering to ask one simple question: If the ego is so terrible, why are we all born with one? Ego may not have much use to a spirit, but we also have a body and mind and need to function in the physical world as well as the spiritual.
Spiritual Practices in Cosolargy
“Absorption of solar energy from an outside source causes vital life forces to begin to pulse in the electrical fields, the nervous system, and the force centers, causing our vibratory rate to increase.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
“The absorption of cosmic/solar energy into the physical nervous system and electrical fields rejuvenates the cells, and has a revitalizing effect.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
The first and most obvious way in which the spiritual practices differ in Cosolargy from most other modern spiritual schools is that we not only don’t emphasize the use of meditation for spiritual growth, we discourage it. What we do instead is a form of sun-gazing. Unlike other groups practicing sun gazing, we emphasize the Spiritual Sun. While technically the Spiritual Sun, being a spirit, is not limited to any particular location in time and space, for convenience we look to the physical sun just as most other sun-gazers do, but we concentrate on trying to get energy from the Spiritual Sun behind the physical (in a sense). Through the Spiritual Sun we connect with a higher power, a higher level of consciousness. For beginning students, this is done a few times a week with the eventual goal of making it a daily spiritual practice. This is by far the primary spiritual practice in Cosolargy. Most of the others are designed to accompany or enhance the effects of spiritual sun-gazing.
New students are encouraged to practice journaling to help them track changes in themselves as they advance.
Music and Chanting
Music and chanting are used to enhance the experience of Cosolargy members when practicing spiritual sun gazing. During group services, music is provided with a harp, an organ, and bells. Crystal singing bowls are also played while the group chants together. When practicing alone, some listen to recorded music, or play their own singing bowls, or intone syllables.
Scientific research in recent decades has shown that visualization can improve performance in many things. When basketball players visualized getting the ball in the basket for a while before practice, they scored more baskets than usual. In Cosolargy, we visualize several things to enhance our sun-gazing. We visualize the cross that is our symbol over the sun and over our eyes. This increases the amount of positive, beneficial energy taken in while helping to block the negative energy that may also come along from the physical sun. We visualize our energy centers being filled with energy and Light from the spiritual Sun. Finally, we visualize our consciousness going beyond the physical sun and entering the spiritual Sun.
“In order for personal advancement or spiritual evolution to take place, the proper attitude is essential, as is the understanding of what actually occurs or is supposed to occur. A benevolent, tolerant, loving attitude toward all life on all levels is important.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
As we do these visualization techniques, we also see ourselves growing spiritually in every way possible. We also practice sending some of that spiritual Light out into the world and visualize the world and everything in it becoming more spiritual.
Physical and Mental Health
“Cosolargy teaches that every individual owes it to himself to advance through self-discovery or self-realization.” ~Gene Savoy, Sr.
Cosolargy students are taught to care for their physical health in a way that can enhance their spiritual growth. This doesn’t mean going to a gym and building muscles, although that can be done. It means eating healthy, avoiding red meat and certain other foods, never overeating, taking care of ourselves when sick, etc.
We also need to have good mental health, and not just in the sense of mental illness. We need to have a positive and helpful attitude. We must have an open mind. We must engage in loving-kindness.
Crystals and gems are also tools used in Cosolargy to help us grow. We wear them to help protect us from the influence of dark beings and forces. They can also be an aid in developing the proper energy flow through the body and spirit during sun gazing techniques. For example, if it is determined that your root chakra is your weakest, wearing red, pink, or orange gems or crystals can help channel more energy to that center. In Cosolargy, you are taught to bring all the energy centers into balance, not just the upper ones.
“Basically, the idea here is that the ancient metaphysicians studied philosophy, and they taught that philosophy was the highest religion. So philosophy, metaphysics, religion, and their science were all combined into one. It was a study of Being.” ~Gene Savoy, Jr.
While the teaching of Cosolargy and the spiritual practices in Cosolargy are based to a large degree on the ancient teaching of the mystery schools and philosophy schools, they have been modified to adjust to our modern lifestyle, especially in the United States. This is not done arbitrarily or as a matter of convenience, but only under the direction of advanced spiritual beings. We encourage students to make spiritual practices a part of their daily life. We place a great emphasis on spiritual health and encourage the daily practice of spiritual disciplines. In addition to the spiritual sun-gazing techniques, this can include reading spiritual books, practicing centering prayer, and working with like-minded people. We teach that a spiritual life should be your everyday life and Cosolargy should be a way of life, not just a hobby or occasional activity. While we do need to live in the present moment, we also need to prepare for the future.
“Most people in today’s world think that what they gain by their senses—the experience or the knowledge that they gain by their senses, by their mind or by certain mental faculties—is going to make them spiritual. And, of course, as we know in Cosolargy, . . . this is not the case.” ~Gene Savoy, Jr.
A final caution: Not all sun gazing is the spiritual sun-gazing practiced in Cosolargy. Most other sun gazing schools and groups are teaching looking at the physical sun ONLY. While there may be some benefits to doing that, they are not spiritual benefits. In fact, too much gazing at the physical sun can block spiritual growth, so it can hardly be considered a spiritual practice. We in Cosolargy are developing our spiritual faculties, not the physical body and mind. Those faculties must be awakened if we are to gain the spiritual knowledge often called Gnosis. Only spiritual practice does that.