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What does being “spiritual” really mean?

I just googled the word “spiritual” and got 145,000,000 results – so clearly a lot of people are talking about it one way or another. What are they saying? What image of a person springs to mind if someone says “that guy is really spiritual”? What kind of lifestyle, priorities and values might such a person have?

Maybe they go on retreats in the Himalayas and do chanting every morning… Maybe they are vegetarian and only eat organic vegetables… Maybe they have long dreadlocks and play the didgeridoo… Maybe they wear colorful rainbow jackets and baggy green trousers… Maybe they say “namaste” instead of “hello” and “peace” instead of “goodbye”… Maybe they are a pious churchgoer who reads the Bible daily… Maybe they are a devoted parent who does hatha yoga with their kids after school…

Nothing wrong with any of those things – but there is one thing missing that matters more than anything: selfless service to others. The Cosmic Masters have told us over and over again that service is what really counts. This is what defines the true degree of spirituality of every single one of us: how much do we serve?

This is not service just to people we know or like. This is service on an impersonal and global scale. That’s what makes it an expression of truly unconditional love. Of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help those close to us – we should. But it does mean that helping those close to us is not enough. The priority has to be selfless service to all. We may pick some aspect of this “all”, but that decision should be made according to how we can best make a difference – not according to how we might most like to make a difference.

Selfless service is something that all of us can do. The Cosmic Masters would not ask us to do something that was impossible, or impossible to all but the select few. “I’m just an ordinary person – I can’t make any difference” – is not a statement of humility, it is a lie; a lie that apparently justifies the apathy, selfishness and laziness that lurk within us all, unless we fight them.

Traditionally, in various different faiths, detachment from mankind – through seclusion in the wilderness – was regarded as the order of the day; to do spiritual practices almost to the exclusion of all else specifically to bring about a state of inner peace within oneself. This ultimately would lead to enlightenment, if pursued vigorously enough and for long enough.

The Cosmic Masters have told us in no uncertain terms that this way of pursuing enlightenment will not be successful now – at this time in our history. In days gone by, karma allowed this approach. This is no longer the case. As the Cosmic Master Mars Sector 6 states in the transmission ‘Service’ – the third of The Nine Freedoms:

I would inform those aspirants, who in total disregard of human needs, retreat into the wilderness: ‘Come you hence, for you are fools!’

And as Dr. King says in his commentary on this Freedom:

One thing is sure, we will never gain true Enlightenment unless we serve.

The same theme also appears in The Twelve Blessings, given by the Master Jesus:

I say unto you, man—he who in total disregard of universal suffering does search in these days for Peace, will find it not. For alas, ye are commanded even now, as ye were yesterday, to spread yourselves in sacrificial action throughout your suffering World.

This last quotation also tells us that we have always been commanded to “spread ourselves in sacrificial action” – in other words, although the former option of gaining enlightenment in seclusion was allowed, service was still the greatest practice of all. And indeed, how could any logical person – never mind an intuitive person – deny the beauty of that great truth: what could be greater than service?

Sadly the so-called New Age movement has to a large extent failed to adequately promote its very essence. Service is what the real New Age is all about, whereas all too often the movement that unworthily bears its name is obsessed with the quest for personal happiness, worldly success, the fulfillment of desire and so forth. Ironically, the very things that this culture of self-absorption revolves around can only be achieved in a lasting and meaningful way by detaching from these self-same self-oriented goals, and devoting ourselves to selfless service to others. This does not mean that we should not do any kind of self-development at all – but it does mean that the focus of such self-development should be the empowerment of our service. As Mahatma Gandhi wisely stated:

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

This is one of the key ways that The Aetherius Society differs from so much of the modern, alternative spirituality being promoted all over the world. In The Aetherius Society it is service to others that is our very reason for existing as an organization; everything else comes after that, if indeed it comes anywhere at all. The greatest religion, the greatest spiritual practice, the greatest yoga – is karma yoga: the yoga of action. But not just karma yoga as it is traditionally taught – rather, karma yoga taken onto a global, and even cosmic level: action not just in terms of our everyday duties, but action for the greatest good of the whole world, in cooperation with the Cosmic Masters – advanced beings from other planets, who work ceaselessly to help mankind.

All life is one. All life is an expression of Divinity. All life has, at its core, a spark directly connected to the heart of God. The realization of oneness leads to an ever-greater urge to serve; and the practice of service leads to an ever-greater realization of oneness.

Serve – and you will become Enlightened.
Serve – and you will be practising true selfless Love.
Serve – and the mighty Power of Kundalini will rise in natural, unforced fashion and open the Chakra jewels in your higher bodies, in will pour inspiration and you will be standing on the verge of the initiation into Adeptship.
There are no words great enough to describe the wonder of – SERVICE.

Extract from ‘Service’ – the third of The Nine Freedoms. Delivered by the interplanetary master Mars Sector 6 through the trance mediumship of Dr. George King in 1961.

Watch my friend and colleague international bestselling author Richard Lawrence, Executive Secretary of The Aetherius Society in Europe, discuss the importance of service, as taught in The Nine Freedoms, during his inspiring lecture ‘Contacts with the Gods from Space’, given in Norway last year. Watch the whole lecture here.

One of the countless ways we can be of service to the world is through the practice of The Twelve Blessings. Join in our online services every Saturday and Sunday!

About the author
Mark BennettMark Bennett is the co-author of two books, both of which he wrote with international bestselling author Richard Lawrence, namely Prayer Energy and Gods, Guides and Guardian Angels, which was voted “best book on spirituality 2007” by readers of Kindred Spirit magazine. He is the youngest International Director of The Aetherius Society, whose teachings he chose as his spiritual path at an early age.

All the blogposts written for are written by experienced Aetherius Society personnel and approach themes relating to the teachings, practices and ideals of the Society. However, they also contain personal opinions, insights and interpretations that are not necessarily representative of the Society as a whole, or all of its Members as individuals.

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The Third Freedom Lecture – Service

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  1. Lisa on July 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    Fantastic article thank you. I was wondering if service is only beneficial to humans or to animals also? That is doing service to help animals, is that karma yoga also?

    • Mark Bennett on July 7, 2016 at 5:15 am

      Many thanks, Lisa, glad you enjoyed it! Helping animals is certainly a very important aspect of karma yoga. Selfless service, as referred to in the article, in fact refers to service to ALL LIFE.

  2. O'star Eze on July 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Truth is so simple, so plain, so empowering, so pure, so clear, that it stirs nothing but inner peace.

  3. John Beattie on July 8, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Great article

  4. Edwin. E. Lugard on June 26, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Many thanks to Bishop Richard Lawrence and the team. Making and providing answers to many profound questions renders the Aetherius society so unique, in so. much as having a spiritual master handy.

    • Darren on June 27, 2017 at 12:23 am

      Edwin, Thank you very much. Keep up the fantastic work. Together we will make the Master proud of what people can achieve when they work with one mind for a spiritual cause. Blessings, Darren

  5. Frazer on November 18, 2018 at 7:11 am

    Thank you for sharing, I couldn’t agree more and I don’t want to be “devil’s advocate”, I have travelled and lived a variety of places and I’m always thwarted by the law of confusion, for I’m sure it exists, it seems up to this “AWAKENING” we have, sorry I have allowed those of service to self to control from their minority. My point is that there seems to be a Path (albeit) restricted for the negative entities in the great scheme of things. I digress, would like to learn more about yoga and my meditative practice as I’m somewhat on my own out here and would like to learn to serve others in my own unique way. I’m very interested in the teach/learn, learn/teach relationship. Any info or advice be very welcome.

    • Darren on November 18, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      Hi Frazer,
      It is good to want to serve others.
      It is even better to want to serve others together with other people on a proven path so that you can be as effective as possible.
      You will still manifest your own unique spiritual destiny; in fact you will probably manifest it all the more because you will be doing greater good than you would be doing otherwise if you were on your own.
      That’s what King Yoga is about.
      I recommend this post for you: King Yoga – The greatest karmic force for your own personal development

  6. Paul Smith on June 19, 2019 at 10:29 am

    I think that Being ‘spiritual’ refers to the act of Spiritualising mind and matter. Like everything else it comes in degrees. Some people are more spiritual than others or have the ability to spiritualise mass – which is really transmuting mind and matter – more efficiently than others.

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