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17 DAYS OF SPIRITUAL WISDOM
What’s the point in going to Church?
And, for many, the question is also the answer, in the sense that there is no answer, or at least not a good enough answer to motivate them into actually going.
For certain others – it isn’t even a question. Religion plays no part in their lives whatsoever, and the spiritual urge is often “replaced” by an almost idolatrous and highly irrational obsession with a sports team or a celebrity who is completely undeserving of their adoration.
Alternatively, they consider themselves “scientific” and live by the delusion that the meaning of life either does not exist, or can be confined to a test-tube or should be explicable by some mathematical formula; the kind of cold, soulless approach that Dostoevsky referred to as “the despicable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man.”
For others still, the situation is perhaps even a little sadder. They feel a genuine spiritual urge, and are drawn to religion, but when they actually go to church they are profoundly disappointed. What they see is hypocrisy, irrationality, superstition, empty ritual, random dictates, judgementalism, lack of genuine faith, – and, in short, a whole load of nonsense almost utterly devoid of logic: myths and moralities from a bygone age that have no place in a modern, scientific, more open-minded world.
So what is that “point” that such a person may be looking for – but does not see?
Well, first of all, some people may not really be looking for a “point” at all – at least not a religious point. They may be more interested in community, tradition, friendship, status, social standing, respectability and so forth. But some, or perhaps even all, of such things, are often available elsewhere – in a completely secular setting, which may be more appealing to those not attracted to religion.
I have great sympathy for atheists and agnostics – perhaps even too much. When you look at the ridiculous things – and historically the downright wicked things – that religion has been responsible for – coupled with a lack of proper answers to reasonable questions – and instead endless vagueness and contradiction… is it really any wonder that someone might turn against religion?!
And yet, in the modern Western world we are blessed with freedom of religion and a plethora of paths to choose from. The quest need not end with disappointment in your local parish church – because there are so many alternatives.
Not all of these alternatives are good, and not all mainstream religion is bad. In fact countless charitable organizations, and even just simple acts of kindness, can be attributed to mainstream religion. And likewise, certain “alternative” approaches to religion can vary from the superficial to the downright sinister.
But there are certain alternatives to mainstream religion that are very good indeed. These paths go deeper into the real nature of the Divine and the meaning of life – and offer effective ways to raise consciousness and find enlightenment. And most important of all, teach forms of selfless service that address the very heart of the problems on this Earth. That is the real point of going to church, temple or wherever it might be that you go to to express the God-Spark within you.
These paths take many different forms and these forms will appeal to different people for different reasons – and such diversity is to be celebrated.
For example, some will be attracted to a highly ritualistic religion, with complex ceremonies and elaborate vestments, beautiful temples and an ancient tradition – while others may be equally devout and yet repulsed by such “empty vanities”, as they may perceive such things.
The truth is that both types of path have a certain something – and should be regarded as valid approaches to express a relationship with the Divine. Whether your approach is through what you would call the beauty of holiness, or what someone else would call the simplicity of the sacred – both are two sides of the same coin of the love of God.
And yet, if we look deeper we can see that in fact all true ritual, symbolism, and even church vestments should have an entirely practical purpose – it’s not just about beauty or tradition.
To the “religionist” a ritual is an act that for some unknown reason has a supernatural effect because God has decided that it should. Whereas, to the mystic, there is no such thing as the supernatural. As St. Augustine of Hippo wisely stated: “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.”
Ritual therefore is a way of controlling and using subtle natural forces that have a very real effect on our lives and the world around us. There is a reason – a precise scientific reason – for every aspect of the ritual, and if these are not correctly put into practice, the ritual will fail. Science as we know it does not yet understand ritual, or the subtle natural forces involved – but one day these will be understood by science on this Earth.
Similarly, ecclesiastical vestments are not just some ridiculous archaic form of fancy dress – but – if correctly designed and manufactured – are ideal conduits for the flow of spiritual energy in, around and through the Minister, Priest or Bishop during the ritual. Similarly, symbols also have a power that affects subtle energy flow.
And, by the way, this energy is not some wishy-washy fanciful figment of someone’s imagination or childish wishful thinking – it is very real indeed.
In fact, upon my ordination as a Priest in the Aetherius Churches last year, I would even go as far as to say that I struggled quite a bit to control this energy, now activated within, around and through me by the Apostolic succession. Since that time, I feel that I have got a better handle on how to use the access that I now have to this power, and have been amazed by the inspiration and exhilaration that I have experienced as a result.
This all came as a bit of a surprise to me – which it shouldn’t really, because I was vaguely aware of the theory of it – but that’s almost meaningless compared to when you actually experience it. I certainly hadn’t been expecting it; naively, I hadn’t really given it much thought prior to the initiation.
What’s the point in going to an Aetherius Church?
So many reasons I hardly know where to begin!
If you are purely after a sense of community – like a social club – then my own opinion is that an Aetherius Church is not what you are looking for. You are still welcome to come along, and you will find friendly people, with a great sense of community, but an Aetherius Church is very much more than a social club.
Let me explain…
When I first began to attend – when I was just 16 years old – I did indeed find many friendly and very helpful people, which was great. But I had found this before in my earlier forays into mainstream Christianity. It was nothing unique or new to me.
What was new and unique to me personally – and two of the things that inspired me to keep attending – were:
- The fact that I got proper answers to profound questions about God, the universe and the meaning of life;
- Something I had never imagined I would ever experience – psychic abilities.
Probably like many people, especially back in the 1990s, I had the idea that you were either psychic or you weren’t. That it was some kind of supernatural gift – and that it was absolute – you either weren’t psychic at all, or, if you were, then you should know virtually everything all the time.
I had no concept of the idea of an ordinary person like me being able to develop psychic abilities – or of degrees of psychic ability.
But it wasn’t very long after beginning to practice King Yoga – the spiritual path of The Aetherius Society – that I began to become aware of my chakras, and my aura. In fact the sensations were so tangible that I actually became somewhat concerned. I hadn’t been expecting to feel anything like that and I didn’t know what was going on. When this was explained to me, and in the light of subsequent spiritual experiences, it all made perfect sense, and was one little confirmation to me – not to you or anyone else – but to me – that I was on the right track. I had certainly not become a full-blown psychic – but I was beginning to experience the subtle forces of higher energies on a psychic level.
Every significant aspect of an Aetherius Society Church Service has a practical point to it relating to these higher energies, and to karma. Hence the rituals have been so devised as to radiate spiritual energy and improve karma. This will benefit you, those in need and the world as a whole.
To repeat for emphasis: this is not supernatural magic – which cannot exist – this is a higher form of nature that obeys precise scientific laws as yet not understood by science on Earth, but that one day will be understood.
Once, in the early days of my Membership of The Aetherius Society, I invited a friend of mine to join me for a Service. He was very interested and quite enthusiastic to find out more.
After the Service he said that he had been put off when we had started “chanting all that nonsense”. At first I didn’t know what he was talking about, then I realized he was referring to the mantras we had been using. To him it was nonsense, because he didn’t understand what it was.
It seemed to him like just reciting random syllables for the sake of it, whereas in actual fact it is applying the meta-science of sound to alter energy flow through the chakras and aura, and raise consciousness. It is so precise that one day its effects will even be measurable. But we don’t need to wait that long before we can prove the power of mantra to ourselves – all we have to do is to practice it correctly and with an open-mind.
The Dynamic Prayer technique we use is similarly precise – and effective. It is not just asking God for a favor, it is an exact formula for invoking and transmitting spiritual energy to bring about certain positive results. Precision does not, by the way, imply a lack of feeling – quite the reverse – it is intensity of spiritual feeling and expression that is the very heart of it!
In short – every aspect of the rituals in our Services is correct, balanced, positive and a powerful force for good.
This even includes the choice of ecclesiastical vestments and robes worn, and the symbolism and holy artefacts you see around you in the Temple, Church, chapel or small group. No significant aspect of the Service or its surroundings will be haphazard – or just because it sounds or looks nice. It will be because of what it achieves in bringing individuals – and the world as a whole – closer to God-Consciousness.
In addition to this, you will hear teachings that are entirely based on a complete and logical coherence that can be properly explained without requiring “blind belief”. I can’t understand how “blind belief” could possibly be a good thing – you can “blindly believe” anything whether it is true or not, whereas only Truth can actually be realized.
As the great scientist, alchemist, banker and detective Isaac Newton said: “A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.”
You won’t understand everything you hear the first time you attend a Service, but, with a little patience, and a natural curiosity, the glorious window to Cosmic Truth will be gradually opened to you – through logic, intuition and your own experience. You will never need “blind belief” – in fact – you would be advised strongly not to have “blind belief”.
The teachings are not just brilliant in terms of the practical application of what is taught – but even the vibration is transformative. The very act of listening – with an open heart and mind – to a recording of a communication from an advanced being from another world will change you for the better, and if you have any psychic sensitivity at all, you can feel this. And if you don’t have any psychic sensitivity at all – you can soon develop this in this way.
I remember fondly my first few Services in London. At first I was impressed by how much more dynamic the Service seemed than the rather stale, lifeless church services of my childhood in the religion I was born into. But after attending just a few times, it was no longer the “spectacle” that struck me, but rather the striking sensation of a rise in vibrations which were clearly tangible to me through my aura. In fact, so striking did this become that I always preferred to remain silent and alone for a few minutes after the Service had ended.
I feel I have scarcely begun to do justice to the experience of attending an Aetherius Society Church Service. There is so much more to say – such as the Higher Mental Realm link and the unique origin of the Apostolic Succession, but that, I think, is best left to a Part II blogpost on this subject.
My closing words to you would be that attending an Aetherius Society Church Service is definitely for you if:
- You have an open-minded longing for Truth
- You wish to live and act in the light of that Truth to help others – and to help the world as a whole.
If these are your motives, and these motives are strong enough, you are certain to achieve your goal. And what better way to do so than through The Aetherius Society?
We warmly invite you to attend one of our Sunday Divine Services or Twelve Blessings Services at one of our centers around the world.
About the author
Mark 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 aetherius.org 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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Thank you so much for sharing these insights Mark. I can imagine it’s difficult to know whether to share things like this but it is big inspiration to those less further along the path. I can’t wait to read part two.