Thursday 31 October 2013



“Spirituality means waking up.” Thus begins a book entitled Awareness by Anthony de Mello (Doubleday, 1992). He continues: “Most people, even though they don’t know it, are asleep. … They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence.”

Nikki Leader ( to Wychwood Circle on Nov 10th to tell us: “Wake up! The world is changing”.  Her fascinating website refers to the challenge of ‘exploring consciousness beyond our physical and material universe’ and she has promised to give us ‘a history of the ages from a spiritual perspective’.  

We live in an age when it is much more trendy to be ‘spiritual but not religious’ than the other way round – although many will of course reject any notion of spirituality as airy-fairy, not science-based or provable, and therefore ok for some but not for the intellectually rigorous.

Philip Sheldrake bravely tackled the subject in his recent Spirituality – A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2012) and suggested that we know experientially and not just because our parents or teachers told us so, that ‘as human beings we are naturally driven by goals beyond physical satisfaction or mental supremacy’.  He also concluded that ‘a full human life needs to move beyond self-absorption to a sense of the greater good and service of others’.  … Discuss!  That quotation would make a great motion for a debate.

I like the third part of his conclusion which sees spirituality as ‘a process of unlocking the creativity and imagination that enables us to touch the edge of mystery.’  For me this is a large part of what I would most want to explore, whether at church, meeting house or Sunday assembly, or in Wychwood Library at our monthly discussions.

Harnessing new energies

Nikki Leader’s introduction to our event on November 10th says she will offer
a spiritual perspective on what is, and has been happening since the end of the Mayan calender 2012. A short history of the ages humans have lived through, their effects and how we can all harness these new energies as long as we are prepared for change individually and globally.
Harnessing energies and being prepared to change? These both sound like something people of traditional faiths should be doing daily - and maybe some from less traditional faiths or no faith at all.  So the overlap between religion and Nikki's brand of spiritual direction (she is a professional spiritual adviser, or Soul Practitioner) will be fascinating to regular members of Wychwood Circle as much as to many newcomers and occasional visitors.

And what if you've never intended to be either religious or spiritual? Well, come along if you dare and be prepared to be challenged to 'wake up' and look further and differently at your world.  I picked up de Mello's Awareness only this morning and by chance, but I note that he ends his first short chapter with these words - which may or may not echo Nikki Leader's approach: 
Waking up is unpleasant, you know. You are nice and comfortable in bed. It's irritating to be woken up. That's the reason the wise guru will not attempt to wake people up. ... My business is to do my thing, to dance my dance. If you profit from it, fine; if you don't, too bad!  As the Arabs say, 'The nature of rain is the same, but it makes thorns grow in the marshes and flowers in the gardens.'

We are grateful to Nikki Leader for agreeing to join us as a guest speaker on Sunday November 10th at Wychwood Library from 7pm to 9pm.