BeamTeam Books header - getting real




by Tim Ray



Tim Ray talks about the joys and challenges of being a 21st century spiritual warrior.


What I would like to suggest to you in this article is that life – your life, my life, everyone’s life – is in reality a Great Spiritual Adventure. A heroic quest, a search, for ”the Holy Grail”, whatever ”the Holy Grail” may be to you. Perhaps the Holy Grail for you is joy and happiness? Or maybe it is love, peace and harmony? For some the Holy Grail may be health, strength and life. For others it may be unlimited freedom. Or how about prosperity and abundance? Or world peace – and feeding all the starving souls on Planet Earth? Or perhaps the Holy Grail for you is all of these things at the same time? (I know it is for me.)


But how, you may be asking, are we to find the Holy Grail of Perfect Good? How are we to find the happiness, the love, the peace, the life, the freedom and the prosperity we are all looking for? And not just a mere glimpse of the Holy Grail of Perfect Good - a fleeting glimpse, a transient touch, of happiness, love and life – but a permanent experience of it? Because if we are really honest with ourselves, I believe that in our heart of hearts we won’t ultimately settle for anything less than a peace, a love and a happiness that is permanent, unchanging and everlasting.


Wizards and Wise Guides
Fortunately for us, we are not the only brave spiritual knights and warriors who have embarked upon such a noble quest. Many others have gone before us in the search for the Holy Grail – in the search for what I call “the Good”. These earnest seekers, these chivalrous knights of yore, are the great teachers and masters of all the world’s spiritual traditions. And yes, so the tales around the campfire do say, many of these spiritual warriors and knights did, after long and earnest searching, find the Holy Grail, did find the key to experiencing the Good, to experiencing life, love and happiness everlasting.


And fortunately for us, these wise guides and wizards left behind them clues, riddles and maps to speed us on our noble quest. In these roadmaps these wise and awakened men and women have outlined for us the way to experience the Permanent and Perfect Good that all human beings are seeking. Not only that, they have also in their infinite wisdom and compassion told us about the many dangers, obstacles and temptations that we may encounter on the path. Blood-curdling monsters and overwhelming temptations such as separation thinking, selfishness, pride, vanity, anger, greed and fear, just to name a few. But they foresaw much so they also left behind them many mighty “weapons” to help us as we struggle along the pathway. “Weapons” such as meditation, prayer, spiritual principles and their practical application, shortcuts to universal love and compassion, and much, much more.


What a great adventure!


For many years now I have been a seeker of the Holy Grail, a seeker of the Permanent and Perfect Peace, Love and Harmony, which is the promise of all spiritual traditions. And though I am merely an errant knight, a humble squire, an absolute beginner in this Great Spiritual Adventure, I would nevertheless like to share with you – in the hope that it may help you on your way – a few of the humble insights, “weapons” and experiences I have stumbled upon this far.


Finding the Spiritual Key
As you may no doubt have discovered for yourself, one of the major challenges in interpreting the roadmaps leading to the Great Goal that the spiritual masters of both East and West have left behind, is that often these maps or teachings were given or written down thousands of years ago, in another language, in another place, in another culture. And often these teachings were veiled in symbols, parables and metaphors that in practice make it very difficult for us 21st century modern spiritual knights and warriors to understand the true meaning of these teachings. Another practical difficulty in finding out what these spiritual masters were really pointing to, is that for centuries most of their original teachings have been heavily veiled by the dogmas and external rituals of organized religion. Which again makes it very difficult for any earnest spiritual knight to get to the heart of the matter, which are the unchanging spiritual principles behind the teachings.


So I have found that one of the first steps in interpreting the maps that the masters have left behind for us (such as the Bible, the Bhagavad-Gita, the teachings of Buddha, etc.) is to find the “Spiritual Key” that unlocks and uncovers the true meaning of their profound teachings. For many years I searched for these Spiritual Keys, over stock and stone, from one spiritual book and teacher to another (in the early days of the quest not even knowing that such a thing as a Spiritual Key existed). But gradually my search bore fruit and I began to find the Spiritual Keys that unlocked the great treasure house of knowledge contained within the world’s great spiritual traditions.


Great souls like Emmet Fox, Ernest Holmes, Emma Curtis Hopkins and Mary Baker Eddy gave me the Spiritual Keys to interpret the teachings of perhaps the greatest spiritual knight of them all, Jesus Christ. Eknath Easwaran, Deepak Chopra and Gandhi gave me the Spiritual Keys to interpret the words of Lord Krishna to Arjuna in India’s timeless classic the Bhagavad-Gita. And Sogyal Rinpoche, Thich Nhat Hanh and Dalai Lama gave me the Spiritual Keys to interpret the words of the Buddha.


Interpreting the Map
With these Spiritual Keys in hand and quite a bit of hard work, I then proceeded to slowly but surely unlock and uncover the spiritual teachings contained within these roadmaps to experiencing the Permanent Good. O precious Spiritual Keys! Without you, how would I ever have discovered that Jesus was the name of the man called Jesus just as my name is Tim and your name is Tania, Deidre or Mary – and that Christ is the name or designation of every human being’s true Nature, the Eternal Self hidden in the heart of all beings – just as Krishna is the name for our Higher Self and Buddha is the name of our true, Permanent Nature? O precious Spiritual Keys! Without you, how would I ever have guessed that the word Father, God in the Bible means the exact same thing as the word Brahman or Self in the Bhagavad-Gita, or the words Mind and Buddha-nature in the teachings of the Buddha? Without you, o priceless Spiritual Keys, how would I ever have realized that the roadmaps left behind by all the masters both East and West, were in essence saying exactly the same thing and pointing to exactly the same goal!


The Science of Spirit

Born in a scientific day and age as I was, I then also gradually began to realize that the Spiritual Pathway, the Road to the Holy Grail of Perfect and Permanent Good, is in essence a Science. A science as impersonal, universal, and unchanging as the Law of Gravity. Because what could be more scientific than these statements by the Christ: ”Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap” and “According to your faith be it unto you”. Or these statements by the Buddha: ”We are what we think” and ”All that we are arises with our thoughts”.


The Science of Spirit outlined by these masters, I found, described the universal, unchanging spiritual principles that govern all of existence. And this Science of Spirit I found, could in essence be boiled down to two fundamental principles. The first principle could be stated something like this: God is All and God is Good. (Or Goddess if you prefer.) The Bhagavad-Gita would say something like: Brahman is All and Brahman is Unchanging Truth, Peace, Love. Buddha would say something like this: Mind is All and Mind is unchanging peace, love, compassion, wisdom.


The second principle could be stated something like this: Your focus determines your experience. The Christ put it this way: ”As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna said something like: ”Consciousness arising, world arising. Consciousness disappearing, world disappearing.” And Buddha said, ”All that we are arises with our thoughts”.


As I delved deeper and deeper into these spiritual principles I gradually began to realize that armed with this understanding I also had discovered the basic causes of human suffering (or you could say why we experience a lack of the Good in our lives) as well as the way out of human suffering (or you could say the way to experience the Permanent Good that we seek).


But this, dear fellow travellers on the Spiritual Adventure, was merely to be the beginning.


The Sword of the Spiritual Warrior

Armed with these spiritual principles I then continued my noble quest with head held high, a song on my lips, and great hope in my heart. But alas, as you may have guessed, no sooner had I saddled my trusty horse (or gone to work or to a family dinner party) than I was beset by the most daunting obstacles. Habitual thinking, conditioned responses, separation thinking, ego, limitation thinking, selfishness, fear, materialism and a thousand and one other harrowing experiences… that seemed to stop my heroic quest before it had even begun! What was an earnest, Truth-seeking 21st century spiritual warrior to do now? As time went on, I began to realize that to meet and overcome these monstrous obstacles on my path I would need more than just Spiritual Keys and a roadmap of spiritual principles. I realized that I needed something even more practical and hands-on. I needed those indispensable ”Weapons” that every earnest spiritual warrior is simply doomed without: In short, I needed to learn the practical application of these principles. I needed to know how to translate these spiritual principles into my daily thoughts, words and actions. I needed to learn how to apply them in my relationships, at my workplace, in short in all my activities and interactions.


As I began to realize the immensity of this task, there were many a times that I seriously doubted whether such a humble squire as I could ever reach the goal... But then I took heart and remembered that Jesus, Siddharta and all the other brave fellows had also been just humble squires floundering in the mud like me before they found the Holy Grail and became known as the Christ and the Buddha.


The Adventure Continues

So my quest continues to this day. There have been times when I have almost given up, and there have been times where I felt that the Holy Grail was almost within reach, only to elusively escape me once again. But after each terrible setback I have always carried on (because once you catch a glimpse of that Holy Grail it will never leave you), helped by blessed Potions of Persistence, Discipline and of course, sweet drops of Divine Grace. (Without blessed Grace, where would we be?) The fellowship of other brave squires and knights has also been a great source of inspiration and comfort on my path. I have met these fellow travellers in many places, on the streets of Copenhagen, in the mountains of New Mexico, and not least, on the Fair, Fair Isle of Avalon. Perhaps I will meet you there!


I remain, as always, your most humble servant of the Good,

Tim Ray