Article by Phillip Hawkins
Knowledge and understanding never comes to us complete and a major part of its ongoing development comes through the application of what we already know. Knowledge and understanding no matter how spiritual, is not a commodity to be owned and displayed like a certificate of achievement, its value is not in its ownership but in its application in our lives. The time taken to amass knowledge and understanding is wasted unless it makes the transition from information into action, from rhetoric to truth demonstrated.
Certificates of achievement are means of recording our academic progress, but certificates don’t provide a reliable record of our personal and spiritual development. Like some people who own them, they may look impressive but on closer inspection are superficial lacking in any real substance. There is nothing wrong in taking pride in the recording of our achievements as long as we understand the accreditation of our personal and spiritual development comes through the way we live our life on a daily basis and not through the attainment of a certificate no matter what elevated status it confers.
Knowledge and understanding are about freedom, empowerment and the personal responsibility that goes with it. Opening the mind requires in part the removal of barriers and limitations self-imposed or otherwise, real or imaginary. This freedom of spirit is opposed to the dogma that seeks to restrict and control through by means of rigid beliefs, restrictive practices and the repetition of mantras and affirmations. Devotion regardless of faith and denomination provides no guarantees as to the depth of the person’s spiritual development, or the kind of life we lead in the privacy of our mind or our home, away from the gaze of those we may seek to impress.
Spiritual sound bites may roll easily off the tongue but the value of our words is not defined by their tone or content but by their effect on our lives. Words spoken to impress others or because of the spirituality they infer serve little purpose other than to impress if they are not underpinned by knowledge and understanding and action that embodies truth demonstrated. Spiritual clichés have a hollow ring when they are shown to lack substance or provide a solid foundation upon which the structure of our daily life is built.
‘Love and light’ may sound nice but actions speak louder than words. What we do in spite of what we say speaks volumes and reflects our true nature and personality. The measure of our personal and spiritual development lies not in the image we seek to create in our own mind, or for the benefit of others. It lies in the way we try to live our lives on a daily basis, in the recognition and acknowledgement of our successes and our failures. Those lapses in judgement that caused us to stumble and fall, the struggles that provided the strength and determination to get up again. The pain and heartache we experienced in those times of confusion when ignorance and fear were our constant companion. It was here that we discovered the meaning of compassion.
The successes we seek to promote as a testament of whom and what we are, and the failures we would rather forget and pretend never happened. Yet it’s those mistakes that helped make the successes possible and have earned their rightful place amongst the certificates of achievement on our wall of fame. Failure has integrity of its own that success seeks to take credit for; failure is the master that often goes unrecognised for the knowledge and understanding it brings, for it’s in those moments of personal darkness that the spark of enlightenment is born.
If we wish to gauge our personal and spiritual development then we must take a moment to reflect on the value of those things that we have defined as a measurement of our success, for they in turn will define the value we place upon ourselves. The only testament that will truly stand the test of time is the legacy we bequeathed to others through our actions. Like ripples, the consequences of our actions have the power to travel out far beyond our own horizons, and when we are gone all that will remain is the love and compassion we have left to take our place.
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A Reiki practitioner since 1999, Phillip started teaching Reiki in 2000 and using those skills and abilities he has spent the majority of the last seventeen years working with a wide range of social and educational needs including Autism and ADHD. Working with addicts dependent on alcohol and drugs, people whose lives were extremely violent and abusive, and others who had to deal with severe mental health issues. This has enabled him to work extensively in the private sector, schools, colleges, education and care in the community, the prison service and psychiatric units.
In 2016, Phillip decided to semi-retire from full-time employment to concentrate on developing his career as a published author and the setting up of his Reiki personal development programme at the Chilton Community College.